Enchantress to Meet You

Posted in Reconstructed on April 22, 2014

By Gavin Verhey

When Gavin Verhey was eleven, he dreamt of a job making Magic cards—and now as a Magic designer, he's living his dream! Gavin has been writing about Magic since 2005.

It's finally time.


All of Theros block I've been waiting to get to the enchantment-matters cards – and if the decks all of you out there sent in for this week are any indication, so have you! With the advent of Journey into Nyx, it's finally a truly viable option to make an enchantment-centric deck.

And what better way to explore this new Standard world than by using one of the headlining constellation cards: Eidolon of Blossoms.

Eidolon of Blossoms | Art by Min Yum

Let's take a look at what a new age "enchantress" deck might look like. Today's deck submission comes from the internet entity known as Qoarl:

Qoarl’s Nyx-Fleece Pillow

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The Battle Plan

Years ago in Standard (and currently in formats like Legacy) there was a well-known deck called Enchantress.

Argothian Enchantress
Enchantress's Presence

This deck used innocuous cards like Argothian Enchantress and Enchantress's Presence to draw a ridiculous amount of cards. Every enchantment chained into another, and then when multiple enchantresses got rolling you would have a full grip of cards to crush your opponents with (all more enchantments, naturally.)

So, how does a deck like this stack up?

Unlike enchantress decks of days past, this deck has enchantment creatures to help build in a stopgap against opposing creatures. There's only one "enchantress" to use and it's a bit fragile, but that's okay. There are a few other enchantress-like effects this deck can use and take massive advantage of. For example, Ajani's Chosen: While not an enchantress in the traditional sense, this card still helps you conjure an army of 2/2s you can march into battle.

What's all of this building toward? Well, Sphere of Safety can quickly stop your opponent from attacking. At that point, it's not too long until a Primeval Bounty takes over and starts ending the game.

The key to this deck is going to be streamlining it to the essentials and trying to get the engine online as quickly as possible. Decks in today's Standard all tend to try to get something going quickly, and you can't afford to fall behind before your enchantress core is even working.

Ready? Let's take a look!

Deck Breakdown

What is enchanting enough to stay and what can go? It's time to go through the deck card-by-card and talk about it!

The cornerstone of this archetype is the Eidolon. You want to draw as many as possible every game – no way we're playing fewer than four.

One thing worth noting is that the Eidolon is fragile. I think the temptation will be to not cast it if you sense your opponent has a removal spell. However, in reality, you need this card to stick and that removal spell in their hand isn't going anywhere. I'd just cast it whenever you have the opportunity. You're going to just have to overload their removal spells – and fortunately, there's a card to help with that...

Ajani's Chosen

While drawing cards is definitely what an enchantress deck wants to be doing, making a bunch of 2/2s isn't too shabby either. Between Ajani's Chosen and Eidolon, hopefully you can just keep casting cards that thrive on enchantments. I definitely want to be playing four of these to help with having as many of your engine pieces tomorrow as possible.

Another key way to overload their removal and to find these kinds of cards consistently is to have extra card drawing. And by playing mostly enchantments, we're rewarded with one of the best options out there: Kruphix's Insight.

Kruphix's Insight can draw you up to three enchantments for three mana. In this deck, the odds aren't quite at three enchantments most times, but even if you're finding two, you're "drawing" two guaranteed spells. That's another card I'm definitely going to want four of as well.

Courser of Kruphix

Enchantment? Check. 2/4 body that blocks nicely? Check. Ability to net you cards and ensure you draw spells? Check. It's not quite Exploration, but the Courser does tons of great things that this deck wants. I would definitely stick with four of these.

I really love this card. A 0/5 that gains me life and allows my game plan to come to fruition? Awesome!

However, a deck like this only has so many spaces. You identify the core engine cards, and suddenly you're already running up against the edges of how many cards you can add. And a 0/5 body is nice, but how many Desecration Demons is it going to be blocking? It doesn't fare much better against Polukranos, World Eater either. If your opponent is playing a slower, more controlling deck then this card is especially weak.

This deck definitely needs answers to creatures – but we can play others. Leave the Rams for the sideboard.

Sphere of Safety

This deck is both looking for a way to slow the opponent down and also take advantage of all the enchantments being played, and Sphere of Safety does both! As the game goes on, Sphere can completely lock your opponent out of attacking at all. Earlier in the game, it causes a bit of a tax that's just enough to slow the other player – and to buy you enough time. This is a key card for this enchantress strategy and I wouldn't play fewer than four.

Arrest
Pacifism

Sphere of Safety is the deck's main way to control creatures (and eventually stop your opponent from using them effectively at all), but some stopgap measures early on are crucial so that you aren't run over.

However, as I mentioned with the Ram, it is important that they are versatile enough to not be dead in certain matchups. The card I'm looking for? Banishing Light. This card shuts down any troublesome enchantments, artifacts, or (especially problematic for a deck like this) Planeswalkers. I actually don't anticipate needing that much one-for-one removal thanks to Sphere of Safety, but I just want to have a little to work with. Four Banishing Lights here will do the trick nicely.

Primeval Bounty

This is a very easy card to miss if you're building an enchantress deck – but it's an excellent win condition for one. Not only does it gain you life to help put you out of range of burn spells or let you stay alive despite any pesky fliers that might be clocking you every turn, but it both creates an army and makes your army huge. For six mana, it's fairly self-contained and can start ending the game quickly.

This is definitely the primary way I want to take over the game. However, I am going to split my win conditions with three Bounty and one singleton copy of Heliod, God of the Sun, to make sure that I have a card I can find where, when the game goes long, I can just mass produce tokens and win. This deck only has so many creatures in it, so a singleton like Heliod can go a long way toward winning against removal-heavy decks you would be hard-pressed to overcome otherwise. But that's just because there are only so many slots: I'm still very happy to play three Bounties.

Gift of Immortality

When you're counting on a couple crucial creatures to kick start your engine, a card like this can look very attractive. It even comes back onto the battlefield, triggering Eidolon or Ajani's Chosen again!

However, there are a couple problems. For one, it's a bit expensive to protect something well. If your opponent has a removal spell, they're probably going to use it on your engine creature right away before you have three extra mana to spend on this. Second, it's situational. In a deck that needs to be streamlined to its core, Gift of Immortality isn't doing enough to keep its spot. While a nice idea, Gift doesn't quite make the cut here.

Blind Obedience

I definitely like how this is both a cheap enchantment to cast and a threat to win the (very) long game by draining your opponent. But, similar to Gift, it's not really doing anything well enough to keep its spot.

You're not attacking a lot (at least not until you have mounted a titanic offense) so creatures entering the battlefield tapped won't usually be relevant and the extort is so slow and mana-intensive in a mana-hungry deck that it's not worthwhile enough to play. This is a card that can go.

Martial Law

Sphere of Safety is this deck's primary way to keep creatures under control, and this deck only has room for so many. Since you're not playing any sweepers, Martial Law is actually kind of a nonbo with the Sphere: They can probably only pay for one creature (at most) to attack, so dealing with one of their creatures doesn't really change how many creatures can attack. This doesn't work well enough with what the deck's doing. If I wanted more removal then I would look at Pacifism or Arrest again, but as-is I don't feel a need to play this.

We're almost to the final build – but there's one thing left I'd like to add. Getting to your four-drop "enchantress" (either Eidolon or Ajani's Chosen) early is incredibly important, as is being able to cast cards like Primeval Bounty and Sphere of Safety a turn before you'd normally be able to. This deck's mana curve skews a little higher than a normal enchantress deck might want, and it's fairly mana-hungry – making some mana acceleration a welcome (and very important) addition.

The two pieces I want? While not an enchantment, Sylvan Caryatid makes for a great blocker that also ramps you straight from two to four – exactly the leap you're looking for.

The other card is a newcomer from Journey into Nyx: Font of Fertility! If spread out between the first two turns it also jumps you straight to four mana and costs one mana. So if it's drawn later in the game it's a cheap trigger for your enchantresses and can always just sit on the table building up your Sphere of Safeties.

With all of those changes made, the deck looks something like:

Gavin Verhey’s Nyxchantress

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Cast a turn three Eidolon or Chosen and you can start going wild! Even if you don't have one you can still play a pretty convincing Sphere of Safety control deck given the massive card advantage and quality Kruphix's Insight can hand you, giving this deck a great backup mode of play.

You'll note in the mana base the addition of one Rogue's Passage. There will be endgame situations where you're racing to kill them before they draw something like Detention Sphere or similar and can finally attack you – and on a clogged board, they're going to be able to block forever. I don't think you really need a fourth Mutavault, and the Passage just gives you a tool to end the game with a gigantic creature that has been Primeval Bountied up a bunch.

Enchantress decks are a ton of fun to play once they become active – and this one is no exception. There are a lot of cool things going on here – have a good time with it!

Honorable Mentions

What were some of the other excellent decks showing off some new ideas inspired by Journey into Nyx? Let's take a look!

Mahdi Fozi’s U/R One-shot combo

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Colin Reilly’s Quadruple Strike

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Jak Gem’s Constellation Recursion

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Devon Straub’s The One-ders

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Ajani Nakano’s Infinite Ajani

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Keith Hensel’s Grixis Planeswalkers

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Nekomimi’s Big Mana with Kruphix

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Matt Maynard’s Hunt or be Hunted

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Yvo Warners’s Draw it like it’s Hot

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Takeshi Sato’s Bant Sage

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ASKA’s Look for a Spine in the Haystack

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Tilwin’s Dictate of Slaughter

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Yuji Hirota’s Boros meets Gods

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Chris Shipman’s Turn Engine

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Tony Youssef’s Sui Rakdos

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Jacob Milicic’s Big Bug Mill

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