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Budget Magic: Enchantress (MH2 Modern)


Zdravstvuyte, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! One of my all-time favorite Modern Budget Magic decks was Enchantress. The last time we played the archetype was forever ago—way back in 2016—and a lot has changed since then. Modern Horizons 2 completely revitalized the archetype, adding a bunch of really powerful new cards, like Sythis, Harvest's Hand, Enchantress's Presence, Solitary Confinement, and more! As such, we're rebuilding budget Enchantress for 2021 today and making use of all of the insane new cards! How good is budget Enchantress with the Modern Horizons 2 upgrades? What else has changed over the past five years? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Enchantress

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The Deck

I think of Enchantress as a midrange combo deck, with the combo being drawing absurd numbers of cards with Sythis, Harvest's Hand and Enchantress's Presence and then snowballing this card advantage into a victory. The deck can be broken down into a few parts: enchantresses, ramp, finisher, protection, and other stuff (primarily removal), and almost every one of these groups benefits from at least one powerful new Modern Horizons 2 card!

Enchantresses

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Our enchantresses—cards that draw us a card whenever we cast an enchantment—are by far the most important cards in our deck. We want at least one in our opening hand every game, and our best games involve sticking multiple enchantresses early. While we don't necessarily have to mulligan until we find an enchantress, a seven-card hand without one needs to be fairly impressive to make it worth keeping. Why are these cards so important? If you look at the rest of the cards in our deck, they aren't super powerful in a vacuum, but they all are enchantments. While Journey to Nowhere is significantly worse than Path to Exile in a vacuum, it becomes much, much better than Path to Exile in our deck when it draws a card or two when cast. 

Having an enchantress (or multiples) on the battlefield is also incredibly important for supporting our plan to win the game, with our finishers requiring a massive number of enchantments in hand or on the battlefield or the ability to draw multiple cards each turn.

Once our enchantresses get going, the value is pretty obscene. With two enchantresses, we often can play through a big chunk of our deck each turn (assuming we have enough mana, which we'll talk about next) and overwhelm our opponent with value. In fact, once our deck gets going, one of our bigger concerns is being able to close out the game before we end up drawing our entire deck since neither of our enchantresses is a may ability. Basically, Sythis, Harvest's Hand and Enchantress's Presence are the cards that make Enchantress work, and we're hoping to draw them early and often.

Ramp

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While drawing a ton of cards is great, we need enough mana to cast the cards that we draw for the plan to really be effective, or else we will just end up discarding them to hand size. Thankfully, Modern Horizons 2 solved this problem too with Sanctum Weaver, which is basically a Serra's Sanctum on a stick. In the mid-game, it's pretty common that we will have 10 or more cheap enchantments on the battlefield. This will allow Sanctum Weaver to tap for a pretty absurd amount of mana, in turn allowing us to cast more enchantments, which draw us more cards and allow Sanctum Weaver to cast even more enchantments the next turn! Meanwhile, Fertile Ground is our budget version of Utopia Sprawl, giving us a cheap enchantment to trigger our enchantresses and power up Sanctum Weaver that also adds a bit of extra mana to the battlefield. While it's not as good as Utopia Sprawl since it costs two mana rather than one, it's still strong in our deck. Plus, since we're playing a budget mana base, finding a Forest for Utopia Sprawl can be an issue, so even if Utopia Sprawl were budget friendly, we might need to avoid it until we upgrade our mana base.

Protection

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Sterling Grove does two huge things for our deck. First, by giving all of our other enchantments shroud, it offers a cheap and easy way to protect things like Sanctum Weaver and Sythis, Harvest's Hand, which die to pretty much everything. With one Sterling Grove on the battlefield, our opponent needs to first remove Sterling Grove before answering our other enchantments with targeted removal. With two copies of Sterling Grove on the battlefield, we can lock targeted removal out of the game altogether since each Sterling Grove will protect the other, giving us a shroud lock. While protecting our best enchantments is great, Sterling Grove does even more, with its tutor ability allowing us to find our best enchantment in any given situation. If we don't have an enchantress, Sterling Grove can Enlightened Tutor one up. Later in the game, we can use it to find a finisher to close out the game. Just keep in mind that giving all of our enchantments shroud is a big upside, so sometimes we want to avoid sacrificing Sterling Grove to tutor because the protection is more important. But once we have one or two copies of Sterling Grove on the battlefield, we can use future copies to tutor aggressively.

Finishing the Game

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So, let's assume we stick an enchantment or two, draw a bunch of cards, and make a bunch of mana. All of that is great, but how do we actually finish the game? We have three options. First, we have Solitary Confinement, which technically doesn't kill our opponent but locks most opponents out of being able to ever kill us, thanks to its ability to keep us from ever losing to damage or being targeted by anything, which often leads to our opponent conceding, especially if we have Sterling Grove on the battlefield to protect it. Of course, the power of Solitary Confinement comes with a drawback: to keep it on the battlefield, we need to discard a card each turn and skip our draw step. As such, we need at least one enchantress—and preferably two enchantresses—on the battlefield for Solitary Confinement to do its job. Without any enchantresses, we sometimes can use Solitary Confinement as a really painful Fog to stay alive for a turn or two, but we'll quickly run out of cards to discard and be forced to sacrifice it. With one enchantress, we can keep Solitary Confinement around for a while as we cast enchantments, but we'll need to draw into a second enchantress sooner or later, or else we'll risk drawing into a pocket of lands, running out of enchantments to play with which to draw cards, and have to sacrifice Solitary Confinement. With two enchantresses on the battlefield, we generally can support Solitary Confinement forever with the cards they'll draw.

If our opponent doesn't scoop to the Solitary Confinement lock, we have two ways to kill our opponent with damage. Sigil of the Empty Throne makes a 4/4 Angel every time we cast an enchantment, which quickly allows us to flood the board with evasive creatures and win with just a couple of big flying attacks. Destiny Spinner might not look like a finisher, but it's actually a great way to close out the game. In the early game, it protects our enchantments from counterspells. Later, once we have a ton of mana and enchantments on the battlefield, we can turn our lands into massive trampling creatures to finish off our opponent.

Other Stuff

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Abundant Growth is basically just a cheap card-draw spell in our deck. The mana-fixing aspect is helpful every once in a while, but since we are a two-color deck, having a land tap for any color of mana rarely actually matters. On the other hand, since it draws a card when it enters the battlefield with just a single enchantress on the battlefield, it's basically a one-mana Divination that also ups our enchantment account for Sanctum Weaver and Destiny Spinner.

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Otherwise, we have a bunch of enchantment-based removal. Journey to Nowhere and Seal Away deal with creatures in the early game. Cast Out can hit any permanent, and we can cycle it away in a pinch if we are looking for something specific. Meanwhile, Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety are great against go-wide creature decks, making it really difficult for our opponent to attack. While both are just one-ofs, thanks to Sterling Grove, we can often tutor them up in situations where they are good and hopefully not draw them in matchups where they are bad.

The Mana

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I'd give the mana of Enchantress a "C"—it's passing, but not by much. The big problem with our mana base is that Fortified Village and Canopy Vista come into play tapped too often, which can really slow down our deck, especially in the early game. The good news is that the mana base is cheap, which is important because the deck is already pushing up against our $100 budget. Feel free to play any untapped dual lands you happen to have in your collection. Everything from Temple Garden to Razorverge Thicket to Branchloft Pathway represents an upgrade over the current duals.

Playing the Deck

First and foremost, as we talked about earlier, the enchantresses are the cards that make the deck work. Mulligan fairly aggressively to find one (or Sterling Grove to tutor one up) because if we can resolve a Sythis, Harvest's Hand or Enchantress's Presence, we'll draw more than enough cards to undo our mulligans. Without an enchantress, the deck is prone to having games where it just draws a bunch of somewhat underpowered enchantments, never manages to find any velocity, and gets run over without doing much of anything.

Speaking of Sterling Grove, even though it tutors to the top of our deck, if we have an enchantress on the battlefield, we often can activate it, cast a cheap enchantment, and draw the card we tutored for right away, rather than wait another turn. 

And one more time because it's important: don't play Solitary Confinement without at least one enchantress, and preferably two. While there are rare occasions when we need to cast it without an enchantress just to stay alive for a turn, knowing that we'll have to sacrifice it on our next upkeep, in general, we don't want to play Solitary Confinement until we get things set up, or else we risk locking ourselves out of the game, at worst, or, at best, wasting one of our most powerful finishers.

Wrap-Up

Record-wise, we finished 3-3 with Enchantress, which is a fine record for a budget deck. The biggest issue we had with the deck was the clunky budget mana. We had some games where we were forced to play off-curve, and in a format as fast as Modern, that often is the difference between winning and losing the game. In general, both our losses and our wins were pretty close, outside of some games where we basically just janked our opponent out with a Solitary Confinement that they couldn't deal with (see: Izzet Murktide). 

As far as changes to make to the budget build of the deck, I'm almost tempted to move the one Dovescape to the main deck to help out against control and combo. It was a card that we brought in a lot during sideboarding, and it actually felt pretty strong. With Sterling Grove to tutor it up, it's tempting to play it in the main, likely over a copy of Sigil of the Empty Throne. As for Sigil of the Empty Throne, I could see an argument for cutting it altogether, not because it's bad but because it felt unneeded. Destiny Spinner was much better at closing out games than I expected. Next time I play the deck, I'll likely cut both Sigils and add in the fourth copy of Destiny Spinner (which was also a lifesaver against control) and one Dovescape

So, should you play Enchantress in Modern? I think the answer is yes. The deck is solid in budget form (and would be even more so with some upgrades to the mana base), and it has a pretty clear upgrade path. If you like drawing tons of cards and locking your opponents out of the game, it might be the perfect budget Modern deck for you!

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I almost didn't include an ultra-budget build this week, mostly because getting the deck down near $50 requires cutting most of the sweet and powerful Modern Horizons 2 additions, which aren't expensive but do cost a few dollars a copy, which is just too much for an ultra-budget deck. Eventually, I decided to include one but with a warning: this version of the deck is much, much weaker than the one we played in the video. We lose Sanctum Weaver, which cuts off our ability to have huge combo turns. We also lose Sythis, Harvest's Hand and get weaker, more expensive enchantresses (Setessan Champion and Satyr Enchanter) as replacements. While the deck might be okay for casual kitchen-table play, you really need access to the Modern Horizons 2 cards if you're going to try to play it competitively.

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For our non-budget list this week, we have a version of Enchantress that recently 5-0'ed a league on Magic Online. The deck should play a lot like our budget list, but it gets some major upgrades, with Utopia Sprawl replacing Fertile Ground, Greater Auramancy joining Sterling Grove in the protection package, On Thin Ice coming in over the more expensive Journey to Nowhere, and Blood Moon as another way to jank our opponents out of the game. Plus, and likely most importantly, we get a mana base that will come into play untapped! If you're looking to play Enchantress on a tournament level, this build seems like a solid starting point. It does pretty much the same thing as the build we played for our video but more consistently and slightly faster.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. 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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