Has Bant Ramp Overtaken Temur Reclamation As Core Set 2021 Standard’s Deck To Beat?

The SCG Tour Online Seasonal Championship is approaching fast and our team of experts breaks down that they’d play!

Growth Spiral, illustrated by Seb McKinnon

Welcome to What We'd Play! With the SCG Tour Online Seasonal Championship taking place this weekend, many are unsure what they’d play in Core Set 2021 Standard. That’s where we come in and let you know what we’d play and why we’d play it. Hopefully this advice aids in your decision making for the event! Be sure to vote for what deck you would play at the end!

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa — Temur Reclamation

I’m still in the process of experimenting with different decks (for example you might have seen me playing Azorius Control in last weekend’s SCG Tour Online Championship Qualifier), so for my next weekend I’m looking at potentially playing a slightly different Azorius Control or Bant Control list. However, if I had a major tournament this weekend (like, say, the SCG Tour Online Seasonal Championship) and my goal was to win it, I would just play Temur Reclamation — I’ve found no evidence that it isn’t the best deck (though I am trying to!). 

Which list of Temur Reclamation to play is a much more interesting question. I still don’t like the four Nissa, two Sublime Epiphany approach from Erin Diaz, but I’ve been liking Storm’s Wrath, as it’s the best card versus Mono-Green Aggro while not being bad versus Bant (though it is the absolute worst option in the mirror). Of the versions I’ve seen, the one I liked the most was Jaberwocki’s so I’d play something very close to the above.

Cedric Phillips — Mono-Green Aggro

If you haven’t read my article on Mono-Green Aggro in Core Set 2021 Standard, I’d recommend starting there since I explain all the options available to the archetype. I’m still mangling people on Magic Arena but as the metagame has evolved, so has my decklist. Here are the notable changes:

Draw Questing Beast a lot. It makes things super easy.

Ari Lax — Temur Reclamation

Temur Reclamation is the best deck. Period. It’s a classic case where maybe you can present a Bant deck that can beat it, but I doubt that deck is good against the 60% of the field who plays something that isn’t Temur Reclamation.

This is Brad Nelson list. He is configured optimally for the mirror. He is the only person so far to beat me in the mirror recently, partly because I was testing stuff like Boon of the Wish-Giver and wasn’t correctly optimized for the mirror.

Dom Harvey — Bant Ramp

After the early excitement over Core Set 2021, Standard has settled into a familiar rhythm — Growth Spiral decks outperforming everything else and aggressive decks trying to steal their lunch money. While Mono-Green Aggro and Rakdos Sacrifice put up impressive numbers in last weekend’s events, I think sleeving up your digital Breeding Pools is still the move if you’re comfortable navigating the blue mirrors. Bant Ramp has the tools to beat the aggressive decks as well as the default best deck in Temur Reclamation but balancing these properly is tricky (my article this week unpacks this).

I think this configuration does the necessary work to stay ahead of Temur Reclamation — too quickly written off as an easy matchup by many — while keeping up with the aggro decks. This list is worse in Bant mirrors but something has to give and I’m willing to take that calculated risk.

Autumn Burchett — Temur Reclamation

To the surprise of basically no one, I am intending to play Temur Reclamation in the Core Set 2021 Standard events this weekend. Temur Reclamation has had the best average results of any deck since the bans and companion rules change hit Standard, and whilst it has not been the best deck to register every single weekend it has always been at the very least a good choice. Also I just love playing this deck and have had great results with it in the three SCG Championship Qualifiers that have happened so far so it’s kind of hard for me to imagine myself registering anything else.

The rise of Mono-Green Aggro has forced Temur Reclamation lists to adapt, but I think the matchup is actually fine provided you’re high on Storm’s Wrath and Soul Sear. I’ve moved away from having as much maindeck removal as I would typically given that mirror matches and Bant Control are the decks I’m most interested in respecting at the moment where removal is at its worst and stack-based interaction is at its very best.

Of note, I’ve become much more of a fan of Nissa, Who Shakes the World in these shells in the last week and whilst I’m not certain to register the card this weekend it is much more likely than not; she gives you more redundancy on your mana doubling effects, and it is much better to draw a single Nissa and a single Wilderness Reclamation than two copies of Reclamation.

Regardless, I am excited to untap some lands and cast some huge Explosions!

Corey Baumeister — Mono-Green Aggro

I had one bad event with this deck last weekend but that isn’t going to stop me from smashing face with some Questing Beasts this weekend! I think Mono-Green Aggro is favored against the two top decks in the metagame right now, Temur Reclamation and Bant Ramp. This is the main reason to play the deck. If those two strategies are focusing on trying to beat each other, there is room for the Mono-Green Machine to sneak in and dominate an event. The problem is when any of the decks in Standard dedicate a ton of cards to beat green, they usually can succeed.

In last weekend’s SCG Tour Online Championship Qualifier, we definitely saw the deck get respected and therefore didn’t put up any great results. I played against a ton of Claim the Firstborns and Noxious Grasps but I don’t think that is going to be as big of a problem this weekend. A lot is on the line trying to qualify for the SCG Tour Online Seasonal Championship on Sunday so I think people are just going to play the “best decks” because they are safe.

Therefore, think it is time to gamble and give them the beatdowns!

Shaheen Soorani — Azorius Control

Azorius Control is back in full force. The call to play Bant was too strong for most of us control folks, due to the power level the splash had to offer. Declining to use Growth Spiral, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, and Nissa, Who Shakes the World seems like blasphemy, but there’s a good reason not to.  The proactive strength of green is all well and good when the best deck of the format is not flash-based.

Defeating Temur Reclamation with Bant is easy; however, it requires the complete abandonment of the aggro matchup.  Most of these decks have dropped to a couple copies of Shatter the Sky, making Mono-Green Aggro, Mono-Red Aggro, Jund Sacrifice, and any other deck that enjoys a cheap threat a tough day at the office.  This change, and the inclusion of some countermagic, is the only way to stay ahead of the Temur Reclamation curve.  Azorius Control sheds the powerful green splash for a reactive package, while still maintaining the best elements of control against aggressive decks.

The space freed by removing the green splash gives Azorius Control the edge in Core Set 2021 Standard.  Essence Scatter, Absorb, and Dovin’s Veto enter the maindeck, while still having room for the maximum number of Shatter the Sky and a few copies of Glass Casket.  This anti-aggro package still is supplemented by Frantic Inventory, which has been dynamite in Azorius Control.  The consistency and matchup against the best decks is the reason why Azorius Control is an easy slam dunk for me this weekend.