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Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate Art by Wayne Reynolds

Bant Company Historic Deck Guide: Your Opponents Will Hate These Bears

Hello everyone! Ever since I wrote about GW Company, I’ve been playing it near exclusively in Historic for grinding ranked to strong success. I love cool Collected Company midrange decks and it’s been winning a lot, so I had little reason to grind with anything else. However, when I found out that there’s another viable CoCo midrange deck? Christmas came early for me it seemed. The first iteration of Bant Company that has done well was by Manuel Guspini who played it to a perfect 6-0 in the 1st SCG Satellite Event last Friday. Let’s take a look at the list.

[sd_deck deck=”M0k6nXkaT”]

The deck takes some clear inspirations from fireshoe’s initial idea and expands on it by adding Blue to give a slew of powerful, interactive creatures. The largest issue I had with GW is the Goblins matchup felt very bad, but with Blue, you gain access to Meddling Mage and Deputy of Detentions, both being excellent in that matchup. Furthermore, Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate is a surprisingly good beater with a powerful activated ability to make interacting with you or combat a nightmare for your opponent.

I didn’t find out about this archetype after the satellite though, but found out about it yesterday when it got 9th and 10th at the $5K qualifier (one of the pilots being Manuel again) and got SmoakMTG through the MCQW! Since Manuel’s list was the same and the other Bant pilot in the Kaldheim $5k played a nearly identical list, I’ll show Smoak’s changes to the deck.

[sd_deck deck=”KSCPPbrwB”]

The base is still functionally the same, but Smoak changed up the manabase a bit and significantly changed the sideboard. I wasn’t a fan of Manuel’s sideboard, but Smoak’s is definitely closer to how I would construct it. My contention though is adding the tapped cycling lands seemed a little sad in a deck that’s looking to curve out early in the game. They can be good later in the game or if you have a hole in your curve, but Historic has really good mana and I think we should utilize that. I tinkered with the deck a bit, and I’m quite happy with the result I’ve come up with. Let’s take a look at my list.

[sd_deck deck=”qbScOwag0″]

Once again, the base is pretty much the same, but there’s a striking difference between my list and the previous 2, I’m playing the best 1 drop creature in Historic. Considering you can easily play a lot of untapped green sources, I’m very surprised that Llanowar Elves didn’t make it into the deck sooner as casting a turn 3 Collected Company is ridiculously powerful. Past that, I added a Vivien to the main deck and changed the sideboard up, both decisions that’ll be explained in the next section.

Lastly, if you’re looking to play this in Bo1, I really like the base of this and the only change I would make is to replace the Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate for a Skysovereign, Consul Flagship. Let’s talk about card choices.



1 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate

I know this looks like a really weird inclusion, but an issue I found with GW Company initially and Bant was that you can accrue a lot of value, but you don’t have a lot of powerful cards. To remedy that in GW, I changed the deck to accommodate The Great Henge, something that this deck can’t support. Since we can’t play The Great Henge, Vivien is the clear choice as it’s great for grinding, overpowering the opponent, and works disgustingly well with excess mana and 33 total creatures. Although I like Vivien, it can be clunky so 1 seems like a great number.

3 Glasspool Mimic

Mimic is a really cool addition to the deck as it can be a tapped Island in a pinch or a Mirror Image. With a lot of creatures with ETB or immediate abilities, Clones are quite strong in this strategy.

4 Llanowar Elves

The best 1 drop creature in Historic and it isn’t close. Works extremely well with casting your 3 drops and Collected Company a turn ahead of schedule. It may seem like it doesn’t scale well in the late game as most of the deck’s spells are cheap, but even being able to double 3 on turn 5 if you have an Elf out can be a potentially game winning play. If the deck struggled to cast this on turn 1 I would understand not including it, but I easily changed the mana base to give the deck 15 turn 1 green sources which is more than enough to cast this consistently.

2 Selfless Savior

I’m really on the fence about the Saviors as they can be situationally amazing or awful. 4 seemed like too many as no creature in the deck felt so important that we’d be happy drawing multiple Saviors and the 1/1 beatdown plan is obviously not great. I think anywhere between 0-2 is the right number, but 2 feels like a pretty safe bet for now. Protecting your Meddling Mage, Deputy of Detention, or Skyclave Apparition can be game winning, but saving anything else generally isn’t that exciting. 

4 Luminarch Aspirant

I love this card probably a little too much, but it makes threatening creatures so quickly! Use this to make your mediocre creatures into actual threats to beat your opponent down with.

4 Meddling Mage

I didn’t like Meddling Mage at first beyond it being good against Goblins, but it definitely grew on me a bit. If you know your matchups well, being able to preemptively lock your opponent out of their best play can be a very powerful move or, at worst, just naming a removal spell to make getting rid of this more difficult can be a great line as well. There will be times this is just a Grizzly Bear, but I think the upsides outweigh the potential downsides.

3 Scavenging Ooze

Scavenging Ooze is an incredibly strong card that synergizes super well with Llanowar Elves and is just great in the formatl. Not only is it great when you get to eat relevant cards out of the graveyard, but also just eating errant creatures that died in combat or to removal makes this threatening in many matchups. I think 3 is the perfect main deck number as you always want the first one on the blind, but each additional copy can be redundant.

4 Deputy of Detention

Deputy is one of our many Banisher Priest effects and boy does it deliver. Being able to hit anything is nice, but hitting all copies of the same permanent is just gravy. That clause doesn’t come up often, but if you get to snag a bunch of tokens or your opponent just happens to have multiple copies of the same card, Deputy just feels busted.

3 Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate

Is Linvala amazing in this deck? No, but it does do a bunch of helpful things for this deck. Primarily, this is just a Flier that allows you to win even if the board is completely gummed up. The second use of Linvala is her nice activated ability that gives your team Hexproof or Indestructible. Surprisingly, with the amount of Exiling wraths, this mode is somewhat niche, but will be backbreaking against a deck that’s looking to trade creatures or wants to wipe your board with something like Wrath of God.

2 Militia Bugler

This is where I may be getting too cute, but I think Bugler is actually a pretty reasonable card for this deck. First of all, including itself, you have a total of 30 creatures that have power 2 or less in this deck. Secondly, nearly every card that can be hit off of Militia Bugler is really situationally powerful, so having extra dig towards the cards you want is super powerful. Lastly, although the 2/3 body isn’t the most impressive, you have Luminarch Aspirant to help you out on that front. I’ll be the first to say that maybe this isn’t good enough, but I think it has a lot going for it in relation to this deck.

4 Skyclave Apparition

No real explanation is needed for this multi-format staple. Exile a good card and they can’t even get it back. 

4 Collected Company

The card that makes this deck possible. Collected Company is so egregiously powerful and this deck has a staggering 33 hits in it which should near guarantee you get two creatures off of it when you cast it.

22 Lands + 3 Glasspool Mimic


3 Baffling End

My newest iteration of GW Company now includes Baffling End as well so having 3 here makes perfect sense. Great against any deck playing early creatures.

2 Rest in Peace

With Rakdos Arcanist and Sacrifice having really excellent weekends, having a strong piece of hate against them is a safe addition. Sacrifice and Paradox Combo get really hurt by this, but Arcanist would need an extremely specific draw to even have a chance of beating it.

1 Scavenging Ooze

More graveyard hate can’t hurt.

3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Playing Thalia main didn’t seem great to me as it is really good against Sultai and Control, but really not great elsewhere. With this in mind, when it’s good, Thalia is great which is the epitome of a sideboard card for me. 

2 Fairgrounds Warden

Sometimes only 8 Banishing Priest effects just isn’t enough. Creature decks in Historic tend to not have many removal spells so each Banisher Priest effect you can get is amazing.

3 Yasharn, Implacable Earth

Although Yasharm is pretty narrow, it is so good against Sacrifice strategies and Paradox combo that it’s worth the slots. Shutting off the ability to sacrifice permanents is pretty ridiculous against strategies reliant on doing so.

1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

Boat is GOAT. In creature slugfests, Boat will just win the day by killing something when it comes in and every time it attacks as well. In the same vein, when Vivien is good, Ship tends not to be great and vice versa so you get to keep 1 5 drop in no matter what.


Deputy of Detention

Sultai Midrange

+1 Scavenging Ooze-4 Meddling Mage
+3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

The biggest disadvantage about Bant compared to GW is that the Sultai matchup doesn’t seem as favored without a faster clock and a powerful finisher in The Great Henge, but I wouldn’t say this is a wash either. Meddling Mage is not great as Sultai has a very diverse answer suite so boarding them out is easy. Scooze is great for eating Uro and Thalia is obviously great in this matchup as well. Per any deck like this, play enough threats to pressure the opponent effectively, but not so many you get blown out by a wrath effect.


+3 Baffling End-1 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
+2 Rest in Peace-4 Llanowar Elves
+1 Scavenging Ooze-2 Selfless Savior
+2 Fairgrounds Warden-4 Luminarch Aspirant
+3 Yasharn, Implacable Earth-1 Meddling Mage
+1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

It was unintentional that you can throw nearly your entire sideboard at Sacrifice decks, but it’s not a bad thing. You get to cut a lot of your weak and pingable cards and bring in a truck load of interaction. Keep their Mayhem Devil off the board and you shouldn’t have too many issues. As a tip, when playing Meddling Mage against them you can pretty safely start with Claim the Firstborn as your name and they’ll have a really hard time getting it off the board. If you need to name something else that will blow you out though, like a Mayhem Devil, don’t be afraid to do so.


+3 Baffling End-1 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
+2 Fairgrounds Warden-3 Scavenging Ooze
+1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship-2 Militia Bugler

The biggest advantage to playing this deck over GW Company is that the Goblins matchup goes from seemingly unwinnable to just unfavored. You have more options to interact with their board, but Muxus and Krenko are still really problematic cards for you if you can’t interact with them in time. Keep their lords off the board and pray you have a Meddling Mage for your Muxus.

Paradox Combo

+3 Baffling End-1 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
+2 Rest in Peace-2 Glasspool Mimic
+1 Scavenging Ooze-2 Selfless Savior
+3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben-4 Luminarch Aspirant
+2 Fairgrounds Warden-3 Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate
+3 Yasharn, Implacable Earth-2 Militia Bugler

Just when you thought we were overboarding for Sacrifice, I hit you with the 14 card special. I considered bringing in Skysovereign as well, half because it is pretty good and half so we can board in every card, but it’s probably unnecessary or too slow most of the time. This is the one matchup where you don’t need to win so much as you need to not lose. They don’t have a good Plan B outside of Uro so as long as you can mitigate that and their combo, you can beat them to your leisure.

Thank you for reading! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out on Twitch! Have a great day!

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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.

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