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That’s How You Get Bants!

Put some sweet, sugary delicious green, white, and blue value cards together and you are bound to attract Bants into your Modern deck box.

“Do you want Bants? Because that’s how you get Bants!”

Bant is one of my favorite combinations because it has access to a little bit of everything. Great removal? Check. Fantastic mana? Check. Permission and card draw? Yep. A+ selection of creatures? Double-check.

In particular, Bant has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to superb creatures. As you’ll see, while Bant decks can perform a wide array of tasks—they always leverage depth at the creature position.

“The best card, pound for pound, in Modern?”

Another unifying strand among the Bant is that they always jam the full set of Hierarchs. I’m also serious when I suggest that Noble may be the best card in Modern. It goes into a ton of decks, from Abzan Company to Infect to Eldrazi to G/W Hate Bears and everything in between—chances are that if your deck plays green and blue or white, then it rocks Hierarchs.

That reminds me of another ubiquitous card that ended up banned…

“So sorry, Golgari…”

In my opinion, Deathrite Shaman is more powerful, but not by a large margin. The biggest advantage DRS had was that it was in a better color combination.

Thought Exercise: Imagine that Noble Hierarch said: “0/1, exalted, T, add G, R, B.”

Is it legal in Modern? If Noble made Jund colors, would it have been Bant? (Terrible.)

The takeaway? Noble Hierarch is busted in half and a delight to have in any deck.

So, let’s take a look at the best Noble Hierarch, I mean, Bant strategies in Modern.

Let’s start with the most popular Bant strategy in the format:

You Ban’t Keep a Good Eldrazi Deck Down

They banned the Eye and Modern is still up to its ears in Eldrazi! Well, maybe that is an overstatement, but it is very impressive that Eldrazi remains a solid Modern choice. All things considered, the banning appears to have been a success in reining in the power level of the archetype while letting it coexist with the other decks.

Bant Eldrazi

Joe Connoley

When I think of “sick Bant decks,” Bant Eldrazi isn’t what would typically come to my mind, but nonetheless, Eldrazi is a great deck.

Bant Eldrazi is basically a colorless mana deck that free rolls super efficient Bant spells like Noble Hierarch and Path to Exile.

Aside from having Hierarch, which is obviously a solid mana fixer, the Eldrazi have access to Cavern of Souls, Eldrazi Temple, and Brushlands, which makes the mana super consistent.

“You ban’t beat great mana.”

I have a lot of respect for Bant Eldrazi. It’s always a tough matchup in a tournament. I would say that it is probably the best deck in Modern that I haven’t gotten a chance to play a lot with. I guess that makes playing Bant Eldrazi at a local event my first New Year’s Resolution!

Green, White, and “Boo!” Bant Spirits

On Christmas Eve I was visited by three Spirits. Drogskol Captain, Drogskol Captain, and Rattlechains, and I died in like 2 turns! It was brutal…

Bant Spirits

Benjamin Guillerm

I love a good CoCo deck, and Bant provides a great shell…

Collected Company

“Collect Call from Alexander Graham Spell Queller.”

Collected Spirits plays like a Flash Tempo deck. To be honest, Spell Queller and Drogskol Captain give me flashbacks of playing Spellstutter Sprite and Scion of Oona.

“Yo sound the bells school is in sucker you can’t touch this.”

The deck has a lot of tricky, flashy creatures but also does a good job of making it difficult for opponents to interact with the creatures via targeted removal. It is particularly effective when one of the creatures being protected is a Spell Queller that has exiled an important card.

The deck is good when it just does its “Faeries” thing. But when it gets turn-2 Geist of Saint Traft or hits a Collected Company into 2 Drogskol Captain, wow!

Bant Retreat? More Like, Bant Attack!

Last, but certainly not least is Bant Retreat. The Retreat version reminds me a lot of when I play Abzan Company and board out the infinite life combo and try to become a grindy value deck.

The cool thing is that the deck also has a pretty sweet combo in the form of Knight of the Reliquary and Retreat to Coralhelm.

“Knight makes right.”

Once you have both cards in play at the same time you can continue to activate Knight to search for more lands. Each new land will untap the Knight while also making the Knight gigantic. It is also worth noting that fetches will generate additional Retreat triggers, which can be used to tap down opposing blockers so you can swing for lethal.

Bant Retreat

Francisco Carlos Souza Junior

“I’m Hans.” “And I’m Franz” “And we came… to grind… you out!”

The rest of the deck is just a collection of awesome grindy value creatures (Knight of the Reliquary is also great at grinding), which are ideal in midrange battles.

“What do you call a Goblin Lackey playing the Knight/Retreat combo?
“A Sychobhant”

I’ve always enjoyed playing various Bant decks in the past because the color combination has so many excellent tools. Whether you want to be a Faeries-style Flash Spirits deck, a grindy midrange CoCo deck with Knight of the Reliquary, or even an Eldrazi deck, Bant has the the Noble Hierarchs and other tools to make it happen!

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