Merry Christmas fellow Alchemist!
For those who celebrate this holiday, I wish you and your family great bonding this season, good food and awesome gifts. For those who don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope this time of year gives you time to rest and take a break, meet friends and reconnect with family.
Speaking of bountiful dinner tables, the season won’t be complete if I don’t give you guys my gift – a deck tech amidst the busy season featuring none other than Bounty of the Luxa.
This card during spoiler season got a lot of attention but sadly those attention didn’t translate to play time because most of Simic decks run aggressive strategies instead of ramp or control. This however doesn’t stop us from attempting to make a decent competitive shell with this card.
First time you untap with it, Bounty gives you an extra draw. Not bad for decks that quickly run out of cards early. Second time you untap with it, it gives you 3 mana. Basically it ramps you to 8 mana on turn 5 after you drop this on turn 4. Another way to see this is it ramps you to 9 mana on turn 5 if you drop this on turn 3 after playing a mana dork on turn 2.
Let’s begin to reinforce the two modes that Bounty gives us.
First, the ramp. We have a lot of choices and I opted to go for those that give us other effects like life gain and 2/2 blockers. Gift of Paradise is a great way to stabilize after an early onslaught. It also ramps us to a turn 4 Fumigate.
Hour of Promise is our version of Explosive Vegetation with an upside for playing deserts. Getting two 2/2 zombies can be relevant to survive the turn and get to untap and take over the game.
Second, the card advantage. Refilling your hand needs no reinforcement in my opinion. There is never a bad side for having a lot of cards and drawing the cards and win conditions subsequently with the mana to cast them makes Bounty a pretty cool card.
So what do we do with all that mana? Plenty. But having all that mana and durdle early leaves you dead against Ramunap Red, Mono-black Agro, Energy… need I go on?
Playing strictly Simic is stupid because you have zero removal outside fight spells. That’s why we will play White as our secondary color next to green. Blue will be a splash only for Bounty and some other good stuff we’ll get to a bit later.
Fumigate and Settle the Wreckage are the best sweepers available and we will play both of them. Playing White also gives us ways to deal with pesky permanents.
Cast Out and Ixaland’s Binding are great against Planeswalkers which our sweepers can’t remove. It’s also great against artifacts or enchantments like Anointed Procession, God-Pharaoh’s Gift and for immortal creatures like Hazoret the Fervent and The Scarab God.
So how do we win?
Sandwurm Convergence is a card I featured back in my Jund Ramp deck here and I think this deck is perfect. After sweeping the board, we can begin churning out 5/5 wurms every turn and stop Glorybringers and Thopters from flying around our party!
Taking a lot of hits? Why not gain those life back and win the game 2 to 3 turns faster thanks to Bounty? Not to mention that Bounty also allows us to cast Approach 2 turns faster.
Now you understand the blog’s title, don’t you?
You scrolled back up didn’t you?
So here’s how my Bant Approach list looks like!
4 Gift of Paradise
3 Bounty of the Luxa
4 Cast Out
2 Ixalan’s Binding
3 Sandwurm Convergence
4 Authority of the Consuls
3 Settle the Wreckage
4 Hour of Promise
2 Beneath the Sands
3 Approach of the Second Sun
2 Sunpetal Grove
3 Glacial Fortress
3 Scattered Grove
2 Botanical Sanctum
2 Irrigated Farmland
1 Sequestered Stash
1 Vraska, Relic Seeker
2 Nissa, Steward of Elements
1 Dovin Baan
3 Gideon’s Intervention
3 Sorcerous Spyglass
2 Spell Pierce
This deck is craaaazy!
We’re playing all 4 copies of Authority of the Consuls! Why? Because we want to make sure our opponents commit to the board for our sweepers. Nothing beats gaining life and stop haste creatures at the same time! We might not be able to play it on turn one 100% of the time since we’re only running 6 untap white sources but still, playing it on turn 2, and several copies thereafter is more than enough to gain back the life lost and get full value for our fumigates later in the game.
We’re not playing any deserts for Hour of Promise because our mana base is dependent on having the right basic types in play for our check lands to enter untapped. However I will play one copy of Sequestered Stash even if we’re not running any artifacts because it digs up 5 cards and make us draw the second Approach of the Second Sun in 2 turns. That’s why. We can fetch it with Hour of Promise so we don’t need more than 1 copy.
As for the sideboard, it’s more like a maybe-board at best. We have all the stops for creature based decks in the main so I’m not so invested on creature hate in the side, but I do respect control mirrors to be a pain since most of our main board anti-creature are useless. I’m backing Negates and Spell Pierces just to make sure we can interact with opposing Approach or Glimmer of Geniuses. I also want to have an answer to counter magic if we ever want our Sandwurm Convergence or Approach to resolve.
Sorcerous Spyglass is an iffy card but I like it. If we can take a look at our opponent’s hand early on and see what he sided in for us will enable us to play around them. We can also time our sweepers well and have better decisions on when to ramp and when to reserve the mana for Settle the Wreckage. Shutting down opposing Chandra, Scarab God, Hazoret, Ramunap Ruins and the likes is also quite useful.
Gideon’s Intervention is in the side so we can shut down specific cards we don’t want to be bothered by – this actually works well with the Spyglass to so we know what to name.
Lastly, we pack a small Planeswalker package composed of control elements, card advantage, and win condition.
Nissa will help smooth our draws and dig for that Approach. Her 0 ability might be good in ramping but that’s about it. Her -6 might steal a game but she’s mostly a scry engine.
Dovin can help suppress early to mid-game threats and then go-off and help slow your opponent’s game down drastically. He also helps us draw and gain some life if needed.
Vraska as a one-off takes out permanents and with enough protection, she can close out the game if left unanswered.
That’s it for now – I don’t want to disappoint those who are waiting in line, or downing their last bottle of booze as we close Christmas day and want something to read.
Merry Christmas guys!