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Budget Magic: $55 (20 tix) Standard Starfield Enchantress


Guuten takh Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again. This week we are heading back to Standard for one of the most exciting Budget Magics in a long time: Starfield Enchantress. During Magic Origins spoiler season, one card immediately jumped out at me as — by far — my favorite: Starfield of Nyx. So far people have been trying to use Starfield of Nyx as a value card, getting back things like Courser of Kruphix and Doomwake Giant. While this is probably fine, I'm more interested in going deep and using the slow Replenish/Opalescence as a combo piece, or at the very least the centerpiece of the deck, Anyway, let's get to the videos and then we'll talk a bit more about the deck. Just a quick reminder — if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to catch all the latest videos.

Starfield Enchantress Deck Tech

Starfield Enchantress vs Abzan Control

Starfield Enchantress vs Constellation Rally

Starfield Enchantress vs GR Ramp

 

* In the videos I play Windswept Heath in the Temple of Plenty slot. After testing, I'm pretty sure the scryland is just better than the fetchland in this deck, so the deck list reflects this change.

Where to begin with this masterpiece? First off, we are huge favorites against any sort of red aggro strategy because we have a crazy amount of life gain. We also boast a very strong matchup against Abzan Control; as you can see in the videos, we can literally grind our way through a Sorin, Solemn Visitor emblem, multiple Elspeth, Sun's Champion wraths, and several turns of Ajani, Mentor of Heros. Things get tricky against blue-based control decks where the only thing that matters is if we can resolve one of our five-mana enchantments. Since these type of decks usually don't have many (or any) ways of dealing with a resolved Sigil of the Empty Throne or Starfield of Nyx, once they hit the battlefield we are a huge favorite to win the game, but finding a way to sneak a five-mana spell through countermagic can be challenging. 

The Deck

Starfield of Nyx is the entire reason this deck exists and after playing it for a bunch of matches, I can happily say it is quite the card. The one downside of Starfield of Nyx is that it is typically a bit slow, but when you build the rest of your deck to embrace the slowness rather than fight against it, this issue can be minimized. One half of the enchantment is almost an Overrun — we can play it on turn five though nine and immediately make our board full of enchantments into creatures (who basically have haste, since they were already on the battlefield) and either swing for lethal, or play defense, giving us time for the other half of Starfield of Nyx to take over. What do we do with the other half (the "return an enchantment to the battlefield" ability)? All kinds of fun things. 

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While I might be slightly biased due to my love of drawing cards, recurring Eidolon of Blossoms is usually one of the most powerful things to do with Starfield of Nyx. I've literally had games where an opponent wraths our board leaving us with only a Starfield of Nyx in play and an Eidolon of Blossoms (among other cards) in the graveyard. Two turns later I had eight animated enchantments and ten 4/4 Angels swinging for lethal. 

How did we make a flock of angels? Sigil of the Empty Throne of course. The five-mana enchantment is the finisher in our deck and while it doesn't impact the board immediately in most cases, if we untap with it we usually gain such an overwhelming advantage that the game ends within a turn or two. Unlike Eidolon of Blossoms which triggers when an enchantment enters the battlefield, with Sigil of the Empty Throne all we need to do is cast an enchantment to get a a 4/4 Angel token. All the counterspells in the world are not going to save our control opponents once we get a Sigil down.

Now we are not the only deck playing Eidolon of Blossoms or Sigil of the Empty Throne — various Abzan Constellation builds use the cards as a source of card advantage — but I'm pretty sure we are the best Eidolon of Blossoms/Sigil of the Empty Throne deck. The problem with the Constellation plan is they are playing a bunch of expensive and clunky creatures. Sure, drawing an extra card off your Doomwake Giant is nice, but that is typically all you are doing for your turn. Our deck is unbound by such problems because instead of expensive creatures, we are playing a bunch of cheap enchantments that allows us to combo off. 

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As silly as it may sound, the Fonts are really the engine that drive the deck. Here's a quick list of all the things they do in this deck:

  • Font of Fertility allows us to play our five-mana enchantments on turn four (and our Eidolon of Blossoms on turn three).
  • Font of Vigor helps us live long enough to cast our Sigil of the Empty Throne or Starfield of Nyx on turn five. 
  • Both are inexpensive ways to trigger Eidolon of Blossoms/Sigil of the Empty Throne. In the late game these are often the cards we want to draw most because they are often "pay one/two mana, draw two cards, make two 4/4 angel tokens".
  • Both allow us to grind out a ton of value with Starfield of Nyx. Against a red deck (or even Jeskai Aggro/Tokens), gaining seven life every turn is often enough to win the game on its own while Font of Fertility ends up being an infinite Rampant Growth
  • They allows us to do some sweet tricks with the Opalescence ability on Starfield of Nyx. We can block with a board full of animated enchantments, sac a Font or two before damage (bringing us under five enchantments on the battlefield), which turns the rest of our enchantment creatures back into regular enchantments. Doing this every turn gives us four free blockers for the cost of a couple mana per turn. We can also use this trick in response to removal on an animated enchantment. 

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I have been continually amazed by just how good Nyx-Fleece Ram is in the current standard. If there is one card an aggro deck does not want to see on turn two, it is probably the sheep. And this isn't even considering the fact it survives Languish and stonewalls almost every ground threat in the format (including Siege Rhino). Plus it's not the kind of card you feel good about killing — I mean, spending a Hero's Downfall on a 0/5? Ugh. Seriously though, this is one of the better ways of stalling out the game until we get our big plays online and like our other inexpensive enchantments, it is passable in the late game since it is usually drawing cards and/or creating Angels when we draw it off the top. 

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Along with adding some more incidental life gain, Verdant Haven is another way of playing a Starfield of Nyx or Sigil of the Empty Throne a turn early. I tested a couple other cards in this slot, but the ability to go from three mana to five mana is really huge in our deck which is sort of overloaded at the five-slot, especially post-board when we bring in three more copies of End Hostility

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What this deck really, really wants is a Sphere of Safety or Ghostly Prison, but Citadel Siege is as close as I could find in Standard. While it obviously doesn't do as much against go-wide aggro (which is fine because our various life gain effects are usually good enough to shut down these strategies), it is very good at locking down one big threat  like a Siege Rhino, Dragonlord, etc.

The thing that surprised me was just how often I ended up setting Citadel Siege to "khans" (the +2/+2 counter mode) in our eight creature deck. Sometimes you get these odd draws where you have two Nyx-Fleece Rams and a Citadel Siege which necessitates loading up your 0/5s with counters and going aggro. On the other hand, the ability is not a "may," so I have also had instances where I was forced to grow my Eidolon of the Blossoms into a 4/4 only to have it die to Abzan Charm or Elspeth, Sun's Champion

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I really wish we could play four copies of Banishing Light in the main deck but the card is so high variance (it is the best removal in the format when it sits on the battlefield but also a complete blow-out when it gets destroyed by an Erase or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon) it seems better to leave a couple in the sideboard. 

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I started out with more copies of End Hostilities in the main deck because wraths seem super powerful in a deck with only eight creatures (and mostly expendable creatures at that), but ended up trimming back to one when I realized that even with our ramp, playing 10 five-drops is a bit clunky. When we are playing against aggro decks or creature-heavy midrange builds, we can usually trim a copy or two of Sigil of the Empty Throne and bring in more copies of End Hostilities in its place. 

Fated Retribution is a concession to our weakness to planeswalkers. While seven-mana is a lot, being able to blow up an Elspeth, Sun's Champion along with all of her tokens is big game. 

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These are all one-ofs in what I would consider flex-slots for the deck. None of them have been overly impressive, so feel free to test out other options, although I would limit your search to enchantments since we really want a critical mass of cards that work with Eidolon of Blossoms, Starfield of Nyx and Sigil of the Empty Throne

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Most of the sideboard is pretty self-explanatory, but I wanted to briefly mention Plummet. When I first started playing the deck I didn't have any copies in the 75. Then I lost an otherwise great matchup against red aggro to Stormbreath Dragon which we literally cannot beat since our Angel tokens can't block it, Banishing Light can't exile it, and Citadel Siege can't tap it. Plummet is the best answer I could come up with, plus it is good against other Dragonlords as well. 

The Card We Don't Care About

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Dromoka's Command is the most common enchantment removal in Standard, and frankly it is horrible against our deck. We have some many meaningless enchantments (Fonts, Verdant Haven, Nyx-Fleece Ram) that we typically play around "sacrifice an enchantment" without even trying. If you are worried about it, just leave a Font on the battlefield as sacrifice fodder to defend your Sigils and Starfields. 

Cards that are Annoying, but Not Deadly

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Getting one of our key pieces hit by targeted enchantment removal is annoying, but usually not enough to lose us the game (although Erase is slightly worse because we can no longer get back the enchantment with Starfield of Nyx). If an opponent is (for some strange reason) running a full set of either of these cards, things can get a bit harrowing, but a copy or two usually isn't a big deal. 

The GGWP Card

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When I was building the deck I knew that Back to Nature was in the format, but I didn't think anyone played it; then one of my Abzan Control opponents seven-for-one'd me at instant speed. At the moment Back to Nature isn't a huge concern, but if the popularity of all-in enchantment strategies pick up, we could see more and more copies showing up in sideboards, which might mean giving up on the deck all together or switching to Bant Enchantress for access to Dispels and Negates in the sideboard. Speaking of Bant Enchantress, if you think this deck is grindy, imagine the same foundation but instead of winning the game with 4/4 Angel tokens, you win the game by looping Font of Fortunes with a Sphinx's Tutalage on the battlefield — good times. If you are interested in exploring Starfield of Nyx further in future Budget Magics, let me know in the comments and maybe Bant Enchantress will make an appearance in the coming weeks. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. If you like grindy decks and want a good matchup against some of the best decks in Standard, give Starfield Enchantress a try; I don't think you'll be disappointed. If you have any comments or ideas for improvements (like what else could go in the flex slots), make sure to let me know in the comments. As always you can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive. 


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