Hello and welcome to Exploring Pioneer, a brand new series on my blog and YouTube channel. There’s no better way to begin this series than with the deck that got me into Magic: the Gathering in the first place with UW Spirits! This tribe, defined by it’s suite of disruptive flying creatures, initially struggled when Pioneer was created. Without original Innistrad block and a barely functional manabase for blue-white decks in 2018, many doubted Spirits competitive viability.
To add insult to injury MTG Arena’s cutoff point for cards being added to the platform stopped right before Shadows Over Innistrad block which is where many of the key cards of the archetype resided. Despite this dearth of important cards for the tribe Spirits still managed to become a top tier competitor in Pioneer with a new archetype in Mono-Blue Spirits. The printing of new one drops such as Ascendant Spirit and by including Curious Obssesion, Spirits players were able to play a style of tempo that utilized the cards we did have in a powerful new way.
With the printing of fastlands in Phyrexia: All Will be One and Shadows Remastered finally adding old favorites such as Spell Queller to Arena, we can finally play UW Spirits on the platform. However, before you recreate your Modern deck from 2018 with Empyrean Eagles instead of Drogskol Captains, it’s time for some new upgrades to the archetype. Mono-Blue Spirits has shown just how powerful a card Curious Obsession is and with some slight changes to the manabase a whole new world of options opens up.
Compared to the Mono-Blue list, not much has changed in the main deck besides the manabase. This does mean we lose access to a few cards such as Ascendant Spirit and Faceless Haven, but what we gain more than makes up for that. The primary change in the main deck is with the addition of Spell Queller. Attaching a counterspell to a 2/3 flash flier is powerful, and Spirits has gained so many new tools when it comes to protecting it. Otherwise the deck plays just like Mono-Blue Spirits, by casting a 1/1 flier on your opponents end step, slapping a Curious Obsession on it, and then protecting it until you’ve drowned the opponent in card advantage.
As good as Spell Queller is, the real reason to add white to the deck is for the sideboard. Mono-Blue Spirits has an incredibly focused main deck but can struggle in Best of Three games by only having access to Blue cards. White on the other hand has some of the strongest sideboard options in the game. Classics such as Rest in Peace and Deafening Silence are complemented by powerful new cards such as Wedding Announcement. Portable Hole offers efficient removal and you even have the option to blow your local Humans player out with a surprise Settle the Wreckage.
What is dead will never die and Spirits has proven that by becoming a top tier archetype even without one of our defining sets being available on Arena. With the return of classic Spirits in Shadows Remastered and finally having a functional manabase, UW Spirits is poised to become a new contender in the Pioneer metagame. Prepare for all of your spells to be quelled and your dreams to be shackled as this new take on an old classic rematerializes in Pioneer. If you’d like to watch some gameplay of this deck be sure to check out the video below and consider subscribing if you’d like to see more Exploring Pioneer. Thanks for reading and as always I hope you have a great Tuesday!
Come check out the MtG Spirits discord! https://discord.gg/tUUduUv