Knight of the Reliquary in Modern: Bant Pile

The other deck I want to talk about was brought to me by one of my viewers during a stream. He claimed that he had been putting up good results with it recently, and his list looked sound to me so I decided to give it a shot. I have enjoyed my fair share of success with it as well, even picking up a couple trophies along the way:

Some of you might recognize this deck and question which year it is, as it is extremely similar to what Wrapter used to come in 2nd at the very first Modern PT in Philly back in 2011.


Josh Utter-Leyton, 2nd place at Pro Tour Philadelphia

I don’t really remember if the deck stopped seeing play before or after the ban of Green Sun’s Zenith, but it seems like rumors of Counter-Cat’s demise might have been greatly exaggerated. I’m only seven Leagues in, but my results have been pretty impressive, though the deck definitely has a burn feel to it in that you’d better not flood out. A lot of my games have come down to me topdecking a burn spell or an Elspeth on the last possible turn, but the deck has felt good and it seems to have game against most of the current archetypes. Playing something rogue has also helped, as people might play around something like Collected Company, or not expect as much burn and counterspells, letting themselves drop too low or playing spells on my turn instead of casting them while I’m tapped out. Even something like your opponents not exactly knowing how many basics you have in your deck might cost them percentage points.

Cheap threats backed up by countermagic is not a bad place to be right now, and even though Voice of Resurgence might once again seem out of place, it is important in most matchups and even something as small as leaving a 1/1 token after an All is Dust might be the difference between a win and a loss. Death’s Shadow is going to have a hard time playing around your annoying creatures as well as the burn spells, and I’ve been beating up on the flavor-of-the-month Blue End pretty badly (even though they have been really bad at assembling their combo).

Abzan (and Jund to a lesser degree) seems like it might be a rough matchup, and I’ve also struggled against Burn, Elves, and Dredge. I also suspect any Blood Moon decks are going to be bad pairings and Rest in Peace hinders most of your threats.

The miser’s Pridemage and Bant Charm have been surprisingly good and the jury is still out on Elspeth. I’m fairly certain it’s better than something like Gideon, Ally of Zendikar since you’re looking for the extra reach more than the card advantage, but I wouldn’t hate cutting one of the planeswalker and making the curve lower. Unfortunately, there aren’t many good options. I think Nacatl and Hierarch are the only viable 1-drops, and past Path, Bolt, and Helix, the drop-off is fairly steep as far as spells go, but Boros Charm and Tribal Flames (for 4 at best) might be okay as well. I tried Renegade Rallier, and even though it seems good in theory, it was awkward.

I was happy with the sideboard too, though I might try to fit at least a copy of Ancient Grudge. My other top candidates would be Voice #4, Bojuka Bog, Reclamation Sage (a decent solution to Blood Moon and Rest in Peace) or maybe Kitchen Finks.

I’ve felt like I had been running hot, not flooding out much at all, but I think one of the reasons for that and one of the deck’s greatest strengths is that you get to play a low land count. You thin your deck a lot with all of the fetchlands and the KotR activations and you get to run Horizon Canopy. Cards like Tarmogoyf and KotR are respectable on turns 2 and 3 and stay relevant throughout the entire game, so while you’re trying to punch through as much damage as possible as fast as possible to get them into burn range, you can also win some of the longer, grindier games.

I know lots of people were excited to see Wild Nacatl back in action, so if it’s something you’ve missed too, make sure you give the deck a try. Let me know if you any questions or suggestions about the deck!


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