Hello boys and girls!
I’m starting a new series of articles here on ChannelFireball where I look at some new, sweet, different, interesting, and/or bizarre decks from around the world. Each day you can expect to see something different and at some point I may even be incorporating deck submissions from readers like you! Overall, my hope is that these articles can give you a little taste of what else is out there and maybe get your creative juices flowing for some deck building!
I’m typically going to focus on Standard, but with the Legacy GP in Seattle coming up this weekend it’s the perfect time to take a quick glance at some of the Legacy decks from around the world. There’s not nearly as much data out there for Legacy, especially with the recent ban announcements, so this might just give you a bit of insight on what you’re going to see this weekend.
Bant Midrange is a deck that has been around for quite a while. The ability to lead with mana creatures like Noble Hierarch to accelerate into Knight of the Reliquary has been a powerful option for some time. Green Sun’s Zenith earned its spot on the Modern banned list due to its ability to be a split card—grabbing Dryad Arbor for 1 mana, Noble Hierarch for 2, and later in the game to go get a Knight or a silver bullet creature like Gaddock Teeg for a bit more mana. This versatility gave the deck a powerful starting point.
Fantastic Legacy mana coupled with powerful blue cards is what put this deck over the top. Brainstorm is an easy inclusion and may be the best card in all of Legacy. Other cheap countermagic in the form of Force of Will and Daze can keep an opponent from going off with their combo deck or protect your big creatures from removal and opposing counters. Finally, getting to play Swords to Plowshares is a huge bonus as Swords is the best removal spell ever printed.
Here’s a look at Reid Duke’s Bant Stoneblade winning list from a couple of years ago:
This deck doesn’t require any changes to continue to compete at the highest level in Legacy, but, Battle for Zendikar opened the door to take this deck one step further. Retreat to Coralhelm offers this deck a combo kill that can win as early as turn 3 (and with counter backup to boot). Simply playing a turn-1 mana accelerator (Noble Hierarch, Birds of Paradise, or Green Sun’s Zenith for Dryad Arbor) into a turn-2 Knight of the Reliquary can put the Retreat combo online.
Retreat to Coralhelm allows you to untap a creature whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, meaning Knight of the Reliquary can continue to be untapped over and over again while finding a variety of fetchlands, Forests, and Plains. A single copy of Sejiri Steppe can give the Knight protection from a color to get through blockers and a Kessig Wolf Run can combine with all the mana being generated from the Knight to deal a plethora of trample damage. This already formidable deck has received a great new toy that may make it a Legacy front-runner for some time to come.