Bring To Knight: BFZ Synergies For Each Format

Bennie puts down the Commander decks so that he can experiment with some of the most potent BFZ combos in more competitive formats! #SCGStates will assuredly show off lists with these Battle for Zendikar standouts!

While I’ve been rolling deep on Team Eldrazi for the new Standard, there have been a few other cards in Battle for Zendikar that have captured my
brewer’s imagination. One in particular has me so excited at its possibilities that I scrambled to acquire a playset early because I figured there was a
good chance it might break out at the very first big new StarCitygames Standard Open.

Looks good… maybe.

I haven’t had a chance to play in a new Standard tournament yet, but like many of you, I kept my eyes on the coverage from the Indianapolis Open, and sure
enough, the buzz started almost immediately. We got a deck tech with Kent Ketter’s version of Five-Color Bring to Light, and Gerry Thompson was on camera
quite a few times over the weekend piloting his version of Five-Color Bring to Light. Joe Lossett played a version very similar to Gerry’s controlling
build, while Kent’s version was more aggressive with Mantis Riders and only three copies of the eponymous spell. Joe and Kent both made Top 16 while Gerry
finished 5th.

Here are the decks for reference:

If you have Starcitygames.com Premium, then be sure to check out Gerry’s write-up on his deck here. He goes
in depth on his card choices, sideboarding, and changes he’d make to the deck knowing what he knows now. He also says he isn’t very satisfied with what the
deck was capable of, and said he doubts he’ll be playing it at the Pro Tour.

While the deck might not be what Gerry was looking for, I was happy to see some proof that Bring to Light might be as powerful as my hunch said it was
despite having a less than stellar performance this past weekend at the Atlanta Open. I’ve been working on two different approaches to Bring to Light for
the past couple weeks, both taking Bring to Light “next level.” The card isn’t just a tutor for the most powerful proactive or reactive card in your deck;
it is letting you play two spells at the same time. Why on earth would this matter?

The more non-creature spells the better!

Before Standard rotated I wanted to try a deck running Jeskai Ascendancy alongside Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and Hangarback Walker. We know that Jeskai
Ascendancy is off the chains in terms of power, and it really interacts strongly with both of those cards. It can untap Hangarback Walker extra times,
which allows it to grow at a faster rate, or to play both offense and defense. Then, when Hangarback Walker gets killed and you’ve got an armada of flying
Thopters, the +1/+1 boost to your team can make them quite lethal fast. Giving Jace extra untaps can filter through cards quickly and get him to flip
faster, but there’s a subtle thing to consider too. Oftentimes with Jeskai Ascendancy, you can end up with little to no hand and end up having triggers
that put cards directly from your library into the graveyard. If that was a card you really needed, it can feel pretty awful, but if it’s an instant or
sorcery spell, Jace, Telepath Unbound can help you play it from the graveyard.

Bring to Light for a devastating instant or sorcery would get you two Jeskai Ascendancy triggers for just five mana, and thinking of all the possibilities
from that sort of interaction led me down the path to this test deck:

I wanted Rattleclaw Mystic in here as a way to turn Ascendancy triggers into mana to improve the chances of playing multiple spells in the same turn. It
can also provide some additional targets for Ojutai’s Command if you don’t have a Jace in the graveyard. Speaking of Ojutai’s Command, I wanted to run that
card in addition to Silumgar’s Command so that I could tutor for a two-for-one when I cast Bring to Light to maximize the bang for my mana buck.

The one slightly awkward element of this deck is that Bring to Light can’t be used to tutor up Jeskai Ascendancy. Despite seeming like a sunburst Demonic
Tutor, unfortunately, enchantments, lands, and planeswalkers are left out of the tutorific fun. Still, I feel there’s enough card drawing in the deck that
I should be able to find Ascendancy most games. One card I can tutor for is Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper! Much like Rattleclaw Mystic can be used to
turn Ascendancy triggers into mana, with Noyan Dar in play each instant or sorcery spell you cast “awakens” land and gives it haste, which can then be
tapped for mana to cast more spells to keep it going, and then when it’s all over with, those lands can attack!

I found it interesting that Michael Hebelka ran a more dedicated combo deck built around Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper with Jeskai Ascendancy to 84th place. You
can find the deck tech here. While my version can’t go
infinite, I think there’s a bunch of inherently good synergies that give this approach some merit.

Of course, Jeskai Ascendancy isn’t the only card around that likes multiple spells being cast in the same turn. In fact, there are quite a few Jeskai clan
cards that have an ability that’s all about that very thing!

Ready to Bring it!

Prowess loves multiple triggers in the same turn, and Bring to Light can bring the noise. Instead of going five colors though, I pondered trying to make
the deck more aggressive and keep the colors down to just Temur, and while I was considering other creatures to play alongside our prowess crew, I started
thinking about our aggro landfall creatures.

Ready to Bring it too!

Playing landfall creatures makes sense in this approach since I’d want more lands anyway to improve my chances of playing Bring to Light on time. This
gives even more added value to Abbot of Keral Keep’s enters the battlefield trigger hitting a land. What’s really cool to consider is Atarka’s Command. The
spell is already quite powerful as a Lightning Bolt that can also boost your team, but in this deck I can use the “put a land card from your hand onto the
battlefield” mode alongside the team boosting mode to get landfall triggers and accelerate to five or more mana.

You know what also likes playing multiple spells in a turn?

Ready to really Bring it!

Here’s what I’ve got cooked up as a test deck for this idea:

Now this might just be a bad version of the new Atarka Red, or it might be a slightly different approach worth taking. Lumbering Falls and a miser’s Savage
Knuckleblade give you some additional uses for excess land outside of landfall triggers.

What do you think of these takes on Bring to Light? Are there any cards I’m overlooking that I should find room for?

Another non-Eldrazi card from Battle for Zendikar that has me excited is this card:

Tapping or Untapping, So You Don’t Have To

While I have not yet cooked up too many shenanigans with this card in Standard, I’m not the only one who’s been salivating about pairing Retreat to
Coralhelm with this card in Modern:

The basic concept is, with these two cards in play, you can tap the Knight of the Reliquary to sacrifice a Forest or Plains and go fetch up any land in
your deck. This creates a landfall trigger you can use to untap Knight of the Reliquary to do it again. This will basically allow you to place all the
Forest and Plains cards left in your library into your graveyard, which will make Knight of the Reliquary into a rather huge, and oftentimes lethal,
threat. If you search for a fetchland in between Forests and Plains, you’ll get an extra landfall trigger that you can use to tap down any potential
blockers that might want to get between Knight of the Reliquary and your opponent’s life totals.

Here’s my take on making this dream come alive in Modern:

I’m giving Lotus Cobra a try in order to further leverage the landfall angle, so even if you don’t have Knight online, you can potentially generate a lot
of mana between Lotus Cobra and untapping Noble Hierarch or Birds of Paradise. Primal Command makes a great mana sink for the extra mana, either fetching
up the Knight right away or getting Eternal Witness to cast Primal Command several times in a row.

Since Knight of the Reliquary is just a good card on its own, and Retreat to Coralhelm is an enchantment that costs three or less mana, I’m considering
squeezing the combo into my Doran/Zur deck. Sadly, Knight of the Reliquary fights for the same space on the curve as Doran, the Siege Tower so I’m not sure
exactly how I’m going to work things out. I’d hate to have to bench Doran, but it might end up that Knight of the Reliquary and Retreat to Coralhelm end up
being much stronger.

I’ve also been pondering the combo in Legacy:

Deathrite Shaman and Mother of Runes give us even more juicy targets to untap with Retreat to Coralhelm landfall triggers. I’m hoping that Sylvan Library
and the fetchlands will help us find our key combo cards. Once we have them both in play, we can do the same tricks as we can in Modern with some bonus
Legacy shenanigans. Assuming we have four Forests and/or Plains in play when we begin going off with Knight of the Reliquary, we can end the chain with all
four Wastelands to annihilate our opponent’s manabase before charging in with our huge Knight. As backup, we can also run the Dark Depths and Thespian’s
Stage combo, which we can potentially assemble the very same turn, at instant speed if need be.

I’ve very much a babe in the woods when it comes to Legacy, but I’m very intrigued about running something like this the next time I get a chance to play
the format. Do any of you more experienced Legacy players have any suggestions for improving this build that I overlooked?