Modern: Azorius Spirits and its new additions

Magic: the Gathering

Competitive

Modern: Azorius Spirits and its new additions

Today, we'll analyze the new cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and how they might work on Spirits.

By Gabriel, 09/18/21, translated by Romeu, with help from our readers

Versions:

My articles so far have been about decks that stood out in some recent championship, but with the end of Innistrad's spoiler season, I decided to do something different: let's talk about a deck that lives in my heart and unfortunately has been missing in the format. Yes! Today is the day to talk about UW Spirits! The set brought some support for the tribe, and today we're going to analyze the archetype and deduce both what caused the deck to be a little faded in the current metagame, and analyze the new cards and see if they're enough to bring the deck back to Modern's top tiers.

Ad

How is Spirits in Modern today?

Loading icon
For those who don't know, UW Spirits is a tribal deck that in my view is based on three main factors: Synergy between the tribe, disruption and natural evasion. These three pillars are what practically support the deck, and they need to be working in line with the metagame, so first I think we must talk a little about what these points are. The synergy between the tribe is one of the most basic factors of a tribal deck, it is what works as a reward to the player for choosing to use all or almost all creatures with the same type. Examples are Thalia's Lieutenant in Humans, the lords of Merfolks or Flamekin Harbinger in Elementals. In the case of Spirits, we have both an increase in offensive power, with Supreme Phantom and Drogskol Captain, and the strategic advantage that Rattlechains can provide. They are essential cards for the deck, which bring consistency and power.
Loading icon
Disruption, on the other hand, isn't exclusively tribal, as the cards you will use to interact with your opponent's game may be naturally good cards that happen to be from the tribe. Humans, for example, have Reflector Mage and Meddling Mage. We have the famous Spell Queller, which is always remembered by opponents for being a great tempo play and the not-so-classic, but powerful Skyclave Apparition, which is a great alternative for dealing with permanents that ended up falling on the board before Spell Queller can deal with threats. Of course, there are also cards that perform hybrid functions between these two points, such as Shacklegeist, which is a synergistic creature with the tribe and a disruption to the board.
Loading icon
The third point is something much more specific to Spirits, the natural evasion that the tribe has is extremely relevant to the deck, which makes it difficult for non-flying spirits to be played, except for the aforementioned Skyclave Apparition ( because it is so strong that it pays off). This evasion ends up being a positive point to the deck compared to its peers because even the Merfolk that has islandwalk needs a setup to work. All of these pieces are crucial and how they work directly dictate the functioning of the deck itself, and that's exactly what we need to talk about...

Curve and Disruption

And that's where we come to the tripod point that isn't working so well these days: in a matter of disruption, our pieces aren't as efficient answers in the current meta for a mere matter of curve. Especially after Modern Horizons II, the format ended up following a path more focused on curves 0, 1 and 2, with powerful spells at a very low cost, which is horrible when our best answers are of mana value 3. That makes our entire setup lagging behind in relation to these decks. It's quite disadvantageous to be forced to use Spell Queller to answer a cost 1 spell, and it's even more disadvantageous to do that and get another cost 1 removal right away... It was just one example, but it happens at other times, the feeling you get is that the deck itself is too heavy for the contemporary environment and, although they are key cards, the top of the deck's curve is just as voluminous (with twelve almost mandatory slots being cmc 3) ends up being a problem here.

The Midnight Hunt

But now let's get to the reason for this article! Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is coming and as a good set of this plane, it came with many spirits. Okay, many of them came tied to the ability Disturb, a mechanic which is not so good for the deck, but even so some interesting cards came, and I think it's perfectly valid to talk about them!

Ad

Loading icon
Starting with the lord, Patrician Geist is a card that "hits the bar". Its effect of giving more power and toughness to the whole tribe is indeed relevant, but costing 3 mana just to do this (since the reduction effect is useless for the deck) makes it worse than the other two options, since its "brothers" either cost less, in the case of Supreme Phantom, or have a relevant additional ability, which is the case of Drogskol Captain.
Loading icon
Now let's move on to a very interesting card. Spectral Adversary is a creature that seems to fit incredibly well on this deck. Yes, it is worse than Rattlechains in almost everything, but it has an interesting versatility when you think that its effect can also be used on opponent's creatures, in a scenario where instead of protecting your creatures from removal, you want to delay the enemy clock. It's true that it's a heavy effect, but the interaction the card has with Aether Vial, coupled with the fact that we're talking about a creature with a mana value 2, this one might be a good option to lower the deck's curve. As I said before, most of the spirits coming with the Disturb mechanic was a bit tricky for the conventional deck, as even with some cards being pretty cool, like Malevolent Hermit, they don't work so well since their front side aren't spirits. Also, no viable 1-drop option was released, which is something the deck is really needing, so the rather pessimistic conclusion is that what was released in the set is probably not enough to leverage the deck back into Modern's top tiers.

But let's not lose hope

But it is inevitable to think that Spectral Adversary is really an interesting card to test. Thinking of ways to fit the deck into Modern today, I ended coming up with a daring alternative:
Loading icon
Here we have an approach similar to Merfolks. Since we only have one relevant one-drop, how about we use one of the best cards to fight the current format? Chalice of the Void is extremely well positioned today, as it plays well against the three main decks of the format today: Hammer Time, UR Tempo and Crashing Footfalls. With Aether Vial and Cavern of Souls, the deck is hardly punished for using it, it's a strategy that's getting more popular in decks that don't want to use Ragavan and Dragon's Rage Channeler. Adversary is just here to lower the deck's curve a bit; taking copies of Skycleave Apparition can hurt a little, but it's a fair price to keep the deck flowing, as it's the only card that doesn't fly and one of the few that doesn't have a flash. So, I think this more thoughtful alternative version of metacall strikes me as a very interesting option, and I'm excited to try it out!

Conclusion

Innistrad: Midnight Hunt ended up not bringing the change that UW Spirits players dreamed of, but still, the set gave us an interesting new piece and especially hope, as we will have Innistrad again in the next set. And it's on these hopeful notes that I say goodbye. Thanks for reading!!
Profile Main Image

Gabriel

Escritor para a Cards Realm, Streamer e Jogador de MTG Online.

Social Twitch Brands iconTwitter Brands icon

User profile image

Be the first to comment

Same Author

Modern: Jeskai Stoneblade and Anti-Meta Decks

Modern: Jeskai Stoneblade and Anti-Meta Decks

This article brings a different version of Jeskai Stoneblade, entirely focused on respondi...

Modern: BG Yawgmoth and the strength of Complexity

Modern: BG Yawgmoth and the strength of Complexity

Today, we'll dissect one of the few combo decks that persist in Modern, BG Yawgmoth, or Go...

Modern: Temur Footfalls and Strength in Simplicity

Modern: Temur Footfalls and Strength in Simplicity

Today, we'll analyze one of the most trustworthy decks of the current Modern metagame: Tem...

Modern: Jund Midrange and Adapting to Changes

Modern: Jund Midrange and Adapting to Changes

Today, we'll talk about Jund, which constantly changed since Modern's inception and is sti...

Modern: Jeskai Phoenix's Faithful return

Modern: Jeskai Phoenix's Faithful return

A new addition from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt might bring Arclight Phoenix back into the co...

Modern: Azorius Spirits and its new additions

Modern: Azorius Spirits and its new additions

Today, we'll analyze the new cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and how they might work o...

More from same author

Most read today articles