Budget Magic Deck: Enchantress

Modern Enchantress plays a lot like Legacy Enchantress, with the main goal of the deck being to make a ton of mana, draw a bunch of cards, and then eventually leverage our mana and card advantage into a win. Just how well our plan works depends a lot on the matchup. Our deck is set up extremely well to deal with decks that are looking to win with creature damage, since we can lock opponents out of the game fairly easily with Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety. On the other hand, we are weaker to spell based combo decks, although things get a lot better after sideboarding. Finally, one of the best things about playing an enchantment based deck in Modern is that people aren’t especially prepared for it. Everyone in Modern comes packing artifact hate but apart from cards like Abrupt Decay and Maelstrom Pulse, which hit everything, there are very few enchantment specific hate cards in the format.

Ghostly Prison is one of the most important cards in our deck; without it, we simply wouldn’t be fast enough to keep up against creature based aggro decks like Zoo, Merfolk, Death’s Shadow, or Affinity. With it, these matchups go from unwinnable to very good. The power of Ghostly Prison isn’t that it locks creatures out of attacking altogether (although if we get enough copies on the battlefield at the same time, it can happen) but that it forces our opponent to make some really tough choices every turn. If our opponent wants to get in damage with their creatures, they give up the chance to cast more spells and further develop their board. On the other hand, if our opponent chooses to develop their board, then we don’t take any damage, which buys us time to get our powerful late game online. Sphere of Safety is usually a hard lock against creature based decks, making attacking so expensive that our opponent literally cannot do it. By the time we get it down on Turn 4 or 5, we usually have several enchantments on the battlefield and put our opponent in a position where, unless they have one of a very smaller number of answers (especially before sideboarding) or a lot of burn spells, they can’t win the game.

Of course, the downside of both Sphere and Prison is that they don’t do anything against decks that aren’t looking to win by attacking with creatures. While this is a minority of decks in Modern, when we run into Ad Nauseam, Burn, Thing Ascension, or even some builds of Dredge,  Sphere and Prison are sided out for as fast as we possible can.

ghostly-prisonsphere-of-safety

As for ramping, we go with the tried and true package of Arbor Elf and enchantments that allow our lands to tap for extra mana, including Utopia Sprawl and Fertile Ground. This combo can get us up to four extra mana as early as Turn 2, which is important, because we have a lot of expensive enchantments in our deck and if we tried to play them fairly, we would likely be too slow for the Modern format. Either an Elf or a Sprawl will allow us to cast a Prison on Turn 2, and if we happen to have both, we are set up to cast an Eidolon of Blossoms or Sigil of the Empty Throne on Turn 3. It’s also worth mentioning that the Elf is the only non enchantment, non land card in our main deck, which means every other card (including our other ramp) draw us cards from Eidolon of Blossoms and powers up our Sphere of Safety to lock creatures out of the game.

arbor-elfutopia-sprawlfertile-ground

Eidolon of Blossoms is our card advantage engine, giving each of our enchantments a kicker of drawing us an extra card. It allows us to have some incredibly explosive turns in the midgame, when we chain together cheap enchantments, flood the board for the Sphere, and draw a bunch of cards, and thing really get out of control when we have multiple copies of Eidolon on the battlefield. While Eidolon dies very easily, it has the big upside of being an enchantment itself, so even in the worst case (when it immediately dies), at the very least it replaces itself. On the other hand, the card advantage generated by Courser of Kruphix isn’t as obvious. Instead of simply drawing us a card, the Courser allows us to play lands off the top of our deck, which theoretically helps us draw more action and fewer useless lands. It’s also very helpful against aggressive decks. I’ve talked about how we can usually lock creature combat out of the game thanks to the Sphere and the Prison, but occasionally, we don’t draw either of those cards in the early game and need to stay alive until we find them. In these situations, gaining a life (or two, with the help of Evolving Wilds) a turn from the Courser ends up being a really big deal.

eidolon-of-blososmcourser of kruphix.jpg

Porphyry Nodes is our catch all answer to really annoying creatures; since it doesn’t actually target, it can kill a wide range of threats. While it is slow and sometimes forces us to kill our own creatures, it’s also a repeatable way to mow down our opponent’s board. It also buys us time in some situations, thanks to the fact that it sacrifices itself when there are no creatures on the battlefield, which leads to opponents intentionally not playing threats in the hopes of getting rid of the Nodes. Blind Obedience and Nyx-Fleece Ram do double duty in our deck. The are helpful against creature based aggro decks, with the Ram being a great blocker on Turn 2 and the Obedience slowing down hasty threats. However, the big reason these cards are in the deck is that help in other matchups as well. One of our big fears in this deck is getting burned out, since we don’t always close out the game quickly. As a result, if our opponent can get in some damage with creatures in the early game, even if we lock their creatures out of attacking, they can simply draw into burn spells and finish off the game with direct damage. Thanks to their repeatable life gain, Obedience and Ram take that option off of the table.

porphyry-nodesblind-obedie-ncenyx-ram

Story Circle is another double duty card, since we can customize its use based on the matchup. In these situations, it works well with the Prison, since our opponent will normally only be able to attack with a creature or two thanks to the mana tax, and then we can use the Circle to prevent the damage of the attackers. On the other hand, we can set Circle on red against Burn and use it to prevent the damage from burn spells. Meanwhile, Ivory Mask is essentially a budget-friendly version of Leyline of Sanctity. We can use the Mask to lock out burn spells entirely starting on Turn 3 or 4, which is hopefully just fast enough to win us the game. Dovescape is a little bit slow, but once it hits the battlefield, it locks non creature spells out of the game altogether. While it doesn’t stop activated or triggered ability that destroy our enchantments, it does counter most of the cards we are worried about, aka enchantment removal.

story-circleivory-maskdovescape

We have three different plans for winning the game, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Luminarch Ascension is nice because it’s inexpensive to cast, so even when it’s not making us 4/4 Angels for just two mana, it still offers an efficient way to draw a card with Eidolon and power up our Sphere. Sigil of the Empty Throne is our fastest way to finish the game, and most of the time, if we untap with it on the battlefield, we can make enough 4/4 Angels to put the game out of reach. The Angels also close out the game quickly and are fairly hard to deal with. Finally, we have one of my all time favorite cards: Starfield of Nyx. In some senses, Starfield of Nyx is one of the most powerful cards in our deck. Being able to reanimate an enchantment for free every turn is very strong, and in the late game, we can make a massive army of animated enchantments and go on the beatdown plan. However, sometimes the fact that it makes our enchantments into creatures can be a downside rather than an upside, and I’ve had several games where I consciously chose not to cast Starfield of Nyx because it was just too risky.

Here’s the full list:

Creature (13):

4 Arbor Elf
1 Nyx-Fleece Ram
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Eidolon of Blossoms

Spells (24):

2 Porphyry Nodes
4 Utopia Sprawl
1 Blind Obedience
2 Fertile Ground
2 Luminarch Ascension
4 Ghostly Prison
1 Story Circle
2 Ivory Mask
1 Sigil of the Empty Throne
2 Sphere of Safety
2 Starfield of Nyx
1 Dovescape

Lands (23):

3 Canopy Vista
4 Evolving Wilds
9 Forest
5 Plains
2 Terramorphic Expanse

Sideboard (15):

2 Ivory Mask
3 Nevermore
3 Nyx-Fleece Ram
1 Open the Vaults
2 Rule of Law
1 Sphere of Safety
3 Story Circle

Thanks Everybody for reading,

Andreas

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