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Thread: The Witch House (2021 Enchantress)

  1. #1
    SpatulaOfTheAges's Avatar
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    Apr 2004



    The Witch House (2021 Enchantress)

    Part 1. Deck Overview and Gameplay Basics

    The Witch House is a combo-control deck that leverages the Enchantress draw engine with a toolbox of Living Wish targets. Accelerated by Utopia Sprawl and Wild Growth, it aims to kill the opponent with large elementals via Destiny Spinner, possibly supported by Paladin Class - if for some reason that option isnít available, you can Living Wish for Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.

    The Witch House is a fair meta-game predator - if piloted and built correctly, it has favorable match-ups against every existing ďfairĒ Legacy deck, has even to slightly unfavorable match-ups versus most turn 3-4 combo decks, and is extremely unfavored versus combo decks that aim to win by turn 2.

    The primary difference between the Witch House and Solitaire, or ďtraditionalĒ GW Enchantress is that the latter is a prison-combo deck attempting to create a ďpillow fortĒ of defensive enchantments to create an unloseable game state. The Witch House aims to out-resource the opponent while keeping them off of any lethal attacks via spot removal rather than cards like Solitary Confinement.

    Turn 1 your best play is Wild Growth or Utopia Sprawl. Abundant Growth and Mirriís Guile are also acceptable turn 1 plays. On the play, turn 1 Paladin Class is good, but is much weaker on the draw. On the draw, On Thin Ice is often a good turn 1 play. Cycling Cast Out is possible but is obviously underwhelming.

    Turn 2 you should be casting your first Enchantress, preferably a 2 mana enchantress with a one mana enchantment to follow and begin drawing cards. Don't mind if you're running a Sythis into removal - that's why you have four of her. ABDC - always be drawing cards.

    Turn 3 and onwards will depend on the board state, with Living Wish being an awkward card for the first 2-3 turns depending on your acceleration, and gaining power every turn thereafter. The deck can kill as early as turn 4, but turns 5-6 are more likely.

    Part 2. The Decklist

    4 Abundant Growth
    1 Mirriís Guile
    4 On Thin Ice
    3 Paladin Class
    4 Utopia Sprawl
    4 Wild Growth
    3 Argothian Enchantress
    2 Destiny Spinner
    4 Living Wish
    4 Sythis, Harvestís Hand
    3 Enchantressís Presence
    2 Green Sunís Zenith
    3 Cast Out
    1 Bayou
    1 Savannah
    1 Karakas
    1 Serraís Sanctum
    1 Snow-Covered Plains
    6 Snow-Covered Forest
    4 Windswept Heath
    4 Prismatic Vista

    1 Endurance
    1 Solitude
    1 Karakas
    1 Serraís Sanctum
    1 Spore Frog
    1 Wispmare
    1 Argothian Enchantress
    1 Collector Ouphe
    1 Destiny Spinner
    1 Gaddock Teeg
    1 Qasali Pridemage
    1 Grist, the Hunger Tide
    1 Doomwake Giant
    1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    1 Choke

    Part 3. Card Choices

    The ďEnchantress Core'' has historically consisted of 4 cards: Utopia Sprawl, Wild Growth, Argothian Enchantress, and Enchantressís Presence. Each of these has its strengths and its weaknesses; the mana ramp allows you to effectively get extra land drops and are free card draw with an enchantress and an untapped land out, but they create a very high mana count in the deck that can lead to mana flood. Argothian Enchantress is the most mana efficient and sticky enchantress effect, but she herself adds to your non-enchantment count, which can lead to your card draw engine stalling. And Enchantressís Presence requires three mana and doesnít immediately impact the game. Of these, Presence has long been the weakest link, and Iíve experimented in the past with Enchantress decks that minimize or discard Presence entirely for cards like Estridís Invocation.

    With the printing of Modern Horizons 2, we got [cards]Sythis, Harvestís Hand[/card]. While some were initially skeptical of her being both legendary and very vulnerable to removal, she has proven herself to be an even more excellent addition to the deck than I initially hoped. Besides giving you 4 more shots at the best hand you can have - turn 1 ramp into turn 2 Argothian/Sythis and one mana enchantment - her lifegain has been hugely relevant and allowed the deck to move away more freely from situational anti-aggressive cards like Elephant Grass and Solitary Confinement.

    This new core of Sythis, Argothian, Wild Growth and Utopia Sprawl is supplemented by three copies of Presence - although itís more mana intensive, it can be good in lower numbers - and Green Sunís Zenith, which gives you more enchantresses but also serves as a way to find a post-board Qasali Pridemage or Gaddock Teeg.

    Lastly we come to the signature card of the Witch House - Living Wish. I added this card during late 2017 to mid 2018, before the ban of Deathrite Shaman and in a metagame where Leovold, Emissary of Trest represented a substantial portion of the metagame and was seriously oppressive to previous iterations of Enchantress. The ability to run 5 maindeck copies of Karakas made a huge difference in the matchup, and the fact that the card is so mana intensive was largely offset by the amount of ramp that we run. The card also allowed the deck to be far more consistent, running additional copies of your most important pieces and allowing for a flexibility that most non-brainstorm decks donít have. The printing of Endurance and Solitude dramatically helped the mana efficiency of the card, allowing it to impact the board for just the two mana investment in a variety of matchups.

    Beyond the Enchantress core and the supplements to our draw engine, we largely run removal and cards that help our enchantresses resolve or smooth out our draws. Mirriís Guile is a one-of because the effect is redundant and not necessary, but nice when you have it. Abundant Growth makes the mana base very stable and digs for your next enchantress or business spell. Paladin Class can force through your first enchantress or allow you to put pressure on a planeswalker, or even act as a win condition, and the same is true for Destiny Spinner, which can also be tutored via GSZ. Beyond those we have On Thin Ice as a turn 1 answer to threatening creatures, and Cast Out, which is played over other similar effects for its flash and its ability to cycle when it isnít relevant.

    The mana base is built around trying to optimize a turn 1 land aura on a basic forest, so dual land are kept to a minimum. I currently maindeck one Karakas, which obviously works great with Sythis and also answers Ragavan - this has come at the expense of the 15th basic forest, which does weaken the mana slightly.

    The Wishboard is 14 cards deep at the moment, although it can be lower depending on the metagame. The cheap targets are Endurance, Solitude, Karakas, Sanctum, Wispmare and Spore Frog. Itís important to have some number of impactful turn 2 Wish plays, and with the addition of Solitude and Endurance from MH2, we now have a substantial number. Solitude in particular has shone as a fantastic card to be able to get when you need it to kill a Marit Lage, a Hullbreacher, or even an Emrakul.

    In the turn 3 and onwards category of wish targets, we have supplements to the main gameplan; Argothian, Destiny Spinner, and Doomwake Giant. The first two are just part of establishing your board, and Doomwake is a payoff card to clear opposing boards. We also have some hate creatures - Collector Ouphe, Gaddock Teeg, and Qasali Pridemage. These can hose certain decks or at least force them to deal with the creature. In slightly more expensive territory is Grist, the Hunger Tide, which can be a stand alone threat on an empty board, can answer a problematic planeswalker or can be brought in as a GSZ target. Lastly is the big girl herself, Emrakul, which is a win condition that doesnít care about Glacial Chasm, and can be brought in against decks like Painter or Hogaak to prevent milling. The final sideboard slot is a single copy of Choke. Having access to this card is great, but the second copy is redundant and even the first doesnít answer a board of creatures.

    Part 4. Thank You For Your Service

    Enchantress is a deck core or an engine, not a specific deck, and you have a fair variety of different lists within the Enchantress archetype. That said, there are certain commonly played cards in Enchantress that I believe are no longer very competitive.

    Solitary Confinement

    When the card was first added to Enchantress, Solitary Confinement was a de facto win condition, as most decks had no game one answer to a Confinement supported by card draw. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Prismatic Ending, Teferi, Skyclave Apparition, Flickerwisp and Abrupt Decay are all played to some degree and can destroy the Confinement you thought was going to keep you alive. Narset and Hullbreacher prevent your draw engine from actually working, thus nullifying the ability to maintain Confinement. And many of the combo decks simply donít care about it, either winning via Thassaís Oracle, Emrakul attacks, or cheating an Archon of Valorís Reach into play. Combined with being expensive and situational, acting as a Fog on its own, the card is no longer maindeck playable in my opinion.

    Sterling Grove

    A long-time staple of many enchantress players, I feel that this cardís relevance has waxed and waned over the past few years. While targeted removal is at an all time high, AND we now have creatures without shroud, the ability to give your enchantments shroud seems on the face of it to be very useful. In practice, it does basically nothing on its own and is a very mana intensive investment. If you try to play it out before your enchantresses, youíve give the opponent more time to find a counter or a Narset effect. If you play it after, itís likely too late to protect the Sythis or whatever it was. While I think Sterling Grove is significantly better than Solitary Confinement in the current metagame, I would no longer play the card maindeck - though a sideboard copy, particularly against Force of Vigor decks, is not out of the question.

    Elephant Grass

    Oh Elephant Grass, how I love you. Sadly, the days of creatures simply being attackers is past, and On Thin Ice is extremely well positioned in a metagame with Hullbreacher, Ethersworn Canonist, Meddling Mage, Spirit of the Labyrinth, DRC, Ragavan, Murktide Regent, etc. While Grass still shines in certain matchups, namely GW Depths and Madness, its value is significantly reduced by the lack of go-wide strategies in the format and the fact that black creatures barely exist right now.

    Part 5. Matchup Analysis & Sideboarding

    As mentioned before, the Witch House tends to be favored versus fair decks, and extremely unfavored versus turn 1-2 combo decks, with slower combo decks falling somewhere in between.

    Also a quick note about sideboarding; a lot of people assume that the extensive Living Wish package means that there is no real sideboarding to be done. This is incorrect, in fact the sideboarding decisions are fairly complex. Generally, you will want to ask yourself two questions: how many Living Wishes am I likely to cast/want to cast in this game? And what am I going to want to Wish for? Try not to have excessive Wish targets against decks where you canít imagine yourself casting all four. Against the fastest decks, unless one of the turn 2 wish targets is a good answer (Endurance vs Doomsday, Wispmare vs Aluren, Karakas vs Sneak and Show), you may want to take out all Wishes, and try to mulligan into Endurance, Karakas or Solitude vs Reanimator for example.

    versus UR Delver

    This matchup is probably about 60%. Wild Growth and Sprawl force them to use their Dazes or quickly get to a point where theyíre not very relevant. On Thin Ice is great at taking out their early threats or a later Murktide, and we have more answers and threats (enchantresses) than they have answers, backed up by Paladin Class. Sythisís life gain has also been super relevant at buying precious turns. The weakest cards in the matchup tend to be Living Wish, Cast Out, and Destiny Spinner, the last because it usually just eats a Lightning Bolt, and the first two for being expensive and opening yourself up to Daze.

    On the draw versus UR I tend to take out the Living Wishes and bring in some combination of the 4th Argothian, the 2nd Karakas(for Ragavan), Endurance, Choke, Solitude, and Emrakul. This last is because many lists run Court of Cunning in the sideboard. Destiny Spinner number 2 or Paladin Class number 3 can also be cut - although Cast Out is weak, you may need them versus Narset or Court.

    versus Jeskai RagStill

    By this matchup I mean any Jeskai pile with Ragavan and Urzaís Saga, regardless of the inclusion of Standstill or not. Although at times this matchup may feel similar to UR Delver, it tends to be much more midrange. One difficulty in assessing the matchup is the lack of an agreed upon decklist, but I would put it somewhere between 60 and 65% in our favor. Living Wishís flexibility is very good here because of the variety of angles they can take. Prismatic Vista means that your enchantments arenít safe once they stick, unlike versus Delver, but the same basic gameplan of overwhelming their counterwall and picking off their threats applies. I would tend to trim a copy of Wild and/or Abundant Growth and bring in Choke and Pridemage.

    versus Doomsday

    This matchup is extremely unfavorable. Itís approximately 80% or higher in their favor. Your main hope is that their hand is bad and you have the ability to Living Wish into Endurance or Ouphe them game one. Game two you might steal with some combination of Ouphe, Choke, or Endurance (sometimes with Cast Out or Solitude). I bring in anything that might even conceivably be relevant - in these terrible match-ups, you need to aim for the corner cases. Iíll bring in anything that can attack basically, and leave in Living Wish as a way to get Endurance. And pray.

    versus Death and Taxes

    This matchup is favorable regardless of whether theyíre on 60 or 80 cards, although the decisions can change pretty dramatically depending on which list theyíre on. The 60 card version is much better at squeezing mana and so I would board out Wishes and Paladin Class and trim a couple other things to bring in extra lands and value creatures. Versus the 80 card version Iíve been leaving Wish in and bringing in Pridemage, the 2nd Sanctum, and Endurance as an ambush blocker.

    Their most relevant cards are Port, Flickerwisp, Thalia, Skyclave, Spirit of the Labyrinth and Sanctum Prelate, and Mother of Runes and Aether Vial can be relevant when theyíre played turn 1. Doomwake Giant is obviously your most powerful card against them, and should be your main goal to build towards. Establishing your mana and hitting all your land drops is key, and saving your removal for the most important threats. Destiny Spinner is also very effective at stalling their board, as only Kaldra and Flickerwisp can get past her.

    versus Bant Control

    This matchup depends a bit on build, much like Jeskai Ragstill. Most build that run two or fewer Narsets or Hullbreacher in their 75 I would consider quite favorable, with a steep drop-off the more such effects theyíre playing. Living Wish is at its best here, as it gives you flexibility and threat density. Getting some card draw going before they can get hate online is critical, as is thinking hard about what answers theyíre telegraphing that they have. Paladin Class is also exceptional here, both for its inherent ability and at level 2 to pressure planeswalkers.

    I tend to trim Wild Growths and bring in Choke and Grist in this matchup. Pridemage or Gaddock could come in depending on their list.

    versus Elves

    About 35%, though it used to be worse. Getting Solitude as a MD answer to Archon of Valorís Reach has been huge in my experience, and can punish them for thinking that that was GG and they didnít have to develop their board. GSZ for Grist post-board is similar. Spore Frog is also very important, giving you an out to Craterhoof attacks. Once again, Doomwake is your best friend, get him online ASAP.

    versus GW Depths

    This matchup is quite favorable even without Elephant Grass. Sythisís life gain has been huge, and On Thin Ice nearly always has good targets to hit. Living Wish gives you a myriad of relevant hits including Wispmare on Library, Endurance to shrink their Knights and Reclaimers and block Marit Lage, Spore Frog, Karakas, and Solitude. I usually just side out one Paladin Class for the Endurance. Probably 70% in our favor.

    versus RG Lands

    This matchup has gotten much worse since they printed Blast Zone, but luckily, much worse than 75-80% is still pretty decent. These days Iíd give it 60-65% - like GW Depths itís been helped by the life gain from Sythis. Lately Iíve been trying siding out Living Wishes to reduce the impact of Sphere of Resistance and Rishadan Port, and that seems to be working well.

    Part 6. Links, video, info
    Last edited by SpatulaOfTheAges; 09-22-2021 at 02:41 AM.
    Early one morning while making the round,
    I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my woman down;
    I went right home and I went to bed,
    I stuck that lovin' .44 beneath my head.

  2. #2

    Join Date

    Sep 2011


    Re: The Witch House (2021 Enchantress)

    Glad to see a primer!

    I saw this deck on someone else's stream and thought it looked like a fun, efficient update to Enchantress. The other player was playing around a possible Solitary Confinement... you may pick up some free win% there.

  3. #3

    Re: The Witch House (2021 Enchantress)

    Nice work.

    I wonder if it's worth cleaning up the SB and adding some dedicated combo hate or if the matchup is so bad that it's not worth it.
    The SB looks a bit to redundant.
    I feel like the Pridemage should be a Knight of Autumn.
    Have you considered an Allosaurus Shepherd in the 75?
    Seems like nice counter protection and alternate win con.
    Manglehorn might be an interesting option vs artifact decks.

  4. #4

    Re: The Witch House (2021 Enchantress)

    Well done, I enjoy playing against you on MTGO.

    Random musings:

    Since the deck is much more white heavy and low curve than in the past, could you run 2 more Serraís sanctum main? Cradle is the best card in elves and it is a similar engine deck.

    Have you tried curse of silence? It seems like a enchantress spell Pierce and could make fast combo matchups better.

    When do you like the flexibility of living wish over the efficiency of GSZ?

  5. #5
    Make Wombat Great Again
    the Thin White Duke's Avatar
    Join Date

    Mar 2010

    FEMA Region X


    Re: The Witch House (2021 Enchantress)

    Thank you for the writeup and congratulations on the success you've had.
    I was hoping Sythis and Paladin Class would find a home in Legacy.
    Keep up the good work.
    Listen up shitizens!
    And laugh along with OBDM

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