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The Leporatory - Bant Auras (Video)
Feature Article from Frank Lepore
Frank Lepore
1/14/2013 10:01:00 AM
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This week I chose to spotlight a deck that several players have actually submitted to me in several different forms. It also happens to be a deck that I found on MTGO over a month ago and it has been sitting in my “netdecks” folder ever since (that's the area on MTGO where you're able to store you decklists on their server, so they'll be available no matter where you log in).

The deck in question is a Bant deck, focusing on Enchantments. Specifically Auras. More specifically things like Rancor, Spectral Flight, and Ethereal Armor. Conveniently enough, the deck also had its Breakthrough this weekend, putting two players into the Top 8 of Grand Prix Atlantic City! Not only did it put the players into the Top 8, the two players piloting it managed to meet in the finals, taking 1st and 2nd place. Perfect timing, if you ask me, but I it kind of goes to show you that anyone can have a great idea; it just takes winning an event to get noticed.

The readers who submitted similar decks were Rob Young, David McGraw, and to a lesser extent Mike Crawford. While the deck I'm looking at today was submitted by Leon Francis, hopefully those players can take a look at the changes we've made and apply them to the lists they've submitted as well (or they can be happy to know the idea they were onto about a month ago just came in first and seconds at a Grand Prix).

The deck that Leon submitted was as follows:

Bant Auras by Leon Francis
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Geist of Saint Traft
3 Invisible Stalker
4 Silverblade Paladin
Creatures [19]
4 Abundant Growth
2 Detention Sphere
4 Ethereal Armor
1 Oblivion Ring
4 Rancor
3 Spectral Flight
Spells [18]
2 Cavern of Souls
4 Forest (270)
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Hinterland Harbor
1 Moorland Haunt
4 Temple Garden
Lands [23]
Deck Total [60]


2 Centaur Healer
2 Divine Favor
2 Faith's Shield
2 Ground Seal
2 Knight of Glory
2 Negate
2 Ray of Revelation
1 Syncopate
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!


Leon had the following to say about the deck:

“Stick enchantments on hexproof beats and win. The deck curves out at three converted mana cost, and can blow an opponent out as early as turn four. This originally started out as a midrange-ish kind of deck that ran cards like Bruna, Light of Alabaster and Righteous Authority. (Two cards I love very much.) After a bit of testing, I decided to cut the cute fluff and make the deck as fast and as consistent as possible. You may question the Visionaries, but a friend suggested them to me, and they've been putting in card advantage work ever since.”

As I said, I liked the idea before I was even sent decklists about it, so I couldn't wait to see how it actually performed!

Bant Auras vs. RG Aggro



Bant Auras vs. Red Deck Wins



As I mentioned, the awkward thing about this week's article was that I began writing it long before the Grand Prix. This means that I was either way ahead of the curve or...well, something else that I'm not quite sure of. So we'll go with ahead of the curve for now. That being the case, I noticed a couple things after playing with Leon's initial build.

Elvish Visionary was cute, but we didn't have enough time to cast the spells we that were already in our hand. In other words we were drawing cards that we never had enough mana to cast, because we were spending all of our mana casting other things. Ya dig? I wanted more bodies that were good at carrying equipment…er, enchantments. Josh Utter-Leyton also mentions that Bant Control is one of the deck's worst matchups, so I imagine against sweepers we want creatures that can come back and hit the ground running...hastily.

-4 Elvish Visionary
+4 Strangleroot Geist

The other change I made was to up the count of Spectral Flight and Invisible Stalker to four each. These are two cards that make up the backbone of our deck: hexproof creatures and evasive auras. I took out one Oblivion Ring because often times it isn't relevant and you're going to “fly” right by any potential blockers. In addition, the games are often over long before a Planeswalker will become relevant. And besides: we still have two Detention Sphere. I also took out the Moorland Haunt. For a deck that curves out at three mana and has four mana dorks, I think we can get away with 22 lands. I also didn't like having the Moorland Haunt and being unable to cast a Geist of Saint Traft or Silverblade Paladin off of it, and I imagine the situation is only getting worse with Strangleroot Geist.

I know that by taking out a land we're not actually helping cast those cards, but hopefully we can draw something a little more relevant instead.

+1 Spectral Flight
+1 Invisible Stalker

-1 Moorland Haunt
-1 Oblivion Ring

After I made some changes to the list, it looked like this:

Bant Auras Update by Frank Lepore
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
4 Geist of Saint Traft
4 Invisible Stalker
4 Silverblade Paladin
4 Strangleroot Geist
Creatures [20]
4 Abundant Growth
2 Detention Sphere
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Rancor
4 Spectral Flight
Spells [18]
2 Cavern of Souls
4 Forest (270)
1 Glacial Fortress
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Hinterland Harbor
1 Island (255)
2 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
Lands [22]
Deck Total [60]


2 Centaur Healer
2 Divine Favor
2 Feeling of Dread
2 Knight of Glory
2 Negate
2 Ray of Revelation
3 Rest in Peace
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!


I pretty much explain the sideboard changes in the following intro video, so let's take a look and see how the deck fared with the new changes.

Bant Auras Update Intro



Bant Auras Update vs. Bant Control



Bant Auras Update vs. RG Aggro



As you can see, the deck does indeed have problems with Bant Control. Their sweepers are simply very hard to deal with. If only our auras had totem armor. Nonetheless, the deck is insanely fast as you can see. Often times your creature end up winning in two turns and there's very little your opponents can do. In other words...the deck is often not very interactive. For some people this might be miserable. The deck kind of plays like infect actually, where you're able to deal a ton of damage with creatures that are too well protected to be dealt with.

I could definitely see swapping the two Detention Sphere for two Selesnya Charm. The main reason is that the Charm can give us another body to slap some auras onto , but it also grants trample and acts as removal if we happen to need those things as well. The Detention Spheres were largely irrelevant a lot of times due to flying or unblockability. Increasing Savagery is a card that both of the Grand Prix finalists also had in their builds as a two of, so that's definitely a consideration as well. With only 22 lands, I wonder how that went, as I imagine it can never be flashed back. Either way, a 6/6 Invisible Stalker is still a 6/6 Invisible Stalker.

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Whether the deck will get better or worse after Gatecrash has yet to be determined, but there's no mistaking that Leon Francis and his fellow readers were slightly ahead of the curve with this brew. While it wasn't the exact list that put two players into the Top 8 of the GP, it certainly was close.

That's it for The Leporatory this week! Let me know what you guys thought and, again, you can send your ideas to Leporatory@TCGplayer.com! Please be sure to include your name, a name for the deck, and a brief synopsis of what the deck does or is supposed to do. As usual, I get a decent number of requests each week for help with decks, so if I don't get back to you, I do apologize, but I definitely do read all of your emails! Thanks to Leon for sending me the awesome list!

As usual, I'll be back with more Magic later this week, so thanks for reading and I'll see you then!

Frank Lepore
@FrankLepore on Twitter
FrankLepore on TwitchTV



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