First major point:
Retreat to Coralhelm
This card is a neccessity for the deck if you wish to compete with the tier 1 decks of the format. Don't lie to yourself and think that without discard or a fast linear start that you can compete with the likes of the top tables. Moreover don't use the excuse that variance is the only thing holding you back when our deck is inherently less powerful with out Retreat. I play 3 and have adjusted my mana base to make sure I can combo a 20 damage Knight of the Reliquary on turn 3.
I completely agree with this, and would never drop under 3. You WANT to be a combo deck Game 1 at the very least.
I'm not sure on dropping CoCo yet, its a house.
I'm still huge on Tracker, 4 KoR/3 Retreat, and 3 Knight of Autumn, but I wouldnt play the deck if it did not have the Turn 3 win potential.
Bear in mind while you keep making disparaging remarks up there on your high horse that those users are the ones who still care enough about the Modern format to make their opinions known. There are many others like me who simply don't care to post anymore.
Bear in mind while you keep making disparaging remarks up there on your high horse that those users are the ones who still care enough about the Modern format to make their opinions known. There are many others like me who simply don't care to post anymore.
So I took a somewhat budget Knightfall list to SCG Worcester's Modern Classic last weekend. I didn't do well, but I figured some people might be interested in a tournament report of sorts. First of all, here was the list I ran:
As you can see, I prefer the creature-centric beatdown plan over the combo, however it's impossible to compete in Modern without at least a little bit of unfair magic or boatloads of disruption (a la Jund). As a compromise I'm running 1 Retreat so I still have an out with the combo, but I'm not focused on winning with it. Besides that, the 3 Avacyn's Pilgrims act as a poor man's Noble Hierarchs. The Wheel of Sun and Moon is my little bit of spicy sideboard tech that doesn't shut of CoCo (unlike Grafdigger's Cage), allows KotR to still grow (unlike Rest in Peace) and functions well as a 1-2 of (unlike Leyline of the Void). Unfortunately I don't think I ever drew it in this tournament.
Lost 1-2 vs. UR Phoenix. Game 1 I landed a Scavenging Ooze and managed to eat an Arclight Phoenix, but I had no way to deal with the two Things in the Ice that he resolved and lost the game. Path and Reflector Mage are the only outs to that. Game two I was on the play and got a quick Collected Company into KotR, searching up a Bojuka Bog and slowing him down significantly. A few turns later I topdecked a Retreat and he scooped. Game 3 was pretty close--I played around his Izzet Charm and landed a clutch Vendilion Clique, but eventually got run over by more copies of Thing in the Ice. I saw 1 Path and 0 Reflector Mages in the whole match, which was disappointing.
Drew 1-1 against Eldrazi & Taxes in a match I should have won. Game 1 was a ridiculous 40+ minute grindfest where he played an Eldrazi Displacer, Blade Splicer, multiple Tidehollow Scullers, a Leonin Arbiter, and a Thalia. I got a big Knight down as well as two Tireless Trackers, who gave some much-needed card advantage (although they never got big because he kept blinking them with Displacer to remove the +1/+1 counters). I was happy with how I piloted this game, which included a sneaky Gavony Township off KotR to blow out one of his attacks and kill his first-strikers. Eventually I got there, mostly thanks to Knight of Autumn killing a Tidehollow Sculler (it's an artifact!) which returned my Path. After Pathing the Displacer and Ghost-Quartering his Shambling Vent, I was able to swing in for lethal. In game 2 he landed a turn 1 Aether Vial into turn 2 Leonin Arbiter, while I played a dork and tried not to get blown out by Arbiter + Path to Exile. Between the two of us I think we cast 5 Paths in the first few turns. He found an Eldrazi Temple, and then topdecked a Reality Smasher, while I hit land after land. I died and we couldn't start game 3 before time was called. I think I played well but the match was disappointing, as it definitely could have been a 1-0 or 2-1 win.
Lost 1-2 against UW Control. Round 3 was another heartbreaker loss, this time on the very last turn of extra turns. Game 1 I had a fast start with mana dork into Tireless Tracker (which got Pathed) into CoCo hitting Knight of the Reliquary and Voice of Resurgence. I got my opponent all the way down to 2 life when he wiped the board. In response, I used Knight to get a Gavony Township because I had a Birds of Paradise in hand. I played it and activated Gavony on his end step, then activated again on my turn for lethal. I was suprised that this worked, as he had a Field of Ruin in play and I expected Gavony to the bite the dust, but he either missed it or thought he could just block with Snapcaster or something. Game 2 I kept a hand of dork, Gaddock Teeg, Voice of Resurgence, Unified Will, Spell Queller, and 2 lands. He tapped out for Azcanta and I played Teeg on turn 2 with Unified Will backup. That stopped his first Path, and Queller quelled his second. He managed to topdeck a third copy, which exiled Queller, and then used the old Path to remove Teeg. I drew a Collected Company and mainphased it to avoid the Cryptic Command that I was sure had been stuck in his hand, hitting KotR and Scooze. He binned a land off Azcanta and then miracled a Terminus. I drew something inconsequential (can't remember what exactly) and he slammed Teferi the next turn on an empty board, which all but ended the game. In game 3 I kept a mull to 6 which had one land, three dorks, a queller, and a Knight of Autumn. I think this was a good keep in retrospect but unfortunately played out as badly as possible. I played a land and Hierarch, and he played a Hallowed Fountain and Opted. I didn't draw a second land on turn two, so I decided to play out all my mana dorks. My opponent blind-flips a Terminus, the one and only card that could have messed up my plan (since pathing a dork just gives me the land anyway). We ended up going to time, where he won on turn 5 of turns off a Celestial Colonnade, animated Gideon of the Trials, and counterspell backup for my Path. I still think I played this match pretty well, and it was definitely winnable for Knightfall. Terminus is a cool card, but sometimes I really hate playing against it.
Lost 0-2 vs. UR Phoenix. This was even more brutal than Round 1, as my opponent had turn 1 Faithless Looting discarding double Arclight Phoenix on the play. Not much I could do there. In game two I found a lot of my graveyard hate in addition to casting 3 (yes, 3) Collected Companies, but I never hit a Reflector Mage. Crackling Drake doesn't care about whether you exile graveyards, and a double Thing in the Ice draw sealed the game even after I found a Path to Exile. The Phoenixes themselves aren't that scary after sideboarding, but TiTi is a beast. Err, horror. You get the idea.
Won 2-0 against a weird UW Tron deck (Eldrazi? Gifts? I really don't know). I steamrolled him in game 1 because he couldn't find his third tron piece or an Eldrazi Temple, and I chained 3-drop after 3-drop off my mana dorks. Game 2 he mulled to 4, which turned out to be natural Tron plus a Basilisk Collar. Thankfully I had a Damping Sphere in my opener, and was able to Spell Queller the Walking Ballista he drew. Considering the mulligan this was actually a much closer game than it should have been, but it was nice to have a dominating performance in at least one match.
Round 6 was a bye for me because my opponent never showed. I decided to drop and play side events, as I was well out of prize contention at this point and didn't want to waste time waiting for the round to end. The match next to me was interesting at least--it turned out to be a spicy Bogles deck vs. Werewolf tribal.
Overall, my finish was obviously disappointing but I was happy with my piloting and had a lot of fun. It's important to be critical of your play, but a lot of my losses came down to luck, and I think I played to my outs pretty well. Stuff like the control deck's repeated blind Terminus flips sucked, especially in the last game, but at some point you have to just pray that doesn't happen--there wasn't really a way to avoid it. Besides the card choices I discussed in the decklist section, I would make a few changes going forward:
Re-evaluate the use of noncreature cards in the sideboard. I found things like Damping Sphere and Nissa to be underwhelming, and I don't think they justified the fact that they make Collected Company that much worse. I was not excited by Deputy of Detention in RNA but now I'm thinking he might make the cut.
Retreat is a nice "degenerate package" as an alternative to the beatdown/grindy midrange plan, but adding 2-3 more copies really stresses CoCo's consistency. I think the deck either should play 0-1 Retreats and a suite of value creatures with CoCo, or 3 Retreats main/1 SB and a bunch of planeswalkers (Jace, Teferi, Tamiyo, and Nissa) and spells (Dromoka's Command, Settle the Wreckage) in the extra slots. I can't afford JTMS and Teferis, so for now I'm stuck on the CoCo plan. I'd love to hear your thoughts on what the "right" path is going forward.
Vendilion Clique is amazing (but you probably already knew that). Once I can afford it I'm definitely going to run another in the sideboard, or maybe even mainboard. Gaddock Teeg is great too, and probably deserves a second copy (he is strictly sideboard though since he shuts off CoCo).
I need to rethink my approach to graveyard hate. A lot of it is a trap--decks like Hollow One and Phoenix both have at least a few threats that don't care about the graveyard, so while we're wasting time and slots playing hate cards they're just killing us anyway.
I think Lavinia is gonna be worth trying as it pairs nicely with queller at worst and it slows down some some tough matchups game 1 and is easily sided out for all the great sideboard cards we have. Curious as to what you guys think?
I'm interested in Lavinia, because she helps against our bad matchups (Tron and Storm are the 2 that give me the most problems usually). The fact that she interacts with quellers means that she is probably maindeckable too. + She incidentally hits many other cards (hollow one, terminus, any cascade effect, any suspend, etc).
Not too excited for tithe taker... Right now (with the meta being so fast, full of aggro and combo decks), I think our worst card is voice of resurgence. Tithe Taker just seems like a somewhat "different" version of voice (force opponent to play on their turn, replace itself with it dies. However I'd much rather have the voice token(s))
My thoughts exactly. It also gets summoner's pact in titan decks to add to the list.
I also think voice is pretty weak right now but a 2 for 1 is still useful in a lot of the aggro creature matchups as well as the grindy matchups like jund. Its 2 blockers for 2 mana, or its eating up their removal. I could see going to 2 but would most likely never take them out of my bant list unless people stopped playing instants.
As far as matchups go what are people thinking about arclight pheonix? I won a game 1 against it and then proceeded to drop 2 at my last IQ. My opponent had 3 thing in the ice game 2 and 2 in a game 3 where the only removal I had was 1 reflector mage.
I have not played knightfall VS phoenix, but I have played against a few different TiTi decks and I feel like this matchup is bad for us. We need to find an answer or else in 1 or 2 turns it's going to flip and probably win the game on its own.
I'm still watching the meta at my LGS, and maybe the answer is going up to 3 or 4 damping spheres. Really hurts the phoenix decks, help our bad matchups (tron, storm, etc). Feels bad to board like that but IMO the meta is the meta.
No way I can fit 3 damping spheres I my company version though:( I feel ok against Tron and storm with Lavinia though.
I'm hoping that going up to 2 reflector mages in main and having 1 in the side with a deputy will be enough bouncing to get to path. I'm not terrified of Phoenix cause ideally I'll be swinging back with a large knight. When I played it I had 0 mages main and 2 side.
Graveyard hate seems too slow and hurts Coco with the exception of remorseful cleric imo.
A few post ago I extolled the value of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and other planeswalkers over Collected Company. Lucky for you guys I did all the testing and I was wrong. It isn't bad per see to take out the Collect Companys for planeswalkers, they are very hard to kill other than direct damage, incur great card advantage and give your deck a different avenue of attack. But, like I said I was wrong. The key in all of this is this guy:
One of the reasons I moved to more planeswalkers was to get more removal spells into my deck. Detention Sphere, Settle the Wreckage, Dromoka's Command, and the full four Path to Exiles were helping me to win so many more games. Modern is so creature based at the moment and this suite of removal felt really good. Then I started to run into Jeskai and U/W control variants and they punched a glaring whole in my game plan. Without Collect Company I was forced to play almost entirely at sorcery speed which meant my threats, no matter how good, could be planned for, and eventually beaten. One of the draws, for me at least, to playing Bant Knightfall was the resiliency of playing against control. So many people at my LGS think they are these super blue control masters and beating them was always enjoyable. But like I said, Deputy of Detention changed everything. This card is bonkers. It is the removal I have been looking for and now allows me to go back to play the 4 Collected Companys. Deputy allows you to compete against any permanent and at instant speed thanks to Collected Company. If you are playing any number of Reflector Mages get them out of the main deck and add Deputy of Detention. The time and card it takes for your opponent to remove the Deputy is crucial to our goal in fighting fair magic. Here is my list:
Matchups for this beautiful pile of 75 are pretty good, especially the new Grixis Whir decks because of Deputy. Grixis Death's Shadow is always a tough match up but with three Voice of Resurgence and now the Deputy doing a much better job than Reflector Mage versus threats I am excited to go toe to toe with it more in MTGO Leagues. The match up against Burn is still abysmal. They are so spell based now that it is nearly impossible to beat them in game 1 unless you massively change the core of the deck by adding Courser of Kruphix, Knight of Autumn, and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Then in game 2 they have 8 Searing Blood effects. I am hoping the Leyline of Sanctitys and Worship make this match up closer, but if the percentages continue to fall I may just give up the Burn matchup and save the sideboard slots to help versus Tron, Amulet Titan, and Izzet Drakes.
I have been meaning to sleeve up the deck againt after the release of Allegiance, specifically Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, but haven't realy come to it yet. The group and i have been off of modern for a while now and that's perfectly fine by me.
Giving some new insights in the meta, where our biggest focus lies on:
I Lightning Bolt-heavy decks, of which some include Thing in the Ice and the others rely on Searing Blaze
II big mana decks like Tron and Amulet Titan (and Valakut, that is a bit on the rise)
III Dredge/ Death's Shadow/ Hollow One/ Humans/ Bant Spirits/ Hardened Scales Affinity as the aggressive decks
IV a small portion of UW miracle and Jeskai control shells
As fatkiddestroyers pointed out before, Deputy of Detention gave us one of the best three-drops ever printed. A catch all answer, that can trade 2:1 in some cases. This card is the reason that we can handle most of the threads gathered under III. Our goal in these matchups is to get punched and grind our opponent down. Deputy of Detention being a x/3 makes it a prime target for our opponents Lightning Bolts. He shares a red flag with our other x/3 being Spell Queller, that way our opponents must choose which thread to take out first when multiples are in play. A trick I found is to avoid quelling removal spells to prevent a chain reaction of spells hitting our creatures.
To fight the bolt-heavy meta I included 2 Courser of Kruphix, they can help us grind and are a solid dork-into-three drop opening. Spellskite in the sideboard helps us to control where the Lighning Bolts are going.
So how can we handle our worst matchups, the big mana decks? (II) In game 1 our focus is to combo them out as fast as possible, because they lack removal. Our chances are slim to win game 1, so lets focus on games 2 & 3 instead.
Explanation for Mana Leak over Unified Will and Negate: I found Unified Will underwhelming in the matchup vs. Amulet Titan, that is why I rethought its position in the sideboard. One might think, that Mana Leak is a contradiction to Path to Exile, because we are ramping our opponents. The matchups where Path to Exile is needed are not the ones where we need our Mana Leak, namely vs. Combo, Big Mana and Control. Yes, when the opponent has enough mana he can afford to play around Mana Leak and it can rarely handle a flipped Terminus in the later stages of an UW match. What I like about it, is that it performs reasonably well against big mana threads and does not have the condition of having more creatures than your opponents. I strongly advise against Negate, because Primeval Titan decks will feast on you. Our matchup vs. control is already okay, don't emphasize too much on it. Our counterspells are there to bring our opponents off balance. Counter them, when they are playing around Collected Company and Spell Queller. A hard counter on a removal spell or an early thread is very useful.
The reason I deviated from the 4-color-Knightfall approach (see down below) is that it is not possible to fit Deputy of Detention in there. If you are facing less aggro and more Big Mana and Control, then 4-color-Knightfall is still the way to go in my opinion. It offers a solid aggro curve with good interaction post board. Bant Knightfall lacks the ability to aggro the opponent out in the early game, and to punish very slow draws of your opponent.
Finally I want to talk about Lightning Bolt and Thing in the Ice. The removal spell is what you have to watch out for at all times. It is reasonable to slow roll a Knight of the Reliquary to prevent it from being bolted. On the other hand, in control and fair matchups all of our creatures have a red flag on top of their head. So your opponent will run out of Lightning Bolts eventually. I found Selfless Spirit to be a reasonable pick for the main deck. It synergizes well with Scavenging Ooze and keeps your prison creatures alive.
In the main deck you have 9 answers to Thing in the Ice with one more Reflector Mage in the sideboard. This card is the reason that I put 4 Path to Exile in the main deck. If you can't handle this deck in this meta, the deck isn't tuned well. A timely delay with Deputy of Detention can prevent it from flipping for one turn, but you need a permanent solution for it as well as for Crackling Drake.
I had originally played Knightfall when Retreat came out and I had so much fun with it, but put it down in favor of the prison decks in the format. For the past 2 weeks or so, I put the deck back together and been rolling people pretty consistently with it.
Thoughts/Things that seem to go against the status quo:
-I cut the combo entirely and built the deck more towards just out-tempo'ing your opponent. Without the Reatreat, I no longer feel the need to run a 4 color manabase and can run more interactive lands in its place. Being able to tutor up Ghost Quarter / Tectonic Edge with Knight of the Reliquary helps so many matchups (from Infect and Affinity to Control and Tron) and with Ramunap Excavator, it is easy to abuse.
-I dropped the Coursers, as while they were great against fair decks, they were almost useless against the larger field of unfair, hyper-linear decks. In its place, i was able to put Thalia, Heretic Cathar and Ramunap Excavator in the main. Thalia is an all star as she is backbreaking to aggressive creature decks as it has both first strike and disables haste/blockers while also making control and Tron misstep. Ramunap Excavator isnt the best, but it excels in the long, grindy games. Being able to recur utility likes like Ghost Quarter or Horizon Canopy is nuts. Even bringing back lands to get clues off Tireless Tracker goes a long way.
-Currently running a full playset of Spell Queller, but im not sure thats the right call. I think that 3 is the optimal number, but felt like i needed the additional flying creature. Other thoughts were Clique and Aven Mindcensor, but neither felt that great mainboard.
-Lavinia, Azorius Renegade is a force to be reckoned with. I had two in the main originally, but felt like that was excessive. Trying only one in the sideboard, but im not sure thats the right call. I think having one in the main is where you should be. Disrupting Terminus, Hollow One, Living End, Search for Tomorrow, Rift Bolt, any Tron payoff, or even spells they cast when they kill your Spell Queller is huge.
-With being as bit of a toolbox deck, i think it might be worth checking dropping a path and a creature and adding in 2 Chord of Calling to help find the one ofs that deck runs.
Went 3-1 losing to a budget ponza list and beating dredge, BG elves, and enduring ideal.
The ponza loss felt like a fluke where I got hit with blood moon early and 2 anger of the gods game 2. The last game my first land got stone rained on his 2nd turn and I didn't see my third until turn 5.
I had a dominant 2-0 victory against dredge thanks to a nuts game 1 hand with all of my mainboard disruption for dredge coming up and game 2 I had a turn 2 knight and was able to fetch up an early bojuka bog followed by the mainboard gy hate. Deputy of detention was amazing here. Game 2 the opponent had 2 narcomebas, 2 amalgrams and a bloodghast on turn 2 and I was able to deputy away the amalgrams and later on the 2 narcomebas while clearing the graveyard. I don't have a ton of experience with this matchup, but it felt great with remorseful cleric and deputy.
Game 3 I beat GB elves 2-1 winning a grindy game 1 and 3 and getting. As an elves player myself, I'm pretty familiar with the deck. I was able to queller and deputy away the good elves while having blockers up. It came down to an exalted spell queller flying in for the win in both game 1 and 3.
Game 4 was 2-1 against an enduring ideal prison deck. First game I have 2 spell quellers and opponent casts 2 prison enchantments into them and can't come back. Game 2 I kept a slower hand with great interaction, but it was too slow and I couldn't stop the lock. Game 3 was crazy close with my opponent casting enduring and playing form of the dragon only to see me flash in a spell queller and fetch a Gavony with KOTR at the end of his turn. was able to swing for lethal the following turn with an exalted spell queller that was just big enough thanks to gavony. Jace was huge here allowing me to dig for the card I needed at crucial times.
Overall all the games I played I felt favored in and deputy of detention seems amazing so far. I did not expect it to be as impactful as it has been for me and I have even dropped to 2 reflector mages because of it. It resets counters on permanents like thing in the ice or planeswalkers, destroys tokens, and does so much more.
Spell queller is still one of my favorite card and the reason I play this deck, but 3 feels better then the 4 I used to run, because I found it was often just getting bolted.
I replaced 1 path with incubation because it has more use in matchups where path is bad and late game it is a much better draw.
Eidolon is what I have decided to add to the SB for burn, storm, and phoenix. Slowing them down is huge and they usually have a hard time dealing with it because it survives bolt. We also have instant speed spells to play on their turn so this doesn't hurt us that badly.
The 2 Jaces I run are for any midrange or non interactive matchups where I will have time to brainstorm. Jace has been great in those situations and I can usually fetch a land to shuffle cards away.
I'm thinking about adding 1 lavinia to the main board and moving a voice down to the SB in place of settle the wreckage. I'm down on settle in the current meta and I agree with above that lavinia could be pretty great in some matchups.
@hannam72's list from above is a perfect example of this tension. 3x Spell Queller versus 2x Reflector Mage, 3x Deputy of Detention, 1x Knight of Autumn. Maybe it just takes practice and obviously post board the numbers can be skewed and therefore your decisions can reflect this new number. But to me there still seems to be a way to adjust our list to be more efficient in game 1's. Do you play Spell Queller in the board for games 2 and 3? Or keep Deputy of Detention in the sideboard to mitigate this tension?
I hear you fatkiddestroyers, in game 1 Bant Knightfall has a problem to what kind of deck it wants to be - tap out or instant speed. The general rule I found is to tap out when you don't have a threat on the board and to hold back when you have one in play.
In an ealier post I said that it was hard to fit in Deputy of Detention into 4 Colour Knightfall because of the Mana requirements. I tested a lot and went down to 2 Forest and 1Plains adding another Misty Rainforest (up to 10 fetch lands) and Steam Vents. My deck version feels solid at the moment, the only major problems are Izzet Phoenix and Burn which both feel like 30/70 matchups.
My recent results were 5-2 in Bottrop League (winning against Mardu Pyro, Burn, Mono W Hatebears, Bant Spirits, Landfall Zoo, losing to Abzan Coco Flicker and 5C Humans). The other results are from Dortmund, Germany.
Last week's weekly tournament 3-1-1 (winning against Tron, Grixis DS and Budget BG Rock, lost to UR Phoenix, intent. draw against Bant Spirits)
Last week's FNM 2-2 (lost to UR Storm and Jund, won against Grixis Waste Knot and Mono B Zombies)
This week's weekly tournament 3-2 (loss against UR Phoenix and ??, winning against Nayahiri Zoo with Chalice, UR Storm , BR Hollow One/Soulflayer)
Last night's FNM 3-0-1 (winning against 3C Allies, Bring to Light Kiki-Jiki, GB Elves, intent. draw against Mono W Hatebears).
I tested against Amulet Titan and Hardened Scales, both matchups feel allright now, even with the absense of Stony Silence in the sideboard.