Standard 2022 Bant Party Deck Guide: The New Highest Win Rate Deck

Masked Vandal Art by Jason A. Engle
Masked Vandal Art by Jason A. Engle

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to go over what has recently usurped Monogreen and Monowhite as the highest win rate deck in 2022 (via Untapped stats) with a 60.4% win rate in the past week: Bant Party.

Why use the past week as a metric over a longer time frame? The 2022 meta changes extremely quickly and although using a higher sample size is a great indicator of performance, it can undercut the changes in the metagame as it’ll be artificially stagnant if month old data says that Monogreen and Monowhite are still the best decks. I digress.

It’s funny since I actually worked on the Party archetypes a little over a month ago mostly as a thought experiment, so imagine my surprise when the deck has not only caught on, but it has the highest win rate as well! It has evolved quite a bit since I worked on it, but if you’re interested in the original article you can click the link below.

Building a Party deck, in theory, isn’t terribly complicated. It’s a deck that relies on having a critical mass of creatures so there’s realistically so few flex slots to work with. When I was building it I wanted a high density of creatures and a good mix of Party payoffs. This was where I arrived.

Standard 2022 Bant Party Version 1 

Creatures (28)
4
Archpriest of Iona
4
Jaspera Sentinel
2
Usher of the Fallen
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Tajuru Paragon
4
Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate
4
Squad Commander
2
Tazri, Beacon of Unity
Spells (4)
4
Spoils of Adventure
Enchantments (4)
4
Journey to Oblivion
Lands (24)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Branchloft Pathway
3
Brightclimb Pathway
3
Clearwater Pathway
4
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Hengegate Pathway
2
Needleverge Pathway
Cards (60)

A pretty reasonable attempt at the archetype. The deck had a solid curve and the payoffs were there. So what is the major difference between what I made and the current best version? Changelings.

Standard 2022 Bant Party Version 2 

Creatures (29)
4
Archpriest of Iona
4
Jaspera Sentinel
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Masked Vandal
3
Tajuru Paragon
4
Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate
4
Squad Commander
2
Tazri, Beacon of Unity
Spells (4)
4
Spoils of Adventure
Enchantments (4)
4
The Bears of Littjara
Lands (23)
4
Barkchannel Pathway
4
Branchloft Pathway
1
Brightclimb Pathway
2
Clearwater Pathway
3
Cragcrown Pathway
4
Hengegate Pathway
1
Needleverge Pathway
4
Temple of the Dragon Queen
Cards (60)

So my version is actually quite similar, just a few cards off. Normally I wouldn’t do a whole update when the deck hasn’t changed much, but there are other versions that are distinct as well so I’ll talk about those briefly as well.

Furthermore, when those small changes completely invigorate the archetype and why they do, it seems prudent to discuss them.

To illustrate this, the difference in win rate between my old version and the new one is a staggering 5%, which sounds funny to say, but that is a huge difference when it comes to Magic.

CARD CHOICES

Tajuru Paragon Art by Cristi Balanescu
Tajuru Paragon Art by Cristi Balanescu

Jaspera Sentinel

One of the linchpins of the deck. Sentinel provides so many critical functions as a one drop to start off the curve, a Rogue which is one of our most sparse creature types, and obviously as a mana producer.

Archpriest of Iona

The second one drop in the deck. While Jaspera Sentinel is threatening for what it can enable, Archpriest is threatening inherently as it’s almost always going to be attacking for 2 on turn 2 and threatening to be a huge beater in the mid game when you assemble a full party. Games where you start with a 1 drop versus the games you don’t are quite a sharp contrast.

Tajuru Paragon

Our changeling-lite. Paragon isn’t incredible or anything, but it does help fill gaps in the Party, has a decent Kicker ability, Fair from amazing, but definitely solid.

Luminarch Aspirant

A card this good feels like it shouldn’t be synergistic with the rest of the deck, but it has the important Cleric type! The curve is extremely important for this deck so having high impact ones and twos are absolutely critical for any aggressive deck.

Masked Vandal

The main difference between the original list and the new ones. I always thought Masked Vandal was too weak, but at the very worst, this will be a worse Tajuru Paragon. At it’s best though, this can nab an annoying artifact or enchantment (which there are plenty of) for free while filling out your Party.

Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate

Linvala is an interesting card as it’s both a set up, pay off, and interaction all wrapped into a single card. First off, she’s a 3/3 Flier which is a solid stat line to get aggressive in 2022. Second, she’s a Wizard which helps fill out the Party. Third, her lock down ability with a full party is absolutely BRUTAL in any situation where the opponent is trying to race. Lastly, she provides crucial removal insurance which is the main way this deck loses. I always knew that Linvala is good, but I really undervalued her in my original article where I thought Selesnya Company was a near comparable deck when it was missing Linvala.

Squad Commander

Squad Commander is pure payoff, and with a greater emphasis on establishing a party, is much better in this deck than it was in my version. As I said in my first article, any game you can play this with a full party you’re likely to win and now this is more true than ever. A 4 mana 3/3 that makes 4 1/1s and casts a functional Unbreakable Formation on your combat is nuts.

Tazri, Beacon of Unity

The amount of Tazri to include in the list is still rather contentious, but the highest win rate one still uses 2. Casting a 4/6 for cheap is a super nice swing, but realistically, it is hard to make good use of Tazri’s activated ability in a meaningful time frame. If this was Bo3 where games can go longer post board, the stock of Tazri would likely go up as many decks would look to fight Party through one for oneing, but that’s obviously not what we’re working with.

Spoils of Adventure

Spoils, although it can be clunky, is still quite nuts. A potential 2 mana gain 3 draw 3 is a disgusting swing and would be hard for most decks to recover from, especially in multiples.

The Bears of Littjara

Not going to lie, I forgot this card existed until I saw it in this deck. I never paid it any mind, but now I see why adding this makes the deck a lot better. It’s a 3 mana 4/4 Party enabler that generally kills their best creature in a few turns, how is that not busted? Sure the Changeling could die before the other abilities, but at worst it’s still a 1 for 1 and it’s near irrelevant if you have a Masked Vandal on board anyway.

Temple of the Dragon Queen

I’m actually not super sold on Temple, but that’s another big innovation from the new lists. Obviously when you have a Changeling out this is the best land in your deck, but even when you don’t it’s just a tapped Pathway. My contention is that the deck is so curve dependent that tap lands can be really brutal, but not being able to cast your spells consistently is much worse.

So before I go to the next section, I want to quickly answer the question of how changing a few cards can dramatically increase the win rate. I vastly underestimated how important assembling Party was. A bit ironic right? I was in the mind that assembling a Party was definitely important, but you wanted to do it while still casting powerful cards. You can see this logic throughout my original article with how I constructed not just the Bant version, but all the other versions as well.

However, what I didn’t realize at the time that assembling Party was priority number 1, not necessarily playing all powerful cards. Plus that logic is flawed regardless as if I assemble a full party, the power level of 5 of the cards in the deck increase substantially, not just them getting a little bit better. This distinction is the most apparent on cards like Archpriest of Iona and Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate who don’t get activated abilities until you hit a full Party, but a 2 mana Tazri or Spoils of Adventure versus 3+ is also a massive difference in it’s own right.

These small changes are what makes Magic such an amazing game, you can have 90-95% of a concept right, but those last few percentage points can make all the difference between a niche deck and a Tier 1 choice.

NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS

Emeria Captain Art by Matt Stewart
Emeria Captain Art by Matt Stewart

Usher of the Fallen

I initially played Usher as I wanted more 1 drops and more Warriors, but the card was underwhelming then and didn’t improve much to now. Certainly not bad, but certainly not good.

Sigrid, God-Favored

Sigrid really hasn’t had her time to shine despite her being at her best in Bo1. Could be a solid 1 of if you have a really creature heavy meta or a solid sideboard option if this deck gets transplanted to Bo3.

Emeria Captain

A bit too weak for Constructed play, but the potential for a 4 mana 6/6 Flying Vigilance against a creature deck is definitely a bit enticing.

Legion Angel

In theory, it’s surprising that Legion Angel doesn’t see play even as a 1 of in the Party decks. The deck doesn’t use it’s sideboard at all and it even is a Warrior for Party. However, when you play the deck enough it does make a good amount of sense. The deck already has solid late game so it’s mostly unnecessary. Between Tazri, Squad Commander, and Spoils, you don’t want too many expensive spells or you’re going to get outvalued by the bigger decks. Despite all this, I could still see playing Legion Angel as a 1 of, but you’d have to cut one of the expensive spells for room.

Veteran Adventurer

Great in Limited, but mostly just a worse Tazri. I will admit though, a 5/5 Vigilant body is pretty brutal for other creature decks and being to potentially play it for 2 mana is definitely appealing. May be better than it looks, but I doubt it.

Professor of Symbology

Professor seems like it could be solid in theory, but it has a lot of competition in the deck. First, Cleric is our most populated creature type. Second, the lessons are generally clunky, which doesn’t pair well with a deck looking to completely curve out. Third, we already have a lot of 2 drops. Fourth, as constructed, this deck can’t use Environmental Sciences which is the best Lesson.

Elite Spellbinder

Great card, but a trap for a Party deck. It’s falling back to the mistake I made where you want to play individually powerful cards rather than cards that synergize with the deck. Generally that would be a fine place to be, but the synergies are too strong to ignore.

Nimble Trapfinder

This version of the deck is much better at assembling a Party, but the issue is that Trapfinder is really bad until you do. It is a Rogue which helps to assemble the Party as we have so few of those, but even the triggered ability when you do get there isn’t that amazing. Fine 1 of if you want it, but not a big deal if you don’t.

Stonework Packbeast

If this was a Changeling, we very likely would find room for it, but since it isn’t, there’s no way we could justify the inclusion.

Practiced Tactics

If this was more like a Kabira Takedown then I could see it’s inclusion. It is 1 mana so this will kill most small creatures which is tempting, but having to do it only when they’re in combat is very sad.

Journey to Oblivion

My first list had Journey to Oblivion and I’m sad to see it go. 4 was likely too many copies, but the card is quite powerful even when you don’t have a full party and having some access to removal is generally good. It’s likely unnecessary and cutting into Party enablers for payoffs isn’t a great idea, but I wouldn’t blame anyone who wanted a copy or two.

Concerted Defense

Playing 4 Defenses over 4 Luminarch is the main contention between this list and the other top version of Bant. Personally, although I love Negate in 2022, I don’t like Defense much. It doesn’t play towards the deck’s game plan, and although a board wipe can be devastating, there will also be times you can’t win fast enough as it’s rotting in your hand versus it being a proactive element. I’m sure it’s a fine card, I’m just not a fan.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate Art by Wayne Reynolds
Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate Art by Wayne Reynolds

If you’re unsure which one drop to play first when you have both, opt for Jaspera Sentinel if you have a 2 drop in hand and Archpriest of Iona if you don’t.

In most decks I like sandbagging Luminarch Aspirant to dodge removal, but in this deck, you generally want to run it out ASAP to draw removal away from the creatures that will complete your Party.

It’s ok to play out Masked Vandal even if you don’t have a target for it’s ability, creating a Party is priority number 1.

Although it’s somewhat obvious, if someone is trying to kill your creature when you have a Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate on board and you intend to sacrifice her, opt for the Indestructible mode over the Hexproof.

Try not to play The Bears of Littjara into open mana if you can help it, getting the Changeling to survive until the second chapter is a pretty large tempo swing.

You generally want to wait to cast Squad Commander until you have a complete party, but if you’re stuck between casting that or Spoils of Adventure, always play to the board first (barring you’re not playing around a wrath). In a similar sense, casting Spoils should be one of the last things you do unless your other proactive play is very bad.

Activating Tazri, Beacon of Unity should generally be the very last thing you do with your mana most of the time.

Be really careful with your land sequencing. There’s no great heuristic to go by, you just have to map out your turns.

Although this is an aggressive deck, you want to trade a lot less often here than you would with other decks so you can assemble your Party. It’s ok to not attack for a turn or two if it means getting a Full party.

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.

21 Responses

  1. Delk says:

    love these articles (your insight/thought process etc), pls keep them coming!

  2. Albel says:

    Not sure if it id just me, but I am torn when it comws to this deck. I tried this one and variations lately and i was really blown away in the beginning. It is great, almost unbeatable when it comes together, but I learned later that this does not happen as much as I was hoping for. The deck lacks a bit of consistency imho.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      That was my initial assumption as well but the win rate doesn’t seem to reflect that!

      • Albel says:

        I really do like the deck though, don’t get me wrong. It just seems to not reward a good pilot like many other decks as it just feels a bit too vulnerable to chance.

        Bears is one of this ‘flip a coin situations’ I encountered most of the time. they remove your changeling and the rest of the saga doesnt do much anymore.

        I may give it one more chance later as it is pretty cool when your opponent usually conceeds exactly the moment you gwt your party together ­čÖé

  3. Kalessin#33378 says:

    Faced this deck a few times in the ladder the last couple of days and… well, I basically lost most of those matches lol

    But I’m with Albel back there: if it doesn’t come together, it get’s overrun. It’s true strenght, as you point out, lies in The Bears of Littjara (which is amazing). But when those doesn’t show up, or Linvala is taken out of commision, it just falls apart.

  4. David says:

    With my version, I’ve gone 55-20, all at high mythic ranked (getting me into the top 100 several times, at which point I try to play Codie in 2022 and lose some ranks, lol– that deck hasn’t done as well lately).

    I have +1 Nimble Trapfinder, +4 Concerted Defense, -1 Linvala, and -4 Luminarch Aspirant.

    I guess I’ll try this version, but I don’t like the idea of running 8 clerics. That feels like too many for getting a full party. And with how the games have played out, it doesn’t feel like slowly boosting my creatures is going to help much.

    I like the 1 of Nimble Trapfinder for another party payoff. Linvala is legendary, so while she’s good, I like running 3. Having 4 Linvala isn’t enough to consistently stop board wipes, which is the main way you lose, so I like having 3 Linvala and 4 Concerted Defense. Blood on the Snow control decks are very popular, and having 7 counters to them makes the matchup incredibly favored, as they can never beat you with 1-for-1 removal. Even Monogreen plays like 12 noncreature spells, all of which are high impact, so I don’t mind running a 1-mana Negate to counter them.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      That’s an extremely reasonable take and is in line with the other really popular version of the deck. I think it’s just a preference on whether you like Defense or Aspirant

      • David says:

        So what would you do in this scenario:

        You play Archpriest of Iona (a Cleric) on T1, then on T2 you have both Luminarch Aspirant (another Cleric) or Tajuru Paragon as your choices.

        Normally Aspirant is the better card on turn 2… but do you prioritize playing Paragon for that quick T4 party completion? Or even just to make Tazri cheaper?

        • DoggertQBones says:

          Definitely Paragon as that’s 5 power on the board versus 3. The exception being you’re worried about Paragon being removed and you have few ways to fill out the party.

  5. micronaut25 says:

    I’ve played a reasonable amount with Bant Party and found Concerted Defense extremely useful. Most of my wins against control decks (and Orzhov came up quite often) were due to countering their sweeper. But even against mono green/white aggro it’s useful to disrupt some early plays or removals, i.e. Blizzard Brawl, Portable Hole, the class enchantments…
    My real issue with the deck is the manabase, you need sources for all the colours early in the game to hit your curve. Keeping a hand with one colour missing usually does not end well, however the deck also does not mulligan particularly well. Very often the key decision that you will make in a game is whether to keep a hand or mulligan.
    It is a fun deck to play though, can only recommend trying it.

  6. Phunkli says:

    Hey, have you tried Naya Party? I added fireblade charger, showdown of the skalds and 2 of ardent electromancer, is pretty good. I think the bant version or just naya is just better, but i do not have linvala and bears in arena yet.

  7. Nuke says:

    Any thoughts on maskwood nexus to the deck?

    • David says:

      I would advise against it. Maskwood says “If you have 4 creatures, then you automatically have a full party.” But in this deck, that’s quite often the case already.

  8. David says:

    Some other notes on the deck:
    -I would always recommend playing Jaspera Sentinel over Archpriest of Iona on turn 1. If you’re draw a 2-drop you’re in MUCH better shape this way. Even if you don’t, Jaspera only attacks for one less than the Archpriest. Or, if you don’t want to attack and offer a trade, you could hold up Concerted Defense as well, if you’re playing it– it will nab a Ranger’s Class on curve if you’re on the play vs monogreen.
    -I try to save Temple of the Dragon Queen in my hand until the last moment after which I’m no longer guaranteed to have a Changeling in play or in hand (whether they might die in combat, or get killed by a spell). That way, I have the most possible information about what color to play it for, but I still get to play it untapped.

    If on the other hand, I don’t have any changelings available, then it should just be played whenever a tap land will hurt you least, which is often just the last land.

    I’ve been pretty successful with trying to get the Pathways played on Red and Black (when I can) to make Tazri’s activation cheaper, but it really doesn’t come up too often, so it’s not worth spending a whole lot of brainpower on. I feel I’ve probably only activated Tazri maybe 7-8 times in ~75 games.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      These are all excellent points for sure! You’re probably right about the Jaspers v Archpriest situation as I may be overvaluing the extra damage too highly but when you don’t have a 2 your chance of drawing into one on the play is only (roughly) 20% but on the draw it is much higher.

      Other notes I’m 100% on board with the caveat on I’m also rarely putting pathways on red or black unless I’m flooding

  9. Tyler says:

    sadly I’m betting the more it proliferates the meta the worse its average win rate will be cause people will know how to deal with it by stifling party completion and or mana screwing by taking out jaspera.

    • LordFarmDangerous says:

      wise bet, ive lost 12 of 15 so far, mostly against aggro decks and my wins were opponent forfeiting(twice i didnt even have full party with linvala out smh?) none of the decks were that great i usually do quite well against most of what i saw using other decks. ill give it a few more trys see if i can actually curve out and win an unforfeited match.

  10. Ninvoth Times says:

    Thanks for the decklist. I found this to be a very good pick right now as it goes way over the top of aggro decks but is also way too fast for decks like Simic ramp to stop. (I went 22-7 with the losses from the mirror or mana screw.)