August ’20 Brew Report, Pt. 2: Bant from TV

Earlier in the month, we saw Stoneforge Mystic come to form the backbone not just of popular UW and Stoneblade decks, but of Colossus Hammer combo decks and bulkier flash strategies. Blue aggro-control decks also had an interesting month, with Arclight Phoenix making a comeback and Devotion to Blue rearing its head. The latter trend continues into the end of August, with blue decks dipping into white and green for support. The kicker? Not all of these decks even play Uro!

…But a Lot of Them Play Do Uro

I mean, it’d be almost wrong not to, right? We’ll start by looking at the more traditional Uro-style shells that experimented with new tech this month.

Uro Hour, TOASTXP (19th, Challenge #12195644)

Creatures (4)
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Planeswalkers (4)
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Teferi, Time Raveler

Instants (18)
Cryptic Command
Force of Negation
Growth Spiral
Path to Exile
Remand

Sorceries (5)
Hour of Promise
Supreme Verdict

Lands (29)
Breeding Pool
Field of Ruin
Field of the Dead
Flooded Strand
Hallowed Fountain
Irrigated Farmland
Island
Misty Rainforest
Mystic Sanctuary
Polluted Delta
Prismatic Vista
Scalding Tarn
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Island
Snow-Covered Plains
Temple Garden
Sideboard (15)
Supreme Verdict
Aether Gust
Ashiok, Dream Render
Ceremonious Rejection
Dovin’s Veto
Elder Gargaroth
Soul-Guide Lantern
Timely Reinforcements
Veil of Summer
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We’ve seen midrange decks lean on other plans but still rely on 4 Hour of Promise before, most notably the Jund Field deck we covered in May. That was during the companions’ reign over Modern, although the same concept still applies.

Uro Hour plays a controlling game with blue-chip countermagic and Uro itself, but should opponents find a way to deal with the Titan—via grave hate, perhaps—Hour provides an independent alternative, generating hordes of Zombies with Field of the Dead. It’s especially nice that Growth Spiral, a staple in Uro shells, also contributes significantly to the Field plan, even though the two strategies require totally different answers: Uro demands grave hate and heavy-duty removal while drawing cards and going tall, while Field requires nonbasic land hate and damage-based sweepers while going wide.

Bant Moss, DARZYN (5-0)

Creatures (18)
Scavenging Ooze
Birds of Paradise
Noble Hierarch
Stoneforge Mystic
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Planeswalkers (8)
Teferi, Time Raveler
Karn, the Great Creator

Instants (4)
Path to Exile

Artifacts (2)
Batterskull
Sword of Fire and Ice

Sorceries (4)
Mwonvuli Acid-Moss

Lands (24)
Breeding Pool
Flooded Strand
Forest
Ghost Quarter
Hallowed Fountain
Island
Misty Rainforest
Plains
Temple Garden
Windswept Heath
Sideboard (15)
Aether Gust
Ashiok, Dream Render
Crucible of Worlds
Damping Sphere
Ensnaring Bridge
Knowledge Pool
Liquimetal Coating
Pithing Needle
Shadow of Doubt
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
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I first picked up on Bant Moss early this month (see list above). While the deck looked interesting, I found myself scratching my head at the prospect of running 4 Mwonvuli Acid-Moss in a Modern midrange deck. I mean, it’s a land destruction spell that costs four mana! Was that not too much for a type of card typically used to deny opponents mana early on?

It turns out that in Uro mirrors, ramping yourself while de-ramping opponents is the sauce, even if that’s not to happen until the mid-game. Indeed, Bant Moss nabbed 4-1 in a preliminary at the end of the month, a testament to its potential viability. And the deck has more going on than first met my eye.

For one, there’s the creature suite: Uro is backed up by Scavenging Ooze, something of an Uro-slayer in the mirror; it can out-grow 6/6 and handily removes Titans from an opponent’s graveyard. Similarly, bouncing Uro with Teferi, Time Raveler provides a massive tempo swing, and cutting Uro decks off their permission is also the sauce. Then there’s Stoneforge Mystic to cheese wins against aggro and have a grave-independent angle of attack. Sword of Fire and Ice gets the nod for insulating creatures against Uro, sure, but also Aether Gust, fast becoming one of Modern’s premier hate cards.

tl;dr: meet the Uro deck that wins the mirror.

Going Dude

Uro decks tend to be creature-light, since the recurring behemoth is at its best when it makes up the bulk of a red-zone attack. So more creature-centric Bant decks trim its numbers. Still, I think it’s great news that such decks exist; this scenario illustrates that Uro is not dominating the UGx color quotient as it once may have.

Bant Rashmi, BBOTONLINE (5-0)

Creatures (32)
Rashmi, Eternities Crafter
Birds of Paradise
Brazen Borrower
Elder Gargaroth
Frilled Mystic
Ice-Fang Coatl
Noble Hierarch
Prophet of Kruphix
Restoration Angel
Spell Queller
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Planeswalkers (3)
Teferi, Time Raveler

Instants (3)
Force of Negation

Lands (22)
Breeding Pool
Flooded Strand
Hallowed Fountain
Horizon Canopy
Misty Rainforest
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Island
Snow-Covered Plains
Temple Garden
Waterlogged Grove
Windswept Heath
Sideboard (15)
Aether Gust
Ashiok, Dream Render
Ceremonious Rejection
Knight of Autumn
Lyra Dawnbringer
Mystical Dispute
Stony Silence
Veil of Summer
Weather the Storm
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Rashmi, Eternities Crafter was hardly singled out as a Modern-playable upon its release, costing enough to emerge on the turn many decks end the game by and refusing to trigger until the next turn. But Bant Rashimi wouldn’t take no for an answer, employing the Druid alongside a suite of useful flash creatures to get the most out of it.

Hitting all those cascade triggers is sure to get out of hand quickly, and Force of Negation holds things together by protecting Rashmi while players are tapped out after deploying him. For future turns, Spell Queller does that job, also combo-ing with Teferi to lock opponents’ spells away for good. And both Force and Queller trigger Rashmi for even more pseudo-cascades!

Reclaimer Toolbox, HOUSEOFMANAMTG (23rd, Challenge #12195644)

Creatures (27)
Elvish Reclaimer
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Courser of Kruphix
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Tireless Tracker
Primeval Titan
Arasta of the Endless Web
Elder Gargaroth
Eternal Witness
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
Knight of the Reliquary
Nylea, Keen-Eyed
Ramunap Excavator

Artifacts (4)
Aether Vial

Instants (2)
Eladamri’s Call

Lands (27)
Blast Zone
Bojuka Bog
Castle Garenbrig
Field of the Dead
Flagstones of Trokair
Forest
Ghost Quarter
Plains
Radiant Fountain
Selesnya Sanctuary
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Plains
Temple Garden
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
Vesuva
Windswept Heath
Sideboard (15)
Arasta of the Endless Web
Aven Mindcensor
Celestial Purge
Damping Sphere
Eidolon of Rhetoric
Knight of Autumn
Path to Exile
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Didn’t I tell ya? No Uro! Instead, Reclaimer Toolbox maxes out on Elvish Reclaimer to enable both a beatdown plan and a packed land toolbox suite; it’s got Blast Zone for removal, Flagstones for ramping, Bog for graveyard interaction, Quarter for land hate, Field for midrange games, and Valakut for… a combo kill?! The deck’s other 4-of creature is Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, giving it a dedicated combo plan ready to fire at any moment should the window present itself.

The creatures, too, form a toolbox, with Eladamri’s Call fishing up goodies like the spell-hosing Arasta of the Endless Web and Ponza’s favorite new stabilizer, Elder Gargaroth. Primeval Titan supports the Valakut plan, while Eternal Witness buys back lost pieces. And Aether Vial cheats everything into play!

After its Challenge placing, Reclaimer Toolbox went on to 5-0, boding well for the deck’s longevity; it certainly seems to come with a steep learning curve, featuring packages upon packages for the uninitiated to wrap their skulls around. It also looks like there’s something in here for everyone, so I wonder if enough players will give it a whirl that it catches on.

I Can’t Get in the Club

We haven’t seen Bant at these levels since the lockdown began, and I’m sure UGW mages worldwide are rejoicing. Hopefully other shards and wedges get some love in the coming months and their respective fanbases can also celebrate. For now, though, I guess we can enjoy this Titan’s party!

2 thoughts on “August ’20 Brew Report, Pt. 2: Bant from TV

  1. That Bant Rashmi deck looks like so much fun to play. I have to imagine playing a Rashmi when your opponent is tapped out while holding Force has to feel like a can’t-lose situation assuming you aren’t just dead on board or something.

    1. That’s gonna lock in a big card advantage swing, for sure! And Force is nice protection for whatever thing they’re trying to do to ignore you. I imagine such a scenario is what prompted the deck’s creation!

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