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Bants Tokens in Eldraine Standard


Last week kicked off spoiler season for Throne of Eldraine and the brews are already cooking. It's great to see powerful cards that work well with each other early in a set. We won't spend time wondering if any good cards will use Food tokens, or if there will be Standard playable cards that make Food tokens at a decent rate. We already have the answer!

Oko, Thief of Crowns
Gilded Goose

Oko, Thief of Crowns and Gilded Goose are going to be together for a long time. The two cards feed off each other (ha ha). Oko, Thief of Crowns makes a Food token with the [+2] ability and Gilded Goose can sacrifice the Food token for a mana of any color. But wait, there's more than one recipe to cook this dish! Gilded Goose can make a Food token for 1g, and Oko, Thief of Crowns can turn that Food token into a 3/3 Elk using the [+1] ability. If your opponent has a creature with power 3 or less, the [-5] ability can exchange the Food token for that creature. That's a lot of synergy, and a shell that can kick off all kinds of Simic decks.

I want to get these two lovebirds together with another romantic pair; Lovestruck Beast.

Lovestruck Beast

I say romantic pair because this card is two creatures rolled into one. Early in the game you want to cast the adventure side of the card, Heart's Desire, to make a 1/1 Human creature. On turn three you can cast Lovestruck Beast from exile (or as I call it, the Adventure Zone), and you are ready to rumble with a 5/5 Beast Noble. While Lovestruck Beast may need Heart's Desire to attack, I want to remind this dude that there are more fish in the sea in case the Human creature token from Heart's Desire gets killed. In a Selesnya Tokens deck we can give our Lovestruck Beast buddy Tinder levels of suitable mates.

Rotation may make tokens great again. Goblin Chainwhirler will have to relegate his harassment of the Selesnya Conclave to the Historic format. In current Standard I would say that anything with Field of the Dead will be a better go-wide token strategy, but without Scapeshift those decks may not be explosive as they once were. It could be safe to play a bunch of creature tokens and attack with a flourishing army again.

Here are some notes on some of the cards and interactions I had in mind while putting this list together:

Teferi, Time Raveler and Lovestruck Beast

The biggest downside to Lovestruck Beast has to be the feelsbad if your 1/1 token gets killed. If that happens, you can use your Teferi, Time Raveler [-3] to bounce your own Lovestruck Beast! Now you can cast Heart's Desire exiling Lovestruck Beast, and then cast your Lovestruck Beast from exile. With a 1/1 Human token back on the battlefield, your beast can get back on the beatdown plan. You can call the play Teferi, Lovestruck Matchmaker. This may be the only thing Teferi, Time Raveler does that shouldn't make anyone angry.

Interplanar Beacon

Right now the only Blue spells in the deck are planeswalkers, so Interplanar Beacon fills in as a Blue source. The land won't cast Flower // Flourish, but basic Island doesn't do that either, and we may as well get a little life bonus from the colorless land. I don't like running any taplands in the deck because we really need to hit our curve, and the new hotness that is Gilded Goose also helps us make Blue mana.

Oko, Thief of Crowns and tokens

Oko, Thief of Crowns isn't the greatest at protecting himself, but he has a ton of loyalty. Once you have instant-speed token generation available from Raise the Alarm and March of the Multitudes, your opponent will have a hard time attacking your planeswalkers on the ground. Oko, Thief of Crowns can turn the 1/1 tokens into 3/3 Elks, or he can swap a 1/1 token with an opponent's creature three power or less creature! More bodies on the board gives your Oko, Thief of Crowns more options, and that is a great place to be.

Woodland Champion and everything else in the deck

It is possible I should be running more copies of Woodland Champion. The card gets buffed by creature tokens from Heart's Desire, March of the Multitudes and Raise the Alarm, and also from Food tokens from Gilded Goose and Oko, Thief of Crowns. My issue with the card is that it is vulnerable to Shock and Teferi, Time Raveler, two cards that I plan to evaluate every threat against as we look toward 2020 Standard. For now I want to give Emmara, Soul of the Accord a shot since she makes tokens for Lovestruck Beast and works great with the convoke cards in the deck.

While I like the synergies, the current list has some nonbos that you need to watch out for. If they are too much of an issue some substitutions will need to be made.

Trostani Discordant and Oko, Thief of Crowns

"At the beginning of your end step, each player gains control of all creatures they own." If you used the [-5] ability of Oko, Thief of Crowns to steal a creature, the opponent gets it back on your end step after you cast Trostani Discordant. You could make a big attack the turn you play Trostani Discordant and if the opponent and their stolen creature are still alive, you could use the Oko, Thief of Crowns [+1] ability to turn Trostani Discordant into an Elk token.

Lovestruck Beast and pump effects

Lovestruck Beast can only attack if you control a 1/1 creature. Flourish and Trostani Discordant give all your creatures a bonus, so you cannot attack with the Lovestruck Beast after one of those pump effects has been cast. Apparently once his Heart's Desire token gets even a little larger, Lovestruck Beast is off it. Be careful counting up your combat damage the turn you cast a pump effect, you don't want an "oh crap, that can't attack now" moment. At least with Venerated Loxodon you can selectively convoke out the elephant and leave a 1/1 behind.

This deck is weak to some cards that will remain in Standard after rotation. Deputy of Detention and Legion's End can put a huge hurt on your plans, along with traditional sweepers like Cry of the Carnarium and Kaya's Wrath. Right now all these cards see plenty of play because of Scapeshift and Vampires, and both decks will be hurt by rotation. Bant Tokens may struggle on week one before players trim or cut these sweeper cards from their decks, but if the format goes back toward spot removal I can see this deck becoming quite good. Veil of Summer and Unbreakable Formation could come out of the sideboard to solve some of these issues.

A curve of Gilded Goose into planeswalker or Lovestruck Beast backed by an army of soldiers and powerful convoke spells puts a lot of pressure on opposing decks from different angles.

The deck could use a reliable 2-drop that passes the Shock and Teferi, Time Raveler test (hard to do), and I wouldn't complain about a strong removal spell either. I will be watching the Throne for more sweet cards that Bant tokens could play, but I would be happy to play the deck as it is. September 26th can't come quick enough.