I think it's safe to say Bant Company was able to stand up to some hate.
Despite virtually having a large glowing neon sign saying “I'm the deck to beat!”, Bant Company still made up 42% of the Day 2 metagame and half the Top 8 of the Baltimore Open.
Sure, Osyp Lebedowicz ended up taking down the event with G/W Tokens, but nothing really significantly changed, and I think most of the attention is still on Bant Company. But I suppose G/W Tokens is also still an incredible deck that's difficult to beat and shares 2/3rds of the same colors.
- 3 Duskwatch Recruiter
- 2 Eldrazi Displacer
- 4 Reflector Mage
- 3 Selfless Spirit
- 4 Spell Queller
- 4 Sylvan Advocate
- 3 Tireless Tracker
- 2 Archangel Avacyn
- 2 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
Right now Standard needs some help.
With the Pro Tour happening this weekend, the question is, will Bant Company be torn apart, be just okay, or dominate completely? It's hard to say for sure.
Today I'll present some last-minute blue decks I've been trying for my Pro Tour testing that attack Standard from a different angle, and they might just be good enough to compete.
This is exactly the kind of deck that you can have a lot of fun with. The theme is to cast a lot of instants and sorceries that give you an incremental advantage. At first you just use the spells to stay at parity, but once you're able to flip a Curious Homunculus or a Thing in the Ice, that will allow you to pull way ahead, draw plenty of cards, and take over the game.
I've been torn on this card since it was spoiled. At first I was very excited because I was mostly focusing on the upside of drawing three cards. The more I play with this spicy Devil, the more I'm reminded how hefty the cost of discarding your hand is. I'm only playing one in the list, as having two in your hand always makes one of them a dead card. At its best it's fantastic, so I'm willing to make room for one.
This creature is certainly no Doorkeeper, but it does keep an eye on things. When Fblthp's cousin flips and become a speed reader, you can digest your whole library in no time. Curious Homunculus might look like a weak link in the deck that could be replaced with a number of other cards such as Stormchaser Mage, Abbot of Keral Keep, or even Elusive Spellfist, but it's surprisingly easy to flip the little Homunculus.
Once you do, you can cast a bunch of cantrips, in particular Take Inventory, and get plenty of prowess triggers to teach your opponent the power of reading.
This card has been overperforming for me. Sniping off a Duskwatch Recruiter and then the second one killing a Spell Queller has been a great way of taking down the menace of Bant Company. You can also get minor value out of discarding it to Jace, Vryn's Prodigy or Tormenting Voice if you need to, as it adds some value to the other copies just by being in your graveyard.
Our slower Accumulated Knowledge allows us to get a reasonable amount of card advantage over a longer time frame.
This card is very good and probably the biggest sleeper in Eldritch Moon right now.
It's important to answer our opponent's methods of card advantage, such as Duskwatch Recruiter, Tireless Tracker, and Collected Company. It just goes to show how good the sources of card advantage on creatures are nowadays that freakin' Accumulated Knowledge can get overshadowed.
An efficient and versatile card that can usually do exactly what we want it to. It can team up with our other burn cards to take out threats that are too big to take down alone. Since Elder Deep-Fiend and other emerge fatties haven't been seeing that much play yet, there aren't many creatures in the format with large behinds that can't be burnt down.
The ability to reset either your or your opponent's hand is very interesting. I'm almost reminded of the random factor of Hearthstone. The Wheel of Time ability can be very useful for getting rid of your extra lands or resetting your opponent's hand and hoping for the best. The other two abilities are just very efficient removal and a nice shot to the face. The versatility and power mean that this card can do a lot of different things to help you in almost any situation.
Next up we have an update on Martin Mller's original list that debuted at Grand Prix Manchester for those looking to cast Engulf the Shore. I think the deck is close to having what it takes to wash Bant Company's mouth out with soap.
I've always been a fan of unusual decks that attack the format in a completely alien way, and I wonder if Eldritch Moon upgrades could allow it to be competitive in the new world of Bant Company dominance.
Unsubstantiate is also excellent here. The new Remand can help us survive to the late-game, get pesky planeswalkers off the stack, and return a creature or spell to hand, only to have you cast Day's Undoing and get rid of it completely.
I really wanted to try to move the Thing in the Ice to the maindeck, as flipping it is fantastic against creature decks such as the white Humans decks, but it might be a little too risky because Bant Company's Reflector Mages would be significantly better otherwise.
Overall I'm worried that this deck won't have what it takes to perform in the world where the number one deck gained Spell Queller to interact with it. The Bant decks are also packing Negates after sideboarding that allow them to shut down anything you're attempting to accomplish.
Still, Bant Company has a fairly slow clock and Engulf the Shore is excellent against a deck full of random creatures.
- 1 Hangarback Walker
- 1 Bounding Krasis
- 4 Den Protector
- 1 Elvish Visionary
- 4 Noose Constrictor
- 1 Void Grafter
- 1 Emrakul, the Promised End
- 1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
- 2 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
- 2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Finally I'll close out by taking a look at Cory Dissinger's fifth-place deck from this last weekend's Open.
It's a gorgeous deck, and U/G Crush has many awesome lines that I'm very interested in. For example, simply getting to ten mana allows you to cast and unmorph a Den Protector, returning and surging a Crush of Tentacles, which resets the Den Protector to do it all over again next turn. Now that's my kind of combo.
Crush of Tentacles might be one of the best tools to fight back against Bant Company. It's out of range of getting hit by Spell Queller and completely resets the battlefield while giving you a giant 8/8 Octopus.
The Traverse the Ulvenwald package can grab a discounted Emrakul, the Promised End; an Ishkanah, Grafwidow; or a Den Protector just to rebuy the Traverse for value. The fact that it costs one mana to enable surge is just added amazingness.
One new card that may overperform in this deck would be Spontaneous Mutation. In my own Draft testing, I've been continuously impressed by the power of this little trick, and the fact that it both enables surge and returns to your hand from a Crush of Tentacles, just to be recast on another threat, makes it a highly attractive option.
I'd cut one Pulse of Murasa and one Void Grafter to make room for two Spontaneous Mutation just to try it out. As long as you have a couple of cards in your graveyard, like an early Traverse the Uvenwald, an Evolving Wilds, or some discarded cards from Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, the Spontaneous Mutation will function as a cheap and efficient removal spell.
There you have it: some blue decks that might just cure the Bant Company blues, even though it's difficult to recommend any other deck right now. Standard had better continue evolving, and not the turn 1 Evolving Wilds kind.
Standard Down Under
Hopefully I have provided some inspiration, and hopefully the Pro Tour will shake things up. If not, may your top six always have many three-drops.
That's it for me this week. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to try to win the Pro Tour here in the upside down.