I guess it started a few weeks before the PTQ Nottingham when a few friends went to an extended event in Manchester. I was kind of fixed on the idea for Bant as it had Rafiq and Finest hour. We arrived a little early for the event and set about creating the deck from scratch. Originally in the designing we were going to splash black to have access to Doran and possibly Maelstrom Pulse. Creating the deck made us decide not to play black and run it super aggro, too fast for control. I just need to say that the deck wouldn’t have existed without the help of Jack Mitchel Burns, not just for the cards he contributed but for the insight he had. The event wasn’t too bad as I made top 8 but thats as far as it went for me.
The night before the PTQ I had a quite in-depth coversation about the game and the meta for extended. My friend John Hibbert then suggested that I run a singleton Shriekmaw main as a tutor-able kill and also a way to recur Vengevine. He also suggested another for the sideboard.
4 x Noble Heirarch
4 x Birds of Paradise
4 x Lotus Cobra
4 x Knight of the Reliquary
4 x Fauna Shaman
4 x Vengevine
2 x Rafiq of the Many
2 x Baneslayer Angel
2 x Qasali Pridemage
1 x Cloudthresher
1 x Rhox War Monk
1 x Thrun, the Last Troll
1 x Shriekmaw
2 x Finest Hour
1 x Elspeth, Knight Errant
In round one I faced a Naya deck and I swarmed him too fast for him to have an answer, he just couldn’t stabilize. In the second game he got his Linvala down first but it just doesn’t stop exalted and he was forced to block with it, this left me with the use of my creatures again.
The second game was a bit tougher against Fae and I lost game one to a swarm of counters and creatures. The second game was mine but to a very bad mistake on my part my opponent went on to win that game. I had enough damage on the table to win even through him having a Vampire Knighthawk. I tried my best not to go on tilt but was expecting the worst from the start of the even.
I went into game three thinking to myself that the day wasn’t over yet and I could still top eight. My board presence was too much for my opponent who was playing GW trap. The second game my he activated his Windbrisk Heights and dropped an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, the extra turn plus annihilator just finished me off. The third game he could keep enough creatures on the board or afford to attack to activate his hide away lands.
My next match was against Wargate and was my most difficult to play against if my opponent gets the cards he needs by turn 6, he managed to get hold of the Prismatic Omen but no Scapeshift. A lucky top deck of a Qasali Pridemage after he was tapped out from casting Warget to get the Omen set me up for the win. He revealed his hand of nothing but lands. He got the Scapeshift turn 6 with the omen and I had no sign of any removal for the Omen and we went to game 3. The game was tense and we were both getting answers to what we needed but nothing to win the game, I put some pressure on by searching for a Cloudthresher with my Fauna Shaman. The constant threat of an instant speed creature kept him on guard till I dropped it and he had the Counter and this let me animate my Stirring wildwood and swing for the win with Finest Hour.
Another game against Naya was forcing me to try to race but against Bloodbraid Elf its not very easy. I managed to drop enough exalted for large amounts of damage. With a Finest Hour on the table I swung with a Knight of the Reliquary and then with the second combat swing with all of my guys for the win. The second game my opponent managed to get another Linvala on the board before me and locked me downm safe to say I lost that one. In the final game the tutoring of my Fauna Shaman was what won me the game. I had in play a Rafiq equiped with a Sword of Body and Mind, with the help of one more point of exalted I was able to just beat a Baneslayer Angel. The mill that came next took away most of his deck and having used his own Fauna Shaman realized he had nothing left of any use and scooped.
Fae for the second time was a little annoying but I had a very good sidebord for this match up. Managing to keep an very fast pace I won the first game. Peppersmoke 3 times was incredibly bad for me but not as bad as a Great Sable Stag was for him, the damage from the stag and his own blossom was then end for him. With me standing at 5-1 the last round could be an ID to guarantee me a place in the top 8.
In my rounds of top I was running very hot and my opponents all had a bit of bad luck and all managed to get mana screwed. Against BW Control in the Quarters I managed to see my singleton Thrun, the Last Troll which he had no answers for and could not deal with. He did get a Sun Titan and a recurring Kitchen Finks to keep his life total stable. When he played a Banslayer Angel I responded by searching my deck for a Shriekmaw. In my turn I hard cast it taking out his angel. The exalted plus a second combat from Finest Hour along with the Shriekmaw was game over. In the second game I went turn one Hierarch followed by 2 more on my second turn. He was stuck on 2 lands so I played Thrun thinking he had Mana Leak and with all the exalted he soon scooped.
The semi final was my toughest match up so far as RDW has access to so much burn and I need my early creatures to speed into big guys to early for them to be stopped. Losing the first game horribly to a double Searing Blaze into lots of burn that I just couldn’t stop. The next 2 game he go mana screwed and had to drop a Teetering Peaks with no target just to have a third land. Getting a Baneslayer down in both the games after that was the worst thing for him to see. The games finished shortly after the angels hit the table.
Final round was was Faeries for the third time of the day. I was quite calm for the final but with the whole crowd watching you its very easy to make a mistake or over think things. The first game was over very quick and managing to get down a few guys early I had a lot of steam and it never ran out. He didnt have the removal or the counter fast enough and I managed to win. The second game I made a player mistake and while he was stuck on 2 lands I tried to search for a Pridemage to take out his Bitterblossom but he had the counter. At this point I realize that I had to race while he was struggling for lands. I took the opportunity to get a Great Sable stag after that and when I searched for another the game didn’t last much longer than that. With that win I earned my place on the Pro Tour and I encourage everyone to jump on the Bant wagon.
Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing,