Standard 2022 Bant Party Deck Guide: The New Highest Win Rate Deck
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.
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.
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.
Table of Contents
- CARD CHOICES
- NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS
- TIPS AND TRICKS
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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