"Soul Sisters" at GP Madrid

Posted in Daily Deck on December 2, 2014

By Shuhei Nakamura

Shuhei Nakamura is a member of the Pro Tour Hall of Fame, former Player of the Year, and is one of just six players with more than 400 lifetime pro points.

Posting a good result at a premier event with an original deck is every deck builder's dream. One player who realized that dream at GP Madrid is Steffen Van De Veen, with his quirky mono-white lifegain deck.

Normally, decks like this have Soul Warden in them, bolstered by creatures like Serra Ascendant that give more meaning to gaining life, and these types of decks have become collectively known as "Soul Sisters." However, that is probably a misnomer for this deck, as it plays a completely different game with a totally different way of winning compared to the traditional Soul Sisters.

The usual pattern for Soul Sisters is lifegain paired with creatures like Serra Ascendant and Ajani's Pridemate, that have a bonus triggered by lifegain. The deck uses Ranger of Eos to fetch them up and is essentially a beatdown deck that looks to win with a creature rush. In comparison, Steffen's deck is much higher on the control axis. Pretty much the only thing it can attack with in the early game is Serra Ascendant, but only if it can get lots of life off of Martyr of Sands. The primary game plan here is to use Wrath of God to reset the board state and then slowly establish a superior position.

You can also see how this deck is playing the long game by the fact that one of the creatures included as a Ranger target is Weathered Wayfarer. The end goal is to set up a lifegain loop by having the Wayfarer grab Emeria, the Sky Ruin, or to use Ghost Quarter to take out lands. Ghostly Prison is an excellent choice here as a support card. Not only does it help the deck buy time to set up its win condition, it's also a great deterrent for Splinter Twin decks.

Steffen Van De Veen—Top 8, Grand Prix Madrid

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