Paupers and Kings, Ep. 5: Soul Sisters

soul sisters

Hi everyone, and welcome to the fifth episode of Paupers & Kings, my series on porting Pauper decks into the Modern format while staying on a budget.

How do you feel about gaining life in Magic? Sure, it’s handy against Burn, but most people who know about these things will tell you that gaining life doesn’t advance the game and it is, in general, a bad strategy. So how is it that we have these lists where lifegain is a major priority?

The trick, of course, is that lifegain can only be a part of the plan.

This week we are looking at Soul Sisters lists in Modern and Pauper.

The sisters in the spotlight are [c]Soul Warden[/c] and [c]Soul’s Attendant[/c]. Ignoring the fact that Attendant is a hopeless fraud of a healer (read her flavor text), these two lovely humans fit in nicely with a number of strategies that utilize lifegain to do broken things. Maybe not broken things, but pretty powerful things.

Let’s take a look, first, at our Modern list for the week.

Wary Soul Sisters

There are more “standard” mono-colored Soul Sisters lists in Modern, but meh. You’ve seen ’em, and I wanted to do something a little different and more fun. So instead of those we’re playing with a Boros build that abuses [c]Norin the Wary[/c] and [c]Champion of the Parish[/c], along with a bunch of lifegain, to make giant face-beaters and win the game. Here is the list we’re using, adapted from this list from Uota on Goldfish.

[d title=”Wary Soul Sisters by Uota (Modern)”]
Land
9 Plains
4 Mountain
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Clifftop Retreat

Creatures
4 Ajani’s Pridemate
4 Champion of the Parish
2 Mentor of the Meek
3 Norin the Wary
2 Purphoros, God of the Forge
3 Ranger of Eos
4 Soul Warden
3 Soul’s Attendant
1 Legion Loyalist

Artifacts
4 Genesis Chamber

Spells
2 Return to the Ranks
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Path to Exile

Sideboard
1 Aven Mindcensor
2 Electrickery
2 Mark of Asylum
2 Rest in Peace
2 Stony Silence
1 Suppression Field
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
2 Sowing Salt
2 Wear/Tear [/d]

The interactions are pretty straight-forward and hinge around getting Norin onto the board. Once he hits, he is bouncing in and out on all of your turns and usually on your opponents’ turns as well. This lets you:

  • Gain life with the soul sisters.
  • Grow your Champions (and Pridemates if you’re gaining life).
  • Create Myr tokens, duplicating any other benefits you may be receiving (except Champions).
  • Kill your opponent with Purphoros triggers.

Mentor of the Meek helps make sure you don’t run out of gas, while Legion Loyalist is tutorable via Ranger of Eos and enables you to swing in effectively once your army has gotten big and tough enough. Return to the Ranks provides some resilience to sweepers, while Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile clear out annoying threats across the table.

Wary Soul Sisters on a Budget

I sprung for some more expensive cards than I might, normally, because they are land and sideboard staples. [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] is, namely, a great card for most tribal lists, so I picked up a playset. It has the major added benefit of working around Chalice, which is otherwise a very strong piece of SB hate against all our one-drops. Still, the best place to start budgetizing lists is usually in the mana base. It has an impact, for sure, but you can still get the right lands and play your game without a hitch plenty of the time.

Ranger of Eos and Purphoros are both strong components of the list, but it kind of works without them, so you could save some money there. You will be missing out on tutors and wincons, though, so consider alternatives. More Mentors could come in to replace Ranger, and you could consider [c]Harsh Sustenance[/c] as a cheap wincon if you found a way to splash black.

[c]Condemn[/c] is my favorite budget alternative to Path and will do in a pinch.

Even as it stands the list is less than 150 tix. For the price, you’re not getting something as powerful as the U Tron list we looked at last week, but it can still blow out games and does quite well in certain match-ups. It is also very fun to play.

Now let’s check out our Pauper list this week.

Midnight Presence

If you watch videos on our YouTube channel at all, you will recognize this list from the Pauper Gauntlet, submitted by mad brewer, Aught3. While it packs the Midnight Guard / Presence of Gond combo in the list, it is more of a midrange list that stalls your opponent with lifegain, grows an army of saprolings, and then swings in for a massive alpha strike. Here is the list.

[d title=”Midnight Presence by Aught3 (Pauper)”]
Land
4 Khalni Garden
3 Forest
4 Blossoming Sands
7 Plains
4 Selesnya Sanctuary

Creatures
4 Midnight Guard
4 Pallid Mycoderm
4 Selesnya Evangel
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul’s Attendant
4 Veteran Armorer

Spells
4 Presence of Gond
3 Scatter the Seeds
4 Sprout Swarm
3 Spidersilk Armor

Sideboard
3 Gleeful Sabotage
4 Scattershot Archer
4 Standard Bearer
3 Sunlance
1 Prismatic Strands [/d]

Along with stalling out via lifegain, the main Spidersilk Armors allow your creatures to get big and, along with the Veteran Armorers, give you good blocks to shut down your opponent’s offense. After that, it is just a matter of growing your army much, much, much larger than theirs, and then smashing in with a Pallid Mycoderm activation (or 2 or 3 or 4) to make your saproling tokens mean business.

You win with the combo from time to time as well, but Presence of Gond does good work on any creature you cast it on, while the Guard does a good job blocking things like Spire Golem that your 1/1s have an issue handling.

If you want to try something different in Pauper, I recommend taking this list for a spin. It is surprisingly strong against a lot of lists, but it does have some very bad matchups. MBC lists with edicts and discard aren’t too bad; MBC lists with direct removal and Pestilence / Crypt Rats are much harder. UR Control is a challenge. We probably just lose to Familiars. For competitive play, this deck does exactly what you don’t want to do in the current meta, it tries to be fair and play its own game. It gets punished for its efforts.

All the same, it’s a great deck for the practice room, and wins as much as it loses.

Here are the videos for this week’s lists.

 

I took Midnight Presence for a spin in a Pauper Daily Event. Those videos will be up on our YouTube channel soonish, so keep an eye out.

Next week on Paupers and Kings

I’m abusing combo elves for next week’s article, and it should be a ton of fun. As always, if you have recommendations for Modern / Pauper lists that crossover formats, let me know in the comments.

Until next time, may your Norins ever be wary.

/bava

Paupers and Kings, Ep. 1: GW Bogles

Hi everyone, and welcome to the first episode of Paupers & Kings, my series on porting Pauper decks into the Modern format while staying on a budget.

Today we’re looking at everyone’s favorite list to hate, Bogles / Hexproof.

Why Hexproof?

We’re starting with Hexproof, in particular, because the list plays very similarly across formats. In both Pauper and Modern you are playing a near solitaire-esque game of Magic; building a Voltron with Auras and busting through for massive damage and life gain.

Strengths of Hexproof / Bogles

  1. Life gain against other aggro decks makes it very hard for them to race you
  2. Null your opponent’s targeted removal
  3. Good early game and late game, can be aggressive and grindy

Weaknesses of Hexproof / Bogles

  1. Weak to specific hate from sideboard (aura sweepers are a mean thing)
  2. Clunky hands require aggressive mulligans
  3. Weak to discard and sacrifice effects

Hexproof in Pauper

For whatever reason, we tend to call this deck “Hexproof” in Pauper but “Bogles” in Modern. That’s the nomenclature I’ll use from here on it, but it’s the same deck. The Hexproof list we’re favoring today is from Dain5, who has been placing in recent Pauper Daily Events with it.

I like this list because the mana base is incredibly consistent; gone are the tap lands, instead we’re rocking 17 green sources and 12 spells that can help us get white when we need it.

Here is the list:

[d title=”Hexproof by Dain5 (Pauper)”]
Land
16 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Khalni Garden

Creatures
4 Aura Gnarlid
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Silhana Ledgewalker
4 Slippery Bogle

Spells
4 Abundant Growth
3 Ancestral Mask
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Rancor
4 Utopia Sprawl
4 Armadillo Cloak
4 Manamorphose

Sideboard
1 Flaring Pain
3 Gleeful Sabotage
2 Hornet Sting
3 Scattershot Archer
3 Young Wolf
3 Moment’s Peace [/d]

It’s a cheap list even by Pauper standards, except for one troublemaker. [c]Ancestral Mask[/c] run at $4 each right now, so you’re blowing some cash if you want those. Replacing them with Umbras (Hyena, Spider, Snake as you prefer) would be fine if you wanted to save some cash. Running regular forests is fine too; I added the snow-covered but they honestly don’t do anything.

The goal of this list is to land a Hexproof guy (of which there are 12), load on some auras (of which there are 16) and beat face. Ledgewalker has the added bonus of being difficult to block, and Gnarlid comes down later in the game, often as a large, unblockable beater.

Bogles in Modern

The list works about the same way in Modern, but has a few all-stars that raise the power level, provide consistency, and (unfortunately) require a more complicated mana base. The list we’re looking at today is adapted from Dust_’s winning list. Let’s take a look.

[d title=”Bogles (Modern)”]
Land
4 Brushland
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Wooded Bastion
3 Forest
4 Plains
1 Dryad Arbor

Creatures
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Kor Spiritdancer
4 Slippery Bogle

Spells
3 Path to Exile
4 Daybreak Coronet
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Hyena Umbra
1 Keen Sense
4 Rancor
4 Spider Umbra
2 Spirit Mantle
2 Spirit Link

Sideboard
3 Burrenton Forge-Tender
2 Choke
2 Gaddock Teeg
2 Nature’s Claim
2 Stony Silence
4 Rest in Peace [/d]

This budget list still has a few cards that break the bank, especially compared to Pauper. [c]Daybreak Coronet[/c] is the biggest transgressor. Unfortunately, you really can’t play Bogles in Modern without that card, it is simply way too strong.

[c]Kor Spiritdancer[/c] can be replaced by another Hexproof creature, even [c]Silhana Ledgewalker[/c] could come in. You lose some consistency because the card draw you can get off her is really helpful especially in stalled out games, but can save almost $15.

[c]Path to Exile[/c] can be [c]Condemn[/c] or even [c]Journey to Nowhere[/c] though neither card is as good as Path.

The mana base is about as good and cheap as I can get it. We’re saving about $100 with this base, mainly by omitted [c]Windswept Heath[/c], a card that is amazing but also awfully expensive. Let’s take a look at how we’re getting mana.

[c]Brushland[/c] is an amazing dual land in a list like Bogles. It is always untapped and it always provides either {G} or {W}. The one life lost is (usually) easily made up with the lifegain we have going. If there’s a list to run this land, it’s Bogles.

With 7 basics in the list, [c]Sunpetal Grove[/c] has a decent chance to come into play untapped and give you whatever color mana you may need. On the other hand, half the time it’s a guildgate, which isn’t always awesome.

[c]Wooded Bastion[/c] is an allstar. It allows you to play [c]Forest[/c] on turn 1 and then rock {W}{W} on turn 2. This let’s you hit a 1-drop Hexproof guy and then rock any two of your 1-mana enchantments on turn 2, swinging in with a 6/4 first-striking trampler, for instance, or something else ridiculous.

[c]Dryad Arbor[/c] eats sacrifice effects. You can, alternately, buff it up and swing in, assuming no one else is around to wear all those auras.

Some of our sideboard choices are expensive. [c]Choke[/c] can hose big blue lists, but since they’re not always our biggest concern, you could omit it. [c]Gaddock Teeg[/c] is amazing against certain lists, though. My board includes [c]Rest in Peace[/c] which is actually my favorite sideboard card of all time and a great answer to anyone testing out Dredge decks. [c]Stony Silence[/c] hoses a lot of lists including Affinity, and it’s also cheap. Forge-Tender can come in as Hexproof guy #9-12 with the added bonus that they are immune to red sweepers; they can also save your face from damage in a pinch.

On the Play

So how do these look in play? I took them both our for three matches, and the results speak for themselves. Check out the playlist.

 

For those counting along at home, that’s 6-0 in the tournament practice room. 3-0 in each format. Hard to do much better than that!

Next Week on Paupers & Kings

I’m going to try and do this as a weekly series. Is that cool with you all? We have lots more great crossover potential, including Goblins, Burn, Mono-Green Stompy, Delver, Tron, and others. Which lists do you want to see me try out? Let me know down in the comments.

Until then, may you opponent always be holding useless Doom Blades.

/bava

Commander Corner: Captain Sisay

Welcome back,

[c]Captain Sisay[/c]’s life has been predetermined since her birth. Her bloodline was tampered with for years by Urza in order to create an heir to the Legacy. The Legacy was a collection of artifacts that, when together, had enough power to wipe out Yawgmoth and save the plane of Dominaria from the incoming Phyrexian invasion.

The Phyrexians discovered Urza’s plan and made an attempt to sabotage it. They raided and burned down Sisay’s hometown, killing her parents. Her parents were not able to tell her about her true destiny since she still too young. She grew up with only a slight understanding of the legend of the [c]Legacy[/c]. She then set sail on her ship, the Weatherlight, to find the remaining pieces of the Legacy.

During her travels, she amassed a crew of people that were also part of Urza’s project. She recruited [c]Gerrard[/c], [c]Hanna[/c], [c]Ertai[/c], [c]Karn[/c], [c]Rofellos[/c], and [c]Squee[/c]. They went on many journeys throughout the years, slowly gathering the pieces to the Legacy.

During this time, Sisay was captured by a former ally named [c]Starke[/c]. Starke showed them the way to the pieces of the Legacy. Rath was working for the Phyrexians, and was tasked with capturing Sisay and the Legacy. Gerrard, who left the crew when Rofellos died in battle, came back as soon as he heard the news. He led the Weatherlight crew to save their captain and take back the Legacy from the clutches of Yawgmoth. After they escaped, they crashed on Mercadia.

A short time after they made it back to Dominaria, they had to defend the plane from the Phyrexian Invasion. They held off the invasion as much as they could, but the ship was destroyed by a dragon. Karn, after regaining his memories, used the Thran Tomb to unite the pieces of the Legacy. Gerrard, Urza, and Karn himself merged together along with the Weatherlight and the other artifacts to form the weapon. The Legacy became self-aware and attacked the Phyrexians. The weapon obliterated the oncoming force and destroyed Yawgmoth. Dominaria was safe at last.

Captain Sisay is a very popular commander, at least in my play group. Her ability to tutor up other legendary cards not only speaks to the story behind her, but creates a powerful commander as well. She is able to search for just about whatever you want, whenever you want it. She keeps your hand stocked with powerful creatures, which will keep you going in the later stages of the game. Let’s see what kind of crew we can build with Captain Sisay.

mr308_Sisay

She commanded the most powerful crew in all of Dominaria, and also saved the plane from utter destruction

[d title=”Captain Sisay (EDH)”]

Commander

1 Captain Sisay

Lands

1 Yavimaya Hollow

1 Untaidake, the Cloud Keeper

1 Terramorphic Expanse

12 Plains

1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers

1 Myriad Landscape

1 Miren, the Moaning Well

1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea

1 Kor Haven

1 Hall of the Bandit Lord

1 Gods’ Eye, Gate to the Reikai

12 Forest

1 Flagstones of Trokair

1 Evolving Wilds

1 Eiganjo Castle[/d]

[d]

Creatures

1 Yosei, the Morning Star

1 Yomiji, Who Bars the Way

1 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger

1 Tolsimir Wolfblood

1 Thrun, the Last Troll

1 Sylvan Caryatid

1 Solemn Simulacrum

1 Sigarda, Host of Herons

1 Selvala, Explorer Returned

1 Sakura-Tribe Elder

1 Saffi Eriksdotter

1 Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant

1 Reki, the History of Kamigawa

1 Polukranos, World Eater

1 Myojin of Life’s Web

1 Mother of Runes

1 Mangara of Corondor

1 Llanowar Elves

1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence

1 Kongming, “Sleeping Dragon”

1 Karametra, God of Harvests

1 Kamahl, Fist of Krosa

1 Iwamori of the Open Fist

1 Hua Tuo, Honored Physician

1 Fyndhorn Elves

1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

1 Eight-and-a-Half-Tails

1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos

1 Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile

1 Bloom Tender

1 Birds of Paradise

1 Avacyn, Guardian Angel

1 Avacyn, Angel of Hope

1 Avacyn’s Pilgrim[/d]

[d]

Instants

1 Worldly Tutor

1 Swords to Plowshares

1 Path to Exile

1 Oblation

1 Crib Swap

1 Condemn

1 Beast Within

Sorceries

1 Wrath of God

1 Rampant Growth

1 Kodama’s Reach

1 Explore

1 Cultivate

1 Collective Voyage[/d]

[d]

Enchantments

1 Vassal’s Duty

1 Oblivion Ring

1 Day of Destiny

1 Banishing Light

Artifacts

1 Umezawa’s Jitte

1 Thran Dynamo

1 Quicksilver Amulet

1 Sol Ring

1 Sensei’s Divining Top

1 Konda’s Banner

1 Heroes’ Podium

1 Gilded Lotus

1 Darksteel Ingot

1 Commander’s Sphere

1 Akroma’s Memorial

[/d]

This deck is jam-packed with some of the best legendary creatures in green and white. There is a legendary creature that will suit your need for almost any situation. This type of versatility is what really gives this deck its power, as its able to adapt to almost any situation. If you need some way to deal with a massive army of tokens, [c]Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile[/c] will get the job done. If you need some way to draw cards, [c] Selvala, Explorer Returned[/c], [c]Mikokoro, Center of the Sea[/c], and [c]Reki, the History of Kamigawa[/c] will keep your hand full. If the board gets to a stalemate and you need a trump, look no further than [c]Akroma’s Memorial[/c] which will let you just run over your opponent.¬†

You also gain access to a tutorable anthem effect in the form of [c]Day of Destiny[/c], which is another great way to end board stalls. This deck has it all. Its biggest downfall though is that it’s very mana hungry. Some of these spells cost upwards of eight mana, and without an effective way to cheat them in outside of Quicksilver Amulet, it may take some time for you to amass the army that you need. There are a lot of ways to ramp up though, so that should help ease things out for you.

[c]Captain Sisay[/c] is arguably the best commander in these colors. Her versatility gives pilots the edge against the field. Power aside, it’s always fun to play with a lot of sweet legendary creatures. That’s what this deck is about. It’s about having fun and playing with some of your favorite legends across Magic’s expansive history. It’s a straight-forward toolbox strategy that can be difficult for your opponents to overcome. There’s a pretty good reason why she’s the captain of this crew.

Thank you guys for checking out this weeks Commander Corner. If you have any suggestions, as always let me know in the comments below. Next week, we have fun in a bouncy house. See you soon, my friends.

– Steven Gulsby