pie chart

Sultai - The Gifts that Keep on Giving

Modern* Artifact BUG (Sultai) Control Gifts Ungiven Midrange



A New Look at Sultai

I know what you are thinking, "What in the world is this decking trying to do?!". I have heard it from many people either playing against them, friends looking at the deck, or on Facebook. Even I sometimes laugh at the list because it reminds me of a Dr. Frankenstein monster with all the different parts pulled together. But don't go! There are actual reasons for each card in the deck and it actually works pretty well. Please read and find out more! Enjoy and let me know of any questions or ideas you may have for the deck!

Sultai has been scarcely played or even explored in modern. Though, when explored players try to take strategies such as Jund midrange, Grixis control, or even Delver and alter the colors to BUG. The problem is that Jund is already best at doing midrange discard heavy game, and Grixis control and Delver are better at their Snapcaster Mage game because of Bolts and Kolaghan’s Command. So after I saw this trend I thought that if Sultai was going to become a popular deck it needs to have its own strategy that sets itself apart from the strategies already prevalent in modern.

How the Uniqueness Came to Be

To come up with a unique strategy I thought of all the unique cards in the BUG colors that don’t see much play. The card that stood out to me right off the bat was Life from the Loam. Loam doesn’t really have a home outside of dredge in modern. The second card that stood out to me was Academy Ruins. Ruins is an amazing card that is kind of a pet card of mine that I abuse with Engineered Explosives and Oblivion Stone. Again, ruins doesn’t really see play outside of Lantern Control. Then the last card that came to mind was Eternal Witness. Eternal witness has seen more play than the previous two cards, but mostly out of CoCo Decks. Witness doesn’t see play much in control decks as a snapcaster mage type card though. It did see play in Shouta Yasooka’s Eternal Command deck. So these were the 3 cards that I thought could make a strategy to build around to set it apart from other decks in modern as its own archetype.

After looking at Loam, Witness, and Ruins I realized how well they play with another card that I love, Gifts Ungiven. Playing Gifts makes it so I can just play Loam and Ruins as a one ofs and Witness makes Gift piles a nightmare for the opponent. Now that I figured out the structure of the deck I just needed to fill in middle. Check out the video for more info!

This is the main card advantage in the deck. A lot of people I talk to say it is not good, they say things like “you can’t play a 4 mana do nothing card that doesn’t win the game on the spot”. These players don’t see that this card does win the game in some match-ups and it is not a “do nothing” card. It gets the loops in the deck with Ruins and Witness, and Loam (with man lands and Ghost Quarters). Or you can just get 4 removal spells, threats, or counters to just gain advantage.
This is the reason to play green in control decks. It is value at its finest. It loops with Cryptic Command, Pulse of Murasa, or even a second Witness. It is a snapcaster for anything too. Get removal spells. If you are ahead get a counterspell. Grab a traverse. It’s the glue the holds the deck together.
This land is probably my favorite land in modern. It is a recursion machine and some decks can’t beat the loops it creates. Looping Hangarback Walker verse midrange decks is lights out. Loop Executioner's Capsule and Engineered Explosives verse creature decks and that is also lights out.
This guy I added later on in my deck building of this project. I originally was running Serum Visions and found it to be very underwhelming. Then I tried out traverse in that slot. It allowed me to run a lower land count and also a lower creature count. I also found that it created a lot of interesting Gift pile options that I would have not been able to have without it. Also it makes Search For Azcanta hit more oftern.
This is another card that allowed me to lower my land count, but is in here to help with delirium. You already know that Bauble is very nice with fetch lands but I also found that it is very nice with Search for Azcanta  . Pop it at the end of the turn targeting your deck. If you like the card, draw it before the Search trigger; if you don’t like it throw it in the grave first with the Search trigger.
This got added after Traverse got added with the Baubles. Glissa is outstanding with the Baubles, it turns every removal spell into a draw spell.
Search is a really great addition to the deck. I didn’t have it in my first builds of the deck, but I realized that it really adds another point of attack to the deck, which is the card advantage game. An unanswered Search will really take over the game verse slower decks, but also an early search will help smooth out your draws and ramp verse the faster decks.
Pulse is mainly in the deck to make Gift piles automatic with what you want with witness. But Witness/Pulse is a very hard loop to deal with for creature decks.
There is a lot of one of removal in the deck because of Gifts. It allows you to find 4 removal spells. Also the removal in the deck is very versatile. Playing Sultai gives you Maelstrom Pulse, Sultai Charm, and Abrupt Decay can hit a lot of other non-creature cards. The printing of Fatal Push helps the deck with faster early creatures, which Sultai struggled with in the past. Go for the Throat is in the deck for the Grixis delve threats and Reality Smasher. Last but not least Shriekmaw turns all the Traverses into removal spells as well.
I think it is annoying when people think you have to play discard spells if you play black. I have never been a proactive player because most proactive cards are horrible top decks (discard spells). Being reactive is harder to play but in my opinion is way more powerful. Counter spells are the best example of reactive play. They get worse when you are behind but will always be able to stop opponents to even getting further ahead while you are digging yourself back. Rune Snag is my main counterspell. In my opinion it is better than mana leak. The only time it is bad is if you don’t draw one for the first few turns and allow your opponents to set up their mana. But even then it is only one mana difference than Leak. To make a good gifts package I put in 3 other counterspells with different names: Negate, Deprive, Cryptic Command.
There are two piles that are “Lock” piles that you go for to run away with the game. If you have kept the board clear enough you can EOT Gifts for either of these two piles.

Lock Pile #1:

Life from the Loam and Academy Ruins + various combinations of artifacts and lands depending on the situation.

This pile has a variety of minor variances to it, but the main two cards are Loam and Ruins. This guarantees that you get your Ruins which is the key two multiple loops, so you can grab any 2 of the 3 listed artifacts:

Ruins + Engineered Explosives, Executioner's Capsule, or Hangarback Walker

Also since you have Loam you can grab your manlands or ghost quarters and tectonic edge verse land decks.

Lock Pile #2

Eternal Witness + Traverse the Ulvenwald + Pulse of Murasa + Cryptic Command This pile insures that we will get the “eternal command” lock. It is essentially three eternal witness + Cryptic Command. I originally included zero copies of cryptic command because triple blue is hard on the mana base. But the loop is so powerful that I wanted to include it. Gifts really helps out, allowing me to get the lock late game with only taking up one slot and not really putting a strain on my mana.


Comments View Archive

Top Ranked
  • Achieved #5 position overall 2 years ago
Date added 3 years
Last updated 4 months

This deck is Modern legal.

Rarity (main - side)

4 - 2 Mythic Rares

37 - 6 Rares

7 - 6 Uncommons

9 - 1 Commons

Cards 61
Avg. CMC 2.18
Tokens 2/2 Zombie, 1/1 Thopter
Folders modern, Other People, Modern Brews, Interesting Modern Decks, favorites, moder decks, Build this, Interesting Modern, modern, nigger, See all 20
Ignored suggestions
Shared with

Revision 32 See all

4 months ago)

+2 Aether Gust side
-1 Aether Spellbomb main
-1 Ashiok, Dream Render side
-1 Damnation side
-1 Deprive side
-2 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy  Flip side
+1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor side
+2 Mystical Dispute side
+1 Narset, Parter of Veils side
+2 Nihil Spellbomb main
-1 Unearth main
+1 Unmoored Ego side
-2 Vendilion Clique side