Hello, fellow gamers! My name is Jonathan Hobbs, I'm 19 years old, and I'm from Marion, Indiana. Last weekend I got second place at SCG Indianapolis with my take on Bant Flash, and today I'm here to talk about my card choices from last weekend and a sideboard guide for the deck to help prepare you for this weekend at SCG Baltimore.
I knew when Angel of Grace and Frilled Mystic were previewed that I wanted to try and make a flash deck, in the old Faeries or Jeskai Restoration Angel style. One of my best tools I used to make my deck was looking at previous Standard "flash" strategy lists. I began by looking here at Kevin Jones' Azorius Historic deck from a couple of Standard seasons ago, which I enjoyed playing quite a bit.
Kevin's deck gave me a good foundation to start from. After countless hours of testing - I imagine 30-40 best-of-three Magic Arena events - I finally arrived at the list I posted on Twitter a few nights before the event. I made a few changes based off what decks I was expecting for the event and was ready to submit my final 75 for the Open.
At first glance, you might think my deck looks all over the place, but all the one and two-ofs each have their purpose. Flash decks need tools for a little bit of everything since they need to be able to play the role of both offense or defense, depending on the matchup. This is key because Opens on the SCG Tour® are fifteen round tournaments and you need to be prepared for the unknown. With all these one and two-ofs, it makes your opponent have almost no correct way to play through their turn. How is one supposed to attack past turn 5 once I'm representing Frilled Mystic, Angel of Grace, Seal Away, Depose // Deploy, Settle the Wreckage, Warrant // Warden, and March of the Multitudes? On top of that, if your opponent does nothing, they just give you time to cast a Chemister's Insight!
Let's begin things by looking at the threats in my list:
- 4 Growth-Chamber Guardian
- 4 History of Benalia
- 4 Frilled Mystic
- 1 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
- 4 Angel of Grace
- 2 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
- 1 March of the Multitudes
Growth-Chamber Guardian is one of the best early plays for this deck, as it allows you to leave up mana for interaction on your opponent's turn. If they do nothing, you still have something to do with your mana by adapting the Guardian.
History of Benalia does something similar, as after turn 3, leaving up disruption like Frilled Mystic will allow you to push through a lot of damage. History really shines against Bant Nexus since you don't have much time to play a lot of threats against their deck. It's your most cost-efficient threat that also allows you to leave up countermagic for the rest of the game.
Four copies of Frilled Mystic may seem like a lot, and sometimes they can be clunky, but the upside of having multiples in matchups when they're good is too much to pass up. Games in which you get to Frilled Mystic a Ravenous Chupacabra and then the following turn do the same to Vivien Reid are games in which you feel invincible.
The same feeling of invincibility takes place with Angel of Grace, as multiple copies of the powerful flier turn after turn allow you to win games you had no business being in. I've raced many Carnage Tyrants before just by flying over them with multiple Angels while ending the game at one life.
March of the Multitudes and Chemister's Insight were a consideration when deciding to play 26 lands, but I wanted to play 26 so I could ensure I would be able to curve out each game and have enough mana sources to cast History of Benalia on turn 3. Having a few sources of flood insurance is never bad, and March of the Multitudes synergizes well with History of Benalia and Depose. Additionally, when Chemister's Insight is good game 1, it's usually one of your best cards in the matchup as it allows you to turn your dead removal spells and other one-ofs into cards that could actually be useful.
Onto some of the spells:
Initially, I had a few copies of Spell Pierce in the sideboard, but I quickly realized I just wanted them against red decks, Teferi decks, and Vivien Reid decks--basically the whole metagame--so I added them to the maindeck.
Depose is the epiphany of a versatile card. At worst, it functions as a Revitalize. At best, it trades with two copies of Viashino Pyromancers in combat. Deploy also makes for a proactive play when you left up countermagic on your opponent's turn and they didn't take an action.
One huge selling point of this deck is that it's one of the best Settle the Wreckage decks in Standard. We play our own threats which makes our opponent have to attack with a lot more creatures to present lethal, thus making our Settles better.
The three versus one split of Seal Away versus Warrant // Warden is simply a metagame call, and the split is entirely dependent on what the metagame looks like each weekend. If you expect a lot of Crackling Drake, Tithe Taker, and Gruul Spellbreaker, Seal Away is the better of the two options.
Next is sideboarding, which is one of the best parts of Bant Flash. With all the one- and two-ofs in the deck, we excel after sideboard because we can just side out whichever half of our deck isn't great in a particular matchup.
VS Mono Red Aggro
Unlike control decks, our deck doesn't rely on Teferi, Hero of Dominaria to win so don't be afraid to sideboard him out if he feels too slow for the matchup. Frilled Mystics also aren't great when you're under a lot of pressure.
VS Mono-White and Azorius Aggro
This matchup is rough since we don't have many good tools to help us get to the lategame. After sideboard, try and be more of a midrange deck instead of a tempo one. If your opponent is playing Azorius Aggro, their removal is most likely Deputy of Detention rather than Conclave Tribunal, which makes Spell Pierce worse, so I would keep in Syncopates because of that.
VS Bant Nexus
One of the reasons to play Bant Flash is how good its Bant Nexus matchup is. They mostly play on their own turn, so Frilled Mystic is completely insane here. That said, this matchup can be tricky, so focus on applying pressure before disrupting them.
VS Esper Control
Esper Control is another good matchup. Historically, tempo decks are favored against control decks, and this appears to be no different. I don't mind leaving in Warrant because of Lyra Dawnbringer and Thief of Sanity, and at worst you can make a Sphinx token with it.
VS Sultai Midrange
After sideboard, we're trying to transform into more of a controlling deck because it's hard for History of Benalia to be effective against a pile of Wildgrowth Walkers. If you think your opponent sideboarded our their Wildgrowth Walkers for game 2 - let's say game 2 played out fairly long and you didn't see any copies of the Elemental - I'd recommend bringing back in History of Benalia for game 3. It can be hard to grind out Sultai, but this strategy of bringing back in History has been effective since Sultai is fairly light on removal, and History into disruption can be a good gameplan to take them by surprise.
As for the future of this deck, I have two routes I plan to explore within the next few weeks:
- Just work on my preexisting deck and add a few copies of Hydroid Krasis. Tune the sideboard for the expected metagame after SCG Indianapolis.
- Continue to work on the new list that I posted on Twitter recently, a list that eschews the early creatures and goes a lot bigger with Wilderness Reclamation.
Just got 5 wins with my newest list of Bant Flash. Going a lot bigger in anticipation of facing a lot of Sultai. Played against it 3 times this event and the matchup felt great. @arenadecklists pic.twitter.com/4uHyVhcluY— Jonathan Hobbs (@omarthehobbit) January 29, 2019
Well, that's all I have for today to prepare you for SCG Baltimore this weekend. I hope you enjoyed my breakdown of Bant Flash and feel free to comment if you have any further questions about the deck during your preparation for your next Standard event. I plan to test the deck a lot more for my RPTQ this weekend and SCG Dallas the following weekend, and I hope you'll do the same.
May all your March of the Multitudes be for at least ten!