Whispers of the Muse: Triumph’s “Bant on the March”
Welcome to another installment of the most popular (and to my knowledge only) crowdsourcing precon deck tinkering advice column on the internet! Today we’re back with an interesting twist courtesy of Triumph: block constructed! Here’s what he had to say…
The recent Top 5 article made me aware of the Bant on the March deck (and it’s predecessor Bant Exalted). I saw them mentioned, decided to look them up, and thought “Hey…this is pretty cool!” I like the artistic style of Bant, the flavorful exalted mechanic, and the flavor of combining Blue, White, and Green. So, I’d like to meddle with “Bant on the March.”
I like trying to experience block flavor, so let’s restrict the card pool for making additions to the deck to the Alara block (Shards of Alara, Conflux, Alara Reborn). In good low-budget fashion, stick mostly with commons and uncommons, though if you want to suggest just one or two fun and inexpensive (e.g. less than two dollars) rares, that’s fine. (Also, no Path to Exile, because that card is uncommon but crazy expensive.)
I want to keep the WUG tri-color Bant quality, but I’m open to different directions. I’m was thinking aggro is the main focus, but with some control tools (Bant Charm is quite impressive!). I noticed this three-color combination has access to a lot of very efficient 2-cost creatures, such as Deft Duelist, Naya Hushblade, Esper Stormblade).Those three in particular offer either evasion (flying) or protection from enemy spells (shroud).
The idea would be to swarm with lots of efficient 2-costers like them while also having enough exatled presence (Aven Squire and Qasali Pridemage look good, as does Ardent Plea) to have the option of making a powerful flying or shrouded exalted strike if the opportunity appeared. Rhox War Monk is cool – maybe add more of him? A couple Behemoth Sledges (which don’t work on shroud dudes) could make other guys strong stronger and give pseudo evasiveness with trample (setting up another possible exalted attacker)? One rare that jumped out at me as I looked over the block’s cards was Knight of New Alara, which gives most almost all these creatures +2/+2 or even +3/+3.
Here’s the stock decklist:
Who’s got some ideas to make this a rockin’ 60-card construction to let Triumph live up to his name? What would you cut, what would you keep- and what would you add?
Hi Triumph! Bant exalted is a pretty interesting deck to build, and can be great without having to get expensive rares.
I would suggest getting a playset of Akrasan squires and Qasali pridemages (the first’s great as your first turn drop, and the second is pretty solid and serves as answer against pesky artifacts or enchts.). I’d also up the Aven squire count to 4, cheap exalted on an evasive body, you definitely want those.
Between Behemot sledge and Deft duelist (i like them both, but i think they’re incompatible), i have used Deft duelist and i love it, but i’d go with the sledges. An humongous lifelinked trampler is no joke.
Then we get to my favourite exalted card, Ardent plea. 4 of these, no doubts. If you restrict yourself to have support spells with converted cost 3 or more, as Bant chamr or Oblivion ring, every time you cast the plea you will get one of the three creatures mentioned before AND an extra exalted source, for a measly extra blue mana, not a bad deal.
Finally, i wouldn’t add more Rhox war monks because of their restrictive cost, and the fact you will probably be packing sledges for life gain. There are a few creatures that fit well at that point of the mana curve. Guardians of Akrasa stop fast decks while pumping your champion, and you can get a fine all-round warrior for 4 mana with Rhox charger.
Good luck with the deck!
I believe that Varo is spot on; in an exalted build one must curve nicely. That is facilitated by having a one drop. Also, you should add 2 stellar two drops: Sigiled paladin and Jhessian Infiltrator. First strike on a huge creature is always nice, but for the Infiltrator, Exalted is amazing. I will leave it to you to decide between 3 and 4 for it, though, as it doesn’t have exalted, but you want to see this very consistantly.
I will also suggest Finest Hour. It has exalted, and more combat steps is always good. However, it gets even better with exalted, because exalted triggers on every, I repeat, every attack. Additionally, it appears that if you have multiple copies out on the battlefield, the extra combat steps stack. In other words, the only downside is that it is expensive in the mana cost. I would recommend 1 or 2 of these.
Lastly, for the fun factor, try a few Ooze Gardens. Attack with one creature, it gets pumped up with exalted, and sac it to Ooze garden to make a huge Ooze token. Next turn, attack with the Ooze token for massive amounts of damage.
That is all I have to say, and good luck with your deck!
I think Predator Ooze is triple green, but if it isn’t, it’d be another option too for a different creature. Though if I’m building around exalted, I don’t know if I’d bother with many or any non-exalted creatures.
I strongly recommend getting rid of the Rhox Bodyguards.. way too expensive for what they do.
Ooh! I’m loving the suggestions! I do have a question: Is the WW cost of Sigiled Paladin an issue in a deck where I want to get WUG out as quickly as possible (either I play an extra Plains and slow my multicolors like, or I don’t and then can’t play SigPal until later)?
If you go for Exalted, I don’t see it being a problem. Just adjust your manabase based off teh color weight of your deck. Plus, you have access to U and all that draw power. Then G with all that ramp. Mana shouldn’t in theory be a problem.
My Bant deck is built around Knight of New Alara. I use the Hushblade and Bant Sureblade to the max with it. 1 Knight gives both of those +3/+3. (I think) That’s insane. Now if another drops, wohoo! Could easily change the Hushblade out for Debt Duelist to keep it Bant flavored. Or 4 Hushblades with 4 Duelists for one very unhappy opponent. I really like the Blade cycle.
Another card to consider is Hindering Light. Counterspell (for targeted spells) + cantrip = yay! Especially in casual. Depends on your meta if you use it or not.
I didn’t go the exalted route. I did use Knotvine Paladin for Super-Exalted. It’s another option for me as I don’t like all my eggs in any one basket.
Obviously you use Blue to draw. Green to provide some ramp. The curve of these decks from what I’ve seen is fairly low. Mine averages 4 only because I use 2 Empyrical Archangels (one of my favorite cards) You want to get as many exalted creatures (or not in my case) out as fast as possible and use your extra mana for Bant Charms/Counterspells/Refilling your hand/ whatever. Aggro deck likes to be agro.
Okay! What you guys have helped me see is that there are really two different Bant decks I could build (or maybe I’ll do both): an Exalted-heavy deck, or a multi-color-Knight-of-New-Alara deck. These suggestions have helped me focus! For the Exalted route, here’s what I’ve decided on so far:
x4 Seaside Citadel
x2 Terramorphic Expanse
x1 Finest Hour 2GWU
x4 Rhox Charger 3G
x4 Ardent Plea 1WU
x4 Bant Charm GWU
x3 Behemoth Sledge 1WG
x4 Qasali Pridemage GW
x4 Aven Squire 1W
x2 Sigiled Paladin WW
x4 Akrasan Squire W
That’s 23 instances of Exalted, four flyers, four tramplers, and three Sledges to give Trample (i.e. plenty of evasion stuff to help ensure an Exalted attacker gets through). Still need to fill out about six more cards…thoughts? I’m thinking mostly I need some more 2-cost-ers (?), though I was wondering about adding a Dauntless Escort (as another way to help make sure a powerful Exalted attacked gets through). Regarding lands, would a couple Ancient Ziggurats worthwhile? Or does the restriction get in the way?
I’m also excited about the version Icehawk described, I just need to think about it more.
I wouldn’t bother with the Escort if this is for a casual environment. You’re likely to have a very large flyer/tramper (or both) rather quickly between the cascade and all. You have to remember if they don’t block, it’s a lot of damage. If they do, something’s probably dying, but you also have all those other creatures sitting back able to block whatever they do or easily replace that one creature. Board wipe is the best solution for them, and that’s why you pack Bant Charm (assuming its an instant). 🙂
I’d avoid the Ziggurats. That works great in a Sliver deck, but here I’d prefer a ton of basics with a few cultivates or something along those lines. The restriction may not matter much, but it’s nothing good old fashion ramp can’t do better.
So those last 6 slots I’d split it between ramp and draw. The draw doesn’t have to be the best, but just efficient or something along the lines of ponder/preordain to tweak your draws. Then throw in a couple Cultivates or whatever to thin and ramp your deck.
I love Bant Charm, but you may find Mana Leak or such better since it can counter anything. All meta dependent.
Oh! Don’t forget Knotvine Paladin gets all of it’s +1/+1 plus all those Exalted triggers, if memory serves me right. Give it a Sledge and it’s answer or game over. It’s another good 2 cmc you can consider over say a pair of those Chargers.
Following up on your suggestions, I’ve poked around among Alara block cards and discovered Trace of Abundance, which serves as both mana ramping AND mana fixing (and seems more worthwhile than the alternative of Steward of Valeron that only gives G). In go three copies.
There are quite a few filter / draw options. Kaleidostone, Relic of Progenitus, and Worldly Counsel have net cost of 2 to get 1 draw (though the punningly titled Worldly Counsel gives some choice in what I get). Armillary Sphere has net cost 4 and gets me two lands. Gift of the Gargantuan is 3 cmc and potentially gives me 2 cards and some choice, but could fizzle if I get a pile of enchantments and spells. Courier’s Capsule gives two draws for net cost of 4. I’m trying to decide between Worldly Counsel or Courier’s Capsule.
I don’t like either of those two draws. Worldly uses domain, you’ll at most have domain of 3. Not bad, but… Courier’s I just don’t care for.
If you want to dig a little then draw, Foresee is a solid option. Or if you want raw draw with a bit of recursion power, Ajani v Bolas had Deep Analysis. I love that card.
I wanted to come back to this, just for the sake of posterity, in case anyone else stumbles across this and is interested in similar decks. For a “meddled” version of Bant On The March, here’s…
Bant On The March Version 2.0: Bant Goes Marching On
x1 Finest Hour – RARE
x3 Rhox Charger
x4 Ardent Plea
x4 Bant Charm
x3 Behemoth Sledge
x4 Ethercaste Knight
x4 Aven Squire
x2 Sigiled Paladin
x1 Knotvine Paladin – RARE
x3 Trace of Abundance
x3 Valeron Outlander
x4 Akrasan Squire W
And 24 lands
This enhanced precon deck is all about sending in an Exalted champion to destroy the opponent.
Following the non-Exalted direction described above by Icehawk, I created another deck, which with it’s use of Knight of New Alara and it’s emphasis on “multicolor matters” could be be considered a “meddled” version of the Eternal Siege precon from Alara Reborn. Here’s…
Eternal Siege Version 2.0: The Siege Is On
4 Bant Sureblade
4 Esper Stormblade
4 Naya Hushblade
4 Deft Duelist
4 Qasali Pridemage
4 Rhox War Monk
4 Bant Charm
2 Courier’s Capsule
2 Knight of New Alara – RARE
2 Hindering Light
2 Sigil Blessing
And 24 lands
This is a more of Bant weenie swarm.
If anyone reads this…enjoy Bant! I plan to! Thanks to all who commented, and to Jay for making this whole thing available!
Comments are welcome, if anyone actually does read this. I’ll try to check back eventually.