Thursday, July 15, 2010


I supposed I should explain that cryptic title, eh? Well, about a year ago - actually almost exactly a year ago, give or take a week or two - I lost a whole bunch of my Magic shit. Two or three EDH decks, a 250-card Highlander deck, and about 10 or so 60-card decks. All in all it was a devastating loss and I nearly quit Magic over it. I never could quite give up the game, though, and all this last year I've been playing casually, mostly EDH and some 60-card multiplayer.

I have attended very few tournaments or events since then, basically just a few limited events like Prereleases and whatnot. But tomorrow night I finally make my return to Type 2, or Standard as they call it now. I am optimistic, but a bit nervous.

Here is the decklist I will be running tomorrow night:

4 Birds of Paradise
3 Noble Heirarch
3 Lotus Cobra
4 Sea Gate Oracle
4 Knight of the Reliquary
3 Rafiq of the Many
3 Emeria Angel
2 Sovereigns of Lost Alara

2 Elspeth, Knight Errant
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Finest Hour
2 Eldrazi Conscription

6 Forest
3 Plains
3 Island
2 Verdant Catacombs
3 Misty Rainforest
2 Sejiri Steppe
1 Celestial Colonnade
2 Glacial Fortress
3 Sunpetal Grove

Basically, I knew I wanted to play Bant for several reasons. First, I just prefer aggro to control, especially when I an unfamiliar with all the ins and outs of the metagame. Second, I really frickin' love Bant and have loved it since the day Shards of Alara dropped. Rafiq, and Finest Hour are my two favorite cards from the whole block. Thirdly, Bant is tearing it up right now, going toe-to-toe with Jund and the control decks.

I don't like to Net-deck, as I consider myself to be a pretty good deck builder. However, going into this format unprepared, it seemed like it would be fair of me to at least study the top decks right now for some pointers. Again, I knew I wanted to play Aggro, and the best choices were between Bant and Jund. Jund is good, but I don't really like it. Maelstrom Pulse and Blightning are the only two cards in the deck that really excite me, whereas almost everything in  Bant is awesome and fun. Also, there are such a wide array of styles of Bant deck out there now that I felt I could probably come up with a fairly broad mix that encapsulates the best parts of all of them. At least then it wouldn't be a straight card-for-card netdeck. I could add my own flair to it, as it were.

So I spent a few weeks reading up on various Bant archetypes, and came up with the above list. Mostly it is a hybrid of the Mythic and Conscription styles, but whereas most players choose between the Rafiq/Finest Hour package and the Sovereigns/Conscription duo, I wanted to run both packages. The Conscription aspect is definitely more consistently powerful, but Finest Hour is just a ridiculously powerful card, if it sticks, and Rafiq is too much fun to pass up. Basically the Rafiq/Finest Hour setup is just a REALLY good Plan B if the Conscription route doesn't pan out.

I also borrowed the Sea Gate Oracles from Next-Level Bant. I was originally planning to run Sphinx of Lost Truths as well, but in a fit of inspiration I chose to run Emeria Angel instead, for her amazing synergy with Knight of the Reliquary. And I have a feeling she will help combat opposing Mind Sculptors.

Now, a few odd things about the deck you might have noticed... I am short one Lotus Cobra and one Noble Heirarch. Fortunately, 2 extra BoP's make up for this deficit quite well, but ultimately, the deck would be just a tiny bit better with the traditional set up of 4 Heirarch, 4 Cobra and 2 BoP, but it seems to work fine as is.

Also I am missing one Misty Rainforest, which is a bit more of an issue than I thought, but is still not a deal breaker. More critically, I am short three (!) Celsetial Colonnade. Ouch. This won't matter much... until I play W/U Control. Then I'm probably in trouble. Hopefully I'll be able to buy/borrow/trade for a couple more before the tournament. If not I'll have to hope for an aggro heavy metagame.

One other change I'd really like to make is to swap out 1 Rafiq for 1 more Sovereigns. That seems like a very good swap, but alas I only own two Sovereigns. Another thing I'll be on the look out to acquire tomorrow.

My sideboard is a different story altogether.

3 Path to Exile
3 Oblivion Ring
2 Great Sable Stag
1 Basilisk Collar
3 Negate
3 Qasali Pridemage

All I could squeeze in for the RDW matchup is a single Basilisk Collar. Yikes! I probably need 3 or 4 Rhox War Monks too, but I have no clue what among the above list I don't need. After tomorrow's tournament, I should be able to come up with a much better sideboard list.

The sideboard, far more than the main deck, should be heavily informed by the local metagame, but since I haven't played in a year, I opted mostly for the most versatile answer cards I could find. I don't think there's even a blue/black archetype right now, so the Great Sable Stags are iffy, but I'll find out the hard way tomorrow.

I'll try to jot down some notes about match-ups and any cool plays, and write up a report of the tourney sometime this weekend. Not Friday night, though... going to see Inception!! Woot!

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