There are four decks in Standard currently that stand above the rest. The fourth best deck is White Weenie Humans, and it looks like a minor red splash is becoming the best version of that archetype. The third best deck is W/B Control. It looked like W/B Control was trending toward the top as people started playing more ramp decks, but two decks have proven to be even stronger: W/G Tokens and Bant Company. Today I'm going to analyze the top performing lists from each of these two archetypes in order to determine which is the best deck in Standard for this weekend.

Let's start with the deck that has won more tournaments, including Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad, than any other deck so far in Shadows over Innistrad Standard.

W/G Tokens

W/G Tokens is THE deck to beat right now. It won Grand Prix Costa Rica, it won Grand Prix Minneapolis, it won Grand Prix Manchester, and it has been winning tournaments since Steve Rubin won Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad with it.

The core of W/G Tokens involves the following maindeck cards:

4 Archangel Avacyn
3 Hangarback Walker
4 Sylvan Advocate
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
4 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
4 Dromoka's Command
4 Oath of Nissa
4 Fortified Village
4 Canopy Vista
7 Plains
7 Forest
2 Westvale Abbey

The other nine cards are flex slots.

The idea is to curve out with token-generating Planeswalkers that will later pump all the tokens. The idea is pretty straightforward, but the flex slots allow the deck to move in a few different directions.

Seth Manfield continued his dominance of Magic by winning Grand Prix Costa Rica with his own take on Green/White Tokens:


In the flex slots Seth ran:

2 Den Protector
2 Lambholt Pacifist
1 Declaration in Stone
2 Secure the Wastes
1 Tragic Arrogance
1 Forest

Manfield loves to have miser cards in his deck that his opponents won't play around. Tragic Arrogance was the maindeck miser card of choice for Manfield last weekend. Running Declaration in Stone over Stasis Snare makes sense, given that it works better with Den Protector. Tragic Arrogance also gets better with Den Protector since the threat of getting it back will continue to cause the opponent to have to play around it (and often the will simply not be able to).

Alex Johnson won Grand Prix Minneapolis with this version:


Alex's flex slots were:

1 Hangarback Walker
2 Lambholt Pacifist
2 Declaration in Stone
2 Secure the Wastes
1 Stasis Snare
1 Forest

This is a more traditional build, running all four Hangarback Walkers, two Secure the Wastes, and the singleton Stasis Snare. Lambholt Pacifist makes Dromoka's Command better while giving then deck a faster curve. Secure the Wastes gives the deck a much better late game plan, improving the Westvale Abbey plan and also making the Planeswalker's anthem effects that much more devastating.

Gerry Thompson made Top 4 at the Atlanta Open with this list:


His flex slots were:

2 Den Protector
1 Hangarback Walker
2 Declaration in Stone
2 Evolutionary Leap
2 Forest

Thompson had the least-greedy manabase, running only two colorless lands and also running a twenty-sixth land. This makes sense given that Evolutionary Leap is a big part of Thompson's game plan. Evolutionary Leap requires extra green sources and wants to flood out more. The Den Protectors work great with Evolutionary Leap, so running those over Lambholt Pacifist makes sense in Thompson's list.

Raphael Levy won Grand Prix Manchester with what is surely the most unique version:


In his flex slots he ran:

2 Lambholt Pacifist
1 Hangarback Walker
2 Chandra, Flamecaller
1 Evolutionary Leap
2 Stasis Snare
1 Westvale Abbey

In stark contrast to Thompson's mana base, Levy's was the greediest, opting to run an extra colorless land over the eighth Forest while also playing two Chandra, Flamecaller that he can only cast off four copies of Oath of Nissa. Chandra, Flamecaller's payoff is quite high though, and Levy proved that his result was no fluke by nearly making Top 8 at Grand Prix Costa Rica the following weekend, losing back-to-back win-and-ins in the final two rounds. Given that Levy is an outlier and non-Chandra builds continue to dominate, Chandra, Flamecaller will still be a card your opponent will not expect you to have.

While W/G Tokens has more first place finishes, Bant Company has more Top 8s.

Bant Company

Bant Company has a much wider range of builds than Green/White Tokens. Instead of merely having nine flex slots, it pretty much only has 4 Reflector Mage, 4 Collected Company, and some lands as its only non-flex slots.

Yuuya Watanabe has been running a human tribal version of Bant Company in the last three Grand Prix. He made Top 16 in Tokyo, Top 8 in Minneapolis, and Top 16 in Costa Rica. His list has remained relatively the same throughout the three events. This is the list he most recently played:


Andrew Elenbogen played mostly the same deck but ran Eldrazi Displacer over Knight of the White Orchid and adjusted the mana base accordingly:


These two lists do some really cool things. They curve out as a Humans deck, much like White Weenie Humans, but instead of topping out with Always Watching and Gryff's Boon, they top out with Collected Company and Ojutai's Command. Instead of running a bunch of Savannah Lions to swarm with weenies, the deck plays creatures that provide a better late game "grind" plan such as Tireless Tracker and Duskwatch Recruiter.

Between Reflector Mage and Dromoka's Command, the deck has a reasonable amount of answers to opposing creatures, especially with Collected Company and Duskwatch Recruiter being able to find more copies of Reflector Mage. Elonbogen's list has even more ways to deal with creatures since Eldrazi Displacer can blink them out (or worse, blink Reflector Mage to bounce them!). He can also blink his own Thalia's Lieutenant to pump his team mid-combat.

Adam Bajerowicz made Top 8 at Grand Prix Manchester with a more traditional take on Bant Company:


Instead of running Thalia's Lieutenant and Lambholt Pacifist, Bajerowicz ran Sylvan Advocate, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, and Bounding Krasis. Bant Company decks used to be all about tempo but now they are much grindier. Bajerowicz is one of the few holdouts that still run Bounding Krasis, though unlike Watanabe he is at least on board with the trend toward Eldrazi Displacer, despite only running two copies whereas most everyone else runs three or four.

Julien Henry finished second place at Grand Prix Manchester with a slightly different version of Bant Company:


Instead of running Bounding Krasis, Henry ran Eldrazi Skyspawner. This makes the deck better against Gryff's Boon and against Tomoharu Saito's Blue-Red flyers decks. It also makes sure the deck can cast Collected Company on the fourth turn without needing a fourth untapped land. This is not a small thing since many of Bant's lands enter the battlefield tapped.

Brian Braun-Duin made Top 8 of Grand Prix Costa Rica with a version he and Brad Nelson played:


This version goes hard on Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Tireless Tracker. It also adjusts the mana base to include one copy of Wastes to search out with Evolving Wilds. This version has the most potent Collected Company hits of any of the lists. The human lists have Thraben Inspector as a mediocre hit while some of the other lists play cards like Archangel Avacyn that cannot be found with Collected Company. This deck has 25 strong hits for the Company main and five more in the board.

Lauri Vuorela made Top 8 at Grand Prix Manchester with a variant of Collected Company that deviates pretty significantly from the lists played by Bajerowicz, Henry, BBD, and Nelson:


Instead of running removal spells (Dromoka's Command / Declaration in Stone), Vuorela runs four copies of Cryptolith Rites and three copies of Reality Smasher!

He also runs the Eldrazi Skyspawners that Henry runs, which sets up for Reality Smasher as a fourth turn play. Loam Dryad and Elvish Visionary are pretty lackluster hits off Collected Company though, so this version has weakest Companies and also the fewest number of removal spells. The tradeoff is that it has the best Eldrazi Displacers and Duskwatch Recruiters because he has tons of mana to keep activating each of them. It has more of a "go off" feel to it than a "grind you out" feel that most of the other lists have. Austin Matthews made Top 8 at the Atlanta Open with a slightly modified version of Vuorela's deck.


Austin Matthews' list was very similar list to Vuorela but he replaced the Loam Dryads with Sylvan Advocates. This slows the deck down slightly but gives it much more potent Collected Companies. Sylvan Advocates provide pressure and defense, which can be important in a deck relying entirely on Eldrazi Displacer and Reflector Mage as its creature removal. They can also attack and block and still provide mana via Cryptolith Rite for activating Duskwatch Recruiter or Eldrazi Displacer.

Reality Smasher is a great card right now. It pressures the planeswalkers in Black/White Control and in Green/White Tokens while taxing removal, surviving Languish, and generally being bigger than anything else on the board. The downside is that you kind of need to play Eldrazi Skyspawner over Tireless Tracker so that the scion token can help cast the Smasher. This isn't all downside since you become a faster deck, but Skyspawner is a much less powerful card than Tireless Tracker when the game goes longer.

Fresh off his Pro Tour Eldritch Moon invite from making Top 4 at the RPTQ, Mario Lillard made Top 16 at the SCG Atlanta Open with a list that incorporates elements from several different lists:


He is down to just one Bounding Krasis, which might be exactly the right number since it forces the opponent to respect it in spots where it can punish them for ignoring it. He also runs the full four Eldrazi Skyspawners as value cards and only two copies of Tireless Tracker. Eldrazi Skyspawner allows for a fourth-turn Archangel Avacyn and they also provide a scion token that can conveniently be sacrificed any time to transform the Archangel Avacyn. The miser's Stratus Dancer is not a terrible card to hit off Collected Company, but it can be a monster blowout against Tragic Arrogance, Languish, Secure the Wastes, or Dromoka's Command in the right spot. It can also stop an opposing Collected Company in the mirror.

The other interesting decision with this list is running three Declaration in Stone and only one Dromoka's Command. Having a split makes Jace, Vryn's Prodigy better since then you'll have the option of which one to flashback. It also gives him more answers to an opposing transformed Westvale Abbey, but I suspect the main draw is being better against token strategies.

While Lillard chose to pull it back a bit more toward the grindy value game, you could instead push the deck further toward the combo "go off" direction:


Instead of using Cryptolith Rite to power out Reality Smasher, this deck uses it to cast Brood Monitor as a combo piece with Eldrazi Displacer. In conjunction with Catacomb Sifter this provides infinite scry triggers, and in conjunction with Zulaport Cutthroat it provides infinite life loss and life gain triggers. The cost is that you have to add black, which isn't a very large cost since you're already running Cryptolith Rite and Loam Dryad. It most means just running one Swamp to fetch with Evolving Wilds and running a few black pain-lands that you are likely interested in running anyway as colorless sources to activate Eldrazi Displacer.


W/G Tokens and Bant Company are pretty clearly the #1 and #2 decks in the format right now (followed by W/B Control and White Weenie). W/G has much less variation among winning lists, with only nine variable slots across lists. This means we're pretty close to a "perfect" stock version of W/G. Bant Company, on the other hand, has a wide disparity.

Some Bant Company lists run Thalia's Lieutenant and push the human tribal theme hard. Other lists use Cryptolith Rite to push Eldrazi Displacer and Duskwatch Recruiter harder. Some lists run Eldrazi Skyspawner to power out a fast Archangel Avacyn or Reality Smasher while other lists run Tireless Tracker to slowly grind out value with clues. Some lists run Jace, Vryn's Prodigy to flashback Collected Company, Dromoka's Command, Declaration in Stone, and/or Ojutai's Command while other lists omit it altogether in favor of fewer instants and more creatures.

Given the wide disparity among winning Bant Company lists, it is reasonably clear that "the best" version of Bant Company is still very much up for debate. In contrast, "the best" W/G Tokens deck is almost entirely solved at this point and largely comes down to choosing the right handful of flex cards to round out your list. Given this assessment, my conclusion is that W/B Tokens is currently the best deck for this weekend but that by the time Eldritch Moon is released, Bant Company will have taken over that top spot. It will take a few more weeks for that to happen. In the meantime, Bant Company is still the second-best deck and any of the lists presented in this article are fully capable of winning a tournament this weekend.

Lastly, here are the versions of W/G Tokens and Bant Company I would play this weekend:



Craig Wescoe