Pioneer Bant Humans In-depth & sideboard guide

Jaime Lara - JimmyTo
06/10/2022 · 11 min read

Bant Humans in the current metagame

This is far my favorite period of Magic, the inclusion of a new set always creates uncertainty at the tables and the release of Dominaria United has been no exception. I'm not saying that the power of decks like Mono Green , UW Control , and BR Midrange  will be affected, but it is true that many players are willing to try new strategies and those who are on the apparently more solid path are sometimes surprised. An example of this was the surprising top of the last edition of the South American Magic Series that you can access under the following link:

https://mtgdecks.net/Pioneer/store-qualifier-mtg-oasis-southamerican-magic-series-tournament-86639

Other things I tried

In the days leading up to this event, I was trying out new configurations of UW Control, determined to stop playing Humans despite the good results before. The reprinting of Liliana of the Veil and the arrival of Sheoldred, the Apocalypse to the format made aggressive strategies look less powerful, and I was also crazy about including a different land configuration in UW and testing the tremendous power of Leyline Binding.

The week before the tournament I didn't want to show my conclusions at the local store, so I went with my old Humans deck to play the classic Showdown. And even though UW Binding showed up pretty solid in testing I still had a lot of doubts about the sideboard, most games are played with the cards from the sideboard so it seemed like a good idea to stick with my old reliable and not improvise.

New cards to consider from Dominaria United

King Darien XLVIII and Shanna, Purifying Blade were both disappointing inclusions in the deck.

King Darien XLVIII, while providing a lot of support to my creatures, felt like it was more due to my opponents being unable to visualize the plus it provided than to any actual impact. And in a more important tournament with more prepared rivals, this would not have happened. On the other hand, Shanna, Purifying Blade never found good spaces to develop a good attack in a deck that is designed to do just that: attack. So they ended up being filler cards.

King Darien XLVIII
0.04 Tix
$0.39
$0.58

The true king

Now this is where the good stuff comes in, Aether Channeler turned out to be incredible in the current Pioneer metagame , I only included two copies and I missed having more, the ability to return Thalia's Lieutenant to my hand to grow my creatures and prepare a powerful attack was a real success, returning Extraction Specialist to my hand to do the same thing from the graveyard also worked great, it combined perfectly with Charming Prince and I could spend all day describing this kind of play in a deck where every creature does something when it enters the battlefield, it gave me space to think about a world of endless possibilities when I came in with Collected Company, it was also useful in resolving a tight game by generating a bird token, a token that could be important in defending an evasive attack by some Bant Spirit, and not to mention iterations with Charming Prince and drawing up to 3 cards in one turn.

Aether Channeler
0.26 Tix
$1.99
$1.22

My final version

It's time to decide, and with that in mind I decided not to change my deck the last week; the experience I acquired while solving games should pay off, and my great friend Oscar Vilches always told me that getting the 100% out of a tier 2 deck could be more unbalancing than playing the best deck in the meta halfway.

The plan was evident by now: take advantage of Aether Channeler, Reflector Mage and the combo of Extraction Specialist plus Charming Prince, in addition to adding one of my favorite cards to this equation, Thalia's Lieutenant; this dream team should give me the advantage in the most expected confrontations: BR Midrange, Mono Green and UW Control.

Reflector Mage
0.02 Tix
$0.39
$0.57

The land configuration had to support the inclusion of 3 more blue creatures, so I found 6 blue sources including Mana Confluence to be correct, which in turn provide the necessary green support to play Collected Company; among the lands, a forest, which comes to the rescue of the elimination of your green source by Field of Ruins. This was my list:

Bant Humans. Builder: Jimmyto.MTGA - Magic Arena
1st in 06-Oct-2022
Maindeck (60)
Creature [33]
2  Adeline, Resplendent Cathar   $13.99
3  Hopeful Initiate   $5.49
3  Aether Channeler   $1.99
3  Extraction Specialist   $1.99
3  Werewolf Pack Leader   $4.49
3  Thalia, Guardian of Thraben   $1.79
4  Charming Prince   $3.49
4  Experiment One   $0.25
4  Thalia's Lieutenant   $2.49
4  Reflector Mage   $0.39
Instant [4]
4  Collected Company   $16.99
Land [23]
1  Forest   $0.01
1  Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire   $7.99
1  Hengegate Pathway   // $9.49
1  Hallowed Fountain   $11.99
2  Botanical Sanctum   $7.49
2  Mana Confluence   $24.99
3  Unclaimed Territory   $0.79
4  Branchloft Pathway   // $3.99
4  Temple Garden   $14.99
4  Secluded Courtyard   $2.49
Sideboard [15]
1  Thalia, Heretic Cathar   $5.99
1  Guardian of Faith   $3.49
2  Unlicensed Hearse   $16.99
2  Reidane, God of the Worthy   $0.69
2  Brutal Cathar   $6.49
3  Elite Spellbinder   $0.35
4  Portable Hole   $1.49
Buy this deck:

$133.87 Tix @cardhoarder   $3.35 / Week @cardhoarder   $334.82 @tcgplayer   $417.19 @cardkingdom  


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Sideboard guide

UW Control

In this matchup you have to perfectly balance speed with resource management; your opponent should always be thinking that you'll be casting Collected Company after their mass removal, so be careful about bluffing this situation. Playing Thalia, Guardian of Thraben on turn one can be the taxes you need to develop your gameplan, which you will reinforce in game 2 with the addition of Elite Spellbinder and Reidane, God of the Worthy.

  • Out: 4 Reflector Mage, 2 Aether Channeler
  • In: 3 Elite Spellbinder, 1 Guardian of Faith, 2 Reidane, God of the Worthy

BR Midrange

In the game, you want to try and get your opponent onto your own board, playing BR will allow you to have an answer to their attacks while also being able to cover your own. Reflector Mage and Aether Channeler will be key here, while Thalia, Guardian of Thraben does well in this matchup, she won't be around for long. Graveyard Trespasser is a real pain and if you don't have any useless cards to discard, it's better to try and deal with her after playing Thalia's Lieutenant or setting up a double block.

Graveyard Trespasser
$3.99
$6.35

Keep in mind that if Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is on the board and your opponent has a Fatal Push in hand, they may be all they need to win, so make sure you have an answer for him. In game two you'll want to continue with the same plan, playing more creatures that have an impact on the board. This is the time to forget about Experiment One and go for the aggro. Liliana of the Veil and Sheoldred, the Apocalypse will come out swinging, and your opponent will likely have a lot of Extinction Event or Path of Peril copies, so this is a good time to play Elite Spellbinder and a Guardian of Faith.

  • Out: 4 Experimet One, 2 Adeline, Resplendent Cathar
  • In: 2 Brutal Cathar, 3 Elite Spellbinder, 1 Guardian of Faith

Mono Green Devotion

In my opinion, this is why I would want to play any configuration of Thalia's Lieutenant, be it in mono color, Bant, or even 5 colors. The performance of an aggressive deck gives you a lot of advantage in this matchup, quickly developing the board and connecting with their only significant blocker will be your gameplan. This deck has permanent access to its sideboard cards, so you won't see many changes other than a couple of Voracious Hydra after game one. In the second game you should try to efficiently disrupt their game and Portable Hole does a good job at that, not only delaying and targeting their elves, but also being effective against Wolfwillow Haven and Oath of Nissa. This is a speed war where you have the advantage, so you can't expose yourself to them coming back from behind by casting Storm the Festival from the graveyard and Unlicensed Hearse will help you with that. Thalia, Heretic Cathar will help you with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx especially if it comes down with Storm the Festival, Elite Spellbinder will help you control their hand and provide the necessary taxes along with Reidane, God of the Worthy.

  • Out: 4 Charming Prince, 3 Extraction Specialist, 1 Collected Company, 2 Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, 2 Aether Channeler
  • In: 3 Portable Hole, 2 Brutal Cathar, 3 Elite Spellbinder, 2 Reidane, God of the Worthy, Thalia, 1 Heretic Cathar, 1 Unlicensed Hearse

White Weenie

This Thalia's Lieutenant configuration is quite solid, Brave the Elements is an excellent card at this moment and you always have to play around it, your advantages are in the way of eliminating threats since they are more forceful than your opponent's, in the mono color version cards like Reflector Mage and of course Collected Company are missed, cards that together with Experiment One and Aether Channeler complete my reasons for staying with Bant. In game 2 they will have similar answers from the sideboard, although your opponent will have access to cards like Declaration in Stone. You must take into account that your main disadvantage is still Brave the Elements since it efficiently and for a low cost disables many of the responses you can execute.

This match is based mainly on combat, so you have to do it well in this part of the game, blocking correctly and making efficient attacks is essential, you cannot under any circumstances give away your creatures. Do not hesitate to cast your Portable Hole for their Portable Hole if the creature's abilities would trigger a trigger with impact on the board, and when you choose your targets keep this play in mind, it could be worse the remedy than the disease.

Portable Hole
0.12 Tix
$1.49
$1.58

 When trying to control Brave the Elements it will seem like a good idea to keep Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, but you must take into account that your main weapon in this game is playing a Collected Company, therefore, you do not want to clutter the board with a Company in hand that you cannot cast, since the two for one will be the key that will open this game in your favor.

Example white weenie deck:

https://mtgdecks.net/Pioneer/white-weenie-decklist-by-marcelo-lopez-1465147

  • Out: 1 Charming Prince, 2 Werewolf Pack Leader, 3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
  • In: 4 Portable Hole, 2 Brutal Cathar

This is my take on Bant Humans, I hope it's useful and you're brave enough to try this deck out, it's guaranteed entertainment, I hope to see you all soon.

JimmyTo

If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones Temur Creativity Primer & Sideboard Guide [Modern], Hardened Scales In-depth & sideboard guide, Legacy Delver decks: In-depth and Sideboard Guide

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Jaime Lara - JimmyTo
Experienced Magic the Gathering player and mathematician
A passionate and experienced Magic the Gathering player and mathematician, JimmyTo uses his discipline for data collection and statistics in the game; he is better known as JimmyTo and is constantly present among the top rankings of his country. He is currently a co-founder of Five Color Hub, a Chilean organization that has given 3 slots to a World Pro Tour.

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Published: 2022-10-06 00:00:00
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