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Bant Keep a Good Deck Down

The narrative going into the Pro Tour weekend was: “will the pros figure out how to beat all these insane white cards or is everyone doomed to never see beyond level 1?”

The tournament didn’t disappoint and everyone learned that “oh, wow there is a lot of crazy stuff going on here at level 2.”

For instance, there are some sweet new “team ups” going on:

Not just for blue decks anymore…

‘Tis the winter of your discontent—except it doesn’t end…

If this is wrong, I don’t wanna be Rite…

There was so much awesome new stuff going on that it was hard not be be overwhelmed and excited about all the new technology and innovations: BG Aristocrats, Goggles in everything but blue decks, Ramp is back, Finkel is playing a Seasons Past deck, and blue tap-out control is back on the map!

So many options. I know you are excited. I am too. But I have some harrowing and unfortunate news. I’m fairly certain that everything I thought was true before the Pro Tour is probably still true after the Pro Tour.

Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. After all—CoCo did get second place…

Bant Company

Andrea Mengucci

The narrative feels like a celebration of the diversity of Standard with all the new brews and that fact the Humans or Company didn’t win. On the other hand, there is evidence that supports the idea that the known “best decks” are still going to be dominant in Standard moving forward.

Collected Company is Better than Everything Else

The new boss is the same as the old boss.

Remember last season when the format declined into 4c Rally versus everything else? Remember how everyone was so excited to finally see Rally go away?

Well, the truth of the matter is that “yes, Rally is gone,” but “oops, the problem was always actually Collected Company.” At its core, Rally was just an awesome Collected Company deck that had a weird Rally win condition. But the truth of the matter is that the deck never really needed the Rally to be a good deck—it was just icing on the cake.

Boarded it out anyway…

Even with Rally the Ancestors gone, the key core of the deck is still absolutely fantastic and arguably much better than before!

Some hometown heroes.

Some trade deadline acquisitions.

While 4c Rally may have lost Rally the Ancestors, the deck gained a bunch of solid beatdown plan creatures that give the deck a ton of staying power. Recruiter and Tracker both give the deck a ton of late game and built-in card advantage (which is very similar to the role that Rally used to play).

The difference is that now the card advantage is built into cards that the deck can play naturally, which facilitates the aggro beatdown plan much better.

4c Rally was the best deck in previous Standard because it was the best Collected Company deck in the format. The key is that Collected Company is actually far and away the best card in Standard because it has all of the following things built into it:

  1. Makes mana. When you hit, you get 6 mana worth of creatures at the cost of 4 mana.
  2. Card advantage. 1 card gets you 2 cards into play.
  3. Positional advantage. The card is an instant: you can play it at any time.

It does all of the things that are good in Magic built into one extremely powerful and efficient card.

Collected Company is among the best strategies in Modern (Abzan Company) and the cornerstone card is legal in Standard!

Also, unlike a lot of other Modern all-star cards, the payoff for CoCo is to play 3-cost creatures, which is something that you actually want to be doing in Standard right now. There is an embarrassment of riches at 3 mana in Standard right now.

3—it’s the magic number.

The key to why I think Bant is the deck to play moving forward hinges on the fact that Collected Company is the most powerful card and most powerful strategy in Standard.

With Our Powers Combined (We Can Beat It, Right?)

Sure.

Yes, absolutely—if you show up playing enough Languish, Dispel, Hallowed Moonlight, and the exact right mix of hate cards, Collected Company is a deck that can be “hated out.”

Here is the problem: your “haterade deck” probably sucks against the other half of the field. At the last Open of the season I played a sweet Mardu Green build that was all tricked out to crush 4c Rally. I couldn’t lose to that deck in a million years with my build. Guess how many times I played against it in 15 rounds?

You got it! ZERO TIMES. I did get to play RG Ramp 5 times, though. D’oh.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that even when you have a great brew, you don’t necessarily get to pick what you play against. Yes, you can play the numbers game and determine what you are likely to play against, but I’d much rather play some variation of a “powerful deck” than a deck that is hoping to prey on specific matchups.

Collected Company is the epitome of a “good, powerful deck” because it can handle lots of different roles depending on the situation because of the strength of its cards. There are no “situational cute cards” that are sometimes dead and rotting in your hand—every card is a threat that generates cascading advantage.

CoCo in Toronto?

You are going to see Collected Company make a statement in Toronto this upcoming weekend. First of all, there are so many new things that people want to try right now because of the Pro Tour. There are so many new decks and a good portion of these new decks are more controlling in nature.

The downside is that most of these new decks were designed to be good against Humans and Company.

The upside is that these decks must now operate in the framework of a format where there are other control decks running around. How do decks adapt? Well, they tend to get better against other control decks by cutting sweepers and removal for control-mirror-type cards.

I think this is great news for Collected Company and Humans decks. As the format opens up for more diverse midrange and control decks, it will inherently become less hostile for the aggressive creature decks.

The circle of life is a wheel of fortune. Speaking of evolution, check out this sweet CoCo deck playing Displacer…

Bant Company

Yuta Takahashi

Blinking Reflector Mages is nasty.

All decks are going to need to start adapting to the new Standard but be careful not to overlook the raw power of Collected Company. Whether you are playing it in Bant or giving LSV’s BG Aristocrats shell a test drive, be sure to keep the strategy on your radar.

Also, remember that a lot of these new decks had the upper hand because the players on traditional decks didn’t know what cards they were playing with. Not the case anymore. My plan for this week is to test out the various Collected Company decks against all of the new decks and figure out how to be best prepared to beat these builds.

Whether it be Mengucci’s traditional Bant CoCo, Takahashi’s Displacer version, or LSV’s BG Aristocrats, the one thing I know for sure is that I’m 100% going to be playing Collected Company on Saturday in Toronto!

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