Earlier this week, I talked about RB Knights and today I have a guide for the second deck that I would strongly consider playing at the MCQ this weekend – Bant Adventures.
This deck got popularized by Crokeyz, a popular streamer who likes to brew new decks. This time, he came up with Bant Adventures and it is basically the perfect counter to R/B Knights, which happen to be very popular on ladder at the moment. After watching him play it on his stream, I tried the deck myself and made a few changes. Here’s my reasoning and how to play it.
4 Hydroid Krasis 4 Paradise Druid 3 Giant Killer/Chop Down 3 Shepherd of the Flock/Usher to Safety 3 Brazen Borrower/Petty Theft 4 Edgewall Innkeeper 4 Lovestruck Beast/Heart's Desire - Showcase 2 Questing Beast 4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World 4 Teferi, Time Raveler 4 Temple Garden 4 Breeding Pool 4 Hallowed Fountain 2 Temple of Mystery 2 Plains (331) 2 Island (335) 4 Forest (347) 3 Fabled Passage Sideboard 4 Devout Decree 2 Aether Gust 2 Negate 1 Giant Killer/Chop Down 2 The Great Henge 2 Return to Nature 2 Sorcerous Spyglass
3 Brazen Borrower (ELD) 39
4 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
4 Edgewall Innkeeper (ELD) 151
3 Fabled Passage (ELD) 244
4 Forest (ELD) 269
3 Giant Killer (ELD) 14
4 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251
4 Hydroid Krasis (RNA) 183
2 Island (ELD) 257
4 Lovestruck Beast (ELD) 165
4 Nissa, Who Shakes the World (WAR) 169
4 Paradise Druid (WAR) 171
2 Plains (ELD) 252
3 Shepherd of the Flock (ELD) 28
4 Teferi, Time Raveler (WAR) 221
4 Temple Garden (GRN) 258
2 Temple of Mystery (M20) 255
2 Questing Beast (ELD) 171
2 Aether Gust (M20) 42
4 Devout Decree (M20) 13
1 Giant Killer (ELD) 14
2 The Great Henge (ELD) 161
2 Sorcerous Spyglass (ELD) 233
2 Negate (M20) 69
2 Return to Nature (ELD) 173
How does the deck work?
This deck is basically a combination of Selesnya Adventures and Simic Ramp, and you get to play the best of both worlds. Edgewall Innkeeper gives you an amazing, cheap card drawing engine, while Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Hydroid Krasis provide you with a way to go over the top of most decks. You are trying to survive the early game with cards like Lovestruck Beast until Nissa and Hydroid take over. Teferi and Giant Killer are both very well positioned now as well.
3 Giant Killer – Right now, R/B Knights is all over the ladder and Giant Killer is the best answer to Rotting Regisaur because you get to kill it at instant speed after making them discard an extra card. It also works against other currently very popular creatures like Lovestruck Beast or Bonecrusher Giant.
3 Shepherd of the Flock – At first I wasn’t a big fan of this card because it feels very situational, but I finally came around. It’s great at saving your permanents from removal and at worst it draws you a card from Innkeeper and beats down for 3. It’s not great against an opposing Lovestruck Beast though, so don’t be afraid to board it out.
2 Questing Beast – This is something where my list differs from Crokeyz’s but I really like Questing Beast. It’s just a good solid creature that kills planeswalkers and trades against Rotting Regisaur. I tried three but it was too many, two is a good number.
4 Paradise Druid – I believe this card is necessary in any deck that plays 3 colors and Nissa, Who Shakes the World. The reason why it’s better than Growth Spiral is that this deck doesn’t actually play that many lands – 25 just isn’t enough to consistently have an extra land in hand. Spiral is also much better in decks that also play other instants and want to keep mana open. If they try to play around your Quench, you can simply play Growth Spiral instead and still make sure you use all your mana. Lastly, decks like Simic Flash actively want to ramp from 2 to 4. This deck doesn’t really have anything on 4, it’s just Nissa on 5, so you care more about fixing your colors.
3 Fabled Passage, 2 Temple of Mystery – 5 enter-the-battlefield-tapped lands was something that I wasn’t entirely happy with, so feel free to cut a Temple if you are having similar issues. Alternatively, you can also tweet at Frank Karsten and ask him what the actual correct mana base is.
4 Devout Decree – In a field full of R/B Knights and cards like Mayhem Devil being the key in Jund Sacrifice decks, this is one of the best sideboard cards you can currently have. Don’t leave home without 4.
Aether Gust comes in against Simic decks and Monored. I don’t bring it in against R/B Knights though, not enough good targets for it.
The Great Henge is one of my favorite cards for winning grindy matchups, like against G/B Adventures. I mostly just bring it in against decks where I expect my Lovestruck Beast to survive or when I know that the game is gonna go long.
Negate comes mostly against decks with Wrath effects or Fires of Invention and I believe it is strictly better than Dovin’s Veto here. The reason for that is that it doesn’t require two colors of mana to cast, which means that with Nissa, you can immediately untap a Breeding Pool and hold up Negate, something that isn’t possible with Veto.
Sorcerous Spyglass is in the sideboard to stop Witch’s Oven and Return to Nature is mostly against Fires of Invention. Crokeyz had Mystical Dispute in this slot, but for me the card just wasn’t pulling its weight.
What are this deck’s good and bad matchups?
One of the reasons why this deck was doing so well for me was a good matchup against R/B Knights and other creature decks, especially when Giant Killer is good. Your bad matchups are decks like Jund Sacrifice, but for some reason I haven’t played against too many on ladder lately. Jeskai Fires can also be tough.
What are you looking for in an opening hand?
A solid mix of lands and spells, but not too many expensive cards. Ideally you want a hand with Lovestruck Beast and Edgewall Inkeeper so you can begin the game with solid defense while drawing some extra cards. Teferi is also one of the cards that you want to play early, while Nissa and Hydroid Krasis are something that I would rather not have in my opening hand. This deck curves out pretty well, so don’t be afraid to mulligan for something cheaper to start the game with.
How can we make this deck better with Theros Beyond Death?
Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis looks like an obvious choice and it fits perfectly into this deck that otherwise doesn’t have anything else exciting on the 4-drop slot other than Questing Beast. Banishing Light seems like a great cheap answer to any problematic permanent. Ashiok’s Erasure could be an interesting option against cards like Fires of Invention or Time Wipe, making sure they can’t cast any additional copies of their most important card.
Thryx, the Sudden Storm could be a good card against pure control decks to make sure they either have to tap out at the end of their turn or they won’t be able to counter your Nissa or Hydroid.
Resolving Arasta, the Endless Web against something like U/R Flash could mean game over.
Dryad of the Illysian Grove seems great with Nissa, as you can ramp into it on turn 4 and then help you make sure to hold up Negate afterwards.
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is also an interesting option how to “Explore” into 5 mana on turn 4, but the mana requirements would probably mean you would have to play a bunch of Temples or go down to 2 colors only.
Tips and Tricks
– If you have both Edgewall Innkeeper and Lovestruck Beast in your opening hand, make sure you lead with the 1/1 adventure token and play your Innkeeper on turn 2. That way you are giving your opponent a smaller window to kill it with a removal spell.
– I’ve mentioned this trick already, but if you have Brazen Borrower and your opponent has a Rotting Regisaur with no cards in hand, you can wait for their upkeep, put the discard trigger on the stack and bounce whatever you want to effectively kill this way.
– Don’t be afraid to simply play Giant Killer as a 1/2 sometimes, even if you aren’t drawing a card from Innkeeper for it. It still has the tap ability and sometimes it’s good to have an extra creature in play to protect your planeswalkers.
– Shepherd of the Flock effectively counters adventure creatures with a removal side by making the spell “fizzle” by returning your creature back to your hand. If you have a suspicion they are about to use Murderous Rider, Brazen Borrower or Bonecrusher Giant, then this is a very strong counter.
If you are still having trouble with Embercleave, you can replace Return to Nature in the sideboard with Thrashing Brontodon and bring them in as well. Keep in mind that Teferi makes it really awkward for them to use Embercleave effectively.
This matchup doesn’t feel very good because of how strong Mayhem Devil is against your X/1 creatures. My approach is to board them out and become a Nissa control with some countermagic and Spyglass for their Oven combo. You can also board out 4 Teferi and keep more creatures and The Great Henge so you can outgrind them instead.
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