Good to my word, I'm back this week with the Bant list that Taylor Atchison used to win the TCGplayer Open 5k in Milwaukee a week or so back. I wanted to play the deck last week, but I was a little more interested in the GB Dragon list that came out of Grand Prix Shanghai. Nevertheless, here we are!
As someone who loves an obscure or underused card, I was immediately interested in the deck as soon as I saw some of Taylor's planeswalker choices such as Ajani Steadfast and Kiora, the Crashing Wave. Follow those guys up with three Hidden Dragonslayer in the maindeck and I was pretty much sold.
Check out his list for yourself!
The deck seems like a who's who of great cards in Standard right now including Dromoka's Command, Fleecemane Lion, Mastery of the Unseen, and the ubiquitous combo of Deathmist Raptor and Den Protector. The deck even manages to bring back the oft forgotten Wingmate Roc who has been making something of a comeback recently. (LL Cool J would warn us against calling it that.)
Either way, I've been waiting over a week to try this bad boy out, so let's have at it!
Man, that last deck was pretty sweet. Just when I thought the Dredge deck from (basically) last season was dead, here it comes, updated with - you guessed it - Collected Company. The funny thing is this deck seemed like the perfect victim for Dromoka's Command, but the fact that they had so many enchantments meant that it didn't really do all that much. I really wonder if that deck is a contender. Maybe if I can find a copy of it, I'll try it out next week or in the near future.
In regards to the deck we actually played, however, I liked it, but I realized that it was barely Bant during the first or second round. I saw a bunch of white, blue, and green lands and assumed that it was a solid three colors, but I came to the realization that the only blue card in the entire maindeck was one Kiora, the Crashing Wave! To be honest, I'm not sure that's even worth it, and that being the case, I would just as soon cut the handful of blue sideboard cards as well. If we're only barely Bant, it seems to make more sense to commit to the colors or cut them altogether. But that's just my two cents; Taylor did win the event after all, but that may have been in spite of the blue and not because of it.
Another card I was never really impressed by, maybe because a) it has such low toughness, b) is easily removed with Dromoka's Command, or c) doesn't really fit in our deck as we're not that aggressive, was Boon Satyr. In the dedicated Collected Company list I think Boon Satyr is great, but that deck has a ton of aggressive two-drops that we're trying to play and hitting a Boon Satyr off of a Collected Company along with another creature is just great. In our deck here I never really wanted to cast it, as it would often die to a 2/1 which felt somewhat underwhelming. Sure, we could bestow it onto a Den Protector, but I would often rather be playing something like an Elspeth, Sun's Champion or a Wingmate Roc.
Speaking of planeswalkers, however, Ajani Steadfast was kind of awesome. Being able to either put +1/+1 counters on all of your creatures or give one a sizable buff along with lifelink, first strike, and vigilance was huge in certain games; specifically the red matchups.
Conversely, one card I realized was not always fantastic was Hidden Dragonslayer. This was a tricky card to evaluate, or rather, to use properly. You rarely wanted to flip him if there wasn't a creature to kill (and there actually aren't that many in Standard right now), but he's also somewhat underwhelming as either a 2/1 or a 2/2 morph. Sure, he gets back Deathmist Raptors by flipping if that benefits you, but it still feels like a waste of a potential removal spell if your opponent doesn't have a target. Additionally, a 3/2 without any form of evasion still can't block even something like a Zurgo Bellstriker profitably. It often ended up being a card with awkward stats and costing three mana to flip it didn't help the cause.
I think they might have been better - at least a couple of them anyway - as something like Stratus Dancer which still fulfill the unmorph requirement, but are a little more versatile by countering any instant or sorcery.
The deck was definitely solid - let's be honest, it's mostly just really good cards - but the brewer in me longed for more blue cards. Either way, that's about all I have for today. I have a feeling I might be playing another Bant deck on Monday for Modern, and it may or may not contain one of my favorite creatures of all time: Mystic Snake. Yes. In Modern. In the meantime, feel free to catch my stream on TwitchTV or my brand new podcast with Ali Aintrazi, Freshly Brewed (which you can find on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or the link below). Thanks for reading and I'll see ya soon!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV, streaming Monday - Thursday afternoonsFreshly Brewed Podcast with Ali Aintrazi (also available on iTunes and Stitcher)