Bant Rampage - Standard

This is a community submission from Jake Collins.


Do you ever feel... angry? Angry at magic, angry at control, angry at your opponent, your draw, your lands, your... artifacts? Ever just want to blow it all away?


Then you've come to the right place.


This deck is a delightful spin on the Rampage of the Clans card. We've got havoc, we've got artifacts, we've got value, and on your end step, we're making an army of 3/3s. I really like the idea of taking advantage of the meta with this deck as well, since hardly any artifacts are being played, so you know you're going to get the most out of this card.


Gameplan

Like I said before, we're here to take names and blow up artifacts. Lots of artifacts. Our own artifacts. It seems counter-intuitive at first, but let's read Rampage of the Clans:

Aside from the sweet art, I can see two things about this card we can really take advantage of. First: we get a 3/3 for each artifact destroyed. Turning a bunch of middling artifacts doing little to nothing into a veritable army sounds pretty good. But what makes this so cool is the second thing: it's an instant. So not only do we get an army, but we can get it on our opponent's end step. That means they're not going to prioritize blockers or their life total before we swarm them.


But a deck is a lot more than just its win condition. What do we have to back this up? Where are our artifacts? Let's start with our early game plays: Navigator's Compass, Fountain of Renewal, and Treasure Map. The Fountain and Compass both gain us life, which is vital in mono-red matchups and quite useful in aggro matchups like gruul. Make no mistake: we are a slow deck, and the lifegain is a tool to get us successfully to turns 4, 5, and beyond. Treasure Map is a value play. There are a ton of synergies in this deck. We can use it to scry, obviously, but then when it flips we can either use the treasures for mana, draw with them, or turn them into 3/3s, not to mention they'll make our Karnstructs stronger and our Tezzeret draw us 2 instead of 1 on the 0 loyalty ability.


As we get into the midgame, the value starts ramping up. Dovin, Grand Arbiter can come down on 3 and make a thopter, or, if we draw him later with a bunch of 1/1s or 3/3s, he can plus and ultimate very quickly. Sai, Master Thopterist is both a great blocker and a fantastic value generator. Left alone, he can generate an army of 1/1s and turn dead artifacts like Compasses into card draw. Karn, Scion of Urza is a clear choice for any artifact-heavy deck. We make great use of the -2, but on an empty board or stalemate the +1 is fantastic as well. As a deck running both blue and white, we also have the obligatory Teferi, Time Raveler. He's nice to have to slow our opponent down (remember, our deck is pretty slow) and prevent any instant-speed interaction.


While the namesake of the deck puts Rampage of the Clans as our primary finishers, that's not all we've got. The Antiquities War, a powerful card from way back in Dominaria, gives us 5/5s instead of 3/3s after a couple turn delay. Also, if the game stalls while we've got a Tezzeret, Artifice Master out, his ultimate will finish the game pretty quickly.


This deck isn't heavy on interaction, but we do have a couple Dovin's Veto in the main. In the current meta, they'll find something to target, whether it's a bolt to the face or a Command the Dreadhorde.


Sideboard

Starting out the sideboard is 4 copies of Sentinel Totem. This has always been a neat artifact, allowing us to hold an exile activation over our opponent's head as long as we want or turn it into a 3/3 if we don't have to use it. This is very useful in matches against Dreadhorde and Izzet Phoenix. The Tocatli Honor Guards are devastating against any deck that dare run the full explore package, plus it makes a good blocker against mono-red and turns off their Chainwhirler and Pyromancer triggers. The other two Vetos and the Negates are valuable in control matchups or against simic manipulation. It loses some value against the Bant variant, as they run small Teferi, but it's good to have access to. Finally, the Sorcerous Spyglass. With how weighted down the meta is with planeswalkers, this it should be pretty easy to see why we'd want this. Not many people run Karn or Tezzeret, so we don't have to worry about our own walkers getting hit, and we can disable powerful cards like Nissa, big Teferi, and Bolas.


Playtesting

I'm sad to say that this is a deck whose play results did not match my hype. The pieces are all there: early game stall tactics that synergize with later plays, high-value midgame cards that can additionally stall or start building a strong board presence, then slam-dunk finishers that can end the game in a single turn if needed, or come out on top of a board stall. The truth of it is: we don't have consistency.


Lifegain artifacts early that have use later is a good plan, but it's at odds with Sai. Sai wants you to cast artifacts after he's on the field. But that means waiting until turn 4 to cast any of them, which both 1) means you don't get that life boost until turn 4 and 2) you can't play any 4-drops on turn 4. Yes, you can cast them early, but the truth is, while this deck does create a lot of artifacts and has many artifact synergies, it doesn't actually have that many artifact cards to cast for the Sai trigger.


Also, Rampage of the Clans has a couple issues. One, it's often not the best play. Yes, it can absolutely win the game out of nowhere, but a lot of the time I found myself preferring to keep my army of 1/1 fliers or saccing my treasures to a flipped Treasure Map to draw cards. Karnstructs are almost always bigger than 3/3s as well. The other issue is that it's terrible in multiples and we're running 4 of them. The first one can be good on turn 6 or so, but once you cast it, you want to have won or almost won. The second one is going to do a lot less because you've destroyed part of your artifact generation engine or the 1-drops that were just sitting there before. Draw copies 3 and 4 is miserable.


Tezzeret, Artifice Master is not as good as I thought he'd be. In a meta of bouncing creatures, flying tramplers, and big attackers, a 1/1 each turn doesn't cut it. And if you're using his 0 to draw cards, he's almost always going to die very quickly. I'd like to get him to his ult, but it just takes so long and you give up all the card draw you'd have otherwise. Alongside Tezzeret, Dovin and Teferi both weren't that useful here. I can see how Dovin could be useful, since we make so many 1/1 fliers, but I never found a good chance to swing in with all of them while he was on the field. Teferi, with no good blockers outside of Sai (who we can't cast before him since they're both 3 CMC), often just died after we bounced something.


I mean, there were definitely some games where I was able to build a stable board quickly, build on my advantage, then slam a finisher just like the deck was designed to do, and let me tell you, those games felt fantastic. The deck clearly has potential. Unfortunately, however, it can't consistently hold its own against linear aggro strategies or hard control. Against midrange, it's fine.


As for changes, it's hard to say. I think I would start by taking out 2 Rampages for the remaining Antiquities War. I always found the former a better play, even if it was a bit slow. I'd also focus a lot more on early plays that have a bigger impact. Two-drops and one-drops that can either block or put pressure on our opponent's planeswalkers. I suppose removal could work too, but I think this deck wants an early board. In exchange, I'd take out the Teferis and Dovins. The full 4 Treasure Maps could help as well.


That's all for Bant Rampage. I gotta say, I love the idea and would really like to see a deck around it, but I don't know if this is its time. One day, perhaps. Thanks for reading and this is Matt, signing out.



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