This article features a part of citation, netdecking and own discovery. I hope that it would be interesting at least for those who are trying to make Summoning Trap workable in Standard. Let me begin with a short introduction.
I am in search of my way into competitive Magic. As regards my experience, I played some non-competitive matches with paper cards in late 90-s. After a long-term pause, I returned to Magic in form of MTGO last summer, but after three months took another break. Fortunately, I have been able to recover my interest in this great brain training two months ago.
Since then I played ZEN/WWK drafts as well as some ROE prerelease events (not without certain success, but nothing to speak of). When I got tired of Sealed format, I turned to Constructed. I searched for something special and found it in an article by Adam_the_Mentat:
It's really a trap! Trust him!
(not plagiarizing, just giving credit by visual citation)
In my opinion, this card has probably the best artwork ever, and I enjoy its mechanics. It seems to me better than of Polymorph for three reasons. First, Summoning Trap doesn't need a token or some poor rabbit to become (sic!) Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, so there is no additional point of risk where your token is removed, and it is easier to cast several of these Traps one-by-one. Then, you are not bound by one fattie for a deck, and as a fail-safe you can just directly play creatures in the late game. Finally, you can tutor it accurately (which is a rare joy in Standard) with Trapmaker's Snare. The drawback is CMC of the Trap, but as long as you have consistent mana-base, it should not be a problem.
The article from which I drew my inspiration in general falls within "Building on a Budget" theme, except for a few fatties. However, I had some good Bant cards including 4xLotus Cobra, so why not to use them with Summoning Trap? As we say in Russia, you should not invent bicycle (it's already invented, just mount one and reach your goal faster). I made some research, and netdecking showed a good Bant deck with Summoning Trap inside, featuring Sphinx of the Steel Wind, a creature which is currently not overabundant in metagame. Note that this deck was designed before even WWK, so it doesn't have Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Here is the decklist with my credits to Dee from Magic Game Plan:
This deck was designed before Jace, the Mind Sculptor appeared, but I have no doubts that the author included at least two of them, if he continued with this. In total, with 4xBaneslayer Angel we have one of the most expensive Standard decks. I started to wonder whether there is any alternative.
Divination or even Mind Spring are out of discussion as they don't have much synergy with other cards in the deck. Ponder just doesn't dig deep enough into library to get the Trap in dire situation. Answers at the spot of publication featured Sphinx of Lost Truths to be included, and criticisms against Knight of the Reliquary. I thought that both of them, even the latter, should be good in this deck, but something must be added to provide better synergy. ROE gave the answer, and it is:
Even the noblest souls fall, and so do sphinxs
Function of Knight of the Reliquary without things like Eldrazi Conscription are nice: it is a lure for opponent's removal spells and it makes Lotus Cobra shine brighter. But this is not enough for a deck based on Summoning Trap which has to be resilient if you don't have mana-base and a copy of the Trap in your starting hand. To be resilient here means to be able to manage your library. Since we are looking for alternatives for Jace, the Mind Sculptor, we have to draw much to prepare the moment when we can release a bomb like Iona, Shield of Emeria. Gaining life in the meantime would also help to withstand some blows. All this can be done with Momentous Fall.
By the date of this article I have done some playtesting, and it proved that the combo works. For instance, you cast Knight of the Reliquary, and opponent has a choice: to be attacked by, let's say, 9/9 creature, or to remove it. When a removal is cast, you just play Momentous Fall and sacrifice the target. In the result, there is one less removal, nine cards drawn and 9 life gained. Same is true for (Sphinx of Lost Truth) which gives more cards than it could imagine itself. Isn't it good?
The deck I currently play with embraces this idea. Let me just explain some minor choices I made while constructing it basing on the Dark Bant Trap deck.
First, as the deck now includes several good spells which give card advantage, Trapmaker's Snare is no longer essential. Two spots are freed for 2xRhox War Monk, which are useful when you fight any deck which has Lightning Bolt, and it is used often now. Path to Exile is, of course, strong, but it hardly helps to develop the main theme of the deck and should be reserved for the sideboard. I also have doubts about Rampant Growth. It does not work well with Lotus Cobra, since the land comes tapped, and Bant mana-base is quite efficient without such kind of additives. The same is true for Terramorphic Expanse. It's nice to have spots for slow, but versatile lands. My choice is just Seaside Citadel which may be efficient in late game, when you need to hard cast Iona, Shield of Emeria. Now, with the Momentous Fall, I don't think that Wall of Reverence should be included, even in sideboard. Acidic Slime is quite attractive, but it isn't fast enough to be used early, and it has reduced effect later on. In addition, I recently faced nice milling deck and decided to include Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into sideboard. However, any eldrazi or monster like Darksteel Colossus may be used for this purpose. This results in the following decklist:
I guess this deck may be improved in many ways, but it should conceive the idea. So far, it proved to be good against Jund (Sphinx of the Steel Wind seems just to shut it off unless there are a lot of dragons and Sarkhan the Mad on board already) and some exotic but effective decks, for instance one featuring Dragonmaster Outcast and another - Retaliator Griffin. I haven't yet had an opportunity to playtest it against U/W Control and Mythic Bant / Eldrazi Conscription, but we'll see.