Bant Presence is a combo deck that creates an infinite army of 1/1 tokens with the two card combo of Presence of Gond and Midnight Guard. Outside of the combo pieces the deck plays card selection and cards to protect the combo.
Heliods Pilgrim can tutor for Presence directly and then can soak up edict effects or slow down aggro opponents once in play. Drift of Phantasms is a slow selection spell, but has the benefit of transmuting for either half of the combo. Like Pilgrim once in play it soaks up edict effects and brick walls aggro. Commune with the Gods goes five cards deep into the library and can find either half of the combo, as well as Benevolent Bodyguard and sideboard cards. Ponder and Preordain find themselves in the rare spot of being to worst pieces of combo selection; however, the ability of these cards to smooth out draws, push redundant combo pieces, and find the lands necessary to cast your spells cannot be underrated.
Benevolent Bodyguard is on board combo protection, being able to save the Guard from an edict effect or removal spell. While being on board has the disadvantage of letting your opponent know an option available to you, it is excellent to not have to hold up mana on the turn you combo for protection. Dispel is an excellent piece of combo protection because it not only can stop removal spells, but also can defend the combo from opposing counter magic. The last spot of protection is Gods Willing. While cards like Mizzium Skin and Rangers Guile would work, Gods Willing gets the nod for two reasons. First off it scrys and scrying cannot being underrated in a combo deck, protecting a Bodyguard early may help you dig closer to the combo. Secondly protection is better than hexproof against cards like Crypt Rats and Pestilence.
The manabase of the deck is blue heavy to allow for the one mana cantrips and because the transmute on Drift of Phantasms is the only double colored cost in the deck. Familiar is one of the few tried and true 3-color manabases in pauper, so I decided to stay very close to it. 5 fetches, 6 islands, 3 plains, 3 forests, and 6 dual lands. Bouncelands are good for the way in which they turn two land hands into three land hands and the how they compensate for a lack of turn two plays. They are poor because hands which contain only bouncelands are mulligans. In addition tapping for two mana can make for awkward situations where your protection spells cant be left up. Also our model Familiar uses bouncelands as a part of its combo, a huge upside we dont have. I decided to play 3 of each blue based guildgate in this slot. This leaves us with 17 blue sources, 11 green sources, and 11 white sources. Half of the mana-base enters tapped, and half enter untapped.
As a combo deck, sideboarding should be minimal so as to not dilute the core of the deck. Under no circumstances should combo pieces be cut. It is possible to put the combo in a shell where there is a backup plan or the combo itself is a backup plan, but this is not that shell. Many times we will simply be upgrading our protection suite for the match-up. We also play two of each Circle of Protection. Since we play Commune with Gods, Ponder, and Preordain finding these hard-hitting hate cards is quite easy.
Bring in 2-4 of the appropriate Circle of Protection. This is easy against mono-colored decks and two-colored decks. Against multicolor decks bring in only Circles for the colors that will do a lot of damage. (i.e. Against Tron bring in Green for Fangren Marauder and Red for Rolling Earthquake, but not Blue.)
Does the opponent have Edict effects, targeted removal, or Crypt Rats? If yes side in Benevolent Bodyguard.
Does the opponent have targeted removal, or Crypt Rats? If yes side in Gods Willing.
Does the opponent have counter spells or is playing Burn? If yes side in Dispel.
Aura Flux is for Hexproof.
Cut whatever protection spell you did not side more of in, then if necessary cut a Ponder or two.
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