Dragons of Tarkir brought us Avatar of the Resolute to brew Stompy with, and Collected Company to brew Elves with, but there’s plenty more work to do. Today I’m going to put together a Bant goodstuff list built in part around Ojutai’s Command. If you love powerhouse creatures and versatile instants, this article is for you.
Bant, You Got It Goin’ On
Bant goodstuff has long been a “good, not great” deck in Modern. Its core problem is it lacks the proactiveness and catch-all (almost) quality of Lightning Bolt and Thoughtseize, so you’re left with a more straightforward, reactive deck that relies on Path to Exile (which has its own problems at times), and counterspells (which compete with your creatures) for disruption.
However, goodstuff can never be strictly bad regardless of what colours you’re in, and it has some unique things going for it — one more now with the addition of Command. Here are the three cards that only really fit into Bant, and provide compelling reasons to at least try the deck out:
- Bant Charm is extremely relevant in this format. It’s the kind of card many decks would love to play if it was in their colours, but it hasn’t been, so it’s neglected. The first mode hurts Affinity, the second hurts any creature deck (and makes Wurmcoil Engine sad), and the third shuts down opposing disruption. Sound good? Oh yes.
- Rhox War Monk may appear underwhelming, but look closer and realize he has 4 toughness, which dodges Bolt and lets him profitably block all kinds of creatures in the format. On top of that, lifelink is fantastic in a meta where 1/5 of the top 10 decks are aggro and cannot get rid of this thing (usually, at least).
- Ojutai’s Command brings back any of our slew of goodstuff creatures for added resilience (including Snapcaster Mage should the game go long, and it will fairly often), gains us life versus aggro, hurts them when trying to mount an offense or defense, and gives us some late game draw power. Great stuff.
Onto it, then. Below is the pre-testing list I’ve come up with. By pre-testing I mean that of course it’s not been tested yet (although I have goldfished it with overall decent results), and as such is somewhat rough and subject to potentially lots of tweaking, especially given the open nature of goodstuff decks.
For those that can’t afford Goyfs or just don’t want to pay that much for cardboard, you can use Voice of Resurgence instead. The sideboard is far from well thought out, but I’ve started with much worse before.
In terms of competitiveness, I believe the list is still “good, not great”, but with some testing and fine tuning (which I’ll try to get to eventually), it could be closer to great. I’ve done my best to minimize the inherent problems with Bant and maximize its inherent strengths, but there’s definitely still work to do.
You can go in a lot of different directions with this list: you can cut the non-creature spells for more creatures like Voice and add in Collected Company, you can throw in Mana Leak for additional control, you can add extra reach with Elspeth, Knight-Errant and/or Sword of Feast and Famine (which makes Birds less bad, among other things), and so on — the possibilities are extensive.
In the meantime, may this list provide you with a fun shell with which to abuse Ojutai’s Command, or inspire you to your own Bant list.
Sean is a Magic Online grinder that’s been playing Modern since 2012. His background comprises a combined 10 years of journalism study and practice. You can find him on Twitter @regalforce.