Bant Soulherder Blinks in Modern
Anyone who knows me can tell you that two of my favorite things in Magic are blink decks and Bant decks. Luckily for me, those two tend to go hand-in-hand, and Modern Horizons gave the archetype a shot in the arm with Soulherder, Ephemerate, Watcher for Tomorrow, Ice-Fang Coatl and the reprinting of Wall of Blossoms.
Our list today managed to get 2nd in a MTGO Modern Challenge and comes to us from user bobthedog aka the legendary Hall of Famer Gabriel Nassif. This event was before the August 28th Banned and Restricted Announcement but I think not too much will change for the deck. I could potentially see a version of Soulherder with Stoneforge Mystic but that'll take some brewing first! Back to Nassif's list!
The deck does all of the fun value things I love, and also has a potentially huge endgame with Soulherder getting out of control. Coiling Oracle can ramp us or just cantrip, which makes it a great blink target, and Ice-Fang Coatl does a pretty good Baleful Strix impression with our 7 snow lands. Watcher for Tomorrow provides excellent card selection and feels like Dig Through Time if you can blink it. Wall of Blossoms rounds out our cantripping two-drops, giving us a pretty solid blocker.
Deputy of Detention helps keep our opponent’s problematic permanents at bay and can be reset onto higher priority targets if blinked. Eternal Witness lets us recur spells over and over again and is just plain gross with Ephemerate loops. Soulherder is the engine for this deck, giving us a reason to use exile effects like Deputy and a repeatable flicker effect all on one body. Venser, Shaper Savant is an open ended answer to big spells or scary permanents, and Thragtusk can be a huge boon against the aggressive decks and midrange decks in the format. .
Our spells add disruption or form a piece of our core engine. Ephemerate is absolutely amazing for triggering exile and giving us extra ETB effects, Path to Exile clears the path for our beats while also buffing up Soulherder, and Force of Negation lets us use all of our extra card draw to counter spells without using mana. The 1 of Jace gives us some extra card selection, removal, and a win condition if we really need it. It's hard to go wrong with Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
The mana base for the deck is very snow land heavy to ensure we have a Deathtouch Ice-Fang Coatl as early as possible. Prismatic Vista and a host of Bant colored fetches from the spine of the mana base. The Prairie Stream and Canopy Vista may look odd or like a budget replacement, but they aren't there by mistake. The two Battle lands will often come into play untapped if fetched up, which makes them closer to Tundra and Savannah. While you may be punished for having a guaranteed tapland in the first two turns, the lack of life paid to Shock for an untapped Hallowed Fountain will add up a ton over time and be worthwhile.
In the sideboard, we have Ceremonious Rejection to deal with our colorless friends, Celestial Purge to help against a wide variety of low-cost threats, and Disdainful Stroke to take out any expensive spell the opponent might throw at us. Rest in Peace and Scavenging Ooze help against graveyard strategies, Stony Silence gives us a roadblock to put down in front of artifact-based decks, and Knight of Autumn acts as a bit of a swiss army knife against a variety of decks and is a game winner if you blink it a few times when you board it in. Cataclysmic Gearhulk gives us a way to stabilize if our opponent starts getting ahead of us too quickly, and Thragtusk is a great value piece if we need to grind.
- With Eternal Witness on board, you can easily loop Ephemerate. With the cast from your hand, blink Witness or any other value creature, then blink Witness with the rebound cast as well. With Witness’s trigger, you can return Ephemerate to your hand, starting the cycle over again.
- Blinking Deputy of Detention nets you two counters for Soulherder. One when you exile Deputy, and one when he exiles another creature.
- Force of Negation isn’t too painful for this deck because of all of the card advantage in the deck. The 2 for 1 may not seem great upfront but the deck amasses so much advantage throughout a game that you'll make up for Forcing their play.
- Loaming Shaman can be a useful graveyard hate card that likes to be blinked but now without Hogaak, it might not be relevant anymore.
- Acidic Slime can take care of just about any problematic noncreature permanent you might come across, and will kill anything it fights too.
- Mulldrifter is just generally a good, fun card, and while the deck already has plenty of draw power, a little more couldn't hurt. Nothing sounds better than an Ephemerate on an evoked Mulldrifter! Right?
- Felidar Guardian seems absolutely silly here, since you can put infinite counters on Soulherder if you can get two Guardians out.
Bant flicker decks have always been fun, but throwing in a finisher and engine stapled to one card just feels so good. There are so many options in an ETB-heavy value deck, and you’re sure to find a particular combination of cards to fit with what you want the deck to do. You can combo off, grind it out, or whatever suits your fancy. So go herd some souls and get to blinking! Nassif has done a ton of streaming with the deck, so check out his twitch for more info on the deck!
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