How was everybody’s Christmas? I’m sure you’re still eating leftovers until the new year! Now that we’re almost at the end of 2019, I’d like to leave you guys with another deck tech before we say goodbye to the year that was, and welcome a new decade in 2020!
Soul Sisters have been a staple Tier 3 archetype in Modern which plays with 8-12 copies of a functionally reprinted creature that gains you 1 life whenever a creature enters the battlefield. Paired with Ajani’s Pridemate, you have the recipe for a deck that gains you a bunch of life, races well with good beaters, and synergizes with other top-end threats like Archangel of Thune.
In standard, we do have some reprints but not as lightly costed as these modern staples.
Cruel Celebrant turns the table around by draining a life whenever something dies. While Corpse Knight does not gain you any life when a creature hits the field but instead damages the opponent. Combine them both then you have Ayara that drains whenever a creature enters the battlefield.
When we combine the infamous Cat-Oven combo into the mix, then we have a formidable and cheap recipe for a continuous damage loop whenever you bake the cat.
For card advantage, we play a full playset of Midnight Reaper whose ability we’re able to cushion thanks to the ETB trigger that Cruel Celebrant gives. This means we’re drawing a bunch of cards but aren’t taking a bunch of damage.
Before I considered Rankle for our 4-drop slot, he used to be Teysa. But I always end up frustrated when my board has been cleared and I draw a Teysa. She’s great when your board is established but sucks when she’s all alone. Unlike Rankle that can swing the turn he enters the battlefield, draws us cards when we’re out of gas, attacks our opponent’s hand, and snipes a creature off the battlefield, these are far better effects for the same mana cost when we compare it to Teysa.
We have the best removal because of our colors and the only one that made the cut for our mainboard was Mortify and let me explain. Today’s standard decks can be bucketed into 3 major archetypes: Embercleave decks, Fires decks, Food Decks. What I love about Mortify is that it has very viable targets in each of these archetypes. It kills anything that wields the Cleave, kills Fires, and kills Crumbs. Though it doesn’t kill planeswalkers which is a pain, Walkers are not really a huge problem for us nor stops us from playing our game. The goal is to bring the opponent’s life total down low enough that planeswalkers shouldn’t matter.
I tried it in a standard event in Arena and managed to get to 7 wins rather effortlessly.
- Win #1 vs Mono Red, the lifegain and die-effects allowed us to race really well and Mortify took down Torbrand for the win.
- Win #2 vs UW Fliers, the Stonecoil Serpent really helped us make combat math lean towards our favor.
- Win #3 vs BG Food, our Cruel Celebrant and 2 Ovens and a Cat was too much for their crumbs. Ayara sealed the deal despite taking multiple hits from Questing Beasts.
- Win #4 vs UW Control, turn 1 cat into turn 2 Corpse Knight, then Teferi bounced Knight (and died to Cat), allowed me to play Celebrant and Oven while the opponent tapped out. His Arena avatar blew up from rage quit.
- Loss #1 vs UG Ramp, didn’t manage to get the 4th land (2nd black source).
- Win #5 vs UG Ramp, the deck managed to aggro him down to 8 life thanks to Rankle and ETB drains. Cat+Oven closed the game despite the opponent having two 3/3 lands c/o Nissa
- Loss #2 vs RB Aristocrats, back to back Mayhem Devil and me with no Mortify or Midnight Reaper to find them was a one-sided game in favor of my opponent.
- Win #6 vs Mono Green, I just block-sac the cat to anything he sent to the red zone and Corpse Knight + Cruel Celebrant took my opponent’s life for me without me needing to take a single combat step.
- Win #7 vs WG Proliferate, same game plan versus mono green. Without trample, not much damage was coming through and Rankle + Dreadhorde Invasion made sure he never had enough board presence to pressure me.
That’s it for today’s deck tech! The sideboard is a placeholder against Control and I never got to use it. Hero of Precinct One together with a bunch of gold cards should make short work for anyone who plans to board in sweepers against us. Duress are in there to take those sweepers away!