I picked up Soul Sisters because I wanted to build a Modern deck on MTGO for cheap. Furthermore, I wanted a deck that had a good game against Burn, which has a huge presence on the MTGO meta.

This is what I built:

4-Fullscreen capture 10192015 80918 PM

For the record this is not the list I would recommend for a PTQ tomorrow, just a reasonable starting point for a budget version of the deck (100 tickets). Regardless, I want to break down this list and discuss individual card choices in hopes that I can define a core for the deck.

  • Soul Warden and Soul’s Attendant. The deck’s namesake, Warden and Attendant do several things for this deck. One, when in play they immediately level up Ajani’s Pridemate (and in non-budget lists Archangel of Thune). Two, they gain enough life over the course of the game to turn creature based matches in your favor. It’s difficult for Burn/Zoo or even something like Jund, to profitably attack when you have gained a lot of life. Three, they are one-drops fetchable with Ranger of Eos.
  • Serra Ascendant and Ajani’s Pridmate. These are the lifegain “payoff” cards. With a soul sister out, it becomes very easy to make Pridemate bigger than a Tarmogoyf and with a Martyr of Sands out, you can often turn Ascendant into a make-your-own Baneslayer Angel for a two mana investment. While they are both susceptible to black based removal (Terminate, Abrupt Decay, Murderous Cut), with some effort both cards can ignore Lightning Bolts, Helix’s, and Electrolyze.
  • Ranger of Eos and Squadron Hawk. The card advantage engine. In this version of the deck (the one with Martyr of Sands) you have some inherent card disadvantage. While sacrificing Martyr to fuel a Serra Ascendant can lead to a quick victory, it can also lead to some pretty gross two-for-ones. Ranger of Eos and Squadron Hawk work well with Martyr in that they fill up your hand with white cards to gain life, but also because they can mitigate Martyr’s inherent disadvantage.
  • Spectral Procession and Honor of the Pure. The “make dudes and smash” plan. Spectral Procession is excellent with a soul sister in play but totally fine without one. This card attacks over blockers, pressures planeswalkers (looking at you Liliana), and can buffer life for Ascendant by chumping Tasigurs and Gurmag Angler. With the Spectral Processions and 24 white creatures, Honor of the Pure turns a bunch of dorks into a formidable attacking force.
  • Path to Exile. Flexible and cheap removal in white. This deck is pretty low on ways to interact so having something to exile a Primeval Titan, Deceiver Exarch, or Wurmcoil Engine is important.
  • Flagstones of Troikar. This card is basically just Plains plus thinning value. In this deck it also finds the Mistveil Plains which is pretty nice for returning fallen birds back to the deck to be retrieved by their Squadron buddies.
  • Ghost Quarter. Without Ghost Quarter, Tron and Bloom Titan are unwinnable match-ups. With Ghost Quarter you actually have some game. Soul Sisters is one of the only decks in the format that can afford to play a full set of Ghost Quarters and it is awesome. You can prevent Tron from coming online, make Summer Bloom a dud, kill problematic man-lands, and occasionally keep an opponent off colored mana.
  • Figure of Destiny. This is just a one-of to fetch off Ranger of Eos. Occasionally you’ll have a bunch of mana to sink and this guy becomes pretty sweet.
  • Martyr of Sands. I chose to talk about this card last because it is probably the most divisive card in the deck. While Martyr + Proclamation of Rebirth is the engine to a more controlling build of Soul Sisters, here it is “sacrifice this to turn on Serra Ascendant or make target burn player cry.” It’s the most “all-in” card in this list and while it does synergize well with multiple cards in the deck, it’s the first thing I would cut if there were no budget considerations.

Notably absent cards here are Windbrisk Heights, Archangel of Thune, and Auriok Champion. The absence of these cards is due to the 100 or less tickets criteria I self-imposed when I built the deck. Windbrisk Heights while being really cheap in paper, is almost 10 tickets on MTGO, Archangel is nearing 20 tix, and Champion is more than 30.

The deck I play in paper magic, with no budget consideration, looks something like this:

Soul Sisters

Creatures (24)
Ajani’s Pridemate
Archangel of Thune
Ranger of Eos
Serra Ascendant
Soul Warden
Soul’s Attendant
 Burrenton Forge Tender
Lands (24)
11 Plains
Ghost Quarter
Windbrisk Heights
Flagstones of Trokair

Spells (12)
Honor of the Pure
Path to Exile
Shining Shoal
Spectral Procession

Sideboard (15)
Burrenton Forge-Tender
Kor Firewalker
Auriok Champion
Honor of the Pure
Rest in Peace
Stony Silence
Sundering Growth

This list is pretty close to Tom Ross’ list from GP Charlotte back in June. I cut two Leonin Arbiter and a Cathedral Sanctifier for two Honor of the Pure and a maindeck Burrenton Forge-Tender. The Arbiters were a meta choice to deal with Tron, Bloom Titan, etc. and can safely be cut for a few cards that make the deck a bit more consistent.

What’s the difference between this list and my Budget MODO list?

-4 Squadron Hawk
-4 Martyr of Sands
-1 Figure of Destiny
-2 Honor of the Pure
-1 Mistveil Plains
+3 Archangel of Thune
+2 Shining Shoal
+1 Burrenton Forge Tender
+1 Soul Warden
+4 Windbrisk Heights
+1 Pendelhaven

The big thing here is that this deck is looking to go a little bit longer, we make our curve higher, topping out at five for Angel, and add a few more lands to support that change. Gone is the inherent card disadvantage of Martyr of Sands and in comes the card advantage positive Windbrisk Heights. Since the deck is less all-in on it’s little white creatures, we cut two of the Honor of the Pure and play a card that allows us to interact a little more with an opponent, Shining Shoal. Shining Shoal is a card I really like as it will often protect a creature from a bolt and sling that bolt right back at the opponents Delver of Secrets, Dark Confidant, or Goblin Guide. Furthermore, you can prevent a veritable shit ton of damage by exiling a Spectral Procession which has a converted mana cost of six. The Pendelhaven seems a little odd given that we have no use for green mana, but the ability to pump up nearly every creature in the deck is extremely relevant.

Next week, I’m planning on taking the budget list through a MTGO daily and recording a video. We’ll see if it has what it takes to make it in the online meta.



In terms of Magic, Shawn Massak is a Modern enthusiast, with a penchant for tier two decks, counterspells, and pre Eighth Edition frames. In terms of life, Shawn lives in Brighton, MA where he works as an employment coordinator for people with disabilities, plays guitar in an indie-pop band, and spends his free time reading comics, complaining about pro-wrestling, and wishing his apartment allowed dogs as pets.

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