Whispers of the Muse: Spectral Legions (Innistrad)
Welcome to the first Whispers of the Muse piece for Innistrad. This week we’ve received not one, but two requests for a second look at Spectral Legions, the Blue/White ‘skies’ deck featuring some of the many Spirit-centered cards on offer. Let’s see what they had to say. Our first letter comes from Bradley B, who had the following to say:
I recently purchased the pre-con deck Innistrad Spectral Legions. I wanted to build a aggro tribal Spirit deck based off this. I don’t have any mythic rare spirits such as the Geist of Saint Traft, but I have:
…and doubles of each of the commons and uncommons included already in the deck. I would like to keep it standard and within the Innistrad block any suggestions on how to make this deck more effective would be greatly appreciated. I want to stick with blue and white.
Another thing that concerns me is the mana cost of some of the Geists they tend to be a little intense. I also noticed people put 4 copies of Feeling of Dread in their constructed geist decks online.
He also adds that he’d like the deck to be budget-friendly.
The other letter is from Richard M. Richard- a new player- has some thoughts of his own:
I’m just starting in MTG, I’ve been playing on xbox and am just starting to make the move to actual cards. I am starting with a W/B Innistrad deck and would value your insight into how to beef up the deck to FNM form (so I can win the odd game, haha!), Cheers:
1. Spectral legions (I’ve dropped Lost in the Mist and Negate for another Moon Heron, Voiceless Spirit, I also threw in another Rebuke. Also subbed a plains out for a Moorland Haunt).
2. Anything legal at FNM (constructed)
3. I have Stony Silence, Grimoire of the Dead, no real gamebreaker rares though!
I’m keen to first learn how to play with the cards I have properly but am also keen to acquire any key cards you suggest for building a solid beatdown deck!
Who has some ideas on how to tune the deck? What would you add? What cards would you remove? For reference, here’s the stock decklist:
As always, we look forward to hearing the thoughts and feedback from the community!
As a final bonus, many of you participated in or followed along with the 2010-11 Preconstructed Deck Championships. The winner of the prediction contest, Icehawk, has graciously donated his prize (a pair of Intro Decks, one from M12 and one from Innistrad) to Whispers of the Muse submitters. Since today’s Whispers has two, we’ll be giving one randomly to each! Enjoy!
I’ll start the bidding on Bradley B. Though, block Spirits right now are insanely difficult to build effectively. After pretty much every variant idea I could bounce off of, I hit a bit of consistency with a majorly token form of aggro, sort of midrange.
// Lands (23)
1 [ISD] Moorland Haunt (Tokens)
14 [ISD] Plains (1)
8 [ISD] Island (2)
// Creatures (24)
3 [ISD] Geist-Honored Monk (Swarm finisher)
4 [ISD] Mausoleum Guard (Greater token human)
1 [ISD] Fiend Hunter (Utility)
4 [ISD] Mindshrieker (Power + MHaunt fuel)
4 [ISD] Stitcher’s Apprentice (Sac Token Humans or self)
4 [ISD] Spectral Rider (Efficient beater, or sac him)
4 [ISD] Doomed Traveler (Lesser token human)
// Spells (13)
4 [ISD] Midnight Haunting (Best token producer)
1 [ISD] Rally the Peasants (Sneak attacks are best @ 1)
1 [ISD] Cellar Door (1 more token producer)
1 [ISD] Feeling of Dread (Tap when 1-2 turns is a finish)
4 [ISD] Intangible Virtue (The key to the deck)
2 [ISD] Silver-Inlaid Dagger (Extra in the air or on Humans)
When did Intro packs start having 60 cards? o_0
From wiki: “In Magic 2011 Core Set, the size of 41 cards in the Intro Packs changed to 60 cards, like the old theme decks, but still includes the booster pack.”
^-^ Smart move it was.
I wish EL would put the Intro Pack lists in their main articles so we could get the big picture. It would come in handy to just browse over it and possibly notice some points EL doesn’t make.
And you would’ve realized they’re 60 cards now :P.
You’re not the first to make that point, Devon. It’s somethign we’ve given a ton of thought to, and have had a lot of ideas how to make it what we envision. However, in the interests of not making the good the enemy of the perfect, how would something like this work for you, this example for the most recent deck we reviewed:
That would be very helpful (especially if the card links work) and could only help the whole review.
I can only nitpick once:
The list itself can be anywhere, not just with the final aggregate. It can be at the front to introduce the deck, or the end to see the “end product”. It can also have the individual numbers for each section (creature, land, etc.) like the deck in this article is.
I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts on this. It has really been a great help. I’m happy to say I stumbled across 2 geist of saint traft and 2 mindshirkers any suggestions on how to properly incorporate them into an aggro spirts deck
Mind: I think it just fits in. As long as you don’t hit a land, the odds of what you hit costing more than 2 is good. Thus you should at least come out even with the bump. Plus since you can dump all your extra mana in there to make it massive, I think it might make a decent finisher or at least backup.
If nothing else, it’s something your opponent would need to throw removal at in order to prevent the milling of potentially a game winning card.
What to take out for it? I’m not up to date yet on Innistrad yet. There has to be a vanilla creature or two in this deck that isn’t worth it. Easy swap there.
Cheap cards i would try to add in to make a strong token deck are:
Honor of the Pure
White Sun’s Zenith (or Shrine of Loyal Legions)
Little bit more pricey:
Hero of Bladehold
Mikaeus, the Lunarch
and then some white and blue removal/counters;
I think I have an idea what spirits I want to include. My concern is making sure I have a reasonable amount of removal and buff spells. I thought having 24 mana and 20+ creatures that leaves me little room for spells.
What’s the average mana cost for creatures? The lower it is, the less lands you need. I’m talking 22 at a min. I try to keep the curve average under 4.
In what’s left, you also could use a little draw power. Between Pacifism, negate, and such. I think you should have a decent start. I wouldn’t use Lost in the Myst. This deck to me almost could use more control (counterspells for example) over going the removal route (say Doom Blade). Especially with Pacifism being in there for what comes down that you didn’t or couldn’t counter. Just a thought.
If you could post what your currently looking at as going with, we probably could help a tad more. Might be a creature or two or something you could cut. 😉
I was thinking 4 doomed travelers, 4 spectral riders 4 voiceless spirits 2 mindshrikers 2 geist of saint traft 4 masoleum guards 2 angel of flight arbablast 2 chapel geist i would like to have 1 battleground geist and gallows warden and a few lantern spirits and a geist honored monk to add or remove a few other creatures
I don’t really know where to go with spells but i think midnight haunting and intangible virtue are a must a few buff spells and of course counter/removal
Then again perhaps battlefield geist and gallows warden is to mana expensive for a decent aggro deck I get the same vibe with geist honored monk. I think Angel of flight Alabaster is pushing it but with a converted mana cost of five I could still see uses for her epically if I want to revive my geist of saint traft
Gallows warden I don’t like. Too much for a mere toughness boost. A little late for that unlike the Veteran Armorer for soldiers in my opinion.
Battleground, it’s a power boost. It could combined with the Angel provide a solid finish.
Lantern Spirit: I don’t care for.
Honored Monk: It’s another possible finisher. 2 angel, 1 battleground, 1 geist should be good for that. If I had all the cards in the world, I’d consider 2 geist over 1 battleground and 1 geist.
M. Guards I have issue with due to you basicaly playing them, hoping they die. I’d prefer to use that “Get 2 flying spirit token” spell over this. That or more control/removal/draw spells. Stuff that will get you to your Geist or Angel faster.
A playset of negates, mana leaks, pacifisms, something to draw cards, and that is probably a solid starting place for the rest of the deck if you want to go more of the control route.
I’d go on but I’m in a rush.
The reason i like the M Guards is because you can play them incredibly aggressive and make your opponent kill them (often trading out one of their creatures to do so). Being that you want them dead for the spirit tokens, you can just attack every turn with them and either get the trade and tokens or connect for damage. If your opponent has larger threats down that won’t trade hold them back to chump block and then strike overhead on the next turn for damage. I’m not saying i think you should run 4 if you have better options, but playing at least 2 if you have the room is not a bad idea.
The extra spirits you are including are good cards, but keep in mind with Intangible virtue, only your token creatures will receive the benefits.
Bonds of Faith is a pretty good card to at least sideboard since it can be used to pump up one of your humans for additional damage or used to pacify a non human threat.
Quite true. Forgot about it being tough enough that if they don’t take it down, things will only get worse.
That’s why in my block Spirits, G-HMonk is a multi-threat finisher, and why SApprentice is a godsend for eating on the hides of DTraveler and MGuard. If you don’t have a way like that to get rid of them, then yes they’re absolutely unreliable for any token tactics.
Anyway, my version is strictly what he asked for: no control, no ramp, ISD only, no GoSTraft, etc. So remove those limitations and there are probably some good concepts.
whats your opinion on moon heron, chapel geist, and voiceless spirit
To me, they’re all about the same. Voiceless has first strike which rocks, but it’s also just a 2/1. The other 2 are a tad more expensive, mana wise, but they have slightly better stats.
Definately if you can’t fit them in the main deck, they’d be a good side board. Depends on your overall curve.
Pretty weak for t3rd and t4th. There are better options. Although, I experimented some with CGeist and it was okay… It was hard to consistently have 1WW, though.
Perhaps I should go with multiple geist honored monks, I want to have a decent amount of blue spirits to keep the deck balanced bonds of faith I didn’t think about that its dual role as a potential buff spell and control that is pretty cool
So I should proably do a 22 land and try to stay within a 4 mana curve to make a decent aggro deck correct?
Try it. If you find you’re running low on mana, add in another 2.
I would recommend for a more aggressive deck to try to keep your average CMC under 4, but that doesn’t mean nothing can be over 4. It just means the average.
So my finishers could be a converted mana cost of five but most should be under 4 correct how should I balance buff spells counter spells and others?
This deck gets serious with the addition of drogskol captain!