So… it appears that the rumors of Bant’s demise have been exaggerated.
Bant Company isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Except, of course, when it thankfully rotates out in the near future. But it’s not going anywhere a second before that!
Brad Nelson is heralded for his continued ability to effectively attack the Standard metagame. Going into the Invitational, he appeared confident that his Standard deck was either a week ahead of the metagame or two weeks behind.
Bant Humans melded two of the most successful strategies from the early post-Shadows over Innistrad Standard, where Humans and Bant Company were dominant. With so many cheap creatures, all in the Bant colors, and all individually powerful Human creatures, it was a perfect fit. We saw UW Humans and GW Humans have success before that, but adding Collected Company to a Bant Humans deck wound up being the perfect foil to the format.
Thalia’s Lieutenant is the big payoff in any Humans synergy. You can play a threat in the early game that will grow into a monster later, or pump your entire team later one. This is the perfect 2-drop, and an awesome hit off of Company always.
There are no Eldritch Moon cards in the main deck, which is a concern considering it’s such a powerful set. You need to have some awesome synergies to leave powerhouses like Selfless Spirit and especially Spell Queller on the sidelines.
Instead, you have Thraben Inspector and Lambholt Pacifist to get ahead on board early. Thalia, Heretic Cathar is a tempo play that can really put the hurt on the mirror. Shutting down instant-speed creatures—anything revealed off of Collected Company, or Archangel Avacyn—can put you incredibly far ahead. Throw in foiling your opponent’s entire curve whenever they play a nonbasic land, and you’ve got a perfect fit for an aggro deck. The fact that Thalia isn’t heavily played right now means unprepared players are liable to sequence their lands incorrectly.
Duskwatch Recruiter and Tireless Tracker make sure that you have all the late game card advantage you need. Knight of the White Orchid can catch you up on mana and help swing the game even more in your favor for trying to catch up on tempo.
Remember that Reflector Mage card? Yeah, that one is a Human, too.
With 26 Humans that can all be hit with Collected Company, you are really optimizing the power of the best card in Standard. Dromoka’s Command has started to fall out of favor, and can get sideboarded out often against emerge strategies—but with Company such a huge part of the metagame again, it’s still a critical option to have.
Ojutai’s Command is pretty insane with an instant-speed Thalia’s Lieutenant. Having more instants to represent when you leave up 4 mana, especially that provide lots of card advantage, makes this deck much trickier than your average aggro deck.
At the end of the day, Bant Humans main strength is its matchup against other Bant Company strategies. What you lose in Spell Queller you make up for in Clue card advantage and the crazy raw power of Thalia’s Lieutenant.
Oh, and don’t forget those sideboarded Heron’s Grace Champions! You aren’t losing any races with this guy on your side!