This deck guide is soon getting a revamp becuase the deck has changed a lot since I first posted it.

When Shadows Over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon were still in Standard, I ran a Standard Azorious Spirits deck with much success. Of course, with standard, there's this thing called "rotation" you gotta deal with. Not too long ago, I realized that not all that many changes need to be made for the former Standard Spirits deck to turn into a fully functional Modern build of Spirits.

This deck basically has the same creatures and overall game plan as the Standard Spirits deck, except the utility slots and the sideboard are filled with cards more suited for Modern. I also kept budget-friendliness in mind (as I do for most of my decks). This means we won't put any Fetchlands or broke mages into our deck even though they would be quite useful.

For those who aren't familiar with Spirit Tribal, it is a tempo-type deck with mostly small and evasive creatures (spirits fly, duh) that can also do some disruption. The reason this deck is so annoying is its flexibility. Spirits is essentially a hybrid between Merfolk and Faeries; it's not as aggressive as Merfolk but not as control-heavy as Faeries.

Board Changes (The rest of the descriptions are not synced):

Main deck:

July 11th, 2018:

Minor manabase modifications after testing

-1 Underground River, -4 Port Town

+3 Unclaimed Territory, +1 Aether Hub, +1 River of Tears

July 10th, 2018:

Manabase revamp

Before: 4x Glacial Fortress, 3x Island, 2x Moorland Haunt, 3x Plains, 4x Port Town, 2x Prairie Stream, 1x River of Tears, 3x Sunken Hollow

After: 2x Moorland Haunt, 1x Concealed Courtyard, 4x Adarkar Wastes, 4x Port Town, 3x Underground River, 1x River of Tears, 4x Island, 3x Plains

  • Splashing black for Lingering Souls made the mana a lot clunkier than I wanted (cough, battle lands, cough), but Lingering Souls itself was amazing for the deck. This means we'll have to spend a few more pennies to get a better suite of dual lands. Since fetches and shocklands are way too expensive, our only way to access untapped duals is by using painlands. The problem with painlands is, unlike battlelands, they don't have basic land types, which greatly hurts our checklands and reveal lands (which are the most effective budget duals). Thus, The manabase was changed to contain a lot of painlands, one River of Tears, one Concealed Courtyard, and slightly more basic lands. Having more basics doesn't actually hurt the deck very much. This is because as long as we have an untapped land every turn, we should be okay since no card in our deck has two colored mana symbols of the same color. The only thing that may be problematic is the cost of Adarkar Wastes, as it costs $6 a copy at the very least. The whole revamp raises the deck's cost by around $12, but it should be a pretty strict upgrade.

July 8th, 2018:

-1 Island, -1 Field of Ruin, -2 Prairie Stream, -1 Moorland Haunt

+3 Sunken Hollow, +1 River of Tears

-1 Spell Queller, -1 Supreme Verdict +3 Lingering Souls

  • A problem that I've had for a while now is flooding out. Thus, I have decided to drop the number of lands in this deck to twenty-two. Also, since Supreme Phantom is making the deck a lot more aggressive, Lingering Souls becomes very, very good. Splashing a third color in a budget deck is not easy, but it is doable if one is willing to sacrifice a few utility lands, as seen above. I will not add any black cards to the sideboard, though, for the sake of consistency. And I'm pretty happy with the current sideboard anyway.

June 27th, 2018:

-1 Unsubstantiate, -1 Essence Flux, -1 Niblis of Frost - These are cards that generally aren't that powerful. The 2 mana lord is way better.

-1 Path to Exile - I'd much rather cut Spell Snare than trim Path, but good ol' budget's catching up with me...

+4 Supreme Phantom - This card is supreme. A two mana lord. We're getting closer to flying fish... Enough said. Two mana lords are always 4-ofs.


October 19th, 2018:

+1 Damping Sphere, -1 Unmoored Ego

I do not want to lose to Tron. Period.

+1 Disdainful Stroke, +1 Disenchant, +1 Damping Sphere, -1 Dispel, -1 Isolate, -1 Kataki, War's Wage

Budget and metagame decisions.

September 19th, 2018:

Unmoored Ego is amazing. Because it hits lands, it can provide an answer to so many combo matchups, which may or may not involve lands. The black mana symbol in its costs is a little concerning, but I think we'd get away with two copies.

-1 Amulet of Safekeeping, -1 Damping Sphere, +2 Unmoored Ego

July 11th, 2018:

The new manabase turned out to be incredibly consistent, thus the following change is made:

-1 Eidolon of Rhetoric, +1 Zealous Persecution

  • We already have enough storm hate even without Eidolon of Rhetoric. Now with black, Zealous Persecution will be a very useful battle trick/pseudo board wipe against all sorts of creature decks. And if we ever happen to run into a mirror match, this can easily be the deciding card.

-1 Kataki, War's Wage, +1 Disenchant

  • All hail Lord Budget.

June 27th, 2018:

-2 Tormod's Crypt & +2 Remorseful Cleric - The cleric offers a reasonable body with tribal synergies, which makes it obviously better than Tormod's Crypt. It did not make the cut for the main deck thanks to Selfless Spirit being more relevant in most matchups, but it'll definitely get a couple sideboard slots.

-1 Spirit of the Labyrinth - Spirit of the Labyrinth is quite narrow and just doesn't really do much in many matchups. Thus, we cut it for better cards.

-1 Disdainful Stroke - It doesn't really have that many targets in modern, and we already have a lot of counters that hit a wider array of things.

+1 Amulet of Safekeeping - This new card offers good utility as a one-of since it wrecks storm, burn (which are both strong archetypes) and also token decks. It also helps in some random, fringe matchups.

+1 Isolate - Isolate is such a strong card. It's super efficient, and there are a ton of one-mana cards for it to target. I considered adding a second copy over Dispel or a Negate, but I felt like we really need the counters in control matchups.

The best way to break down this deck is to simply work our way up the spirit curve, then explain everything else.

  • The only truly effective one-drop Spirit I could find was Mausoleum Wanderer, which was in the original Standard Spirits deck. This card is basically a strictly better Cursecatcher for Spirits. And as many people know, a counterspell sitting on the board is very, very painful to deal with since it often forces you to play one turn behind due to the fear of getting counterspelled. Of course, it can only hit instants and sorceries, but hey, why complain when it's good enough? We do have Serum Visions as another turn one play. It's pretty self-explanatory, being the best cantrip effect for most decks in Modern.

  • Our two-drops are probably the most important cards in the whole deck. Rattlechains is one of the biggest payoffs for playing Spirits. You can flash it in to protect a Spirit, and once it's on the battlefield we can cast all of our creatures on the opponent's turn or during combat, which is a huge advantage. Selfless Spirit is basically a lesser Heroic Intervention stapled to a reasonably aggressive flyer. This means that the card is a two-for-one since you can swing with it for damage and then sac it to protect the rest of the squad when needed. And as we have learned from Cryptic Command, having options is a very powerful thing in Magic.

  • Drogskol Captain, being a decent threat on its own, is one of the only two lords that provides hexproof (the other one is Lord of the Unreal, which essentially removes the downside of illusions dying to be being targeted.) Giving all of our creatures a pump and hexproof is extremely powerful, but Drogskol Captain itself does die to a lot of things. Of course, if we get two Drogskol Captains in play, we have the Drogskol Lock! That makes all of our creatures hexproof, and if we have a Mausoleum Wanderer or Selfless Spirit in play, we even have some protection against board wipes. Spell Queller, our other three-drop, was a staple during its Standard days. It's not hard to see why. An exiling counterspell (Get memed, Supreme Verdict.) plus a 2/3 flyer is a lot of value on one card. It will most likely hit 95% of the spells in the whole format since not many decks play a large number of heavy spells (Commander fans, get out.) There's also one copy of Nebelgast Herald, which is a great card in most creature matchups, but our three-drop slot is already pretty heavily loaded and Nebelgast Herald isn't as universally useful as some of our other cards, so it's only a one-of.

  • Our only four-drop Spirit is a single copy of Niblis of Frost. Fifteen of our thirty-seven spells are instants and sorceries, which makes prowess relevant though not ultra-strong. Whenever we cast an instant or sorcery spell, we get to Rush of Ice a creature. With a Niblis of Frost and a Nebelgast Herald, literally any spell we cast taps down a creature of our choice. This is great both on offense and defense since we can cast spells and tap flying creatures to remove the few blockers our opponent may have or cast random instants/play Spirits to tap potential attackers (We don't even need Rattlechains to provide flash since creatures tapped with the niblis don't untap during their controller's next untap step.

  • A card which I did not include in this list is Geist of Saint Traft. There are several reasons for this. It's arguably a good card, being an evasive threat on two bodies and probably the hardest hitting playable Spirit in the format. But there are several problems: One, our three-drop slot is very crowded. Two, the card has very little synergy with the rest of the deck, as the Angel token the accompanies it doesn't benefit from tribal synergy and a 2/2 ground creature will almost always be blocked is very likely to die in combat if that happens, in which case the Angel will go away too. Three, adding another card that requires both white and blue mana increases our chance to get color-screwed, which is very, very bad for a tempo deck. There are some other cards which may be good for our deck, like Bygone Bishop, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner, Snapcaster Mage, Phantasmal Image, Aether Vial, and maybe even Topplegeist, but they're either lesser three-drops, not effective enough, or too expensive for a "budget-friendly" deck. I mean, throwing money out of your window benefits basically any deck.

Most of the spells in this deck just make up the usual spell package for a modern deck. There's a playset of Serum Visions, the standard cantrip spell in Modern (cough, the irony, cough). For removal, we have two copies of Path to Exile and three Vapor Snags. Path is obviously the better card, though sometimes the one damage from Snag matters. In a fully powered wallet-shredding version of the deck, I would put a playset of Path to Exile and only one Snag. As of counterspells, we have a couple Remands and a Spell Snare. There's also an Unsubstantiate in there just because of its versatility. Our sole wrath is a single Supreme Verdict. It could be a finisher if we sac a Selfless Spirit to protect our team while the Verdict goes off. (This is basically a four-mana Plague Wind.) We also have an Essence Flux to save a key spirit from a removal spell or to pump something if we need to. It can also change the spell which our Spell Queller exiles.

Our mana base is decent but not perfect for a tempo deck which needs to play on-curve and can rarely afford to be color-screwed. The problem is simple. Fetchlands are not budget friendly. But even though we get color screwed more often than not, the budget mana base still feels quite consistent.

We have a playset of Port Town and a playset of Prairie Strieam, which work very well together since Prairie Strieam is a plains-island. We also have a playset of Glacial Fortress. I thought about splitting into two Glacial Fortresses and two Nimbus Mazes because Nimbus Maze is always an untapped mana source, though only a Wastes at its worst; I figured it wasn't worth it and just went with Glacial Fortress. I also considered using River of Tears to cheaply splash black for Lingering Souls, but that lowers our basic land count, which greatly hurts every single dual land we're playing. We have one Field of Ruin as our Ghost Quarter. It's got a high activation cost, but it can easily stop Tron if we go first (cough, Tectonic Edge), does not put us down a land (cough, Ghost Quarter), and it also fixes our mana which can be a real life-saver if we get color-screwed. Moorland Haunt is amazing when the games go long, giving us a steady source of 1/1 flyers as long as we have creatures in our 'yard. We're only playing three copies since we really can't afford to trim any more colored mana sources. If color (and budget) weren't an issue, we'd most likely be playing four Moorland Haunts and even two Mutavaults.

There's nothing super-special about the sideboard. It's mostly just a bunch of one or two-of's that help us in either specific matchups or just broad deck types. There's one Celestial Purge which is amazing against any deck with a decent number of red and/or black cards since it literally exiles anything for two mana given that it's black or red. Disenchant is important as our sole artifact/enchantment removal spell. Dispel and Negate both help against control decks. Disdainful Stroke is nice since it hits everything Spell Queller doesn't hit. Tormod's Crypt is our budget graveyard hate. Spirit of the Labyrinth fights against decks that aim to win with card advantage while also having some Spirit synergy. Eidolon of Rhetoric and Kataki, War's Wage are also spirits, with the former shutting down storm and the latter giving artifacts a cumulative upkeep, significantly taxing all artifact decks. Damping Sphere is an effective card, shutting down Tron and storm, which are both pretty strong archetypes. Pithing Needle is always a useful one-of against combo decks.

There are potential replacements for my sideboard choices. Relic of Progenitus is probably better than Tormod's Crypt, but it's semi-expensive and exiles our graveyard when we cantrip it, disabling Moorland Haunt. Stony Silence is harder hate than Kataki, War's Wage, but it's narrower and costs quite some bucks, plus Kataki has Spirit synergy. Rule of Law is Eidolon of Rhetoric in enchantment form, but the eidolon has Spirit synergy and is actually harder to remove for some decks due to it having four toughness. Pithing Needle and Sorcerous Spyglass have a close one. Spyglass comes down one turn later than the needle, but gives you knowledge of your opponent's hand. Also, Chalice of the Void is a thing in Modern, and Spyglass dodges it. Now, when I can't decide, I usually go with the cheaper option, which is Pithing Needle. I briefly considered Nevermore to save more money, but it seems too slow to effectively do the job since it doesn't disable anything that's already on the battlefield. Leyline of Sanctity is also a legit option for the sideboard. The problem is, it'd leave me broke.

I suppose that's all! If you made it this far, congrats. I mean, CONGRATS. You deserve my wish of happy tapping.


Updates Add

Ok, people. This is really bad for all the budget players out there. Because Spirits is now a tier deck in Modern, this decks price has increased by about $50.



87% Competitive

Compare to inventory
Date added 4 months
Last updated 2 days
Exclude colors RG
Splash colors B

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 1.95
Tokens 1/1 Spirit
Folders Spirit, Cool Decks, Favorites, hmmm
Ignored suggestions
Shared with