I was surprised that Spirit-based decks saw little to no play at the Pro Tour. There were some sweet new strategies to emerge, but Bant Spirits still hasn't reached its full potential. It is obvious how good Collected Company is alongside Spirits, but this deck has a legitimate tribal element compared to regular Bant Company. Beyond that, Spirits has a ton of game to it and is tricky to play against. I was close to playing this at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon:

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This is the definition of a deck that operates at instant speed. The core Spirit base is great and even the Spirits that don't have flash do under Rattlechains.

We are used to seeing Dromoka's Command in Bant Company, but here, that card is nowhere to be seen. Spirits have such low toughness that they want to racethe opponent in the air rather than actually kill opposing threats.

One of the common misconceptions about this deck is that it's weak to Liliana, the Last Hope and Ishkanah, Grafwidow. These are good cards but this deck can definitely get around them: removal is easy to counter or prevent entirely with Rattlechains, Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit boosts creatures above one toughness, Mausoleum Wanderer can easily trade with an opposing Languish — the deck has a ton of room to maneuver. In addition, Counterspells are better than ever and this deck has a variety in both the maindeck and sideboard.

In the matches, there were spots where the opponent may not have played optimally, but that is the upside of playing a deck like this. There are so many things going on it is hard to consider them all. In the match we lost, it felt like we got pretty unlucky to run into Hallowed Moonlight at that exact moment, but that card is very good in a field full of Collected Company. The other matches felt very much in the favor of Bant Spirits. One of the main advantages to this deck, as opposed to regular Bant Company, is how easy it is to Overload on evasive threats.

Bant Company should remain the most popular deck in Standard — this is a variant of that. Bant Spirits simply opts to play a different host of creatures that have more synergy with each other rather than just being good on their own. I like a lot of what this deck is doing and I suspect that various spirit-based strategies will do well again. The green splash really adds a whole new dimension to the deck.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield