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Shrine Tribal | $50, $100, $200 | Budget Commander


Hey friends, welcome back to Budget CommanderCore Set 2021 recently arrived on shelves, and with it came six new shrine cards, one for each mono color (Sanctum of Calm Waters) and the 5C Sanctum of All, which finds and empowers the rest. With these six new shrine cards joining the original five shrines from Kamigawa we now have eleven shrines to work with, enough to build a full Commander deck around them. Ever since these cards were revealed there's been a ton of hype around Shrine Tribal. Not only has it been the most requested deck recently, but in my last article I covered Shrine Tribal as one of the five decks that you can borrow for free on Magic Online using Cardhoarder's 5 ticket loan program and the deck got so popular that I had to repeatedly adjust the list over and over as demand pushed its price over the 5 ticket limit. Clearly a lot of you folks want to see me do a proper Budget Commander on Shrine Tribal and I'm happy to oblige, so let's get started!

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What Are Shrines?

Shrine is an enchantment subtype and all the ones currently printed are also legendary. All shrines do something different, but each shrine grows in power the more shrines you control. The first five shrines were originally printed in Kamigawa and M21 brought six new shrine cards, bringing the total to eleven.

The goal of the deck is simple: since all shrine cards get stronger the more shrines you control, the idea is to jam all eleven shrine cards in a deck and try to put them on the battlefield as quickly as possible. Shrines do everything you need a deck to do: you ramp with Sanctum of Fruitful Harvest, draw cards with Honden of Seeing Winds, take out threats with Honden of Infinite Rage, and win the game with Sanctum of Stone Fangs. Because of this, shrines are a wonderful base to build a deck on top of.

So the beginning of our deck, regardless of our budget, will start with these eleven shrines. Despite questionable price spikes on a few of these cards, they are still very budget-friendly, costing only $11 at the time of writing:

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Sisay Shrine Enchantress

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To play all eleven shrines we'll need to pick a 5C commander. Of the ones available, by far the best option is Sisay, Weatherlight Captain: our deck's goal is to quickly and consistently put all our shrines on to the battlefield and Sisay does exactly that, fetching any of our legendary shrines. As a nice bonus, she's very budget-friendly too, under $1 at the time of writing.

So we've got our shrine base and our shrine-fetching commander. Now we have to decide how we want to fill out the rest of the deck. There are two archetypes that Sisay Shrines heavily promotes that we can delve into: Legendary Tribal and Enchantress.

Since all shrines are legendary and Sisay, Weatherlight Captain can tutor up any legendary permanent, we could fill the rest of the deck with a Legendary Tribal theme. There's an endless pool of amazing legendary cards to work with, and while the number of Legendary Tribal support cards is rather small, the ones we have are very powerful, such as amazing removal with Urza's Ruinous Blast, recursion with Primevals' Glorious Rebirth, tutors with Captain Sisay, and card draw with Reki, the History of Kamigawa. Legendary Tribal is tricky to do on a budget, but I've done so with some sweet Budget Kethis Legendary Tribal decks in the past.

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All eleven shrines are enchantments so it's easy to expand the enchantment theme into a full-blown Enchantress deck. Enchantress has an enormous card pool with tons of amazing enchantment support cards to work with: generate tokens with Archon of Sun's Grace, draw cards with Eidolon of Blossoms, tutor with Idyllic Tutor, and mass recur with Open the Vaults, among many others. While some Enchantress staples can get very expensive, there's more than enough cards to fill out the deck at any budget range.

For this article, I'll be building Sisay Shrines as an Enchantress deck. There's tons of sweet Enchantress cards to work with at any budget range, making it easy to fill out the rest of the deck with powerful synergy cards.

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Lands

Since we're a 5C deck, the majority of our lands are focused on mana-fixing so that we can consistently cast all our spells. Nearly all these card options are generic good 5C lands, though Enchantress has one of the most busted lands with Serra's Sanctum if you can afford it, and the more affordable Hall of Heliod's Generosity for repeatable graveyard recursion.

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Ramp

For ramp, one of our best cards is a shrine: Sanctum of Fruitful Harvest is decent by itself, but the moment you add a second shrine it becomes amazing, and anything beyond that is absurd. This shrine generates a ton of mana for the deck and is one of the first ones you should tutor up.

After that we've got all the typical generic 5C options like mana rocks Chromatic Lantern and Arcane Signet or green land ramp like Farseek and Sakura-Tribe Elder. However as an Enchantress deck we also get extra value from playing enchantment ramp that is normally overlooked but gets more powerful due to deck synergy: Font of Fertility, Trace of Abundance, and One with Nature are all excellent ramping enchantments. There are also creatures that make enchantments cheaper, such as Herald of the Pantheon, which also provide huge discounts to our deck if we cast multiple enchantments per turn.

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Card Draw

Now that we've got mana, let's draw some cards. Our two best card draw engines are the shrines Honden of Seeing Winds and Sanctum of Calm Waters, which aren't that appealing by themselves but once you control another shrine they become insane draw engines.

Enchantress is also fantastic at drawing cards -- in fact, the archetype is named after their card draw engines, the enchantresses like Mesa Enchantress, Verduran Enchantress, and newcomers Satyr Enchanter and Setessan Champion. There are at least 7 "enchantress" type cards that draw you a card either when you cast an enchantment or when an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control.

Between those and the two blue shrines that draw cards you're pretty much set in terms of card drawing in the deck, but if you want more variety there's plenty of other enchantment options like Mystic Remora, Rhystic Study, Phyrexian Arena and so on.

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Removal

Occasionally we'll need to take a break from drawing cards so we can stop our opponents' plans, which may interfere with our card draw, like when they try to win the game. Thankfully we have shrines that can repeatedly snipe threatening creatures with Honden of Infinite Rage and Sanctum of Shattered Heights, or tap them down with Sanctum of Tranquil Light.

Beyond that though, Enchantress has a huge variety of ways to stop anything our opponents are doing. Turn threatening creatures into elks with Kenrith's Transformation or cowards with Reprobation, or wipe the board of them with Doomwake Giant and Winds of Rath. Blow up artifacts or enchantments with Aura of Silence, make artifact players miserable with Energy Flux, exile nonland permanents with Grasp of Fate, and ruin graveyard strategies with Agent of Erebos.

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Recursion

If our opponents don't deal with our ever-increasing number of enchantments then they're going to quickly lose. However, even if our opponents manage to wipe our board, we have plenty of ways to bounce right back without skipping a beat. Enchantress has tons of powerful mass recursion spells such as Dance of the Manse, Open the Vaults, and if you can afford it then Replenish is the best of the best. But we also have other non-enchantment specific options like Eerie Ultimatum as well! Most forms of removal simply isn't a problem for this deck.

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Tutors

With access to all five colors you betcha we've got a ton of tutor options to find our shrines or whatever else we need!

For enchantment-specific tutors we've got options like Enlightened Tutor, Idyllic Tutor, Plea for Guidance, and Zur the Enchanter.

For more open-ended tutors Wargate is one of the best out there, able to get any permanent in our deck; you can even cast it as a ramp spell paying X=0 for a land. Bring to Light, which doesn't get enchantments, is still fantastic in this deck because it can grab anything else like Winds of Rath for a board wipe, Eidolon of Blossoms for card draw, Archon of Sun's Grace for tokens, and Agent of Erebos for graveyard hate.

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Winning

So how does this deck win? Well, it just naturally happens. First and foremost we win with our shrines: Sanctum of Stone Fangs and Honden of Infinite Rage can quickly reduce our opponents life totals while Honden of Life's Web overwhelms the board, especially once we've got six or more shrines to start doubling their triggers with Sanctum of All.

But even if our shrine plan doesn't work out, fear not! Ajani's ChosenArchon of Sun's Grace, and Sigil of the Empty Throne can easily generate a critical mass of tokens allowing us to win through combat damage. Honestly half our games will be won off the backs of these tokens generators; they're just so strong here. Our deck can win just fine without shrines, so don't worry if a few of them get exiled.

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Deckbuilding Checklist

Alright, now that we've gone over the card pool we're working with, it's time to talk about how we craft the deck. As I often explain in my Budget Commander articles, every time I build a rough draft of a deck, I make sure I have a certain amount of mana, interaction, card advantage, etc. This gives me a reference point to compare to the deck and see which areas may need improvement. This is my general checklist of minimum requirements:

  • 50 mana; lands and ramp, usually a 37–13 split
  • 10 sources of "card advantage;" I use this term loosely but am mostly looking for card draw or any spell that nets me 2+ non-land cards in hand / directly into play
  • 6 targeted removal; split between creature / artifact / enchantment removal
  • 3 board wipes; creature-light decks might want one more, creature-heavy decks might want one less
  • 2 recursion
  • 2 flexible tutors
  • 1 graveyard hate; to shut down powerful graveyard recursion that everyone runs
  • 1 surprise "I Win" card; something that can win games the turn you cast it without too much setup

The remaining deck slots are filled with whatever cards fit the deck's theme and add to the overall synergy. That's always my starting point, which is then tweaked to suit the individual deck's strategy and further tweaked with playtesting. I always find it immensely useful to figure out some quick ways to improve the deck in question.

Now that we've covered the deck's goal, the cards we're going to building with, and have a check list of cards that we'll need, let's build the sample decks!

$50 List

Our $50 list has all the key pieces to make the deck tick. Despite a cheap manabase, we've got so much mana-fixing that we have no issue consistently casting all our spells. We've got five enchantresses for crazy card draw engines which, alongside our two blue shrines and a multitiude of tutors to find them, gives us access to tons of card draw. We have tons of removal, mass recursion, and all three of our amazing token generators to both protect us and serve as extra win conditions in the deck.

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$100 List

The $100 list makes tons of small but notable improvements throughout the deck. We have better card draw with Enchantress's Presence, better tutors with Idyllic Tutor, better recursion with Open the Vaults, better removal with Grasp of Fate, and splurged on premium ramp options like Smothering Tithe.

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$200 List

With most of the small improvements already done, the jump from $100 to $200 involves fewer, more expensive cards, most notably improving our lands. Cards like City of Brass and Windswept Heath, though pricey, help speed up our deck. We also picked up nonland upgrades like Sterling Grove, the best enchantment protection that also doubles as a tutor.

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Shrine Stax

I hope this budget angle to Shrine Tribal lived up to expectations. The deck is very powerful even on a tight budget since shrines naturally cover a lot of the deck's bases and it's easy to build off of. If you're trying to make the deck more competitive, Shrines synergize very well with Stax pieces like Static Orb, Winter Orb, and Tainted Aether since most shrines function independent of any other resources, so your self-building engine chugs along unimpeded while your opponents are completely locked out of doing anything. However, I figured that wasn't a direction the majority of you viewers wanted to see, so I avoided it in these sample builds.

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That's All, Folks!

And that's a wrap for Shrine Enchantress! I hope you enjoyed my take on this fun new archetype. Let me know what other commanders or archetypes you'd like to see in a future Budget Commander; if there's a demand then I'll certainly take note of it. Thanks for reading!


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