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Budget Magic: $99 (28 tix) Modern Enchantress


Sillaw, Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. This week, we are heading to Modern to play a deck that I've been trying to make work for nearly a year now: Enchantress! For some reason, I really love playing enchantment decks (probably because they win by drawing a lot of cards), and because of this, I've tried to build a budget-friendly Modern Enchantress deck several times over the past year. The problem I kept running into is that Ghostly Prison—one if the most important cards in the deck—was eating up about half of the budget at between $10 and $15 per copy, meaning that just a playset of Ghostly Prison was around $50. Then, a couple weeks ago, Ghostly Prison was reprinted in Conspiracy: Take the Crown and the price crashed hard. In fact, today we can get an entire playset of Ghostly Prison for what a single copy cost a month ago. This price decrease was just what we needed to make a budget version of Modern Enchantress work, and I'm super excited to finally get to play the deck!

Let's get to the videos; then, we'll break down Modern Enchantress. A quick reminder: if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Modern Enchantress: Deck Tech

Modern Enchantress vs. Merfolk

Modern Enchantress vs. Mono-Green Stompy

Modern Enchantress vs. UW Control

Modern Enchantress vs. Naya Burn

Modern Enchantress vs. Jund

The Deck

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 from Stony Silence to Ancient Grudge to Shatterstorm, but apart from cards like Abrupt Decay and Maelstrom Pulse, which hit everything, there are very few enchantment-specific hate cards in the format. 

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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 of Safety and Ghostly 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 (built around Conflagrate), Sphere of Safety and Ghostly Prison are mulligans, so we sideboard them out for Rule of Law, Nevermore, and Ivory Mask as fast as we possible can. 

Ramp

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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 Arbor Elf or a Utopia Sprawl will allow us to cast a Ghostly 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 Arbor 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.

Card Draw

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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 Sphere of Safety, and draw a bunch of cards, and thing really get out of control when we have multiple copies of Eidolon of Blossoms on the battlefield. While Eidolon of Blossoms can't really compare to Argothian Enchantress in term of power level because it does die very easily, it has the big upside of being an enchantment itself, so even in the worst case (when it immediately dies), it at the very least 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, Courser of Kruphix 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 Sphere of Safety and Ghostly 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 Courser of Kruphix ends up being a really big deal. 

Defense

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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, from Slippery Bogle to Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. 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, turn by turn. 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 Porphyry Nodes

Blind Obedience and Nyx-Fleece Ram do double duty in our deck. The are helpful against creature-based aggro decks, with Nyx-Fleece Ram being a great blocker on Turn 2 and Blind Obedience slowing down hasty threats like Goblin Guide, Monastery Swiftspear, or even Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, when she is put into play with Nahiri, the Harbinger's ultimate. 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 Lightning Bolts and finish off the game with direct damage. Thanks to their repeatable life gain, Blind Obedience and Nyx-Fleece Ram take that option off of the table. 

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Story Circle is another double-duty card, since we can customize its use based on the matchup. For example, we'll set it on blue against Merfolk, and then for one white mana, we can prevent the damage from one of our opponent's creatures. In these situations, it works well with Ghostly 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 Story Circle to prevent the damage of the attackers. On the other hand, we can set Story Circle on red against Burn and use it to prevent the damage from Lightning Bolt, Boros Charm, and Atarka's Command

Meanwhile, Ivory Mask is essentially a budget-friendly version of Leyline of Sanctity. We lose the ability to put it on the battlefield for free on turn zero (which does matter—Ivory Mask doesn't stop a Turn 1 Thoughtseize while Leyline of Sanctity does), but otherwise, the two cards play almost exactly the same. The basic idea is that we can use Ivory Mask to lock out burn spells entirely starting on Turn 3 or 4, which is hopefully just fast enough to win us the game. 

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One of the downsides of playing a budget version of Modern Enchantress is that we don't have access to Greater Auramancy to protect our enchantments from removal. I looked at Privileged Position as a substitute, but it still wasn't cheap enough for the budget. This brought us to Dovescape, which 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 Reclamation Sage or Qasali Pridemage, it does counter most of the cards we are worried about, especially Fracturing Gust and Back to Nature, along with targeted enchantment removal like Ray of Revelation as well. Sure, our opponent gets some Birds out of the deal, but we have a lot of expensive non-creature spells, so in most games, we can use Dovescape as a backup plan to finish the game by flooding the board with 1/1 fliers and attacking for the win. 

Finishers

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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 of Blossoms and power up our Sphere of Safety. The downside is that it's only great when we have the game locked up with Sphere of Safety and Ivory Mask; otherwise, our opponent can get in damage with just one creature (or cast one burn spell at our face) and keep us from getting the counter. It also takes quite a while to get going, even when the lock is in place, which gives our opponent several turns to find an answer. 

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. The downside of Sigil of the Empty Throne is that it's expensive, and if it happens to be the last card in our hand, we find ourselves in the painful position of hoping to draw enchantments. While we have a lot of enchantments in our deck, it's completely possible to whiff for a few turns in a row and lose, even after resoling a Sigil of the Empty Throne

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. 

I talked earlier about how one of the benefits of playing Modern Enchantress is that very few decks run enchantment removal, which means that in many matchups, we feel relatively safe once we get the game locked down with Sphere of Safety and Ivory Mask. However, nearly all Modern decks run creature removal, and some decks run a lot of it, so if we play a Starfield of Nyx and turn all of our enchantments into creatures, we removal our safety net. Suddenly, Path to Exile can kill our Sphere of Safety and Lightning Bolt can take down our Ghostly Prison, which leaves us vulnerable to dying out of nowhere because by this point, our opponent's board is typically massive—usually so massive that getting in just one attack would be lethal. As a result, it's usually best to pick and choose spots with Starfield of Nyx and not just slam it at the first possible opportunity, because it has the potential to backfire severely. 

The Sideboard

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I'm not going to go over the entire sideboard, since most of it is fairly straightforward. Rule of Law helps against "big turn" combo decks like Storm, Nyx-Fleece Ram and the additional Sphere of Safety are for creature-based aggro decks, and Open the Vaults comes in when we expect our opponent to kill (or counter) a lot of our enchantments. However, one part of the sideboard is especially important. 

In the intro, we talked about how Modern Enchantress matches up really well against creature decks thanks to Sphere of Safety and Ghostly Prison but how those cards are literal mulligans against non-creature decks. As a result, when we run into a deck like Ad Nauseam, spell-heavy Burn, Thing Ascension, or Scapeshift (especially non-Primeval Titan builds), we want the ability to take out all of our copies of Sphere of Safety and Ghostly Prison, and replace them with relevant cards. In these matchups, we bring in Ivory Mask to keep from getting burned out; Story Circle, which can counter Conflagrates and Lightning Storms; and then Nevermore to protect our other pieces (for example, by naming Echoing Truth or Patrician's Scorn). While these matchups are still hard, since our deck is very unlikely to win in game one, these sideboarding changes at least give us a chance to compete against these decks. 

Ultra-Budget Modern Enchantress

The big problem with building an ultra-budget version of Modern Enchantress is that we lose Ghostly Prison. While the price crash makes it cheap enough to work in a $100-or-less deck, even at $14 for a playset, it's simply too expensive for a $50-or-less deck. As a result, I expect that this version will have a bit more difficulty with aggro. While we go up to the full four copies of Sphere of Safety to compensate and even throw in a bit more ramp, Modern decks are just so fast that there will be times when even a Turn 4 Sphere of Safety simply isn't fast enough. The other big loss is Courser of Kruphix and the incidental life gain that came along with it. In Courser of Kruphix's place, we get Verduran Enchantress, which gives us another enchantress but also dies to everything and isn't an enchantment to power up Sphere of Safety and Eidolon of Blossoms. Finally, we get a little bit slower thanks to losing Utopia Sprawl, which is oddly expensive for a common. In its place, we get Verdant Haven, but the jump from one mana to three mana slows down the deck significantly. As a result, this build is probably best used as a starting point. I'm not sure that expecting any real success is realistic or wise without Courser of Kruphix, Ghostly Prison, and Utopia Sprawl

Non-Budget Enchantress

The non-budget build of Modern Enchantress should play just about the same as the build in the videos but comes with some significant upgrades. Most importantly, our mana goes from unbelievably bad to very good thanks to fetches, shocks, and even a couple copies of Horizon Canopy. We also get access to Greater Auramancy for protection and Idyllic Tutor as an efficient way to search up a bunch of powerful one-ofs, while also making sure we have access to Leyline of Sanctity or Sphere of Safety, depending on the matchup. Ivory Mask becomes Leyline of Sanctity, which is a strict upgrade, and we also get to improve the sideboard with the addition of Wheel of Sun and Moon to fight graveyard decks and Runed Halo for even more protection against our opponent's threats. All around, I think this build is a significant upgrade, but if I were going to focus on improving just one thing about the deck in the videos right away, it would be the mana. If you have Temple Garden or any green fetch lands, throw them in—they will improve the deck immensely. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. All in all, we went 3-2 in matches, cruising past creature-based decks and even taking down a counter-heavy control build but stumbling in close matches against Naya Burn and Jund. I had a lot of fun playing the deck, and I think that with a few upgrades and a bit of tweaking, Enchantress could be pretty competitive in Modern because most decks aren't built to fight against Ghostly Prison and Leyline of Sanctity. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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