Red-White Norin Sisters in Modern

Parker Ackerman
June 15, 2018

If you’ve ever listened to a song by Train, then there’s a very strong chance you’re familiar with the deck. Well, maybe not the deck itself, but at least the name of the deck. Soul Sisters has been around for a long time in Modern, with the combination of Soul’s Attendant and Soul Warden proving to be a potentially potent lifegain engine. The deck has its issues, like all of these kinds of decks do, but when it works you feel unstoppable.

Our creatures all work into the engine of the deck, with Ajani’s Pridemate growing whenever you gain life from one of the sisters. Champion of the Parish works similarly, coming down turn one and growing any time one of our humans enters the battlefield. Norin is the main part of the engine, giving us an insane amount of ETB triggers every turn, and giving the opponent very little to stop him. Soul Warden, Soul’s Attendant, and Auriok Champion gain us a ton of life, especially once we have a Norin out, and Champion also dodges Fatal Push and Lightning Bolt. Purphoros turns Norin triggers into a clock instead of a stall tactic, giving you a way to win even through an Ensnaring Bridge. Mentor of the Meek can keep the spells coming, with Ranger of Eos finding a lot of important creatures in the deck, like Norin, the Soul Sisters, and Champion of the Parish. Legion Loyalist gives us a nice way to push damage through while also ignoring any tokens that our Genesis Chamber gives the opponent, and Lightning Berserker acts as an almost-Norin to trigger our ETB effects every turn.

For our non-creature spells, we have Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile to act as removal, with Bolt also allowing us to be more aggressive by going straight to the dome or hitting problematic Planeswalkers. Genesis Chamber gives us an army of tokens and also gives us extra triggers, with Return to the Ranks being a nice way to build back up after a board wipe or even just get back key pieces after they’ve been killed, since it can grab anything except Mentor, Ranger, and Purphoros. The mana here is generally straightforward, giving us plenty of access to our white sources in case we need our sideboard blood moons, and also giving us access to Cavern of Souls against control decks and Horizon Canopy to grind out card advantage. The rest of our lands are a simple fetch/shock mana base, giving us access to our colors when we need them. It’s important to note that for the most part, you can get by with just one or two red sources, and then fetch basic plains from there.

The sideboard gives us the tools we need to deal with other decks in the metagame, with Wear // Tear dealing with affinity, lantern, and the random deck with an important enchantment, Blood Moon to deal with big mana decks and decks like Jund that have greedy mana bases, and Electrickery to act as a bit of a combat trick and kill mana dorks. Rest in Peace helps out with Dredge and Snapcaster decks, while generally forcing us to side out Return to the Ranks, and Stony Silence is extra insurance against artifact decks. Grafdigger’s Cage also helps out against Snapcaster decks and Storm, while Sorcerous Spyglass is a sort of catch-all against problematic activated abilities like Planeswalkers. Finally, we have Damping Sphere to act as another option against Storm and Tron.


  • If you can, save your instants for the opponent’s turn if you have a Norin down. This lets you guarantee that Norin gets extra ETB effects for you.
  • You’ll want to dash Lightning Berserker almost every time you cast it, since it guarantees you a Norin trigger and ETB triggers every turn this way.
  • Be very mindful of your triggers. At some point, you just might end up with a Genesis Chamber, a couple Ajani’s Pridemates, a Champion of the Parish, and a few Soul Sisters on the battlefield. This can be a lot to keep track of.
  • Norin and Soul Sisters are generally the most important pieces to get back with Return to the Ranks. If you need a beater to close out the game though, make sure to grab those Pridemates and Champions.

Extra Spice:

  • Impact Tremors can give you a more aggressive gameplan and squeeze every last bit of damage out of your Norins.
  • Bitterblossom requires you to reach into black, but gives you a token every turn, and a single soul sister can offset the life loss.
  • Kari Zev, Skyship Raider triggers Norin, and makes a token to trigger any ETB effects you might have, making her a nice fit for a more aggressive build.
  • Kher Keep is a nice mana sink later in the game that allows you to get extra triggers even if you run out of spells to cast.
  • Mogg War Marshal gives you three ETB triggers for just two mana, and even though that isn't’ too impressive compared to Norin’s efficiency, it’s still a very good rate in this deck.
  • Outpost Siege lets you hurt the opponent whenever they remove one of your creatures, and has great synergy with Norin.
  • Ensnaring Bridge allows you to just sit back and rely on Purphoros, Impact Tremors, and Outpost Siege triggers to win the game.

This deck is a ton of fun, and if you like having loads of triggers, I can’t recommend it enough. Being at 90+ life and having creatures with 100+ power feels amazing, even if you sometimes do struggle to finish off the opponent because of your own Genesis Chamber. Norin is just a silly card, and the synergy with the deck makes him feel really powerful, which is something you wouldn’t expect on first glance. It may not be taking down a GP any time soon, but RW Norin Sisters can hold its own fairly well at an FNM level, and most importantly, brings a lot of fun to the table.