Building Bant Company in Pioneer

Kelvin Chew

Kelvin Chew

My First Pioneer Deck

Collected Company

Hi everyone, it should be no surprise that Bant Company is the first deck I build in Pioneer as I have always been a fan of 《Collected Company》. I made top 8 of Grand Prix Guangzhou 2016 with my own build of Bant Company in Modern when 《Spell Queller》 was printed and since then, I have always been seen playing Bant Company whenever I can.

I start building the core of the deck following my Modern list, which I learn that some creatures like 《Voice of Resurgence》 and 《Reflector Mage》 are not as good in Pioneer compare to Modern which I will explain in the later part. I began tuning my list as I play and since then I have been winning a bunch on Magic Online and manage to rack up 8 Trophies with it and also won my local 1k event with it.

Sadly, 《Oko, Thief of Crowns》 was announced ban in the recent B&R and we have to replace him with something else and I expect a resurgence of aggro deck and Azorius Control with the Oko ban. This is the list I would play going forward:

Teferi, Time RavelerSpell Queller

Although 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 is not as good compare to Oko in the deck but it combo well with 《Spell Queller》 as bouncing 《Spell Queller》 with Teferi in play remove the exile spell forever. Teferi also allow us to bounce our 《Deputy of Detention》 or 《Knight of Autumn》 if needed. Azorius Control have a hard time if Teferi resolve as it blanks all of their counterspells and as a bonus it also stop combo deck like 《Possibility Storm》, 《Wilderness Reclamation》 and 《Aetherworks Marvel》 when it is in play.

AbsorbPossibility StormWilderness ReclamationAetherworks Marvel

Card Choices

I have done a research of all the playable creatures in Bant Color and would like to explain the reason behind my choices.

The 1 Drops

《Elvish Mystic》, 《Llanowar Elves》 and 《Gilded Goose》

Elvish Mystic

4

Llanowar Elves

3

Gilded Goose

1

At first, I was playing with 4 《Gilded Goose》 and 4 《Llanowar Elves》. I found that 《Gilded Goose》 was one of the worst 1 drop I can play. The deck was very mana hungry, if you cast 《Gilded Goose》 on turn 1, you can’t really curve into any 3 drops while also cast 《Collected Company》 on turn 3. I have since lower down to 1 《Gilded Goose》 in my deck as it is a better 《Collected Company》 hit in the mid/late game as creating a food every turn is very hard for opponent to win the race against you.

Mana Elves also work better with 《Lovestruck Beast》 as I believe is one of the best creature in Pioneer which I will explain later. If you want to sideboard out elves, always keep 2 《Elvish Mystic》 and 2 《Llanowar Elves》 instead of 4 《Elvish Mystic》 to play around potentially 《Legion’s End》 and also 《Detention Sphere》.

Legion's EndDetention SphereDeputy of DetentionDeclaration in Stone

The 2 Drops

Pioneer has a lack of good 2 drops in Bant Color. Below are the 2 drops that I feel are playable according to how the meta shape.

The Good: 《Selfless Spirit》 and 《Growth-Chamber Guardian》

Selfless Spirit

《Selfless Spirit》 is at its best when decks are packing a lot of removal and sweeper like 《Anger of the Gods》 or 《Supreme Verdict》. Having the ability to give your team indestructible also makes combat hard for opponent. With the banning Oko and 《Nexus of Fate》, Azorius Control might just be the best deck and it is very good against them. 《Selfless Spirit》 also protects your 《Spell Queller》 and 《Deputy of Detention》 from removal spells.

Growth-Chamber Guardian

I used to play 《Growth-Chamber Guardian》 before the ban. It has the ability to attack through 《Smuggler’s Copter》, 《Thing in the Ice》 and most importantly blocking 《Stonecoil Serpent》 and 《Steel Leaf Champion》 while also acting as a source of card advantage in the mid game.

The Bad: 《Fleecemane Lion》, 《Voice of Resurgence》, and 《Charming Prince》

Fleecemane Lion

I can see some build playing 1-2 copies of it, its stats are OK but not impressive. It does however pair well with 《Vivien, Arkbow Ranger》 when Monstrous.

Voice of Resurgence

I think 《Voice of Resurgence》 is the worst 2 drop now unless the format is packed with Mono-Red aggro. It just does the opposite of 《Growth-Chamber Guardian》. 2/2 just doesn’t size up too well in this format without any other ability.

Charming Prince

Scry 2 and gaining 3 life are just not something we want in Pioneer. If 《Reflector Mage》 becomes better in the metagame, I can see the 《Flicker》 effect combo well with it.

The 3 Drops

《Spell Queller》

Spell Queller

4

The bread and butter card and one of the reason to play Bant Company. It provides the interaction we need against other deck while also pair well with 《Collected Company》 and Teferi. With Pioneer lacking good removal and the best removal being 《Fatal Push》, most deck have issue killing 《Spell Queller》.

《Lovestruck Beast》

Lovestruck Beast

4

One of the best cards to cast on turn 2 off an elf and also from 《Collected Company》 as it just puts so much pressure on your opponent. 《Lovestruck Beast》 allows the deck to go aggressive, I have won a number of games on a mulligan to 5 by playing a turn 1 elf, turn 2 and 3 《Lovestruck Beast》. I believe it to be one of the best creature in Pioneer as it does both a good job in offensive and defensive.

《Tireless Tracker》

Tireless Tracker

4

Even without fetchland, 《Tireless Tracker》 is still very good. Mono-Black has 《Castle Locthwain》, Simic Devotion has 《Hydroid Krasis》, Mono-Red has 《Experimental Frenzy》 and 《Tireless Tracker》 is our ways to gain card advantage and break the board state.

《Deputy of Detention》 / 《Reflector Mage》

Deputy of Detention

4

Reflector Mage

0

《Deputy of Detention》 is our go to removal compare to 《Reflector Mage》 as it can answer any problematic non land permanent especially planeswalker. With the format lacking good removal, Deputy is pretty hard to remove. 《Reflector Mage》 is only at its best when creatures like 《Dark Confidant》, 《Death’s Shadow》, 《Gurmag Angler》 exists but for now, bouncing 《Lovestruck Beast》, 《Wicked Wolf》 or a 2/3 creature against control is not what we want.

《Courser of Kruphix》

Courser of Kruphix

0

Without fetchland, I don’t see the reason to play 《Courser of Kruphix》 as it is harder to generate advantage and does not have enough size against the creatures in the format like 《Lovestruck Beast》, 《Steel Leaf Champion》, 《Glorybringer》 and so on.

Sideboard Guide

Simic Devotion

Deputy of DetentionWicked WolfSelfless Spirit

No idea whether this deck will survive or not after Oko ban but this matchup is about whether you are able to keep their planeswalker in check and also getting ahead with mana creatures. Deputy is very good against them as their only removal is 《Wicked Wolf》 and we have 《Selfless Spirit》 to protect against it.

Against Simic Devotion

Out

Teferi, Time Raveler Teferi, Time Raveler Teferi, Time Raveler
Scavenging Ooze Scavenging Ooze
Knight of Autumn

In

Aether Gust Aether Gust
Disdainful Stroke Disdainful Stroke
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger Vivien, Arkbow Ranger

Simic Stompy

Lovestruck BeastStubborn Denial

This matchup is much easier compare to Simic Devotion as they do not have 《Nissa, Who Shakes the World》 and 《Hydroid Krasis》 and our deck has more card advantage if we manage to stabilize the early game. They are unable to attack if we have 《Selfless Spirit》 in play as we can just sacrifice it to give our creatures indestructible. Remember to also not cast your 《Lovestruck Beast》‘s Adventure mode into 《Stubborn Denial》.

Baffling EndAether Gust

After sideboard, we board out our small creatures like 《Selfless Spirit》 and 《Brazen Borrower》 for cheap removal as we just want to trade one for one with their creatures and take over with 《Tireless Tracker》 and 《Collected Company》 in the late game.

Against Simic Stompy

Out

Selfless Spirit Selfless Spirit Selfless Spirit Selfless Spirit
Teferi, Time Raveler Teferi, Time Raveler Teferi, Time Raveler
Spell Queller Spell Queller

In

Aether Gust Aether Gust Knight of Autumn Knight of Autumn
Baffling End Baffling End Baffling End
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger Vivien, Arkbow Ranger

Azorius Control

Supreme VerdictAzorius CharmBlessed AllianceTeferi, Hero of Dominaria

《Selfless Spirit》 and 《Spell Queller》 is our best answer to 《Supreme Verdict》 and we can rebuild our board quickly with 《Collected Company》. Most of their removal like 《Azorius Charm》 and 《Blessed Alliance》 requires you to attack so do not attack with your 《Selfless Spirit》 into it if you do not have an answer to 《Supreme Verdict》. 《Teferi, Time Raveler》 also does a good job in turning off all their counterspell and removal. 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 is the only way we can get bury by their card advantage if left uncheck.

Against Azorius Control

Out

Deputy of Detention Deputy of Detention Deputy of Detention Deputy of Detention
Elvish Mystic Elvish Mystic Llanowar Elves Gilded Goose

In

Disdainful Stroke Disdainful Stroke Knight of Autumn Knight of Autumn
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger Mystical Dispute Dovin's Veto Dovin's Veto

Mono-Red

Deputy of DetentionExperimental FrenzyKnight of Autumn

Mono-Red can’t really attack profitably into a 《Lovestruck Beast》 and between 《Knight of Autumn》 and 《Scavenging Ooze》, we have enough lifegain to stabilize. Save your 《Deputy of Detention》 and 《Knight of Autumn》 for 《Experimental Frenzy》 if able as they are unlikely to win without it due to lower card power level. After sideboard, we board in additional removal like 《Baffling End》 and 《Aether Gust》 to stop their early pressure and board out 《Selfless Spirit》 as they are weak to 《Goblin Chainwhirler》.

Against Mono-Red

Out

Selfless Spirit Selfless Spirit Selfless Spirit Selfless Spirit
Teferi, Time Raveler Teferi, Time Raveler Teferi, Time Raveler Elvish Mystic

In

Aether Gust Aether Gust Knight of Autumn Knight of Autumn
Baffling End Baffling End Baffling End Devout Decree

Mono-Black Vampire

Sorin, Imperious BloodlordChampion of DuskGifted Aetherborn

《Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord》 is the best card against us if left uncontested as it just generates so much advantage for them by putting an early 《Champion of Dusk》 or acting as a repeatable removal especially against 《Deputy of Detention》 and 《Spell Queller》. We board in 《Baffling End》 as 《Gifted Aetherborn》 just trades with all our ground creatures and we need a way to removal it.

Against Mono-Black Vampire

Out

Teferi, Time Raveler Teferi, Time Raveler Teferi, Time Raveler
Scavenging Ooze Scavenging Ooze
Knight of Autumn

In

Baffling End Baffling End Baffling End
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
Devout Decree

《Possibility Storm》

Teferi, Time RavelerPossibility Storm

Since Oko is banned and we play Teferi instead, it does stop their combo plan as they can’t cast spell with 《Possibility Storm》 if Teferi is in play. Sideboard might be difficult and has to depend what they bring in. I will bring in 《Baffling End》 if they are going aggressive with 《Goblin Rabblemaster》 and 《Lovestruck Beast》 but in the blind, this is how I would board.

Against 《Possibility Storm》

Out

Scavenging Ooze Scavenging Ooze
Spell Queller Knight of Autumn

In

Aether Gust Aether Gust
Disdainful Stroke Disdainful Stroke

Izzet Phoenix

Thing in the IceYoung Pyromancer

I consider this to be a good matchup, the way we lose is usually to an unanswered 《Thing in the Ice》, which when flip, sets us back on tempo. Some build have started playing 《Young Pyromancer》 instead which might be more annoying for us but we have 《Deputy of Detention》 to clear the token if needed. 《Lovestruck Beast》 also puts a huge clock against them.

Against Izzet Phoenix

Out

Teferi, Time Raveler Teferi, Time Raveler Teferi, Time Raveler
Deputy of Detention Deputy of Detention
Knight of Autumn

In

Baffling End Baffling End Baffling End
Mystical Dispute Devout Decree
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger

Conclusion

That marks the end of my article! I hope this helps you to understand Bant Company and it felt great playing with my favorite card again. Although Oko is banned but I believe the deck is still very powerful in Pioneer especially if you master it as every decision can change the result. If you have any questions regarding the deck, I will be happy to answer them via Twitter. Thanks!

Kelvin Chew (Twitter)

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Kelvin Chew

Kelvin Chew Kelvin Chew is one of the great player from Singapore. He has 2 GP top8s with his favorite format Modern, but he is like an all-arounder and top 8ed three more times with different formats. He took his first trophy with super impressive "Cartouche Strategy" at GP Beijing 2017 (Limited). He then reached 4th place at World Championship 2017 and became one of the world best for everybody. Read more articles by Kelvin Chew