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  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    I sometime dream of a world where force of will becomes a sideboard card, but I don't think we're there just yet, despite the rise of super fair decks like DnT. I've occasionally cut down to 3 but since our deck runs enough blue cards force of will is still an easy include for me.

    Between being able to brainstorm it away, and the fact that there's often still something worth countering in their maindeck (even if you aren't happy being 2 for 1'ed), its still seen maindeck in most blue decks. Even bad interaction cards that you have control over can win you games.

    Even in some of the matchup where you can't wait to sideboard it out, getting card disadvantage to force of will the answer to your game-plan is a good move. I'm fine getting 3 for 1'ed if it means I resolve a TNN against RUG delver, thats a game winning card in the matchup. Or a Clique in response to a miracle trigger, or protecting jace. It does mean some opening hands become very clunky, and you have to be patient with the cards. Note that forcing a card that gives your opponent card advantage (snap/hymn/K.command/planeswalkers/etc) basically means you break even without spending mana.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    The other week I (finally!) gathered enough cards (delaying the Wastelands until Eternal Masters is released) to start jamming games to get this rust off (only play legacy every 2 months on paper nowadays), and it has been a good time! Brews often perform well since the opponents are not sure what you are on until the match is over, and this deck is often king in a fair magic matchup.

    After a couple of leagues I finally landed on a 5-0 streak! Here’s a link to the decklist.

    The 75 has some concessions to the Eldrazi menace on MTGO with the variety of spot removal cards in the sideboard, thankfully the matchup is slightly favored on my side from my play experience (faced at least 10 opponents rocking the Eldrazi Aggro lists). And this was without the wastelands, which I assume improves the matchup with different angles of attack.
    A recent addition to the sideboard has been the fancy Amageddon, which is primarily for Shardless Bug and Miracles, and it has done me very well so far!

    I also made a brief tournament report of the games from that league in case you were curious!
    Bant Deathblade Legacy 5-0 League Report
    Match one : 2-1
    Play vs Shardless Bug
    • Won Game 1 Force through a TNN to try and stick sword on it, abrupt disrupts that plan, but never found answer to TNN +dorks
    • Lost Game 2 Sylvan Library card advantage into SFM+TNN, but Toxic Deluge breaks serve. (the primary way I lose to Shardless Bug)
    • Won Game 3 DRS into Double Stoneforge Mystic to bait removal so I can buy time for land drops on both sides, he doesn’t have any removal so I just suit up a Sword on Batterskull. He makes a tricky block with Tarmogoyf then abrupt decays the Sword, but Deathrite eats the only instant in the yard and germ kills the goyf. Hard for him to recover, so he taps out for Jace in which I Daze. On my turn I play my opening hand ARMAGEDDON with double Daze backup.

    Match 2 : 2-0
    Draw vs Alluren Combo

    Match 3 : 2-0
    Draw vs Red Stompy

    Match 4 : 2-1
    Play vs Eldrazi Aggro

    Match 5 : 2-1
    Play vs Sneak and Show

    On the side I’ve been gathering up the cards and playing Esper Deathblade in 2mans. You basically retire what enforced your proactive plays like noble hierarchs and dazes for better grindy cards that match up well against combo through thoughtseize and spell pierces. I’m a fairly defensive player so the Esper builds obviously appeals well to me so I’ll try some builds out.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    Quote from streetMage »
    @limbo, list looks interesting...seems like you are trying to squeeze alot of ideas in one.
    Not sure how necessary Mindsculptor is mainboard. Another Ponder might help smooth out draws.
    Also not sure how Vryn's Prodigy fits.

    Here's my updated list, biggest changes were putting Council's Judgment
    and Sylvan Library mainboard..Library is absolutely bonkers!

    I've had the maindeck Sylvan Library from just about the start, card will win
    most attrition game, a win-con by itself if the game is about to stretch out.
    How has the maindeck Council's Judgment been? I usually play with 1 to 2 in
    the sideboard, wondering what got ya to move it maindeck.

    I mentioned a long while back that I had a weekly legacy scene but that's disappeared since,
    so I've slowly been building up the deck on MTGO,
    should be able to complete it this week and finally get a chance to work on the list again.
    Funny enough I was almost done foiling the deck (just missing the last judge Force of Will)

    As for ponder, I was never a fan of the extra cantrips (aside Brainstorm)
    as I felt I always had plenty to do with
    my mana with a strong pro-active plan, but whenever I had room in my deck Ponder
    was my go-to filler since its great help at finding specific answers.

    Jace, the Mind Sculptor is a card that moves often between the maindeck or not at all,
    but lately its remained in the deck, great whenever I'm ahead to push my advantage on other angles.
    Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is similar in that role while sticking to a lower curve, but I
    assume you need to add more proactive instants/sorceries for him to be effective (like the maindeck
    abrupt decays), not sure I see his place in Bant but I can attest he's still a powerful card (I dabble
    with him in modern).

    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    Quote from streetMage »

    Either way, here's a deck (top8 across seas) with Dig that is similar to what I'm trying to do, it runs 3x Vendilon Clique which is interesting as opposed to running Geist.
    Smile That would be my top8 where I won a dual-land (above ya in Canada). I've put the Umezawa's Jitte in the maindeck before New Jersey, and after the GP made some more tweaks to try out.
    My current setup

    Vendilion Clique has nearly always been amazing for me, especially on turn 2, that I don't see myself lowering that number.
    Obviously it's great against combo
    -storm can't duress it out, they can't go off with rituals since youd just clique away the Ad Nauseam in response to the 2nd ritual
    -in response to Show and Tell or Sneak Attack
    But its still very good in most matchups against any Stoneforge Mystic, ambush to trade with am attacking delver, break apart a risky hand some-one kept for 1 particular card, or go on the offensive with exalted triggers
    The big thing we miss out on compared to Esper Deathblade is the thoughtseizes, so clique can try and fit that role.
    Between 4 maindeck deathrites and 3 Vendilon Clique combo nearly always comes out to a grind game and midrange usually pulls out ahead if it can get there.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    Quote from limbo »
    I think you would do well to shave 1 tundra for the 4rth daze or another delve card. I played with 20 for a while but in the 8 dork deck I also frequently felt flooded. 19 is smoother. Other than that, I like the smoothness and overall makeup of your deck.

    As for price getting you, wasteland is an out. I see you moved away from them. I really like them with the dorks and, like fetches, they quickly fill the yard.
    I recently put the extra tundra instead of the last wasteland in my list because I added a bunch of white cards in sideboard, mostly the Kor Firewalker, and 3 white sources for lands was iffy if my opponent drew enough wasteland (I've been on a bad streak with that lately) but I can easily see myself replacing it with a nonland card.

    As for wasteland, I just finished cutting it (been shaving some after every big tournament), I don't like it against the current Tier1 decks of the meta and want to make my deck more consistent on its mana.
    Quote from XavierMTG »
    Anyone else have any input? I find I like to try to establish a threat and then go into draw/go control mode, so the fact that DTT is an instant is perfect for the turns that they don't do anything or you can't/don't want to respond. The deeper dig is especially great post-board as you have four more chances to find a good hate card.
    That's one of the aspects I felt about Dig through time, I often play a game of attrition against alot of decks and use up Dig to find 2 more high gas cards to really push forward. I am very patient with my deck playing around cards and baiting my opponent into plays, so being instant really helps stay flexible with your plays by playing with your mana up with spells like Vendillion Clique and counters. Not to mention your decision of which 2 cards to pick can be influenced by what your opponent did on their turn (or the rare cases where you dig for a force of will to counter something on the stack). You also bring a very good point about game 2 and 3 where Dig Through Time is far better when you are looking for your few sideboard cards. At the moment I ended at 2 copies because I felt I’d have to make other tweaks to really enable the delve for more copies. I’m at 6 foil copies so if I had an excuse to put in more I wouldn’t shy away from it Kekeke

    I have recently cut the Geist of Saint Traft for my current meta (and what I likely expect out of New Jersey). It was really weak against elf (trading my Geist of Saint Traft for a nettle Sentinel felt horrible) or anytime a BUG deck had a pair of Deathrite Shaman to combine block. It also doesn't perform well against young pyromancer tokens (same applies to Knight of the reliquary). It's still the best clock you can get, but creature-less combo decks have been on decline recently (or at least it appears to). The Dig Through Time basically took its place in my list as it will eventually find a threat plus a card to back it up. I would suggest Vendillion Clique to anyone picking the deck unless you aren’t accustomed to playing with the card.

    Starting to run out of time for last minute tweaks (pondering over adding a 2nd Containment Priest in the sideboard). We are driving from Canada on Thursday and will have Friday to playtest. Usually I’d say id be the guy that might play Bant in the legacy side event with a good amount of foils, but I don’t think that will help find me in a Legacy GP of this magnitude!
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    Quote from limbo »

    How do people feel about Grafdigger's Cage verses Containment Priest? While I recognize the increase in mana cost is significant, the added value of being a body and interacting with Sneak and Show is appealing.

    I made a change to have 2 Cages (instead of 1 cage 1 RIP) and 1 Priest in sideboard. Anytime a sideboard card also has the option of wielding an equipment is a nice bonus (some matchups is only about sticking an equipment on anything you can find). Cage is almost necessary on the draw against some decks like dredge and reanimator, and can curve better with your draw. I liked the extra flexible card against elf/reanimator/S&T/Dredge.

    We hosted a big tournament 2 weeks ago and I came in 7th out of 33 which scored me my 5th Savannah (lost first round of the top8 to Enchantress, I didn't know how the matchup goes well enough at the time)

    After a few tweaks, this is the current list I'm going with for New Jersey

    U/R Delver was piloted by quite a few players over my couple last tournaments so I had to make firm changes to sideboard. The matchup revolved alot around them getting value out of young pyromancer so Zealous Persecution came back into the sideboard (and improving elf matchup alongside it!) so I can clean up the field. The price of progress they run in sideboard has been a huge beating against me, so I can't side out the forces yet the matchup tends to become grindy and is usually about me equipping Umezawa's Jitte or batterskull and trying to make it stick, so Kor Firewalker came in there too. With a decent chunk of the meta turning into burn and U/R meta you can appreciate seeing the little guy in your opening hand. Finally since their whole deck is cantrips and Ancestral Recalls I decided I should try siding in Aethersworn Canonis against U/R and its been doing insanely good in some games. They have to bolt Stoneforge Mystic, they usually bolt Deathrite Shaman, then you land this guy and their turn consists of: brainstorm, go, Treasure Cruise, go. If I can equip the Canonist then it's usually over since they can't value their way back in the game after a treasure cruise with a pyromancer or with enough burn.

    @Streetmage you should probably try a couple of treasure cruise or dig through time in your list, you'll find 2 delve cards is rather easy to feed. Way I saw it, now that I tweaked it to include 11 fecth lands, my graveyard fills pretty quick from mana dorks and stoneforge mystic hitting the bin to removal, or there was a little counterspell war. If none of those happened, I'm probably winning anyway and don't need to cast the dig, not to mention the mana dorks in play still help cast the thing. It can be a non-bo with deathrite shaman in a few rare games, but it's usually just fine, both are great enough that I don't mind them sharing the graveyard (altho deathrite is usually using the opponent's graveyard to deny delve resource). I tried treasure cruise but with my currect configuration it nearly always just insanely floods me with more lands. But casting a dig through time at a end step and picking up 7 cards and watching the look on my opponents face as I comb through a new hand is pretty sweet.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    I'm hoping I have time this weekend to list up a few of my changes with khans and the metagame. Not getting much testing in before New Jersey :S
    That and the decklist in my signature changes all the time until I figure out my exact 75 for the GP.

    With khans I did try treasure cruise but it was just miserable. You cast it and draw a land, a dork, and a daze. Not exactly what I am looking for on turn 5. But since then I've swapped to 2 maindeck Dig Through Times and they've been doing great. Finding 2 high impact cards out of a new hand of 7 is far better for us than 3 random draws, and being an instant is a good upgrade. With the amount of mana dorks we have you don't have to empty the whole graveyard, I usually end up doing half/half

    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    Quote from streetMage »

    I've been having issues against Titan Post. Usually I try to go for the Wasteland/Surgical Extraction route... but eventually they just overwhelm. Have you played against it? Here's a sample list http://mtgtop8.com/event?e=8216&d=247292&f=LE.

    I think I've played against it only once when someone was testing tier 2 lists, so I haven't gotten to plan out a tactic against it yet, but I can see how its a bad matchup for us. The good news is the deck is extremely rare on paper so I don't think you should adjust your list/sideboard around it (I'd be surprised if more than like 3 people came to New Jersey with it), candles being cheap on MODO makes it tempting to build for alot of people. Wasteland is your best weapon but their maindeck pithing needles are there just for that.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    Quote from streetMage »

    Since the legacy seen here is non-existent I had no choice but to build this deck on mtgo.

    Awesome! That's something I eventually want to do so I can push in testing. Just remember that the
    meta on mtgo is quite different than say a GP, mostly for budget reasons (so you'll find alot more
    graveyard decks on MODO), so those surgical extractions could be replaced for Jersey if you feel comfortable without them.

    To answer your question from a long while back I am indeed planning on going to the New Jersey GP.

    By the way I tried out Elspeth, knight-errant again now that my meta has a couple of Bug decks, and she's
    awesome against both delver and shardless bug! For the moment leaving her in the maindeck to see how she is in other
    matchups, but so far she is still decent elsewhere.

    but I wonder if making it a Stifle instead will make that spot more versatile and
    still stop Craterhoof Behemoth's trigger.

    There might be other tweaks to try for elves, probly in sideboard. One thing I'd suggest is to get
    a Grafdigger's cage in the sideboard, it stops their Green sun's zenith, natural order, and
    (as minor as it is) stops their fetchland from grabbing dryad arbor. If you replace Rest in Peace
    by it, your deathrite shamans suddenly become a tiny bit better, but with the meta on MODO maybe replace
    a surgical or another card you feel you don't need.
    In my sideboard I have 5 spot removal I bring in so elves is easier to manage but I haven't found
    something I really like outside of the zealous persecution.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    Quote from streetMage » »

    I agree... on another note, where do you get your dual lands?
    I've gotten some from ebay, but with all the counterfeit talk around I wonder if this is wise....
    Is there a way to make sure they are real?

    I got most of mine from different buylist opportunities (at a GP I managed to trade 2 scalding tarns for a underground sea to a store).
    Fortunately my local store has a good inventory of cards and have all the duals on hand so after amassing store credit from tournaments/buylists I have access to them.

    As for fakes, there is little way of telling when purchasing online outside of making sure its a reputable seller. To note, you won't find a damaged or heavy/mild play fake card, they will usually be in very near mint condition (since its recently made), and usually when starting to amass dual lands for legacy you don't buy near-mint to start anyway.

    From what I hear, there is a big difference in the feel of the cards in person with your fingers, its not completely the same material/make so you should be able to easily tell if you compare with any old revised duals.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    Quote from "streetMage” »
    Superb write up, will be reading over and over as I adjust my deck!

    Thanks! Love any talk or discussions about the brew, nothing like changing a single card and noticing a difference in it’s performance.
    Quote from "streetMage” »
    Some of your post are missing words...for example above you have "-1/-1 effects like or the one I fear the most, ". But I'm guessing you are talking about Zealous Persecution or maybe Toxic Deluge.

    Yep, I fixed up that post, and the one before…and some a few back… Recently cards would disappear from my posts, I think it has to do with my AutoCardAnywhere addon messing up with it whenever I go to edit a post, I've had to fix up a few of the previous posts I did as well. Will be cleaning up the posts so its cleaner when you read through it again.
    Quote from "streetMage” »
    You board out countermagic against bug? Interesting, like I said I have close to zero practice with this deck so Im not too sure how I'd sideboard. When I played against it at the one tournament I figured boarding in Rest In Peace was one of the best cards to bring in...and I boarded out the Knights. Now I figure I'd board out the 2 Deathrites for 2x RIP. But Decay is uncounterable...maybe Misdirection is a good sideboard against them?

    Nah I keep the countermagic, I need it for the mass removal in their sideboard. As long as they can’t wipe away my board presence their card advantage don’t mean much, so I’m keeping in the forces. RIP is certainly good against all BUG decks, but if they stabilize they can abrupt the RIP and get their Goyf up in no time. I usually still leave all my Deathrites as he still helps me accelerate into a threat since I only play 1 RIP and it is not always a card I play on turn 2, I’d much rather land it after I put pressure on and they played a goyf.I think Misdirection might be too cute, but if it’s the only “counterspell” in my hand it won work on their field wipe, and I doubt I’d have enough blue cards in hand for both my force of will and a misdirection. If my deck was extremely weak to abrupt decays then it would be justified in sideboard, I don’t think I can make room for a situational card like that, but I can’t say I gave it much of a try either. On the other hand it is however effective against hymn. Abrupts aren’t much of an issue against me since I no longer run knight, and they don’t generally have a threat on the table when they are stuck to using it for misdirection to shine in.

    What do you think of Elspeth, Knight-Errant as a SB option vs Miracles and even BUG?
    She gets around board wipes and can't be decayed.

    She excellent against BUG, I’m not quite sure she’s worth the spots against Miracles. I had tried her plenty before TNN came out and liked her primarily because of the evasion she gave for me to close out a game, and I’m not sure I want her with my evasive threats. I prefer Jace over her in almost all other matchups, but I can eventually test her again to see if she works against different decks. If she is only good against BUG lists then I might not bother unless I becomes a constant issue that I can't find another solution for.
    Also what do you think about Leyline of Sanctity? Can help vs Burn, Ad Nauseam, Belcher, High Tide, Painter...etc. Might be too narrow..esp if we only ran one...but it does help with combo matchups.

    For painter the removal in my sideboard meant for creature matchups are great against them as well. Having 5 spells that remove their combo/bridge/chalice puts us in a good spot I’d say.
    High tide is not a matchup I’ve played against, altho I’ve played it a long while back. Ethersworn Canonist puts a nice choke on their plan until they can Wipe Away it. Spell Pierce with Vendilion Clique might be enough disruption.
    Altho leyline is great against burn, it’s not quite enough against storm and belcher as they will have time to assemble a large Empty the Warrens to go around it, and the combo decks are built to be able to return it to your hand before going off if given enough time. I’ve tried it but felt it was horrible unless you went with a full 3-4. Cards like that have to be in your opening hand, while other low cost pre-emptive cards have been more successful as you can draw it later or find it with a brainstorm. I want to be able to keep a good opening hand that drew none of my sideboard cards knowing they will likely show up when I need them. Since I’ve sided out the below average cards for game 2/3, most of my topdecks are promising.

    When it comes to cards in my sideboard, I want them to be extremely flexible and be effective against a wide variety of decks. Altho every card is put in for a particular scenario, the more varied your sideboard is the better your sideboarding is against the overall wide amount of decks you can face. I don’t need my sideboard cards to win me the game by their own (like leyline could), my deck is already built to eventually build into a threat they can’t deal with, but to instead help me with my goal by slowing down their strategy or forcing them to play a fair game until I close the game.

    The way I see it, if I don’t side in at least 5 cards in a matchup, it’s likely because I’m already favored. Some people approach sideboard slots by dedicating strong cards, but those same cards will rarely come in for other matchups so their game isn’t improved as much in game 2/3, especially since you have to fight through their sideboard as well. Diversifying your sideboard is also useful, such as splitting up 2 RIP into a RIP+Grafdigger’s Cage so one of my dredge/reanimator/storm sideboard can also hit elves by disabling Green Sun's Zenith/ Natural Order. I often see decklists with 3 surgical extraction, 3 krosan grips and a lot of flusterstorms in their sideboard and they just end up hurting when they face say merfolk/maverick or Elves. There just isn’t enough room for powerful yet linear cards to beat every deck you need help with. Legacy is a diverse format and your sideboard is your main tool to help you navigate through it.

    I’m a huge fan of pre-emptive cards that will stop or slow the motion of their deck giving you more time to interact with them while pressuring their life total. I really liked Gaddok Teeg when I had GSZ, since he can be brought in for so many matches, but stopping my force of wills was something that occasionally hurt me (unless I drew karakas). I Won 2 matches today thanks to Ethersworn canonist, one against enchantress (I also got to Council's Judgment a Argothian Enchantress Wink ) and against Elves. She’s also good against storm, since they are stuck to only playing a single cantrip a turn until they find their sideboard or burning wish and the odds aren’t too good since by then I can back her up with counterspells. Now of course she won’t stay in play long, but it easily buys you a couple of turns to make sure you can put down a big threat and then be able to leave up mana for removal/interactions, not to mention every draw step against combo can get you another interactive spell or sideboard card. I’ll have to say Canonist has been my best decision as a dedicated combo sideboard since she’s still effective against all the rare combo decks you sometimes hear about as well.

    I personally prefer to have multiple cards that each help optimize my deck and are great when you draw several of your sideboard cards together. Once you refine your sideboard so that most of your sideboard cards are flexible and useful enough to be brought in against more decks, in a way you increase the size of your sideboard. This is mostly by playing a great number of matches and figuring out the cards you like and those you feel are too clunky or unrealistic. A sideboard should always be a work in progress and it is something I love to work on in all formats.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    I wrote a huge text (or a rant) of how I came to the deck and changes I've made based on experience for you to read through streetMage

    My current decklist
    Almost a year ago I had been working on a bant brew, juggling between different ideas, including tarmogoyfs. One of my better lists would run 3-4 Geists with GSZ package and it had been doing decent. Then few months later True-Name Nemesis was spoiled and this deck seemed like just the deck that was begging for it, then a few weeks after Reid Duke ran a list he worked on at a SCG Invitational legacy, in preparation for a TNN list he was working on, which Sam Black then played at a few GPs. I built and played with that list, and keeping an eye out for other tweaks players made over the net, most notably a sword of fire/ice in the sideboard.
    After siding in the sword so often and the new metagame being flooded with true-name decks, I left it maindeck and its just been the MVP of the deck since. There are many decks that cannot beat a sword of fire and ice on a TNN in game one. The damage is massive and the card draw makes it very hard for anyone to come back.

    The deck was doing pretty well against most fair decks, people weren't effective at dealing with a turn 2 True-Name Nemesis yet. All I had to do was constantly tweak with the sideboard for the different combo matchups, and it was a ton of fun. But after a while people just figured out how to play against it, mainly by attacking my mana (turning lightning bolts into sinkholes on my Noble Hierarchs) while putting pressure would make this deck crumble. Sometimes they would draw the Grafdigger’s Cage they usually have in their Sideboard for GY decks and elves, and suddenly our ability to get the creature for the game state with Green Sun's Zenith is just a couple of dead cards in hand.

    The deck also had trouble against other TNN decks that packed extra removal (mainly UWR delver), so I eventually added a Deathrite Shaman and a Bayou to splash 2 Zealous Persecution in sideboard, which was good against elves as well and other creature matchups.
    A few weeks after Sam Black showed up with the bant list at the first GP, some-one had gone 4-0 at a Daily event on mtgo with a different twist on the deck, who went with a mix of TNN and Geist of Saint Trafts. I liked the idea of the list but I didn’t want to abandon the bant list Duke/Sam have been on until I gave it more practice.

    I loved the utility of green sun's zenith, especially the sideboard silver bullets, but it did make some of the topdecks or opening hands really weak or inconsistent. Every time I had dryad arbor in my opening hand it would either almost force a mulligan or have the deck play a turn behind, which is the opposite of the idea of adding mana dorks in your U/W stoneblade deck. So after a few months I decided I’d go back to constantly brewing the deck till I hit what I’m more comfortable with and completely cut off green sun from it. I still cringe about the memories of a few opening-hands with a dryad arbor + karakas + wasteland, I’m always looking for ways to tune a deck to reduce the chances of needing to mulligan hands.
    Cutting GSZ opened up so much room that it took some time to figure out what I’d want to do with the open card spots, so started with doubling the mana creatures by adding the full set of deathrites, and then I recalled that Bant Deathblade list from earlier with Geist.

    Geist of Saint Traft is a concession to miracles and other controlling decks like deathblade. Against some decks hes much more threatening than a TNN could be, and having double the clock is great against combo decks. Nothing like playing a turn 2 Geist and Miracles spin their Sensei's divining top, fetch, spin top again, turn passes to them, another fetch to spin the top again, because that 3 turn clock really puts em to it. However a fair amount of matchups he's just there to be pitched to force of will and sided out afterwards, mostly decks with good blockers or when you play a defensive/controlling strategy.

    I had started with 4 TNN and 3 Geists. My friends we’re commenting that the deck had turned into a form of combo deck in the sense that X into Y had to happen to make the deck threatening, which was mana dork into a 2nd turn 3-drop, so might as well push for it by finding ways to add more. Increasing the chances of having 2 big threats in opening hand has its advantages. Some match ups where I might expect them to have a daze in hand, I would lead with Geist (or clique) to run into it and have them get behind on their land drop, just to resolve a true name the next turn.

    One thing I've noticed is in nearly all of my games I would side out my Jace, the Mind Sculptors for better cards to the aggro strategy, and I eventually decided to leave them in the sideboard because he is still great against some matchups, like the obvious Miracles (I love landing a jace after they use their top to miracle a terminus, and shoving said Top on bottom of their library). I did however put the Sylvan Library in its place in the maindeck for the amazing card advantage, since I can't recall a game where I wasn't excited to have it in opening hand. The only time its bad is against very aggressive deck where spending a turn not advancing your board or defending yourself can cost you a game (rug delver, burn), but at least a resolved library will insure that keep hitting land drops so wastelands/stifles don’t take you out of the game, as a resolved TNN is likely the only goal of the game sometimes.

    Miracles had started to be a decent chunk of the metagame after its success in GPs and SCGopens, so I moved the 2 Vendilion Cliques in my sideboard to the main, upping the 3mana threats count to 9, and that ended up working pretty well. Being able to cycle the terminus they just miracle’d really changed the game one approach to that match up. Over time one of those geists turned into a 3rd Clique instead. It is such a flexible card, being able to flash it in on their 2nd turn’s draw step against combo is great. But most of the time I’d do it at the end of their turn in case they decided to play a stoneforge or just to have a threat played around sorcery removal or the likes (ambushing a jace is pretty sweet too).

    At this point Karakas became a pretty potent land instead of just a safety valve against Show and Tell. There is the obvious option repeating Clique activations against combo or protecting him against removal to secure your threat, but I also like attacking with Geist to send the angel at their face/planeswalker in game one (in matchups where I’d side him out after game one) and bouncing him after hes blocked, to replay him in the next main phase.

    This also opened up room in sideboard to play around with. Tried adding more counters, but I prefer proactive cards against combos like Ethersworn canonist. Combo decks have become less and less popular around my meta, so I haven’t put as many SB slots to it atm. Eventually added some Abrupt Decays for removal. For rug delver your strategy should be to pave a way to resolve a TNN and be patient with it, having abrupt for their tarmogoyf or delver of secrets could buy you the time you need to get your mana set up through wastelands and stifles. I generally only fetch up one of my black sources (or play the one in my hand) as I am ready to cast it, since relying on deathrite shaman won’t get you far in the matchup and I don't want to lose it early to wasteland. I always loved humility but stopped running it in my lists now that reanimator/sneak and show became a less common sighting in my meta, I might try it out in sideboard again but it’s certainly a card I enjoyed in the original list.

    My list started off with 3 or 4 wastelands depending on versions, as it’s a pretty powerful card after you’ve played your main threat, but it usually doesn’t do all that much against my bad match ups, not to mention my deck can still make use of extra mana when flooding (it is pretty common to hard cast a force of will around a daze). Outside of the matchup where you go with a turn 1 dork into turn 2 stoneforge mystic to play around daze and then waste their land, this deck will rarely even bother playing wasteland on turn 2, where its most effective, so over time I went down to 1 to see how that pans out and I feel its an improvement. I’ve found that when it comes to my greedy manabase, I’m always on the defensive, being more susceptible to wasteland, and anytime my mana wasn’t bothered too much I’d always pull ahead. Most of the time the deck does poorly is when my opponent uses a removal on a mana dork followed by a wasteland, mainly delver decks, but Lands and Jund had that play as well. This is of course a side-effect of a greedy mana-base, so I swapped the wastelands for more color producing lands to power through the land destruction I suppose.
    It’s generally best to view wasteland as a spell, so in a sense I’ve increased my land count. I’ve left one in at the moment so some games I can occasionally find it with brainstorms/library when the need rises.

    With the recent print of conspiracy, Council’s Judgment replaced the Zealous Persecutions as answers to True-Name Nemesis and to add extra removal against other matchups. The card is flexible and sometimes you just need a vindicate. The opponents have to bounce their batterskull in response to your even casting it, and any card that can kill a nimble mongoose gets a few extra points.

    One thing on my mind recently is figuring out changes to have a more resilient mana base (lost to rug delver in finals in a Tarmogoyf Legacy Tournament), for the moment swapped in an Island instead of a fetchland. I’m also always hoping to refine my sideboard, mainly for different combo decks. 5 removal spells in sideboard is certainly taking a lot of room, but is mainly for my current meta.

    Quote from anwei40 »
    Cf. this Glen Jones article on 8-dork, 6-hexproof-guy Blade lists.

    The Source thread on Bant had a lot more discussion of that build whatever 4-6 months ago. When comparing with Death Blade, you're shoring up a couple downsides to the TNN plan (especially speed, with extra dorks+), but become more vulnerable to the -1/-1 effects against fair creature decks (where Geist needs a good bit of setup to be really good). I'm not sure that's worth the reduced versatility of the planeswalkers plan, when the threats don't seem strong enough in a lot of fair matches.
    With lots of fair matches with lots of removal and attrition (Jund, Miracles, BUG), where you're not really fast enough to make daze better than thoughtseize, I think I like the slightly slower, more-stable plan of Deathblade better right now.

    Deathblade is far better equipped to beat combo decks with all their disruption spells, and is a well-rounded deck at this point. I feel that this is the main reason you very rarely see bant show up anywhere.
    But I think I have a better matchup against other control/slowish decks than Deathblade can ever wish for, it feels like our endgame potential is better while also having accelerants to go aggro. Having a geist of saint traft with exalted triggers paired with our sword of fire and ice is a scary clock against decks like deathblade.

    As Anwei40 pointed out, one weakness of the deck are efficient -1/-1 effects like golgari charm / Zealous Persecution or the one I fear the most, toxic deluge. Junk or maverick decks will always side in a few copies of Zealous Persecution, one of my main hopes is to be able to clique it away when they don't have the mana up to cast it, at least until I can get a sword on a threat. Sometimes you accidentally play around it by only drawing deathrites and stoneforges into a batterskull. If we were to counter it then it would be pretty straightforward, but force of will is sided out against nearly all fair decks since it’s an overall bad card against them and you want to bring in abit of extra removal against dark confidants, especially since if they don’t draw their persecution (either by preventing bob from triggering or being lucky) your True-Name will win the game on its own.

    Another problem is against shardless bug (which is probably my worst match up) where they have toxic deluges in sideboard (sometimes in maindeck). The game will revolve around a counter-war for that field wipe (or be lucky and clique it away). If it resolves with you having enough on the board they will bury you in card advantage, so you have the decision of keeping a threat in hand until they do so, but they have a good way of enticing you to commit to the board with the incoming suspended Ancestral Vision. I haven't found a effective plan for that front yet (Jace isn’t too effective against Baleful Strix for example, but is one thing I side in). The players who play with that deck tend to rotate decks all the time and I just haven't played against it enough to figure out a solution for my list.

    I’m also soft to Supreme Verdict but that hasn’t been too bad an issue since I swapped to 3 cliques and by playing more conservatively.

    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    Quote from streetMage »

    Also like you said I want to make the deck more threat heavy.
    I think I will put two Geist in the deck...ideally I would want Goyfs since I could Green Sun for them and not have to run 4...but I'd rather spend the money to buy duals than a Goyf. Besides Goyf is neutralized by anyway.

    I also took out the Knights to run 2 Deathrites. I figure if I'm eating my own lands in the gy, its anti-synergistic with Knight...so I just threw a in the Sideboard.

    This isn't a deck for goyf, I tried him a long while back and he just did nothing. Goyf has a strong body for his mana cost and doesn't need other cards to help him, so he is either for defensive decks, low curve decks that keep all their lands/mana to disrupt (say delver), or are fine with a single mana efficient creature on the board (jund), but without alot of removal/disruption is very bland and doesn't do much when wielding an equipment. It's very rare to see a goyf and stoneforge in the same deck, even maverick never runs the guy. For an extra mana knight is a bigger threat with interaction and has extreme utility (either as a mana dork, a shuffle for brainstorm/library, to fetch karakas, or just to wasteland the opponent 3 turns in a row).

    Starting writing up an essay on how I came to my list, but It'll probly be too big unless you're in for a read, or I can just explain particular cards.
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    It's true there is very little talk about this deck, and I'll be able to go over a bunch of my decisions this weekend of how I came to shy away from Green sun package and into my list.
    The only recently successful lists of Bant is from the appearance by Sam black in 2 GPs if I recall after Reid brewed it up, but it hasn't seen enough testing and tuning so there are so many ways to make the deck still, and loads of approaches to it. Unlike RUG delver who has maybe 2 cards you can tune to your style, there is a massive portion of this deck can be tuned to your liking/playstyle once you get to play it a bunch.

    If you want to keep the GSZ package, you'll need to leave at least 1 Knight of the Reliquary in, that way you double the amount of big threats you can draw (from 3 TNN to 3xTNN+3xGSZ). Main reason my deck is pulling ahead is the sheer amounts of threats I keep drawing that outlast any answer/counters from my opponent if given enough time. I also STRONGLY recommend Sword of Fire and Ice (at least in sideboard), I had put it maindeck in Sam's list and it was the all-star of the deck. The only time I was happy to have Dryad arbor in my deck was against the control decks where at end of turn after a terminus (or after jund pulled 2-3 removal, or a timely ) I'd crack my fetch, grab Dryad, equip sword, swing in again and be right back in a offensive position.

    It's very unfortunate you don't get to put much testing in, I personally wish I had the cards on mtgo so I can push my testing to fine tune it some more (No SCG here in Canada, but my buds and I are playing more and more competitively so a road trip to play at a Open might soon be worth the effort), as all the changes since original list are from things that just wouldn't do what I expected out of them or cards I needed for my bad match-ups and how I'm at my list. Usually after a few weeks of losing against something, or by one of(or lack of) my cards, I'll look for a way to fix it. For example I've noticed that I've only searched for Umezawa's Jitte a single time with stoneforge in 4 weeks, while Sword of Fire and Ice did the same thing while allowing my other threats to go through opposing TNNs and was just a higher clock while still killing off creatures (plus the card drawing helps you protect that threat). Jitte was under-performing compared to the sword, and was only good on a TNN, so I put it in sideboard as there are still some match-ups I need it (elves, burn, brews) and I've been happy with that decision for a season now.

    Abrupt Decay is mainly for all the delver match-ups as well as a effective answer to counterbalance, I went from 2 to 3 the other week and it's just been a huge boost. In post-board games I have the option to mimic esper deathblade with all the removal I bring in and play a controlling game against delver decks where my goal is to reach 3 mana and pulling off a single abrupt on their primary threat will help a lot in surviving the storm of wastelands and stifle (from rug), as I have a far better late-game than a delver deck can pull off.
    Having flexible sideboard cards is important in a diverse playing field. It's basically an additional removal you can side in for some creature match-ups, and it is also invaluable against decks that bring in troublesome artifacts (Painter or Tezz for example) to answer chalices and bridges, and it's useful against any tier 2-3 decks that you might not expect to run into (you can abrupt for example)
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
  • posted a message on [Primer] Bant Aggro (Midrange)
    Quote from streetMage »
    Thanks for the reply..is deathrite the only black card you are running?
    Do you play TNN?

    It is, outside of 3 abrupts in sideboard (invaluable against delver and some other less popular decks)
    I used to have 2 in the sideboard against TNN (one of the reason I splashed black) but its since been swapped to the council's judgements
    Went 4-0 again this week (r1 U/W stoneblade, r2 burn, r3 Tezz, r4 UWR delver), this is the list I've been running where I've abandoned the toolbox green sun package.
    The only card I miss sometimes is knight and Teeg for the show and tell matchups, but that deck has almost disappeared from my meta so its been paying off.

    I can explain the card choices that are different than the norm if you are curious
    Posted in: Developing (Legacy)
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