Finally, a Deck With Baneslayer Angel

Baneslayer Angel: It has been called by our most recent Pro Tour Champion possible the best large creature in the history of Magic. Baneslayer Angel, a card that I just haven’t managed to put into any decks, ever. Baneslayer Angel–a mismatch in the quick Zoo archetype? Baneslayer Angel… Criss-cross applesauce. Baneslayer Angel!

Baneslayer Angel

Har har har.

The context of this post will be even more hilarious when I write about the Nissa Revane and re-vamped G/W decks based on Evan Erwin’s “Conqueror’s Sledge” that I worked on this week 🙂

Anyway, here is a very good deck:

Naya Lightsaber

3 Ajani Vengeant
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Woolly Thoctar

4 Noble Hierarch
1 Scute Mob
4 Wild Nacatl

4 Lightning Bolt

4 Baneslayer Angel
4 Path to Exile
4 Ranger of Eos

4 Arid Mesa
4 Forest
3 Mountain
1 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
4 Plains
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Sunpetal Grove

1 Ajani Vengeant
2 Burst Lightning
4 Celestial Purge
4 Goblin Ruinblaster
4 Great Sable Stag

It is based somewhat on Brian Kowal’s Naya Excalibur deck from around US Nationals 2009 and somewhat on Brian Kibler’s Pro Tour winning deck from Austin.

Incidentally I watched this movie with my daughter this weekend:


Gold star to the first person who notes in the comments why I pointed that out.

Anyway, the above Naya deck is super good. I borrowed most of the cards from Kibler’s deck; that is, Noble Hierarch up. The presence of Noble Hierarch makes Ranger of Eos particularly attractive. The question was what to play with the Ranger. In Kowal’s Naya Excalibur deck, he had an absolutely brilliant mana base around Rootbound Crag and Sunpetal Grove where Figure of Destiny was perfectly positioned alongside the Plains and Mountains for Wild Nacatl. This deck doesn’t have the luxury of the near-Tarmogoyf Figure of Destiny, but Noble Hierarch is very good (along with Wild Nacatl)… My preference for playing three copies of Ajani Vengeant left just enough room for one Scute Mob.

If there is anything my playtesting has taught me at this point, it is that I often want a second Scute Mob!

Scute Mob is absolutely rapturous. As a post attrition play, Ranger of Eos is an absolute game-shatterer; particularly because it can get the solo Scute Mob. Mother loving monster in this deck. However sometimes you draw it and are forced to trade with an Elite Vanguard early; then you want another Scute Mob to draw later… and you don’t got it.

I went with Woolly Thoctar, like Naya Excalibur, as the only three drop in the deck (Kowal played his Great Sable Stags in the main… I don’t see that as particularly attractive, even with the prevalence of Vampires in Standard). I would actually prefer to play Knight of the Reliquary (like Kibler did in Extended)… But there aren’t many natural advantages in this deck. I only play–and can only afford, really–the four Arid Mesas.

These kinds of lands carry with them particular dependencies. In Extended you can play a bazillion Verdant Catacombs, Marsh Flats, whatever, what have you, and get away with it with only a few mana producing lands in your entire deck. That is because your Arid Mesa can point at your Hallowed Fountain, and so can your Misty Rainforest, and you have to draw through some insane percentage of your deck (in a format that sometimes ends on the third turn) before it catches up with you. But in Standard, if you play with four Arid Mesas in any deck but Boros Bushwhacker (which itself is quite quick to the quick), you have to play with more than four Mountains-plus-Plains to reliably not get thrown off the Island math-wise, if you take my reality show meaning. So anyway, with only four Arid Mesas, Knight of the Reliquary will probably start off as only a 2/2 (maybe a 3/3), but will only rarely get serious in size ahead of time; yes, Oran-Rief, the Vastwood is an absolutely bonkers weapon and tool… But there is only the one in this sixty, and it is not strategic to Naya Lightsaber. It isn’t like in Extended where Ghost Quarter can swat off an entire Dark Depths deck.

So the reason we don’t have room for that other three (Knight of the Reliquary or not) is Baneslayer Angel… baneslayer angel, Baneslayer Angel, BANESLAYER ANGEL! News flash: This card is really good. You get it online with the Noble Hierarch, or just by peeling lands off the top. It is great in attack-on-attack; a very good trump card after a lot of trading. It is a must-deal-with card, and a card that can dig you out of a great many holes. By this point you should know I am up for Baneslayer Angels not just in beatdown, but in Cascade decks, along side Ob Nixilis, just about anywhere.

The main under-performer in this deck, if there is one (this is one of those decks where Ranger of Eos is the clear over-performer) is his fellow four, Bloodbraid Elf. Maybe I am just used to always hitting an awesome two-for-one Esper Charm or the incomparable Blightning… But in this deck, not so much. Half the time it’s just another Noble Hierarch (though to be fair, that makes for a 5-power hasty muffin in the Red Zone, and sometimes Oran-Rief is even online). But you can’t really complain about hitting a Lightning Bolt, I guess.

Path to Exile? Another story entirely.

But not a reason to cut either.

As for the sideboard, I like most of the cards but I don’t love the sideboard in its entirety. Burst Lightning is an excellent card but I would prefer a card that could deal three on its lonesome for Vampire Nighthawk, earlier in the game. Goblin Ruinblaster, on the other hand, is a blaster of all different kinds of ruins; for example, Emeria, the Sky Ruin.

More later. This is a good and also fun deck!


Currently Reading: Captain America: The Man with No Face

facebook comments:


#1 Alfrebaut on 11.08.09 at 9:35 pm

I kind of don’t really like Bloodbraid in this deck. I don’t think he really does enough. You’re not really beatdown, especially compared to the other beatdown decks in the format, and aren’t really going to out-midrange Jund, so I think that slot could probably be filled with other cards. I could see Borderland Ranger, if you’re trying to go over the top, or perhaps Elspeth, or maybe Garruk… these all fill the sort of “body+” spot Bloodbraid seems to be in right now.

Also, from what I can tell, your mana looks a little messed up. 4 forests as your CIP untapped green source in a deck with Hierarchs? I can sort of understand if you’re just late-gaming them, but it just feels a little wrong. Then again, your three slot is pretty open, so casting them off an M10 dual on turn 2 might just be fine, I don’t know.

#2 MTGBattlefield on 11.09.09 at 3:27 am

Finally, a Deck With Baneslayer Angel…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#3 ProdigalT on 11.09.09 at 8:01 am

Yeah, Bloodbraid does seem a little awk. Obviously when it hits Thoctar, you’re a master, and it’s OK with Nacatl, but Ranger can get that. Have you tried Lotus Cobra in this deck? Obviously, it’s not as broken with only 4 fetches, but it’s still pretty nuts and you have no 2-drops. There doesn’t seem to be a downside, and you can sometimes get the nuts 3rd turn Angel.

#4 TattooedOni on 11.09.09 at 7:18 pm

I assumed you mentioned it because now that he has moved to NYC you love Lan D Ho as much as I did when he moved in with me circa 1999? Because now 10 years later you can tinker up Scute Mob via Ranger de Ruel?

Alternately because you think that Baneslayer is “the diesel”

Incidentally kids if you love magic you should keep your eyes and browsers peeled for, trust me you are gonna love it.

#5 Five With Flores » Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle on 11.09.09 at 10:05 pm

[…] Unbelievably, a deck without Baneslayer Angel. […]

#6 TinderWall on 11.10.09 at 11:36 am

Iron Giant has to be a reference to the deck built the night before PT chicago by a number of players including the two aforementioned Brians [though neither played I believe].

#7 TattooedOni on 11.10.09 at 3:11 pm

I am pretty sure that The Iron Giant was at least 95% Lan Ho working with Burdick. Maybe those Brians suggested some cards but I think that BK worked with Bob on Oath. Rubin played Necro so I bet Kibler did too… It was Extended after all. The only notable Brian at Bob’s Chicago was Davis.

#8 IvanDano on 11.10.09 at 9:18 pm

I believe the reference for the Iron Giant is simply that throughout the movie the Giant wishes to be Superman and although it dwarfs all the others it still wishes to help Hogarth and the rest of the Earthlings instead of destroying the planet as it was originally intented. Baneslayer Angel does the same thing, instead of being a massive Demon/Dragon destructor, it’s just like Superman saving the day with your life total…overshadowing the other smaller creatures found in other decks especially in Zoo, and originally was not accepted as a possiblity until everyone started pointing out it’s promise on how well the creature does in Standard and other formats. No one gave it credit, everyone saw it as a big creature that lacked function just like the Giant and then everyone was finally able to see how useful and good they both are!

#9 kibler on 11.12.09 at 10:04 am

You are what you choose to be!


PS Tinderwall is correct. Iron Giant was built in the wee hours of the morning before the PT by said squad.

#10 Five With Flores » Five With Goblin Guide on 11.14.09 at 8:45 am

[…] Goblin Guide ∙ Act of Treason ∙ The Genius of Gabriel Nassif ∙ Dodging Baneslayer Angels with Red Decks ∙ Why People Play White Weenie Decks ∙ … And Goblin […]

#11 Five With Flores » Power to the Punishing Fire on 11.16.09 at 10:23 pm

[…] effects in the Rubin Zoo deck, but I feel like the really big innovation was the inclusion of Baneslayer Angel in the strategy. It might not seem brave… But playing a five drop in a Zoo deck is anything […]

#12 admin on 11.21.09 at 1:28 pm

Three things:

1) I appreciate a TattooedOni, but I was really looking for TinderWall’s answer (as ratified by kibler). I mentioned The Iron Giant because I figure that Naya Lightsaber is a product of some Asian and the Underground Brians… Just like The Iron Giant in 1999.

2) Did y’all see Naya Lightsaber at Worlds? My man Andre Coimbra will be sending Woolly Thoctar and Scute Mob all the way to the 2009 title. Working on sideboarding for him NOW (ish) 🙂

3) “Bending Nissa Revane” is getting less and less relevant as the tick tock clickety-clicks, no?

#13 Worlds Recap « Gwafa's Bazaar on 11.22.09 at 7:25 pm

[…] 23, 2009 by gwafahazid Wow, there we have it! The Mike Flores designed Naya Lightsaber deck, in the hands of Andre Coimbra of Portugal, takes down Jund piloted by David Reitbauer of Austria […]

#14 Naya Lightsaber Deck List for Standard (2009 World Champion Deck) on 11.23.09 at 2:56 am

[…] a Naya deck built by Mike Flores. Mike called the deck “Naya Lightsaber” and actually posted the list on his blog about two weeks […]

#15 Five With Flores » Probable Act of Treason on 11.29.09 at 10:23 pm

[…] of Treason ∙ Evan Erwin ∙ Petr Brodzek ∙ Baneslayer Angel (and lack thereof) ∙ Beating Jund Decks ∙ … and Act of […]

#16 Five With Flores » Just the Deck List on 12.04.09 at 8:34 pm

[…] Boros lost [perhaps predictably] to beloved Naya Lightsaber, and the other Boros deck won it […]

#17 Five With Flores » From Archive Trap to Kitchen Finks on 01.15.10 at 9:22 pm

[…] former] Archive Trap Kitchen Finks Baneslayer Angel Archive Trap (again) and Kitchen Finks (again… repetitive, isn’t […]

#18 Five With Flores » Another Hit Featuring Sorin Markov on 01.26.10 at 7:48 pm

[…] Baneslayer Angel 3 Day of Judgment 4 Path to […]

#19 Five With Flores » Rise of the Eldrazi - Gideon Jura on 04.03.10 at 6:53 pm

[…] Gideon Jura costs five mana, specifically 3WW. It costs exactly the same amount as, you know, Baneslayer Angel. […]

#20 Five With Flores » Why Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre? on 04.30.10 at 7:02 pm

[…] the Infinite Gyre 2 Scepter of Dominance 3 Cancel 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 1 Ajani Vengeant 4 Baneslayer Angel 1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant 2 Oblivion […]

#21 Five With Flores » Is Phylactery Lich Flagship? on 07.02.10 at 8:04 pm

[…] Lich annihilates eradicates anything that gets into the Arena with it. Not even a first striking Baneslayer Angel can walk away from a brawl with this indestructible […]

#22 Top 8 Magic on Reality Smasher - Fetchland on 01.11.16 at 6:42 am

[…] Compare to Baneslayer Angel: […]

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