[WAR Standard] Bant Butts

Today I am talking about a deck that I am honestly a little surprised hasn’t shown up more, at least in a Friday Night Magic setting. This deck has been brewing at the back of people’s minds ever since Arcades, the Strategist was spoiled, and I would be lying if I said I haven’t been wanting to build this deck for a while myself. So, at long last, I give you Bant Butts.

Bant Big Butts

William Sawyer

The first thing I want to point out is there is zero removal in this deck. The only removal that we have (if it counts) is Deputy of Detention, but this is a bit of a different build than some of the other Arcades decks you might have come across. This version of the deck is kind of all-in on murdering your opponent with Tower Defense.

The Core

High Alert and Arcades, the Strategist: These are our enablers. Eight copies of the same effect, one of which dodges creature removal. Arcades has the built-in card advantage engine which can draw between two and three cards a turn considering most of our creatures have a converted mana cost of three or less. High Alert has the not-so-relevant clause of being able to untap a creature, which could be useful, but you never know.

The Support

Resolute Watchdog and Dive Down: Both of these are a very good way to protect your Arcades once you’ve landed it. Resolute Watchdog has the added value of attacking once Arcades or High Alert is online, and Dive Down has the added value of pumping for +3/+3 once you’ve got Arcades or High Alert.


Wall of Runes, Portcullis Vines, and Omenspeaker: This is the best card filtering that we have available to us. They are cheap, they manipulate our draw steps, and they turn sideways once our defenders are online. Portcullis Vines lets us continually chain defenders if Arcades is on the battlefield, granted it has to tap in order to do so, but card advantage is card advantage when we’re playing Bant Butts.

Deputy of Detention: This is one of the happiest accidental inclusions I’ve run across in a small while. We got a real, solid creature creature that synergises with our deck, and deals with a threat that we can’t handle, all in one convenient big booty.

Teyo, the Shieldmage: Teyo does a couple of things for us:

First, they make more defenders, which we can actually never have too many of.

Second, if we have Arcades, it makes a defender and draws a card.

Third, they give us hexproof, which is relevant for Mono-Red after we gum up the board state. Surprisingly, Teyo is very good.

The Finisher

Tower Defense: The crown jewel of the deck. There is a common misconception with this card, but it actually reads ‘1G, Instant, creatures you control get +5/+5 until end of turn’. The Instant on this card is super relevant, and also the reason we don’t need removal. Your opponent will have some pretty favorable blocks when they’re staring down the barrel of four 3/3s, but even if they suspect that you have Tower Defense, there is no good way to play around it.

They have spot removal? Tower Defense doesn’t target.

They wanna block your creatures? Tower Defense will eat their entire team.

They want to keep their creatures and not block? Tower Defense will literally murder them.

This card lets you instantly move from behind to ahead in basically any situation, given you have either High Alert or Arcades.


Bant Butts is a blast. At its worse, you will agitate and annoy your opponent when they can’t attack passed your walls, which is what you should really be striving for. If you can’t win, at least make it hard to lose.