April 21, 2016

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Budget Brews: Soul Sisters

Welcome to this weeks Budget Brews! This week we take a look back at my favourite format to brew in, Modern! The strategy we’re looking at this week is an oldie but it’s most definitely a goodie, it was even featured this past weekend during the SCG Invitational, the deck was perfectly tuned and tried a little different method in the same archetype we’re going for.

The look on the player’s Zoo opponent in game one is exactly why I like to play this deck. We’re looking to gain all the lives, and when we sit down versus Burn or Zoo we generally feel pretty good (though, due to some bad draws the player did lose the feature match).

Soul Sisters! Soul Sisters is traditionally a white weenie strategy where you apply pressure with some card synergies while with those same cards you gain a whole lot of life. The deck started in Standard created by Conley Woods in 2010 when Soul Warden, Ajani’s Pridemate, and Ranger of Eos with Serra Ascendant were all in the format together. It blasted on the scene when he took the deck to a 3-1 finish at US Nationals.

Like I said, we’re looking to gain all the lives, how do we do that? Well in Modern – a format where life points are generally viewed as somewhat expendable – there’s a few different ways to do it. The best way since Modern is also generally a creature driven format is with creatures!

   

Soul Warden and Soul’s Attendant are two sisters that have been the corner stone to the deck since the decks inception, so it’s no surprise to see them. We’re splashing a little bit of Green for the Elven Sister Essence Warden which I ran in my sideboard of Elves to help combat Twin (not the best sideboard plan, but it helped in my local gaming store).

What else are we running?

Well, we’re splashing a third colour for starters: Red. We’re going full on Naya for this build. Why? Well Lightning Bolt is still a good card, but there’s also a pretty interaction with Norin the Wary.

Alright, by itself Norin isn’t really an all-star. You look at it and go “okay, it blinks itself all the damn time. What’s the big deal?” Well, each time you play something, it blinks to gain you a life (or a few depending on how many sisters you have on the field), but it also pairs pretty nicely with Genesis Chamber.

Yup, so it’s going to come back and add an extra creature to our board netting us more life. The interaction leads to pure shenanigans and will you have rolling around laughing while your burn opponent cries and flips the table in anger.

Alright. Now you may sitting there, looking at the cards so far and wonder how you actually push a bunch of 1/1’s through the finish line. Sure, you may have 100 life, but that doesn’t really win you the game. Well, we have a couple of different ways to win.

   

Ajani’s Pridemate has always been an auto-include in the list since each time you get a life trigger, he gets big, which means he can get huge. Then we also have the red god Purphoros, God of the Forge which has the benefit of being indestructible and shocks the opponent each time we play a creature, or each time Norin blinks and brings a Myr token with it (that’s two shocks, four damage, for those of us keeping track). We also have Suture Priest who pings our opponent whenever they play a creature spell (or pings them twice with their Myr Token), and adds to our life total which adds to Ajani Pridemate.

This deck can crash MTGO. In fact, playing over Xmage, I’ve lost to time just trying to click through all the triggers this deck makes. I’ve never actually played it in paper, but if you’re willing to make sure you’re in a more casual environment and have some reps in with the deck so you hit all your triggers.

So, we have a huge Ajani Pridemate, what if our opponent has a flooded board full of chump blockers?

Well, there’s the hilarious way to win with Fling.

Fling that monster kitty at the opponent’s face, or the more traditional way of just giving that kitty some claws with Rancor so it just runs right over the oppositions chump blockers. The downside to Fling is that they can easily counter the spell and you’ve already lost your creature. Remand hurts Fling very badly.

Alright, now let’s actually look at the full deck list.

Naya Soul Sisters

Creature (20)
Ajani’s Pridemate
Essence Warden
Norin the Wary
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Soul Warden
Soul’s Attendant
Suture Priest

Artifact (3)
Genesis Chamber

Sorcery (6)
Return to the Ranks
Spectral Procession

Instant (9)
Fling
Lightning Bolt
Lightning Helix

Enchantment (2)
Rancor

Lands (20)
Clifftop Retreat
Forest
Mountain
10 Plains
Rootbound Crag
Sunpetal Grove

No Sideboard? Well… this is kind of an “all-in” sort of thing, and sideboards don’t help that. If you’re going to build a sideboard, it’d take you out of the budget a little bit, since you’re playing white you have the best answers. Rest in Peace, Stony Silence and Celestial Purge are all good starting points.

All told, the deck is about $130 Canadian if you buy it through WizardTower.com, and if you’re looking to crash MTGO it’s around $50 Canadian worth of Tix.

Upgrades to the deck would be more Lightning Helix and fetch lands and shock lands and removing some of the buddy lands and things of that sort. Path To Exile could also find a home in our deck easily. Auriok Champion would also be an auto-include since it’s a sister and has protection.

Let’s take a look at the “standard,” no holds barred, full cash version of the deck:

Soul Sisters

Creatures (27)
Ajani’s Pridemate
Hero of Bladehold
Martyr of Sands
Ranger of Eos
Serra Ascendant
Soul Warden
Soul’s Attendant
Squadron Hawk

Spells (26)
Path to Exile
Honor of the Pure
Spectral Procession
Aven Mindcensor
Kor Firewalker
Mirran Crusader
Rest in Peace
Stony Silence
Suppression Field

Planeswalkers (1)
Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Lands (21)
Flagstones of Trokair
15 Plains
Windbrisk Heights

This deck is close to $500CAN.

Now let’s take our little brew into the wilds of Xmage and see how much life we can gain.

G/B Processing Eldrazi – 0/2
Yeah, just because “Eldrazi is dead” doesn’t mean there still aren’t people playing it, and going back to the B/x versions. The creatures are still strong, and Eldrazi Temple still nets two mana for the Eldrazi overlords. Game 1 I was going good, but he drew into all four of Abrupt Decays he had. He was able to land a Ulamog, and that on top of my never drawing a red mana I conceded game one. Game two went about the same way as game one.

Merfolk – 2/0
This match was kind of funny… He basically tried to power through the life gain, but playing two Master of Waves with me having four Sisters on the field led to concession game two. Game one he didn’t have much going on and conceded quickly as well.

Soul Sisters – 0/2
So, the mirror is pretty miserable to play. Archangel of Thune is the mirror breaker.

To sum it up, if your local gaming store is full of Aggro, the deck is sure thing. If it’s full of control-y Midrange strategies, look to some of my other Budget Brews for something to play on a Budget.

Thanks for joining me while I untap the multiverse, and I look forward to brewing up something for next week!

Have an idea for something you’d like me to brew up? Give me a shout in the comments! You can also follow me on Twitter, @maibuddha, Reddit /u/maibuddha, or you can join my Facebook group!