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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Oct 26 2022 10:28am
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Seeing Bant decks that are based around come into play abilities and Flicker effects aren’t new, however today we will be looking at a Bant deck that includes ramp, Flicker effects and most importantly, creatures with Initiative. They aren’t as cheap to cast and they aren’t as effective on the curve, but the Initiative mechanic is still very powerful.

The list we are going to look at today got 4th place in the Challenge that took place on 10/15/2022 and was piloted by the player b1ast. Alright Dungeon Masters, we aren’t done venturing yet. Let’s rock!

 

Arbor Elf – In this list we see Wild Growth and Utopia Sprawl as your ramp cards. Here is how we truly take advantage.

Llanowar Visionary – One of the best midrange creatures in Pauper period. It ramps, draws a card and only costs 3 mana. I am extremely happy to see 4 copies here.

Jewel Thief – A fantastic creature that both hits hard early and ramps. Happy to see 4 copies.

Mulldrifter – One of the best creatures of all time for Pauper. It is your only blue card in the deck, but it is a damn good one.

Soul of Migration – This is an extremely good creature to combo Ephemerate with as you can end up making a small army of flying tokens to win the game with.

Goliath Paladin and Avenging Hunter – Here are your creatures with Initiative. Although they are slow to cast at being 5 mana, you can cast them on turn 3 very easily. They are also very good because the Paladin can play both offense and defense thanks to having Vigilance, while the Hunter hits very hard with having 5 power and Trample.

Wild Growth and Utopia Sprawl – Here are your main ramp cards for the deck.

Abundant Growth – You do play 4 copies of Mulldrifter but you only play 1 Island. Now one might say, but we have Sprawl and Jewel Thief. The issue with that is with Sprawl, you will most likely need to name white and with the Treasure you get from Thief, you will most likely use it to ramp and will not be able to save it for Mulldrifter. At the very least, Growth does replace itself.

Late to Dinner – This is a good way of getting one of your threats back and it does a good job since it also gives you a Food token to gain some life. I would like to see a few more copies however.

The Manabase is actually very boring as it is all basic lands. It should stay that way. With Utopia Sprawl, Wild Growth and Arbor Elf as your main ways of ramping, you don’t have room for gimmick lands, nor do you need them. You only have 18 lands as well so you don’t have room for gimmick lands.

The Sideboard

Circle of Protection: Red and Weather the Storm – Say no to our Burn overlords!

Deglamer – This is a great way to get rid of either a threat or slow down Affinity by removing one of their indestructible lands.

Mwonvuli Acid-Moss and Thermokarst – Against other midrange decks, Tron or decks with slow manabases, the land destruction package can just steal wins.

Verdict and Conclusion

I really like this deck and what is going on here. In recent months we have seen Selesnya type ramp decks come in a few different forms and put up good results. This is good for the format because it means that you can easily get rewarded for guessing the right meta and preparing accordingly.

As for this particular archetype, I think there is potential here. I personally would like to see a bit more flickering going on, but I do understand that spots are quite tight. You also can’t just stick Mnemonic Wall in here and expect miracles.

The issue with ramp decks in Magic historically, is that you spend your early turns ramping, play a big threat and if it is dealt with you have to hope to not draw dead ramp cards that do nothing. This is why I believe in this archetype you need Mulldrifter so badly. However, I do believe you could make room for 2 Walls and 1 Ghostly Flicker while messing with the manabase a little bit to compensate. I look forward to seeing more from this archetype and hope we see more innovation.

I don’t think this archetype will ever be as good as the Dimir version we saw dominate the meta, but I do think moving forward we should see this archetype pop up. Will it be popular or be good enough to stay? I can’t answer that currently but I hope it is and does.

Do I think you should play this deck? For leagues this deck should be great. It may not 5-0 a ton, but you should have a positive win rate overall. For the Challenges moving forward, I believe this deck is good, but it depends on the meta you expect.

This is a build that, in my opinion, but was built to beat a very particular meta and if you prepared for the wrong one, the archetype won’t be able to thrive and do much. For example, this particular build doesn’t seem like it would be great against Elves or a bunch of Stompy like decks running around, however I could easily be wrong. This is why I always say practice makes perfect.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that I bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to Gatherling.com on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!