A Guide to Bant Knightfall

by Kelvin Chew on 01 September 2016, Thursday

Kelvin Chew

Bant Knightfall at Guangzhou


Last weekend, I made the Top 4 at Grand Prix Guangzhou with Bant Knightfall. It was featured on official coverage here. As many of you may know, I've been playing and experimenting with different versions of Bant Knightfall for a while. This was the list I ran at Grand Prix Guangzhou:


Knight of the Reliquary Retreat to Coralhelm





Eldritch Moon Additions


With the release of Eldritch Moon, Bant Knightfall received a major boost in power level. Spell Queller, Selfless Spirit and Blessed Alliance are all very good.


Spell Queller


I identify Spell Queller to be the card playing a major role in Modern going forward and it singlehandedly pushes Bant Knightfall to a Tier 1 deck, a status which I feel it deserves. It acts as a counterspell against combo decks such as Ad Nauseam and Scapeshift which you were previously weak against, but right now you have more cards to interact with them. Since they have very little removal, it will most likely be a hard counter. It's also basically a removal spell against other removal-light decks such as Abzan Company, Elves and Infect.


Spell Queller having flying also plays a crucial role because Bant Knightfall's weakness (in the past) were fliers such as Inkmoth Nexus, Signal Pest and Vault Skirge. Now, they have to think twice before attacking into three open mana if they don't want to risk their creature dying.


Spellskite Selfless Spirit


I used to run 3 Spellskite but now I'm opting for a split between 2 Selfless Spirit and 1 Spellskite, because Selfless Spirit offers the same type of protection against spot removal. In addition, it also protects me from ConflagrateAnger of the Gods and Supreme Verdict, something that Spellskite couldn't do before. In addition, the 2/1 flier which can be sacrificed at any time to protect your creatures will make combat difficult for your opponent.


Blessed Alliance


Finally, the last card I would like to talk about is Blessed Alliance. The card was basically designed for Bant Knightfall, the only one deck which can utilize all three ability to its fullest. This frees up a lot of precious sideboard space because it acts as a sideboard card against Burn decks (gaining life), Bogles (sacrificing an attacker) and I've also used the untapping creature way more than I had expected.


Many times, I was able to untap Izzet Staticaster to take out bigger creatures. I also stole many wins from opponents who blocked Knight of the Reliquary wrongly, and I simply untapped it to find Kessig Wolf Run for lethal damage.




Other Modifications




Worship is another card that won me a lot of games in Guangzhou. It is basically a win condition against a deck that doesn't expect you to have it. Even if they do have the answer for the enchantment, you can still try to protect Worship with Spellskite or Spell Queller. The inclusion of Worship makes the matchup against Dredge, Affinity, Naya Burn and Merfolk much easier to handle.


Izzet Staticaster


Triple Izzet Staticaster was a metagaming move in anticipation of the top decks in Modern. Affinity, Infect and Dredge have been very popular and these are the decks with the most 1-toughness creatures. It also helps against some matchups such as Elves and Abzan Company to take out their mana dorks to slow them down significantly. It not only combos well with Blessed Alliance, but Retreat to Coralhelm as well!




Sideboarding Guide


If you're interested in trying out Bant Knightfall for the upcoming World Magic Cup Qualifier, I encourage you to do so. I will be providing a sideboard guide and some tips on some of the most common matchups.





Blighted Agent


In: +1 Ghost Quarter, +3 Izzet Staticaster, +2 Blessed Alliance, +1 Negate


Out: -1 Voice of Resurgence, -2 Courser of Kruphix, -1 Kessig Wolf Run, -3 Retreat to Coralhelm


This matchup is very favorable for you. They basically can't attack past you except for Blighted Agent. You have creatures such as Selfless Spirit and Spell Queller to block Inkmoth Nexus and also Knight of the Reliquary to tutor for Ghost Quarter.


After sideboarding, watch out for Spell Pierce and Twisted Image. If you have Voice of Resurgence in play and they do not threaten lethal, consider casting Collected Company on your main turn. If you do counter it, at least you get an Elemental token from Voice of Resurgence. Also remember to untap Izzet Staticaster with Blessed Alliance in response to a pump spell.





Steel Overseer Cranial Plating

In: +1 Ghost Quarter, +2 Worship, +3 Izzet Staticaster, +2 Blessed Alliance


Out: -3 Voice of Resurgence, -1 Scavenging Ooze, -3 Retreat to Coralhelm, -1 Kessig Wolf Run


This matchup is also favorable for you unless they land an early Steel Overseer or Cranial Plating which you have no answer to. Spell Quellers line up greatly against Vault Skirge, Signal Pest and Inkmoth Nexus. Post-board, Worship is basically a free-win and you can use Izzet Staticaster to destroy their board if they cannot answer it quickly.





Prized Amalgam Bloodghast


In: +1 Scavenging Ooze, +2 Worship, +3 Izzet Staticaster, +3 Kitchen Finks


Out: -3 Retreat to Coralhelm, -4 Spell Queller, -2 Qasali Pridemage


In Game 1, it depends whether you are able to combo them off or getting a Scavenging Ooze on the battlefield. A turn-3 Knight of the Reliquary and turn-4 Retreat to Coralhelm is usually enough to win the game. However, there is always a chance that they get a nut draw and flood the board quickly.


Sideboarded games get much easier with Worship. Many opponents do not bring in enchantment hate against me because the only real target is Retreat to Coralhelm. Also, Dredge players run the risk of milling away their enchantment removal spell while dredging, so they mostly don't bother with it. Izzet Staticaster does a good job at clearing away Bloodghast and Narcomoeba. Kitchen Finks is just another creature to help you stabilize the board while finding Scavenging Ooze.


If you anticipate a lot of Dredge in your metagame, you can add 1 Bojuka Bog in your sideboard as it can be tutored by Knight of the Reliquary.



Death's Shadow Aggro


Death's Shadow


In: +2 Worship, +3 Kitchen Finks, +2 Blessed Alliance


Out: -3 Retreat to Coralhelm, -2 Qasali Pridemage, -2 Selfless Spirit


Death's Shadow Aggro is similar to infect but it is weaker to spot removal. Our ground creatures do a good job at stopping their ground creatures such as Monastery Swiftspear and Wild Nacatl. Use Path to Exile wisely, holding it back until they're trying to combo off. Spell Queller can also counter Temur Battle Rage when they're trying to go for lethal.



Jund/ Abzan


In: +1 Scavenging Ooze, +3 Kitchen Finks, +2 Blessed Alliance


Out: -1 Birds of Paradise, -3 Retreat to Coralhelm, -1 Spellskite, -1 Qasali Pridemage


The matchup is favorable for us as we are good at the grinding game. Collected Company is your best card against them and their Liliana of the Veil does not match well against our mana dorks and Voice of Resurgence. Just to be careful, the only way you lose is an unanswered Scavenging Ooze or Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet.



Naya Burn


Boros Charm Wild Nacatl


In: +1 Scavenging Ooze, +3 Kitchen Finks, +2 Blessed Alliance, +2 Negate


Out: -2 Selfless Spirit, -3 Retreat to Coralhelm, -2 Spell Queller, -1 Qasali Pridemage


Even though I lost to Naya Burn pretty quickly in the semifinals, the matchup is actually quite close in my testing. This is what I kep in Game 1 of the semifinals, against Naya Burn with Wild Nacatl.


Plains Forest Windswept Heath Path to Exile Path to Exile Scavenging Ooze Spell Queller


I felt pretty good about my opening hand because he was playing with 4 more creatures than other Naya Burn lists. However, he didn't draw a single creature against me and passed the first few turns without doing much aside from firing burn spells at me. The Path to Exiles rotted in my hand as he dealt me 19 damage from spells.


Spell Queller is usually very good in Game 1 because they are forced to point a burn spell at it in order to free up the spell which was exiled. When Naya Burn is burning your creatures, that is a good sign. After sideboarding, all lifegain cards and Negate come in. Try to cast Knight of the Reliquary as a 4/4 to prevent them from killing it with a single burn spell.





In: +1 Ghost Quarter, +3 Negate, +1 Scavenging Ooze


Out: -1 Kessig Wolf Run, -4 Path to Exile


The crucial part to winning this matchup is the combo of Knight of the Reliquary and Retreat to Coralhelm. Spell Queller is also very important. Quickly tutor up Ghost Quarter with Knight of the Reliquary to keep them off the Tron pieces and Spell Queller can be used to stop some of their key spells such as Oblivion Stone or tutor effects (Sylvan Scrying or Expedition Map). Selfless Spirit also protects your board from Oblivion Stone, Pyroclasm and Firespout.


After sideboarding, I like to board out all my Path to Exile to play a more aggressive game. Negate does a good job in countering Karn Liberated and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. They're pretty threat-light and have few win conditions due to the nature of Tron.


Collected Company



That's all I have for you today. Always remember that I usually board out Retreat to Coralhelm if I wish to bring in more spells such as Worship or Blessed Alliance. You're still a Collected Company deck after all. The combo package is much better in Game 1 against an unknown opponent and unfair decks. It is much worse in Game 2 and 3 if your opponent has tools to disrupt the combo. This is where you board out the combo and play accordingly.


If you've got any questions regarding the deck, feel free to post them in the comment section and I will be glad to answer them. Good luck at the World Magic Cup Qualifiers! I really recommend Bant Knightfall!


Kelvin Chew




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