Banding commander

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pokken
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Post by pokken » 3 weeks ago

So I keep wanting to build a banding deck, just so I can finally completely internalize the rules and explain them forever if nothing else. Plus it's an excuse to buy a Camel.

Generally, all the good banding creatures are in GW but there are very few in green. So I have two gut instincts:

1. Play a GW creature that messes with combat like Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist or that does something useful like ramp or fix my mana, e.g. Yasharn, Implacable Earth. Mirri seems especially hilarious since banding creatures make it hell for attacking with just one creature.

2. Because weenies are so fragile play something like Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle and support the banding with weapons and artifact ramp that also recurs banding creatures.

That said there are, I am sure, a ton of things I am not considering - like cool combat tricks that work well with banding and so on. Anything that untaps all your creatures or gives them reach or first strike.

Also, blue adds the obvious way to fill out a short tribe which is Clone effects.

Any thoughts?

(Other angles I eventually thought of)
-potentially playing deathtouch creatures from black/green, since you can include a non-banding creature?
-potentially playing enrage creatures who get angry when they're hit as complement to bands (or others who care about being damaged)

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Post by WizardMN » 3 weeks ago

Enrage creatures was my first thought. Or something like Phyrexian Obliterator where you can really push them to damage Obliterator (though that does require expanding to black).

The biggest strength of Banding is on blocking. Attacking honestly makes some creatures a little weaker (a flyer and non flyer banded together can be blocked by a non flyer for example) so the way to take advantage is mostly through blocking. I think your idea on adding Deathtouch is good since you can make a large band and make it less desirable to block. But, if you do make that large band, Deathtouch is likely to become nearly irrelevant since they are in chump block mode anyway. Basically, if you are using a small band, they can just leave it unblocked but if it is big enough the damage dealt by the band is probably going to be enough to kill the creature anyway.

If you really want to mess things up, you can throw in things like Boros Reckoner and Spitemare (which are basically Enrage creatures anyway) and use them to ensure you get their triggers without them dying after the first hit and then just use Blasphemous Act to win the game.

Perhaps Jared Carthalion, True Heir? You could do something with a Monarch deck and this allows you to run Mirri to keep the Monarch and allows you to keep buffing Jared by making sure all damage is assigned to him when attacking or blocking. The only way it really matters though is if you have (or need) enough creatures to block with to ensure the creature you are blocking with dies.

Perhaps going in on things that prevent damage? The "Phantom" cards that prevent damage and remove counters could be pretty powerful (as long as you have a way to boost their toughness when they have no counters on them). Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, Hedron-Field Purists, Ironscale Hydra, and Reidane, God of the Worthy // Valkmira, Protector's Shield could be other options that basically keep your board alive through different onslaughts.

I do think one of the most important things for this type of deck is granting Vigilance. Depending on the Commander and how well you expect them to remain on the field, Loyal Unicorn seems good. Otherwise Always Watching (which works well with the Phantom creatures also), Akroma's Memorial, Angelic Field Marshal, etc could help in that regard. If you want to use Banding, you want to always use Banding and Vigilance really messes with everyone's combat math once you get a reasonable amount of creatures on board.

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Post by Wallycaine » 3 weeks ago

Reading WizardMN's reply made me realize a category of effect you may want to look into: "all creatures block this creature if able" type effects. It would work well with Jared Carthalion, True Heir type effects, where you actively want them to be dealt damage, but obviously your opponents are likely to avoid attacking you or blocking their band if you've got one of those.

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Post by pokken » 3 weeks ago

Jared Carthalion, True Heir is kinda hilarious in that you can just assign all the damage to him as long as you've got monarch. It feels like a mix of vigilance enablers is a good idea,

I feel like if you attack with a 10/10 vigilant band people are going to have to start blocking it, but making *all* their creatures block it and assign all their damage to Jared, while Jared presumably applies all his damage to all their creatures, making them dead.

A kind of subtheme of "global keyword effects" seems like pretty easy; just play strong critters that give your bros keywords to fill out the rest of the creature slots. The mono colored gods like Nylea, God of the Hunt and Heliod, God of the Sun are both pretty nice too.

I can unironically play Cathedral of Serra too I guess =P


man I love me some Boros Reckoner too, and any excuse to jam Vigor is also fun.

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Post by tstorm823 » 3 weeks ago

I play a deck around the banding lands. Can confirm Mirri is a house. Attack triggers are a nice benefit with banding, the sort of thing where it triggers on attack but then is expected to die, like Márton Stromgald
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Post by 3drinks » 3 weeks ago

Don't forget trample enablers to make sure Jared gets through. Shadowspear is the obvious choice, but behemoth sledge is the next copy.

Baton of morale is a fantastic way to ensure the man of the hour can get in on the fun. Easily my fave enabler, but since you're in selesnya you've also got Nature's Blessing.

Lastly, consider going with more birds so you can use Soraya the Falconer. She was pretty strong when I was doing Alesha Bird💩.
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Post by Treamayne » 3 weeks ago

pokken wrote:
3 weeks ago
So I keep wanting to build a banding deck, just so I can finally completely internalize the rules and explain them forever if nothing else. Plus it's an excuse to buy a Camel.

Generally, all the good banding creatures are in GW but there are very few in green. So I have two gut instincts:

<snip>

Any thoughts?
I've had a number of decks based-on and/or featuring Banding.

Currently, I have a Bant Banding/Exalted deck, which focuses on Banding for defense and using the exalted triggers for offense. For synergy, I also run things that tap creatures as a cost (e.g. Glare of Subdual) so I can use them before my untap step.

Previously, I've used Naya Banding, to take advantage of Boros combat tricks (e.g. Master Warcraft) and things like Homura and Márton Stromgald (as previously mentioned). Also got some great mileage from Provoke creatures/effects.

I have also previously worked with an Abzan Banding deck to make use of self-recurring fodder to dump the damage onto (Nether Shadow, Bloodghast, etc.).

Generals to consider (not previously mentioned):
Rafiq of the Many - Exalted (but a huge target)
Rubinia Soulsinger - Steal a non-bander to dump the damage to
Estrid, the Masked - Totem Armor as damage dump
Karador, Ghost Chieftain - Recur the damaged creatures
Tayam, Luminous Enigma - Also recursion w/ team vigilance(ish)
Anafenza, the Foremost - exile the blockers and make combat math even more "interesting."
Hazezon Tamar - Sand Warriors as damage dump for banders
Gahiji, Honored One - Buff the banders and help send opponent critters elsewhere
Marisi, Breaker of the Coil - Combat tricks and Goad
Marath, Will of the Wild - Can buff with counters and/or create tokens to soak damage

Cards to Consider:
Baton of Morale
Nature's Blessing
Errand of Duty
Phyrexian Splicer
Angel's Trumpet
Dolmen Gate
Shield of the Avatar
Stuffy Doll and similar
Outrider en-Kor and similar
V/R

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 3 weeks ago

There is a cycle of five lands that grant banding to legends. They kind of suck but I think actual creatures with banding tend to be sort of worse so going into a legends concept and giving them banding is probably going to be more reasonable given that there are a number of legends matters commanders these days. I think that green is probably going to be the key color here for land tutoring and recursion if you do lean into this land cycle.

I think that green and black seem like the best colors in part due to the fact that you have access to Urborg / Yavimaya doing more than making these lands not terrible. Tutors help too I guess.
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Post by 3drinks » 3 weeks ago

Oh. If you play u, you can Trinket Mage for Helm of Chatzuk! As well as transmute Muddle the Mixture for Baton of Morale.
ISBPathfinder wrote:
3 weeks ago
There is a cycle of five lands that grant banding to legends. They kind of suck but I think actual creatures with banding tend to be sort of worse so going into a legends concept and giving them banding is probably going to be more reasonable given that there are a number of legends matters commanders these days. I think that green is probably going to be the key color here for land tutoring and recursion if you do lean into this land cycle.

I think that green and black seem like the best colors in part due to the fact that you have access to Urborg / Yavimaya doing more than making these lands not terrible. Tutors help too I guess.
Fwiw, please note that bands with other is not the same thing as banding. Because that's what WotC needs, the "most complex mechanic" having an alternate and slightly different functionality. But, yes, I +1 these lands as banding enablers.
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Post by tstorm823 » 3 weeks ago

The deck I play only has the banding lands to enable banding, and while I do have some ways to tutor them up, I don't do that very often. If you want banding to really put in work, you need to focus more on making the board states where banding is busted, so that when you do pull out the banding, it blows people's minds. Having Helm of Chatzuk in play doesn't mean much if you don't have things that people don't want to block. Like, the two things that feel worst with banding are a) having big things without combat abilities so banding is just offering your opponents more efficient chump blocks, and b) not having creatures to attack with at all (often because of board wipes). Haste is a big deal. Trample is a big deal. Maybe the best card I've found to synergize with banding is Rhonas the Indomitable: it's a legend to work with the lands, it has indestructible to make a band nearly immune to damage, and then it having deathtouch and granting other creatures trample lets you have a band with the deathtouch+trample effect where up to 5 blockers are disintegrated and the rest of your damage tramples over.
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Post by pokken » 3 weeks ago

3drinks wrote:
3 weeks ago
Fwiw, please note that bands with other is not the same thing as banding. Because that's what WotC needs, the "most complex mechanic" having an alternate and slightly different functionality. But, yes, I +1 these lands as banding enablers.
It seems like the way that works is "bands with <quality>" doesnt' grant the one non-banding creature, and creatures with banding can't just join bands with other bands.

It used to be much more absurd from my reading, like all the cards in the "bands with other" bands had to have "bands with other legends" or "bands with other carrots" or whatever. Glad they fixed that at least. :P

It is problematic though for inclusion in a banding deck as unless you have a bunch of legends to support it, it's kinda duddy. :)

Good callout.

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Post by RxPhantom » 2 weeks ago

I think it would be cool to put a few creatures with soulbond in the deck. Really, I envision the combat step being a nightmare for all involved.

Opponent: Ok, so Silverblade Paladin is bonded with Benalish Hero but they're in a band with Icatian Phalanx?
You: No no no. The paladin is bonded to the hero and banding with the phalanx.
Opponent: And the Benalish Infantry?
You: In a band with Noble Elephant and Avenging Huntbonder.
Opponent: And the Huntbonder is bonded with...?
You: Wolfir Silverheart.
Opponent: Is it in a band?
You: No, just a bond.
Opponent: I'm so confused.
You: It's simple, I've got two bands and two bonds. Three of the creatures in the two bonds are in two bands. I attack with my bands.
Opponent: Is that a Primeval Titan?
You: That card is banned. It can't be in a bond or a band when it's banned.
Opponent: Oh yeah. Ummm....
You: Before blocks, I cast Band Together.
Opponent: *scoops*

In crafting that story of questionable cleverness and comedic value, it occurred to me that maybe the deck could have a sub-theme of friendship. Stuff like Band Together, Bond of Discipline, etc. Too cute?
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Post by onering » 2 weeks ago

Bands with other legends actually is better, in some ways, than banding, although the upside will usually be moot. Bands with other legends allows any number of your legends to join the band as long as one of them has the ability, in contrast with regular banding which only allows one non banding card to join.

This means that if you only have Adventurer's Guildhouse out and only one Green legend and all your other legends are non green, you can still band all your legends together, at least if I'm reading the Oracle text correctly.

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Post by Treamayne » 2 weeks ago

onering wrote:
2 weeks ago
Bands with other legends actually is better, in some ways, than banding, although the upside will usually be moot. Bands with other legends allows any number of your legends to join the band as long as one of them has the ability, in contrast with regular banding which only allows one non banding card to join.

This means that if you only have Adventurer's Guildhouse out and only one Green legend and all your other legends are non green, you can still band all your legends together, at least if I'm reading the Oracle text correctly.
Correct. For a given band with N individuals - banding requires that N-1 of those individuals have the banding ability; "bands with <quality>" merely requires that 1 individual have "bands with <quality>" -and- all N individuals have <quality>. Essentially the "bands with <quality>" replaces the requirement for other creatures to have banding with <quality>.
CR 702.22 Excerpt
Show
702.22c As a player declares attackers, they may declare that one or more attacking creatures with banding and up to one attacking creature without banding (even if it has "bands with other") are all in a "band." They may also declare that one or more attacking [quality] creatures with "bands with other [quality]" and any number of other attacking [quality] creatures are all in a band. A player may declare as many attacking bands as they want, but each creature may be a member of only one of them.
On defense, bands are not declared at all. As long as one individual in any N blockers has banding or "bands with <quality>" (and other blockers have <quality>) then the defending player determines how combat damage is assigned for the attacker(s) being blocked.

CR 702.22 Excerpt
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702.22j During the combat damage step, if an attacking creature is being blocked by a creature with banding, or by both a [quality] creature with "bands with other [quality]" and another [quality] creature, the defending player (rather than the active player) chooses how the attacking creature's damage is assigned. That player can divide that creature's combat damage as they choose among any creatures blocking it. This is an exception to the procedure described in rule 510.1c.
702.22k During the combat damage step, if a blocking creature is blocking a creature with banding, or both a [quality] creature with "bands with other [quality]" and another [quality] creature, the active player (rather than the defending player) chooses how the blocking creature's damage is assigned. That player can divide that creature's combat damage as they choose among any creatures it's blocking. This is an exception to the procedure described in rule 510.1d.
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Post by 3drinks » 2 weeks ago

So by my reading here, bands with <quality> is worse on defense but better on offense, than conventional banding? Since I can only split the damage between my legends that are blocking rather than, say, using a Benalish Hero to assign most the damage to my Wall of Junk.
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Post by tstorm823 » 2 weeks ago

3drinks wrote:
2 weeks ago
So by my reading here, bands with <quality> is worse on defense but better on offense, than conventional banding? Since I can only split the damage between my legends that are blocking rather than, say, using a Benalish Hero to assign most the damage to my Wall of Junk.
Bands with quality is worse on defense, as you need at least one creature to meet the requirement.
Bands with quality is different on offense, as you maintain the downside of needing creatures that meet the requirement but gain the ability to make larger bands more easily. If you are building a deck the take advantage of "bands with other legends" lands, the downside and the upside of bands with quality are minimally different, as you've likely built a deck with a large number of legends, and most of them are probably going to be equally effected by the bands lands anyway.

With regards to if you had Adventurers' Guildhouse and two legends where at least one is green, you could triple block with Wall of Junk and those two creatures and still assign all the damage to the wall. It just takes an extra legend to make it work. That being said, banding is insanely good on defense, a single Benalish Hero on your side of the board can effectively counteract almost any attacker. Deathtouch, first strike, trample, infect... stack em all up, you're still not going to kill anything but the hero.
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Post by ISBPathfinder » 2 weeks ago

@pokken I blame you for this. Just know that.
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Post by Lifeless » 2 weeks ago

The part of me that's still a scrubby kid playing with Helm of Chatzuk loves this thread dearly. Thank God I still have all my copies of Tolaria so I can weather the coming storm.

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Post by RabidVacin » 2 weeks ago

My banding deck is Sultai. Instead of having creatures that come with banding, it tutors for Helm of Chatzuk or Baton of Morale. This allows me to band a trample creature with an Elven Warhounds then Lure them.
That card is bad and you should feel bad for playing it.

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 2 weeks ago

Lifeless wrote:
2 weeks ago
The part of me that's still a scrubby kid playing with Helm of Chatzuk loves this thread dearly. Thank God I still have all my copies of Tolaria so I can weather the coming storm.
You joke but I have recently and on multiple occasions played Tolaria lately. Most of it is because I have been in mono blue and wanted to jam Field of the Dead but I am just saying it isn't as if it doesn't have purpose. Its a land that enters untapped, has no downside other than being a nonbasic (which is rarely actually a downside), and taps for colored mana.
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Post by 3drinks » 2 weeks ago

tstorm823 wrote:
2 weeks ago
3drinks wrote:
2 weeks ago
So by my reading here, bands with <quality> is worse on defense but better on offense, than conventional banding? Since I can only split the damage between my legends that are blocking rather than, say, using a Benalish Hero to assign most the damage to my Wall of Junk.
Bands with quality is worse on defense, as you need at least one creature to meet the requirement.
Bands with quality is different on offense, as you maintain the downside of needing creatures that meet the requirement but gain the ability to make larger bands more easily. If you are building a deck the take advantage of "bands with other legends" lands, the downside and the upside of bands with quality are minimally different, as you've likely built a deck with a large number of legends, and most of them are probably going to be equally effected by the bands lands anyway.

With regards to if you had Adventurers' Guildhouse and two legends where at least one is green, you could triple block with Wall of Junk and those two creatures and still assign all the damage to the wall. It just takes an extra legend to make it work. That being said, banding is insanely good on defense, a single Benalish Hero on your side of the board can effectively counteract almost any attacker. Deathtouch, first strike, trample, infect... stack em all up, you're still not going to kill anything but the hero.
Isn't this what I said, in that it's worse on defense? If it's not please elaborate so I can find my error.
Lifeless wrote:
2 weeks ago
The part of me that's still a scrubby kid playing with Helm of Chatzuk loves this thread dearly. Thank God I still have all my copies of Tolaria so I can weather the coming storm.
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Post by Lifeless » 2 weeks ago

Honestly Helm is a pretty reasonable play a lot of the time. It's super cheap and as this thread indicates it messes up combat math considerably.

In somewhat related news one of my absolute favorite cards is Livonya Silone and I'd be very tempted to make a deck for her if all these legendary lands started popping up in my group.

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 2 weeks ago

Am I the only one who thinks that Gorm the Great / Virtus the Veiled with the banding lands sounds kinda amazing? You could pump / give Virtus trample. You could even run Glissa, the Traitor in the 99 to band into the fun. Being GB also means you can run Urborg / Yavimaya and have tutors for the nonbasic lands.

I guess the one thing I can't recall on this mechanic is if both cards need to have banding or if you can band onto a creature without banding. I don't recall the rules quite on this.
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Post by RabidVacin » 2 weeks ago

When attacking, all but one creature need to have banding.
That card is bad and you should feel bad for playing it.

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Post by 3drinks » 2 weeks ago

RabidVacin wrote:
2 weeks ago
When attacking, all but one creature need to have banding.
That's for banding, but not bands with others.
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