A long long time ago, before Mythic rares were even a thing and Garruk Wildspeaker was still around the game, a friend of mine tried hard to make a superfriend style deck around the original five Lorwyn Planeswalkers. This was back when I was still trying to qualify for the Pro Tour, but shortly after my son was born, so I was super serious about play testing all the time, because taking a day off from parenting to drive to Louisville was not something I was super excited about, and combined with classes, nearly all of my time was accounted for. Anyways he would frustrate me to no end, because I was adamant that the deck would not work, and he was quite the opposite. Chandra Nalaar was unplayable trash. Ajani Goldmane felt better suited as a top end threat in a Kithkin deck. Jace Beleren was a cute one sided Howling Mine for a couple of turns, but he was fragile due to low loyalty. Liliana Vess was nice, and has a pretty reasonable impression of Demonic Tutor. Garruk made beasts and untapped lands, and to me, these walkers never really seemed to mesh. They were unique and obviously very powerful, but vivid lands and Faeries just seemed to be better. Somewhere along the line, in a testing session we were reviewing decklists as a team, and a superfriends list came up.
My friend was obviously very delighted with this, and went to work on building the list.
It was good!
That’s what I am hoping for in this Bant list that recently finished with a 5-0 league record. This deck seems to be considerably more powerful than Lorwyn era decks, mainly because we have the tools to cast our walkers during the opponent’s endstep, and Oath of Teferi is a really good Magic: The Gathering card!
The creature base is really nice here, seven creatures ramp, with 4 Llanowar Elves and 3 Servant of the Conduit accelerating us in to our Planeswalkers. Lyra Dawnbringer gives us a great lifelinking threat to get some breathing room against aggro, and one of the cards that make the deck hum, is Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage. A flying 3/3 for four is really not all that impressive in Standard, but you might have missed the Flash text, which bumps it up a tiny bit, and the historic spells you cast could be cast as though they have flash. End of turn Dawnbringers are sure to be annoying, but end of turn Planeswalkers have to be even more annoying!
We’ve got twelve of the friends in the deck. One copy of Dovin Bann gains us some life and draws a card, or shrinks opposing creatures, making our team a little bit harder to kill. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria draws some cards, untaps some lands or bounces threats if the need arises. Ajani Unyielding has a great filtering ability with his plus, and removal with his minus. Gideon of the Trials prevents damage or makes it harder for your opponent to win the game. Out of the four Standard legal Nissa walkers, the version in this build is Nissa, Steward of Elements, though Nissa, Vital Force could potentially see play as well. I think that Scrying is nice, and the ability to play cards for free is obviously great, but I see Nissa as more of an X spell, late game you cast her for a ton of mana, start to -6 her and just tee off with your dumb flying lands. Of course that late game option is just one bit of flexibility that she offers, as it is entirely possible to cast her early, scry a lot and just draw perfectly for as long as she is in play.
Rounding out the main are some removal enchantments with flash, in Cast Out and Seal Away. Seal Away is nearly the perfect cheap answer to creatures that might want to harm our walkers, and Cast Out of course covers the rest. Where these enchantments really shine though is with Oath of Teferi. I love that you can cast that at the end of turn to give you a full untap step with multiple walker activations. I enjoy that you can cast and reset a Lyra after attacking, leaving it back to pull double duty. Every walker in the deck has abilities that you want to activate as many times as possible, scrying four is incredible, preventing damage from two sources makes it much harder to kill them, untapping 4 lands and drawing two is great as well!
I’d love to see some main deck counter magic, but really I can’t figure out where to put it. I think the thing is, against control you’re just going to eventually crush your opponent under so much card advantage that maybe counter magic is not a huge deal. Shrugs, I don’t know, I didn’t think that superfriends would ever work in the first place!
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