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  • 1

    posted a message on Modern Spirits
    mariner is a disruptive piece and has the kind of ability we'd consider in a spirit, i like him for that. i like the way you can stack multiple of them, i like the way it incidentally stops burn and some combos (ad nauseam, storm, scapeshift) from doing their thing. i like him in addition to kira as a protection package. i like the fact that unlike thalia he grows up with our lords, so that he's useful in noncreature matchups.


    he doesn't fly, which is a huge drawback in many games.
    he has a fairly steep cost, meaning you can't run a greedy manabase with mutavaults (which by the way i recently switched with horizon lands and i'm happy with that)
    he doesn't contribute to our plan significantly: while spirits excel at protecting each other, the layer of protection mariner gives is either irrelevant or too weak to matter.
    The major thing about him, though, is that the meta is currently not about removals. of the 4 top tier decks, three don't really care about removals, and humans - the only one that does - is thriving off of the lack of removal in the meta (so does infect, by the way).

    TLDR While mariner has an ability that's relevant, it is too weak and too irrelevant meta-wise to warrant a spot in our tight decklist.
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 1

    posted a message on [Deck] Modern Slivers
    thank you patbou, i agree with most of the things you said

    some points i would like to make:

    • fiery islet is better than mutavault? it helps cast all our double cmc spells, and the cantripping is nice.
    • manaweft sliver is it worth it? a 2cmc mana dork is not that impressive, especially given the fact that our curve tops at cmc=2
    • no dismember to slow down opposing creatures? maybe it's sideboard material
    • as you said for the flex slots, i propose some numbers of blur sliver to give redundancy to haste, one of the most broken keywords available

    my initial list is the following

    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
  • 1

    posted a message on Modern Spirits
    how did tithe taker perform? did it contribute positively to your record?

    Also, i'm going to experiment with a list that - heresy!- lacks noble hierarch, but in bant colors. Small splash for coco, it should play like UW does-.
    since i just swapped noble hierarchs for rattlechains, i'll be watching closely if any hand could have developed better with the mana dork

    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 1

    posted a message on Modern Spirits
    Elves and merfolk are light on interaction, spirits suffer from the clock slowing down.. Maybe you could consider deputy of detention?
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 1

    posted a message on Modern Spirits
    this is for you UW aficionados

    stop telling me to play bant spirits

    EDIT: the answer to this: i'm in love with the coco
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 1

    posted a message on Modern Spirits
    the spirits primer is online again!
    thanks to the mod team
    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 2

    posted a message on Modern Spirits

    Playing the Deck
    Bant Spirits is one of moderns few competitive tempo decks. The modern tempo archetype has always been lacking most of it’s characteristic cards like Daze, Stifle and Force of Will that make it‘s Legacy counterpart, all flavours of Delver of Secrets decks, so strong. Bant Spirits replaces those missing cards with disruptive flash creatures like Spell Queller and other powerful ahead of the curve plays like a turn 2 Geist of Saint Traft or a turn 3 Collected Company.

    So, how do you play Bant Spirits?
    It is important to remember that many of your cards can be played at instant speed, allowing you to often play fully on your opponents’ turn. This way you can either respond to your opponents cards or simply apply pressure by flashing in some creatures at the end of his or her turn if needed. Bant Spirits do offer you a lot of different lines of play each turn but because your deck is relying on synergy rather than pure strength the margins of failure are very thin.
    Being familiar with all the small interactions between your cards and having experience will drastically increase your win rate, even more so than with other decks. Your game plan, similar to UW Spirits, is built around using your creatures as tempo plays to fizzle removal spells or counter your opponents cards while also leaving behind a flying body for bringing some beats, thus creating huge tempo swings that are hard to recover from.
    Splashing for G allows the deck to run Noble Hierarch, one of the most powerful One-Drop Creatures ever printed, and Collected Company as a way of instant speed card advantage. Those two cards define the Bant Version and set it apart from more traditional UW lists because it makes it easier to race or apply early pressure, which is especially relevant against the various Combo and Ramp strategies running around. Leading with a turn 1 Hierarch into a turn 2 Geist of Saint Traft often spells doom for interactive and noninteractive decks alike. It is important to make the most out of your cards, don’t cast your creatures just „beacuse you can“ if there is no need for it. You will often win games by beating down with just one or two flying spirits each turn, only countering your opponents key spell with a Spell Queller and keep your other creatures in hand to protect your more important ghosts if needed, only flashing them in if you can attack for lethal on the following turn or in a race situation.
    Collected company is, in this framework of aggressively playing tempo strategy, an instant-speed way to look at 6 more cards in your deck and pick 2 creatures. In this build the card must not be played as a combo enabler or as a value ( #walue ) spell, but as an access to more tricks and, eventually, as a way to represent more copies of each card (the deck is very consistent because of this card often managing to find a needed card e.g. a Selfless Spirit or Spell Queller when under Damnation)

    So why should you play Bant Spirits?
    Simply put? Because it's awesome, fun to play and much better than many people give it credit for!
    The deck is widely underrated/underplayed and your opponents will often have to double read what your cards are exactly doing which is amusing to watch and makes them somewhat suspicious to make wrong plays or don't know what cards to play around. The deck also rewards tight play and experience, all combined with a unique playstyle for a creature based tribal deck.

    The Deck

    Card Choices

    Noble Hierarch Rate4 - One of the perks of going into green is Noble Hierarch. This small creature is able to produce one mana each turn, as well as granting +1/+1 to an attacker if it attacks alone. Plays like a turn 2 Geist of Saint Traft (that can attack as a 3/3 creature on turn 3) or Spell Queller are undoubtedly strong, let alone a turn 3 Collected Company. Even later, being able to drop more spirits in a turn means that the synergies between spirits can be exploited more efficiently. Later in the game, it accelerates less than Aether Vial, but is surely a more versatile card, and can even serve as a chump-blocker if the need arises.
    The only downside is that this creature is still alive. Being a mortal, we can’t wait for him to turn into Spirit.

    Phantasmal Image Rate3 - Less versatile than in the Vial variant, this card is still phenomenal. Besides adding more consistency to the double-Drogskol Captain lock, it can represent an additional hit for Collected Company, copying any creature that’s already on the battlefield (if you resolve Company with a creature on the board, count that creature - say Spell Queller - as having additional copies in the deck).
    In a pinch, Phantasmal Image can become a copy of an opponent’s creature (even if it has hexproof, or shroud!). This is great against Jeskai/Azoorius Control’s own Geist of Saint Traft or Snapcaster Mages, or Eldrazi’s Reality Smashers. You can even copy a Tarmogoyf and force the opponent to cast a removal to get rid of him: make them have it!
    Even copying Mausoleum Wanderer or Selfless Spirit is actually a reasonable play in certain matchups: Phantasmal Image’s boon is, in fact, his versatility.

    Path To Exile Rate4 - this cheap interactive spell is necessary to keep the board in check while the game develops. at CMC=1, it’s the most efficient removal spell in the colours, and one of the most unconditional in the format. The downside of giving the opponent a land is real, but there aren’t better options.

    Collected Company Rate5 - This spell works a bit differently than in other decks. This deck doesn’t have any combo to achieve, so the main interest is not to accelerate into this spell (eve if that’s surely pleasant), but to use it as a temporary extension of our hand, and as a tool to place more than one piece into the board. Since Spirits rely on their synergies to gain virtual card advantage through interactions[, a spell able to increase the consistency of such interactions is certainly welcomed. Thus, this spell must not be regarded exclusively as a card advantage spell, but should be used as additional interaction. This aspect poses value to the instant-speed nature of the spell. If we ever wanted to look for sources of actual card advantage in these colours, Lead the Stampede would be a more solid card advantage tool, but that spell can’t be cast at instant speed, and this is, among others, the point that makes it too clunky for this build’s gameplans.

    Gavony Township Rate4 - Its activation cost is high, but being able to repeatedly pump up the team is a great ability in order to stall boardstates that can then be won with flyers.

    Moorland Haunt Rate4 - Being able to create a Spirit at instant speed is surprisingly relevant in this deck - this card is able to yield two creatures out of every Spirit, and makes use of an otherwise unused resource (the graveyard), thus spreading the lines that the opponent might have to answer. Incredibly strong in grindy matchups, this card is as close as it can be as a staple card of the deck.


    Engineered ExplosivesRate4 - more than a sweeper, this is a card that allows to deal with multiple copies of a particular cheap card. Sometimes it becomes almost a one sided wrath KABOOM!
    Qasali Pridemage Rate3 - the Smashing cat has come back
    Eidolon of Rhetoric Rate4 - Might be considered as a mainboard surprise in certain metas. ”Being able to cast a spell is a gift: there’s never another like it”
    Rhox war monk Rate4 - Not a spirit, but a 3/4 lifelinker that can be cast on turn 2. Just a good value card that happens to shut down burn (a difficult matchup). Rhox Firefighter
    Rest In Peace ”[...]”
    stony Silence ”Fool is the one who seeks answers from the rocks”
    Detention Sphere Rate3 -it’s like me and pizza: eat one, want them all.
    Unified will Rate3 a good counterspells with an easy-to achieve condition, and a playable cost. the direct alternative would be negate always play at least 2 of this unconditional spell-”Nope.”

    Alternative Card Choices

    Geist Of Saint Traft Rate4 - This is probably the most discussed card in the Spirits archetype. Undoubtedly, this spirit is a bit more “selfish” than the others, and his abilities tend to not improve the tribal strategy.
    Despite this, Geist’s weakness (the inability to attack without dying in combat) makes him a fragile and situational card in many matchups- even though his ability to close out games quickly is relevant, especially against combo or other uninteractive decks. Furthermore, his selfishness makes him the best creature in the deck by himself, and this is relevant in grindy matchups where resources are traded one-by-one and it’s important to have creatures that can defend themselves.
    Even if Jeskai/Azorius control’s gameplans fit this card better, Bant Spirits has some ways to mitigate his downsides (for example, Noble Hierarch), and in this variant the Geist is not as underwhelming as it may be in the Azorius version. Mainboard.
    Kira, Great Glass-Spinner Rate4 Giving your creatures pseudo hexproof. A great combo with the Captain. Mainboard.
    Nebelgast Herald Rate4 - Mainboard.
    Kataki, War’s Wage Rate4 - Sideboard.
    Birds of Paradise Rate3 - Mainboard.
    Permeating Mass Rate3 - the author of this primer has a huge bias toward this card, as it is one of his pet cards. But you can see the potential, right? also useful in almost all bad matchup we haveMainboard or Sideboard.
    Tallowisp Rate2 - Mainboard. Can just use it to get Steel of the Godhead to pants up your Geist of Saint Traft or try a toolbox approach with Curious Obsession, Pacifism, etc. For grindier metas.
    Scavenging Ooze Rate2 - Sideboard. good vs. dredge
    Reclamation Sage Rate2 - Sideboard. Similar to Qasali Pridemage. Better when off Company or when you are sure of a target.
    Kitchen Finks Rate2 - Sideboard. did someone say burn?
    Burrenton Forge-tender Rate2 - Sideboard. did someone say burn?
    Auriok champion Rate2 - Sideboard. this card is decent against burn and also black-based decks. only problem is the casting cost.
    Kor Firewalker Rate1 - Sideboard. as burrenton forge-tender, it’s exclusively for burn. it has a difficult cost, though.
    Azorius Herald Rate3 - Sideboard. the only aggro/burn hate in the tribe besides Permeating mass and Eidolon of rhetoric, 4 life is a decent amount, but its true perk is real imblockability that could break a stall, for example out of a mirror match
    Keening Apparition Rate3 - Sideboard.
    Phyrexian revoker Rate3 - Sideboard.
    Spellskite Rate3 - Sideboard.
    Aven Mindcensor Rate3 - Sideboard.
    Strangleroot Geist Rate2 - Mainboard. he attacks, he proteccs, he come back from the ded
    Spectral Shepherd Rate2 - Mainboard. if you manage to use his ability properly it’s the best spirit ever printed. too bad it costs a lot. Still worth a ride in my opinion
    Bygone Bishop Rate2 - Mainboard. another one who’s too slow for modern, n+but might see play in some dedicated builds
    Eternal Witness Rate2 - Mainboard.
    Mirror Entity Rate2 - Mainboard. best spirit. especially as a pseudo lord. I try to fit him in every deck i play due to the overrun ability
    Kami of false Hope Rate2 - Sideboard.
    Metallic Mimic Rate1 - Mainboard.
    Adaptive Automaton Rate1 - Mainboard.
    Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit Rate1 Thanks to Collected Company we have creatures entering the battlefield left and right. This card is good, although a bit of a nonbo if you have multiple Noble Hierarchs or Birds on the field. Mainboard.

    Steel of the Godhead Rate3 - This is a card that doesn’t always see play, but when it does it’s because it pairs perfectly with Geist of Saint Traft. Even equipping this weapon to a [creature]Spell Queller[/creature] sometimes allows to win lost games. Despite this, the card is clunky and really works with the UW creatures in the deck, which already have a target displayed on their ectoplasmic back: for this reason, sometimes Unflincing Courage and Spirit Mantle are preferred to this aura..
    This card should be considered part of a package that also includes Geist Of Saint Traft and Noble Hierarch, and without them it’s probably not going to make the cut. Mainboard.
    Blessed Alliance Rate4 -Sideboard.
    Supreme Verdict Rate4 -Sideboard.
    Negate Rate3 -Sideboard.
    Nissa, Steward of Elements Rate3 -Sideboard.
    Aether Vial Rate3 -Mainboard.
    Curious Obsession Rate3 -Mainboard.
    Unflinching Courage Rate3 - Mainboard.
    Echoing Truth Rate3 -Sideboard.
    Favorable Winds Rate3 - Mainboard.
    Ghostly Prison Rate3 -Sideboard.
    Pithing NeedleRate3 - Sideboard.
    Worship Rate3 -Sideboard.
    Genju of the Fields Rate3 -Sideboard.
    Unified will Rate3 -Sideboard.
    Ceremonious Rejection Rate2 - Sideboard.
    Deprive Rate1 - Sideboard.
    Utopia Sprawl Rate1 - Mainboard.

    Ghost Quarter Rate2 - Useful, but most of the time activating it and missing a land drop is deprecable Mainboard.
    Field of Ruin Rate2 - the slowest fetchland, highly suggested if on a budget Mainboard.
    Celestial Colonnade Rate2 - we try to accelerate and be aggressive in the first turns, our plan is to win with as few lands as possible. this card is strong but we’ll rarely achieve the mana to attack with it. Needs a manabase change to fit in. Mainboard.


    Unfortunately, there are not ways to make a competitive budget list on 3 colours, especially since the only green cards that Bant Spirits run are Noble Hierarch, Gavony Township and Collected Company.
    Obviously, there’s no reason to go into Bant colours without Collected Company (even though Lead the Stampede would probably be the best budget alternative).

    For budget-oriented players, though, switching Noble Hierarch with Birds of Paradise will save about 200$, and turning Gavony Township into Moorland Haunt will save about 6$.
    While the second change is rather painless, removing Noble Hierarch for Birds has some implications. Even though the deck’s overall power level doesn’t change much, this change implies that Geist of Saint Traft is a more fragile card, and could not make the cut (especially considering the abundance of powerful 3-drops in the Spirits tribe). It’s possible that, in such case, Nebelgast Herald orFavorable Winds could become better options.

    Cavern of Souls’s direct budget replacement is Unclaimed Territory (this change would save roughly 50$), but it might be better to try to strengthen the colour-producing lands, especially if the manabase is not optimal.

    this deck costs about 300$ (Jan 2018), saving about 500$ from the direct upgrade, and is close to the full version in terms of competitiveness.
    The deck could be further made cheaper with 4x Field of Ruin, which is a slow fetchland in disguise. In this way access to all colors is granted even when on a very low budget. The list is not optimal but should work (most of the times)

    Matchups and Sideboarding
    So what are the Match Up's like with Bant Spirits?
    This deck really shines against spell based Combo decks because your creatures are good at disrupting your opponents gameplan while also providing a fast clock to kill them before they can recover and find more combo pieces. Interactive Midrange and Control decks are positive MU’s too but require thoughtful use of your spells. Remember that you are a tempo based deck that is trying to trade on mana and tempo. If you start trading card for card you will eventually start falling behind on board and loose to Midrange and Controls stronger individual cards even with Collected Company as a way of card advantage.
    However, Bant Spirits has trouble dealing with aggressive strategies like Burn or Affinity which either don‘t really want to interact with your creatures or just outright kill you in the first few turns. Proper use of your sideboard slots will help you in those games but they will always be uphill battles for this deck.

    Tier 1

    IN: 2 stony silence, 2 qasali pridemage

    Grixis Death’s Shadow
    OUT: -3 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +1 rest in peace +1 Detention Sphere +2 engineered explosives

    Gx Tron
    OUT: -2 Phantasmal Image -1 Spell Queller
    IN: +2 stony silence +3 Unified Will

    Eldrazi Tron
    OUT: -2 Spell Queller
    +2 stony silence +1 Detention Sphere

    OUT: 3x Phantasmal Image, 1x Rattlechains,
    IN: +2 Rhox war Monk +1 eidolon of rhetoric +2 Unified Will

    5c Humans
    OUT: -1 Rattlechains -1 Phantasmal Image
    +2 Engineered Explosives +2 Qasali Pridemage +1 Rhox War Monk

    Jeskai Tempo
    OUT: -1 Rattlechains -2 Phantasmal Image
    +1 rest in peace +1 eidolon of rhetoric +2 Unified Will

    OUT: -2 Phantasmal Image
    +3 Unified Will +1 Qasali Pridemage
    Tier 2

    OUT: - 2 Phantasmal Image
    IN: 2 Rest in Peace, 2 Unified Will, 1 Engineered Explosives, 1 Eidolon of Rhetoric

    Jeskai Control
    OUT: -3 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +2 rest in peace +1 eidolon of rhetoric +2 Unified Will

    Counters Company
    IN: +1 Detention Sphere

    UW control
    OUT: -2 Phantasmal Image -2 Noble Hierarch -1 Collected Company
    IN: +2 rest in peace +1 eidolon of rhetoric +3 Unified Will +1 Detention Sphere

    OUT: -1 Collected Company -2 Selfless Spirit
    IN: +2 Engineered Explosives +2 Qasali Pridemage +1 Detention Sphere

    Traverse Death’s Shadow
    OUT: -2 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +2 rest in peace +1 Detention Sphere +1 Eidolon of Rhetoric

    Lantern Control
    OUT: -3 Path to Exile -2 Selfless Spirit -1 Drogskol Captain
    IN: +2 engineered explosives +2 Qasali Pridemage +2 Stony Silence +1 Detention Sphere

    Death and Taxes
    OUT: -2 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +2 Qasali Pridemage +2 Rhox War Monk +1 Detention Sphere

    GBx (Abzan, Jund)
    OUT: -2 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +2 rest in peace +1 Detention Sphere

    OUT: -2 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +2 Rest in Peace +1 Detention Sphere +2 rhox war monk
    Other Archetypes

    IN: +2 Engineered Explosives +1 Detention Sphere

    GriShoalBrand (Reanimator)
    OUT: - 2 Selfless Spirit
    IN: +2 Rest In Peace, +1 Detention Sphere

    OUT: - 2 Selfless Spirit
    IN: +2 Rest In Peace, +1 Detention Sphere

    OUT: -1 Rattlechains -1 Mausoleum Wanderer
    IN: +2 Rest In Peace +1 Detention Sphere

    UR Breach Moon
    OUT: -2 Selfless Spirit -1 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +2 Qasali Pridemage +2 Unified Will

    IN: +1 Engineered Explosives +2 Unified Will

    OUT: - 2 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +2 Engineered Explosives +2 Qasali Pridemage

    Ad Nauseam
    OUT: -2 Selfless Spirit -2 Phantasmal Image -2 Path to Exile
    IN: +2 Stony Silence +2 Qasali pridemage +1 Eidolon of Rhetoric

    Hollow One/VengeVine
    IN: +1 Detention Sphere, +2 Rest In Peace

    Bant Eldrazi
    OUT: -1 Mausoleum Wanderer
    IN: +1 Detention Sphere

    Bushwacker Zoo
    OUT: -2 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +2 Rhox War Monk +1 Detention Sphere +2 Engineered Exploosives

    Living End
    OUT: -1 Rattlechains
    IN: +2 Rest in Peace +2 Unified Will

    GW Company
    IN: +2 Rest in Peace +2 Rhox War Monk

    Amulet Titan
    OUT: -1 Rattlechains -2 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +2 Qasali Pridemage +2 Unified Will

    8 Rack
    OUT: -1 Path to Exile -2 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +2 Qasali Pridemage +2 Engineered Explosives +1 Detention Sphere

    OUT: -4 Drogskol Captain
    IN: +2 Qasali Pridemage +1 Eidolon of Rhetoric +2 Engineered Explosives

    Grixis Delver
    OUT: -2 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +2 Rest In Peace

    Grixis Control
    OUT: -2 Phantasmal Image
    IN: +1 Eidolon of Rhetoric +2 Rest In Peace

    IN: +1 Blessed Alliance

    Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
  • 2

    posted a message on Modern Spirits

    Overview of the Deck

    Greetings, mortal!
    Do not be afraid of us! We were like you, once. But now... we’re something else: we are the souls of the fallen heroes, the essence of their bravery and the pressure of their blood. We are the speed of their arms and the gravity of their fists, the reflections of their tears and the scent of their flesh.
    We are now one with the lands that saw those heroes succumb to their fate. We are here to proclaim their glory and forever set the paths of our descendants. We are here to protect them and light their way. We are the guardians of this land, in death as we were in life.
    We’re the spirits of this multiverse!

    Spirits is a tempo (aggro-control) creature-based archetype.
    Spirit creatures excel at setting the opponents’ pace and protecting each other from threats, while still being able to race pretty fast with flying creatures.
    In a format like modern, flying is a very relevant keyword, often meaning unblockability even in the face of huge threats. Another strength of the deck resides in the natural tendency of spirits at interacting with the opponents’ gameplans, which is relevant in a format full of linear threats and un-interactive strategies. The tribe also easily supports instant-speed playing.
    Spirits has a core of versatile creatures that can be declined into more controlling or aggressive strategies, ranging from aggro to control. Even within different matchups, spirits can take the role of either the aggressor or the controller. This extreme flexibility makes the deck extremely fun and satisfying to play, with many different lines to take each game and a lot of subtle synergies to be discovered.

    Quote from Selfless Cathar »
    "If I fail to offer myself, we will surely be overrun. My fate would be the same."

    Quote from Selfless Spirit »
    “There’s always more to give”

    History of the Deck

    Spirits has been one of the most represented and iconic tribes in Magic’s History.
    Back in 2012, pro player Jon Finkel top8’ed Pro Tour Dark Ascension in Standard with a UWB Spirits tribal deck featuring Drogskol captain, Phantasmal image, Lingering Souls and Dungeon Geists. The deck ended up third, but the whole world knew that Drogskol Captain was just waiting for some new friends in order to break Modern!

    Spirits as an archetype in Modern was born after Shadows over Innistrad (spring 2016 set) and Eldritch Moon (summer 2016 set) were released. The second Innistrad block brought a lot of interesting creatures to complement the already vast pool of spirits creatures that was already available in Modern, and turned what was the possibility of a Spirits tribal deck into a reality.
    A great shout out has to be made for magic pro player Caleb Durward, who brought Spirits to fame. The intrepid bearded hero won at SCG Open in Milwaukee on October 23, 2016, just a few months after Eldritch Moon was released, inspiring many other wizards to take the phantasmal way.

    In time, Spirits have become a solid reality in modern, affirming itself as a legitimate deck, and represents a competitive and fun option for those intending to go tribal in an unconventional way.

    The Core

    This is the core of the deck. There are other powerful Spirit cards, but these ones are the backbone of any Spirit deck in Modern. In fact, any deck running this core might be classified as tribal Spirits.
    Having a core consisting of 24 creatures makes the shell extremely flexible and customizable. These few cards already highlight two of the things spirits do best than other tribes: they protect each other, and they are extremely flexible, making the deck able to take both the aggro or control role.
    As the reader will see, there are a few other cards that can be considered and that can exploit Spirits' synergies at best.

    Card Choices

    Mausoleum Wanderer Rate5 - this little guy is probably the best card in the deck. Don’t be fooled by its innocuous appearance! By himself this cheap creature constantly threaten to counter any of the opponent's instants and sorceries at key moments of the game. In addition, Wanderer is buffed whenever another spirit enters the battlefield. This makes him able to attack for some early damage and still be relevant later in the game: as he grows, his ability becomes increasingly difficult to be circumvented. With the deck being able to operate at instant speed and grow the Wanderer, the opponent can’t know the exact amount of mana taxing provided by this creature, giving this creature value even beyond his actual power. Will it be a force spike or a Mana Leak?
    It is a key piece against combo decks and overall the best creature to start building presence. It can both cover a defensive role by countering spells or playing an aggro one when being pumped by another spirit. This flexibility is the reason why this creature is one of those you should never side out, but rather find the best way to abuse of its triggered and activated abilities.
    Mausoleum Wanderer makes it so our opponent has to play off curve in order to not lose any important spells, and these precious few turns are vital to allow the deck get in one or more combat steps. Mausoleum Wanderer can also be a very aggressive card given the right draw, which fits in with the gameplan of using aggressive flyers to control the pace of the match.
    One notion you must absolutely be familiar with, is the order you should put Spell Queller's and Mausoleum Wanderer's Enter the Battlefield abilities on the stack, whenSpell Queller hits the floor triggering Mausoleum Wanderer.
    The order should always be the following:
    This way, if your opponents are short on mana and they try to cast their removal spell in response to the Wanderer pump trigger, they will be forced forced to kill Spell Queller before his Enters The Battllefield effect has resolved, so the Leave The Battlefield trigger will go on the stack before the ETB effect, thus having their spell be exiled forever.
    The knowledge of this interaction is of paramount importance against multi-removal builts, like GBx decks and UWR control, and allows you to generate a form of card advantage instead of just a simple trade ( you lose your Spell Queller, they lose both their quelled spell and the removal spell).

    Rattlechains Rate5 -
    On his own, still an efficient and evasive beater, will put the opponent under a relevant clock.
    The truly "Selfless" among our Spirits, 2 CMC drop, non mana-intensive, he allows us to generate card disadvantage for the opponents by saving whatever spirit from spot removals, and then allowing us to cast any other one with flash. In this light, Rattlechains serves both as engine for Spirits’ synergies and represents an additional synergy itself. Having those two different abilities also prevents multiple copies of him in hand from being dead cards.

    Rattlechains is more than a useful tool that does all of the work listed above, it's also the very single creature, one of a kind Spirit, that is able to generate card disadvantage for our opponents on its own (this spirit is one of the closest things as a two-for-one 1 trade).
    Take this example of a fairly typical situation; your opponents are casting a removal spell to kill one of your creatures, and you respond to it flashing Rattlechains in (by hardcasting it or using the Aether Vial) If it resolves, this is causing a permanent tempo swing in our favour, because the opponents are losing a card and we are adding pressure to the board, and this is something no other spirit printed so far (March 2018) is capable of doing with no Vial on the field (truth be told, Spell Queller - and drogskol captain when able to be flashed in - are also generating this kind of tempo swing).
    The other spirit you can use to generate some permanent card advantage is Drogskol Captain, but this is possible only under two conditions: having a Rattlechains providing Flash or having an Aether Vial ticked up to three counters. Once again, since tempo is our archetype and Vial is doubling your possibilities to stick to this strategy, this constitutes another very good reason to add it to your shell.

    This said, it is easy to see what Wizards had in their mind when they designed our deck. Rattlechains and Spell Queller are tempo creatures, and this is what we are meant to do for now, to tempo out our opponents.
    Hands down, we can say Rattlechains is the most powerful card in our deck other than being the card that allows our deck to exist.

    Selfless Spirit Rate5 - giving indestructible at any time to your whole team is a very good ability on developed board states. This creature will give some headaches to opponents trying to figure out combat math, and will make spirits able to block proficiently (even if that’s normally something they can’t do very well). It can also be used to save other spirits, and provides resilience to wraths.
    Always be aware that Dismember is still a card in modern, as much as Flaying Tendrils after sideboard against black based decks.
    On his own, still an efficient beater, 2 evasive damage is a good rate for 2 mana.

    Supreme Phantom Rate5 - M19 provided us with a second lord effect for just 2 mana. The fact that it's easy to cast, supports an evasive tribe and flies itself makes it one of best lords ever printed. The mere reason that this is a 2-mana lord makes it an auto-include into most builds of the archetype.
    Its stats (1/3) aren't particularly exciting, even though it dodges some removal, but the more defensive body relevantly helps the deck with defending while in racing situations.
    It speeds up the clock, doubles your chances of playing a lord during the game and thus making Phantasmal Image come down as a copy of a lord is now much easier.
    It's worth noting this spirit has both an offensive and defensive nature. As for the former, it's intuitive to see how a +1/+1 bonus is pulling out a clear aggro plan in the air. The latter is a bit more hidden in its stats and interactions. let's go over them:
    Supreme Phantom is a valuable early game blocker, it can stop your opponent chipping away life points by staying back. The most appealing blocks happen against Goblin Guide, Eidolon of the Great Revel, Kird Ape, Young Pyromancer, Flamewake Phoenix, Bloodghast, Voice of Resurgence, Dark Confidant, Vault Skirge, Snapcaster Mage and a number of flyers from Lingering Souls to Narcoamoeba which have always been efficient at holding us back not being able to attack nor defend because the trade was in our opponent's favour.
    The list is huge and for every creature you can understand how relevant is such a creature to slow your opponent down and speeding your clock up at the same time.
    Speaking of defensive features Supreme Phantom, it is naturally resilient to a number of minor removals this tribe has suffered over the course of the last two years. The most played are Electrolyze, Collective Brutality, Kolaghan's Command, Liliana, the Last Hope, Grim Lavamancer, Kozilek's Return and Pyroclams, along with a number of sideboard cards, namely Searing Blood, Forked bolt, Zealous Persecution, Orzhov Pontiff and the latest Goblin Chainwhirler.
    It also makes Walking Ballista and Girapur Aethergrid much less impactful against our creatures during the first turns of the game.
    What is worth noting is that most of these cards are no longer good at killing our other spirits in the presence of Supreme Phantom, so it's easy to see that the power of this lord doesn't just rely on the offensive bonus it provides and its ability to block small creatures, but also on it being that kind of creature that helps preserving the integrity of your board for it to grow lethal, disruptive and resilient in a matter of few turns.
    Digging a bit more on its interactions with our other spirits, let's point out the followings:
    • Against Red decks, playing a couple of these will assure you having two bolt-proof lords for the rest of the game, letting you spend your hexproof providers to save other creatures
    • If you are playing Curious Obsession, you may want to notice that suiting Supreme Phantom gives you a bolt-proof, card-draw engine and lord-effect provider until some double burn spell resolve on it.
    • Against Lightning Bolt-like effects, Supreme Phantom can be flashed on the battlefield to save Spell Queller, acting as a pseudoRattlechains . This is also happening to prevent two of your creatures dying off Electrolyze.
    • Supreme Phantom now makes our deck much more playable under Blood Moon.
    • The UW version of the deck now needs to care about having one single basic source of blue to be able to deploy more than half of the creatures of the deck: Mausoleum Wanderer, Rattlechains, Supreme Phantom, Nebelgast Herald, Phantasmal Image and [/card]Curious Obsession[card] if you play it, are all castable with a single basic island in play.
      The difference with the past is that we are now given a non mana-intensive lord which is copyable by Phantasmal Image, and this gives the deck better chances to win especially when your opponent has kept their opening hand because of Blood Moon, hoping to be enough to prevent you from casting spells.
    • Moorland Haunt is taking one of the biggest benefits by the presence of four extra lords, as its tokens have now a much higher chance to enter the battlefield as 2/2 creatures. This adds value to our sacrificing spirits (Mausoleum Wanderer , Selfless Spirit, Remorseful Cleric
    • Mausoleum Wanderer is now able to trigger to a 3/3 twice the times and staying statically pumped up to a 2/2, one turn earlier than when (Drogskol Captain has been the only one lord available so far). This matters especially against turn 3 combo decks like Storm and Goryo's Vengeance. These deck can be slowed down either by playing Mausoleum Wanderer into Supreme Phantom at sorcery speed, or by vialing Supreme Phantom on the field getting an extra point of power during their turn off the trigger.
    • Nebelgast Herald and Supreme Phantom cooperate to create an unexpected lethal board against straight aggro deck. Increasing the number of lords means that you can hide your lethal attack behind some untapped lands and an untapped Aether Vial: whenever your opponent tries to swing for lethal, you flash in Nebelgast Herald, or other spirits to make it trigger. Your opponent is going to have a hard time trying to predict what your board is going to look like at the end of their turn and the amount of damage they will be effectively able to deal you.
    • Our new addition doesn't just make Nebelgast Herald tap a creature, but it also pumps the team to produce lethal board in a matter of half a turn from there.
      If your opponent's plan was to tap out and swing for lethal, they are not going to like the synergy.
    • Since the number of lords is doubled, Mutavault is now a valuable utility land the deck can recur to in order to add extra pressure against creature-light matchups. Mutavault being every type of creatures takes benefit of the bonus Supreme Phantom and Drogskol Captain provide, taking relevant chunks of your opponent's life away in the presence of a +1/+1 provider.

    Speaking of curving to maximize the damage dealt, keep in mind you deal the highest amount of damage by playing non-lord spirits followed by the lord itself in your turn before the Damage Phase. The reason is that the lord doesn't provide extra power to itself, so you should privilege playing other spirits first, backing them up with the +1/+1 provider afterwards.
    The more developed your board is at the moment when the lord comes down, the higher its impact is on the game.

    Drogskol Captain Rate5 -The original lord of the spirits. Other spirits get +1/+1 and hexproof. Can you believe it? Hexproof! Having two of them on the board (or one of them + ways to protect him) means any spirit can’t be targeted by removal, in addition to being a huge flying threat. Whatever variant of the archetype we choose, our deck is built around reaching these kinds of board states.

    The Captain opens up to different kind of synergies - which can be considered a range of increasingly tighter kind of locks - with either Mausoleum Wanderer, Selfless Spirit, Kirakira, another The Captain or… Phantasmal image.
    Since we are running a tempo scheme of play, casting the Captain on our main phase is suboptimal, unless you are going all in for the win. You'll be able to get all of the value you can take out of its presence only when you have the option to flash it in, and to do so, you'll either need a Rattlechains on the board or an Aether Vial: you do need one of these two conditions in order to improve the Captain and make it be 4 extra copies of Rattlechains. Once this happens, you'll be in the position to make it hit the floor at instant speed, allowing you to blank your opponent's removal, making them lose a card and putting yourself ahead.
    Drogskol Captain's impact is much about having a developed or semi-developed board, so be sure you prepare and protect your side of the field to make the Lord come down and speed you up to victory.

    Spell Queller Rate5 - to complete the spirits’ core, a creature that’s almost a counterspell on a stick. it complements spirits’ tendency to protect each other and is downside is mitigated by the fact that he can be protected. Some say it’s the best spirit, and they surely have some reasons to say it.
    Spell Queller: This is our most popular and feared character, the one that embodies the concept of Tempo, merging both the aspects of control and pressure. Since it can have such an impressive impact on the game, it will always be the primary target for your opponent's removals, thus holding a Spell Queller in your hand implies to spend time to think what are your current options to protect it once it's hit the battlefield with profit.
    Let's get deeper and let me say Spell Queller is not simply causing your opponents to change their game plan upon seeing you have 3 lands untapped or an Aether Vial on 3, it's also changing our own gameplay, by leading us to prefer playing at the end of our opponent’s turn.
    Deciding when to spend your Spell Queller might seem intuitive when your opponent drops the land for that turn and taps out, but it can get much more of a difficult decision when they haven't still dropped down his land, or when they still have untapped lands after his first spell, so you can't say if they will be able to cast a removal, or even worse, play a second and more threatening spell.

    In fact, Spell Queller warps the Spirit players' play style, giving them a number of options:
    • Bluffing Spell Queller with three untapped lands.
    • Casting it on what they think is their biggest threat in that very moment of the game.
    • Delaying its cast to exile the next spell they feel is about to come down this turn.
    • Holding it in their hand and flash in another creature to simply add pressure to the board or get benefit of different triggered abilities.
    • Patiently let the opponent pass the turn with their lands untapped taking no action either.

    So many possible actions and outcomes out of a choice: representing it in our hand or going tapped out at sorcery speed, to cast it or not in response to their first spell.
    Winning with this Tribe is all about being able to see through these lines, and mastering the use of Spell Queller.

    Playing the Deck

    To start things off, let's clarify UW Spirits is not an aggro deck nor a control deck, but, more precisely,it is a deeply tempo-oriented built, and to help those who are unfamiliar with the concept, let me give you a definition of what tempo actually means in Magic:
    "Tempo is an archetype which owns some aggro and some control elements, but it is much more of a precision instrument. It's a category of decks whose win strategy is centered around timing and having the knowledge and resources to play cards at the exact right moment, in order to either pull ahead or push the opponent back.
    Tempo is always responding to the development of the board, so it can play both the roles of aggro and control by using low-costed conditional cards. Tempo will indeed come to victory by using an undercosted threat that is protected throughout the game, while slowly chipping away your opponent's resources until their life reaches zero."

    Playing a tempo strategy has implications: it will require to resist the temptation of going tapped in your turn to cast a spirit and hold up your mana to be able to react to your opponent's move at the right moment with the best card you have in your hand. This has of course exceptions, as when you want to land down a second Drogskol Captain to seal the hexproof lock, for example.
    Playing UW requires you to convince yourself you'll be waiting for your opponent rather than racing them at any cost the way you are allowed to do when playing UWG.
    Another issue you'll be dealing with, is the absence of a card advantage engine, which implies your resources are to be spent with the best care. You will soon figure out that running out of gas is the biggest downside of this bi-color version of the tribe: you have a major advantage by being able to flash in two spirits per turn when you have Aether Vial, but that will deploy your hand very quickly! This is why it's not just relevant , but crucial, to be able to sequence your cards appropriately and use them to tempo-out your opponent.
    So how does the deck actually wins? Yeah, evading is great! Being able to beat your opponent unchecked in the air is what appears to be the best feature of the deck. Being also able to steal a spell with Spell Queller is a widely recognised powerful thing this deck can do. The real haymaker the UW build is able to deliver, though, consists in blanking your opponent's threats in the moment when one of your spirits hit the board, thus adding a clock to our side and causing card disadvantage to them or a tempo swing. When your opponent is casting a removal spell on your creatures, and you make it fizzle by giving it hexproof via Rattlechains or Drogskol Captain, you are creating a situation by which the opponent is losing a card from his or her hand, and you are adding a creature to the battlefield.
    Another scenario: your opponent spends a turn to land down a creature, the next turn you tap it with Nebelgast Herald, thus preventing it from entering the combat phase. This results in a loss of your opponent's previous turn, and you should then exploit it by foreseeing your move, and taking action (possibly going down an aggro route, adding another spirit to the board) the turn were the creature comes down, knowing you will respond to that threat the turn later.

    If this is our way to win the games as UW, be aware is not also true for situations where you are trading cards, as could be your Selfless Spirit for a Supreme Verdict, or a Mausoleum Wanderer for a Collected Company, since this configures as a one-for-one trade, and beside being a very powerful defensive move, it's not giving you any sort of net card advantage. To make it even clearer, think of the difference between saving your Spell Queller from a Terminate by sacrificing a Mausoleum Wanderer, and saving it by casting a Rattlechains and giving it hexproof. The former scenario is one where you just go on playing with one less removal in his or her hand and a smaller clock on your board, while the latter is the one where you have pushed your opponent back, making him lose a card and increasing the pressure on him.
    Being able to discriminate between these lines of interactions is what will make you both grow as a player and win games in the face of opponents believing this is “just another random tribe”.

    The Deck

    Card Choices

    The following is a list of cards that constitutes the core of the UW Spirit deck, the very staples you should begin with.

    Nebelgast Herald Rate5 It's our board-control character and the one that allow us to defend ourselves while applying pressure and to recover when we are behind in the board state. It truly represents the concepts of Tempo and Synergy.
    Its upsides are Flash, being a decent evading attacker, ad a simple Mana Cost.
    Flash is also absolutely relevant in every scenario where Aether Vial is not on the board, and you get to your opponent's end step without having the chance to cast Spell Queller with profit. Here Nebelgast Herald allows you to add a body to the board to press your opponent, being still able to reignite its triggered ability any time another spirit will come down on your side.
    It has an extremely powerful interaction with Moorland Haunt and is able to freeze your opponent's board when copied with Phantasmal Image.
    The main downsides are the 3 CMC that makes it compete for a place in the mainboard with other creatures in the 3 CMC slot; It hits the floor on turn 3 at the earliest, reducing its impact against all-out-aggro, but it still forces your opponent to trigger revolt when they want to kill it with Fatal Push.
    Its weak body makes it vulnerable to a variety of cards like Electrolyze, Izzet Staticaster, Orzhov Pontiff, Darkblast, Zealous Persecution.
    The card is relevant, for example, in the following matchups:
    • Humans
    • Affinity
    • Eldrazi
    • Death and Taxes/Hatebears
    • Merfolk
    • Green/Black creature based decks
    • Emrakul decks
    • Death's Shadow
    • and many more

    Path to Exile Rate5 Not much to say about the cleanest and cheapest removal in Modern, it gets rid of whatever it can target. Among all the options we currently have, PtE is the best we can bring in.
    You will still want to be careful about the timing to cast it, especially when you are against Scapeshift or other ramping decks, but still it's a one mana spell, instant speed, doesn't allow recursion to graveyard, makes no exceptions... this is what you want.
    An argument can be made if we really need a full set of PtE, especially if you are already running multiple copies of Nebelgast Herald to deal with creatures.

    Aether Vial Rate5
    I want to approach the discussion about Vial by making a list of its pros and cons to make it easier for new UW Spirit players to decide whether to invest their money on it or not.

    • Aether Vial enables you to run a well defined Tempo scheme of play. This has to do mainly with the possibility of turning Drogskol Captain in a flashable creature which hence blanks your opponent's removal making them lose cards. Refer to the chapter about Captain for further explanations.
    • Aether Vial provides mana acceleration: in three turns from the moment it resolves it will give you a huge boost which equals to the possibility of responding to your opponent not with just one, but TWO creatures per turn. Since our deck wins by making entering the battlefield creatures that also disrupt your opponent's plans, it's intuitive that being able to double up your interaction capacity is an enormous advantage.
    • Besides letting you play a better Tempo game, you are also able to push an aggro plan through, if that's the case. This is exclusively permitted by Aether Vial, since we have no 2CMC lords, and half of our creatures cost 3 mana.
      So the only way you have to keep up with other aggro decks, is by playing as twice as faster than what we could otherwise do.
    • I've already written about UW Spirit being a Tempo deck, thus being forced to wait your opponent to make a move and respond to it. Aether Vial allows you to break this rule and make an exception: if your hand is full of gas, you can be the first to take action, being still able to respond to your opponent by either tapping your mana or the Aether Vial.
    • Aether Vial is for this reason giving us the option of being either the aggressor or the controller during the game.
    • It makes our synergies trigger at instant speed and we saw how important this is in the paragraph about Nebelgast Herald. You really want to use Vial to avoid playing at sorcery speed and stay open to respond to your opponent plays.
    • Mausoleum Wanderer being pumped at instant speed is also of paramount importance against non creature decks, Storm in particular
    • It's currently the best 1CMC drop we have access to. It also fills the hole in the 1CMC slot of the curve, where we have no spells to be played proactively other than Mausoleum Wanderer. This raises our chances to do something on our first turn on the play from 40% to 65%.
    • Significantly improves our match up against Control decks by making their counterspells useless. As a consequence, you can shave the number of Cavern of Souls, in favour of other utility lands or coloured sources.
    • Relevant against Combo to keep disruptive mana open.
    • Absolutely necessary to keep up with aggro decks. Examples are Affinity's explosive starts, Burn (bypasses Eidolon of The Great Revel ), Humans, Merfolks and Elves.
    • As for the comparison between Spirits and other tribes making use of Aether Vial, keep in mind that differently from Merfolks and Humans (whose creatures get shot one by one), we do have methods to generate permanent card advantage by flashing in Rattlechains and Drogskol Captain, so Vial can still give its contribute in all of those matchups where the pressure on the board is still low and you are given time to tick it up to 3 counters. Control and Midrange are good examples.
    • As long as you will be playing Phantasmal Image, Aether Vial will be your only mean to let it enter the battlefield to copy a Spell Queller or even better a Rattlechains to abuse their enter the battlefield effect at the proper time. There's no other way to let it hit the field at instant speed.

    Some are scared about that being a very bad top deck, but how bad a Vial will actually be depends on what kind of matchup you are facing.
    This is actually a true drawback against removal heavy deck since Vial is a tool but it is not providing any extra damage to your opponent in any way.
    It is also a very dead card to draw against aggro decks when the pressure is already high.
    As for removals it can be hit by, Kolaghan's command is the most represented in the current metagame. But should you really drop Aether Vial out because of this threat? Is that really a scary way to suffer card disadvantage?
    First of all, K command generates card advantage on its own, so they are just choosing a different mode for it, nothing really different. So the actual question is whether having one option chosen as "destroy target artifact" is actually worse than choosing two of the others. It will be in those cases you have decided to keep a single-land hand and you weren't able to draw more in the following turns.
    Now, to understand how great the risk of being hit by K command actually is, remember the percentage of decks running it among the whole lot is barely 10% of the metagame.
    After sideboarding, you'll be paying attention to Stony Silence, which makes card disadvantage just in the case you draw 2 vials and they draw one single copy of Stony, or Destructive Revelry which is not making card disadvantage, but it's still providing extra value.
    This said, it is also true that you might not draw Aether Vial in that game (or you can even decide to side it out) , generating a functional card disadvantage in their owners hand by letting them have a card they can't get value out of, or not being able to cast it at all.

    To wrap it up, running Aether Vial gives you the extremely relevant benefit of playing tempo, to take action by yourself, and build a more synergic and creature dense list, while it's exposing you to an undesiderable topdeck.
    Just remember every card comes with its downsides. It's up to you deciding what your playstyle is.
    PS: always announce you mean to tap Aether Vial without showing what you are planning to sneak on the battlefield. Give your opponent the opportunity to respond to it having no informations about what is about to come down and make mistakes or choose a worse line of playing.

    Alternative card Choices

    Kira, Great Glass-Spinner : Kira is a powerful defensive creature, being jammed in mono-blue Merfolks lists because of the wideness of the protection it is offering.
    You firstly have to know that flashing in Kira is not countering spells or abilities in any way, and this because they are already on the stack in the moment Kira's static ability takes place. So the downside about it is that it won't work as 9th copy of Rattlechains (assuming four more are represented by Drogskol captain). It will act as a pseudo-Rattlechains instead, and it will be truly generating a tempo swing in our favour once it hits the ground. With the exception of Abrupt Decay, your opponent is forced to spend two of their cards to kill Kira and this is equal to skipping one of their draw steps, if you want.
    So, Kira is a very valuable Tempo creature, you just have to land it at the proper time to give your creatures a crazy amount of protection.

    Geist of Saint Traft : It's one of the most used spirits , especially when it comes to non-spirit decks and it's the one that makes the Bant version so explosive and being able to hit with such big swings. However, Geist appears to be so powerful in UWG because you are able to play it on turn 2 on the play, catching your opponent unprepared, plus it benefits of the exalted trigger... but this is the UW section and we are talking about a quite different deck: here we are much less about aggroing and much more about tempoing our opponents out.
    In such a built GoST appears to be a poor card, it's coming down during your third turn at the earliest, and, it begins to produce value from your 4th one. It benefits of no exalted triggers (huge difference), it has NO evasion and is nowhere close to take part to the TEMPO plan.
    You will also notice that it can't ever protect any of your other spirits, and, since it is untargettable by itself, it passively diverts removal spells towards other spirits around it. On the basis of this 'egoistic' nature, you have to provide it the enhancements to be a win condition on its own in the form of extra power or resilience to break through your opponent's defences; this has originally been achieved in UWG through Noble Hierarch, Selfless Spirit and Steel of the Godhead, with some backup disruption provided by Spell Queller (it's also interesting to notice how the most powerful creature UW has - Rattlechains - is completely unhelpful to a GoST aggro plan).
    For these reasons GoST needs to be played in deck where you have the tools to make it be a profitable attacker every turn; having no acceleration to play it on T2 and no exalted from Noble Hierarch, UW doesn't look like the right shell for this kind of creature.
    It might still be a decent sideboard option against control and combo when you're on the play.

    Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit : It's a 2 Casting Mana Cost card, which the UW built is lacking, but as for GoST, it doesn't cooperate to your tempo plan, it has no evading and requires to be landed soon to actually produce value.

    Metallic Mimic : Another pseudo lord creature that must be casted the earliest to maximize its impact on the game. Simple mana cost but it has no evasion and a very weak body. Not flashable in via Rattlechains.

    Snapcaster Mage : You might be tempted to save a spot for Snapcaster Mage as we all know how good it is at generating advantage. The thing is, Snapcaster Mage requires a minimum density of instants or sorceries, and this will force you to dilute the number of creatures and the number of synergies consequently. Did I mention it has no evading nor it's synergic?
    I strongly suggest not to run either Snapcaster or Cryptic Command , stay light on land count and refrain from directing this tribe down the road modern Faeries have been forced to. They do not have this quantity and quality of synergies, we do.

    Thalia, Guardian of Thraben : Non-Spirit creature you can borrow from Death & Taxes shells: it can fill the 2 CMC slot in your curve, particularly good if you decide to stay very light on non creature spells. It taxes your opponent, slowing them down, which is where we want to be during our early turns (it also taxes non creature spells which you opponent chooses to cast once your Spell Queller has left the battlefield).
    First strike can be really relevant against aggro decks.
    Unfortunately you have no way to protect it and it triggers no synergies.

    Vendilion Clique : As a non-Spirit creature, Vendilion Clique does retain interesting features that make it a viable tech-card for the UW version.
    First of all it has flash, which is very important to let us keep playing in our opponent's turn without going tapped in our main phases. "Flash" is also a byword for "unexpected", making our lines of play even more unpredictable.
    Secondly, 3CMC permanent with 3 power and evading is incredibly appealing for us. One notion will get familiar with by playing is that we need a 3 minimum power in the air to keep our opponent under pressure. Vendilion Clique guarantees that clock by itself.
    Thirdly and most importantly, it's bringing you informations about what your opponent is working with. If there's something we are missing right now, that is the possibility to have access to our opponent's hand without complicating our mana base (splashing black) or spending some of the mana to cast spells like Peek, delaying the cast of our spirits in the very first turns of the game. In absence of Gitaxian Probe, Vendilion Clique is possibly the best option we have to put an evading clock on our opponent, disrupt their plans and gaining very precious informations about what's going on on their side of the board.
    Downsides are not being a spirit, thus losing the possibility to make access to precious triggers, and having a very weak body, which exposes us to the harm removal cards like Electrolyze can bring.
    Having no way to protect it with Rattlechains and Drogskol Captain is its third problem, shared with all of those non-spirit creatures you will be brewing with.
    Generally speaking, Vendilion Clique should always hit the floor after holding priority at the end of your opponent's draw step, in order to maximize the informations you will have access, but here are some remarkable situations where the three Faeries can be as much as disruptive:
    • In response to a Miracle spell's triggered ability, when revealed as the first card of the turn being drawn. Cast Vendilion Clique in response to the miracle trigger and put that card on the bottom of their deck.
    • In response to Through the Breach , pick the creature they were hoping to sneak in and kiss it goodbye. (Can you see the Tempo swing here? They lose a card, casting it for no value, you put one of yours on the board).
    • In response to your opponent's Aether Vial tap, same situation as above.
    • In response to one of Storm's rituals, to get rid of Grapeshot, Past in Flames or Empty the Warrens, hoping one of those to be their only line of victory.
    • Against Burn, in response to any fetchland they crack. You want to find a Searing Blaze and prevent it from being casted before the Landfall trigger enables.
    Quite a lot of ways to trick your opponent, heh?!

    Smuggler's Copter : Pretty powerful vehicle which puts up a substantial pressure when crewed. It is resilient to wraths, but it still needs a creature to be animated, so you always want to have one to make it fly.
    Looting is its most attractive feature, allowing you to discard extra lands and filtering your deck is a great feature.
    Unfortunately you can't vial it in, nor you can flash it in in any other ways. It also triggers no synergy and it doesn't take benefit from hexproof providers.
    Beware artifact hate post sideboard, especially if you are running both Copter and Aether Vial.

    Lingering Souls : Sorcery speed card advantage spell, it will fill your board if you decide to run a source of fetchable black in your mainboard.
    Playing at sorcery speed means this is a good card to stabilize the board and to set a go wide strategy, but you are losing all the benefits that waiting your opponent's turn to play can bring. To name the two most remarkable triggers you are losing, Mausoleum Wanderer and Nebelgast Herald won't ignite to either heavily tax your opponents sorceries or tap down creatures before they get in the red zone.
    For this reasons, Lingering Souls appears to be mediocre and a kind of card that could fit a pre-Eldritch Moon Spirit deck.

    Phantasmal Image : In the moment I'm writing there are no viable 2CMC spirits other than Rattlechains and Selfless Spirit , so Phantasmal Image represents a 2CMC Jolly card, very situational, but very flexible we have access to. Always remember it is not a spirit when it's in your hand, so you won't be able to flash it in via Rattlechains. For this reason you may have a hard time deciding whether to tick up Aether Vial from 2 counters to 3 , since this influences the use you will be able to do of Image later in the game.
    This said, the consensus so far is that 2 copies are optimal to fill the 2 CMC slot in our deck.
    You may realize that Blue-White Spirits tends to generate the double-captain lock via Phantasmal Image less frequently than Bant Spirits, since here we are not digging the deck to find the two pieces; P.I. will often ending up being a copy of some other spirit indeed, be it Rattlechains, Spell Queller or whatever you need the most in that particular moment of the matchup. This brings me once again to stress the difference between Blue-White (as a more Tempo-oriented version) and Bant (which allows you to take the Aggro route more frequently).

    Essence Flux : This card may catch your attention since it's designed for the spirit tribe, and it can actually act as a one-for-one trade against removal, by blinking the creature or a Rattlechains to regenerate its ETB effect. It suffers however some limitations: it's not flexible as Vapor Snag is, which allows to target any creature on the board, and doesn't help against mass removal spells which are those we lose to. It's also useless when your field is empty.
    So despite being able to generate impressive and unpredictable tricks by blinking Spell Queller or Nebelgast Herald, it has an intrinsic limitation which is being a one sided card and requiring a developed board to shine. It will help when you are already healthy but won't give any contribution on an empty board.

    Vapor Snag : Tempo-like removal spell, you can add it up to the Path to Exiles to increase the number of interactions with your opponent's creatures.
    The first thing I want to underline is that you will be trading a card of yours in change of Tempo (or one of their main phases, if you want), so this is a dangerous choice and should be taken into consideration only when it does generate the Tempo swing you need to close the game, or to save yourself from extreme danger. It is also poor against creatures having an enter the battlefield effect, because they may come to reuse them.
    It has upsides however, especially against delve creatures, it deals a sometimes useful extra point of damage (it's actually life loss so you won't redirect it to any planeswalkers, but still will give you victory against Worship.
    Vapor Snag is a reasonable card because it can also be used defensively, to save a creature of yours, trading it with the removal, de facto.
    Since it comes at instant speed and you may be running Aether Vial, it allows you to make instant speed tricks, like targeting Spell Queller and vialing it in to exile the same spell it had catched if it gets to be recast (you can flash it in as well by spending your mana if you have enough).
    So this spell blends in because of the instant speed nature of our deck, and comes under the radar most of the times since your opponent won't expect anything like that by seeing one blue mana open left.

    Remand : Possibly the best counterspell we have access to. It fits so well because of its tempo nature and because it finds its natural position between a turn 1 Aether Vial and a turn 3 Spell Queller.
    It buys you the time you need to tick you Vial up and get to your third land drop having your opponent doing nothing for a turn, and makes you draw a card thus cycling itself and preserving your card pool. This is maybe our best T2 play.

    Opt : speaking of cantrips, Opt is the one that fits the most our deck because it can be cast at instant speed, lets you dig 2 cards to find the answer you need, and synergizes with Aether Vial by allowing you to draw and flash a creature on the board.
    If you are adding cantrips to your list, you should consider opt because it gives you the option of scrying before drawing, making a bit of selection.

    Serum Visions : Serum Visions is a bad copy of Opt. It requires to tap in your turn, so if your mana is tight, you are forced to choose between two lines of play before your opponent takes any action, and this is all of what our deck is NOT meant to do.
    Scrying 2 somehow mitigates its downsides, but still that is not enough if you consider this sorcery is forcing you to draw the first unknown card of your deck.

    Chart a Course : Recently printed sorcery which actually provides card advantage and best fits late game scenarios. This is probably the best card in terms of advantage you are getting.
    It's not fitting our deck as good as Opt does, but still helps us to deal with an empty hand.
    Its major downside is the sorcery speed nature; being forced to attack with one creature is also a condition to have it generating card advantage, in any other cases, it will just cycle itself.
    Of all the possible scenarios, casting this off curve (after turn 3) with an Aether Vial loaded to 3 on the ground is the one where you are getting the most value out of it.

    Curious Obsession : Cheapest card-draw engine to generate effective card advantage among all of those we have access to, coming with the benefit of powering up the enchanted creature. its downside is being an Aura, exposing you to the risk of losing two pieces ( the creature and the enchantment) at the moment when you are casting it.
    The first trigger will functionally make you cycle the card and chip away one extra damage from your opponent's life total, from the second trigger on it's providing you precious extra cards that are likely to make you win the game from there.
    Being non mana intensive it feels like a flexible card that can fit your curve very well, especially after you have ticked your Aether Vial up to three counters and you are free to spend your mana to cast extra creatures and cheap spells.
    Because of these features, this is a card you want to play off curve and just when you know you can protect the enchanted spirit or when your opponent is tapped out and you accept the risk of having your creature being removed from the field as he or she untaps.
    If you're able to keep the creature sticking to the board, you are likely to win because of the extra amount of disruptive and synergic creature cards flowing into your hands turn after turn.
    Curious Obsession shines against decks that tend not to interact too much with your board, it should be sided out against removal heavy decks like Mardu and Jeskai.
    Further interactions and implications the card is coming with:
    • Because of the amount of advantage it's providing, it forces your opponent to try to interact with your board. This is particularly useful to draw the removal spell out of their hand when you are ready to counter that with a hexproof provider.
    • It diverts removal spells on the enchanted spirit, therefore you should enchant the one you care the least about every time you are given the chance to choose.
    • Upon suiting up Spell Queller or Supreme Phantom, you are generating a Bolt-proof card engine for the rest of the game.
    • Its pumps Mausoleum Wanderer to be better at counter further spells during the game.
    • It excellently synergizes with Aether Vial giving it the fuel to cheat creatures onto the battlefield every turn.
    • It's worse when attached to Selfless Spirit or Remorseful Cleric because you might want to sacrifice them for value at some point, losing the Aura along with the creature.
    • You can never target Phantasmal Image with it, nor any of your creatures as long as Kira, Great Glass-Spinner is on your side of the field providing its shield.
    • Note that you can break the shield with Rattlechains' triggered ability, if necessary.
    • It requires you to deal damage to the opponent to draw a card, so it will not trigger upon hitting their Planewalkers.
    • It suffers the presence of fliers on your opponent's side of the board and it's a must-side out against Ensnaring Bridge decks.


    Building your mana base for this deck requires you to keep a general rule in mind, I'll borrow Ace1's words from the former UW Spirits thread, since he expressed it in the clearest possible way: "We lose when we flood, and win when we draw lots of spirits. The deck operates well on 3 lands ".
    This said, it's obvious we really want to hit out 3rd land drop on turn 3 to be able to cast our most powerful creatures on curve, but once we have reached this status, we ideally would like not to draw any other land and stick to the first three plus Aether Vial. Some exceptions to the desirable number of lands do occur, an example is when you hit Moorland Haunt which turns an excess of lands into value.
    Apparently, there's no agreement on the right number of lands you should run, so for now keep in mind this deck is better off when it runs no 4 CMC cards (read the paragraphs about Seachrome Coast below, and those about Worship and Supreme Verdict in the Sideboard section ), and check the numbers that follow.
    In this article https://www.channelfireball.com/articles/how-many-lands-do-you-need-to-consistently-hit-your-land-drops/ Frank Karsten analyzes the probability of hitting your land drops. He is taking a large number of scenarios into account, for example he is contemplating the possibility of keeping a 7 card hand with 5 land cards in it, which of course correspond to a straight forward mulligan for our deck, so his percentages may appear a bit overestimated when it comes to our in game decisions... but still he is giving a basis to start from.
    For the sake of having complete informations, I'll report here Frank's results. Keep in mind these numbers have been obtained under the following assumptions:
    • You mulligan any 7-card hand with 0, 1, 6, or 7 lands. (Here you are keeping any hand with 2-5 lands)
    • You mulligan any 6-card hand with 0, 1, 5, or 6 lands.
    • You mulligan any 5-card hand with 0 or 5 lands.
    • You keep any 4-card hand.
    • After a mulligan, you always scry a land to the top and a spell to the bottom.
    • He treated Aether Vial as a land, so you are meant to add them to your total Land count.

    The first percentage refers to the probability when you are on the draw, and the second refers to the probability when you are on the play.

    Scrolling through the article, you'll get to read his conclusions, by which the average number of lands in a deck should be 16 + (3,14 x average mana cost of your non creature spells). Have fun doing the math for your deck!
    My personal experience is that 20 UNTAPPED lands are a fine number to play with when you are also running Vials, Remands and zero 4 CMC cards, and I recently dropped the 21st one after opening something like 200 sample hands as a test, and noticing that one extra land was actually a problem... but these are just empirical results of individual testing.

    As for the colours provided by our lands, we are a bi-colour deck working efficiently with 14-15 sources of blue, which are easily achievable. Restrictions occur for the colourless producing lands, which we agreed should never be more than three or four.
    I'm leaving here another milestone article written by Frank Karsten where he is giving us tabs and numbers to be consistently able to cast our coloured spells on curve, and the results he came to for a 60-cards deck:

    This said, let's forget about math and let's see some of the options we have to assemble our land package:
    • Fetch Lands: Flooded Strand is the very basis, it's the land you want to have in your hand when you don't know what deck you are against. It gives you access either to shock lands or basic lands to play safely under Blood Moon. Flooded strand is so important because no other fetchland will allow you to choose between all the three options of picking an Island, or a Plains, or a Blue-White shockland.
    • More fetches can be jammed in, and they should still be Blue-X fetch lands to give you the option of fetching basic Island instead of being forced to deal yourself 3 damages to gain access to Blue through a shockland with a White-X fetch land.
      Most of our lists are currently playing 6-8 fetch lands.
      Also, forget about the old story by which you are reducing the probabilities of drawing more lands once the fetch is cracked, the percentage is changing by roughly 2% in the first turns of the game, so this shouldn't be a reason to fill your deck with fetches

    • Shock Lands: Hallowed Fountain is the one we want. You may be interested in having an extra one to splash a different colour, either to cast a splash-spell off curve, or to load to three counters Engineered Explosives. I personally play Explosives in my sideboard, and for this reason I run a Breeding Pool along with 3x Misty Rainforest mainboard, with which I occasionally trick my opponents letting them believe I'm running the Bant version and I haven't played green cards just by accident. They may pick wrong sideboard cards after game one.
    • Fast Lands: So we said we need three lands to play, and fast lands are coming into play as untapped double coloured sources till you have reached your third land drop. This makes Seachrome Coast the closest land we have to Tundra.
    • It's not fetchable and it will not save you from Blood Moon, but it will grant you protection from Choke and Merfolks' Island-walk instead.
      Seachrome Coast, however, is bringing a noticeable implication: our fourth land drop may come into play tapped causing you to cast one or more turns later whatever 4 Casting Mana Cost spell you are running. By experience, I can tell you this is far from being a detail and Merfolks players too have sticked to the mono-Blue version for years (before Ixalan came out making UG Merfolks a thing) because they wanted to cast Master of Waves on curve every time they drew it. This required them to have uniquely untapped sources, so fast lands couldn't be jammed in.
      Now, we are a bi-colour deck andSeachrome Coastis incredibly good in our built. If you want to escalate your mana base performance, you have to make a choice between two possibilities: either run 4 CMC spells and no fast lands, or leave 4cmc spells out and play a set of Coasts.

    • Check Lands: It's the Glacial Fortress cycle which is not fetchable and exposes it to the risk of being your one coloured mana source in the opening seven cards, and coming tapped into play. This is an extraordinarily bad situation.
    • If you are playing Aether Vial, you might be familiar with those one lander hands filled with gas but where you are hanging on the Vial. Having solely untapped sources will grant you to start the game without timewalking yourself.
      Never play any check land.

    • Pain Lands: The Adakar Wastes kind of lands is commonly used in fetch-less shells running Leonin Arbiter and Eldrazis. They are actually fun decks and some have of those hit interesting results on MtGO.
    • This should be the type of land you want when you are heading towards a ''Spirits and Taxes'' built, leaving the synergies behind. There is no reason to play it in a fetch-based mana base.

    • Filter Lands: Currently we do not need any Mystic Gate since our coloured requests are pretty simple to satisfy. They produce colourless mana and the won't provide any coloured source as long as you won't hit a coloured one.
    • My concern with filter lands is that they require you to tap two lands and spend the mana in the same phase of the game. This is a treacherous detail they carry; since our mana sources are often limited and situations where you may want to spend 3 mana in a phase and 1 during another do happen, I wouldn't suggest their use.

    • Cycle Lands: recently printed in Amonkhet, they include Irrigated Farmland. This type of land is riskful because it's entering the battlefield tapped, while it holds the advantage of being cyclable as the games goes on mitigating the harm mana flood brings us.
    • Utility Lands: Lands are necessary to play, but they can at times provide extra value. Here are those we may recur to:
      • Moorland Haunt: Since we are not given cards to set a fast aggro plan, and our biggest problem right now is running out of gas, you will often find yourself be willing to recycle some resources you have already spent during the previous turns. This comes possible in the form of reigniting triggered abilities (read at the chapter Nebelgast Herald ) or graveyard recursion.As for the latter, what's best than having a land which both gives you mana to play your spells during early turns and that lets you use an excess of it with profit in the mid-late game?
      • Moorland Haunt is incredibly efficient at doing so and it's our best possible utility land as UW. It generates a 1/1 flier SPIRIT at instant speed, which can be spent in the most interesting ways: you can sacrifice it to Liliana's edict, you can create a blocker (really important during the mid game against Affinity) or an attacker for your next turn, it pumps Mausoleum Wanderer making the math for your opponent harder and triggers Nebelgast Herald preventing two creatures being able to deal you damage if you get to block with it. In presence of Drogskol Captain you will have a 2/2 flier out of nothing.
        Now we may also go further with speculations and understand what this land implies to the building of the deck: first off it requires creature density, secondly it demands for creatures to be triggered by the spirit token entering the battlefield. To make it possible, you have to stay light on non creature spells, and add those which can synergize with the haunt to your mainboard; Moorland Haunt is much about making your deck coherent with itself.
        There is no other land giving you this insane quantity of valuable interactions from turn 3 on, so the consensus so far is that two copies of Moorland Haunts are the best for this version of the Tribe.
      • Cavern of Souls: Very powerful land to generate functional card advantage when we are against control deck. They have no way to spend their counterspells on our creatures, and once again a land comes to encourage us going heavy on spirit creatures in order to take the greatest benefit out of it.
      • It aligns very well with Aether Vial in giving us good matchups against blue based midrange and control decks, but this is also relevant to cast Spirits through Chalice of the Void, and providing whatever colour you need to fix your mana early game.
        Be careful when you look at your opening 7 and remind Cavern will provide just colourless to cast your non creature and non spirit spells.
      • Ghost Quarter: Another colourless mana producing land which unavoidably end to compete with the other two colourless producing lands. Its up sides are taking our opponent off tron and smashing some utility or animable lands. The problem is we can't run too many colourless lands, nor we have a way to tutor those we need, so Ghost Quarter will most of the time end up being a useless generic land rather than providing utility.
      • Tectonic Edge and the recently printed Field of Ruin make no exceptions.
      • Mutavault: Suffers the same limitations Ghost Quarter carries, as it's adding colourless mana only. Differently from Merfolk, our curve is filled of 3 CMC spells, so losing Mutavault to a removal spell can be disastrous (I'm speaking by experience). It also has no evading, we have not that many Lords to pump it and we have no way to give it evasion, so it is very much underpowered in a tribe like ours. Compared to Moorland Haunt, which gives you the option of waiting till your opponent's end step before taking any action, Mutavault requires you to take decisions during your turn and to give your opponent informations about what your hand looks like.
      • In addition to this, Mutavault forces you to tap lands on your turn to attack, which prevents you from being able to play in your opponent's turn. One of our best features is to skip our main phases to reduce our turn to a mere -draw-attack-pass- sequence.
      • Concerning other Creature lands, in these two colours, the options are Celestial Colonnade, faerie conclave , forbidding wacthtower, inkmoth nexus, blinkmoth nexus, dread statuary. Between these, the only one that can raise some considerations is Celestial Colonnade, which is used widely in UWx control strategies. The card is not suggested because the deck tries to work with as few lands as possible, and cavern has a high cost to be activated, other than entering the battlefield tapped.


      Artifacts/colourless hate

      • Stony Silence: The number one hate cards for artifacts, cheap, non mana intensive, on curve with Spell Queller. It requires you to be aware of what's the sequence of plays you need to do. This will indeed shut of your Aether Vials, Smuggler's Copters and Engineered Explosives, just to name some, so it is really up to your intelligence to understand when this enchantment can hit the ground setting your opponent back, harming him more than it can harm you.
      • Since you are the one siding Stony Silence in, you 'll have the chance to adjust your mainboard accordingly before you start the game.
        To wrap it up, Stony Silence is good on preventing artifacts to activate any ability, but is still has value if it comes some time later by making them silent for the rest of the game.
        Being us a deck running Aether Vial, we are exposed to the risk of playing Stony Silence as a symmetrical card, unfortunately.

      • Ceremonious Rejection: Very cheap and flexible counterspell which is not simply catching artifacts, but also colourless Eldrazis and planeswalkers. Since it has to "catch" them on the stack, you have to make a decision and either run multiple copies of it, or opting for cards like Stony Silence which deal with artifacts after they have resolved.
      • Hurkyl's Recall : Big tempo swinger, sets your opponent some turns back but it's not avoiding them to rebuild. It's value depends on your state of the board, and overall improves your games against Affinity, Ensnaring Bridge decks and Lantern, while it reveals to be poor against Tron.
      • Kataki War's Wage: Anti artifact creature, shines against Affinity when they have no removals available, because they are running so few mana sources. Pretty useless against tron lists.
      • The reason why you may prefer Stony Silence to this spirit is that it can be easily removed by either Galvanic Blast or a single activation of Ghirapur Aether Grid. It's also allowing your opponent deciding which artifact they need the most and keep it alive.
      Graveyard hate

      • Rest In Peace: The number one hate card for graveyards, cheap, non mana intensive, on curve with Spell Queller. As it lands down it exiles every graveyard, so it has an immediate and permanent impact; no other card is coming with such a disruptive effect on heavy graveyard-recursion strategy decks.
      • RiP is also shutting down Moorland Haunt, so there might be a reason to leave it out of your 60 cards against light graveyard-recursion decks, like UW Control lists running up to two Snapcaster Mage only, where Eidolon of Rhetoric could be a good option as well.

      • Relic of Progenitus: Very good anti graveyard option which works at two different speeds. You can either land it down soon and start chipping away your opponent's graveyard, or draw it later in the game and pop it to wipe out graveyards. It cycles itself and this another huge upside, because preserving the number of cards in our hand is so critical to this version of the deck. It also lets you take advantage of Moorland Haunt while keeping in check your opponent's bin.
      • Remember to be smart enough to play around split second cards like Wipe Away and Krosan Grip which you may see against Storm and Living End. In order to fully exploit Relic you must cast it and sacrifice it right away without changing phase nor passing priority for any reason.
        A filled graveyard of decks like those mentioned is very dangerous and you want to clean it up the soonest.

      • Grafdigger's Cage: Cage is just a good card to deal with some graveyard recursion strategies ( won't stop Eternal Witness, for instance) and a bunch of cards like Chord of Calling and Collected Company . Unfortunately it leaves graveyards as they are, and let them grow turn after turn and this permits your opponent to wait until they draw an answer to the Cage and start to work with it again.
      • For this reason it is a very fragile answer to both Dredge and Storm post sideboard, it's buying you time and nothing else. It has also no impact on Living End because the creatures gets exiled before returning to battlefield.

      • Surgical Extraction : Dangerous spell because it will often end up being one less card in your hand. It's very narrow and besides letting you explore your opponent's hand, it is not likely to hit any of their cards. Never run more than one copy in your sideboard even though zero would be the correct number


      • Kor Firewalker: Very good card against Burn, but very narrow and intensive in its mana cost. No synergies triggered.
      • Burrenton Forge Tender: Very powerful at blanking one Burn spell other than blocking one of their creatures since turn one.
      • You can also spend it to preventAnger of the Gods from making disasters.

      • Azorius Herald: Spirit creature that synergizes with the rest of the deck. Unfortunately a 3CMC creature that you cannot vial it in unless you are asking it just the 4 life points. It is unblockable, so it has the highest grade of evasion, and for this reason you may want to have him against deck with plenty of flyers, other than Celestial Colonnade lists. It gives a huge tempo swing in your favour against aggro and Burn decks.
      • Eidolon of Rhetoric: Possibly our best anti-combo piece, Spirit creature that we can protect and synergize with, hence flashable and disruptive. Noticeable for its body, can provide a good blocker for Snapcaster Mages, which Eidolon is very good at making a useless creature.
      • It increases enormously both Remand and Spell Queller's value. Your opponent won't be able to recast Spell Queller exiled spell as long as Eidolon is alive. It has massive synergies with Aether Vial because you will then be able to take action and force your plays through removals as long as you keep an answer in your hand. You'll be playing up to two creatures per turn while your opponent will be at the mercy of your Spell Quellers or hexproof providers.
        Vapor Snag also improves with Eidolon because it makes you recycle your spirits by getting them back to your hand and vial them in again through aether vial.
        Kira Generates a very powerful lock in presence of Eidolon as well, since whatever removal spell is casted on your creatures will get countered, unless it's an Abrupt Decay.
        This said, UW Spirits is the best shell where anybody can run Eidolon of Rhetoric by far.

      • SpellSkite : Redundant board protecting creature, it may see play against some very specific deck like Aura-Bogle. We have no key pieces we need to protect with it and it has also lost much of its appeal after Fatal Push has been printed. No synergies allowed.
      • Spirit of the Labyrinth : Super powerful but narrow bullet against Control ad Combo decks mainly. It's incredibly good at killing decks like Storm and Ad Nauseam generating some huge card disadvantage since every sorcery speed cantrip in their hand turns into a dead card, it's also powerful at hosing Tron's and KCI's redraw strategy, cantrips being played by control, as much as their planewalker's card-draw abilities .
      • Faithless Looting is a hot card nowadays, so Spirit of the Labyrinth can play a role against these decks ripping their hands apart if flashed in with the spell on the stack. Cathartic Reunion, Goblin Lore are other targets for this type of effect.
        What's interesting noting is that the 3/1 body makes this spirit especially good against those non creature decks, letting you steal reasonable chunks of their life while applying a disruptive static effect.
        On the other hand, since these cases fit an early game scenario, Spirit of the Labyrinth has to be either played in multiple copies in order to be able to draw it soon enough, or being that extra silver bullet you list in your fifteen in addition to other solid hate cards.
        Be aware that spells like Chord of Calling, Collected Company, Ancient Stirrings and Dark Confidant work by putting creatures from the deck on the field, or cards in your opponent's hand, won't be affected. The same goes for the card being drawn by Opt, Electrolyze, Cryptic Command when happening during your turn.

      Board Control

      • Pithing Needle: This is some selective and narrow instrument you might want to have access to against those decks relying on a bunch of threats which need to activate an ability. Planewalkers, animable lands as Celestial Colonnade and some artifacts are the most representative targets for needle. Its downside is not being able to play it in advance to stop the threat when it's still in their owner's hand, in desperate cases you might want to blind-cast it and hope for the best.
      • Sorcerous Spyglass : A more recent and refined version of Pithing Needle, for one extra mana it is giving you the insanely good option to write down your opponent's hand. This is relevant not just to the target you are about to inactivate since you'll never be missing it ( allowing you to cast it proactively to prevent a threat to make its job), but also to the sequence of cards you'll be playing . Knowing what your opponent is working with lets you make the best use of your Spell Queller and the synergies have access to in that stage of the game.
      • Another big up for this artifact is fitting the curve: ideally, it would be Aether Vial -> Spyglass -> Spell Queller.

      • Azorius Charm : Flexible card which either trades your draw step with your opponent's by bouncing a creature on the top of their library gaining you some tempo, or gains you life or just cycles itself. It could have a role against aggro and big creature decks.
      • Blessed Alliance: Flexible instant which you may want to use against burn and some big creature decks including Aura-Hexproof.
      • Unfortunately, since we are pretty tight on lands you'll have a hard time trying to cast it escalated, which is what makes the card playable in modern.

      • Engineered Explosives: Match Winner card against token decks, also very useful against a number of decks like Affinity, Merfolks, Elves, Vizier-Druid Combo, Humans... Blows up Faeries tokens and Lingering Souls with the benefit of having a global effect: this means your opponent won't be able to kill the target of your mass removal spell ( like it can be with Echoing Truth) and save all the others.
      • Explosives are also good at removing cages like Ghostly Prison and Ensnaring Bridge. To do so, you will need a third fetchable source of mana in your maindeck, which I suggest to be a Blue-X shockland.
        Its downsides rely on the fact we have every slot of our curve, from one to three, filled with relevant permanents, so it will become an asymmetrical card only when casted on zero, or on some specific board states.
        If you decide to play with it, be sure about the use you are doing of it.

      • Ratchet Bomb: Slower version of Engineered Explosive, doesn't require a third source of mana, but won't rescue you from emergency, unless tokens are involved.
      • Detention Sphere & Echoing Truth: Mass removal spells which require a target to resolve with profit. Do not underestimate this detail, since your opponent may find the way to remove the very one target and have the Sphere or Echoing Truth go blank.
      • Echoing Truth is operating an exchange, you are trading one of your draw steps with one of your opponent's main phase, or more than one if it ends up in bouncing multiple permanents. This may then cause us card disadvantage, yet it allows you to play at instant speed and be flexible and tricky. It's a catch-all bounce spell, and overall a better option rather than Detention Sphere when you are starting the game first.
        Detention Sphere is trading one of your draw steps (or one of your cards, if you prefer) with one or more of your opponent's draw steps/cards. This will be true until they will find a way to remove the Sphere, which will configurate as a one for one trade, plus a tempo loss for your opponent depending on the moment it is actually removed.
        It comes down at sorcery speed and will cause you to tap out most of the case, so it fits better post sideboard games when you are on the draw and thus you are assuming the control role most probably.
        Choosing between Detention Sphere and Echoing Truth is about your playstyle and the knowledge of your opponent's list and playstyle.

      • Supreme Verdict & Settle The Wreckage: 4 casting mana cost spells, once more, you are not guaranteed to be able to cast them on turn four. You have always to make the math, especially when it comes to Supreme Verdict, since you are exchanging one or more cards of yours (depending on how many creatures of yours are dying to it) for N cards of your opponent.
      • First of all you remind to yourself we have no ways to make card advantage other than using Spell Queller and Rattlechains / flashing in Drogskol captain, and secondly, that we win games by building a board. Casting Verdict is not something you would want to win, but more of a desperation move you have to make.
        Settle the Wreckage is a one sided wrath but it is counterable and most importantly is not removing a key piece of their board they might hold back.


      • Remand: The kind of counterspell which aligns perfectly with our Tempo plan. Check the review about Remand in the sections above.
      • Deprive: Wizards decided Counterspell is too good for modern, so every other type of counterspell has either to cost more than 2 , or have limitations on its text. Deprive is the closest card to Counterspell been printed so far, its downside is to cause you a tempo loss.
      • Its cost is affordable in a double colour built and the fact that our deck operates well when we have 3 untapped lands makes it sustainable. Also, Aether Vial minimizes the tempo loss.
        This spell can be very relevant against all the big mana decks and in general against those running spells which you can't exile with Spell Queller.

      • Negate: Very spendable answer against many threats. Unfortunately it's not protecting you from Eldrazis and Primeval Titan, just to name the scariest.
      • Mana Leak: Decent counter early game, loses its power with the passage of the turns and is a Non-bo with Path to Exile.
      • Dispel: Cheap and powerful type of counter against heavy instant spell matchups. Still very narrow and unable to stop too many threats.
      • Unified Will: Appealing, yet forces us to play creatures to make value out of it. This deck is trying to achieve value out of its creatures casted when the time is right, having a card inducing you to add more to the battlefield is dangerous. It does nothing on an empty post-wrath board.
      • Hindering Light: Powerful defensive counterspell, cycles itself but has no effects when your opponent is not trying to interact with you with their cards. Gives no protection against wraths.
      • Spell Pierce: Weak form of Negate, good when you catch your opponent unprepared. You will soon find it a dead card in your hand as the game progresses.
      • Spell Snare : Doing nothing better than Spell Queller, besides catching some spells before you have hit your third land drop, slowing down your opponent.
      • Mana Tithe: Good at catching your opponent by surprise, loses immediately its value once they expect it and it's easily played around. It gets more and more horrible as turns go by.


      • Leyline of Sanctity: It protects you from discard and burn spells in particular, with some other random applications. Playing it against Storm or Ad Nauseam is a bad mistake since they both will find a way to bounce it eventually, so it's just one less card in our hand.
      • It requires you to make room for at least 3 copies in your sideboard, and if drawn off the top it is a completely dead card till turn 4 or 5, depending on whether you find the 4th untapped land or not.
        Statistics says you have a 40% to have one or more copies in your opening 7 it you are running a full set. You'll have a 31% chances of having it from the beginning if you run 3x in your sideboard.
        Not the best sideboard option.

      • Worship: Appealing enchantment because of the number of ways we have to make our creatures survive throughout the game. Bant versions do actually find a spot for it in their sideboard, but here we aren't playing with any mana dorks, so once again this comes to be in contrast with the Tempo nature of the deck. As all the other 4 casting mana cost cards, it represents a functional mulligan till your 4th turn at least, makes you tap out and it still can be played around by lose-life effects, it can be bounced, countered or destroyed . Worship is good but is not aligning to the "spirit" of the deck.
      • Favourable Winds: Pseudo-lord card which actually have some synergy with Mausoleum Wanderer, other than taking Spell Queller out of bolt range. Once again, let me stress the fact this is not an aggro deck, but a Tempo one. So the question is: what is this enchantment doing to cooperate with the Tempo strategy?
      • Since I reckoned this would fit a non tempo strategy, I actually gave it a chance as a one of in my sideboard, to be brought in against decks playing Liliana, the last hope , Izzet Staticaster and control decks where I don't want to commit too many creatures to the board but I still need a decent clock to keep the pressure on them. And I have been favourably impressed.
        Against control, it allows you to keep a decent race by attacking with whatever 2/1 spirit you have on the board alone, holding the other in your hand to respond to my opponent's moves.


      Building Spirits for Modern while having some constraints on the budget is feasible, as the core of the deck (50$ - january 2018) and many key cards can be obtained for a reasonable price, while the others enjoy some budget options that can be gradually improved. With spirits becoming a more popular tribe, this costs gradually grew (105$ - july 2018), but is still affordable if compared with the rest of the modern metagame decks
      The most impactful way to achieve the deck is to get the core and gradually replace the budget options with mainboard non-budget spells and manabase, followed by the sideboard.
      Aether Vial is the single most expensive piece in the deck, and they aren’t really a way to substitute it on a budget. The most reasonable way is then be to up the land count and simply assume a slightly slower gameplan.
      Kira, Great Glass-Spinner can't be easily replaced, meaning that it will be more difficult to achieve the double Drogskol Captain softlock.
      Not being able to run Black, Midnight Haunting becomes better than Lingering Souls. With Mausoleum Wanderer out, being able to deploy two spirits at instant speed will be a nightmare for the opponent.
      Favorable winds is a cheap card that synergizes very well with the go-wide plan and can substitute Supreme Phantom.
      Path to Exile can be replaced by Vapor Snag or Condemn, which has the boon of not giving a land to the opponent (thus giving the mana tax plan more consistency). Still, Vapor Snag is probably the best removal on a budget.
      Mana Leak is a strong counterspell for its cost.
      Cavern of Souls’s direct budget replacement is Unclaimed Territory, but it might be better to try to strengthen the colour-producing lands, especially if the manabase is not optimal.
      The cheapest Rest in Peace substitute is Tormod's Crypt.

      This deck costs about 130$ (Jul 2018), and contains all the core cards of the Spirits archetype in a valid and cost-effective shell.

      This list is the best way to approach the deck for the first time, especially if you are dipping your toes into Modern for the first time and you don’t have ways to acquire the most expensive cards in a short amount of time.
      It’s also highly recommended for those who are unsure whether Spirits is a deck that fits their playstyle.
      The power level is fine for most of FNMs’ competitiveness, and with incremental improvements it can easily be upgraded into the full-budget list.

      Matchups and Sideboarding

      work in progress...
      A lot of the information can be found in the description of card choices.

      Posted in: Aggro & Tempo
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