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[Article] Bant Heroic/Bestow Primer

Bant Heroes

Note: The JIN cards aren’t in the database we use for showing an image when hovering over yet so just google the card if it doesn’t show up. Sorry!

What’s it all about?

The Heroic strategy is about casting smaller creatures that grow very quickly into large beat down machines. This is done by targeting them with Instant, Sorcery, and Enchantment spells. My deck utilizes Hero of Iroas to take advantage of the Bestow mechanic to speed up the rate of growing our creatures and giving some insurance towards removal. The deck plays similarly to a Hexproof deck but sacrifices hexproof for more ways of attacking our opponent as well as more utility.

Why Bant?

The deck is more Selesnya splash blue for Hidden Strings, and Bred for the Hunt in the sideboard. However I’ll go over some other possible options in this primer. Heroic decks are mainly white as that is where the best Heroic cards are if you want your creatures to become larger. Adding green gives access to some good spells to target our creatures that add trample which is good for us since we’re looking to have larger creatures anyways and also gives us some resilient creatures. Going green also gives us access to the new JIN card, Ajani, Mentor of Heroes which is quite useful when you’re running Bestow creatures + some Aura’s.

The Deck

Creatures
3x Akroan Skyguard
2x Boon Satyr
2x Dawnbringer Charioteers
4x Favored Hoplite
4x Hero of Iroas
4x Nyxborn Shieldmate
3x Voice of Resurgence

Non-creature Spells
2x Hidden strings
2x Advent of the Wurm
2x Selesnya Charm
1x Warriors’ Lesson
2x Banishing Light
2x Ethereal Armor
2x Unflinching Courage
2x Ajani, Mentor of Heroes

Land
2x Breeding Pool
2x Forest
4x Hallowed Fountain
2x Temple of Enlightenment
4x Temple Garden
4x Temple of Plenty
3x Plains
2x Mana Confluence

Creatures

Hero of Iroas – This is the card that makes this deck possible. It speeds up the deck where we want it to be, allowing us to bestow much easier and even play Unflinching Courage for only two mana. Less mana spent bestowing means more efficient uses of it.

Boon Satyr – A card that has fallen out of play. It is a large trick that we can flash in end of turn as a creature, or bestow it mid combat. Triggers Heroic and we usually bestow it for 3-4 mana rather than 5 thanks to Hero of Iroas. Even without Hero, we can turn 4 Advent of the Wurm then turn 5 bestow onto it making a 9/7 with trample.

Dawnbringer Charioteers – One of the new Journey Into Nyx cards. Along with Akroan Skyguard it gives our deck another direction of attack and the lifelink helps against burn as well as possible damage from our shock lands and Mana Confluence. It’s also large enough to block small fliers such as Herald of Torment or Nightveil Specter. Heroic is nice since it can possibly get big enough to block larger fliers.

Favored Hoplite – One of the go to 1 drops for Heroic decks. The Heroic ability comes in handy when trying to win fights since we can prevent damage to it. We have a nice set of spells to make it larger in a short matter of time.

Nyxborn Shieldmate – Another possible one drop if it needs to be but it’s one of the most aggressively costed Bestow creature and with Hero of Iroas it only takes 2 mana to bestow. I wanted it since it speeds up the rate we can grow creatures.

Voice of Resurgence – A card that is already resilient to removal can be even harder to get rid of once we bestow something onto it. It also slows down our opponent’s casting of removal and other instant speed spells which gives us an easier time setting up our board.

Non-Creature Spells

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes – Both of Ajani’s +1 abilities are relevant in our deck. When we don’t have any way to target our creatures he can still add counters to them. If not, we can use his middle ability to dig through our library to find a creature or possibly an aura we can use to target with if looking for something specific. The benefit here is because we’re running Bestow creatures we have the choice of getting a creature to target something else with, or just a creature to play on board. The ultimate is just icing on the cake.

Hidden Strings – The main reason to add blue to the deck. Because the majority of our spells are 2 CMC, it opens us up for some great T2 plays, being able to cipher onto our 1 drop, then untap our land and cast a creature such as Voice of Resurgence. It also let’s our guys get damage through and can target our own guys with the Cipher copy to untap them and grow them all at the same time.

Advent of the Wurm – Ok this technically is a creature spell, but it’s something that doesn’t get hit by Lifebane Zombie and I wanted at least one creature that was naturally large. It works well on curve with Boon Satyr since we can T4 flash it in then T5 Bestow onto the Wurm token. The trample is very important for use when we’re looking to have just a couple large creatures on board rather than flooding the board with threats.

Selesnya Charm – Overall great card to have. Might consider adding more in but we’ll see. Each mode is applicable in the deck. It’s a way to target Heroic, to get rid of larger creatures such as Desecration Demon, and can be a creature if we need it to be.

Warriors’ Lesson – A nice one mana cantrip that can trigger two of our guys with the benefit of possible drawing us cards. Since we have some evasion in our deck through trample and flying, being able to get at least one card draw and a Heroic trigger off for one mana isn’t a terrible deal for us.

Banishing Light – Another JIN card that works great in this deck. Choosing it over Detention Sphere because it’s easier to cast and it hits slightly more. Sacrificing the ability to get multiples of permanents but we don’t have to worry about exiling our own things this way in mirror matches. We also have the ability to exile Detention Sphere.

Ethereal Armor – Easy way to target our Heroic creatures and since we’re running Bestow creatures, even if they’re just played out naturally they still count towards Ethereal Armor. A must have if you’re running this kind of strategy.

Unflinching Courage – One of the best aura’s in Standard in my opinion. Because of Heroic and Hero of Iroas we’re essentially getting +3/+3 (thanks to Heroic trigger) and trample/lifelink for only two mana. Because our creatures are going to be large very quickly, the trample helps in getting damage through and the lifelink for racing as well as alleviating some of the pain we’ll receive from Shock lands and Mana Confluence.

The Sideboard

2x Aegis of the Gods – Another new JIN card. Bringing it in for Mono Black matchups to protect us from Thoughtseize, Duress, Lifebane Zombie, or any other cards targeting us. It can be brought in for burn match ups as well, forcing them to get rid of it before burning us to the dome.

2x Bred for the hunt – Because we’re going to have a counter on our guys more often than not, in the longer matches we can bring this in to ensure we can keep drawing into gas. Side bonus for working with Ethereal Armor as well.

2x Deicide – Every deck that is white based will have this in the sideboard most likely. Easy way to get rid of pesky Gods such as Thassa, God of the Sea and ensuring they can’t play any more of them. It also can be brought in to deal with opposing Detention Spheres or even enchantment creatures.

3x Mistcutter Hydra – Very hard card for Mono Blue and U/W/x control to deal with and with our bestow creatures and auras we can make sure it ends games quickly.

2x Mending Touch – Easy way to save our creatures and to trigger Heroic.

2x Setessan Tactics – Bringing this in for any Monster matchups, it allows us to trigger multiple heroics, and potentially wipe part of our opponent’s board.

2x Tethmos High Priest – Since most of our creatures are low costing, we can bring this in for any matchup with a ton of removal. Let’s us target Tethmos and grab a creature back from our graveyard.

Honorable Mentions

There were a handul of cards that I was thinking of putting in that might still be tested. Finding a good balance of non-creature and creature spells meant it was hard choosing between cards. If you end up trying this deck out here are some options I would consider:

Prophet of Kruphix – Already having Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, I didn’t want another 5 drop and Prophet seemed a bit too slow for this deck. Still might be nice in a control matchup since it allows us to flash in any of our bestow creatures as auras.

Detention Sphere – One of my favourite cards but I wanted something a bit easier to cast. Banishing Light is replacing this card. If testing shows it doesn’t work out well I’ll switch back to Detention Sphere but I still wanted something to handle hard to kill creatures and also some Planeswalkers can be a problem. Also helps in card attrition, being able to shut off cards such as Underworld Connections.

Artisan of Forms – A 2 drop that definitely might have a place in this deck. Very versatile and we have no shortage of ways to target it, however it is more reliant on other creatures being on the field and I would rather have creatures that get counters on them. Could possibly be a sideboard choice for monster matchups or midrange matchups being able to copy opponent’s threats?

Ajani, Caller of the Pride – The flying and double strike can be an easy way to finish off games, especially since we’re looking to have our creatures at 4-5 power quite early on in the game.

Simic Charm – Another way to pump our guys and trigger Heroic, but can also help against decks such as Mono Black where there’s a lot of removal.

Hope you guys enjoyed this primer! If this is something you would like me to do for more decks let me know. Also feel free to leave suggestions and I’ll be sure to take a look at them.

– Michael Y.

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