BW Soul Sisters: No Grey Areas


Modern is a wonderfully vibrant format currently, with each new set seeing new decks and archetype variants getting more than a few plays online. Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan saw 5 Colour Humans as its most popular deck, with two such builds making it as far as the Top 8. But, once upon a time, there was a popular mono-White Humans deck: Soul Sisters. Does this deck still have legs? Or has its time passed?

There’s something pure, something calming about running a largely homogenous mana base. Classic Soul Sisters certainly meets this criterion.

Shadow_PT's Soul Sisters – Top 32 at a MTGO Modern PTQ

There are, of course, sundry variations available, from Archangel of Thune, which acts like a continually stacking anthem, to Windbrisk Heights, which "cheats" in additional pressure. Auriok Champion also appears in some lists, as a more expensive but more resilient sister. Recent sets and recent rules changes allow for some innovations, such as making room for Gideon of the Trials and almost definitely for a few copies of Kytheon, Hero of Akros / Gideon, Battle-Forged. In short, this one-colour deck isn’t necessarily a uniform build.

Archangel of Thune Windbrisk Heights Gideon of the Trials

These sort of decks, which aren’t ubiquitous at the highest levels, are often primed for a tilt at a Pro Tour or similarly constrained field. In 2016, at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, Adrian Sullivan certainly thought so, taking a more colourful version with him. On that occasion, he picked up a Boros version, which utilised Norin the Wary and Genesis Chamber triggers and made some alterations in the name of greater card draw. This is what he went with:

Adrian Sullivan's RW Soul Sisters

Whereas classic Soul Sisters looked to gain early life to enable their Serra Ascendants and beat in for the win, the Norin version looks to, among other things, put multiple myr tokens into play, gaining additional life gain triggers from your soul sisters, damage triggers from Purphoros, and, if need be, Legion Loyalist can run in with the myrs and grab the win. It’s a deck with several moving parts, but which has a decent amount of redundancy. The Sky Hussars are there to eke out extra cards over the course of the game, tapping down creatures like Soul Warden and Soul’s Attendant, neither of whom are likely to be attacking or blocking. Ephara, God of the Polis can also be added to give you extra cards, since Norin flickers in and out of play on both turns, and she’s also a god that can ‘activate’ in terms of Devotion.

Purphoros, God of the Forge Norin, the Wary Genesis Chamber

That being said, given the current metagame, Soul Sisters isn’t Tier 1, Tier 2, or maybe even Tier 3. So, let’s see if we can’t find a version that has more durability.

Girl Power at any Cost

We can start with a very obvious core. We’ll also look to maintain a 40/20 split.

4 Soul Warden
3 Soul's Attendant
3 Champion of the Parish
4 Ajani's Pridemate
3 Dark Confidant
3 Ranger of Eos
3 Sky Hussar
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
3 Thoughtseize
3 Path to Exile
3 Fatal Push

There’s nothing out of the ordinary thus far, just cheap drops, Bobs to dig you into more plays, and a removal suite to help keep the way clear. Elspeth adds to the board and provides evasion if required. Seven slots left.

Purphoros worked well in the Norin build, but he’s not much use here. Athreos, God of Passage, however, is one of the most oppressive of the gods, recycling creatures over and over, nerfing mass removal spells such as Supreme Verdict or Dusk // Dawn. We’ll add two, to ensure we get her into play.

2 Athreos, God of Passage
3 Lingering Souls

Adding Lingering Souls is an intuitive addition for pretty much any deck that can run it at this point. One spell for 4 creatures at the cost of five mana over two turns is immensely powerful and can win games on its own. The final two slots will be given to a non-Human Rivals of Ixalan creature…

Paladin of Atonement

Paladin of Atonement, in conjunction with Dark Confidant, Thoughtseize, and the natural course of the game, will gain huge added power, creating yet another must-block, must-kill creature that Athreos can bring back.

Consideration should be given to Legion's Landing / Adanto, the First Fort and to Arguel's Blood Fast / Temple of Aclazotz, the former giiving you a mana sink in the late game and the latter to allow you to better use your life for resources. Perhaps there’s room for both. The same can also be said for Hanweir Militia Captain.

The sideboard is recognisable for the most part.

3 Rest in Peace
3 Stony Silence
3 Leyline of Sanctity
2 Leyline of the Void
1 Path to Exile
3 Blessed Alliance

We needn’t worry about the 15 for now, as this is easily altered, tuned, finessed as the main 60 shows its true colors. Collective Brutality is a possibility, as is Dusk // Dawn (it brings back all the creatures you care about), and so forth.

The mana base is quite smooth, which is one of the reasons Modern is so much fun right now. The Blue sources are there so as to be able to cast the Sky Hussar once a board state has been developed. It also opens up possibilities to fiddle with the sideboard some more. Westvale Abbey / Ormendahl, Profane Prince allows you to sacrifice your Dark Confidants, the Paladins, etc. once their utility is at an end, which also creates a potential 15 point attack if Athreos is in play. The full decklist is below:

Let me know what you think of the list in the comments and of your results, should you choose to test it...

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.


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MurphyMediji(19.02.2018 08:39)

Hi Popiezhius, JohnnyCroat here... Cliffhaven Vampire was a high pick for me during that draft format, but if I'm spending 4 mana on a creature, it needs to be a far better card than this. Ranger of Eos is acceptable because it goes and fetches key elements for the deck - in any variation... Norin, Serra Ascendant, Champion of the Parish, etc. We're not necessarily interested in getting into a match where we sit back and eke out incremental advantage, because there are too many cards in the format that utterly wreck us - ideally we're looking at 1 drop, 2 drop, and then multiple drops on 3...

There's no real combo in the deck, just synergy - the Paladin is there to create redundancy for Dark Confidant - it gets bigger each time you lose life, creating a must-block / must-kill threat... and when it goes, you replenish your card drawing ability... It's not an assemble-this-and-win toolbox.

popiezhius(15.02.2018 21:34)

If You splash black into soul sisters, Cliffhaven Vampire is a must IMO. It is simple and direct wincon with sisters, not like several card combo of paladin-god-lifeloss.