Companions Nerfed!! Being an Agent of Treachery is punishable by death and the Fires of Invention have been extinguished. In these current times standard shake-ups are almost as common as set releases and rotations. This latest one gives us the ability to explore some spaces that had been pushed aside recently. Today I want to talk about Heraldic Banner. Not only because it is primed to be a very good card now. Heraldic Banner is also the perfect card for the month of June. So let’s take a delve into the different kinds of pride we can celebrate.

Banner Red | Standard

Deck (60)
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
Bonecrusher Giant
Fervent Champion
Grim Initiate
Phoenix of Ash
Scorch Spitter
Tin Street Dodger
Runaway Steam-Kin
Heraldic Banner
Light Up the Stage
Castle Embereth
17 Mountain
Sideboard (15)
Redcap Melee
Embereth Shieldbreaker
Tibalt, Rakish Instigator
Experimental Frenzy
Blazing Volley

Obosh Decks are possibly still a thing, but it cannot be cast on curve any longer. The Heraldic Banner red still has plenty of play and if we remove the limitation of odds only then a few old friends can be played once more. Embercleave and Obosh were very similar in their role so going back to the cleave makes the most sense for our strategy. Time will tell if Steam-Kin is still our best 2-drop, but it is reliable and gives us the extra mana for the Experimental Frenzy in the sideboard.

Black Flag | Standard

Deck (60)
Blacklance Paragon
Castle Locthwain
Drill Bit
Erebos’s Intervention
Knight of the Ebon Legion
Heraldic Banner
Murderous Rider
Midnight Reaper
Rotting Regisaur
Serrated Scorpion
Fiend Artisan
18 Swamp
Sideboard (15)
Epic Downfall
Legion’s End
Midnight Reaper
Pharika’s Libation
Sorcerous Spyglass
Thought Distortion

Mono-Black banner decks appeared at the beginning of Ikorea when Aaron Barich stormed Magic Arena with her first drafts. The deck shortly fell off however in favor of Red just being the superior Obosh build. I wanted to revisit black with some ideas from that list. Serrated Scorpion is our 3rd one-drop in this list over Cauldron Familiar since we are not running Oven at this time. Fiend Artisan is our new 2 drop in this shell. The ability to tutor for Murderous Rider is helpful here and if the Fiend gets large enough it can equip Shadowspear pretty well.

Let’s go back to 2019!

White Flag | Standard

Deck (60)
20 Plains
Giant Killer
Faerie Guidemother
Healer’s Hawk
Loyal Pegasus
Hunted Witness
Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis
Haazda Marshal
Shepherd of the Flock
Raise the Alarm
Unbreakable Formation
Heraldic Banner
Venerated Loxodon
Sideboard (15)
Stormwild Capridor
Fight As One
Devout Decree
Glass Casket
Revoke Existence
Tomik, Distinguished Advokist

Heraldic Banner kicked off during Throne of Eldraine with a very quick Mono-White list that was catching most of the meta off guard. Punishing any deck that was not Jund Sacrifice. Returning to that shell we make a couple of changes with some newer cards printed since. Elspeth fits in this list perfectly, and I am returning Shepherd of the Flock to the list to fizzle Bonecrusher Giant’s Stomp and other targeted removal. This also gives us a really good balance for using Fight As One out of the sideboard for having targets on both modes.

As you can see this is just some of the aggression you can take in the new standard. Board Wipes will be less “free”, and Lurrus will be showing up a lot less as a companion. Yorion and more expensive companions will still see Companion play, but I wonder what is next for our nightmare cat…… Remember to wave your Banners this month and show your pride. Speaking of Pride. You know who also has a lot of pride? Cats! Standard has cats across many colors, but enough of them share the color white that we can play a banner deck. Additionally 2 of the companions are also cats! While our other lists focused on what we can do without companions, I couldn’t resist seeing Kaheera at the helm. I can’t be the only one who forced Charmed Stray in limited before.

Cat Banner | Standard

Companion (1)
Kaheera, the Orphanguard

Deck (60)
Lurrus of the Dream Den
Charmed Stray
Twilight Panther
Regal Leosaur
Huntmaster Liger
Flicker of Fate
Godless Shrine
Blood Crypt
Sacred Foundry
11 Plains
Heraldic Banner
Kaheera, the Orphanguard