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Bant Control for Kaladesh Standard

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Welcome back everyone! Last weekend we had our first big tournament with Kaladesh at Indianapolis. I had decided to play a control deck even though I knew that week one aggro decks tend to be the best. I wasn’t sure what to fully expect from aggro but I knew that Smuggler's Copter would be involved in all the aggro decks. So I was prepared for that. I was also prepared for the midrange decks and had some hate for the ramp decks. I ended up going 11-4 over the weekend barely missing top 16 on breakers. I ended up coming in 20th place with this sweet brew. I really liked Bant Control but I believe it has a lot of room for growth, it’s nearly impossible to have the best version of any deck the first go around. So today I’d like to talk about my control deck and go over possible changes for the future.

Do you like Planeswalkers?

Do you like Emrakul?

Do you like Brisela?

Do you like drawing cards?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this deck is for you. If you answered no . . .  Then this deck is for you!

This is my list:


As you can see we have a decent amount going on. The deck is similar to my Sultai Control deck in the last Standard format. With this deck you will have many options as the game progress, you will be able to sculpt your hand and the battlefield as you decide how you’re going to win. The deck tried to stall to the mid game where it can take over the game with Planeswalkers and creatures. However, it also has an end game thanks to the help of Emrakul, the Promised End and Planeswalkers. It’s nice to always have the “Oh crap!” button that is Emrakul and Traverse the Ulvenwald. Emrakul can be hard to cast but she can also get you out of most situations.

The Creatures

Sylvan Advocate
The creatures in this deck do many different things. Sylvan Advocate can function as a road block early on or even a removal spell if you trade with a creature. Late in the game Sylvan Advocate can close out the game with Lumbering Falls and Nissa, Vital Force making your lands into 7/7s. Advocate also works wonders with Tamiyo, Field Researcher since it has Vigilance. This allows you to draw cards with Tamiyo’s plus ability on offense and on defense.

Tireless Tracker is a great way to turn those lands into clues. It helps a ton when you have drawn too many lands. It’s also a great finisher and is a must deal with threat. Don’t be afraid to even trade off your Tracker if you’ve gotten a clue or two out of it. Remember, the longer the game goes, the more favored you are. This applies to almost every single matchup except Ramp strategies.

Filigree Familiar is either okay to fantastic! It’s really good against aggro decks when they don’t have Smuggler's Copter. Even then it forces them to go to the air to attack. Gaining life and chump blocking to draw a card is very nice against aggro, if you manage to trade you get so far ahead. Another big draw to the Familiar is that it turns on Delirium so fast by providing two types!

The last creature I want to talk about is Spell Queller. I didn’t play Spell Queller last season but found it to be the best counterspell because it counters all early plays and it can even jump in front of things like Selfless Spirit, Inventor's Apprentice, Thraben Inspector, Veteran Motorist, both sides of Pia Nalaar, Bomat Courier, and more. So it’s not just a counter spell but you can also use it as a removal spell like you would a Plumveil. You even have times where your opponent will play around Spell Queller so they’ll just pass the turn. That’s fine to a blow out if you have Tamiyo in your hand since you can just flash in the Queller and then play Tamiyo and start to draw cards. There is so much play and counter play to this little spirit!

The Control

Spell Queller
We’ve already mentioned Spell Queller so I won’t go over it again here but he is also fantastic as a control card. Another card that is great is Blessed Alliance. Blessed Alliance alongside Gisela, the Broken Blade has won me games all on its own. Being able to make someone sacrifice a creature then untapping Gisela to block is game over most of the time. Blessed Alliance is another way to deal with Smuggler's Copter too. Just make sure they loot first before you cast Blessed Alliance so they have less information and don’t know that their Smuggler's Copter is being sacrificed. Alliance also pull weight in the U/R burn matchup. Gaining four life is basically a counterspell in this matchup but unlike a counterspell you can just do it anytime.

Stasis Snare is here to clean up things when people play around Blessed Alliance and also to fuel Delirium if you discard it to Oath of Jace. Make sure to use it things that your wraths wouldn’t be able to clean up, like creature lands, vehicles, and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. You can also use it to snare a Selfless Spirit so you can cast that Fumigate and fully wipe the board. This enchantment removal also deals with Emrakul. Emrakul does less damage if she isn’t alive when you are being Mind slavered.

The last removal spells are board wipes in Fumigate and Descend Upon the Sinful. I don’t think I need to go over these cards since they are pretty self-explanatory.

The Card Advantage

Tamiyo, Field Researcher
All Planeswalkers inherently generate card advantage over time, this is known Khalessi, but I’m here to talk about these Planeswalkers if you’ve never played them before or to get a better feel out of them. For example, it took me awhile to start using Tamiyo correctly. If you are at a safe life total and can’t die next turn it’s almost always correct to just plus here. Her plus with either Fog for you or draw you cards. You even have times when it Fogs AND draws you cards because they have to kill her. With Tamiyo you also can control the flow of Blessed Alliance since you can deter your opponent from attacking with certain creatures with her plus or minus ability. Smuggler's Copter can be a bit annoying for Tamiyo but she should still draw you a couple of cards before a Copter takes her down or you find an answer to the flying Jace. I usually plus on my opponent’s creatures if I’m trying to buy time, especially when I’m not attacking. This way they can’t kill the creature you plused on with Tamiyo and just attack you without getting punished by you drawing cards.

I also want to talk about Gideon, Ally of Zendikar a bit too. I understand he may be seem pretty easy to use. You just zero him when he comes into play right? Well . . .  Not always. Sometimes you want to plus him, especially if your opponent is playing spells like Incendiary Flow and Harnessed Lightning. You do this so next turn you can get an emblem and save all your Spell Quellers, Advocates, and even Tireless Trackers. This is even more critical and important if you’ve brought in Gisela. Grasp of Darkness appears to be on the decline so 4 toughness is really where you want to be, it’s very hard for aggressive opponents to get past 4 toughness. I don’t usually just play Gideon and get an emblem since I try to milk the value out of all my cards but sometimes it’s correct. This is usually if you already have creatures on the board, especially Ishkanah, Grafwidow. Other times you want to get an emblem immediately is if you have a Gisela in your hand and you are trying to play around three damage spells. Just be careful doing this because as a control player you really just want to grind and get as much value out of everything as you can. Every little advantage adds up, keep that in mind.

Last but not least we have Nissa, Vital Force. I never lost a game where I ulted Nissa. She is a fantastic card and can really kill players very quickly especially if you played a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar on turn four. If you curve Gideon into Nissa you threaten to do at least twelve points of damage on turn five, that’s a butt load for a control deck. All the being said she can also be pretty clunky against aggressive decks since she costs 5 mana. Consider boarding her out against them since things like Gideon and Gisela not only buy you time but can also end games.

I think this deck is really good and well positioned. The games I lost was when I didn’t get to play Magic. Every game where I got to cast spells and play Magic I was a heavy favorite. All that being said if you expect aggro to be as big as it currently is then I would recommend trying this version of Bant Control. I haven’t test this version yet but I plan to, especially if we have all these copter decks flying around.


Basically we’ve cut Advocates and Emrakul for more removal, Gisela, and Bruna since aggro seems bigger than control and midrange at the moment. I like Ongoing Investigation more than Seasons Past right now since it dodges Transgress the Mind, fuels Delirium, and gives us use for out graveyard. The board has Always Watching because I want more lifelinkers to have 4 toughness against these burn decks and Always Watching works fantastic with Tamiyo, Field Researcher. Oath of Jace will do double duty here by helping us filter extras out of our hand or finding a copy of Always Watching.

Well that’s all I have for you today. Fight the good fight and play control. I really do think this deck is very good, especially if you want to play control.

As always thank you so much for the support,

Ali Aintrazi

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