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Bant Sword and Shield




Deck Description:

Aggro-midrange deck with a toolbox of auras. Can be seen as similar to Bogles, but we trade hexproof for creatures that are actually good for their casting cost, and not 1/1's for 1, so we don't necessarily have to rely on landing an aura on them to win. Instead, auras give the deck reach and try to find opportune times to put the game out of reach for the opponent. With a playset of Heliod's Pilgrim, we have the ability to find the right tool for the job, and, with creatures that can stand and fight on their own in the early game, we have the time to put those tools to work.

Card choices:

  • Creatures:
    • Bant Sureblade - Your main attacker. Gets both bonuses from all our "X of the Y" auras. I have many multicolored things to make sure he's always a 3/2 first strike for 2.
    • Qasali Pridemage - A good defender or early attacker. Can wear an enchantment in a pinch, but mostly here for exalted and main-deck artifact/enchantment destruction.
    • Steward of Valeron - A hidden pauper gem. Vigilance is an underrated ability. Wears a Shield of the Oversoul or Armadillo Cloak very well.
    • Safehold Elite - Here for resiliency against edict removal. Provides a last-ditch target for your Shield of the Oversoul.
    • Slippery Bogle - Couldn't have auras without this guy. Multicolored, so he turns Sureblade on. Wears most enchantments very well. Can be made unblockable or indestructable with the off-color "X of the Y" auras. Armadillo Cloak or Favor of the Overbeing are preferred.
    • Mulldrifter - Draw cards. Not much more to say. Don't be afraid to evoke if you need to in the early game as keeping the 2/2 flier around later won't actually do much for you.
    • Heliod's Pilgrim - Tutors up auras from your toolbox. Also grabs removal in the form of Curse of Chains and Crystallization. Does all this and leaves behind a body for edict protection. You'll never be sad to see this card.
  • Auras:
    • Armadillo Cloak - Usually your first go-to when facing aggressive decks, and near the top of the list otherwise.
    • Shield of the Oversoul - namesake of the deck. Indestructible in pauper? - You bet! Steward of Valeron especially likes this as he'll be a 4/4 indestructible flier that plays offense and defense.
    • Steel of the Godhead - Another source of lifegain, and unblockable for Bogles and Sureblades.
    • Favor of the Overbeing - Really just here for the Bogle, this one is very defensive. Vigilance will help you keep pressure while still staying back to block. This is also quite good on the Sureblade, as a 5/4 Flying Vigilant First Striker is quite a formidable creature
    • Cho-Manno's Blessing - This is how you stop your opponent from messing with your plans. It has flash, so you play it in response to removal. Most decks only play removal of one color, so, unless they have another spell to respond with, the protection sticks, and they're pretty screwed. Fetching one with Pilgrim also doesn't hurt that much, as the element of surprise is not completely necessary - opponent knowing you have it is a good deterrent as well. Also, if you know what they're playing, you can wait for an opportunity as they're tapped out to land it end-of-their-turn. The protection will stick forever, and none of the targeted removal they have can touch it (usually). Against control-type decks, knowing when to get Cho-Manno's Blessing down is a very important art form.
    • Curse of Chains - this is your "removal". Tutorable with Pilgrim, and multi-colored to turn Sureblade on.
    • Crystallization - alternate "removal" against decks that can bounce or flicker their creature. This helps disrupt the familiar combo among other things (Ghostly Flicker can't target a crystallized Mnemonic Wall or Cloud of Faeries without blowing it up).
  • Mana:
    • Borderposts - are here because they can come down turn 1, and are multi-colored to turn Sureblade on.

SB Plan:

Burn: -2 Curse of Chains, -1 Lignify, -1 Shield of the Oversoul ;; +2 Prismatic Strands, +2 Quiet Disrepair

  • This is a race. Slow their clock down by getting a source of lifegain going. Quiet Disrepair on your own borderpost is good. Stick an Armadillo Cloak with the help of Cho-Manno's Blessing or Prismatic Strands.

Stompy: -1 Mulldrifter, -1 Steel of the Godhead;; +2 Prismatic Strands

  • Again, a race. Armadillo Cloak is important. Protect from big attacks / create favorable blocks with Prismatic Strands.

Infect: +2 Standard Bearer, +1 Lignify ;; -2 Armadillo Cloak, -1 Steel of the Godhead

  • Standard Bearer will steal all their pump spells, and then their creatures are tiny compared to yours. The first strike on Bant Sureblade is very helpful here. Make sure you keep a quick hand with decent blockers and/or removal.

Goblins: No change, unless you feel you need a Journey or two.

  • Armadillo Cloak on pretty much anything ends this match.

Eye Candy: +2 Standard Bearer, +2 Prismatic Strands ;; -2 Cho-Manno's Blessing, -2 Safehold Elite

  • Lots of good SB cards against them. Standard Bearer shuts down their gameplan, and Prismatic Strands can stop the game-winning attack (watch out for Flaring Pain from their SB). All the maindeck removal is good against them, too. You can bring in Journey to Nowhere also, if you feel you need more removal, but it will not be tutorable with Heliod's Pilgrim. Lignify is also fine, and tutorable. An early source of lifegain can help.

MBC: +2 Cho-Manno's Blessing, +3 Journey to Nowhere, -1 Crystallization, -2 Curse of Chains, -1 Heliod's Pilgrim, -1 Shield of the Oversoul

  • You need to make sure you have a second creature for edict protection, then land Cho-Manno's Blessing on black on something. It has flash, so it can be done in response to their removal. We also bring in Journey, because we don't want lots of their stuff hanging around on the board creating devotion for Gray Merchant.

Delver: +2 Scattershot Archer, +3 Journey to Nowhere ;; -2 Cho-Manno's Blessing, -1 Favor of the Overbeing, -2 Slippery Bogle

  • Tough matchup. They can race you, and can disrupt you very well. Scattershot Archer is great defense against the faeries. Getting a flying blocker (ideally Steward of Valeron + Shield of the Oversoul to take advantage of vigilence) will really help to stop Ninja of the Deep Hours tricks. With the exception of flying, your creatures are bigger and better than theirs for the cost. I think you'll want to be the beatdown in this matchup. Keep pressure up and don't let them out-tempo you.

Elves: +2 Lignify, +2 Standard Bearer ;; -2 Cho-Manno's Blessing, -1 Mulldrifter, -1 Safehold Elite

  • Lignify is for Wellwisher, Timberwatch Elf, or Essence Warden if they're running that. Standard Bearer completely shuts off Timberwatch Elf and Quirion Ranger (and Wirewood Pride, if they run it), and they'll have no way to remove it. Don't overextend your auras into a Serene Heart out of their sideboard, and the lists that run blue for Distant Melody could also run Curfew, so don't go all-in on one guy.

UB creatureless Control: +2 Cho-Manno's Blessing, +1 Standard Bearer ;; -2 Curse of Chains, -1 Crystallization

  • UB Control is pretty much designed precisely to counter your strategy. Keep a creature around for edict protection and get Cho-Manno's Blessing on Black down on something and swing away!

Dimir Control: +2 Cho-Manno's Blessing, -1 Shield of the Oversoul, -1 Steward of Valeron

  • Cho-Manno's Blessing goes on black. Resolving a Bogle will be key. After that, you'll need to protect it from edicts, which may be challenging.

UB Teachings or Angler / Delver: +2 Cho-Manno's Blessing ;; -1 Shield of the Oversoul, -1 Steward of Valeron

  • Cho-Manno's Blessing goes on black. You'll want removal fairly early for that early Gurmag Angler. Watch out for 2-for-1s. Armadillo Cloak on a Bogle is probably a good game plan.

Affinity: +2 Quiet Disrepair ;; -2 Safehold Elite

  • You have maindeck artifact hate in Qasali Pridemage. Quiet Disrepair is fetchable, and will either help you race by gaining life, or just destroy an artifact. All their dudes are either 4/4 or Atog. Set your Cho-Manno's Blessing on Red so that you can block Atog and protect from Galvanic Blast. If this is an Atog + Fling build, you'll want to bring in 2 Prismatic Strands, and take out maybe a Mulldrifter and Favor of the Overbeing against that strategy. Prismatic Strands against an all-in Fling ends the game in your favor! It looks like lists sometimes run Standard Bearer in the side, so be ready to swap 2 Curse of Chains for 2 Lignify out of the side to shut opposing Standard Bearers down.

Tron: +2 Lignify ;; -2 Safehold Elite,

  • Race them. Bring in Lignify for extra removal against crushers and to turn off Fangren Marauder. Cho-Manno's Blessing on Red stops most of their removal, but be ready for Chainer's Edict out of their sideboard.

White Weenie: +2 Lignify, +2 Journey to Nowhere ;; -2 Shield of the Oversoul, -2 Curse of Chains

  • You need to have removal ready for Standard Bearer. An active Standard Bearer on their side is bad news. Luckily your creatures are big enough without extra auras to hold the fort while you find something to kill their Standard Bearer with. They also have a good amount of removal, depending on the build, but, it's mostly Oblivion Ring and Journey to Nowhere, and Pridemage can make short work of those. Cho-Manno's blessing on white really hurts our gameplan too, though. If Cho-Manno on white is the plan you're going with, attempt to go wide, or search up Favor of the Overbeing, as it's your only non-white aura.

Familiars: +3 Journey to Nowhere, +2 Scattershot Archer, +2 Cho-Manno's Blessing ;; -2 Safehold Elite, -2 Curse of Chains, -2 Slippery Bogle, -1 Favor of the Overbeing

  • Your plan is to disrupt their combo and force damage through via Armadillo Cloak or evasion of other kinds. Journey and Crystallization are for Cloud of Faeries and Mnemonic Wall. Scattershot Archer is on Cloud of Faeries detail. Cho-Manno's Blessing can be set on blue, and, in a pinch, can also be stuck on their wall on blue in response to Ghostly Flicker to stop it from working on it and disrupting the combo.

Bogle Enchantments: +2 Standard Bearer, +1 Quiet Disrepair ;; -1 Crystallization, -2 Curse of Chains

  • This is your "mirror match" for all intents and purposes. A resolved Standard Bearer early enough will wreck them. Also, Qasali Pridemage can be used to take out their more troublesome auras, and we bring in a Quiet Disrepair for the same purpose (except it's fetchable with Heliod's Pilgrim. Focus on early and continued pressure. They will need creature+aura to be able to stand toe-to-toe with your creatures in a fight.

Jeskai Kitty / Boros Kitty: -2 Curse of Chains ;; +2 Cho-Manno's Blessing

  • They take awhile to get going so you'll want to go fast and get a dominant board state early. Their creatures are smaller than yours, but they play a huge amount of problematic removal (mostly red with 4 bolt, 4 galvanic blast, and some firebolt, but they also have Journey to Nowhere). Slippery Bogle will be your savior in this matchup. Get an Armadillo Cloak down on him and you should have the game in the bag. You can also use Qasali Pridemage against their lands to keep them off a color. We take out Curse of Chains, because they can Kor Skyfisher it off of their guys (Crystallization is fetchable "removal" that gets around Skyfisher). They also have Standard Bearer in the sideboard, which isn't good for us - you can also bring in Lignify or Journey against it, but there's still the Skyfisher problem with Lignify, so make sure you can cast Lignify and your powerful aura (most likely Armadillo Cloak or Shield of the Oversoul) on the same turn. Journey to Nowhere from them is really rough for us, as using Cho-Manno's to protect from it will also stop us using all of our auras.


Updates Add

It's a top 10 deck! Somehow it took 9th place, tied with 3 other decks. Changes I'm thinking of making involve replacing Cho-Manno's Blessing with some more efficient protection. Dan - the guy who runs the Pauper Gauntlet and plays all the matches - has expounded many times on his hatred for Cho-Manno's Blessing, and says it is far too slow for the effect. I feel that the deck still needs to be able to protect its threats from removal, however. Also, the sideboard could use an overhaul as we no longer need to worry about Cloud of Faeries.


Date added 4 years
Last updated 4 years

This deck is Pauper legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.46
Folders Pauper, Pauper Decks, Other Dumb Stuff, Pauper Decks, Pauper, Pauper Auras, pauper
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