Battling With Bant Company (Deck Guide): 18th at MTG GP Toronto & 16th at GP New York, by Fabrizio Anteri

Standard Bant CoCo and Bant Company Deck Discussion with Fabrizio Anteri

Battling With Bant Company (Deck Discussion): 18th at MTG GP Toronto & 16th at MTG GP New York, by Fabrizio Anteri

Bant Company Deck Discussion with Fabrizio Anteri: 18th at Magic GP Toronto & 16th at MTG GP New York

Hi everyone!

It’s been a long and busy schedule the past four weeks, but I am finally back home and ready to share some insights of the deck I played in MTG GP Toronto and GP New York: Bant [Card]Collected Company[/Card].

After Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad in Madrid, I knew I wouldn’t have the time to test and prepare with so many flights in between, so I decided to play the most solid and resilient deck from our Pro Tour testing: Bant CoCo. The Pro Tour Top 8 had a very diverse selection of decks and I was expecting the same variety to be played in Toronto. Bant had always been solid and despite the changes to the metagame, has very few bad match-ups.

I previously had very little experience with the deck, and was suffering from jet lag and an early start on the Friday morning, so I decided to go to the venue and test the deck in a last chance GPT. This is the list I played:

Bant CoCo GPT

[Deck]4 Sylvan Advocate
4 Duskwatch Recruiter
3 Lambholt Pacifist
4 Reflector Mage
4 Tireless Tracker
4 Bounding Krasis
2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
2 Archangel Avacyn
4 Dromoka’s Command
4 Collected Company
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Canopy Vista
4 Prairie Stream
3 Lumbering Falls
2 Yavimaya Coast
1 Island
3 Plains
4 Forest[/Deck]

Sideboard:

[Deck]3 Negate
2 Invasive Surgery
2 Dispel
2 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
2 Declaration in Stone
2 Tragic Arrogance
1 Clip Wings
1 Surrak, the Hunt Caller[/Deck]

As you can see it’s a quite stock list from the Pro Tour: Jace, however, wasn’t performing very well compared to what he used to be before rotation. He is never the two drop you want to cast on turn two, but rather a decent target to hit with Company in the midgame, and is the most important card in the mirror match. That’s why I decided to move it to the sideboard and have access to the Planeswalker out the board in the mirror.

I ended winning the trial with a 5-0 record, and the deck proved to be solid, powerful and rewarding for knowing the metagame well enough, playing every match accordingly.

After dinner, I was more than happy with the list and was willing to register the same 75 for the main event the day after. When my phone got connected to the house’s Wifi, I had a message from my friend and giocatore fortissimo Humberto Patarca. He had been testing a version of Bant Company that was very strong against GW Tokens and GB Aristocrats.

Only upon mentioning that I realised how many players were running GW Tokens and GB Aristocrats that day in the trial events. I was a bit sceptical about the list, specially because it was not tested enough and I wouldn’t have the time to test it myself (it was around midnight already). After giving it some good thought, I decided it was worth the risk and I started working on the list myself, trying to improve it on paper based on experience and knowledge about the deck and the current metagame. Team EUreka teammates Magnus Lantto and Oliver Polak-rottmann were also curious about the deck and joined me in the tuning process and they ultimately joined me in running the list.

So here is the list I registered for the Grand Prix Toronto main event:

Bant Company GP Toronto

[Deck]4 Sylvan Advocate
4 Duskwatch Recruiter
3 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
4 Reflector Mage
3 Eldrazi Displacer
3 Eldrazi Skyspawner
2 Tireless Tracker
1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
3 Archangel Avacyn
3 Dromoka’s Command
4 Collected Company
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Yavimaya Coast
2 Lumbering Falls
4 Canopy Vista
3 Prairie Stream
4 Plains
3 Forest
1 Island
1 Wastes[/Deck]

Sideboard:

[Deck]3 Negate
2 Invasive Surgery
2 Declaration in Stone
2 Lambholt Pacifist
2 Surrak, the Hunt Caller
2 Tragic Arrogance
1 Clip Wings
1 Tireless Tracker[/Deck]

Some players at the Pro Tour played [Card]Eldrazi Displacer[/Card], which is extremely good in a board stall, blinking your [Card]Reflector Mage[/Card]s and bouncing opposing threats over and over, removing attacking creatures, or efficiently dealing with tokens and [Card]Hangarback Walker[/Card].

What was really special about this list was [Card]Eldrazi Skyspawner[/Card]. This creature is not only good with Displacer, but the Scion allows you to trigger Avacyn the same turn you cast her, transforming the Angel into the Purifier the following turn. And as you may know already, a flipped Avacyn is normally game against GW Tokens or GB Aristocrats.

Jace made its way back to the main deck to help dig for the key pieces required, alongside [Card]Duskwatch Recruiter[/Card]. You may find this version is less aggressive and tempo orientated that my trial 75, so casting an 0/2 on turn 2 is not that bad.

In a [Card]Collected Company[/Card] deck, sideboarding is extremely difficult as you can’t remove too many hits for the namesake card. Ideally you want to bring in very few but high impact cards for every match. That’s why I decided to play two copies of Surrak – The card is not the best but it is vital against Ramp strategies. Although they may be few and far between, having access to a vital tool against a bad match-up such as Ramp is vital.

The deck was amazing and spot on the metagame, I lost one round to RG Goggles (by far the worst match-up) and two matches to GW Tokens across the weekend, one of which I didn’t get to play actual Magic against due to mulligans and mana issues but the second loss was a close call. I still managed to beat three other GW decks and two GB Aristocrats players, claiming an 18th place finish with a 12-3 total record (9-3 excluding byes).

After few amazing days exploring New York, it was time to get back to business and work on the deck I wanted to play in the Grand Prix. I was really happy with the Displacer-Skyspawner version of Bant company and the experience in Toronto helped me build a more focussed list. This is what I used in a side event on Friday before Grand Prix New York:

Bant Company Side Event

[Deck]4 Sylvan Advocate
3 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
2 Lambholt Pacifist
4 Reflector Mage
4 Eldrazi Displacer
4 Eldrazi Skyspawner
2 Tireless Tracker
3 Archangel Avacyn
2 Dromoka’s Command
2 Declaration in Stone
4 Collected Company
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Yavimaya Coast
2 Lumbering Falls
4 Canopy Vista
3 Prairie Stream
4 Plains
3 Forest
1 Island
1 Wastes[/Deck]

Sideboard:

[Deck]3 Negate
1 Invasive Surgery
1 Dispel
1 Declaration in Stone
1 Lambholt Pacifist
1 Surrak, the Hunt Caller
2 Tragic Arrogance
1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
1 Linvala, the Preserver
2 Clip Wings
1 Tireless Tracker[/Deck]

Skyspawner was just great and I knew I wanted the 4th one and, with so many green decks around, flying was a very efficient way of dealing damage. Displacer was also very important and the first one normally dies anyway, so the fourth was vital to have at my disposal.

Duskwatch Recluiter, and it’s flipped form, completely underperformed. With such a small body it never attacks, it never blocks and you never activate his ability because you are normally busy using Displacer instead. Cutting Recruiters was the easiest way to make space for the additional three drops I wanted to play.

As a result, I had to compensate for the gap in the two-drop slot, hence the inclusion of the Pacifists and [Card]Declaration in Stone[/Card], which were often coming in from the sideboard anyway. I also had to cut some [Card]Dromoka’s Command[/Card] to keep the creature count high enough for Collected Company (I believe 23 hits is the absolute minimum).

I felt I had built a masterpiece and would do great in the Grand Prix, as long as the metagame was the same as in Toronto the week before. Sadly, it wasn’t the case. I went undefeated in my side event, but the decks I saw around the tables were completely different.

Esper Control, Grixis Control and WB Control all gained in popularity that week, whilst Tokens and GB Aristocrats in particular dropped in popularity. In fact, most Aristocrats decks were replaced with 4-Colour Cryptolith Rites monstrosities. Which you could say also suffers from a flipped Avacyn, but falls back on Displacer and [Card]Reflector Mage[/Card] to make sure that never happens.

Once again, I found myself on the Friday before the Grand Prix at midnight at a desk surrounded by cards and paper, trying to figure out the best list to battle the evolved metagame. I decided to go back to stock tempo version of Bant Company, but I tried to be as unpredictable as possible.

Bant Company GP New York

[Deck]4 Sylvan Advocate
4 Lambholt Pacifist
2 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
4 Tireless Tracker
4 Reflector Mage
4 Bounding Krasis
2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
2 Archangel Avacyn
4 Collected Company
2 Clash of Wills
2 Dromoka’s Command
1 Ojutai’s Command
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Prairie Stream
3 Canopy Vista
2 Lumbering Falls
3 Yavimaya Coast
4 Forest
3 Plains
2 Island[/Deck]

Sideboard

[Deck]2 Clip Wings
2 Negate
2 Declaration in Stone
2 Surrak, the Hunt Caller
2 Tragic Arrogance
2 Linvala, the Preserver
1 Plains
1 Dispel
1 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy[/Deck]

Recluiter was still bad on paper, always the first card you board out in every match. I really liked Pacifist and playing alongside Bounding Krasis makes them even better. I wanted to go even deeper into the “land, go” plan of the deck and decided to add two copies of [Card]Clash of Wills[/Card]. Counter Magic is the best tool against the control-heavy meta and it was a card nobody was expecting in the main deck of Bant Company. So many decks work around powerful yet heavy-investment spells like [Card]Dragonlord Ojutai[/Card], [Card]Dragonlord Silumgar[/Card], [Card]Sorin, Grim Nemesis[/Card], [Card]Chandra, Flamecaller[/Card] amongst others. In addition, cards such as Avacyn, [Card]Secure the Wastes[/Card] and [Card]Collected Company[/Card] are always cast during your turn, so you don’t even need to pass with completely open mana to blow them out with [Card]Clash of Wills[/Card].

I went back to 25 lands to make space for all these spells and keep my hits from Company at a decent level. The second [Card]Nissa, Vastwood Seer[/Card] rejoined the deck to make sure I can always hit my land drops. I am also a massive fan of [Card]Tireless Tracker[/Card] and I ended up running the full four in my maindeck. It’s a really efficient way to generate card advantage in the grindy matches and an easy way to get a four power creature to allow the Pacifists to attack.

Once I decided to go back to the tempo version, I wanted some impactful cards for the mirror and GW match-up, to compensate for the loss of Displacer. [Card]Linvala, the Preserver[/Card] over performed for me in the side event and I went up to two copies in the sideboard, ensuring that I always have a great follow up from [Card]Tragic Arrogance[/Card] and a threat that my opponents wouldn’t be too happy to bounce with Reflector Mage. The additional Plains would come in alongside Tragic Arrogance and Linvala, normally coming in together for the same matches. I would keep 26 lands on the play and cut an Island on the draw.

The Grand Prix went great for me: I lost the first round I played against 4-Colour Rites as his draws were far better than average and I couldn’t stop him from finding enough pieces of his combo to kill me. I won the rest of the rounds on day one to a diverse field of decks: Two Bant CoCo mirrors, Mono-White Humans, RG Goggles and 4-Colour Rites. Second day started fresh with another win in yet another mirror match, but I lost round 11 to WB Control on what I would admit was a mistake I made during game two. I beat UW Humans and GW Tokens, but lost my chance to Top 8 in round 14 against Grixis Control. Game one my draw was amazing, but games 2 and 3 were very mediocre. Finally, I defeated Mono-White Humans in the last round to finish 16th with again a 12-3 record.

My trip was fantastic, my results were fantastic and the deck was fantastic! I never felt particularly happy or unhappy to play any match; Bant Company is a very powerful deck that really rewards people who know how to pilot and build it for a particular metagame.

What would I change now on? It really depends on the metagame you expect at your next tournament. That’s why I delved more into the specific cards for each list, the best way to build the deck is to understand the best answers for each match-up whilst maintaining the core synergies of the deck. Did I miss any interesting card that you would like to know more about for Bant CoCo, or have an interesting addition? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Fabrizio

Battling With Bant Company (Deck Guide): 18th at MTG GP Toronto & 16th at GP New York, by Fabrizio Anteri
It's been a long and busy schedule the past four weeks, but I am finally back home and ready to share some insights of the deck I played in MTG GP Toronto and GP New York: Bant Collected Company.

Please let us know what you think below...

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