elcome back to Building on a Budget. This week I'd like to explore the possibility of a Standard Enchantress deck. Kor Spiritdancer makes a whole new archetype possible. Spreading Seas, an aura, is arguably the most well positioned card in Standard these days. Decks packing a full count of Spreading Seas get a huge percentage of wins off the Spreading Seas alone. I've found it to be very difficult to lose games to Jund where I win the die roll and have a Spreading Seas in my opening hand. That may seem like a rare occurrence, but it comes up surprisingly often. Spreading Seas also does an excellent job at turning off manlands in the late-game.
I've recieved well over fifty emails from you guys with various lists for the archetype. Some lists have been straight white-blue, some green-white, but most lists have played with all three Bant colors.
The biggest choice, it seems, when designing a Standard Enchantress deck is whether or not to include Sigil of the Empty Throne. There are sound arguments on both sides of the debate. Personally, I like having a big win condition. Kor Spiritdancer can be big and bad, but having an aerial assault of 4/4s seems like a much more reasonable way to win the game. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this in the forums.
Lets take a look at the card choices:
Kor Spiritdancer: The inspiration for the deck! Kor Spiritdancer provides us with an excellent defense, an absurd amount of card advantage, and a formidable win condition. Truly scary things become possible when you have multiple copies of this in play.
Mesa Enchantress: The extra mana here is a hefty price, but having more enchantress effects is crucial to the inner workings of the deck. Mesa Enchantress lets us draw cards off our Oblivion Rings and Sigil of the Empty Thrones, so the extra mana isn't all for nought.
Canopy Cover: Path to Exile seems like your worst enemy. Canopy Cover lets you abuse any opening your opponent might give you. If they tap out for a turn four Jace, the Mind Sculptor you can follow with a Kor Spiritdancer and a Canopy Cover. Canopy Cover really shines against the planeswalker decks, once your Kor Spiritdancer has an Umbra and a Canopy Cover the game is just about over.
Hyena Umbra: One mana for the totem armor effect is what's most important here. The first strike is very nice against decks like Jund. Making your Kor Spiritdancer immune to Day of Judgment or Martial Coup is always good.
Spreading Seas: I've already talked at length about this one. Spreading Seas may be the best card in the current Standard. It happens to be an Aura, making it fit perfectly in this type of strategy.
Sigil of the Empty Throne: I wanted a good late-game finisher. Sigil of the Empty Throne seems like my best option.
Bear Umbra: I just couldn't help myself. Giving my Kor Spiritdancer +4/+4 and totem armor, getting to untap all my lands to draw some more cards with the goodies I've found. Sign me up!
Ponder: I'm worried that this deck won't perform very well if we cannot find a Kor Spiritdancer in the early stages of the game. I want to play Ponder to ensure we draw the right pieces at the right times.
Oblivion Ring: I'm a strong believer in Oblivion Ring these days. Planeswalkers, Emrakuls, Vengevines, you name it. Oblivion Ring gets the job done. We may not draw a card off our Kor Spiritdancer, but we deal with whatever problem we need to.
Crystallization: I thought about playing Pacifism, but I did a quick Gatherer search and found this gem. I used to first pick it in drafts all the time, so I figure it will probably be good enough.
I decided to play a few games with the deck and see how things went.
I lost the roll and kept Evolving Wilds, Island, Kor Spiritdancer, Ponder, Crystallization, Sigil of the Empty Throne, Mesa Enchantress. My opponent cast a Goblin Guide and attacked. I revealed a Seaside Citadel. I drew a Plains, played my Seaside Citadel, and passed the turn discarding the Sigil of the Empty Throne. My opponent attacked for another two, I revealed another Crystallization. My opponent cast a Plated Geopede and passed the turn. I drew the Crystallization, played my Plains, cast Crystallization on the Geopede, and passed the turn. My opponent tapped out for a Ball Lightning and attacked for eight, I revealed an Oblivion Ring. I drew the Oblivion Ring. Played my Plains, cast Kor Spiritdancer, cast Hyena Umbra on the Spiritdancer, drew another Hyena Umbra, and passed the turn. My opponent drew his card and passed the turn back. I drew another Kor Spiritdancer, cast it, cast Hyena Umbra on it, which my opponent responded to with a Staggershock. I drew Mesa Enchantress and another Seaside Citadel. I played the Seaside Citadel and passed the turn. My opponent played a fourth land, cast Kargan Dragonlord, leveled it twice, and passed the turn. I drew a Ponder, cast Crystallization on the Dragonlord, drew a Bear Umbra, cast a Ponder, saw all lands and Shuffled my Library, drew an Oblivion Ring, played an Evolving Wilds and passed the turn. My opponent played a fifth land and cast another Kargan Dragonlord, which he leveled a few times and passed the turn. I popped my Evolving Wilds for another land. I drew a Forest, played it, cast Bear Umbra on my Kor Spiritdancer, drew a Spreading Seas, cast Ponder, put a Crystallization, Oblivion Ring, and Sigil of the Empty Throne on top in that order. I attacked for 8 with my Spiritdancer and my opponent took the damage. I untapped all my lands, cast Mesa Enchantress, cast Crystallization on the Goblin Guide, drew Oblivion Ring and Sigil of the empty throne, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Burst Lightning on the Mesa Enchantress and passed the turn. I drew a Canopy Cover and cast it on the Kor Spiritdancer, I drew into another Bear Umbra off of that and cast that one also. I attacked for lethal damage.
My opponent's burn-light draw didn't work out very well. I think red decks should be very focused on my life total and not very focused on my engine. I have too many ways to protect it and they can usually race me.
I won the roll and kept Island, Island, Plains, Evolving Wilds, Ponder, Ponder, Spreading Seas. I played my Island and cast Ponder, I saw three lands and I shuffled them away. I drew Hyena Umbra and passed the turn. My opponent played a Celestial Colonnade and passed the turn. I drew a Forest, played my Plains, cast Spreading Seas on the Colonnade, drew another Island, and passed the turn. My opponent played an Island and passed the turn. I drew another Forest, cast Ponder, saw Mesa Enchantress and two lands, drew the Mesa Enchantress, played Evolving Wilds, shuffled away the extra lands, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Glacial Fortress and passed the turn. I drew another Mesa Enchantress, attempted to cast one, and was met with a Cancel. I played my land and passed the turn. My opponent played another Island, and cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor, he used the Brainstorm ability and passed the turn. I drew a Plains. Cast Mesa Enchantress, played my Plains, cast Hyena Umbra on the Enchantress, drew a Canopy Cover, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Path to Exile on the Enchantress, used Jace's Brainstorm ability again, and passed the turn. I drew another Forest and things were looking bleak. I passed the turn. My opponent used Jace's fateseal ability and let me keep my top card. He played another land, cast Gideon Jura, and passed the turn. I drew another Canopy Cover and passed the turn. My opponent made Gideon into a creature and attacked for 6, he used the fateseal ability on Jace and put a card on the bottom of my library. He played a Celestial Colonnade and passed the turn. I drew a Seaside Citadel and passed the turn. My opponent used Jace's fateseal again and let me keep my top card. He activated his Celestial Colonnade and Gideon and attacked me for 10. I drew Evolving Wilds and conceded.
I won the roll and kept Seaside Citadel, Plains, Forest, Spreading Seas, Hyena Umbra, Bear Umbra, Mesa Enchantress. I played my Seaside Citadel and passed the turn. My opponent played a Lavaclaw Reaches and passed back. I drew an Oblivion Ring, played my Plains, and cast Spreading Seas on my opponent's land. I drew Kor Spiritdancer. My opponent played a Savage Lands and passed the turn. I drew an Oblivion Ring, played Kor Spiritdancer, cast Hyena Umbra on it, drew an Island, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Blightning and I discarded, Oblivion Ring and Mesa Enchantress. I drew another Bear Umbra, played my land, cast Bear Umbra on the Mesa Enchantress, drew another Spreading Seas, attacked for 7, untapped all my lands, cast Spreading Seas on my opponent's Savage Lands, drew two Hyena Umbras, cast both Hyena Umbras on my Kor Spiritdancer, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Forest and a Putrid Leech and passed the turn. I had the Oblivion Ring and I attacked for lethal damage with my Kor Spiritdancer.
My opponent was pretty excited about the deck so we played a few more games. He won a little less than half of them. I found it especially difficult to win when he held back mana for his Lightning Bolts and I didn't draw Spreading Seas. During our conversation we decided that Sigil of the Empty Throne was unnecessary. Canopy Cover usually provides the evasion needed for a Kor Spiritdancer to go all the way.
Sometimes Kor Spiritdancer can get really out of hand. The deck is not as consistent as I would like it to be, but once the cogs get going, this deck becomes very difficult to beat. Argothian Enchantress was one of my favorite cards of all time and I really wanted to build a new Enchantress deck. If I were going to add more money to this deck I would probably do so in the manabase. If you're lucky enough to have Jace, the Mind Sculptors or Gideon Juras then those may actually have a place in the deck. They don't necessarily work toward our engine, but their absurd power levels make them very tempting to play. Lifelink seems like it could be a great sideboard option. I can't see a lot of decks beating an umbra'ed lifelinking Kor Spiritdancer. There may be a build of this that has true competitive potential. Perhaps it will be revealed at the Grand Prix in Washington D.C. this weekend.
Grand Prix–D.C. is this weekend. Huge Magic tournaments like this are a great opportunity to step up your game and try to get to the next level. The tournament will be Standard constructed so remember to bring a Standard legal deck. Get some friends together and make the roadtrip. I'll see you there!
Next week is Rebound Week. I haven't seen many decks play with Surreal Memoir yet and I plan to change that! If you have any especially exciting ideas for this deck I'd love to hear them on the forums or in an email.