Bant vs. Emrakul vs. The World

Pro Tour Eldritch Moon was a memorable one. The pros found a way to take lemons and make a refreshing hard lemonade summertime beverage. Going into the event, the entire conversation swung around the narrative, “Bant CoCo is completely dominant—somebody show us a way out of this fresh hell!”

My expectation was that the best players working together could and would find the weak spot in Bant CoCo’s armor. Yet, Bant had been so ridiculously dominant through two Opens that I had some lingering doubts.

When the dust cleared and the Top 8 was finalized, I saw a dynamic new format beginning to take shape:

  • Bant CoCo – Luis Scott Vargas
  • Bant CoCo – Yuuta Takahashi
  • Temur Eldrazi (Emrakul) – Owen Turtenwald
  • Temur Eldrazi (Emrakul) – Andrew Brown
  • RG Eldrazi (Emrakul) – Reid Duke
  • RG Ramp (Emrakul) – Ken Yokuhiro
  • GB Delirium (Emrakul) – Samuel Pardee
  • BW Control – Lukas Blohon

There are dozens of ripe-for-the picking discussion topics in the Top 8 alone (#Top8ics? I’m going to use that going forward). The two I will focus on today are 1) How dominant will Emrakul be? and 2) Why Bant CoCo is far from dead.

NostraDeMars Persists

My Pro Tour predictions were as follows:

Top 8

  • 3 Bant CoCo
  • 2 UR Emerge
  • 2 GBx Delirium
  • 1 GW Tokens

My winning deck and card:

My Champion in the race:

  • BBD

All things considered, I’m not ready to concede my psychic powers are not real. I’m also not ready to go on Venkman’s World of the Psychic either. I had the unknown commodity of UR Emerge being the breakout deck of the tournament and Emrakul being the breakout card.

Aside from the fun and games of trying to pick winners, I did have a strategy for thinking about what the PT Eldritch Moon metagame might look.

First of all, Bant Company was the known commodity. Everybody who couldn’t figure out how to beat it would be playing it. Spell Queller and Reflector Mage are too good to ignore.

Second, various black removal-based decks had proven they had the tools to hang with Bant already. I expected more finely tuned versions of the deck to be a player.

Lastly, I had faith that Kozilek’s Return + emerge creatures would show up and perform. I didn’t know exactly what they would look like, but I knew the combo was good enough.

The New 3 Pillars of Standard—Bant, Eldrazi, and Black

Bant CoCo

Sometimes people overlook the obvious. It should be obvious that Bant Company was, and still is, one of the best decks in Standard.

Tempo decks with cards like these are a force to be reckoned with.

Just because the deck didn’t put up as dominant a finish at the PT as it had at the previous Opens doesn’t mean the deck isn’t still great. You have to keep in mind that Bant had a gigantic bullseye on its back, and that all the new technology was heavily geared toward beating Bant.

As the new decks jockey for position against one another and become less Bant-hate-centric, it will take some pressure off Company. It also stands to reason that Bant mages will be able to improve their decks and odds as they spend the week testing against the new gauntlet of emerge and black control.

Keep in mind that LSV could have played anything and the man, the myth, the legend chose to play Bant CoCo…

Bant Company

Luis Scott Vargas, Top 4 at PT Eldritch Moon

My expectation is that Bant Company is still the best deck in the format and will put up the best numbers moving forward. Think about what happened after PT Shadows over Innistrad: Bant was the favorite going in and the Top 8 was a few Bant and a bunch of sweet decks that beat Bant. But as the format lingered on the various GW decks, it turned out that they had the best tools to fight back.

I predict a reassertion of Bant CoCo in the near future!

All the Flavors of Emrakul

The breakout card from Pro Tour Eldritch Moon is 100% Emrakul, the Promised End. Emrakul was in 5 of the Top 8 decks with as many as 3 copies in a single deck!

The reason I was so high on Sultai Delirium Control was because it was the best Emrakul deck I had seen thus far. I actually didn’t have the imagination to envision that Emrakul could go into a whole host of other decks as well!

In the Top 8 alone, we saw Emrakul featured as a prominent strategy in RG Ramp, BG Delirium, and Temur Emerge!

All of these decks featuring Emrakul are great, but the one that stands out to me as the most unique is Owen’s Temur Emerge deck:

Temur Emerge

Owen Turtenwald, 2nd Place at PT Eldritch Moon

I really like Owen’s deck and the way it fuses the raw power of Eldrazi + Kozilek’s Return in a delirium shell.

An uncounterable, one-sided wrath effect like Kozilek’s Return is so strong against Company, which is why the #TemurEldrazi continue to shine.

The threat of Emrakul is very real because as the game drags on, there is always the threat that an Emrakul can come out of nowhere and completely bury you.

The World, A.K.A. The Gatewatch

From a flavor standpoint, I don’t think Wizards could have drawn up a more satisfying finals matchup for PT Eldritch Moon.

Owen and his Eldrazi Emrakul deck vs. Lukas Blohon and the Gatewatch!

BW Control

Lukas Blohon, 1st place at PT Eldritch Moon

Luka’s BW Control deck featured the whole team!

The matchup with cards mirrors the story that we’ve been reading about for the past 2 months and to the same ending: the planeswalkers defeat the Eldrazi!

BW Control has been a player for months. We saw Seth Manfield win a GP with it when everybody was clamoring to play GW Tokens and Bant CoCo. The deck is just so efficient and the power level of the individual threats is high.

Now that we have seen how the battle lines have been drawn, which side are you going to align yourself with?

Personally, I’m going to continue on my straight and narrow path of continuing to play Bant Company. Are you buying in that the deck still has the best cards and will be positioned to push back in the coming weeks?

Will you join up and fight with Emrakul? The card is completely insane and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her yet. There are so many cool avenues to explore where an Emrakul could be lurking.

Or, will you fight with the cast of heroes and play BW Planeswalker Control?

All feel like very fun and viable options to try out in the next few weeks. It’s a good thing Teferi did that whole “breaking time” thing back at the Tolarian Academy. Despite the Gatewatch winning the day at PT Eldritch Moon, I’m excited to relive some of these battles on an alternate timeline at my LGS in the coming weeks.


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