Hello! Grzegorz Kowalski here, and today I have something new, and I hope, exciting for you!
Standard is dominated by 《Goblin Chainwhirler》, and 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》. We have two-archetype format, which used to be really boring, right now, ale historically. Problem with this kind of format is simple, two decks are more powerful, than the rest of the field, and protect each other really well. You can build a deck, that has an edge in match up versus UW, but then you probably have a very bad match up vs. RB. It also works in the other way, you can play Mono Red, and use 4 《Hazoret the Fervent》 to beat RB, but you will have hard time against control.
Usually you have lower edge in your good match up, than disadvantage in your bad match up, which means tier 2 decks are close to unplayable at competitive scene (we can see that, looking at Top 8 of recent GPs and PT) .
I tried to work on that, and I think I came up with a decent solution. First question we have to ask ourself is what’s the best strategy versus 《Goblin Chainwhirler》, and what can we do to beat 《Teferi》 control.
I believe the best way to beat 《Goblin》 is don’t play x/1 creatures, or even more, don’t play creatures at all, to make cards like 《Abrade》 or 《Unlicensed Disintegration》 bad, at least game one. With control, things are not that obvious, but I think 《Ipnu Rivulet》 + a way to stop opponent’s 《Teferi》 is the best way to go.
So how do we attack current metagame? Just combine two things above! Bant Ramp, here we are!
1 《Irrigated Farmland》
4 《Scattered Groves》
4 《Sunpetal Grove》
4 《Ipnu Rivulet》
2 《Desert of the Indomitable》
2 《Shefet Dunes》
1 《Hashep Oasis》
1 《Arch of Orazca》
1 《Hostile Desert》
1 《Scavenger Grounds》
-Land (26)- 1 《Walking Ballista》
2 《Pull from Tomorrow》
4 《Settle the Wreckage》
3 《Hour of Promise》
4 《Spring // Mind》
4 《Seal Away》
3 《Gift of Paradise》
3 《Cast Out》
1 《Sandwurm Convergence》
1 《Thaumatic Compass》
4 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》
This is my current list. It’s not perfect, and I’m still working on this deck, but I have really high hopes. I was close to play this at Grand Prix Copenhagen 2018, but in the end I realized, that I don’t have enough time to tune it after Pro Tour Dominaria, and I played stock Esper Control list. I still have a week before Grand Prix Singapore 2018 though, and there is a big chance I’ll try it here!
With Bant we can win games in few possible ways. The most common one is to mill our opponent with 《Ipnu Rivulet》, we can also lock them with 《Sandwurm Convergence》, or simply outgrind and kill with random tokens from 《Hour of Promise》 or by 《Teferi’s Emblem》. Usually game plan depends on match up, so I’ll try to show you how to play versus most common decks in current Standard, and later, how to sideboard against them.
Very good match up. White cards match up well against red. Our goal is to stop their early pressure with 《Seal Away》 and mass removal, and later we have enough card advantage and mana to do everything we want. Win condition doesn’t matter, because when take control over the game, we will eventually find a random way to kill opponent.
Red Black Midrange:
Here things are different. The more midrange-ish RB is worse match up for us. Preboard is usually fine, as they have a lot of dead cards, and we don’t, so we should take control over the game around turns 5-8, and build enough advantage to win the game later.
Postboard, when they switch dead removal with discard and 《Arguel's Blood Fast》/Planeswalkers we’re in trouble. With 《Negate》 and 《Sorcerous Spyglass》 we should try to stop opponent’s planeswalkers, and play one for one until we draw 《Pull from Tomorrow》 in the midgame. They can’t answer our topdecks, so if we draw 《Pull》 later, and then play it for X=5 or more, we’ll be in a great shape to win the game.
My main plan to close the match in this match up is 《Sandwurm Convergence》, but if they discard it early, don’t worry. Games are long, and grindy, so mill plan is also an option.
Bad match up. Game one is good for us, in a similar way as versus Red Black Midrange. 《Fumigate》 and 《Settle》 are great against 《Winding Constrictor》, and they don’t have many ways to interact. Postboard they are better prepared, than RB.
《Glint-Sleeve Siphoner》 protected by 《Duress》 is a nightmare. We can’t stop him with 《Negate》 or 《Spyglass》, which was our main plan in RB match up. It’s really hard to outgrind them in the midgame, and they will slowly get an advantage each turn.
They don’t have many ways to win the game, and have so many dead cards. Use our mana advantage to draw more cards, and mill them. Latest UW versions don’t even run 《Commit // Memory》, which is the best card against us combined with 《Torrential Gearhulk》.
Don’t board out 《Negate》. Even though they look bad, often the only way for Mono Red to win is by casting kicked 《Fight with Fire》. It’s important to have an answer for that, when you stabilize. Protecting 《Lyra Dawnbringer》 turn 5 or 6 also works great, and usually wins on the spot.
Red Black Midrange:
《Negate》 is unnecessary against Mono Red version.
Tips and Tricks:
In case you don’t have lands in graveyard, you can sacrifice 《Shefet Dunes》, and in response for its ability activate 《Hostile Desert》 by exiling 《Shefet Dunes》 (or another desert, that you used for 《Dunes》). This way it gets +1/+1 effect for free!
《Walking Ballista》 is here to kill a 《Bomat》/《Siphoner》 early, or to make a value in the late game. Don’t cast it turn two into an empty board, they will have removal for it, which otherwise would be useless. Always cast 《Ballista》, when you can get some value immediately.
This is all I have for you today. Deck is nice, and I really like it, although it has some issues. The biggest one is for sure mana base. We play 3 colors, with double costs in each of them, and 3 colorless lands. Sometimes I’m just losing to myself, but when mana works, I feel like I’m unbeatable in majority of match ups.
I’ll try to work on my list, and I hope I’ll be able to improve mana base. If so, it’s very likely I’ll play Bant in Singapore, so if you want to know how deck goes on competitive field, keep your eyes on coverage!
See you next time,