How to Assemble Your Spirit Squad

Posted in How to Build on July 19, 2016

By Gaby Spartz

By night, Gaby streams Magic on Twitch. By day, she's co-founder and VP of Content at Dose, the Chicago-based media company behind Dose.com and OMGFacts.com.

Eldritch Moon has introduced some spicy new Spirits into Standard. Today, we're assembling the Spirit squad and exploring things to keep in mind when building a Spirits deck.

Synergy

Spirits tend to be relatively small, evasive fliers. On their own, they're not much of a threat, but they get better in numbers. Let's take a look at Selfless Spirit, for example:

By itself, this is unassuming at best. Once you have a couple of Spirits out on the battlefield, it provides great protection against both targeted removal and board sweeps. Selfless Spirit is also fantastic on defense. Board stalls are common in the current Standard format, but if you have Selfless Spirit on your side of the battlefield, any attacks from your opponent are hopeless. They could lose multiple creatures on the attack, while you only lose a Selfless Spirit in the exchange.

The value of Rattlechains increases with each additional Spirit in your deck. The great thing about Rattlechains's flash ability is that it makes any counterspells you put in your deck go up in value as well. Because you can cast it at the end of any turn, Rattlechains gives you the option to hold up a counterspell during your opponent's turn, then flash in Rattlechains if they didn't cast anything worth countering. You might even get a two-for-one if they try to remove one of your Spirits and you flash in Rattlechains to protect it with hexproof.

Though not a Spirit itself, Thunderclap Wyvern is a nice way to power up your team, since they all have flying. Its flash ability gives you the same benefits as Rattlechains.

Flexibility

A big draw toward playing Spirits is the optionality that you get from them. Let's take a look at Mausoleum Wanderer.

The Spirits deck was itching to have a strong turn-one play, and Mausoleum Wanderer delivers. This card fulfills the same role that Cursecatcher does for Merfolk decks. For as long as Mausoleum Wanderer is in play, your opponent will have to tread carefully because they don't want their instants or sorceries countered. Typically, when cards like Cursecatcher or Judge's Familiar are in play, your opponent is forced to play one turn behind to avoid being countered. Mausoleum Wanderer has the potential upside of being better than Cursecatcher if you cast a Spirit at instant speed. It's true, these two are best friends.

Potentially the most exciting new card for Spirits in Eldritch Moon is Spell Queller. For the low price of three mana, you get a 2/3 flier and a counterspell. If you time things right, this card can be a huge blowout for your opponent.

One thing to be mindful of is keeping your Spell Queller alive. If your opponent has ways to kill it, things can go south for you quickly. This is another situation where the second ability on Rattlechains shines. You know who also combos with Spell Queller? Selfless Spirit is ready to take one for the team.

Nebelgast Herald is great both on offense and defense. If you need to remove a blocker temporarily, flash in Nebelgast Herald and get rid of that pesky flier on the way. If you're being attacked and you need to buy yourself some time, you can flash in Negelgast Herald to tap down one of your opponent's attackers in a pinch. Once Nebelgast Herald is out on the battlefield, any additional Spirit will provide the same effect, so you can continue messing with your opponent's blockers while disrupting their attackers as well.

On a first pass, the White-Blue Spirits deck would look something like this:

White-Blue Spirits

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I like this quite a bit. One card I'm iffy about is Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit. Curving Mausoleum Wanderer into Anafenza can be challenging, but she's a Spirit and her ability is good in this deck. She also a good target for Ojutai's Command.

Another thing worth trying with a Spirits deck—splashing green. Collected Company is much more impactful on our top end than Thunderclap Wyvern is.

Once we've added Collected Company into the Spirits deck, we no longer want any Thunderclap Wyverns or Avacyns. We want to make sure we can hit as many creatures as possible with each CoCo, which means Reflector Mage, despite not being a Spirit, gets a spot back on the team. Splashing green also gives us the option of playing Tamiyo, Field Researcher. We don't want too many of her, since she's not a hit for Collected Company, but her +1 ability lets us draw lots of cards.

Bant Spirits

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If I were to take either of these decks to FNM, it would probably be Bant Spirits. This deck keeps your opponents guessing as they worry about playing into your counterspells, only to realize you were holding Collected Company and now they're very far behind. You also have the ability to CoCo into Spell Queller in response to what they're casting for maximum blowouts.

Spirits got a lot of great additions from Eldritch Moon, and we'll see them meandering around Innistrad for many months to come. Which deck did you like better? Will you be playing Spirits at your local game store? You can let me know on Twitter @gabyspartz, or on my stream at twitch.tv/gabyspartz.

—Gaby

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