Brewing Bant Blink

Last month I brewed up a Bant goodstuff deck featuring Ojutai’s Command and Dromoka’s Command. While decent in its own right, there’s the issue of lacking versatility in answers.

bant blink vendilion clique

In hindsight,┬áif we’re going pure goodstuff, other colours just do this better because of their better answers, so we need some kind of unique angle.

With that in mind, I believe the best routes Bant can take are abusing Collected Company (excluding 4cmc and above creatures and shaving non-creature spells to accommodate it), and abusing “blink” effects (removing creatures from play and then returning them right after to trigger an enter the battlefield effect and/or dodge removal). Both angles are great because we do have a massive amount of very powerful creatures, a lot of which have very welcome ETB effects (much more than a colour combination like Grixis, for example).

Today I’m going to brew up a list based on the latter (and I should have one based on the former at some point in the future), which I dub simply Bant Blink. I debated combining the two into one list, but it felt like there wasn’t enough room for all the threats and answers needed on top of Company. Plus, cutting Restoration Angel in this shell is just wrong.

Building the Bant Blink Core

We know Bant Blink is inescapably a midrange deck, and that requires consistent, potent threats, as well as answers. We also know we want to abuse ETB effects, so if those effects can also serve as answers, we should definitely consider them.

With that in mind, here is the core of our creature base:

Blade Splicer: 4 power, first strike, repeatability, and hatefulness toward removal, all for just 3 mana is stupid good. We have to use this, and we will, happily.

Kitchen Finks: Worst case this gets Pathed and you paid 3 mana for 2 life and a land (not bad at all); best case they use 2 removal spells on it and we Resto Angel in response to the second. Very strong card for us. It helps that it’s extremely relevant versus Burn.

Flickerwisp: A 3/1 flyer for 3 is decent unto itself, but a 3/1 flyer that comes attached to a 3/3 first strike golem is even better. It has a variety of other applications of course, not just on your creatures, but your opponents creatures and non-creature permanents.

bant blink blade splicer

Restoration Angel: It doesn’t get much more relevant than a 3/4 flash flyer that can gain you life in Modern, does it? I’ll take four.

Vendilion Clique: We need answers in Bant wherever we can get them, but preferably attached to a creature, so this is pure gold for us. We can also use it on ourselves if we really need a draw, which is nice.

Other creatures I debated were Snapcaster Mage, Coiling Oracle, Venser, Shaper Savant, and Mystic Snake. With Snap I just felt like I’d rather be doing other things most of the time; Oracle I quite liked in testing but there just doesn’t appear to be room; Venser and Snake are good but we need our creatures to be either a 4-of for consistency or otherwise damn strong and efficient (Clique). And I don’t want a 4-of 4-drop unless it’s as strong as Resto Angel and not legendary, so these two are out for me.

As for the non-creature cards, we employ the usual slew of Path, Leak, and Remand, because they’re cheap, efficient, and the best at what they do. Other non-creature cards I debated were mainly Momentary Blink and Ghostaway. I rejected them because Wisp and Angel are best for the effect. That said, Ghostaway could be nice sideboard, partly to deal with wrath (though we do have some built in ways to deal with it, and even if wrathed, we’ve already gotten value through ETB effects, so maybe not).

All that’s left is a little land (including some utility land) and ramp, and we’re good to go.

[d title=”Bant Blink by Sean Ridgeley”]

Creatures
3 Birds of Paradise
4 Blade Splicer
1 Eternal Witness
4 Flickerwisp
4 Kitchen Finks
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Restoration Angel
2 Vendilion Clique

Instants
4 Path to Exile
4 Mana Leak
4 Remand

Land
1 Breeding Pool
2 Flooded Strand
2 Forest
3 Gavony Township
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Island
3 Misty Rainforest
1 Plains
3 Razorverge Thicket
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Temple Garden
3 Windswept Heath
[/d]

There’s no completed sideboard yet, but for now I’m thinking Reclamation Sage (repeatable, and all kinds of targets, but mainly for Affinity), Hurkyl’s Recall (swap out some Remand for this to hurt Affinity), Engineered Explosives (extremely versatile and relevant, especially since we don’t care about our 1 drops much and don’t have any 2 drop creatures), and Loaming Shaman (repeatable hate for Delve decks, Living End, and more).

In Closing

In goldfishing, the deck feels pretty strong and consistent, so at this stage I’d definitely recommend it if you love Bant but don’t want to feel handicapped (at least not too much so). Alternately, wait it out for my Bant Company list, which I should have sometime next month.

Until next time!

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.

11 thoughts on “Brewing Bant Blink

  1. I love the concept behind this deck. I’ve been looking for a way to make Bant work, and this seems like a strong place to start. A couple of comments:

    1. 7 mana dorks seems like a lot, especially with 22 lands and only 4 cmc4 spells. Would shaving off 1 more Bird in favor of another Eternal Witness be a thing to consider?

    2. Can we sneak Spell Snare in here? I love it as a no-nonsense hard answer that can be deployed on the draw.

    1. I’m open to cutting a Bird, but more Witness doesn’t intrigue me. Part of why I run 7 is because we have no 2 drop creatures (which is a problem unto itself). Keep in mind we run Township to alleviate the late game dorks issue.

      Snare is a possibility. My reservations are that I’m unsure we need more answers, and it’s more problematic since don’t have a ton of versatile answers and draw like other decks that run it (if their Snare is dead, it’s not usually a big deal because they have heaps of other answers, unlike us).

      The only card that truly interests me right now for the main is Coiling Oracle. I may find room for them (flex spots are Path, Leak, Birds, Remand, Witness). I’m open to other card ideas, though.

  2. I think this website is losing it’s focus and niche. It was billed as the ‘premier’ Modern site, and I think you’re falling short. I’m a big fan of the Modern format and I really want this site to succeed because I’ve seen enough here to make me interested – so please take the following as constructive criticism.

    1. I really think you need to focus on competitive MTG. Brews etc are fun and all, but we don’t need another source of janky brews. What Modern needs is a place for proper detailed discussion of the meta-game and trends, as well as how to take advantage of them.

    2. Seriously – it’s been 9 days since your last competitive post (http://modernnexus.com/introducing-abzan-collected-company/). That’s the sort of pre-meta analysis that I’ve come to expect from this site.

    3. Speaking of delays – when’s part 2 of Match-ups and Win Rates coming? Part 1 was published 23 days ago (http://modernnexus.com/matchups-and-win-rates-top-tier-decks-part-1/).

    4. I think you noted it with the Lands article – the standard was sub-par – but my belief is while these latest articles aren’t sub-par in their presentation, the topics are.

    I know you guys are probably busy, and I know what it takes to write a blog (I write one as part of a collective for fantasy football) but I think you could do well to figure out what your focus areas should be. A weekly structure would go a long way to giving you a template to work off making the writing each week easier.

    Things I think the ‘spikes’ would be interested in reading:

    1. Analysis of a tier 2 deck (Grixis Delver, Esper Mentor and Abzan Company articles are excellent examples – and truly are great articles, I would love to see follow-ups tracking how the decks are doing. Don’t be scared of doing an update to these as the decks begin to work out what the default list is)
    2. Video/Daily of these decks (I know cost is possibly prohibitive, but its a suggestion. Video content is definitely popular though)
    3. Match-ups and win-rates (updated weekly. If you notice significant improvements/regressions see if you can figure out why – what tech has been added etc. These are the minor things that could make a massive difference to those that don’t have the means to analyse large data-sets).
    4. “How to beat” articles – I thought these were interesting. I may have disagreed with some of what was said but I think getting an understanding of the enemy is one of the most important things in Modern after knowing your own deck (which actually requires knowing your deck in context of the opponent’s)

    I might be completely wrong and your analytics might point to brews and brewing being your most popular articles. At which I would probably have to say then I’m not your target market, but at least I’ve managed to get it off my chest now and I do hope you take this information to heart and see how you can balance the needs/wants of those of us who want more competitive articles.

    1. 1. Modern is a great format for brewing, and we’ve always believed in representing that side of it as well as the data oriented side. I admit a few of the brews have been less than stellar. This is a product of it being the early days of the site. I’m very intent on presenting only quality brews as time goes on. Most won’t be top tier, but they will all be as competitive as I can possibly make them. And yeah, we’re aware the full-on spikes won’t be interested in them.

      2. We’ll be sure to have at least one competitive article per week from now on. Often it will be two, and sometimes even three (we may bring on another writer soon).

      I will be doing video content for top tier decks in the future. Cost has been the limiting factor, but that will be less of an issue as this year progresses.

      Brews are less popular, but the quality and financial aspects have affected that, among other things. We’re working on all of it so hopefully they do better.

    2. Thanks for giving this feedback. I appreciate your honesty about this and willingness to be open about it here. I’m happy to speak to a number of these points and hopefully give you some context about all those issues you bring up. I’m going to go one by one, not because I want a tit-for-tat exchange, but because I think it’s important to address the points one-by-one.

      1. We want a mix of both competitive and more creative/developing content. In general, we want to keep that balanced over the course of the week. There will be times where it feels unbalanced, but our goal is eventually to keep at least a 50/50 split in favor of competitive content, maybe shifting to 70/30 depending on the season.

      2. Jund says hi today!
      http://modernnexus.com/three-cases-for-modern-jund/
      As for metagame analyses, I don’t want to force this content, so I’ll only publish them when important trends are noticed. We have a metagame update coming next week, probably on Wednesday after we clean data on Monday and Tuesday, and that will cover a lot of these points.

      3. One of the big challenges in those kind of statistical articles is data collection. We want to keep the content coming, but we also want to make sure we have enough data to report on. We also want that data to have the quality readers expect of the site. So in the case of the win rate article, we just didn’t have enough data to update the dataset. That’s changed now (7 more dailes added in the last 1.5 weeks!), and you can expect an update on that soon. But in general, these kinds of analyses take time, especially when one of the chief criticisms (and most annoying criticisms) is about the size of N. But stay tuned for more on this soon!

      4. As for structure and topics, we are working towards this as we look to adding more staff and keep building the reader base. One thing we do not want to do is settle on a structure too early in the site’s history, and then keep changing it as we get more data. It’s much better to run the site for a while and figure out how content is received before we commit to a more formal schedule.

      I definitely hear you on wanting more competitive content. Rest assured, we will have plenty of that in June with all the awesome GP action coming around the corner. But at the same time, there are also the pressures of taking time to gather and analyze data, as well as the different interests by different players (some want tier 1 articles, others want brews, etc.). We are looking to balance all those different demands as the site keeps growing.

      Keep the feedback coming and thanks for giving us your concerns. Let me know if you have any other questions or comments on this.

      1. Thanks for the reply and taking my comments as intended.

        To avoid the tit-for-tat, I’ll combo-break the point by point exchange and just say a few things in response.

        I understand the issue with data (lucky for us on our fantasy site each gameweek gives us something to talk about whereas you have a week’s worth of dailies). I’m not suggesting make up a data article each week, but rather just update old discussions (perhaps cycle some articles on an N-week basis – Win Rates Tier 1, Win Rates Tier 2, Meta-analysis etc. That would give you N weeks worth of additional data).

        My major point was really one relating to the description of the site as being the ‘premier’ one, to me that implied more spike orientated articles. Again, I’m not against brewing – but at the moment that is taking up most of your time which I believe is a waste of resources.

        Also – thanks for the Jund article, that’s definitely more in line with what I’m personally looking to read.

  3. Did you consider Geist of Saint Traft for this build? It doesn’t have an enter the battlefield effect, but it’s rare that it is removed before you get value. It also works well with resto angel and momentary blink in that you can flicker Geist after blocks to save it from combat.

    To fit it in Geist I’d suggest -4 flicker wisp +2 Geist, +2 momentary blink. The wisp is good, but it seems like you have a real glut of 3 drops. This streamlines your curve a little bit and gives you more instant speed blink.

  4. With your proposed list – I don’t see the point of green. You are running green for 7 mana dorks and gavony township, the latter only good because of the former, but there are better dork+gavony decks and blinking +1+1 counters is a non-bo.

    I’ve tinkered a bit with bant blink, starting with the base of 4x mystic snake and trying to make that card good. So at a minimum mystic snake was why I was in green at all, and from there I tried getting more out of the colour via witness, rec sage, coiling oracle, and thragtusk.

    The issue there really is that with 4x snake 4x angel that’s kind of a lot of 4-drops, and then you add blink which is 4 on the flashback. And finishing a game was often hard even if you soft-locked them because the deck has minimal removal and no big or evasive win con besides angel.

    1. Yeah, it’s light on green, but I don’t think the deck works without dorks. And Witness, Township, and some good sideboard tech help. It’s definitely possible Oracle should be there, too.

      I’m aware of the non-bo between Township and blink effects. It just comes down to helping a lot sometimes and almost never hurting us.

      I purposely did my best to avoid those pitfalls and feel quite pleased with the results.

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