The sideboard made for the best use I have yet seen of Ranger-captain of Eos, which is much better when finding silver bullets in specific matchups, and took advantage of the mono-white manabase a little better as well. Mistveil Plains and Thraben Inspector provided redundancy or backup value targets for the Captain, which was recurred extremely aggressively to set up locks against Combo or Aggro (the latter based on Kami of False Hope). If this proves more valuable than anticipated, the Devout Lightcaster can become a fourth Ranger-Captain. As a note, the space to sideboard these packages in is generally created by removing Hour and some copies of Simulacrum/Cavalier, so that synergy board-states can be preserved.
If this speaks to you more than the first list I mentioned, I would adapt it immediately by removing the Sagas which had so under-preformed. They did, however, enable a lower land count, so two of the four slots thus freed up would immediately need to become extra mana sources, probably a Plains and a maindeck Ghost Quarter based on your desire to be prepared for Amulet Titan. The other two slots would unfortunately have to become card-disadvantage two-drops to replace them, but since with them gone the maindeck lifegain disappears I would also trim the luxury fourth Sun Titan to at least fit in one Lone Missionary whose inflexibility would be complemented by a more versatile two-of in Charming Prince. The extra card advantage in this version should be able to offset these (which are generally card-down investments to stabilize the boardstate). You could also reasonably go with the opposite split, or even a three-of in either direction, depending on your preferences and metagame.
One major strength of this configuration is to replace Detention Sphere directly with Hour of Revelation, which deals with "wide" boardstates much better (although obviously not as cheaply). Solemn Simulacrum is obviously very strong in this build, granting more power to to Cavalier, Gift, Hour, and Titan, while incidentally accelerating Emeria. The result would then look like this before you made any modifications for preference:
I am very glad to see that things have started to pick up again here, I was saddened when so many jumped ship to a different platform as I felt that this site's value as an archive was always an important feature that other forums lacked. Checking up on what felt like a ghost town was getting depressing, but I think now that there is more activity as the pandemic winds down I must thank Fluff for keeping the thread alive!
Modern's landscape has changed quite a bit during that time, and I have a few cards that I tested with and/or theorycrafted as potential alternatives for Emeria Control, but a word to the wise would be to wait until things settle down into a steady metagame once more - I have no idea whether Emeria is even viable at the moment, since its preferred prey (Midrange) could well be pushed out of the format entirely by the new power level of Modern Masters 2. In any event, the following paragraphs are intended as a kickoff point for discussion of any developments which occurred during the shutdown, in preparation for tuning and updating lists to the paper environment that may soon to be re-opened.
Progressing forward from Ikoria, then, where the last word was that the Yorion, Sky Nomad builds sacrificed a good deal for the unquestioned benefits of a synergistic companion, I will begin my recap by stating that Zendikar Rising offered mostly supplemental sideboard options in the thematic Archon of Emeria, in the non-Lukka half of Mila, Crafty Companion and in the extremely intriguing Confounding Conundrum as a splash-colour piece of ramp/fetchland interaction. The real meat of the set (unless a rogue build can count Lithoform Engine as a viable effect which might mimic Panharmonicon in certain ways) is found in Skyclave Apparition. My personal preferences aside, the card is very, very strong, and may warp deckbuilding accordingly. I currently have it as a unique sideboard option to combat Heliod/Ballista, but mileage may vary (as evidenced by Starstorm's blink-happy variant above - how is it working for you so far ?).
Next, in Core Set 2021, a very interesting alternative to Remorseful Cleric is now available in Containment Priest, whose anti-synergies with our own Emerias and Titans may be mitigated by its strength and versatility as a surprise play, and could also be sacrificed or otherwise removed once sufficient value has been accrued from the body. Speaking of Flash plays, Niambi, Esteemed Speaker is a variant on Whitemane Lion that some blue-heavy builds may entertain. The last significant card, for my money, is found in Angelic Ascension as an alternative extra piece of immediate hard removal for resilient creatures or planeswalkers - albeit one with a hefty drawback.
Kaldheim offered more or less a similar range of cards to our palette, though in light of recent developments Halvar, God of Battle and his associated Sword of the Realms may be of minimal consideration for more Equipment-themed builds in the future. Similarly being affected by new cards is my evaluation of Doomskar as a possible turn-3 play, which would now require far more to justify its inclusion. Another marginal effect from the set (though one covering a much broader swath of corner cases) is found in Reidane, God of the Worthy and her back half of Valkmira, Protector's Shield. In strange Snow builds, there is a far more substantial addition than these in Search For Glory to enable some kinds of toolboxes, where The Raven's Warning or Niko Defies Destiny might possibly be justifiable (these last being underwhelming otherwise). Speaking of Niko Aris, though the double-blue cost excludes it from viability in my eyes, others may find its ability to scale well a valuable asset in longer games, on a conveniently 3-CMC permanent.
Moving on in the same set, Divine Gambit is a risky though cheap piece of spell-based exile for a range of permanents, and on that note I was much more interested in the flexibility provided by Devastating Mastery. Both, however, proved unreliable to me in the absence of other support. These were at their best in Mono-white builds, though, which brings me to a the consistent small-time value of Pilgrim of the Ages, which was probably good enough to supplement Pilgrim's Eye in that specific configuration. That spirit, however, was much less of a new effect for the shell than another in Strict Proctor, whose power will sadly not fit ideally in attrition decks. His inclusion is for that reason discretionary as a sideboard choice, where a Death and Taxes-style pivot may be viable to some. In that vein, Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa's invitational card of Elite Spellbinder is a near-revolutionary new effect in White's colour identity, and may in fact be what the Flickerwisp versions are in the market for. In other builds, his value and pressure are less reliable, and yet he remains available should the need arise.
Second, the sideboard fodder. Void Mirror for cost-cheating, Cursed Totem against a wide variety of creatures, Sanctifier En-Vec and Tormod's Cryptkeeper against graveyards, Seal of Cleansing against Artifacts and Enchantments, Seal of Removal against creatures and as a value play, Blossoming Calm against Burn, Storm, and Discard, Dress Down against all manner of synergies - the whole gamut is legitimately now up for grabs. Incidentally, I will also note that the utility of Lose Focus may offer a very interesting new tool in stack wars, which may become more prevalent in the wake of a timeless classic's return: Counterspell. It is this card's reprinting which more than anything else influences my doubt as to Emeria's position going forward.
Fourth and most importantly, however, are the direct competition for maindeck slots, beginning with Kaldra Compleat (as already mentioned by Fluff and Starstorm). The fifth point of power and the ability Haste make the card an absolutely unparalleled clock for any Stoneforge Mystic archetype, and I have (regretfully) already put one of my two Batterskull on the chopping block in anticipation of its presence. The keyword potpourri it also features is (once sufficient thought is devoted to it) also not at all bad at stabilizing the board, and I will be very surprised if the combination of these two factors does not earn it a permanent place in my maindeck. Others, who do not share my aversion to tempo removal plays from the opposition, will possibly find Sword of Hearth and Home to be an asset, which may well be a very good one in Solitude-centric variants fuelled by Squadron Hawk. Timeless Dragon represents yet another Mono-White option which can fetch nonbasic plains in splash builds, and adds incrementally to the count of Dragons required to make Orator of Ojutai a possible contender someday. Prismatic Ending is a surprisingly effective and cheap answer to everything from Hangarback Walker to Wrenn and Six, and three-colour versions of Emeria may find it to be a much better singleton than the Oblivion Ring that sometimes makes appearances there. Finally, the shockingly powerful Out of Time is a very real supplement or even alternative to Wraths, critically coming down a turn earlier, and synergizing very oddly indeed with Sun Titan. In combination with this last and with Detention Sphere and Aura of Silence or Seal of Cleansing, the effect becomes both abusable at instant-speed, and possibly even repeatable ad infinitum.
I think this covers the cards I have dealt with directly, as well as those which I felt had potential applications in the base W/u Emeria shell.
Please feel free to tell me of anything else I overlooked during the period mentioned, and I hope we may have events to anticipate soon!
I think the meta will be too volitile in the next weeks to know exactly where we stand but in the first modern challange after the MH2 release the first place was a UW taxes/ Bink style deck that preety much uses every creature we use so while it might amount to nothing, i would say it´s a good sign!
Only started playing again for around 2 weeks and went to 3 FNMs.
Not gonna go too much in deapth about every match up in this post but we can totally dicuss it later. Basically first tournment won 2-0 against Izzet Blitz, 2-0 against Walls with Assault Formation and Doran, the Siege Tower, and lost 1-2 against Heliod combo.
The second tournemnt won 2-0 against Boros Burn, 2-1 against Yawgmoth, Thran Physician combo, and 2-0 against boggles.
Last FNM lost 0-2 to Yawgmoth, Thran Physician combo, won 2-0 to Heliod Combo and 2-0 against Grixis Death Shadow.
Overall the deck still feels really good to play with. I think the best card in the deck right now is Skyclave Apparition. It preety much deals with everyhting bessides a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, a Primeval Titan and Karn, Ugin and Eldrazi. I think this one of the most pushed white cards in recent memory and it is what mostly made Death and Taxes be a competitive deck again. I view Emeria a bit like a disrupting and Taxing deck ina way, but way more grindy than aggro. Our deck cares a lot about removal, so when we have a 3 mana creature, that exiles preety much anyhting in the format with little downside, i think it's almost an autoinclude.
I have never tried a Yorion variant mostly because i didn't have the sleeves or the deckbox for it but i would want to eventually try it out as Taxes seeems to be making good use of it.
I'm not particularlly a fan of the Kaldheim or stryxhaven cards for our deck asside from Elite Spellbinder. I was lucky to open 2 on my prerelease pack so i figured i'd try them out and i must say i'm very impressed. Most decks are very low to the ground and do'nt generate a lot of mana, so sometimes i would just stop a card entirely for the rest of the game. And being a 3/1 flyer that can equip sword or a batterskull is a very fast clock to close out a game. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is just a fill ccard cause i didn't decide what to put more but i don't really think it fits the deck at all and it will change once MH2 comes out. Even now i would absolutly pur another Elite Spellbinder if i had one.
Not very high on Esper Sentinel at the moment as we already generate good card advanatage, and the fact the it only triggers on the first noncreature spell, it gives the opponent the option of choice and it only is taxing for one, doesn't seem enough upside to play it. However, in a deck with Abiding Grace, Ranger-Captain of Eos and a bunch of onde drops it does seem quite nice
About Chrome Courier i'm also not very high on as it digs one less than Court Hussar and we can't loop it like we do with Court. Kaldra Compleat seems like a very powerful card but always in addition to Batterskull and never instead of. It gives stoneforge even more of a toolkit feel, as in match ups where we don't need the life and stoneforge doesn't die immediately, it can close games fast and to some decks it's just gg as the don't have the removal for it. Sword of Hearth and Home while a very interesting card, doesn't seem better than the ones we already have and can use. Even though it synergizes wonderfully with our deck, i don't think it has the immediate impact we have with Sword of fire and ice or Sword of Feast and Famine have. Prismatic Ending also looks quite solid but i think it will depend very much on the meta. It basically hits 0, 1 and 2 for us, which while cool, skyclave already does, so the question is if you need the fifth or sicth skyclave effect or not. Out of Time seems interesting but i don't think it's better than the wraths as it is killable and phases everything out instead of putting it in the grave like we want it, even though it's one mana cheaper.
I will continue to play and testing with the cards i have at the moment, and the MH2 as soon as i get them and i'll put the match ups posted here with results anf thoughts of the matches so hopefully it will help us all a bit more!
I truly thank you for doing such an amazing job of compiling all these cards and talking about all of them, and sorry for not writting about all of them but these discussions are always interesting so i'd really like to see the new versions of the deck we can all build together!
First, congratulations on the FNM results (both the fact that you got to play them, and the combined 7-2 record). Well done !
Next, I am very glad to be of service, and very much hope the thread will pick up again. In these uncertain times the unsettled environment goes some way towards incentivising your aggressive variant by providing free wins when untested strategies stumble, and so I expect my recommended builds will (or should) take a back seat until the ability to tune for a specific metagame begins to reward the inevitability strategy once more.
Thank you as well for your takes on cards, specifically Elite Spellbinder and Skyclave Apparition. Stress-testing significant numbers of these was something I was not certain I would be able to justify, and your maindeck inclusion of them for real events will give a much better impression than playtesting ever could.
In terms of responding to specific suggestions, please do not feel obligated to cover everything I mention, I simply wanted to provide a jumping-off point for anyone questioning whether these are initially viable, and a forum for anyone with actual games with them to weigh in on. If you haven't played with a card, just ignore it and others will either defend or dismiss it based on their experiences.
Speaking of real experiences, I was able to invite a few friends over for a testing session, which gives a little more context for some Modern Horizons 2 cards. First, I will have to disagree with your evaluation of Kaldra Compleat, as it can absolutely replace Batterskull in some versions. I value lifegain and my curve highly enough in my build that I have made a 1/1 split of them at the moment, where before I had been very happy with 2 copies of the New Phyrexia Living Weapon, but the indestructible exiling First Strike and Trample combination particularly excels as a one-man wrecking crew against non-white midrange or a fantastically high-impact clock versus control or combo - pressuring Planeswalkers immediately and being extraordinarily difficult to remove barring exile effects. Some builds may definitely want access to it as an equipment more than any other enhancement.
In a different dynamic, Out of Time and Prismatic Ending (the first maindecked and the second as a singleton out of the sideboard) were exceedingly potent as delaying tactics versus Red Prowess. Despite its disadvantages (which have convinced me to reduce its numbers again, particularly given the awkward Phasing and Living Weapon interaction) the enchantment coming down on turn three was incredibly relevant, being the difference between staying alive to stabilise on the draw against two or three Prowess creatures or dying with an uncast Supreme Verdict in hand. The fact that it is killable is actually a bonus in may situations, as the Seal of Cleansing effects can then be used to interact with the board during the opponent's attack step by providing blockers at instant-speed. All in all, however, it was not ultimately enough for me to include the card, but I could see a world where Modern was aggressive enough that I would want the effect more than the Doomskar that offers the only other such option on 3 mana.
Last up in the options I have seriously considered for updating my build are the two blue cantrip enchantments at CMC 2, Confounding Conundrum and Dress Down. Both of them critically provide their effects at card parity, and so have warranted further inquiries even with their less-than-ideal blue casting cost early. The first was a very promising layer of protection against Titan decks, where blunting their acceleration by any means possible granted extra draw steps and pulled the games back into reach. The second I have no experience at all with, but will remember as a card advantage play that can be accrued for free on the attack step or on ETB by Sun Titan. I have no idea yet what deck the effect might be best against, but even if only by removing Haste and the protection ability from a Reality Smasher or the first trigger of Thought-Knot Seer the card will surely have applications at the very least versus Eldrazi Tron.
These nine cards are the ones I considered to be true contenders for my more grindy gameplan, and the ones I have actually put effort towards evaluating since my last posted decklist here. Skyclave Apparition and Elite Spellbinder may also sometimes feature in particular metagames for me, but have drawbacks on the order of Out Of Time which will require contextual justification or a clear transformative strategy in my opinion. In order of playability, then, I believe as of now that the eight remaining spells are therefore ranked:
1-Kaldra Compleat (Immediate auto-include due to power level alone, pending verification over the next month.)
2-Prismatic Ending (Immediate sideboard contender due to versatility and cost, possibly in numbers or even maindeckable in extremis.)
3-Containment Priest (Immediate sideboard contender on versatility and coverage of high-intensity threats, depending on format texture.)
4-Blossoming Calm (Medium power-level, low-versatility targeted effect interaction and lifegain, boosted by premium flexibility and cost.)
5-Dress Down (Medium power-level, high versatility creature interaction, including applications versus some combo and inherent synergy.)
6-Sanctifier En-Vec (High power-level, lower-versatility creature-based graveyard hate sideboard contender, depending on format.)
7-Confounding Conundrum (Medium power-level and low versatility permanent-based interaction for multiple land per turn ramp, corner-case applications elsewhere and synergy with Ghost Quarter, Field of Ruin, Path to Exile, Winds of Abandon and Settle the Wreckage.)
8-Archon of Emeria (Medium power-level, high-versatility evasive creature-based additional option with curve-disrupting upside, high cost for effect.)
Skyclave likely falls between number 2 and number 3 on that list, and Spellbinder between number 3 and number 6. The rest of the cards I mentioned were simply to note the possibilities now available to alternative builds. More blue-heavy curves using Realmwright and attempting to support Glint-Nest Crane or Arcanist's Owl are likely more interested in the existence of Chrome Courier, for instance. I should also clarify that Solitude seems sadly to be too much card disadvantage for my tastes, though it is obviously a very strong combination with Ephemerate (which is true of the entire cycle, in truth). The same trick with Grief is another reason why I am certain paper tournaments may be extremely volatile for some time yet, as there will need to be some major adjustments to its presence if it can be made viable, regardless of the fact that land-based attrition is at a marked advantage versus its specific form of interaction.
Hoping this finds you all well, and let me know if you disagree with any specifics!
P.S. : As an edit, I should mention that Seal of Cleansing has now officially replaced Disenchant for me as well, which I had previously attempted to do illegally when the card was printed in Eternal Masters.
Though I would currently assume Starstorm's tempo/disruption and clock are more relevant, my recommended list for those who wish to maximise the grind which Emeria inherently rewards, below is my current (workshopped and minimally-tested) build. The full 75 should now be the following as of the release of Modern Masters 2:
As of this moment, I have more or less completely conceded land-based strategies in the sideboard, with my maindeck Field of Ruin and Ghost Quarter effects backed up by Sun Titan and Crucible of Worlds taking the brunt of the charge on that front. Ultimately, without Zur's Weirding it was clear that Aven Mindcensor was insufficiently consistent unless more sideboard space was devoted to support him, and I have thus returned to the old standby of "maindeck or bust" in ramp matchups. The banning of Field of the Dead was a very large part of this decision, as things have calmed down significantly in those matchups since its departure.
P.S. : One final word is in favour of the Sanctifier, whose Protection abilities and exile clause from the Library are powerful enough that I will bump him up in priority for testing.
Thank you very much, I was struggling in some match ups but with the benefit of my opponents not knowing this deck very well, I could surprise them a bit with some unexpected wins (no one ever expects the wraths in our creature based deck :p)
About kaldra compleat I think I might not have explained myself very well as I totally agree with you! When I said it couldn't replace batterskull it's because in my situation in particular I only used one and 2 swords. But I completely agree in the 1/1 split of batterskull and Kaldra Compleat, having taken the slot of one of the swords in my case.
About the red prowess deck, I honestly feel like it's a really good match up. Maybe I'm biased because of my experience but I haven't dropped a game against prowess in a long time. The only aggro deck that scares me a bit is burn because it doesn't care about my creatures and can go face, but as side from that, aggro hasn't been the bigger problem for me. Maybe the differences in our lists reflect the differences in our perception of match-ups. Seal of cleansing seems like a very good option to use, specially with the predicted rise of affinity and maybe emchantress. The only downside is not hitting heliod which I think isn't a great match up if my opponent is very skilled with the deck. I was on the fence about deicide but never got to try it as I didn't have the card. But deffinetly gonna give seal of cleansing a go to see how it fares.
I think you exemplified really well the power prismatic ending can have. The fact that it can be played on turn one and two instead of the turn 3 skyclave apparition is a very big upside and might sway me to try it in the side! It will depend on the 1 and 2 drops that the format will have but it is indeed a very cheap and efficient card.
Always loved containment priest as a card but the anti-sinergy with our deck always made me hesitant on playing with it. At least in my meta, I haven't seen neoform in a very long time so it isn't something I'm particularly scared of. Through the breach can be solved with solitude, as I still think that the card deserves merit. 2 for 1 yourself is painful, but I think you only really do it in a desperate situation and our deck is one that can reach 5 lands on time to hardcast it when we need to. In my opinion, you use it as a value 5 drop that can prevent your death in dire situations like a giant prowess creature or emrakul, just like a force of negation would in other decks. I think ephemerate makes it better just like grief, but in our very white deck with a ton of card advantage, I think it can work. That said I agree the card disadvantage is always bad and further testing is needed.
I like Sanctifier En-Vec a lot, as the protection is great and the graveyard hate catches many decks. But it would take my graveyard hate sideboard slot, at least partially, and decks like living end that are using very few red and black creatures would just trample over it so I still like it a lot and intend to use it, but will deffinetly be on the lookout.
Dress Down is a weird card and very hard for me to evaluate it, so just like you, I will see where it goes in the future.
Confounding conundrum is a card I used a lot when every deck I played was a titan deck and it was very good, both it and Ashiok, Dream Render. Is lands matter decks become the meat again it's deffinetly a good choice!
One last card I forgot to mention is Sanctum Prelate that might help with any combos revolving about noncreature spells like storm, or even shutting down for a bit izzet blitz.
About the list you posted I see the advantages on maximizing the grinding plan instead of the more disruption/ midrange plan so I'm excited to see tour results too to learn from them!
The only question I would ask in that particular list is related to the detention sphere. Do you think the exiling permanentes with the same name and with any cmc still grants it an advantage over the permanent but more narrow effect of skyclave apparition? Once again, in my version with the midrange and swords plan, I think it's a clear choice for me, but I would like to know your thoughts on your particular list!
For now gonna try 3 solitude in the main but it might change with time. Just want to get a feel for the card. About the sideboard it will obviously be very meta dependant but i'm seeing if i can find some room for Prismatic Ending and Seal of Cleansing.
You made two very good points I want to address: first Solitude vs Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. This is an interaction that had completely escaped my attention, and affects my rating by a few percentage points. I still think that the guaranteed 2-for-1 negative exchange rate is too costly for an effect which will remain otherwise unavailable until turn 5 at minimum in my card economy-conscious build, but if there was a specific problem that threatened extremely early lethal attacks more often I would now be certain of it as a justifiable inclusion maindeck. For builds without Stoneforge Mystic filling the 5-drop slot with access to Batterskull as a bridge, this is almost assuredly better in the abstract than Gideon Jura, Cavalier of Dawn, and Geist-Honored Monk (with a far higher base power level, barring other synergies). It may ultimately find its best home in mono-white in any event, which will have far better options on a consistent basis as to what to pitch to it, much like the advantage Legacy Merfolk enjoys when casting Force of Will and Force of Negation. In your build, the Flash body is already a resource of interest, and I wonder whether you might consider removing your sweepers for it instead of your Path/Gideon/Teferi? You might at this point have reached critical mass for spot removal to move the sweepers to the sideboard, making you better against control, and using Equipment, Pressure, trading in combat, Evoke, and the Hussar trick with Teferi, Time Raveler to make your Emeria, the Sky Ruin trigger.
(As an extensive aside on that issue, with significantly more aggressive creatures in your deck, you will need to enable far fewer Emeria activations to win the game, which is actually the reason I have built my deck the way it is by focusing on the aggro matchups. This has bearing on your possible confusion when you were discussing how you felt against Burn compared to Blitz. Feel free to tell me if I am wrong, but based on your list the effective "window" for winning the most games occurs during turns 6-12 for you, and decreases in comparison to mine every turn after that. Mine almost literally cannot win games before turn 7, which assumes that a Stoneforge Mystic was sent immediately to fetch Kaldra Compleatand survived to put it into play. Since this is not a bet I am comfortable making, my "window" begins on turn 8, and my chances of winning increase relative to every other deck in the format afterwards, which can hypothetically extend outward indefinitely if necessary. This is a double-edged sword when it comes to the kinds of plays you and I have incentive to make, where yours can look to stabilize or contain an issue for two to four turns - consider Elite Spellbinder and Skyclave Apparition for instance - while mine wants to assume permanent containment of an issue with minimal risk and maximal 1-for-1 guarantees whenever possible otherwise. This means that even though I am generally not as threatened by a typical Prowess turn as you are, I nearly always need to deal with three or even four waves of their explosive turns, where you cut off at least one and more likely two of these waves by threatening lethal well before I do. The inverse is my most likely culprit for the discrepancy in our Burn dynamic, where if I can achieve stability with a Lone Missionary or a Blessed Alliance to drag things out at 2-for-1 rate, the game becomes a quick concession. At an average maximum rate of 2 damage per turn after turn 7, I only have to show them a Batterskull when their hand is empty, and their next draw step must provide lethal lest the Germ coming back every turn spell a soft-lock they have no burst card advantage to dig out of. Of the two Burn is, in truth, the more difficult of the two decks due to the capacity you mention of purely pointing seven Lightning Bolt at a life total, but their resilience is far, far lower than Prowess, and in practice they are mathematically guaranteed to draw a string of useless Creatures or Lands at some point. My job in the matchup is therefore extremely easy: survive until the math wins. With Prowess, the shoe is on the other foot. I have to assume that I must be able to deal with every single corner case, on any given turn. A single 2-for-1 is essentially never enough to pull me into or keep me in the lead. The difference lies in the type of losses that we can each accept. When I lose a game to Burn, they had it all and there was nothing I could do. When I lose to Prowess after turn 3, I know that I had the game in hand somewhere along the line and fumbled an excellent matchup.)
As for your second critical point, I actually cannot think of why Sanctum Prelate slipped my mind, other than perhaps the fact that I had it filed under "Legacy and Vintage playable only" for so long. This was a massive oversight, and I thank you for bringing it up. It actually competes with Kaldra Compleat for number one most impactful new card in the base-white board control archetype, covering a huge number of unfair cards and forcing interaction for may other fair ones. I will now have to think it over, but it may in fact pull far more weight than my two sideboard Containment Priest at the moment. It is a touch expensive for the sideboard at three mana, and the downside of shutting off Wrath of God against Collected Company decks is real, but I strongly suspect that its combination of high-power and high-flexibility on a recursion-ready body likely more than compensate for these issues by interacting with massive headaches such as Bring to Light, Scapeshift, Ad Nauseam, Gifts Ungiven, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and even Karn Liberated.
Returning to the format in general at the moment, I believe that even with his excellent Protection body Sanctifier En-Vec is currently poorly positioned against the current graveyard threats, as is (unfortunately) Containment Priest, though I will point out that my Mortarpod-heavy build makes the latter's anti-synergies very rare indeed. I also like that you mentioned public enemy number one in Living End, where Curator of Mysteries, Striped Riverwinder, and Windcaller Aven make a bit of a mockery of the colour restrictions of the first while the wording of Living Death would laugh at even an infinite series of flash 2/2 Human Clerics. The preferred interaction in this instance remains Remorseful Cleric in my opinion, whose evasive body you might appreciate more with your Equipment. I have found that two in play is the magic number that generally guarantees a game win (so that they cannot cycle more creatures as they hold priority after they force one to activate by putting their global reanimation on the stack) but finding even one begins a game-changing dynamic by crippling their first swarm of monsters while returning itself to play for free after the resolution of a Battlefield/Graveyard swap.
Next up, Seal of Cleansing has been great for me, and I would mention that it (and Aura of Silence) can combine with your sideboard Shadowspear to deal with Heliod, Sun-Crowned. I have not yet considered whether that will be viable with your current sideboard plan in the matchup, but it is worth the time to say it if you haven't had the chance to evaluate the interaction yet. The two enchantments also work very well with tapout sequencing in that they protect you from early Walking Ballista combo attempts while you set up stabilizing plays and/or find equipment to interact, for whatever that is worth to you. I have found anecdotally that the Aura is particularly irritating for them, typically making their damage combo prohibitively expensive until after their manabase comes under threat from Emeria/Titan recursion of Ghost Quarter effects, but you are far more susceptible to infinite lifegain, so perhaps the threat is too great from Spike Feeder in your case.
On the Skyclave Apparition/Detention Sphere debate, besides the cost restriction and the chances of card advantage - which I do think are mildly relevant considerations - there are two major points of difference. First that putting an Illusion in play with a sweeper is a much more frequent danger for my list, and second that I weigh the fragility of a creature much more strenuously than that of an enchantment in attrition-based control. The "nontoken" clause is also very unfortunate on the 2/2 at times, but I agree that the creature's permanent exile effect is stronger and that your deck makes use of the body much better. Your version has more 2-drops and more board presence with fewer sweepers, so this also means that Prismatic Ending should more be a supplement to your exile suite (essentially, you specifically may have less need of the "cheapness" factor that was so impressive to me, particularly now that you are also running Solitude. If this is true, perhaps you could test a singleton Deputy of Detention to see if its trigger is more worthwhile?
Let me know how it all works out for you, and good luck in your next tournament!
I think you make a great point about the two slighlty different approaches we made for the deck and you are also correct in your assessment of most of my games ending before Emeria activates. I used to run a list more akin to yours in the past, specially before the reintruduction of Stoneforge Mystic to modern. As i had said in our previous discussions in the past year (it trully has been a while), i think many decks just trampled us before we got to the late game, namely some combo decks and combo like decks like Tron or Titan decks. I felt that even if i gained some time, they could just out of nowhere topdeck something and proceed to win without me having an answer. I felt i lacked ways to close out those games before they could do another big play. I think that's why (at least partially and from my experience and the people that play with me) control decks started seeing a bit less play. And please do correct me if you think i'm wrong as my bias for more midrange style decks might be showing a bit. This led me to be more agressive with the deck and use Emeria as secondary win condition, specially for wars of attrition with more control like dekcs or midrange games that just go well into the late game.
About the Burn vs Prowess debate, i also agree with you that prowess in an excelent match up but it's a very resilient deck that can end a game when we don't have the proper responses in a turn. In the Burn matchup i think you can hold the eraly game better than i do. Given the fragilityn of my creatures and your greater array of removal, it might just give that little edge that i sometimes do not have. That is in part one of the reasons why i have Shadowspear in the sideboard. Usually i get it with Stoneforge Mystic instead of Batterskull because i assume they are going to kill it and i can't wait until turn 6 to swing with lifelink. A cost of 1 and 2 to equip to any of my creatures makes them have removal for them (wich is damage not going to my face) or me just leading them to an early concession with a clock and more life that they can take.
About the Solitude discussion, i think both of us having more than 23 white sources do discard to it makes it a very viable option in our deck (This not negating the cost of 2 for 1 youself of course, but just the viability of use). Modern being a creature centered format and creature combo centered format, having a response that doesn't require mana makes it a very powerfull card. Of course i would never use it against for example a mana dork (unless maybe it was an Arbor Elf with an Utopia Sprawl on the battlefield), but for a hasty prowess creature, a Spike feeder or Walking Balista, or Yawgmoth, Thran Physician it is quite useful. But once again, i am not 100% on it yet and i will for sure try it and see what results it gets.
Regarding the graveyard hate discussion, i have used Remorseful Cleric for a long time and i find it to be a great card. I changed him when Titan decks became the meta to make room for Ashiok, Dream Render to shutdown the ability to search decks while also dealing with the graveyard. It wasn't ideal for any of the jobs, but making both of them seemed enough of an upside to use it. For now not having Titan decks in my meta i think i'll adjust it again and put at least one more in the sideboard. When the new meta arrives and stabilizes we'll see if living end remains or goes back to being a tier 2 deck.
About the Seal of cleansing and Shadowspear interaction it's actually something i hadn't considered directly. I had already thought of it with wraths when heliod turn into a creature but not with the disenchant effects. Given that it only takes putting 1 shadowspear in the main i migvht considerate it. I would just like to know your opinion on the infinite lifegain and how to deal with it. The way i do it is by obvisouly trying to deal with everything on the board and having a mortarpod ready to shoot it when they activate it for the first time and Gideon of the Trial out of the sideboard for just the milling battle (or Ashiok, Dream Render as it actually happened in my last week's game).
I have tested Deputy of Detention when it came out, but the problem was that when it died, whatever was exiled just came back so i always ended up going with detention sphere as it was just better given being difficult to remove. But with skyclave apparition, while the illusion sometimes can hit me for little damage, it will never be as good as whatever i exiled so i'm completly fine on losing it to removal which almost never happens because why would you remove it and just get a 2/2 or 3/3 most of the times.
I will have a tournmenet today so i will let you know how it goes and post my thoughts of the matchups here. Once again, thank you very much for all the insight and hope it helps me in the tournment.
If this reaches you in time, I really think you ought to try out maindecking your three Solitude by reducing your Wrath of God and Supreme Verdict count. I know that the sweepers are extraordinarily powerful in the shell, but your pressure is far more valuable so being able to contribute to it may prove far more important. If this is not the case, you should be able to tell pretty quickly, and the surprise value of the new card will only compensate for a power reduction in the short term so I would strike while the iron is hot. In either event, your experiences will let others know what the issues would be with such a strategy, and would be a valuable addition to this thread. (If you have particular matchups where sweepers are indispensable in the lategame, I would in other circumstances recommend you try something like Martial Coup or Realm-Cloaked Giant, but for today I would say the time is now to just keep as many threats as you can by replacing all your sweepers with the new Evoke mythic. A good rule of thumb in Magic generally is to test early, and test in numbers so that better opinions can be formed and applied as swiftly as possible.)
The rest of this post will likely not be relevant to tonight, so if you are in a hurry please read it later when you have the time. In terms of 23 things to pitch, I agree that this is sufficient number to support the card, but my comment is a direct extrapolation from near-decades of playing with pitch spells in a variety of formats. They tend to have an issue with deciding which cards to get rid of, since the decision is made on casting and the results of their resolution can dramatically alter whether the right decision was made. The upshot is that the more options for fodder a deck has in the absolute deckbuilding sense, the better the pitch spells become. I will accept pitching my game-breaking Ancestral Recall against a control deck to Force of Will if that is what it takes to avoid losing the game on turn one when playing a list that has just barely enough blue chaff to "support" the latter card, but the more pieces of cardboard I can put in my deck that can take the load off my premium cards in any given matchup, the less often I have to make these kinds of plays. The issue is far less obvious, but just as real in Modern. If I Mulligan, or if I have a draw which relied on a Stoneforge Mystic or a Wall of Omens to smooth out my curve, I will more often have to pitch a Sun Titan which might have won me the game if I need to Solitude early, given my relatively high count of colourless cards, lands, and Court Hussar. My point is simply that mono-white would have to do so less often.
Next, on infinite lifegain and the Heliod/Ballista combo, the reason why I think my advice will not be viable for you is that my stance in the matchup is radically different due to the presence of Mistveil Plains in my list. Your deck has a 2/3/2+2 curve that cannot afford more "Enters the Battlefield Tapped" lands than you are currently playing (which is one reason why I think my list has some advantages in the abstract - I get to comfortably play as if I have up to 7 taplands and take less damage from my manabase as a result. As I have mentioned elsewhere, Emeria, the Sky Ruin has much more of a cost in decks where its primary drawback has fewer sequencing options that will disrupt the curve, as is the case when pressure is your primary win condition. Attrition therefore suits the card far better as a strategy whenever possible). In any event, I try to actively encourage my opponents to combo for infinite life, since that will then expose them to removal and sweepers for value and/or tempo plays, and decking doesn't care about how much life they have when their total amount of mana is capped at around 30 mana's worth of plays before Path to Exile and Ghost Quarter start to intentionally run them out of basics. Your Ashiok and Gideon are reasonable options for decking as well, but the problem with them is that they take up a spell slot that can be interacted with far more easily, and sometimes cost you games by not beating their combos.
Finally, I have not yet tested against Burn with the new Equipment package, and since I had favourable impressions of a sideboarded Shadowspear in the past I may revert to a copy for precisely the reasons you mentioned given the loss of one Batterskull. I have noticed that the number of 1-toughness creatures has dramatically reduced as a response to the presence of Gut Shot and Lava Dart, though, so perhaps I will have to consider dropping down to 2 Mortarpod in the near future. I would then have to decide whether the maindeck Shadowspear would be better than the second Batterskull, because given the drawback of Kaldra Compleat being a seven-mana play I have been slightly concerned about my curve these past few days - even despite its indestructibility. The point may be moot, however, because upon reflection Sanctum Prelate has far too high an upside and too broad an application to ignore, which affects the Burn and Prowess matchups directly and significantly. My complete 75 with current recommended sideboard, therefore, is as follows as of Modern Horizons 2:
Should the 1-mana equipment make it into the sideboard, it will probably at this point be in favour of the Blessed Alliance, because it covers the same primary targets of Bogles and Burn, with applications against Infect, while being approximately as cheap and offering interaction for two important keywords (Hexproof and Indestructible). As a tiny bonus, it also allows Germs to attack for 1, and makes an extra 1/1 if Batterskull and sufficient mana are available. I will likely be testing the list as-is with these things in mind until paper tournaments open up.
Fluff, thank you for the offer. I think that might be premature in some respects since I haven't formed a solid opinion on Kaldra Compleat yet, and though I would like to remove the 3 Aven Mindcensor for 2 Sanctum Prelate and a Prismatic Ending at present, the testing has not been sufficient to justify these exchanges across the board.
That being said, my confidence that the Prelate will make the final 75 in some number is high enough that I would support swapping one Mindcensor for a copy so that people can begin to gauge the effectiveness of the 2/2 for themselves - without making the existing matchup guides obsolete. In a different issue, I am confident that the sideboard can immediately swap Seal of Cleansing in over Disenchant with significant upside in all relevant interactions where the write-ups are concerned.
Moving back to the subject of Prismatic Ending, I realized last night that I needed to re-evaluate my position on the Triomes (specifically Raugrin Triome) with an eye towards increasing its strength and versatility. I remain unconvinced that physically cycling a land is something I would ever wish to do unless it were under extreme duress, but the idea of switching out one Hallowed Fountain for access to a third colour (which would then enable exiling permanents of 3 mana post-board) represents a very serious advantage at very low opportunity cost, similar to that which justified exchanging the fourth Plains-Island for the Mistveil Plains, and thereafter the third for a Prairie Stream. My hope is that at that point the marginal positive value that can be accrued from its Cycling, from Crucible of Worlds, or from Sun Titan will help compensate for always entering tapped.
I do worry that it may be another case of Idyllic Grange, and Irrigated Farmland, which were both simply not worth the drawbacks given the marginal benefit they provided. On the positive side, however, red mana offers access to new actual lines of play without putting an uncastable spell in the deck in its absence, and in testing the other two lands I found that I very rarely sequence to take two damage from any nonbasic after the first access to blue mana is enabled, and often not at all if I draw a Flooded Strand. In sum, I am cautiously optimistic in this respect. Extracting maximum value from every Plains we put in play is still very much on-theme for the deck, so I will be testing that angle as well once I can guarantee the viability of the more important new cards in Prelate, Kaldra, and obviously Prismatic Ending.
In order to be slightly more exhaustive, If an Indatha Triome were assumed as well, there could be a bizarro-world "Next Level White" build of the deck using Golos, Tireless Pilgrim with a very fragile manabase where things like Bringer of the White Dawn, Obelisk of Urd, [EDIT: sorry, that should readObelisk of Alara]Kenrith, the Returned King, Chamber Sentry, the Mythoi from Ikoria, all of the hybrid Lorwyn Firespout and Ravnica Batwing Brume cards, the remainder of the Steamcore Weird cycle, and a host of off-colour cycling abilities from Shards of Alara would become available to the shell, not to mention Flashback and Unearth costs of all types - where Lingering Souls and things like Viscera Dragger come to mind. This is almost certainly going beyond the deep end of Modern viability, but if anyone was looking for a mad idea to go spend deckbuilding time on I wish them all the best. Magic can appeal to people in many ways, so maybe I should have mentioned the option back when the Triomes were first spoiled.
I hope this has been helpful, and if testing backs up my intuition I promise to re-write any sideboarding guides as necessary, Fluff.
you seem to be testing a lot of cards. We probably should not rush this... perhaps I should just update the primer next month, when we have more reliable data on cards. Your sideboard guides are useful. Looking forward to the guides you will write in the future. I heard some people say, various kinds of prowess decks are strong in modern now. So as a start in updating the primer, we probably need a guide against UR prowess.