They finally did it. Stoneforge Mystic is no longer banned in Modern. Because Faithless Looting is banned, a lot of decks are likely to become a turn slower which means that more fair decks have a fighting chance. With SFM being unbanned, the desire to play fair magic is stronger than ever. Both of these events happening at the same time is hopefully the start to a much more interactive Modern. Today I want to talk about a deck that got a significant upgrade with the Stoneforge unban, and is a great contender for a more fair Modern. With a suite of evasive interactive creatures, Spirits is looking to be one of the best contenders for Stoneforge Mystic’s new home.
Legacy has obviously used Stoneforge Mystic to great success for years. UW Stoneblade and Death and Taxes are the two main decks that use Stoneforge Mystic and they share a lot in common. First, they are highly disruptive decks. Stoneblade focuses on using its counterspells and removal to slow the game down so that it can drop Stoneforge late in the game (or turn 2 with Force backup) and win the game. In the case of Death and Taxes, it uses its creatures and manabase to be disruptive which opens up the way for Stoneforge to take over.
Spirits has aspects of both of these decks. We play a bunch of disruptive creatures that provide ways for us to disrupt their gameplan while also allowing us to get in the red zone. Modern Stoneblade decks are struggling with having enough removal to get Stoneforge to attack, while Death and Taxes are having to completely reconfigure its deck to decide whether it wants to play Leonin Arbiter or Stoneforge. For Spirits, it is extremely easy to add to the decks as our previous 2 drops weren’t exactly the best. We also have an added benefit of having evasive creatures that can continually get a sword in when other decks can’t. Spirits are extremely well-positioned to take advantage of Stoneforge in the upcoming metagame.
If we play a Vial on turn 1 by turn 3 we can vial in Stoneforge with Spell Queller backup. With a bunch of other disruptive/protective creatures, it can be really hard for our opponent to effectively deal with SFM. Play a Selfless Spirit and Push/Bolt become much worse. If they try to remove a spirit in response to a equip trigger, flash in Rattlechains to save the creature. Use Wanderer as a passive Mana Leak that your opponent will have to play around. Cards such as Kolaghan’s Command become much worse with this suite of protection, and the deck has proven that it is a viable archetype even without Stoneforge Mystic.
What equipments do we want to run? The most obvious choice is of course Batterskull. The meme of a turn 3 Batterskull not being good enough for Modern is only partially true. Batterskull is still an incredible card and is an amazing tool for racing. If it ever gets to the point where you can just attach it to a flyer the game is just over. When it comes to other equipment, no other deck is as well poised to use Swords as Spirits is. Sword of Fire and Ice is incredible card advantage and is easily one of the best swords. The protections don’t do much for our deck, but getting to attack through Arclight Phoenixes is definitely relevant (if that deck is still around). Sword of Light and Shadow is another great card for our deck as the protections it grants beats both Path and Push, the 2 best answers to an equipped creature and getting to gain 3 life and recur a creature is great value in a grindier game, especially for such a creature dense deck. Sword of Feast and Famine is interesting in that it can untap our lands which enables us to save mana for Spell Quellers on their turn, and Sword of Sinew and Steel is very good against the current builds of Jund but both of these Swords are a tier below the other swords.
I am extremely excited to see Stoneforge get freed from the banlist and I only expect her to be good for the format. Fair magic is something Modern desperately needs right now, and Stoneforge might just the juice that fair decks needed to get more representation. I don’t know how long this stage of Modern will last, but I hope that it lasts longer than our hype for SFM. Spiritblade is looking to be one of the best homes for Stoneforge Mystic, and also is one of the coolest sounding deck names and you should play this deck solely for that reason. Thank you all for reading, I hope you have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!