My last article I wrote covered the different types of Spirits lists you can play in Modern, emphasising Bant, UW, and Esper as the current “go to” builds in the format. At the end, I mentioned the deck I am currently playing (which you can see me test Wednesdays on Twitch): Four-Color Spirits. So today, I wanted to do a deep dive on why I chose the Four-Color list over all of the other options this archetype gives you.

Lingering Bant Spirits

Creatures (30)
Birds of Paradise
Mausoleum Wanderer
Noble Hierarch
Phantasmal Image
Selfless Spirit
Supreme Phantom
Drogskol Captain
Spell Queller

Spells (8)
Path to Exile
Lingering Souls
Collected Company
Lands (22)
Botanical Sanctum
Breeding Pool
Cavern of Souls
Flooded Strand
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Horizon Canopy
Moorland Haunt
Temple Garden
Windswept Heath

Sideboard (15)
Ceremonious Rejection
Damping Sphere
Qasali Pridemage
Remorseful Cleric
Stony Silence
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Unified Will
Lingering Souls
Settle the Wreckage

Aether Vial vs. Noble Hierarch

Both Aether Vial and mana dorks have their strengths and weaknesses, but I believe that being able to cast Lingering Souls on turn two or Collected Company on turn three is very powerful in this deck. It can set your clock up while letting you hold cards like Spell Queller, Collected Company, and Rattlechains up for later turns. Vial also does this, but I think the lack of card advantage from Vial can be very painful against decks like Jeskai and Mardu—the decks that love one-for-one removal.

Lingering Souls and Collected Company

When I started playtesting the deck after Supreme Phantom got printed, I wanted to try all of the different shells that Spirits had. When trying Esper, I found that Lingering Souls was incredibly good. It’s good on both offense and defense, applying pressure with eight lords or buying us time as chump blockers while we continue to poke in the air. That being said, I found Esper, like Azorius, to be a little too slow for my liking. So why not try Lingering Souls in the Bant shell?

Overall, Lingering Souls have overperformed in all of my testing. It has helped with the aggressive matchups like Hollow One, Grixis Death’s Shadow, Humans, etc. while also being great against the decks that plan to remove you out of the game like Jeskai and Mardu.


Stony Silence is one of the strongest sideboarding cards in the current metagame. It is able to shut down decks like Krark-Clan Ironworks, Affinity, Lantern Control, and Thopter Sword combo while also being good against Tron. I know we have the option to play Kataki, War’s Wage, and it is super tempting to play because he is a spirit, but Stony Silence is just a much stronger card right now.

While I know that Rest in Peace is a much stronger card than Remorseful Cleric when it comes to graveyard hate, we also have to remember that now we also use the graveyard with Lingering Souls. In many of the matchups where you would want to bring in Rest in Peace, you also want to bring in Lingering Souls, ie. Grixis Death’s Shadow, Dredge, Mardu, and Hollow One. The only one that doesn’t follow that rule is we don’t want more Lingering Souls against Krark-Clan Ironworks, but we already have a pretty good matchup against that deck.

There are currently a lot of colorless decks out there, and some of them are the most powerful decks in Modern. Not only does Ceremonious Rejection help against the artifact decks, but it also is great against decks like Tron, where Spell Queller can’t hit their big winners like Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, as well as the Eldrazi Tron decks where Reality Smasher can bring a very heavy beating.

Unified Will is great against the big mana decks that we tend to have issues with. It shines against both Tron and Titanshift, which we don’t have a great matchup against. And it can also be used against the Jeskai and Blue-White Control decks by stopping some of their bigger spells like Cryptic Command and Terminus.

Thalia is an all-around good card that can slow our opponents down, which is all we need to be able to turn the corner. She stymies the one-for-one removal decks, forcing them to overpay on their spells to get rid of Thalia, and thwarts Storm and KCI combo decks to help slow them down enough for you to kill them the next turn.

I originally played Damping Sphere first when I was tinkering with Elves, but I think it also has applications in Spirits. Tron isn’t a great matchup against the Bant version of Spirits. Kat Light, @HellKatMTG talked about it on twitter, and we have since seen it in sideboards since. It has applications not only against Tron, but against decks like Storm and KCI as well.

With Spirits on the rise, we need to be mindful of the mirror match and Worship. On top of that, we need to recognize that it is nigh impossible to deal with an Ensnaring Bridge that has resolved. Qasali Pridemage is a good answer to these cards because of the pressure it can also bring with its exalted trigger.

It seems like a one sided wrath is really good when you’re playing a creature deck. Settle the Wreckage helps shore up a lot of our bad aggro matchups: Humans, Bogles, Affinity, Infect, and Hollow One, just to name a few.

I originally tested four Lingering Souls in the maindeck, which ended up to be too many. In game one, the first Souls was always amazing while the second one ended up too clunky to play. The third copy is in the sideboard to make sure that I will be able to see it in the matchups that I really want Lingering Souls.

Worship plays a very similar role as Settle the Wreckage, but should be used mindfully. You don’t want to bring it in against decks that have Collective Brutality, because that can still kill you through Worship. It is there for matchups like Burn, Bogles, and Green-White Value decks where they can’t just weasel their way past Worship. It’s there to slow these decks down so we have enough time to turn the corner with our Spirits.

Concluding Thoughts

Since I have been working on the Lingering Bant Spirits deck, it has shown a lot of good results for me. I have gone 7-1 in the past two weeks of FNMs, only losing to Infect. I also had a good showing at an SCG IQ this past weekend, showing I had no issues against decks like Grixis Death’s Shadow. I am very happy with how this deck has been coming along, and I plan to keep working on the deck during PPTQ season.

If you have any questions or want to talk about Lingering Bant Spirits, you can find me on Twitter. Thanks for reading!

Lexie is a chemisty student by day and a Modern grinder by night from Fort Wayne, Indiana. You can see her traveling the Midwest playing and scorekeeping Magic: the Gathering events.

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