Bant Humans is a deck developed most notably by Yuuya Watanabe, who used the deck to cruise to the Top 8 at Grand Prix Minneapolis 2016. It effectively combines aggressive elements from the White Humans decks with more grindy aspects from the Bant Company decks, resulting in a deck that consists of most of the strengths from both without many of the weaknesses. Thus, Bant Humans is far more resilient to wraths and other troublesome cards than White Humans, and it is also more explosive than traditional Bant Company. If I were to play an event with Bant Humans tomorrow, my list would look something like this:

Deck List

Main Deck Decisions

There are two schools of thought when it comes to this deck: Eldrazi Displacer or Knight of the White Orchid? There are certainly merits to both, but I lean toward the Knight camp because it’s a Human for Thalia’s Lieutenant. Second, it’s better on the mana, since playing Displacer means playing more Yavimaya Coasts, which do not synergize well with the battlelands or shadowlands, while the Knight can search for any color. Lastly, they make the deck far more effective on the draw. But if you expect to mainly play against mirrors and GW decks, I suggest running Displacer since it’s the ultimate trump card in the late game, but I would also say that Knight is a better card against the field, not just against those two specific decks.

In addition, I am not a fan of running 4 Thraben Inspectors as Yuuya did. The deck has a difficult time playing it on turn 1 due to the high density of taplands. The card is also very low impact unless you have Lieutenant to turn it into a real threat, and it is also a subpar hit off of Collected Company. For these reasons, I believe Inspector is too low impact to justify running the whole set.

Sideboarding

The key to sideboarding with this deck is to never go below 23 Company hits. I’ve seen people trim on Companys with this deck before, which is simply heresy to me. Company contributes to a lot of this deck’s power and consistency, so avoid trimming them or cutting down on hits at all costs.

GW Tokens

On the Play

Out

In

On the Draw

Out

In

This matchup is close, but I believe that Humans is slightly favored because GW has few ways to interact with your going-wide plan game 1. As a result, focus on building up your board game 1 and avoid getting blown out by Avacyn + Hangarback. Post-board games are trickier since they are now armed with a multitude of wraths and fewer planeswalkers. Wraths are the reason for the Negates and Avacyn, but if you don’t draw these tools, you’ll need to slow down and play around them.

Mirror

If they have Knights:

Out

In

Knights stay in play or draw, since the best way to answer an opposing Knight is a Knight of your own. This matchup is a headache because a lot of game 1s come down to awkward board stalls where neither player can breakthrough. Occasionally, the stalls go long enough that one player eventually gets milled out. Thankfully, this will not happen post-board when both players have Tragic Arrogances.

If they have Eldrazi Displacer:

On the Play

Out

In

On the Draw

Out

In

This matchup favors the player with Displacers in their deck because it does wonders in board stalls. As the player without Displacers, it’s key to either kill every Displacer on sight, or be aggressive enough to not give the opponent time to use them. If your plan is to be aggressive, then it’s fine to throw away cards for damage since Displacer will render many of your creatures ineffective as the game progresses.

BW Control

On the Play

Out

In

On the Draw

Out

In

This matchup is tough game 1 because your deck is cluttered with ineffective cards such as Dromoka’s Command and Reflector Mage, but Reflector Mages stays in because they often board into Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. Post-board, you should focus on playing around their numerous wraths, but still put enough pressure on them so that your opponent can’t start getting ahead with their Read the Bones and planeswalkers. I often hold Nissas until I can flip them as soon as I play them so they are not exposed to Languishes and Dead Weights. Be mindful of Hallowed Moonlight, which they can even have access to in game 1. This may mean making unorthodox plays, such as using Collected Company during your main phase, or casting it in response to a Gideon’s token ability (so their Moonlight will also prevent them from getting a token).

Mono-White/White-Red Humans

In

Out

This matchup is great since your creatures are bigger and have better removal in the form of Dromoka’s Command. But the opponent can steal games with Gryff’s Boon, so put pressure on them so they don’t have time to develop their board and suddenly end up with a large creature with a Boon.

GBx Midrange Decks

This includes Seasons Past decks.

On the Play

In

Out

On the Draw

In

Out

If they are playing a more creature-heavy version, with Dragonlord Silumgar and The Gitrog Monster, then some number of Negates can be replaced with Declaration in Stones. Gideon goes a long way in this matchup to make Languishes less effective. Kalitas is their best card in this matchup, so take all measures necessary to prevent them from untapping with it.

Conclusion

Bant Humans has become one of the premier decks of the format, and it will remain a force. The deck is remarkably efficient for a 3-color aggro deck, and is able to operate at instant speed to play around wrath effects. It also is incredibly consistent thanks to all of its card advantage engines: Tireless Tracker, Duskwatch Recruiter, and Collected Companies.

Another big draw is its lack of any glaringly bad matchups. All of the matchups range from slightly unfavorable to very favorable, which is a similar trait to other powerful decks, such as GW Tokens, that have been successful for this entire Standard season. Lastly, the deck is also a blast to play. When you Collected Company into 2 Thalia’s Lieutenants, it feels like you’re doing something far more powerful than any other Standard deck.