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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Nov 29 2010 2:05am
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So it has come time for me to make a Bant decklist.  This is a pretty good color combination, with lots of different routes to choose from, as well as legends to build around.  You can go combo, beat down, control, or anything in between.

Doesn't look like they want to go control to me.

However, I was having a hard time really deciding what I wanted to do with this color combination.  It was actually the large number of choices that was overwhelming me.  It wasn't until I was playing a game against a Uril deck when I saw the Uril player get out a few Enchantresses and start drawing cards like crazy.  Why couldn't I do that with a Bant deck?  I was sure that there were more than a few good enchantments in these colors, and I already had most of the drawing Enchantresses.  Looks like it was time to build a deck. 


So I had my idea.  But which legend was I going to use to build around?  Originally, I wanted to use this lovely angel:

Jenara seemed like she would work great.  She flew, and could pump herself up over time.  Basically I wanted to make Jenara an aggro general, load her up with enchantments, and start pounding.  I'm not gonna lie, I was basically trying to make a Bant version of a Uril deck.  Enchantresses would provide card draw, there would be a couple of answers in the deck, and we would be good to go.  What I ended up finding out in testing, though, was that the deck performed on a much higher level when this card was in play:

Obviously based upon the title of the article, you guys know that I ended up using Rafiq.  And I'm guessing that a few of you are already turned off, or haven't even gotten this far into the article.  You have all seen Rafiq decks, and I have too.  However, most of the ones that I have seen aren't usually of the all-in put everything on Rafiq kind.  And even those that I have seen like that are equipment based.  So I thought this would be a slightly different way to go with Rafiq.  This deck isn't completely overwhelming, and doesn't crush everyone that plays against it.  I found this deck to be fun and I hope you guys do too.

Let's take a look at the decklist:

Rafiq of the Many
A Commander Deck
1 Argothian Enchantress
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Eternal Witness
1 Genesis
1 Jenara, Asura of War
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Mesa Enchantress
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Rafiq of the Many
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Sovereigns of Lost Alara
1 Stoic Angel
1 Stonecloaker
1 Sun Titan
1 Tajuru Preserver
1 Verduran Enchantress
1 Vigor
1 Yavimaya Elder
20 cards

Other Spells
1 Behemoth Sledge
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Sword of Vengeance
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Armadillo Cloak
1 Bear Umbra
1 Celestial Mantle
1 City of Solitude
1 Copy Enchantment
1 Drake Umbra
1 Dueling Grounds
1 Eel Umbra
1 Eldrazi Conscription
1 Enchantress's Presence
1 Faith's Fetters
1 Finest Hour
1 Mammoth Umbra
1 Mystic Remora
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Rancor
1 Rhystic Study
1 Runed Halo
1 Shield of the Oversoul
1 Snake Umbra
1 Steel of the Godhead
1 Sterling Grove
1 Bant Charm
1 Condemn
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Hinder
1 Return to Dust
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Austere Command
1 Idyllic Tutor
1 Recurring Insight
1 Three Dreams
1 Wargate
1 Wrath of God
41 cards
1 Academy Ruins
1 Azorius Chancery
1 Breeding Pool
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Flooded Grove
1 Flooded Strand
1 Hall of the Bandit Lord
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Krosan Verge
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Mosswort Bridge
1 Mystic Gate
1 Rupture Spire
1 Savannah
1 Seaside Citadel
1 Sejiri Steppe
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Simic Growth Chamber
5 Snow-Covered Forest
4 Snow-Covered Island
5 Snow-Covered Plains
1 Strip Mine 
1 Temple Garden
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Bastion
39 cards

celestial mantle


You are obviously going all in with Rafiq in this deck.  Let's take a look at some of the cards.

Enchantments of War  
eldrazi conscription

Armadillo CloakBear UmbraCelestial MantleDrake UmbraEel UmbraEldrazi ConscriptionFinest HourMammoth UmbraRancorShield of the OversoulSnake UmbraSteel of the Godhead
Armadillo Cloak, Bear Umbra, Celestial Mantle, Drake Umbra, Eel Umbra, Eldrazi Conscription, Finest Hour, Mammoth Umbra, Rancor, Shield of the Oversoul, Snake Umbra, Steel of the Godhead:  Obviously all of these go on Rafiq, but you can put them on Jenara in a pinch and still do OK.  You get a lot of benefits when you hit with these guys, including life gain, card draw, unblockability, indestructiblity, and Annihilator.  The Umbras are great because they act as Wrath insurance.

Of course, there are also some good pieces of equipment in the deck which all come in handy.  In addition, Dueling Grounds is good at stopping weenie hordes from attacking and mass blocking.

Card Draw  
argothian enchantress

Argothian EnchantressMesa EnchantressVerduran EnchantressSword of Fire and IceSnake UmbraRecurring InsightMystic RemoraRhystic StudyEnchantress's Presence
Argothian Enchantress, Mesa Enchantress, Verduran Enchantress, Sword of Fire and Ice, Snake Umbra, Recurring Insight, Mystic Remora, Rhystic Study, Enchantress's Presence:  So on top of the usual Enchantress package, you have some of the typical card draw to be found in Blue.  What is nice is that some of the card draw is also enchantment based, just feeding into each other.

I considered adding Kor Spiritdancer, but I ended up avoiding it.  I wanted to be able to draw when I cast any enchantment, not just auras.  Feel free to add her if you like though.

three dreams Sovereigns of Lost AlaraSterling GroveEnlightened TutorIdyllic TutorThree DreamsWargate
Sovereigns of Lost Alara, Sterling Grove, Enlightened Tutor, Idyllic Tutor, Three Dreams, Wargate:  It's always nice to have the ability to search up what you need right at that moment.  Whether you need a Runed Halo to keep from being attacked by Skittles, or you just want to pump up Rafiq some more, there are more than a few here to help you do the job.  Of course, Sovereigns is probably the easiest tutor to use, and giving Rafiq trample and a large bonus to his power is always fun.
swords to plowshares Faith's FettersOblivion RingQasali PridemageBant CharmCondemnSwords to PlowsharesReturn to Dust
Faith's Fetters, Oblivion Ring, Qasali Pridemage, Bant Charm, Condemn, Swords to Plowshares, Return to Dust:  Some of the removal comes in the form of enchantments, which is nice.  Bant Charm gives you a couple of options, including the ability to tuck opposing commanders.  Return to Dust deals with problem enchantments and artifacts, and Oblivion Ring hits just about everything.  The Pridemage does well for giving Rafiq an Exalted boost.  I had one game where I had Genesis in the yard, and just kept recurring the Pridemage.  Good times.

On top of all this, there are a few other cards worth mentioning.  Sun Titan, Genesis and Eternal Witness provide some nice recursion for the deck.  Birds of Paradise, Noble Hierarch and Oracle of Mul Daya all provide some acceleration.  And Linvala is good at shutting down other activated abilities.

Essentially what you want to do is get Rafiq out on turn 4 at the latest (hopefully turn 3), enchant him on turn 5, and start bashing.  However, there are a couple of cards that give this deck definite problems.  Let's look at the first group of cards that suck to play against:

innocent blood grave pact barter in blood

Most of the time you don't have more than 2 creatures in play.  The Umbras don't stop you from sacrificing Rafiq.  Nothing sucks more than having to sac him after putting 2 umbras on him.  As such, I've included Tajuru Preserver to help with this.  Of course, you have to draw into the Preserver, but once you do he should help a ton.

The other card that hurts is the following:

mystifying maze

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) Rafiq lacks Uril's troll shroud.  Unless Rafiq has shroud he can be targeted by Mystifying Maze.  This sucks, because when he leaves play he loses all his auras.  Again, serious card disadvantage, and a lot of people are playing the Maze.  As such, I included City of Solitude, which keeps people from performing these types of shenanigans. 

So how does the deck do?  Let's find out.


Here are my opponents for this game:

Braids, Conjurer Adept Teneb, the harvester Atogatog
This is a pretty interesting group.  The Blue Braids decks that I have seen have been of 2 varieties.  The first is a group hug type of deck that provides helpful card draw and enchantments.  The other starts dropping bombs and mana denial effects as soon as possible.  Teneb is typically a Rock based deck.  Atogatog was really exciting to see, as I had never played against one before.  I was hoping for Atog tribal, but it turned out to be a deck where every card was gold.  Still a cool concept, but not as cool as I thought.  Braids won the roll.  Here is my opening hand:
This is a risky, but I keep it. The reason I do so is that I know that I will be able to get out Rafiq on turn 4, and I can enchant him (and give him evasion) on turn 5.  This is pretty much a textbook play for the deck, and I just hope that I draw into other stuff.  Let's get on to the action.  As usual, B = Blue Braids, T = Teneb and A = Atogatog.
Round 1
B: Crystal Vein, Arcbound Worker.  Maybe an artifact theme going on?
Me: Draw Condemn. Play Misty Rainforest, and sac it (39) for Breeding Pool.
T: Savannah.
A: Creeping Tar Pit.
Round 2
B: Island, Cranial Plating
cranial plating
Can hit hard.
A definite artifact theme. Attacks me with the Worker (38).  A discussion occurs about whether the Plating belongs in a mono-blue deck.  According to the way Commander is programmed, this is perfectly fine.  However, it doesn't match up with the EDH rules, which prohibit you from having a card in their deck with a mana symbol that doesn't match their General.  So lots of times you will run into people who are upset or confused about how this can occur.  I don't think it's a huge issue, as the Plating is now a little less powerful.  But some people are bothered by this.  Just let those people know that you are playing Commander, not EDH.  That doesn't always calm them down, but some people understand the difference.
Me: Draw Temple Garden and play it.
T: Verdant Catacombs, sacing it (39) for Bayou.
A: Savage Lands.
Round 3
B: Island, Sword of Body and Mind. This is good for B as everyone is playing Green.  Attacks T with the Worker (38).
Me: Draw Seaside Citadel and play it.
T: Twilight Mire.
A: Exotic Orchard. Things are going slowly so far, and that’s fine with me.
Round 4
B: Equips the Worker with the Plating and the Sword, and attacks A (34), getting a wolf token.
Me: Draw Genesis. Play Savannah, then Rafiq.
T: Ghost Quarter, then Solemn Simulacrum, getting a Forest.
A: Eiganjo Castle, then Yore-Tiller Nephilim. This is a good creature to have after getting milled for 10 cards.
Round 5
B: Temple of the False God, then Bribery targeting A. This is when A notes that it’s a gold deck, and as such, there are no Eldrazi. However, there is a lot of other good stuff, and B gets Prince of Thralls
Sweet, but never seems to last that long.
Then attacks me with the Worker (32), getting another wolf token.
Me: Draw Return to Dust. Play a Forest and then put Drake Umbra on Rafiq. I attack B with Rafiq, who drops to (26), taking 14 general damage.  I chose B because I don't want people to start dropping large bombs if she plays her Commander.
T: Plains, Nezumi Graverobber. At this point I decide to check what got milled into my graveyard.   On top of some good enchantments, Sun Titan is in there. If I can get Genesis in the graveyard, the Titan will rock.  I just have to hope the Graverobber doesn't get there first. 
A: Forest, and attacks T with the Nephilim. Nephilim goes to grab Sphinx Sovereign from A’s graveyard, but T doesn’t exile it with the Graverobber. The Sphinx is sent in my direction. After T blocks the Nephilim with the Simulacrum, he Putrefy’s the Prince of Thralls. Simulacrum and Nephilim then die, and I drop to (26). Then A plays Reaper King. At the end of the turn, I drop to (23), A T drops to (35) and B drops to (23) because the Sphinx is tapped.
Round 6
B: Seat of the Synod, pumping the Worker with the Cranial Plating. Then Summoner's Egg.  Attacks me with a wolf (21), T with a wolf (33) and A with the Worker (26). She gets another wolf token. She has 2 Islands untapped at the end of his turn, so I think she may have bounce.
Me: Draw Idyllic Tutor and play a Plains. I attack B with Rafiq, who doesn’t have an answer, and gets knocked out. I then use Return to Dust to get rid of Sphinx Sovereign and Reaper King.
T: Plays Mirari's Wake, and attacks A with Nezumi Graverobber (23).
A: Plays Mystifying Maze. This is something that I completely miss, and as such, I make a mistake in my next turn.
Round 7
Me: Draw Oracle of Mul Daya and play Wooded Bastion. I then use Idyllic Tutor for Shield of the Oversoul, then put it on Rafiq. I then go to attack T (who has the Wake, and is therefore the biggest threat in my eyes), when I get hit with a rude awakening.
That’s right, Rafiq gets Maze’d by A. This has the double effect of not only keeping T around longer, but getting rid of the enchantments on Rafiq. If I had realized Mystifying Maze was out there, I probably would have used Idyllic Tutor for card draw like Mystic Remora or Rhystic Study. Oh well.
T: Puppeteer Clique, getting the Sun Titan from my graveyard. Sad times. The Titan gets T’s Verdant Catacombs from his graveyard back into play, which he cracks (32) for Scrubland. He then cycles Krosan Tusker for a Forest, and plays Flagstones of Trokair. Next, he attacks me with the Titan (14), putting Verdant Catacombs back into play. At the end of his turn, my Sun Titan is exiled. :(
A: Boros Garrison, bouncing a Forest. At this point, T notes that he has to go, and concedes.
Round 8
Me: Draw Azorius Chancery. Attack A with Rafiq, but he Maze’s it. Play Oracle of Mul Daya, which reveals Sovereigns of Lost Alara. I then play the Chancery, bouncing a Forest, which I replay.
A: Forest, then Empyrial Archangel
Combos nicely with Vigor.
He is tapped out, so he can’t use Mystifying Maze.
Round 9
Me: Draw Sovereigns of Lost Alara, revealing Stonecloaker, which I’m not worried about losing. I play the Sovereigns and a Forest, and attack with Rafiq. Since I’m low on life I search up Armadillo Cloak, and go up to (28), killing the Archangel. The top card of my library is now a Plains, which I play, revealing Wrath of God.   
A: Rootbound Crag. Activates Creeping Tar Pit and attacks me (25).
Round 10
Me: Draw Wrath of God, revealing Jenara, Asura of War. Instead of attacking with my team, I only attack with Rafiq, which he Maze’s. For some reason I didn’t think he had enough mana to activate the Maze, so that was dumb. I then play Genesis.
A: Lightning Angel, then Gruul Turf, bouncing a Forest. Attacks me with the Angel (22).
Round 11
Me: Draw Jenara, revealing Birds of Paradise. I attack with Genesis (which gets Maze’d) and Sovereigns (19). I then play Jenara.
A: Raging Ravine, then attacks me with Creeping Tar Pit (19). At the end of his turn, I put 2 counters on Jenara, but it doesn’t matter, as I’m sure he will Maze her.
Round 12
Me: Draw Birds of Paradise, revealing Linvala. I then attack with Jenara, Sovereigns and Genesis. A Maze’s Jenara, as expected, and drops to (11).
A: Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep and attacks me with Lightning Angel (16). Then plays Borborygmos.
Round 13
Me: Draw Linvala, revealing a Plains, which I play, revealing Mystic Gate, which I play, revealing Loxodon Warhammer. I attack with only Jenara, because all my other guys would get killed by Borborygmos, but she gets Maze’d.   I then play Linvala, Keeper of Silence.
A: Plays a Forest and then activates Raging Ravine. Then, drops Titanic Ultimatum
titanic ultimatum
Attacks me with Raging Ravine, Lightning Angel and Borborygmos. Luckily I have Condemn for the big cyclops, making A go up to (23). I then block the Raging Ravine with Genesis and Rafiq, killing both. I drop to (6) while A goes up to (40). Luckily A is tapped out now.
Round 14
Me: I use Genesis to get a Sakura-Tribe Elder (the only other creature in my graveyard) back into my hand, and draw Loxodon Warhammer, revealing Rhystic Study. I play the Warhammer and equip Jenara. I attack with Jenara only, and the Sovereign’s ability kicks in. Since I’m so low on life, I grab Celestial Mantle. A drops to (30), and I go up to (32). The next two cards on top of my library are Flooded Strand and Island, both of which I play, revealing Terramorphic Expanse. I then play my STE, which I will crack later to hopefully show a better card on top of my library.
A: Lavaclaw Reaches. Then attacks me with Creeping Tar Pit (29). At the end of his turn, I sac the STE, getting a Plains, which reveals Elspeth, Knight-Errant on top of my library. I’m happy with that.
Round 15
Me: Use Genesis to get STE back to my hand, then draw Elspeth, revealing Verduran Enchantress, which isn’t very helpful right now. I move the Warhammer onto Linvala, then play Elspeth and giving my Oracle the flying boost. I attack A with my team, but he Maze’s Jenara and drops to (15) while I go up to (35). I then play the STE.
A: Plays Cetavolver, kicked twice. 
It pays to read the card.
For some reason I think it has flying, but this is wrong. Then attacks Elspeth with Lightning Angel, knocking her down to 2 loyalty. At the end of the turn I sac the STE for an Island, revealing Sword of Light and Shadow on top of my library. This isn’t very useful to me, so I sac my Flooded Strand (34) for a Plains, which reveals Selesnya Sanctuary on top of my library. Oh well.
Round 16
Me:  Use Genesis to get the STE back again, and draw the Sanctuary, revealing Noble Hierarch. I give the Oracle a flying boost with Elspeth again, and attack with the Oracle, Jenara and Sovereigns. I don’t attack with Linvala due to my mistaken belief that Cetavolver flies. Another mistake is that I don’t move the Warhammer onto another creature that isn’t Linvala. A Maze’s Jenara, and blocks the Sovereigns with Lavaclaw Reaches and Cetavolver. I kill the Reaches since it is pumpable, and the Sovereigns die, while A drops to (10). I then play my STE and sac it, getting an Island, which reveals Swords to Plowshares on top of my library. I play Selesnya Sanctuary, bouncing a Forest, which I replay. Then I play Rafiq again. 
A: Attacks Elspeth with Creeping Tar Pit, killing her.
Round 17
Me: Return Sovereigns of Lost Alara to my hand from my graveyard using Genesis. I draw Swords to Plowshares, revealing Mikokoro, Center of the Sea, which I play, revealing Snake Umbra. I attack with Linvala (who still has Warhammer) and Jenara. A Maze’s Jenara and blocks Linvala with Lightning Angel, going to (8) while I go up to (40). I then play Sovereigns. 
A: Swamp, then Rakdos the Defiler. At the end of his turn, I use Mikokoro to have us draw a card. I get the Snake Umbra, revealing Sword of Light and Shadow again. I then use Swords to Plowshares to get rid of Rakdos, who scares the crap out of me. A goes up to (15).
Round 18
Me: I use Genesis to return STE to my hand and draw Sword of Light and Shadow, when I see the answer I’ve been looking for:
That’s right, City of Solitude, which will shut down Mystifying Maze. I use Mikokoro to draw the City and then play it. I then move the Warhammer onto Rafiq and put the Snake Umbra on him. I attack only with him, putting Rancor on him with the Sovereigns ability. It doesn’t matter, as I have enough without it to kill A.


Obviously the MVP of this game for my opponents was Mystifying Maze.  Without this card, the game would have been over a heck of a lot quicker.  It works out better than Maze of Ith against this deck, as it is able to get rid of all the enchantments on your Commander.  It is probably a card that is generally worth including in any type of slower or more controlling deck.

You can find the deck for purchase of download HERE.  So the deck comes out to around $205, which is about average.  The priciest cards in the deck are the Savannah (the only dual land that I own at the moment) and the Strip Mine.  There are a whole bunch of cards that cost around 8 or so, like the Swords and Argothian Enchantress.  You can take out the Swords if you want for additional enchantments, but they probably won't be as powerful.

Really, this deck didn't perform quite as well as most of my other decks.  Most games were similar to this one, where I could knock out one player pretty quickly.  After that happened, typically the other two players would gang up on me.  If someone stumbled, for whatever reason, I would take them out.  But control decks were a huge pain.  This deck is basically a worse version of a Uril deck.  The lack of troll shroud is the key, as Rafiq is still generally vulnerable to all sorts of removal.  As such, I didn't feel all that bad about playing it.  Just don't expect to dominate the table with this deck, as it just doesn't have that capability.  Rafiq with Shield of the Oversoul and Rancor on it is scary, but not as scary as Uril with the same enchantments.

After writing up most of this article, I ended up running into two other enchantment based Rafiq decks.  So I guess that my idea wasn't that original, but I sort of knew that anyway.  However, I still had fun with this deck.  I hope you enjoyed the article.  Until next time!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO
mrmorale32 at yahoo dot com



Nice deck ideas. Maybe a cool by Kumagoro42 at Mon, 11/29/2010 - 05:47
Kumagoro42's picture

Nice deck ideas. Maybe a cool addition could be Gatherer of Graces? She can do insane things with a Rancor (or Spirit Loop) and a draw effect in play. Also, maybe Winds of Rath is better than Wrath of God here? (Probably it depends on the meta, but still it fits the enchantment theme).

"So I guess that my idea by MMogg at Mon, 11/29/2010 - 06:33
MMogg's picture

"So I guess that my idea wasn't that original, but I sort of knew that anyway."

Funny, because I have been slowly building an all multicolour deck for a few weeks now and now I see someone else has already done that. ;_; But I am happy that he played a Cetavolver, which strictly ISN'T a multicoloured spell. (*_*) Sometimes the little things in life make one happy.

Maybe add some form of all round removal like Saltblast, Desert Twister or even Reap and Sow as a way to deal with pesky lands like the Mazes.

I just finished a Kemba deck and it was exactly like how you described this deck's performance: could take someone out then get ganged up on. Still fun, though, if you only want to get out there and play.