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Thread: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

  1. #1

    [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal



    "Dead or alive, true leaders can inspire an entire army."

    Legacy Spirits

    I. Why Spirits?
    II. History
    III. Building Spirits
    IV. Sideboard Options
    V. Matchups
    VI. Tournament Results
    VII. Additional Info/Resources


    I. Why Spirits?
    Tribal decks have a very long history in Magic. From tabletop to competitive scenes, WotC loves printing tribal support and people love playing it. These decks have found varying success in legacy with tribes floating around various tiers depending on how the meta shakes up. The Source has primers/threads for Elves, Goblins, Merfolk, Slivers, and plenty more. The most important part of why spirits? is to not just play a worse version of an existing tribal deck, but explore the new space and support that WotC is currently developing for Spirit tribal. To me the best part of spirit tribal is the built-in evasion and its disruptive abilities. Slivers and Merfolk always have to be on guard for getting blown out in combat by a removal spell on their lord followed by blocks, whereas Spirits can swing in with impunity due to the general lack of flyers in the format. Spirits also has some of the best maindeck disruptive cards of all tribes in Mausoleum Wanderer and Spell Queller. Wanderer + lords making flying spell pierces or better is nothing to scoff at, and Queller is a solid card all around. As WotC continues to print cards to support Spirits, IMO it's only a matter of when not if the tribe finds a home in the legacy meta.

    II. History of Legacy Spirits
    From what I can discover most talk of legacy spirits began in 2012 with the printing of Drogskol Captain, a clear lynchpin and jumping off point for the archetype. Crystalline Sliver is basically the entire reason Slivers as a deck exists, and Captain being a flying/lord/pseudo version makes it appealing as a build around target.

    In 2012, support for spirit tribal was lacking, with most builds trying to make something happen with Tallowisp and an enchantment sub-theme. You can find the threads here started by from Cairo, Jacemindbreak, and Cire.

    The deck suffered from consistency issues though as support for the tribe was basically non-existent forcing people to jam in sub-optimal cards to fill in voids. While cards like Spectral Lynx rank high on nostalgia factor, the power level is not there to put up a good showing in Legacy.


    2014 saw one of the first tempting additions to the deck in Spirit of the Labyrinth. Legacy obviously being a cantrip-heavy format allows Spirit to shine and instant-speed shenanigans with vial can cause a few blowouts for unsuspecting opponents. Future brewers would also include things like Geier Reach Sanitarium to lock opponents out in conjunction with spirit when Eldritch Moon was released in 2016.


    2016 was the most promising break-out year for the tribe. Spell Queller and Mausoleum Wanderer in particular provided the necessary tools to start crafting the type of aggro/disruptive shell that spirits needed to differentiate itself from the other more aggro-centric tribes. Rattlechains and Selfless Spirit provided the necessary filler for on-tribe cards that did something semi-relevant, even if they weren't always that impressive. With those printings some of the first shells that started to resemble something competitive were attempted:

    4 Aether Vial
    4 Mausoleum Wanderer
    3 Rattlechains
    3 Spirit of the Labyrinth
    4 Phantasmal Image
    4 Spell Queller
    4 Drogskol Captain
    2 Mother of Runes
    3 Selfless Spirit
    4 Force of Will
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    4 Flooded Strand
    2 Island
    2 Plains
    4 Cavern of Souls
    2 Tundra
    3 Mutavault
    1 Karakas
    1 Moorland Haunt
    2 Marsh Flats

    Sideboard:
    2 Umezawa's Jitte
    3 Grafdigger's Cage
    2 Geist of Saint Traft
    2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
    2 Crackdown
    2 Flusterstorm
    2 Disenchant

    A similar list also showed up briefly in Melbourne piloted by a friend of ChemicalBurns, and a StoneBlade variant also was featured on mtgGoldFish here. These decks relied far too heavily reliant on Drogskol Captain (with Phantasmal Image as backup doing its best impression). Very much a "drawing well required to win" type of deck. More real lords were required to allow the fliers to close out games quickly -- which brings us to...


    With these latest printings Spirits is on the cusp of being a fringe competitor. Supreme Phantom is obviously the more important of the two, but Remorseful Cleric is also good enough to perhaps warrant a mainboard spot which allows for more flexibility in deck building (e.g. running Brainstorm in favor of Spirit of the Labyrinth). With that said, let's dive into deckbuilding options:

    III. Building Spirits
    Spirits is core blue and white for obvious reasons, with a black splash possible for the power of something like Lingering Souls. Kamigawa block gave us spirits in every color, but in general they're too weak to explore competitively.

    Sample Decklist

    Lands: (21)
    4 Flooded Strand
    2 Misty Rainforest
    2 Marsh Flats
    2 Cavern of Souls
    2 Island
    1 Plains
    2 Tundra
    2 Karakas
    4 Wasteland

    Creatures: (23)
    4 Drogskol Captain
    4 Mausoleum Wanderer
    2 Phantasmal Image
    4 Spell Queller
    3 Stoneforge Mystic
    4 Supreme Phantom
    1 Remorseful Cleric
    1 Selfless Spirit

    Non-Creature Spells: (16)
    4 Aether Vial
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Force of Will
    2 Swords to Plowshares
    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    1 Sword of Fire and Ice

    Sideboard: (15)
    2 Containment Priest
    3 Disenchant
    3 Ethersworn Canonist
    1 Vendilion Clique
    1 Pithing Needle
    2 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Surgical Extraction
    1 Rest in Peace

    Manabase
    We generally want to have 16-18 lands that produce or fetch color including Cavern. From there we can consider utility lands like Wasteland, Mutavault and Moorland Haunt. Typically, the deck runs 19-21 lands, altogether. If we're playing Spirit of the Labyrinth we'll want more lands. We can cut some lands if we're playing Brainstorm.

    Cavern of Souls: key for any tribal deck, and obviously great here too -- works especially well with stuff like Spell Queller giving us uncounterable disruption. Sometimes more basics can be run in lieu of Cavern. Play 0-4.

    Moorland Haunt: one of the cards that turns your opponent into a reader if they weren't around for Innistrad-era standard -- great way to grind games out and since it doesn't target it circumvents problem cards like Deathrite Shaman. Generally a 0-1 of.

    Mutavault: Manlands are still great, but it doesn't fly so can be awkward. We want 0-4 of these.

    Wasteland: We're a vial deck, so the inclusion of wasteland is always tempting. However, we're also slower and more disruptive than other vial decks, so I question if making our mana worse by running it is ideal. Especially since we often want to always hold up mana for Spell Queller.

    Karakas: On-color and always a great card to have maindeck to shore-up Reanimator, Show & Tell, Marit Lage, etc matchups.

    Basic lands: As a solid UW deck we can afford to play a few basics. Usually 2-3 islands and 1 plains.


    Automatic 4-Ofs:
    Aether Vial: Vial loves tribal, there's not much more to say

    Drogskol Captain: Our best lord. Hexproof + pump + he's a decent air beater on his own

    Supreme Phantom: Our new lord. Not as beefy, but the 2cmc pump he provides is a turning point for this deck's viability

    Mausoleum Wanderer: Our best opener. Wanderer into Phantom is 3dmg flying turn 2. Wanderer is so much better than something like Cursecatcher vs combo. Pumping it statically with a lord gives combo headaches. Our instant-speed options to pump it further gives combo migraines.

    Spell Queller: Our best disruptive card. Pairs well with Drogskol Captain's hexproof. Makes combo players' duresses look silly.

    Force of Will: We're blue and can play it, I don't see a reason not to.

    Brainstorm vs Spirit of the Labyrinth
    You'll likely want 4 of either depending on how you want to construct your deck. Brainstorm helps our consistency, Spirit hurts our opponents'. Your own playstyle will probably dictate which you choose. SotL not having flying currently makes me want to avoid it for the time being, but perhaps it's still a good choice now that we have more lords.

    Other Possible Maindeck Cards
    Stoneforge Mystic: Not a spirit, but plays well with vial and our tribe REALLY like equipment. At this moment I think the deck needs it. If better spirits are printed I'd be inclined to move away from SFM. Play 0-4.

    Rattlechains: Unsure of this guy after extensive testing. At best this guy is blowout city. Protecting a spirit, flashing others in, being a 2/1 flier -- all modes are relevant. At worst it's a 2/1 ambush viper that's on-tribe. There might be better stuff to play here. Play 0-4.

    Phantasmal Image: Play 0-2. Not a spirit, but Imaging a Drogskol Captain is still one of the best plays the deck can make. Imaging opponent's creatures obviously also remains a strong option.

    Remorseful Cleric: Play 0-2. It's such a relevant effect on a relevant body I always want to try to find a spot for it. Depending on meta this guy could be amazing.

    Selfless Spirit: Play 0-1. Not as much of a fan due to recent printings, but can be important to keep curve intact and protect our lords.

    Daze: Play 0-4. We don't rely on tempo as much and have a lot of other disruption, but Daze plays well with our Mausoleum Wanderers and Wastelands.

    Swords to Plowshares: Play 0-4. Best removal spell in the format. But I think because we can fly over most things it's not necessary to play the full 4 maindeck.

    Mother of Runes: Play 0-2. It works well as another 1 drop for the deck that "combos" with a sole Drogskol Captain.

    Umezawa's Jitte: Play 1-2. We have lots of fliers and Jitte is still a broken card. Obvious inclusion if on SFM.

    Sword of Fire and Ice: Play 0-1. Best sword and we can get a lot of connections with it. Include it if playing SFM.

    Batterskull: Play 0-1: I'd play it in a burn meta if on SFM plan, but otherwise it runs counter to our flyer plan.

    Lingering Souls: Play 0-2. One of the best grind cards in the format but I'm uncertain if it belongs in the deck. It makes our mana weaker, doesn't synergize with Cavern or Rattlechains, and skews the CMC higher.

    Geist of Saint Traft: Play 0? GoST used to be strong and probably was maindeckable it in the previous miracles meta, but nowadays he's just too slow and clunky to be a good mainboard option especially since he gets blanked on the ground so easily. If you're dead set on playing Geist I'd recommend it in the sideboard.

    IV. Sideboard Options:
    We're a UW deck so we have access to some of the best SB cards in the format. As long as you're covering the standard combo/grind/gy options you should be fine. Some choices:

    Containment Priest, Umezawa's Jitte, Warping Wail, Eidolon of Rhetoric, Flusterstorm, Submerge, Rest in Peace, Surgical Extraction, Grafdigger's Cage, Geist of Saint Traft, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Disenchant, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Meddling Mage, Ethersworn Canonist, Path to Exile, Vendilion Clique, Pithing Needle.


    How to Sideboard
    COMING SOON

    V. Matchups
    COMING SOON

    VI. Tournament History & Proven Lists
    Two 5-0 MTGO lists can be found here

    VII. References & Additional Reading
    Friend 4-0ed Our Weekly with UW Spirits...
    Instant Dech Tech: Spirit-Blade

    Credits
    Thanks to Volt from whom I borrowed the general outline of this primer.
    Last edited by Kaono; 08-05-2018 at 01:03 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    Spirits runs into the two-pronged problem of running sub-par creatures that need equipment but not running SFM, and not quite being fit for Aether Vial. With the current card pool, I'm not sure how this tribe performs better than UWx Blade or Merfolk...resort to the lords approach and you're turning into bad Slivers? The only unique aspect seems to revolve around investigate with a card like Bygone Bishop, which is opposed to the Vial plan.

    The soulshift stuff in overcosted, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner is more expensive than Crystalline Sliver/Hibernation Sliver, Pack Guardian is just shy of borderline playable, Ruin Ghost has potential, and the top end seems to be 4 mana 4/4 which isn't good enough for legacy. Doesn't look to be any special tutoring. Rattlechains is cool (again opposed to Vial plan), but nothing looks that impactful; I mean I guess you could repeatedly flash in Kami of the Crescent Moon and self-bounce with Karakas? Tradewind Rider looks like the strongest interation possible.

  3. #3

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    Spirits runs into the two-pronged problem of running sub-par creatures that need equipment but not running SFM, and not quite being fit for Aether Vial. With the current card pool, I'm not sure how this tribe performs better than UWx Blade or Merfolk...resort to the lords approach and you're turning into bad Slivers? The only unique aspect seems to revolve around investigate with a card like Bygone Bishop, which is opposed to the Vial plan.

    The soulshift stuff in overcosted, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner is more expensive than Crystalline Sliver/Hibernation Sliver, Pack Guardian is just shy of borderline playable, Ruin Ghost has potential, and the top end seems to be 4 mana 4/4 which isn't good enough for legacy. Doesn't look to be any special tutoring. Rattlechains is cool (again opposed to Vial plan), but nothing looks that impactful; I mean I guess you could repeatedly flash in Kami of the Crescent Moon and self-bounce with Karakas? Tradewind Rider looks like the strongest interation possible.
    As mentioned in the "why spirits?" section, the #1 goal behind building a new deck that is trying to be competitive is to not be a "worse" version of an existing deck.

    Spirits has a chance to differentiate itself from Slivers/Merfolk because its "filler" creatures are good enough on their own without the lords. When you swing all in with Spirits a removal spell on a lord + blocks doesn't wipe your board like it can in fish/slivers. Even without lords, beating down in the air is a very viable option. The creatures do not need equipment to present a respectable clock. Spirits like Mausoleum Wanderer and Spell Queller are very good disruptive elements and alongside traditional countermagic give the deck a favorable MU vs combo.

    UWx blade is a very different deck and not something to reasonably compare a tribal deck to.

    I disagree that the deck is at odds with Vial. Most of the deck is 2-3 CMC, and vial complements, not contradicts, the Rattlechain option. Vialing in a Rattlechain and casting a lord or similar EOT is huge, as is representing the threat to do so.

    The other cards you listed I agree have no place in competitive legacy. Doing too many cute things leads to awkward draws that die quickly to legacy's hyper efficiency. Kira is the closest card worth consideration but at 3cmc is quite expensive. Good potential sideboard card, though, and I should have included it.
    Last edited by Kaono; 06-26-2018 at 05:33 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    I think it's more the issue that half of the lords come in at 3cmc, so as a Vial deck you're objectively worse than either Merfolk or Slivers. I get that they have flying and special abilities, but those abilities are more narrow than Slivers [in the case of flying, already covered by Slivers] - which might be fine if they were also tutorable. Not as broadly powerful as Slivers makes sense though since there's this whole flash-ish thing naturally happening - this is where I begin questioning the Vial.

    When I look at the deck and I see Vial, it seems like Rattlechains really isn't offering anything comparable to Snapcaster [and the StP that goes with it....and then SFM for the Jitte...and then we're on UWx Blade that wanted to be edgy and run Spell Queller]. You look at Vial and toolbox and suddenly you're supposed to be on DnT tutoring up the spirit of progenitus. I don't know if there's a deck here, but it feels like this is supposed to find its niche by being the non-Vial tribal flash [sort of] deck, that has a specific reason to forego Snapcaster. I don't think the current cards are strong enough to be a non-Vial deck, but I can at least say that Brainstorm and 6 fetch + Daze with potentially 10 non-Dazeable lands seems rather incorrect. Maybe there is progress to be made by increasing shuffle effects and minimizing Vial slots by using Enlightened Tutor? Maybe this is supposed to be legacy's Moat deck??

  5. #5

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    Feel free to share any list idea you're thinking of. The deck has a few different directions it can go in. I don't think it's the best deck in the format or objectively better than other tribes. It's just different. This is simply a place I created to discuss the archetype. I think WotC will continue to support it with new printings and am interested in what the future will bring. Cheers.

  6. #6

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    Remorseful cleric combos with oath of ghouls.

  7. #7
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    Definitively a nice deck, looks fun to play!
    With all those flyers, is moat not a great sideboard option? Your opponents arent going to put in enchantment-hate game 2.

  8. #8

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    Just registered an account to comment on this thread. This deck looks sweet and I'm definitely going to build it once the new cards come out since I own all the expensive cards already.

    I definitely see the merit in the 4x spirit of the labyrinth version, but I think this deck needs some kind of consistency tool. If it just relies on playing an aggro/tempo game by drawing 1 card per turn, then it'll get smothered by most decks. I'm leaning towards trying 4 brainstorm, and adding more sources of colored mana. While mutavault is great, I don't think it's really ideal/necessary in a sea of flyers and when you need to have consistent mana for non creature spells. I've drawn up this list that I've just been goldfishing a bit:

    4x Aether Vial
    4x Brainstorm
    3x Cavern of Souls
    4x Drogskol Captain
    4x Flooded Strand
    4x Force of Will
    3x Island
    1x Karakas
    4x Mausoleum Wanderer
    2x Misty Rainforest
    2x Phantasmal Image
    2x Plains
    4x Rattlechains
    2x Remorseful Cleric
    4x Spell Queller
    4x Supreme Phantom
    4x Swords to Plowshares
    3x Tundra
    2x Windswept Heath

    I think this list could have serious game against the field. The interaction between Mausoleum Wanderer and the lords is fantastic, and I think Spell Queller is one of the most underrated cards in legacy right now. I feel like 20 lands is still a little low, but brainstorm and vial should help to alleviate some of the mana problems that land-light hands may have. I could also see the argument for moving the forces to the sideboard, but for now I'm going to start them main and I think ultimately that's probably safe and correct.

    Really excited to try this out once the new M19 cards are released and continuing the discussion going forward.

  9. #9

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    Quote Originally Posted by Rebelwithapen216 View Post
    Just registered an account to comment on this thread. This deck looks sweet and I'm definitely going to build it once the new cards come out since I own all the expensive cards already.

    I definitely see the merit in the 4x spirit of the labyrinth version, but I think this deck needs some kind of consistency tool. If it just relies on playing an aggro/tempo game by drawing 1 card per turn, then it'll get smothered by most decks. I'm leaning towards trying 4 brainstorm, and adding more sources of colored mana. While mutavault is great, I don't think it's really ideal/necessary in a sea of flyers and when you need to have consistent mana for non creature spells. I've drawn up this list that I've just been goldfishing a bit:

    4x Aether Vial
    4x Brainstorm
    3x Cavern of Souls
    4x Drogskol Captain
    4x Flooded Strand
    4x Force of Will
    3x Island
    1x Karakas
    4x Mausoleum Wanderer
    2x Misty Rainforest
    2x Phantasmal Image
    2x Plains
    4x Rattlechains
    2x Remorseful Cleric
    4x Spell Queller
    4x Supreme Phantom
    4x Swords to Plowshares
    3x Tundra
    2x Windswept Heath

    I think this list could have serious game against the field. The interaction between Mausoleum Wanderer and the lords is fantastic, and I think Spell Queller is one of the most underrated cards in legacy right now. I feel like 20 lands is still a little low, but brainstorm and vial should help to alleviate some of the mana problems that land-light hands may have. I could also see the argument for moving the forces to the sideboard, but for now I'm going to start them main and I think ultimately that's probably safe and correct.

    Really excited to try this out once the new M19 cards are released and continuing the discussion going forward.
    I agree completely about brainstorm -- there are way too many 2-for-1s out there in legacy to hope to "get there" as a 1-for-1 tribal deck so the selection seems vital. We just can't afford to flood out. That same thought behind x-for-1s was why I was wondering if maindecking Jitte is a good start.

    Cutting mutavault seems fine. It's good in fish b/c of island walk. It's decent in slivers because they have way more lords and can give it flying. Here it doesn't do much. I do think we want to keep Moorland Haunt around as it's a great way to grind.

  10. #10

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    I've been running this list here for a few weeks, and its been going well. At a bare minimum loving the look of exasperation on my opponents faces when i get a hexproof lock on board.

    https://www.mtggoldfish.com/deck/1170775#paper

  11. #11

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    This is probably what I'm going to play once the new cards come out. I've flip-flopped on a few of my previous comments/thoughts on the deck, but we're in a new meta now so who the hell knows what will work and what won't. I mostly only play tested against decks with deathrite shaman so that has informed a lot of this current build.

    Mainboard
    2x Cavern of Souls
    4x Flooded Strand
    3x Island
    1x Karakas
    2x Misty Rainforest
    2x Plains
    3x Tundra
    4x Wasteland
    2x Windswept Heath

    4x Aether Vial
    1x Umezawa's Jitte

    4x Brainstorm
    4x Swords to Plowshares

    4x Drogskol Captain
    1x Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
    4x Mausoleum Wanderer
    4x Rattlechains
    2x Remorseful Cleric
    4x Spell Queller
    4x Supreme Phantom
    1x Vendilion Clique

    Sideboard
    2x Disenchant
    2x Ethersworn Canonist
    2x Flusterstorm
    4x Force of Will
    2x Rest in Peace
    2x Surgical Extraction
    1x Umezawa's Jitte

    I previously thought I'd start the forces in the main, but I felt the card disadvantage really crippled us vs fair blue decks. It's not like merfolk where we can just jam a true-name and protect it the whole game and expect to win. If combo really makes the resurgence that people expect it too, then maybe I'll swap the swords for the forces in the board.

    I tried out wasteland and (unsurprisingly) loved it. Made me want to increase the land count to 23 like most D&T builds run (despite playing brainstorm), while maintaining 14 white sources and 14 blue sources (not counting caverns). I like moorland haunt, but it messes with the color requirements a bit too much and it hasn't outright won me any games so far (unlike wasteland). I really am a stickler for consistent mana bases, especially with brews that you're just trying to make function at a basic level.

    Clique is the honorary spirit in the list due its natural flash and its potential relevance against combo, plus a few other niche benefits. Besides that I've committed pretty hard to the spirit theme. Kira has really impressed me despite its obvious anti-synergy with jitte. It's like a fifth drogskol captain sort of, except it also protects itself which is very nice. I tried a few iterations of the list with no brainstorms and it just felt too underpowered. Even though this is still a fairly low power deck in the grand scheme of legacy, drawing one card per turn with no tutors or filtering is just too weak for legacy consideration. The brainstorms have been great, and there is some really nice synergy with brainstorm and aether vial plus our flash creatures. Also, 2 supreme phantoms in play at once is (was) really great against grixis delver.

    I haven't been impressed with phantasmal image when I've tried it. It can't hold a jitte, it can't be protected by rattlechains, and it can't be flashed in because of rattlechains. It's not like we're copying our own true-names like merfolk can, and the lords it copies don't grant evasion so I think it's just not a great fit.

    Other brief comments: I've really liked jitte (obviously), I think ethersworn canonist is just better than eidolon of rhetoric because it's cheaper, remorseful cleric has been ok but I think it will obviously shine against more graveyard centric decks, and I haven't been impressed with selfless spirit.

  12. #12

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    Quote Originally Posted by Rebelwithapen216 View Post

    I haven't been impressed with phantasmal image when I've tried it. It can't hold a jitte, it can't be protected by rattlechains, and it can't be flashed in because of rattlechains. It's not like we're copying our own true-names like merfolk can, and the lords it copies don't grant evasion so I think it's just not a great fit.

    Other brief comments: I've really liked jitte (obviously), I think ethersworn canonist is just better than eidolon of rhetoric because it's cheaper, remorseful cleric has been ok but I think it will obviously shine against more graveyard centric decks, and I haven't been impressed with selfless spirit.
    I like the list, I've contemplated with the 4 brainstorms over the thalia's I've been running. (after DnT-ing people out with Thalia//wasteland its hard to quit)

    I totally agree on the phantasmal image (although I did get a funny synergy copying a goose the other day) it has felt very mediocre in hand each time I've drawn it.

    and while ethersworn is solid, I DO like eidolon against punishing fire decks (with my meta having a lot of 4c loam).

    Looking forward to hearing more results!

  13. #13

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    This is the list I'm currently planning on running. I decided I want the main board to be as disruptive as possible. To put the forces back in the main and accommodate a solid creature count, I cut the flex lands like cavern and karakas.

    4x Flooded Strand
    4x Island
    2x Misty Rainforest
    2x Plains
    3x Tundra
    4x Wasteland
    2x Windswept Heath

    4x Aether Vial

    4x Brainstorm
    4x Force of Will
    4x Swords to Plowshares

    4x Drogskol Captain
    1x Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
    4x Mausoleum Wanderer
    4x Rattlechains
    2x Remorseful Cleric
    4x Spell Queller
    4x Supreme Phantom

    Sideboard
    3x Disenchant
    2x Ethersworn Canonist
    2x Flusterstorm
    1x Pithing Needle
    2x Rest in Peace
    3x Surgical Extraction
    2x Umezawa's Jitte

  14. #14
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    I've been pondering about Spirits in Legacy looking back at the old UW tempo deck utilizing Weathered Wayfarer and it seems to me like that would be a good skeleton to begin experimenting with. Shoving all sorts of Spirits because of their creature type leads to all sorts of sub-par card choices (What good is Rattlechains?). What does Spirit Tribal have going for it?

    -Synergy in the form of lord effects
    -Inherently disruptive creatures that shine against Combo and Control decks
    -Evasive creatures
    -Blue shell to support Force of Will

    What do Spirits lack?

    -Velocity from high CMC cards
    -Creature size (Slow clock)
    -An overall strong aggro plan

    When I look at this I immediately see the need for Vial in this deck. Vial gives this deck the velocity it craves to be Legacy playable. The most glaring weakness in the deck against aggro decks is solved by equipping a Jitte or landing a Batterskull in a timely fashion. Like DnT, Spirits need equipments to go over the top of fatties. Unlike DnT, Spirits don't need SoFaI to get past TNN and give it some grind potential. In order to abuse the blue shell to its fullest, Brainstorm and FoW are essential. Daze also jumps to the forefront when you consider Vial, Wastelands, and Mausoleum Wanderer.

    Here is what I have in mind:

    4 Mausoleum Wanderer
    4 Supreme Phantom
    4 Stoneforge Mystic
    4 Drogskol Captain
    3 Spell Queller

    4 Swords to Plowshares
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Force of Will
    3 Daze

    4 Aether Vial
    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    1 Batterskull

    4 Wasteland
    4 Flooded Strand
    4 Polluted Delta
    1 Windswept Heath
    4 Tundra
    2 Island
    1 Plains


    8 Lord effects and 4 SFM to buff puny fliers.
    8 Lord effects greatly improve Mausoleum's ability.
    4 Mausoleum, 4 FoW, 3 Daze, 3 Quellers against Combo and control decks G1
    Brainstorm and SFM for card advantage and getting rid of excessive Vials/Lands

    What do you guys think? Does it have potential?
    Do you know what assuming does? It makes an ass out of you and me.
    Get it...? Ass, u, me?

    ... ffs I was trying to be funny...

  15. #15

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    I like your take on it. Rattlechains is pretty weak at times, but it does pull its weight when it comes to staying on theme. Giving your other spirits flash can be big, as is protecting them from removal spells. Even a 2/1 flash flyer that can pitch to force in a pinch isn't a terrible floor. Still, I see where stoneforge could be very powerful for the deck. The card's obviously good, I just don't want to turn the deck into a worse death and taxes (which it...kind of already is).

    Not a fan of daze here, but it's worth trying out. I've played merfolk a bit, and daze + aether vial don't always pair that well together. You won't always have vial, and your curve is pretty high without it. Also, the deck needs to be heavy on creatures to support vial's inclusion, and force, swords and brainstorm are already automatic includes. At some point you need to pad the creature count a little better.

  16. #16
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    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    Quote Originally Posted by Rebelwithapen216 View Post
    I like your take on it. Rattlechains is pretty weak at times, but it does pull its weight when it comes to staying on theme. Giving your other spirits flash can be big, as is protecting them from removal spells. Even a 2/1 flash flyer that can pitch to force in a pinch isn't a terrible floor. Still, I see where stoneforge could be very powerful for the deck. The card's obviously good, I just don't want to turn the deck into a worse death and taxes (which it...kind of already is).

    Not a fan of daze here, but it's worth trying out. I've played merfolk a bit, and daze + aether vial don't always pair that well together. You won't always have vial, and your curve is pretty high without it. Also, the deck needs to be heavy on creatures to support vial's inclusion, and force, swords and brainstorm are already automatic includes. At some point you need to pad the creature count a little better.
    I don't think playing Rattlechains over SFM in order to increase the blue count from 26 to 30 is that relevant. Compared to DnT, Spirits have a way better combo matchup across the board. Of course if you pit Spirits and DnT against each other you will quickly see that DnT has the better aggro plan. You still get to have the air superiority and the matchup will pretty much resemble a DnT mirror (Who gets Jitte online first).

    Concerning the creature count and the use of Vial, this list is not intended as a Merfolk deck where your plan is so linear that you forego Wastelands and Brainstorm for more creatures. The idea here is to have a T1 play that will facilitate the development of what is essentially a midrange deck. You can also count Brainstorm as additional creatures as well for the purpose of Vial. I agree with you that the more creatures the better in a Vial deck, I just don't see any candidates at a reasonable cost that would be better than a few Daze.
    Do you know what assuming does? It makes an ass out of you and me.
    Get it...? Ass, u, me?

    ... ffs I was trying to be funny...

  17. #17

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    I wasn't suggesting that rattlechains is a major consideration because it accommodates force of will. I was just pointing out that its floor isn't very low, and that's just one of several reasons why.

    Anyway, with aether vial you need to have a curve of creatures to build up to with the vial. It's hard to do that consistently with only 19 creatures. You will often have 3 drops in your hand, but have no 1 or 2 drops to vial in in the interim, or you'll be lacking 3 drops after you've already preemptively ticked your vial up from 2 to 3. Honestly, 22 or 23 creatures is also probably not enough or just barely enough, but as you pointed out, a lot of the options are trash so we just have to make due. I think 4 is one stoneforge too many for 2 targets. I'd cut the 3 dazes for the 4th spell queller and 2 remorseful cleric, and I'd cut the 4th stoneforge for probably either a kira or a vendilion clique (depends on what you want to plan for). Kira is awful with the equipment but as a 1-of her downside won't come up too often (she's pretty great against removal heavy decks). Daze is obviously a great card, but I think there are too many conflicting requirements in the deck to play it profitably with reasonable consistency.

    Overall I do really like your stoneforge suggestion over rattlechains. I think I'd run batterskull and jitte in the main, and probably a sword of fire and ice in the side (baleful strix is great against this deck).

  18. #18

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    Hi from Italy!

    Did anyone try a bant version of spirits in legacy?

    How could be?

    Thanks!

  19. #19

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    Finally got the chance to play this at a weekly. I went 2-1 in matches, 5-3 in games.

    4x Flooded Strand
    3x Island
    2x Misty Rainforest
    2x Plains
    3x Tundra
    4x Wasteland
    2x Windswept Heath

    4x Aether Vial
    1x Batterskull
    1x Sword of Fire and Ice
    1x Umezawa's Jitte

    4x Brainstorm
    4x Force of Will
    4x Swords to Plowshares

    4x Drogskol Captain
    4x Mausoleum Wanderer
    1x Remorseful Cleric
    4x Spell Queller
    4x Stoneforge Mystic
    4x Supreme Phantom

    Sideboard
    2x Contianment Priest
    3x Disenchant
    2x Ethersworn Canonist
    2x Flusterstorm
    1x Path to Exile
    1x Pithing Needle
    2x Rest in Peace
    2x Surgical Extraction

    Round 1 Death and Taxes splashing black for Orzhov Pontiff (1-2)
    Game 1 I kept a very loose, land heavy hand on the play. I was very close to stabilizing with a batterskull that I was going to equip with jitte the following turn, but he drew swords to plowshares during his end step off monarch from a mainboard palace jailer (if he let me untap I could have force of willed it, but not equipped jitte). In total he drew 3 swords to plowshares during the game, and I just couldn't get a threat to stick.

    OUT 4 force, 1 remorseful cleric. IN 3 disenchant, 1 path, 1 needle.

    Game 2 I kept a great hand and smothered him with equipment.
    Game 3 I also kept a loose hand with a lot of lands, and he just got his equipment on line very quickly and beat me. Definitely should have mulliganed this game.

    Round 2 Abzan Nyx Fit w/ academy rectors (2-0)
    Game 1 He kept a hand that relied on a lot of naturally drawn duals for mana, and I drew 3 wastelands over the course of the game. He eventually deeded my board, but I had a backup spell queller to recapture a veteran explorer that was exiled, and used remorseful cleric to get rid of 2 therapies in his yard. Suffocating his mana, a force of will, spell queller, and small beats got there.

    OUT 4 aether vial, 4 mausoleum wander, 1 batterskull, 1 stoneforge. IN 2 RIP, 2 surgical, 1 containment priest, 3 disenchant, 1 needle, 1 path. Probably overboarded, but all these cards seemed more relevant than what I boarded out.

    Game 2 I had turn 1 needle which named pernicious deed (he had one in hand), turn 2 RIP, force of will for a choke, and then lots of flying beats. He never drew an abrupt decay or any artifact/enchantment removal, but I had spell queller just in case which ultimately exiled a lingering souls. The game actually took a while to end, but I felt very safe with pernicious deed shut off, RIP in play, and spell queller up.

    Round 3 Bant Food Chain (2-1)
    Game 1 I led with vial on the play off a wasteland instead of island to maybe mask what I was one, and he forced pitching misthollow griffin so I knew what was up. I responded with force pitching force mostly because I didn't have white mana for the stoneforge in my hand. I was killing hierarchs while wastelanding to keep him to 3 mana sources in play (1 basic of each color). However, huge turning point when he resolved an energy field. Basically it was just back and forth staring at each other for a few turns while I built my board with wanderers and lords and vial on 3 for queller, and eventually he went for end of turn enlightened tutor to get food chain which killed the energy field. He had a hand with lots of countermagic and would have to discard eventually anyway, plus he never found RIP and couldn't crack any fetches. I spell quellered food chain off vial and we went to game 2.

    OUT 1 remorseful cleric, 1 batterskull, 1 stoneforge, 1 drgoskol captain, 1 swords to plowshares. IN 3 disenchant, 2 ethersworn canonist.

    Game 2 was pretty similar to game 1, except he found the RIP to pair with energy field. I disenchanted the RIP and then wastelanded to kill the energy field eventually, but at the last possible turn he end-of-turn enlightened tutored for engineered explosives, which killed all my quellers, getting him back a food chain and a swords to plowshares, and then he was able to win with all of his misthollows and block/exile my equipped stoneforge with eternal scourge.

    Game 3 was again very similar to the previous ones, except this time I forced a manipulate fate and had back-up answers to his enchantments. He again had RIP/field, but I had disenchant. I got there with beats and kept him off casting too many things with wasteland. He showed me after that he boarded out all of this forces.

    Overall the deck felt great. I still feel a little soft to miracles and like I have too few sideboard cards for some fair blue decks, so I may cut the containment priests for a third flusterstorm and a clique in the sideboard. Batterskull felt very clunky and unnecessary, but whenever I've played death and taxes before and cut bskull I've regretted it so I'll keep it in for now. D&T decks are tough match ups for this deck, but I still find them very winnable. Wouldn't change anything in the mainboard currently.

  20. #20

    Re: [Primer/Deck] Spirit Tribal

    Took this list to weekly and went 2-1. Experimented with a few things:

    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    1 Sword of Fire and Ice
    4 Aether Vial

    4 Mausoleum Wanderer
    4 Supreme Phantom
    4 Drogskol Captain
    4 Spell Queller
    3 Rattlechains
    2 Stoneforge Mystic

    2 Lingering Souls

    4 Brainstorm
    2 Swords to Plowshares
    4 Force of Will

    4 Flooded Strand
    3 Misty Rainforest
    3 Marsh Flats
    2 Island
    1 Plains
    2 Tundra
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Moorland Haunt
    1 Karakas
    2 Cavern of Souls

    Sideboard:
    2 Pithing Needle
    1 Vendilion Clique
    2 Rest in Peace
    2 Disenchant
    2 Surgical Extraction
    1 Zealous Persecution
    1 Swords to Plowshares
    1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    3 Thoughtseize

    R1: Grixis Control
    G1 I went plains vial pass, he pondered a few times, then I went underground sea and threw him for a loop. I started vialing in Wanderers and lords and got his life low enough that the bitterblossom he cast did him in
    G2 I mulled to 5, but had vial and some gas. He again had bitterblossom and his tokens chumped my SFM with SoFaI on it. He then tried to race by endstep bolt/snap/bolting me with a flipped delver out, but I cast disenchant before his upkeep to deny him a token and started cleaning up the board with the SoFaI before killing him.

    R2: D&T
    G1 he SFMd up an early jitte but was choked on mana so never cast it -- I cast my own jitte and eventually got some counters on it before he revokered it. I topdecked like 3 lords in a row and easily won in the air.
    G2 he revokered my vial and I was stuck on 2 lands -- he tried to connect with jitte so I flashed in rattlechains for the trade which unlocked my vial. I quellered his next two plays which bought me enough time to establish a board with Jitte and win from there

    R3: Miracles
    G1 My board was destroyed by 4 STP and a Counterbalance blind flip on my FB lingering souls of council's judgement that then exiled my SoFaI made scoop em up
    G2 REB, STP, Verdict, Terminus, this deck just can't keep up -- I scooped when the Jace landed

    Thoughts:

    I think SFM is the right path to take since our natural evasion makes our creatures very potent at holding equipment. I'm not sure 4 is correct, nor am I sure Batterskull is either. Rattlechains is largely useless so I think it's an easy cut, but I'm not sure for what. I don't think the deck needs STP, but having some maindeck to hedge is fine. It feels bad to draw non-creature gas because the deck can sputter out. Not sure what to do to help that.

    Lingering Souls and Moorland Haunt have been the best thing I can think of to grind games out after our initial velocity is rebutted. Souls is tough though as another 3 drop in a deck already filled with them. I do like how it complements the vial plan.

    Snapcaster based spot removal decks are tough. Kira is enticing, but plays poorly with equipment. Curious to hear what people suggest.

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