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Much Abrew: Bant Grandeur Lock (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. What's the most fun thing you can do in a game of Magic? Lock your opponent out of the game so they can't play Magic! For Much Abrew this week, we're taking Bant Grandeur Lock out for a spin in Modern. The idea of the deck, which was our Fishbowl Thursday Instant Deck Tech last week, is to stick an Oriss, Samite Guardian and then discard an extra copy of Oriss, Samite Guardian on our opponent's upkeep to essentially make our opponent skip their turn. Then, if we can get a Genesis in our graveyard, we can keep returning the Oriss that we discard to our hand each turn for just three mana, locking our opponent out of attacking or playing anything but instants for the rest of the game. Finally, we hard lock our opponent if we can add Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir or Teferi, Time Raveler to the mix to make it so our opponent can't play instants, making it so they can't attack or play anything for the rest of the game, while we slowly beat our opponent down with random dorks. Does the lock actually work? Are cards like Oriss, Samite Guardian and Genesis actually playable in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Bant Grandeur Lock

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Discussion

  • First off, I should mention that I made some changes to the Instant Deck Tech version of the deck. While the combo is the same, some of the support cards are a bit different. Noble Hierarch replaces Search for Tomorrow as our Turn 1 ramp spell. Fauna Shaman joins the mix as a way to not only tutor up copies of Oriss, Samite Guardian but also to discard copies of Genesis to get them in the graveyard. Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is a solid one-of that does the same job as Teferi, Time Raveler (stop our opponent from playing instants to make our soft lock a hard lock), but unlike planeswalker Teferi, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir can be tutored up by cards like Fauna Shaman or Eladamri's Call. Otherwise, I tuned up the sideboard a bit and cut some shock lands from the mana base for more fetch lands.
  • Record-wise, we ended up 3-2 with Bant Grandeur Lock, which was a pretty solid performance for a very rogue deck. We managed to take down Tron, Hammer Time, and Ad Nauseam while losing to Burn and Grixis Delver. Our deck is hilariously good in some matchups (especially matchups where our opponent doesn't have a ton of removal) but pretty bad in others (against decks that are overloaded with removal and can keep us from untapping with an Oriss, Samite Guardian). 
  • The main combo of the deck is two copies of Oriss, Samite Guardian (with one on the battlefield so we can use its grandeur ability and another in our hand or graveyard), a Genesis in the graveyard, and a Teferi on the battlefield. This allows us to discard Oriss, Samite Guardian on our opponent's upkeep to (essentially) make our opponent skip their turn, get the Oriss, Samite Guardian back to our hand on our upkeep with Genesis, and then repeat the process every turn cycle to soft-lock our opponent out of playing spells or attacking. With a Teferi on the battlefield, we cut off our opponent's one potential way out of the lock: playing something at instant speed to disrupt our combo, like Surgical Extraction, or a removal spell on Oriss, Samite Guardian
  • While it might sound like we need a lot of pieces to achieve the lock (and in some sense, we do), we have a lot of ways to tutor and draw through our deck to find our combo pieces. Fauna Shaman and Eladamri's Call both directly tutor whatever creature we need into our hand, while Chart a Course and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy loot through our deck to find combo pieces (while also getting Genesis in our graveyard, which is important since casting Genesis and hoping it dies naturally isn't a very reliable plan). 
  • The biggest challenge for the deck is getting an Oriss, Samite Guardian to stick on the battlefield. As a three-mana 1/3, Oriss dies to most of the common removal in the Modern format, and actually achieving our lock is hard if our opponent can simply Path to Exile, Lightning Bolt, or Fatal Push Oriss on the turn when we play it. This makes removal-heavy control and midrange decks some of our worst matchups. In removal-heavy matchups, it's often best to focus on sticking a Teferi, Time Raveler first to protect Oriss, Samite Guardian from instant-speed removal and then resolve the rest of our lock to close out the game. 
  • The other problem for the deck is graveyard hate. If our opponent can lock down our graveyard, we can't use Genesis to keep recurring Oriss, Samite Guardian, which means that while we can lock our opponent for two or three turns, we'll eventually run out of copies of Oriss to discard, and our lock will fizzle. Thankfully, Teferi, Time Raveler can bounce graveyard hate cards for a turn, which is often all we need to set up the lock and keep our opponent from recasting their graveyard-hate spell. That said, we'd still rather not play against Leyline of the Void, Rest in Peace, and Relic of Progenitus, if given the choice.
  • All in all, Bant Grandeur Lock felt semi-competitive. While it does have some weaknesses to removal and graveyard hate, it's also really strong in other matchups. The next step for the deck might be to add a better backup plan for winning through our opponent's hate cards. Stoneforge Mystic for Batterskull and a sword or two could be good options that wouldn't take up too many slots in our deck.
  • So, should you play Bant Grandeur Lock? I think it depends on your goal. The deck is at least semi-competitive, and if you hit the right matchups, you could 5-0 a league or win and FNM. But if you hit the wrong matchups, it might be a rough night. On the other hand, Bant Grandeur Lock is a great option if you're like me and simply love hard-locking opponents out of the game! The lock is hard, the deck is consistent at assembling it (outside of running into a bunch of hate cards or removal), and it's hilarious and very off-the-radar!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck! 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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