Okay, FINE y'all, I'll explain what I wrote yesterday. According to my editor one word doesn't count as an article anyway.

No, I didn't miss the Banned & Restricted announcement on Monday, or that it included a rules change to companions. I mean it: just play Yorion, Sky Nomad

The change to companions was obviously a huge hit to their power level in the competitive constructed formats. Jegantha, the Wellspring, Kaheera, the Orphanguard, Zirda, the Dawnwaker and Keruga, the Macrosage were all questionable enough to play to begin with that any reason not to play them was already compelling enough. Others like Gyruda, Doom of Depths, Umori, the Collector or Obosh, the Preypiercer really necessitate playing them on a specific schedule, and none of them really work as intended if you have to take a turn off just to draw it. That just leaves Yorion, Sky Nomad and Lurrus of the Dream-Den (unless you really want to play singleton).

Lurrus of the Dream-Den is the sort of card that probably could see play, but it's likely to be in specific circumstances. The sort of deck that would play almost exclusively one- and two-drop permanents could actually justify it in certain circumstances, and, having accidentally entered an Arena Open qualifier with a Lurrus of the Dream-Den deck sans-Lurrus of the Dream-Den, I can tell you that I would have been very happy to pay an extra three mana for one in some of my games. It could also easily be a mix-up of sorts, boarding into or out of it depending on the circumstance. Most likely, though, Lurrus of the Dream-Den can just move to the maindeck, where it is still a powerful play, just not every game.

Yorion, Sky Nomad, on the other hand is an entirely different story.

Everyone knows how the Jeskai Lukka games went, where Yorion, Sky Nomad was a part of their most inane sequences blinking several Omens, Planeswalkers, and Agent of Treachery because of Fires of Invention powering them out so quickly, and then blinking Fires of Invention to regain access to their lands once they'd played their Fires of Invention-alotted two spells that turn. There, it was the final piece, where the snowball turned into a full blown avalanche. In those games, were they even still possible, Yorion, Sky Nomad would have a tough time justifying paying the extra three to come out, because it likely slowed things down a little bit too much when both players were effectively just racing.

But even then, it wouldn't be that bad. Especially since with a Fires of Invention in play anyway, they do have three mana lying around. 

Bant, however, did not usually cast Yorion, Sky Nomad so early. It tended to cast the card early when it was required to stay afloat or because the deck was flooding. Instead, it was usually better to wait for opportune moments or for when the deck could accumulate enough value, so as not to expose it to more removal or waste falling behind on card advantage because their Yorion, Sky Nomad was better. And when they did, they regularly had eight or more lands in play anyway. Paying three mana would be trivial in many spots.

Looking at the announcement from Monday, it feels like nearly everything that Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths added was wiped away. The Mutate decks functioned largely because Umori, the Collector, Paradise Druid and Pollywog Symbiote could discount things. Winota, Joiner of Forces and Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast may still find a big target to cheat in to play, like End-Raze Forerunners or Kenrith, the Returned King, but they can no longer snowball in such a way that the opponent is literally unable to keep playing a game of Magic, and likely also can't support Teferi, Time Raveler to protect them from instant speed interaction as easily. That pretty much leaves the cycling stuff, a solid removal spell in the form of Heartless Act, and Shark Typhoon as the only cards that jump out as high impact from the set now.

In essence, the format's baseline is now where Theros: Beyond Death left off. And we have a lot of information about that format.

For those who need a refresher, by early April there were four major players in Standard:

Temur Reclamation had a favorable Rakdos match-up and lost to Teferi, Time Raveler

Jeskai beat Rakdos, went even with Temur, and lost to Bant.

Rakdos beat up Bant and any holdover Edgewall Innkeeper players, and lost to Temur Reclamation and Jeskai Fires.

Bant beat Jeskai Fires and Temur Reclamation, but lost to Rakdos. 

Now of course, we've lost Jeskai Fires and replaced it with cycling, but I'm not sure how good that deck can actually be. Turn one Flourishing Fox can be tricky, but playing some Brazen Borrowers to reset it buys a lot of time towards finding a real removal spell for it. The entire Rakdos deck makes Valiant Rescuer look embarrassing, they chump block Flourishing Fox with Cauldron Familiar until they find a Claim the Firstborn, and all the incidental lifegain should put Rakdos out of Zenith Flare range for way too long to matter. And Bant Ramp is a one big pile of ways to answer Flourishing Fox and counter Zenith Flare. If it's right to play cycling, it will have to find the perfect week to be the correct metagame choice.

The other aspect Ikoria added at that point is just Shark Tornado. How impactful is that card on the format? Clearly Rakdos can't play it, but Temur Reclamation and Bant Ramp can, and while its token can be targeted by Claim the Firstborn, being able to cast it at end of turn and then have countermagic available for when they try to steal it makes it so much harder to kill it reliably from Rakdos. I'm not sure if it's enough to make the Bant matchup favorable, but it's certainly closer than it was previously.

As the metagame narrowed, Bant shifted further and further to playing cards specifically to beat Rakdos, like multiple Tolsimir, Friend of Wolves out of the sideboard. In the MagicFest Weekly Championship that Ally Warfield Top 8'd at the end of Theros: Beyond Death Standard, Ondrej Strasky repeatedly beat Rakdos Sacrifice players in feature matches to make the same Top 8, and there were many fewer of them at the top tables the last week of the format. It genuinely felt like the Bant players had closed the gap to be much closer to even than before.

Between that and Shark Typhoon benefiting one deck but not the other, Rakdos Sacrifice's raison d'être starts to fade away. 

On the other hand, if we're entering a battle between Temur Reclamation and Bant Ramp… well, I know which side of the match-up I want to be on.

A little bit of analysis of companions, a little bit of metagame speculation, and suddenly I end up back where we started: just play Yorion, Sky Nomad.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Bant Control (Yorion) by Nick Prince

'Bant Control (Yorion)' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Nick Prince




Market Price: $360.29


Temple of Plenty

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $1.17

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Temple of Plenty enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Plenty enters the battlefield, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
{T}: Add {G} or {W}.

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Knight of Autumn

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $1.99

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When Knight of Autumn enters the battlefield, choose one —
• Put two +1/+1 counters on Knight of Autumn.
• Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
• You gain 4 life.

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Narset, Parter of Veils

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.29

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Each opponent can't draw more than one card each turn.
−2: Look at the top four cards of your library. You may reveal a noncreature, nonland card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

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Breeding Pool

Color Identity:G,U

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({T}: Add {G} or {U}.)
As Breeding Pool enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Tamiyo, Collector of Tales

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $0.77

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Spells and abilities your opponents control can't cause you to discard cards or sacrifice permanents.
+1: Choose a nonland card name, then reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all cards with the chosen name from among them into your hand and the rest into your graveyard.
−3: Return target card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Devout Decree

Color Identity:W

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Exile target creature or planeswalker that's black or red. Scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)

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Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

Color Identity:G,U

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When Uro enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless it escaped.
Whenever Uro enters the battlefield or attacks, you gain 3 life and draw a card, then you may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.
Escape—{G}{G}{U}{U}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Shatter the Sky

Color Identity:W

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Each player who controls a creature with power 4 or greater draws a card. Then destroy all creatures.

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Teferi, Time Raveler

Color Identity:U,W

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Each opponent can cast spells only any time they could cast a sorcery.
+1: Until your next turn, you may cast sorcery spells as though they had flash.
−3: Return up to one target artifact, creature, or enchantment to its owner's hand. Draw a card.

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Hallowed Fountain

Color Identity:U,W

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({T}: Add {W} or {U}.)
As Hallowed Fountain enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.06

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({T}: Add {G}.)

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Shark Typhoon

Color Identity:U

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Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, create an X/X blue Shark creature token with flying, where X is that spell's mana value.
Cycling {X}{1}{U} ({X}{1}{U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Shark Typhoon, create an X/X blue Shark creature token with flying.

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Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.06

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({T}: Add {U}.)

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Dovin's Veto

Color Identity:U,W

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This spell can't be countered.
Counter target noncreature spell.

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Fabled Passage

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{T}, Sacrifice Fabled Passage: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle. Then if you control four or more lands, untap that land.

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Omen of the Sea

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

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When Omen of the Sea enters the battlefield, scry 2, then draw a card.
{2}{U}, Sacrifice Omen of the Sea: Scry 2.

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Temple of Mystery

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $0.28

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Temple of Mystery enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Mystery enters the battlefield, scry 1.
{T}: Add {G} or {U}.

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Nightpack Ambusher

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.24

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Other Wolves and Werewolves you control get +1/+1.
At the beginning of your end step, if you didn't cast a spell this turn, create a 2/2 green Wolf creature token.

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Glass Casket

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.09

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When Glass Casket enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls with mana value 3 or less until Glass Casket leaves the battlefield.

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Elspeth Conquers Death

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.39

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(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I — Exile target permanent an opponent controls with mana value 3 or greater.
II — Noncreature spells your opponents cast cost {2} more to cast until your next turn.
III — Return target creature or planeswalker card from your graveyard to the battlefield. Put a +1/+1 counter or a loyalty counter on it.

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Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.11

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Counter target spell.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Yorion, Sky Nomad

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $3.57

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Companion — Your starting deck contains at least twenty cards more than the minimum deck size. (If this card is your chosen companion, you may put it into your hand from outside the game for {3} any time you could cast a sorcery.)
When Yorion enters the battlefield, exile any number of other nonland permanents you own and control. Return those cards to the battlefield at the beginning of the next end step.

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Growth Spiral

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $0.38

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Draw a card. You may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.

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Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/115936_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

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Temple Garden

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $10.98

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({T}: Add {G} or {W}.)
As Temple Garden enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Aether Gust

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.94

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Choose target spell or permanent that's red or green. Its owner puts it on the top or bottom of their library.

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Temple of Enlightenment

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $0.27

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Temple of Enlightenment enters the battlefield tapped.
When Temple of Enlightenment enters the battlefield, scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
{T}: Add {W} or {U}.

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This deck is a bit generalized for an open metagame, but takes some nods from Martin Juza's recent win in the E-League Finals. Primarily those are the lack of Birth of Meletis and the sideboard Nightpack Ambusher for the matchups where holding up countermagic is important. Conceptually the card is just so darn impressive, but I think that game one there are too many bases to cover to justify playing it. Post-sideboard, however, when removal is going to be lighter and there are more cards like Mystical Dispute or Duress, it strikes me as a perfect plan. Having a card that always comes in like this actually makes it feel like there's more sideboard space in the deck, strangely, because it triple or quadruple dips on matchups, and fewer duds in the 80 card deck have to stay in.

And that's sort of the insidious thing about Yorion, Sky Nomad. With so many cards, and so many options, and so much ramp, and powerful prison effects… Bant Yorion can just do whatever it wants. Some weeks you might want Archon of Sun's Grace more, and skew towards playing more enchantments. Others you might want to play more like a Simic Flash deck, and access to white is practically free anyway with how many dual lands it needs to play. It can be built to beat the mirror, Temur Reclamation, Rakdos Sacrifice, or Mono-Red Aggro, and it gets to do all of this while playing the best cards in Standard: Teferi, Time Raveler, Narset, Parter of Veils, Growth Spiral, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, Elspeth Conquers Death, Shatter the Sky, Shark Typhoon, all the countermagic… it's a collection of the most pushed cards of the last seven sets. It can play all of them and still have room for metagame decisions because Yorion, Sky Nomad incentivizes the deck to play extra cards anyway. 

I would love to be wrong. Truly and honestly, I do not want to play against Yorion, Sky Nomad any more, and I especially don't want to play the mirror, but Bant still seems like the best Teferi, Time Raveler deck, and Yorion, Sky Nomad feels like the best way to build Bant, even still. Until I'm proven wrong or they ban one or the other, this is what I'm registering.