Riley’s Modern Life: Having Fun with G/W Enchantress

Riley is back with some shenanigans today talking about one of his favorite pet decks in Modern: Green-White Enchantress.

promo eidolon of blossoms artwork

One of my favourite things about Modern is the sheer breadth of silliness you can perpetrate, given the size of the card pool. There are any number of “out-there” decks that sacrifice competitiveness for fun, and I have a well-established favourite. When I want to muck around and have fun, bamboozle people with a weird and off-the-wall deck, and don’t mind losing match after match on Magic Online, I get amongst it with Green-White Enchantress.

This deck has been around for awhile – essentially, ever since Eidolon of Blossoms was printed, people have attempted to port the mildly-playable Legacy version into a mildly-playable Modern version, and the list below represents the bleeding edge of this endeavour. An endeavour which, I’ll admit, gets more than a few people scratching their heads. When New Line Cinema decided that they were going to release A History of Violence on VHS, it begged the question “you know DVDs exist, right?” Well, yes, of course everyone knows there are better decks to put time and energy into – but that’s not the point.

Green-White Enchantress by Riley Knight

Lands (23)
Flooded Strand
Forest
Horizon Canopy
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Plains
Temple Garden
Windswept Heath
Misty Rainforest

Creatures (12)
Arbor Elf
Courser of Kruphix
Eidolon of Blossoms
Enchantments (21)
Utopia Sprawl
Greater Auramancy
Bow of Nylea
Ghostly Prison
Oblivion Ring
Phyrexian Unlife
Solemnity
Leyline of Sanctity
Sphere of Safety
Starfield of Nyx
Quarantine Field

Sorceries (4)
Idyllic Tutor

Sideboard (15)
Nyx-Fleece Ram
Rest in Peace
Runed Halo
Stony Silence
Banishing Light
Nevermore
Rule of Law
Story Circle
Leyline of Sanctity

At its core, this is a prison-style deck. Your primary aim is to prevent your opponents’ cards from doing anything – Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety prevent them from attacking, Leyline of Sanctity and Greater Auramancy neuter their interaction, and a host of toolbox one-ofs help you ensure you’re covering all the angles.

idyllic tutor mtg card

This heavy toolbox component is powered by Idyllic Tutor. At three mana, it doesn’t come cheap – but given that many of the things you’ll search for cost two or three themselves, and the fact that this deck can ramp pretty hard means you’re still able to leverage an incredibly powerful effect. The power level of tutors is reflected these days by their cost – four or five mana – so doing it for three can be pretty bananas. Obviously Idyllic Tutor imposes some pretty stiff restrictions on deckbuilding, so let’s have a look at the different elements this list pulls together.

Engine Cards

Games of Magic are won on the back of card advantage and mana advantage, and this deck goes deep on both. At four mana, Eidolon of Blossoms has a hefty price tag, but you know that after paying it, this thing will reward you in ways you can’t imagine. Well, you probably can imagine the ways, really, because there’s basically only one – you’re going to draw a lot of cards. It turns over half your deck into cantrips, and – critically – replaces itself.

Courser of Kruphix plays a similar role in offering some card advantage, but also helps you go long by buffering your life total and putting up more blocks than a box of Lego. A turn-two Courser switches off the lights against many of the aggressive decks in the format, and helps you go long against slower decks.

To address the mana issue, and to properly take advantage of the similarly-pricey Idyllic Tutor, Enchantress is looking to ramp like a kid on a BMX. Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl mean you can get off to lightning-quick starts, and Utopia Sprawl has the added advantage of being a one-mana draw spell in the late game.

Staying Alive

Ghostly Prison does a lot of heavy lifting in this deck. Coming down on turn two or three against many decks means they have to decide between attacking or developing their board, and in either case they’re having to slow down like Bobby V – you know how we do!

Phyrexian Unlife is a great piece of technology that generally gives you an extra turn or two – in many spots, it reads so much more than “gain ten life”. If some life gain puts you back above zero, they have to reduce to to zero or below again in order to hit you with more poison counters on their next turn. This means that you should be looking to be reduced to as close as zero as possible with Unlife out, as it will give you a lot of extra time if you can keep bouncing in and out of positive and negative life totals.

Solemnity is the latest piece of technology to be added to the deck, courtesy of Hour of Devastation. Daniel Roberts reminded me of the interaction with Phyrexian Unlife – with both out, you can’t lose the game outside of decking (and we’ve got a plan for that, as you’ll see). With both out and two copies of Greater Auramancy, you’re only losing to something like Fracturing Gust (which no-one plays) or something like Planar Cleansing (which absolutely no-one plays).

(Non-)Interaction

We’re moving further into the toolbox elements of the deck now. Oblivion Ring is a catch-all answer to any problematic permanent – things like Liliana of the Veil or Nahiri, the Harbinger. Creatures usually sit behind a wall of Ghostly Prisons and or a Sphere of Safety, so non-creature threats demand an answer. Quarantine Field fills a similar role, and scales powerfully into the late game.

It may seem odd to include cards like Leyline of Sanctity and Greater Auramancy under the “Interaction” heading, but in a way they are very favourably interacting with cards in your opponent’s hand. They turn cards like Thoughtseize and Lightning Bolt into blank pieces of cardboard. A percentage of the field simply cannot beat a game-one, turn-zero Leyline, and with two copies of Greater Auramancy on the battlefield, your permanents become absolutely untouchable.

Winning the Game

There are any number of win conditions you can include in this deck – things like Luminarch Ascension, Sandwurm Convergence, Sigil of the Empty Throne, or even something buckwild like Elspeth, Sun’s Champion.

My favourite is Starfield of Nyx. I like Starfield above cards like Sigil of the Empty Throne due to its utility – bringing back slain Eidolons or countered lock pieces is big game. As ridiculous as it sounds, Starfield of Nyx sometimes steals games – beating an opponent to death with a 4/4 Leyline of Sanctity (with shroud) is the sort of filthy fun you don’t generally get to have without parting with a lot of your money and your virtue.

This list has a secret win condition, and it is of course Bow of Nylea. This card single-handedly puts games out of reach against both aggressive and slow decks, and can even grow your creatures to contest the board in case they somehow dealt with your chosen win conditions. Bow of Nylea isn’t dunking on anyone – it’s the John Stockton of the deck.

Bow of Nylea is a bit of a weird card, and one that’s easy to overlook – but two of its modes that are absolutely critical to your survival. The first is, obviously, gaining extra life – decks such as burn can’t race repeated life gain, and another buffer against aggressive decks like Affinity is very welcome. The most important mode, however, is the one that shuffles cards back into your deck. Games often come down to decking, and given you’ll draw a ton of extra cards thanks to your Eidolons, you need a way to ensure you’re not the one to deck first!

Sideboard

Nyx-Fleece Ram is a necessary concession to the aggressive decks of the format, and between the incidental life gain and the 0/5 body this card is better against Goblin Guide than a BRN HEAL from the local Pokemart. Rest in Peace tidily hoses Death’s Shadow as well as knocking out the odd dredge deck. Runed Halo has seen some play in UW Control lists recently – it has a lot of flexibility, acting as a cheaper Leyline against cards like Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle or Grapeshot. Stony Silence may not even be necessary, as Affinity has such trouble getting through all the Ghostly Prisons, but still does some work and I also like it against Lantern. An extra Oblivion Ring in the form of Banishing Light never hurts, and Nevermore can neuter a combo deck that relies on a single card such as Ad Nauseam. Story Circle punishes decks that rely on a single colour for most of their damage – Burn, Death’s Shadow, GB Rock – and the extra Leylines are there because, again, a wide percentage of the field folds to the card on turn zero.

Tips and Tricks

After putting in the hours with this deck, there are a few little things I’ve noticed about the way some games play out. Here’s a quick summary of things to keep in mind while playing.

  • The late game of this deck is almost unbeatable once set up. When you have the full lock established – double Greater Auramancy, Leyline of Sanctity, and a juiced-up Sphere of Safety – most decks are stone-cold dead and just have to wait for you to dump the full hundo into your Helix Pinnacle.
  • Once you’ve got to five or six mana, it’s generally not worth playing more Utopia Sprawls – sandbag them until you can draw a card with them from Eidolon. Arbor Elf incentivises you to put them all on the same land, while opposing Ghost Quarters do the exact opposite. Decide accordingly!
  • My general priority list for Idyllic Tutor targets, assuming there’s nothing pressing I need to deal with, is Eidolon – Auramancy – Leyline – Auramancy. Having at least one Ghostly Prison out, however, is crucial against most decks.
  • Eidolon of Blossoms is not a “may” ability. When you have three or four out, be mindful of cards in your library, where your Bow of Nylea is, and what you’re doing with it. Remember you can recur the Bow with Starfield of Nyx, and vice-versa.
  • Under an active Starfield of Nyx, Courser attacks for three, and Eidolon for four. Be very cautious before turning all your Ghostly Prisons and the like in creatures – if you let your opponent slay your lock pieces with creature removal, you’re going to have a bad time!
  • This deck absolutely eats it to a few cards, most of which see much play at the moment, luckily. Nahiri, the Harbinger and Fracturing Gust aren’t worth trying to beat, while Liliana of the Veil makes me leave in my Leylines.
  • Additionally, a more recent deck that can beat any number of Ghostly Prisons is the Counters Company deck, once they hit infinite mana. As you don’t have the same inevitability as usual, prioritise getting Solemnity out to disrupt their combo (and then Unlife so you can’t lose).
  • One of the very best things about this list is that with zero instants, it is one of the most F6-friendly decks you’ll ever play. Windmill slam those cards, clobber that F6 button, and sit back and enjoy watching your opponent try to declare illegal attacks.

I’m not going to blow smoke up your bum – this deck isn’t the Next Big Thing in Modern, and it’s not about to take the format by storm. It is, however, an obscene amount of fun to play, and has a surprisingly strong game against much of the format given that it attacks on a completely different axis than most lists you’ll come across. For that reason, I highly recommend taking it out for a spin! Win lose or draw, you’ll have a blast drawing infinite cards off Eidolon of Blossoms and watching your opponent attempt to pay forty or fifty mana before each attack!

Bonus List: Blood Moon Enchantress

Link… be on your guard! Given the recent ascension of Tron decks, I’ve been experimenting with the inclusion of one of my absolute favourite cards in Modern – Blood Moon! Not too much changes with the core of the deck, and the mana requirements aren’t too heavy either. I’ve also experimented with Choke, as UW Control is on the rise as well. The main deck Moon may be a little much, but a turn-two Blood Moon against a three-colour deck is truly degenerate.

Blood Moon Enchantress by Riley Knight

Lands (23)
Arid Mesa
Forest
Horizon Canopy
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Plains
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills

Creatures (12)
Arbor Elf
Courser of Kruphix
Eidolon of Blossoms
Enchantments (21)
Utopia Sprawl
Greater Auramancy
Blood Moon
Bow of Nylea
Ghostly Prison
Oblivion Ring
Phyrexian Unlife
Solemnity
Leyline of Sanctity
Sphere of Safety
Starfield of Nyx
Quarantine Field

Sorceries (4)
Idyllic Tutor

Sideboard (15)
Nyx-Fleece Ram
Rest in Peace
Runed Halo
Blood Moon
Choke
Banishing Light
Nevermore
Rule of Law
Story Circle
Leyline of Sanctity
Sphere of Safety

Give Riley a follow on Twitter @rileyquarytower and us @mtgdotone – and check out some of our other content too!

Riley Knight

Riley Knight is a member of the Magic coverage team, and has covered top-level events around the world since 2014. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, his favourite formats are Modern and Cube. Riley enjoys playing most of his Magic during his opponent’s end step.

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