Adventures in Magic the Gathering Part 3
Just a few days ago I did a post in this series where I talked about some of my favourite cards to play from Dragons of Tarkir, cards that I’ve had the pleasure of playing with a fair bit and cards that I really like. Having played Magic for as little time as I have, barely five and a half very inconsistent months, I’ve nevertheless found myself getting attached to a lot of different cards and while I started out as a Sultai (BUG) player, I’ve since gravitated towards playing Abzan (WGB) and have stuck with that change as well. Sure, Dragons of Tarkir has seemingly simplified things for me by removing the black from the clan colours, but I still play full Abzan and I have a blast with it too.
This new article is something very different however. For a few weeks now I’ve been working towards building an entirely different deck, one that apparently used to be popular early last year but has since kind of fallen through the cracks with the incoming rotation of Khans of Tarkir last September. The deck is Blue/White Heroic, which counts as its staples a number of cards from the Theros block while supplementing in a few spells from Khans of Tarkir. Just this past weekend, Tom “the Boss” Ross piloted a version of this same deck to a Top 8 finish at StarCityGames Syracuse, and watching him play that deck, I got really excited because some of the amazing combos and finishers. So, that’s what this article is about, the deck named Bant Heroic.
Bant Heroic is essentially the same as Blue/White Heroic, except for the difference that the Boss splashed green for the new badass card Dromoka’s Command, something that I talked about in the previous post. Bant is actually the name of a “shard” of the plane known as Alara, the setting for a previous block in Magic the Gathering‘s history. As I only started very recently with the game, I completely missed out on this part of Magic history and so I know next to nothing about it. Suffice to say, being completely inexperienced with the lore and mechanics of Alara has certainly not dampened my excitement with the deck itself, and though the nomenclature is only in terms of the colours played in the deck, I still love all of it.
The thing about this deck is that it is based on the Heroic mechanic from the Theros block. The way this mechanic works is that certain cards have “Heroic” as part of their oracle text (the card rule/mechanic/abilities text), and this is basically a keyword ability (if I have the terminology right) which grants different benefits to different creatures, though most often it has something to do with putting a +1/+1 counter on said creature, thereby making it grow over the course of a game.
Being such a big fan of the Abzan mechanics of Bolster and Outlast, which both have something to do with putting +1/+1 counters on creatures over the course of a game and thus giving them some new abilities even, the Heroic mechanic certainly feels right up my alley, and a lot of the cards in the deck really stand out for me.
Some of my favourite cards from this deck (both versions of it actually), are Battlewise Hoplite, Phalanx Leader, Hero of Iroas and Fabled Hero. The cards each do something different, but at the heart, they are all about making creatures grow and even smoothing out your game. What’s not to love about it? And when you combine these cards with some of the other superb cards like Ordeal of Heliod or Ordeal of Thassa, then the game gets even better. The deck is all about combos, and when they start firing off, the deal really races out.
But the mana can sometimes be funky and if you have a few bad draws (even as few as 2 or 3), then you are in some serious danger of falling behind. Not that that is a stumbling point for me. As an Abzan player with a three-colour requirement and many ETB (enter the battlefield) tapped lands, I’m certainly no stranger to mana issues, and really, the mana is not what draws me to this deck, it is the cards and their interactions. Not to mention that yeah, this deck is an aggro deck, and I’ve found that an aggro style is what suits me best since I lack the patience and even the finesse for playing a control deck that depends on the long game. Just not my style at all.
Some people no doubt find it curious that I’m investing so much in a deck that is rather out of date and doesn’t compare so well with creatures from the current Khans of Tarkir block. Then again, you only need to look at Tom Ross’ performance at Syracuse this past weekend, and you see the kind of power that this deck can have. Dromoka’s Command functions as an excellent, cheap removal for the deck and it can really do wonders actually. As a complete amateur, the way I think about it is that the deck really hurts for some good, decent removal and that if this problem can be shored up sufficiently, then the deck is much better positioned to be a serious competitor in a world of Siege Rhinos and dragons and dragonlords and some really funky stuff that can generally be found in the Khans of Tarkir block across all three sets. Truly, that is it.
While I still lack a few cards to really complete my set, I do have most of them in place and I do have a mind to try the deck out in some casual plays and see where it goes. At heart, I remain an Abzan player and will continue on that front for as long as Khans of Tarkir is the top block (switching out this October for the new Battle for Zendikar block), but in the meantime, some sidetracking with Bant Heroic is certainly not out of the picture, and since I’m a big fan of Greek Mythology even, playing with some cards inspired from that rich mythology is certainly an experience.
- 4 Battlewise Hoplite
- 4 Favored Hoplite
- 4 Hero Of Iroas
- 1 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
- 4 Seeker of the Way
Until next time!
Posted on April 7, 2015, in Gaming, Magic the Gathering and tagged Abzan, Adventures in Magic the Gathering, Bant Heroic, Battlewise Hoplite, Blue/White Heroic, Born of The Gods, Card Games, Competitive Gaming, Dragons, Dragons of Tarkir, Dromoka, Dromoka the Eternal, Dromoka's Command, Elder Dragons, Elspeth Sun's Champion, Elspeth Tiriel, Epic Fantasy, Fabled Hero, Fantasy, Fate Reforged, Gaming, Gods, Gods Willing, Greek Mythology, Hero of Iroas, Heroic Mechanic, Journey Into Nyx, Khans of Tarkir, Magic The Gathering, Mythology, Ordeal of Heliod, Ordeal of Thassa, Phalanx Leader, Planeswalkers, SCG Syracuse, Tarkir, Theros, Time Travel, Tom Ross, Trading Card Games, Wizards of the Coast, Women in SFF. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.