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Budget Magic: $98 (42 tix) Deep Bant (Standard)


Moghrey mie, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time again! Right now in Standard, Temur Marvel is clearly the deck to beat, making up a whopping 32% of the meta, so this week, we are going to see if we can knock Aetherworks Marvel and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger down a peg or two with a deck I'm calling Deep Bant! The deck itself is somewhat reminiscent of Temur Energy, except we're splashing white instead of red, which not only allows us to take advantage of premium removal in Cast Out but also Spell Queller—which is an all-star against Aetherworks Marvel decks—and the most underrated planeswalker in Standard: Tamiyo, Field Researcher! The "Deep" part of the name comes from Elder Deep-Fiend, which is one of the most important cards in our deck by Time Walking our opponent on Turn 4 with the help of emerge or coming down in the late game to tap down our opponent's creatures for a lethal attack. Is Deep Bant a budget-friendly solution to our Marvel-infested Standard format? Let's get to the videos and find out!

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Deep Bant Deck Tech

Deep Bant vs. Temur Marvel (Match 1)

Deep Bant vs. Abzan Delirium (Match 2)

Deep Bant vs. New Perspectives (Match 3)

Deep Bant vs. Two-Tix Red (Match 4)

Deep Bant vs. GB Energy (Match 5)

The Deck

As I mentioned in the intro, probably the easiest way to think about Deep Bant is like the more well-known Temur Energy deck, except with Elder Deep-Fiend and white mana instead of red mana. It also feels a bit like the old Bant Company decks, except without Collected Company. The end result is a deck that's pretty tricky to break down because rather than being built around a specific synergy or combo, we instead have a ton of flexible value cards, but we'll give it a shot.

Elder Deep-Fiend

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The namesake Elder Deep-Fiend is an incredibly powerful card. While it can be a bit expensive, especially without emerge, it's super flexible. When we can emerge it on Turn 4, we essentially Time Walk our opponent by tapping down all of their lands so they mostly skip their turn, which is a massive tempo swing in our favor. Then, as the game goes along, we can use Elder Deep-Fiend defensively as a Fog to tap down our opponent's attackers and stay alive, or offensively to tap down our opponent's blockers and attack for lethal. 

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Rogue Refiner and Eldrazi Skyspawner are our primary emerge targets for Elder Deep-Fiend, allowing us to get the Eldrazi on the battlefield as early as Turn 4. Thankfully, both are good value cards on their own, with Rogue Refiner drawing us a card (and making us some energy, which isn't all that important to our deck but does help support our Servant of the Conduits and Aether Hubs), while Eldrazi Skyspawner leaves behind an Eldrazi Scion token for chump blocking. Eldrazi Skyspawner is also great with our Tamiyo, Field Researchers since it has flying, which gives us a steady source of card advantage thanks to Tamiyo's +1 ability. 

The White Cards

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Since the shell of our deck is fairly similar to that of Temur Energy, asking what makes splashing white better than splashing red is fair. The answers are Spell Queller and Tamiyo, Field Researcher. Spell Queller is a great card in a format infested by Aetherworks Marvel, not just giving us a way to keep the artifact off the battlefield but a way to keep Aetherworks Marvel off the battlefield that avoids Negate and Dispel, which are often Marvel players' primary defense. Even beyond Aetherworks Marvel, Spell Queller is a solid card. Apart from UR Control, it's somewhere between okay and good in just about every matchup in Standard, hitting Heart of Kiran and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar in Vehicle decks, pretty much everything in the Zombie deck, and a lot of the popular green-black cards as well. Like Eldrazi Skyspawner, having flying makes Spell Queller a card-advantage engine in conjunction with our next card: Tamiyo, Field Researcher

Tamiyo, Field Researcher is probably the most underrated planeswalker in Standard, mostly because Bant decks aren't all that popular, which means there aren't many decks that can reliably cast her. In our deck, Tamiyo, Field Researcher is great. When we are ahead, it allows us to close out the game with a combination of card draw and tapping down blockers, and when we are behind, it can either buy us a turn with her 2 ability or, in the worst case, be a weird four-mana Divination (by targeting opponent's attackers with the +1 ability) that also gains us a chunk of life. While it doesn't come up all that often, Tamiyo, Field Researcher's ultimate is generally game winning, although it sometimes takes a few turns of casting stuff for free to get the job done, much like Liliana, the Last Hope

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The other big advantage of playing white is Cast Out, which might not be as efficient as Harnessed Lightning but makes up for this by taking down planeswalkers and other non-creature permanents, which can be problematic. It's basically the closest thing we have to Hero's Downfall in our current Standard, and if we don't need removal (or are desperate to hit our land drops), we can always cycle away the enchantment for just a single mana. 

Mana Fixing / Ramp

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

You're probably seen this package before, considering that Attune with Aether is the most played card in Standard and Servant of the Conduit is in the top 10. As such, there's isn't much to say about these two. Attune with Aether allows us to only play 21 lands, makes sure we have the right colors to cast our Tamiyo, Field Researcher on time, and makes a bit of energy so we can keep tapping our Servant of the Conduit. Meanwhile, Servant of the Conduit helps us ramp into our Tamiyo, Field Researcher a turn early or even hardcast our Elder Deep-Fiends. 

Counters

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Negate and Censor are really strong in our current format. Not only is Negate a great answer to Aetherworks Marvel but it isn't really dead in any matchup (plus, if we run into GR Monsters or GB Energy, where Negate is less impactful, we can sideboard them out for Essence Scatter), hitting Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Heart of Kiran, Liliana's Mastery, and a whole slew of popular removal spells. As for Censor, the opportunity cost is just extremely low, since we can always cycle it away for just one mana. 

Removal

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Take everything I just said and replace Censor with Dissenter's Deliverance. While there are some matches where Dissenter's Deliverance is completely dead, we can always cycle it away, and Dissenter's Deliverance is great against Aetherworks Marvel and Heart of Kiran decks, killing the vehicle for just two mana and answering Aetherworks Marvel after the first spin. 

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We already talked about Cast Out, which is our primary removal spell, but we do have a couple of secondary options. Aether Meltdown is another good answer to Heart of Kiran, while being fine against other creatures as well. As for Confiscation Coup, it's only a one-of because it's pretty slow, but our deck accidentally makes a lot of energy and it felt weird to not have any sort of payoff apart from making mana with Servant of the Conduit. Since we don't really spend our energy on anything else, we can steal just about any artifact or creature our opponent plays, potentially all the way up to Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Wrap-Up

All in all, we finished our matches 4-1, only losing in a super-close match to GB Energy, where our opponent actually managed to ultimate our Tamiyo, Field Researcher after stealing it with Gonti, Lord of Luxury. After finishing up the videos, I played a couple more matches for fun and ended up losing to UR Control (which felt like a horrible matchup) while beating Esper Vehicles. 

For the most part, the deck felt really strong. We have a ton of good cards against Marvel decks, and it felt like the combination of value from Tamiyo, Field Researcher with the power of Elder Deep-Fiend was good enough to keep up with midrange decks like Vehicles and various GB builds. We've seen Temur Energy emerge as one of the top-tier decks in Standard, and going white over red gives the deck some big advantages against Marvel, even more if we upgrade further for cards like Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and a better mana base. 

My main concern with the deck is aggro-swarm decks like Zombies, and while this isn't a huge concern at the moment, since these decks have fallen out of favor thanks to poor Marvel matchups, it might be worth finding a way to slot some more removal into the deck and possibly even move a Fumigate or two into the main. One of the things that I really love about the build is that we have a lot of flex slots thanks to Censor, Dissenter's Deliverance, and even Cast Out. While these cards are solid in a Marvel-heavy meta, if your local meta is different, these cards can be replaced with Immolating Glare, Blessed Alliance, and Declaration in Stone to fight aggro, or card draw and planeswalkers to fight against more controlling decks. 

Most importantly, the deck was a blast to play because it gives us so many options. Rogue Refiner and Tamiyo, Field Researcher make sure we always have action, and we have a lot of flexible instant-speed threats like Elder Deep-Fiend and Spell Queller to keep our opponent guessing. The end result is we get to make a ton of decisions, not just in what cards to play but when to play them, which gives the deck a lot of replayability.

Ultra-Budget Deep Bant

Getting Deep Bant into the ultra-budget range is challenging, mostly because we have to cut Tamiyo, Field Researcher and some Spell Quellers to get down near $50, and these were two of the best cards in the build we played for the videos. To make up for these losses, we end up playing some Longtusk Cubs and morph into a super-cheap Bant Energy aggro deck with Elder Deep-Fiend as our primary finisher. We also cut the Aether Hubs from the mana base for Evolving Wilds, which hurts consistency but saves us $10. All in all, I'm not sure this build is good enough for any place but the kitchen table—we just lose too many of our best cards—but it should be functional if you want to play it for fun. 

Non-Budget Deep Bant

For the non-budget version of Deep Bant, the big addition is Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, which is just too powerful not to play in any deck that can cast it. We also get to shore up the mana base with Botanical Sanctum giving us another dual land that comes into play untapped early in the game. To make room for these new cards, we trim back on Censors and one Negate, along with making a few slight changes to the sideboard. All things told, this build is better than the one in the video because it gets another extremely powerful card, but I'm not sure I'd run out and buy Gideon, Ally of Zendikar (especially since it's rotating in the fall) just to upgrade Deep Bant. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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