Hi everybody! My name is Bas Melis (SteelKitten on MTG Arena) and I ascended to mythic level by exclusively playing Bant Nexus. As I was leveling up, a broken new card from Ravnica Allegiance was spoiled: Wilderness Reclamation.
In this article, I will tell the tale of my quest to mythic and look at how Bant Nexus will change with the new Ravnica Allegiance cards.
Since most of the metagame on Arena consists of white aggro decks, mono-red, and B/G midrange, with a splash of U/R Drakes and Jeskai Control, Bant Nexus is well-positioned. The deck has a great game 1 against most decks in Standard, with a few exceptions. Mono-Blue Aggro is the worst matchup, but it’s almost non-existent on the ladder. Mono-Red on the draw with a good opening is tough to beat, but you at least win the die roll half the time. Jeskai Control with a lot of counterspells and a savvy pilot can be quite difficult, but most Jeskai builds are tuned to beat the abundance of aggro decks.
I made it to mythic rank within a week, losing about half the games to Mono-Red and winning close to everything else. This was the list I used:
- Three Treasure Maps. With an investment of a few mana in the early game, you gain back mana on the crucial turns 5/6/7 with the added bonus that mana can be filtered into cards.
- 24 lands. I started with 26 lands at first, but I was flooding out a lot. Thanks to the best-of-one mulligan rule on MTG Arena, I hardly mulligan even with lower land counts. And Treasure Map also finds lands if needed. So I settled on 24.
- Two The Mirari Conjecture. Getting back Fogs is better than playing more Fogs. This card represents a lot of card advantage and usually wins the game outright when it goes off.
- One Expansion // Explosion as the only real win condition. Against decks with Nexus of Fate and to win games faster, I play one real win condition that can be brought back with The Mirari Conjecture.
As of writing this, I’ve won 35 of the 52 games I’ve played on mythic level. I came in as #51, went as low as #132, and as high as #4. I will keep trying to end up higher, even though a losing streak might plummet my ranking instantly.
To make Bant Nexus better, Ravnica Allegiance gives us Breeding Pool and Hallowed Fountain (which are welcome additions), as well as Growth Spiral (more and faster mana acceleration is great). But I’m even more interested in Wilderness Reclamation. The card is completely busted, especially in a deck built around Azcanta and Nexus of Fate. It straight up pays for itself the turn you play it, and it essentially doubles your mana each turn as long as you play enough instants. Imagine this play pattern:
Turn 2: Growth Spiral.
Turn 3: Wilderness Reclamation. Keep mana up for Chemister’s Insight or Root Snare.
Turn 4: Teferi + Nexus of Fate. Good game.
If you have multiple Wilderness Reclamations, they all have individual triggers. So you can tap all lands in response to each trigger, floating mana multiple times. For instance, with two Wilderness Reclamation and seven lands on the battlefield, you can activate Azcanta three times and play a Nexus with mana to spare. Or just cast an Explosion for 18!
Here’s a deck list to consider:
Bant Nexus Reclamations
This is, of course, a premature list. Maybe some countermagic is necessary or Precognitive Perception might be an excellent addition. In any case, Growth Spiral requires an increase in the land count, and Wilderness Reclamation adds mana, so I had to cut Gift of Paradise to have enough room for business spells.
It might be possible that Wilderness Reclamation is a design mistake by Wizards. The fact that the card is an uncommon and was given as a preview card to a Commander podcast adds credibility to the theory that they just missed the Standard applications.
But if this card is as powerful as I believe it is, we will all encounter a lot more Nexus of Fate decks in future Standard. Future Standard players would be wise to pack more main deck enchantment hate like Mortify (coincidence?). I, for one, am excited to push Wilderness Reclamation to the extreme.