I'll make this quick and easy. I played Bant Survival at Eternal Weekend and ended up going 6-3, but with a more unconventional list. I decided to sleeve up a card that got me wanting to play this and only this for Vintage Champs that particular weekend, Deafening Silence. I know it hasn't seen much play at all, but with the restriction of Mental Misstep it seemed like a really powerful card to try and play in a format that is dominated by spells. I worked a bit with a friend, Charlie Krug, bouncing card choices back and forth for a few weeks leading up to the tournament. I believe when it was time to register lists however we had 72 of 75 matching cards in our decks and I think that was mainly due to the lists that we both tested and us not being able to collaborate as much as we liked. We both expected a field full of Shops, Outcome, Oath and some random Dredge and Jeskai lists. Here's the list that I chose to play.

4 Basking Rootwalla
4 Hollow One
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Vengevine
3 Collector Ouphe
3 Elvish Spirit Guide
1 Deputy of Detention
1 Lavinia, Azorius Renegade
1 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Squee, Goblin Nabob
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Wonder

4 Survival of the Fittest
3 Deafening Silence
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Force of Vigor
1 Time Walk

1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Emerald
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Sapphire

4 Bazaar of Baghdad
1 Forest
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Savannah
2 Tropical Island
3 Verdant Catacombs

4 Containment Priest
2 Grafdigger's Cage
1 Collector Ouphe
2 Energy Flux
2 Force of Vigor
1 Kataki, War's Rage
1 Sanctum Prelate
1 Squee, Goblin Nabob
1 Scavenging Ooze

So why Deafening Silence? I believe that the card is something that can allow non-blue, non-combo decks to function in format dominated by draw spells, fast mana and quick kills. Being able to land a Deafening Silence on 1 with pressure against many decks in the format means that you've got a really good chance at winning. The card slows down the blue and combo decks to the point where they have difficulty amassing card and mana advantage over you. Adding the mixture of the hatebears in Thalia, Lavinia and Revoker helps you to maintain that advantage. Finding a Bazaar or Survival just means you're typically able to end the game quickly. Since you're able to fight opposing decks along the axis of limiting their spell count it also allows you to keep a wider array of hands other than just looking for Ancestral, Bazaar or Survival.

So how did I do with the list at EW? 6-3 is the record I achieved. The wins were against Shops, DPS, White Eldrazi, 4c Outcome, Esper Outcome and Mono Red Moon. The losses were to eventual top 8 competitor Bryan Hockey on RUG Outcome, Dredge and Esper Outcome. I use the word achieved as a form of encouragement for myself becasue two of my match losses, rounds 7 & 8, were strictly due to me not being aware of/maintaining board state. Playing aginst Dredge in round 7 I made a mistake of tapping the Tropical Island I had just gotten off of a fetch to activate Survival to get a Deputy of Detention to clear some Narcomoebas out of the way for a win. When I tapped the Tropical I had already picked up my deck and had seen the bottom card so there was no going back on it since there was potential information gained. This led me to make a different play grabbing a Thalia to stop him from casting any cards for the rest of the game. Unfortunately the following turn he hit the jackpot with his dredges and was able to put me in a defensive position for a few more turns where I would make another mistake. My opponenet dredged down the the final three cards in his deck and got a ton of dorks into play for a "you figure it out attack." I took my time and figured out that I could five damage from creatures go down to 2 and win on the back swing, but when I made my blockers I found that I only took 2 damage instead of the 5 I had thought out in my head and was confused why until I saw that I had blocked a Prized Amalgam with my Thalia. The Thalia going to the graveyard would allow him to get Ashen Rider into play twice off Dread Returns and get exile 3 of the 4 Vengevine I had in play to win with the following turn. This would cost me round 7.

Round 8 I was playing against Outcome and got to a point where I had Ouphe and Lavinia in play, but my opponent had 4 lands to cast everything in his deck. My opponent also had a Monastery Mentor in play with a few tokens. The mistake turn comes with him casting Ancestral into cast Tormod's Crypt, Mana Crypt and Mox Jet for a mini Tendrils of Agony to put me 8 life, getting a bunch of Monk tokens and attacking, leaving him with 2 cards in hand. Knowing that he's attacking for a lot of damage I make blocks to survive with Ouphe in play to stop his Crypt from doing any damage and give myself at winning by ditching a Squee, to get Rootwalla to get Deputy of Detention. The Deputy gets countered by the last two cards in his hand which were both Force of Will. The mistake made there was me forgetting to trigger the Lavinia on his 0 casting cost spells. This would have countered all of them and left me not worrying about the Tormod's Crypt and allowed me to lose the Ouphe and protect my Deputy from Force. The Deputy resolving would have allowed me to nuke his Monk tokens and start attacking his life total down with flying Vengevines and the the following turn allow me to lock out his mana again with Ouphe thanks to the Survival.

So yeah...a few mental mistakes certainly cost me an opportunity at a top 8 this year, but I'm extremely happy with how well the deck played. Going forward I actually think I want to take out the Ancestral Recall, Time Walk and Force of Vigor from the deck and play the fourth Deafening Silence and possibly some more hate bears or utility creatures. It's terrible reasoning, but I only cast Ancestral twice the whole day and both games that it was cast I lost where as having Deafening Silence in those spots would have certainly been game changing. Time Walk wasn't cast once the whole day and I've rarely had spots where it's just flat out won me the game.

thanks for reading

last edited by myk