G:AS Bant Counters Deck Tech

By HD_Dabnado 12 May 2020

Bant Counters Decklist

I started playing Magic: The Gathering during the gap between M15 and Khans of Tarkir block. It was a unique time for Magic; before the Magic Origins shift began. While I did not play much standard, I was actively interested in standard cards. Back then I played a (very bad) outlast/bolster deck featuring Dromoka’s Gift which I thought was the spiciest card of all time. Over time I gave up on that deck, but there was still a part of me that loved +1/+1 counters. When coming upon this format, my first thought was to make a control deck. And while that worked, I wanted to do something I loved. May I present, Bant +1/+1 Counters!

STRATEGY

When approaching this deck, there are three different strategies:
1. Aggro
2. Midrange
3. Control


Aggro has been from my experience too difficult within three colors, while Control ends up being a planeswalker deck. So midrange it was. The goal of the deck is to play strong creatures paired with removal and interaction tied neatly into a synergistic bow.

KEY CARDS
Due to Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark, and Ikoria, there are some very strong cards that every counters deck should play. 

The Ozolith is the best card of the deck. It allows for your creatures to be protected from removal, for your trades to be more beneficial, and for you to strategically move counters around. The cheap mana cost and current lack of artifact interaction makes this an obvious include.

Simic Ascendancy is a free alternate wincon in this deck. While I have only gotten the wincon once, the value and scare-factor of this card against your opponent is too large to ignore. It also helps with creating great proliferate situations, which in turn makes this card even better.

+1/+1 COUNTERS

It’s what you are here for.
Hadana’s Climb is great at distributing counters around, or as a late game finisher.
Hydroid Krasis draws cards, gains life, and adds pressure. Can’t go wrong with this.
Skatewing Spy / Herald of Secret Streams both slam down and can allow for a surprise finish or to end a board stall. Sadly they are both easy to remove, but they can be developed if they stick.

PROLIFERATE

Many more proliferate effects exist, but these are the ones I find to be the strongest.
Evolution Sage may be better if there were more fetches, but it still can make a dead land draw into something important.
Inexorable Tide might be too cute, but it can very easily snowball with a Benthic Biomancer on the field.
Merfolk Skydiver is one of the better small proliferate effects since a lot of the time it can be ignored by your opponent’s removal. Also a good mana sink that can buff the incidental planeswalkers.

INTERACTION

A deck like this can have trouble dealing with decks, so interaction is a necessity. 

Knight of Autumn is the best Naturalize effect for this deck. Otherwise it works great as a part of the game plan.
Callous Dismissal can act as a nice piece of tempo, or as a surprise against your control opponent.

Sharktocrab can let you crawl back from aggro matchups where the opponent has run out of gas.

And here is the deck! I hope you enjoyed the deck tech. I’d love to see some feedback.

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