For those few who might still lurk in this forum, I'm sharing my latest list and its technology with you. I've been on Esper for months, swhitched to Jeskai, got back to Esper eventually cause it's so solid and gives you so much to work with in terms of disruption and resilience pre and post sideboard.
I'll start with this 5-0 list, I'm really happy to see how this can grind against the field, even in a metagame of Wrenn and 6, plague engineers and titan decks. my matchups have been:
Eldrazi Tron 2 1
Storm 2 0
Jund 2 1
Blue Moon 2 0
UW Spirits 2 0
So, the reason why this list holds its ground against potentially any deck are the 4 discards/4removals. In contrast to my previous lists I ve decided to shave on the 5x spot removal and shave down to 3 + one collective brutality. This has maybe worsened my G1 against creature aggro decks, but this doesn't mean they have turned from good to bad matchups. The core is still performing well exp because of lingering souls + lords. I could make room for 2 thoughtseize which are the nuts almost every single time i cast them, even against mono red taking a reveler or a crash trough can be huge, as much as stripping a boros charm from burn turns seize into a "i gain two" spell, and sending a searing blaze to the trash can can male the differenze between winning and losing the game.
Thoughtseize allows you a higher number of T1 plays, which is the weak spot for all the non bant configurations: 8 spells are not reliable enough, and I've never considered T1 pte a winning line. So I've given myself the possibility to draw any of 15 very good t1 spells, and Seize is by far the one that will throw a wrench in the plans of every combo and big mana deck, causing them to slow down their progression or make them unable to prevent you from developing your board. I'm still an aggro deck, so unless I'm up against tron ,in which case I need to strip map or a green tutor out of their hand, I'm priviledging the vial/wanderer start and hold up the discard for later. The 1CMC makes it incredible for curving purposes, you can really use your fantasy and have fun assembling a turn made of discard + spell + vial activation.
As for the rest of the mainboard, after one year and a half of back and forth, I ve decreed the 1st curious obsession is too strong to be ignored. You'll find yourself siding it out many times, yet it's going to win so many games , especially in a 4 discard built where you happen to explore your opponent's hand seeking for removals. Obsession is enormous against burn ( pahntom / queller out of bolt range) and every combo and big mana deck. It makes any of your spirits a threat that has to be dealt with the soonest. And as i said before, it demands immediate reaction , so this plays in your favor forcing a removal out of their hand when you have rattlechains at the ready to generate card advantage. Moorland haunt is bonkers, as much as I love having 15+ blue and black sources, I cant ignore the amount of weigh moorland pulls in grindy matchups. It's a little bit of a risk, but I think the reward of a second copy is worth it. beside the card advantage (generates creatures), haunt gives you the option of waiting their end step to do something. Your opponent is pressured by haunt, cause either they do something at the risk of getting interacted, or they'll do nothing and get haunted at the hend of the turn.
My sideboard features a well represented grindy package with 2 bitterblossom , 2 kaya's guile, favorable winds and one plague engineer . Blossoms are an answer to those hyper disturbing icefangs coatles, plague engineers, w/6 and such. It provides early card advantage, and diversifies your creatures. The 2CMC is absolutely key, coming down one turn earlier than Lingering Souls allows you to stick a fast game-long threat that your opponent is not prepared for. having a token per turn also means you re saving your resources in you hand without being pressured into plays like nakes spell quellers just to build a clock.
Fav winds is a natural inclusion given all of the fliers and the tokens. It puts pahntom/queller out of bolt range, and every spirit out of the w/6 ping. It keeps you in the game against plague engineers. Similarly to curoius obsession, I ve been playing this card before supreme phantom was printed, I've had it in my main, in the side or no copies. I come back to the 1x in my side everytime for different reasons.
Kaya's guile is think is missing the "sac enchantment mode" to be an all star sideboard card. It has given me a silver bullet against bogles, and a 2x1 to grind out creatures, eldrazis, burn, graveyards and so on. It's our kolaghan's command. plague engineer is so good against us that I decided to test one of, originally to wipe out thopters from thopter-sword decks, but then it turned to be a house against many other, icefang coatles included. I'd have two if mono red didn't existed and I coul play without worship.
worship is another silver bulled you want for aggro and mono red/burn. you gotta remind it's a nombo with bitterblossom, but the two are there for different matchups. I ve considered many options ,from kor, to auriok to timely reinforcements, to phyrexian unlife,azorius herald and so on. None of these says "you can't lose unless you have no creatures left". It's the most powerful thing you can do.
The 3 counterspells and the necessary number. I love squall, but i believe mana leak is too important to tempo out eldrazi and to catch disgusters like ensnaring bridge. Disdainful Stroke is reasonable aswell, but given I have only 3 slots for counters and I need to be flexible to catch early cages(moons , bridges ) or magus of the moon ( rg midrange quite frequent nowadays), I'd rather make room for this catch all counterspell over others with more restrictions.
RiP, Stony, Damping: not negotiable.
And that's all. My Average is 4 -1 in the leagues. Combo decks are an incrediby easy ride, worse matchup is shadow cause disrupts and pressures very efficiently. Jund is 50-50 cause the keep a g1 hand in the blind that often isn't enough to beat lingering souls or your progression anyways. Their winning curve is discard into W6, into removal/liliana. Post side you have to deal with 2 plagues. For the first time in my life I've been cutting 4 selfless and 2-3 rattlechains in order to give them the less 2 for 1 as possible.
Doing great w this list in MODERN folks. I have gone 5-0 twice today. Copter is excellent at filtering and pressuring, It's a 2x. 3 Time Raveler seem like a good hedge against control, UG reclamation and other stuff. 2 Remand 2 borrower to interact. rest of the list is stock, utility lands aswell.
Future directions: given the popularity of dredge and uro decks online i'm switching 2 shadow of doubts w 2 remorseful clerics and to have the best sinergy I'm maindecking one lurrus and adding one other lurrus in the side in replacement of 1 kira and 1 sword fire and ice. They are not for the companion mechanic but to be played as creatures. moving 1 time raveler to the side to make room to the main deck lurrus.
Thanks for the occasional updates, StreexIT. I have a Mac, so I only play xmage and now arena (yay!), but it's nice to see what's working for people in modern so I have some stuff to compare to when the LGS holds events again and I play spirits in paper again.
I'm currently 14-1 in the leagues whith this ( 5-0ed twice: list in the pic and this one https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/3463351#online).
Skyclave is a hell of a 3 drop, to maximize its ETB I'm running Teferi TR and Essence flux, so that I can bounce/blink to remove more stuff.
I've always been a fan of Essence Flux, it makes my plan totally unpredictable, now I've got a blinkable powerhouse and the sinergy with the deck is stronger than ever before. Also blinking Queller under Teferi is quite dirty.
Flux does trade tempo-efficiently with red burn spells , which I believe are the reason why the MU vs Red decks is hard: they tempo you out, and the same goes for shadow and all of those decks coupling pressure with 1cmc removals.
I've got 11 enter the battlefield effects, plus 4 wanderers to benefit from a spirit getting back on the battlefield. This is why I'm going 2x instead of just the one of. Never felt too much, be pacient with it and it will pay back.
As for the side, I've decided to use Halo instead of the 4th champion because I like having a flexible card as the last copy of an anti-X package. So halo can name shadows/swiftspears/scourge but also bogles, archive traps, eldrazis, Valakut and such.
I'm testing Miscast in replacement of mana leak cause many permanents I needed to counter with leak are now dealt with skyclave, so again i 'vepicked the most tempo efficient/non card-disadvantage counter. I'm not sold on force costing me 2 cards.
2 Dampings are stock, replaced the 3rd with needle to name a bunch of ***** like devoted druid (doesnt untap) , belcher, equipments/giver of runes agains takes.
Sword of fire and Ice is a flex slot. You could have Kira or whatever, I believe its the most grindy piece I can afford playing, it generates huge advantage. If it connects you're golden.
Bonojur, let me show you my most recent experiment: 4-color Spirits which I ve piloted to a 5-0.
This is the most aggro version I can think of, the deck aims at curving, overloading the board playing multiple spirits every turn (this is why i go 4 vial, 4 hierarchs and a ***** ton of 2cmc drops) while making little diruption, and finish the opponent either going wide, ammassing lords or locking the board with Eidolon.
Manabase: hands down the most difficult mana base I'v ever had to build. I've tried to copy humans, but then I'd have to give up on a number of sideboard cards which is think are too good to pass, like damping and shapers' sanctuary (wins single handedly against ctrl/midrange). To be clear, I dont think 4 ziggurats are reliable enough to cast damping on turn two, or copter, or even relic and crack right away. I've had to mulligan hands because of ziggurat vial in the opening. I dont wanna mulligan in the first place and even less so I want to mulligan 1-land/vial hands. Differently from humans, we have double colors in red and green, and this make it so difficoult to find a compromise and so important to start land vial when you can. Another minor problem is that hierarch is a human and not a spirit, so you gotta watch out and provide enough green sources. For this reason I've decided to pick forest as my basic land givena reasonable amount of blue sources.
I'll be testing with 2 fetchlands and 2 shocks.
I'd sum it up saying: if you smoothen the mana base with ziggurats, your sideboard gets to be less strong and viceversa.
Creatures: Phantasmal Image deserves a 2x at least to maximize the lord effects or to copy eidolon or some monsters played by the opponent. Wurmcoil Engine is a huge problem specifically, but it's always good to copy a skyclave apparition form the D&T player.
After a bunch of leagues I came to the conclusion that Eidolon is stronger than green Geist cause it has pseudo-evasion thanks to his effect, and geist in almost good but a number of time is just suboptimal so I'm shaving one copy for the second Copter. I hoped it to be the opposite for reasons related to the manabase.
Copter is very strong, especially in this configuration running so many walkers. Note that Eidolon + Copter are worth 5 damages a turn if your opponent is casting any spell early game. Copter is also keeping your hand threat-dense, which is of paramount importance for this version that has to deal the most damage in the first 4 turns.
I have eventually decided to stick to the 8x 3cmc drops cause most of the time I'd rather keep vial on two in a vacuum, and play queller/drogskol from the hand. You may also notice 50% of the 3cmc have flash, while just 20% of the 2cmc drops do have it(rattlechains), not to talk about the harsh mana requirements eidolon and geist have. So vial on two is the scenario I pick by default when I build the deck, different decisions can be taken as the game progresses.
Removals: I feel comfortable playing with no removals mainboard and just go for the throat. If the mana base would let me do so I'd be on a couple bolts to tempo the opponent out. Other options are PtE if you run enough W sources, or Vapor Snag if you decide to stay on waterlogged and have more blue.
I don't like dismember cause I already have very painful lands, and eidolons are not a joke.
Sideboard: I believe creatures are not enough. Forces are definitely an option, Sanctuaries are the best to grind your grindy opponent out, a couple skyclaves and a couple spot removals seem to be enough aswell but more tests have to be done.
Damping Spheres could be replaced with other anti Tron pieces ( I'd love alpine moon but I dont have enough red sources for non creature spells. If you find a way to reliably cast alpine moon then you've dealt with valakut and tron at once which is a very very big deal since amulet is a hard MU. I'm thinking of ghost quarter and I'll test it in the future. Another think that could have aplace here is Choke.
I'm playing 4 anti-graveyard cards, of which 2 cages are the best piece. 2 relics can be spent against uro/jund aswell.
Skite is there as a random protective piece, it can be helpful against D&T equipments, bogles and other stuff. Not sure if a pithing needle is better or not.
The archetype has yet to be explored so this is all but definite quite frankly.
Results so far have been two or three 3-2, a couple 4-1 and one 5-0, so it's worth noting the deck has always chashed in the league at the very least and this is what I find surprising about this crazy pile of spirits. It indicates there's potential.
I expect results to further improve as I get to understand what the sideboard needs and tune mana base properly, which is the hardest I've ever assembled in 4 years of modern spirits.