This Sunday I went undefeated at the Twenty Sided Store Modern tournament!  Sort of.  Had it not been for two generous scoops my real tally would have been 2-1-1, which was still not bad for “rogue” deck.  Soul Sisters has some surprising game right now, and so long as its life gain engine gets online the deck plays out like butter.  Unfortunately, as with most white weenie decks, its Achilles heel is its tendency to run out of gas in the late game, as well as having some terrible opening hands.  Here’s the list I was running:

Creatures: 4x Soul Warden, 3x Soul’s Attendant, 4x Serra Ascendant, 4x Ajani’s Pridemate, 4x Squadron Hawk, 4x Ranger of Eos, 3x Martyr of the Sands, 2x Aven Mindcensor

Spells: 4x Spectral Procession, 4x Honor of the Pure, 3x Path to Exile

Lands: 2x Flagstones of Trokair, 2x Windbrisk Heights, 2x Tectonic Edge, 1x Mistveil Plains, 14x Plains

Sideboard: 2x Suppression Field, 2x Ghostly Prison, 1x Path to Exile, 2x Stony Silence, 3x Grafdigger’s Cage, 1x Disenchant, 2x Surgical Extraction, 2x Burrenton Forge-Tender

Having played through the deck in a tournament now, I think next time I am going to cut or sideboard the two Aven Mindcensors in favor of a fourth Soul’s Attendant and Martyr of the Sands, as the cute flash and play against fetchlands was less important than having my early life gain online.

Round One: Tony Loman, UWR Control/Angels

Tony was itching to pay me back for our last Legacy tangle, and in game one it looked like he was going to get his wish.  I got off to an early start, dropping a few soul sisters and even managing to knock him down to 9 life, but he dropped an Izzet Staticaster and countered my Honor of the Pure, which won him the game.  Even when I dropped an Ajani’s Pridemate he managed to kill it by pinging it with the Staticaster and then flashing it with a Restoration Angel with the growth trigger on the stack.  For my sideboard I took out the Paths and the Martyrs in favor of Surgical Extraction, Suppression Field and Ghostly Prison.  The information advantage that Martyr gave him wasn’t worth the life gain, as it prevented me from effectively baiting out his countermagic and removal, and if he was landing threats I needed to spot remove I was likely already dead.  Suppression field made his manlands and pingers cost more to activate, and Ghostly Prison prevented him from being able to clock me with manlands and hold up countermagic or removal.

Game two I drew a seven with three lands, two surgical extractions and some three and four drop creatures.  I mulliganed down to an ideal six that let me play a turn one soul sister into a turn two soul sister and a turn three huge Pridemate that went on to win me the game.  Game three Tony kept a decent six with two lands and some of his powerful red cards, but never drew the needed fetch or red source to really get in the game, and he conceded in the face of an online Serra Ascendant.  After the game we talked about his recent entry into Modern online with a tribal Elves deck, which prompted me to put a version of the deck together myself.  It has game, and perhaps I will talk about it and the different directions in which one can take the base in some future article.

Win, 2-1

Round Two: John Fung, Spirit Jund

This is the match I would have drawn, had John not been such a good sport about it.  I won game one at 45 life, having taken a total of seven damage over the course of that game.  An online Serra Ascendant sealed my victory, as Lingering Souls had kept my unbuffed fliers from finishing the game until I managed to Ranger of Eos for a pair of those ridiculous behemoths.  This time I sided out Aven Mindcensor and Martyr of Sands in favor of Burrenton Forge-Tenders, Ghostly Prison and Path to Exile.  The spot removal seemed good in this matchup, and with all of Jund’s discard Martyr seemed like it would be a terrible top deck.

Game two was epic.  My life total changed 45 times over the course of the game, and I hit one life halfway through the game before rallying on the back of four soul sisters.  After John wiped out most of my board through his aggressive attacks with a pack of Tarmogoyfs, I stayed behind the four soul sisters and would offset his attacks with the life gain from the lingering souls he kept casting.  He needed them defensively, as he was down to three by the end of the game, and he kept a live Dark Confidant on the table for far too many turns, but each time he cast or flashed back the spell I gained 8 life.  At one point I had a 20/20 Pridemate and a slightly smaller friend, but Abrupt Decay and Terminate both got to those threats before they got through his wall of spirits.  Eventually, John top decked a Sword of Light and Shadow right as time was called for the round, and on turn zero he knocked me down to one life.  About the only thing that could have saved me at that point was a Ranger of Eos, but when I top decked a Plains I knew we were headed for a draw.  Luckily for me, John knew I was trying to win store points, and since a tie would have been less than advantageous for both of us he generously offered to scoop to me, as I had won the first game.

Win, 1-1

Round Three: Zac Clark, UW Merfolk

This match I got paired down against Zac’s Merfolk deck.  I had played against him the last Modern Tournament with UW Angels, and although I was running a deck with Islands in it that round, I managed to beat back through his card advantage with a host of wrath effects and well-timed spot removal.  This time around I wasn’t running Islands, but his creatures were almost uniformly more terrifying than mine.  This wasn’t the most high stakes of games, as Zac was planning to scoop to me whether I won or lost, but luckily for me I got there in the end.

Game one I won on the back of my ridiculous powers of life gain.  Zac got off to a decent start, but on turn four or five I blunted one of his attacks by blocking with a Martyr of Sands and popping it to bring me from 23 to 35 life, and I followed this up with a second soul sister and a team of Squadron Hawks.  A gigantic Pridemate forced the concession, as I recall, and it was on to game two.

I sided out the Mindcensors in favor of the Suppression Fields, since Merfolk is at its best when it can keep up countermagic, and Suppression Field makes Aether Vial, Coralhelm Commander and Moorland Haunt all less cost-effective means of doing so.  Game two was brutal, as I kept a one-land hand that failed to develop, and Zac hit my sole plains with a Spreading Seas.  I tried to path my lone creature, a sad little Serra Ascendant, in response to his enchantment, and he Spell Pierced it to keep me off white.  His next turn he pathed my guy to my amusement, but that amusement turned to horror when he quickly cast Spreading Seas on the Plains I searched up before I got a chance to untap.  After two more draw steps without getting a plains I scooped at 19 life, and we went on to game three.  This time I had a brutal opening hand of two soul sisters and a Pridemate, and he dropped from 18 to ten before I sealed the deal.  We spent the rest of the round getting reps in the Merfolk vs Spirit Jund matchup, which was a lot of fun, and over-all this was one of the best rounds of Magic I’ve had in a while.

Win, 2-1

Round Four: Sunny Seelamsetty, Burn

How did I lose this matchup?!  Okay, so to begin, Sunny isn’t in the running for the store league so he offered to scoop to me for the points and play for the prize.  And it was a good thing, because he was one of the best burn players I’ve seen play the deck.  His deck had the interesting wrinkle of Gitaxian Probe in the traditional Hellspark Elemental slot.  That seems like a strong choice as Hellspark has underperformed in my testing of Burn, and it gave him a natural sideboarding slot each round.  So, round one I won handily on the back of an 18-point life gain from Martyr of Sands.  He did 21 points of damage to me over the course of that game, and I still won it at 33 life.  I sideboarded out my spot removal and Mindcensors for Forge-Tenders, Extraction and Disenchant, knowing that he was going to be bringing in some numbers of Ensnaring Bridge and that short of snagging a Lavamancer the spot removal was less important than blunting the life loss I was taking, even if it meant extracting a lightning bolt at some point.  Unfortunately, round two and three I mulliganed into some slow six card hands that, while better than my average 5, did not have enough life gain to get there.  Further game by game recaps wouldn’t be particularly interesting; burn plays like a math equation, and it added up each game.  I gained zero life over the next two games and he did twenty damage in four to five turns each time.  It was well done, but not interesting at the same time.  Still, my sideboard choices were never relevant, and the only sideboard card he saw was a burst lightning to take out my lone soul sister.  All the same, it was a good match and I hope to see more of Sunny at the Twenty Sided Store.

Win, 1-2

And that’s how I went undefeated at 2-1-1.  In total I won six games and lost five, so my end record was a positive one.  Given my matchups, I don’t know that I would have done any better with Spirit Jund, and I would have definitely had less fun.  So, bring Soul Sisters to a Modern event sometime!  It’s a fun deck, and if you draw well you have a lot of game against Burn; and Burn seems to be the Modern deck to watch if the Twenty Sided Store tournaments are anything to go by.

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