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Much Abrew: Martyr's Grace, or "Good in Soul Sisters" (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. It's sort of a meme around these parts that just about every set has at least one card that I think will have a chance to see play in Modern Soul Sisters. But whether that card is Linden, the Steadfast Queen, Heliod, Sun-Crowned, Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, or Righteous Valkyrie, the card ends up falling flat, and my prediction fizzles. Never one to learn from mistakes, we're going to try again with Modern Horizons 2, and this time, I'm move confident than every that we really, truly do have a card that is good in Soul Sisters (or at least its close relative Martyr Proc): Abiding Grace! Abiding Grace is everything a Martyr of Sands deck wants, doing what Proclamation of Rebirth does but for a one-time investment of three mana rather than a six-mana investment every turn! Today, we're going to take Martyr's Grace out for a spin in Modern and try to figure out if we've finally gotten a new card that's good enough for Modern lifegain decks! How strong is Abiding Grace? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Martyr's Grace

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Discussion

  • First off, I should say that I fully realize that there are two different but related lifegain decks in Modern and that the build we're playing today is more of a Martyr Proc (or, thanks to Abiding Grace being a huge upgrade over Proclamation of Rebirth, Martyr's Grace) build than a true Soul Sisters build (since we're not playing Soul Warden or Soul's Attendant). While both decks typically are Mono-White and built around gaining life, Soul Sisters usually tries to gain small bits of life repeatedly to grow things like Ajani's Pridemate, while Martyr's Grace is more about gaining big chunks of life at once with Martyr of Sands to turn on Serra Ascendant. While it might be a stretch to say we've finally found a card good in Soul Sisters, Martyr's Grace is close enough, especially considering there are memes at stake.
  • Record-wise, we finished 3-2, which is solid, although somewhat disappointing considering we started off 3-0 before losing our last two matches. Our deck absolutely feasts on red-based creature decks and also most creature-based midrange decks, thanks to our ability to grind out value from our graveyard and gain absurd amounts of life each turn, although control and some combo decks can be a problem. We also found that graveyard hate is really good against us because without Abiding Grace to reanimate something each turn, we're left playing a lot of small, underpowered creatures without having a good source of card advantage. 
  • The main "combo" of our deck is Martyr of Sands with Abiding Grace. Since our deck is full of white cards, we usually can sacrifice Martyr of Sands to gain at least nine (and sometimes closer to 18) life. And thanks to Abiding Grace's reanimation ability, we can do this every turn, which makes it really, really hard for aggro and midrange decks to kill us. Eventually, we hope to win by making a few big Serra Ascendants, or by grinding out value with small creatures like Squadron Hawk
  • Abiding Grace can also reanimate Serra Ascendant (which typically is a magnet for removal as a one-mana 6/6 flying lifelink) and Thraben Inspector for card advantage. Once we get the enchantment going, assuming our opponent doesn't have graveyard hate, it becomes really difficult to lose.
  • Ranger-Captain of Eos is in our deck primarily to tutor up Martyr of Sands, although it can grab a Serra Ascendant if we already have enough life or can snag Thraben Inspector if we need some card advantage, while Walking Ballista offers some removal. Having eight copies of Martyr of Sands in our deck is a big deal since the loop with Abiding Grace is really important. 
  • While we found Martyr's Grace to have some really good matchups, it can also struggle against control (since we have an absurd amount of creature removal) and against graveyard hate (which shuts down our Abiding Grace loop and takes away our ability to grind out card advantage from our graveyard). Thankfully, I think there is a pretty easy and one-theme way to fix this problem: adding a Stoneforge Mystic package. As a white card, Stoneforge Mystic works with Martyr of Sands, and we can probably trim back a big on creature removal (four Path to Exile, four Solitude, and three Skyclave Apparition along with a Winds of Abandon and more removal in the sideboard is a ton) to run a small equipment package including Batterskull, Sword of Fire and Ice, and maybe Kaldra Compleat. This would give us a way to win through graveyard hate and threats that are good against control and not cost too many slots in our deck. 
  • The other aspect of the deck that I didn't really like was the sideboard. I'm not convinced that Modern is in a place where playing four Void Mirrors is wise. Plus, our sideboard has very little for control and a bunch more cards that are primarily good against aggro, and aggro is already a great matchup for our deck. 
  • So, should you play Martyr's Grace in Modern? I think the answer is yes. While I would want to make a few updates to the deck (especially the Stoneforge package), Abiding Grace is insane. Apart from Martyr of Sands, it felt like the best card in our deck by a pretty wide margin. It is a huge, huge addition to the deck and might finally be a new card that is actually good in Soul Sisters (or, at least, Martyr Proc)!

Wrap-Up

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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