Pioneer has taken the community by storm. I’ve spent the last two weeks truly delving deep into the format on a non-stop grind in an attempt to play to the absolute limit of my abilities, learning the nuances of the deck I’ve chosen to commit myself to. Bant Spirits.
I started the week out testing in anticipation for upcoming tournaments over the next 2 weeks. The list is heavily inspired by Mattia Rizzi’s latest Players Tour top 8. After playing close to 200 matches of magic with this list I felt I’d had enough success with this deck, so decided to take it to a local tournament.
Harlequins Preston Win-A-Box
The morning of the event I had made some last minute changes in order to accommodate the meta I expected to face in the room. I expected to see a lot of Sultai Delirium and Bant Spirits decks in the room. Permeating Mass would gum up the ground for my opponents fearing to attack into it, allowing me to constantly chip in for more damage each turn with my flying threats. Mistcutter Hydra would also be the perfect mirror-breaker against opposing U/W and Bant Spirits deck as they would never have enough creatures to block it. It proved a reliable threat in the end helping me to beat my one and only Spirits mirror so I’m very happy with its inclusion. The final list ended up as the one seen below after having trimmed on a Disdainful Stoke and a Settle the Wreckage to include two copies of Permeating mass.
Round one I had been paired against a close friend of mine who was playing a G/R Midrange deck. I was fortunate enough to take a very close game one after having a slow start having been stuck on two lands for a large portion of the game. After finding the third land I was able to cast Nebelgast Herald to clear the air of flying threats so I could attack to close out the game. Game two was much less close however as I had a much quicker start, curving out on 3 lands and again taking care of opposing flying creatures with Nebelgast Herald so I was able to swiftly close out the game to a 2-0 win.
Round two ended up being the dreaded Spirits mirror, luckily however I was able to win the game quite quickly due my opponent having conceded an early Nebelgast Herald to my Spell Queller. Game two however was a lot harder as my opponent came to the same conclusion as I did about the meta, and also had Mistcutter Hydras of his own. We both had cast them on the same power and toughness as each other so that they would stare at each other forever. Game two quickly devolved into a true grind of two large boards unable to attack into each other, opposing Mystical Disputes to deny each other the opportunity to apply meaningful pressure to the board. I was able to again make good use of my soon to be new favourite card, Nebelgast Herald, allowing me to tap enough of his board to clear the way for a lethal attack.
This was perhaps the easiest match of them all having been lucky enough to get paired into a favorable match up in the form of Mono Blue Devotion. I was able to fully make use of the tools at my disposal to take game one, such as Spell Queller taking down a hastily cast Merfolk Trickster in order to tap down a one mana creature. Game two largely ended up the same way in that my opponent hastily cast creatures in an attempt to put more pressure on the board, only to have them countered by Mystical Dispute and Spell Queller, Mistcutter Hydra being the final finisher.
Round 4 ID Into Top 4
In my semi-finals match I had been paired against a Sultai Flash deck, something I’d never seen before. I took down game one simply by being faster than my opponent and them not having any access to removal spells. Game two however saw it relatively in reverse, with my opponent having a very good start with their curve going a lot higher than mine, plus removal spells stopping me dead in my tracks. Game three was the closest of them all as we both gradually chipped at each other for a long time until my opponent resolved a Scarab god and was able to finally finish me off and advance himself to the finals.
Overall I was very pleased with how the deck performed and I truly feel like I have learned a lot and gained a new understanding from the experience. I look forward to taking this deck and the experience to the WPNQ on the 15th at Just Play in Liverpool. I hope those that read this take something away from the experience I’ve had and hope to use it for their own gain.