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In Good Company


I was really hoping this format would shape up to push Collected Company out of the spotlight, but instead it seems to be the most widely played deck in some time. While I see most people pointing toward rotation as the answer, I am not quite willing to give up just yet. After all, what kind of brewer doesn't like when the entire field you are gunning for is just one deck.

Osyp did manage to pilot G/W tokens to first this past weekend, but the stats on how many Bant Company decks made day two was absurd. The second place list featured here is a great example of where the deck has turned to after the addition of Eldritch Moon and most importantly, Spell Queller!

I anticipated seeing more Tamiyo, Field Researcher right out of the gate, but she does not seem to fix any of the matches Bant had any issues with. Therefore, she has, for the most part, been relegated to the board as additional card advantage in the attrition matches. While not every version of the deck has the exact same seventy-five and there is room to play, it seems the general shell of Reflector Mage and Spell Queller is here to stay . . .  did I also mention very little of this deck rotates outside of Collected Company itself? So while it is advantageous to look toward the coming rotation, we may be facing similar issues. This makes me want to look at what we have now and exactly what we can do to fix the problem.

Luckily I am hardly the only one looking for an answer, and I was more than happy to see one of my pet cards, Crush of Tentacles, slot into a deck that may just be what we were looking for!

It’s not what I envisioned months ago, but this Crush of Tentacles deck seems to have an answer for nearly any board state and enough silver bullets to always keep your opponent guessing. Kiora, Master of the Depths is a nice addition. I have been waiting for her to shine and figured with Graveyard themes picking up she would, but I certainly didn’t see her in a shell like this. I really want to see where this deck can go and I have high hopes we may not see such a staggering number of Bant Company decks if this sort of strategy does take off.

Right now it is hard to identify what has financial upside given how inflated new cards are, and anything rotating is just way too risky to get in on. I personally would just wait for the Pro Tour to show what you should be playing and pay a few extra dollars for cards that may go up over picking up any number of things that have an equal chance of going down from here. As we approach rotation, it is good to start looking for any Eternal playable cards that will be leaving, as they typically hit their bottom in the coming months and may recover quicker than you expect. If you wait, you will just end up paying too much down the road. Plus, everyone is trying to move them and you can usually get a good discount if you are willing to trade cards that are more stable.

So it seems tribal, for the most part, has been stifled for the moment, which is very unfortunate as most of the decks are nearly there; but, rotation does give a second hope for anything that does not break through before then. Any cards like Cryptbreaker, Diregraf Colossus, or Olivia, Mobilized for War are great to watch over the coming months as they approach bulk. It is unlikely at least one of these archetypes is not pushed at least some with the fall sets, and we have a long way to go before we see Shadows over Innistrad leave us next fall.

So with the giant standstill the format has taken, what is a brewer to do? I would take the easy answer and say wait until the weekend to see what the best in the world think, but that isn’t very original. I will take one more crack at this Bant Company infestation. It seems cards like Crush of Tentacles are a good start at resetting the board, but with Reflector Mage at their disposal it makes the token more of an afterthought than anything. I looked into what else can match that kind of tempo and reset while maybe instead gaining advantage from bouncing everything. Engulf the Shore came to mind, and that is where I started this week. I figured with creatures like Spell Queller and Reflector Mage running around it may be better to join them than try to beat them. I threw everything together, kept an eye on my land count and came up with this beauty.

U/W Engulf the Shore ? Eldritch Moon Standard | Ryan Bushard

A shell like this may not have enough card advantage, but, otherwise, it seems like it has the tools to keep up with Bant Company. Of course, the major advantage of that deck is that it really doesn’t have a terrible match. It can do a little of everything, but it does still have mana constraints making bounce effects very reasonable to combat it. I truly like where Planar Outburst is positioned right now as it avoids Spell Queller and also gives us a potential body in the late game. That may prove to be enough to push White based control back into the format this weekend.

I truly think a list like this would be fun, but the best bet right now would be to set up a control deck to deny the resources needed to get Bant rolling. Every card in that deck is fine in a vacuum, but it still relies on amassing enough of a board to get there in most matches. The tools to prevent that certainly exist, even if we have to look a little harder than normal. Even The Great Aurora decks I was on a few months back may be a good choice right now, as it has the reset capability while also having built in ways to attack these decks that go wide. Engulf the Shore, while primed to be hit by Queller, is a tool I don't think enough people are looking at right now, and they should be. Here's to hoping the Pros feel the same way.

Assuming you are looking to play rotation safe and avoid any other major expenses from cards already in the format, now is the time to trade for some of the upcoming staples. As Dragons and Origins have shown us, the cards rotating hit their peak at about the same time as the previous rotation happens. This means, if you want to play Gideon, Ally of Zendikar or Sylvan Advocate in the beginning of next season, you still likely want to pick them up now. Anything proven to be a contender is unlikely to lose much value right away. Of course, there are always exceptions. Look at Hangarback Walker. Overall, it is much safer to pick those cards up now.

Shadows and Eldritch Moon will likely hit the floor about the same time; and even though it may take longer for those cards to find their price hike, it is best to get in about the time the new set drops. I would attempt to utilize Kaladesh to trade overpriced new cards into those Shadows block staples as you will hopefully already have everything from Zendikar that you may need.

I am truly hoping this Pro Tour shakes things up as writing about Bant company for another month sounds terrible. It is difficult to justify playing much else right now at the highest levels of competition; but, if you are just playing locally I would give a few lists with very few rotating cards a shot to see what you can outline as the shell of the next format. Having this knowledge ahead of time can really help you evaluate the new set in a better light and better predict what cards are worth picking up right away and what is best to let drop. If you have any questions or comments, or you just want to share a list that has been having good luck against Bant Company, feel free to leave a comment below or find me on Twitter. Until next week enjoy the Pro Tour coverage and keep on brewing!

Ryan Bushard


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