What’s good, Spirit Squad!

Our little tribe has been slowly but surely getting some of the most wonderful (even if indirect) support of any deck with every set since the flop that was Innistrad: Midnight Hunt (MID) and Spectral Adversary. Granted, I’m a fan of that card but it wasn’t exactly a banger. At the time of MID’s release, we had a few major requests:

– A good counterspell to play alongside Lofty Denial
– Reasonable mana for versions other than Mono-Blue
– Reasonable card advantage
– Ways to protect creatures against removal

Every set so far has given us at least one thing!

Innistrad: Crimson Vow: Geistlight Snare and Cemetery Illuminator
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty: Otawara, Soaring City and Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire
Streets of New Capenna: Slip Out the Back
Dominaria United: Adarkar Wastes, Combat Research, and Shore Up
The Brothers War: Tocasia’s Welcome
Phyrexia: All Will be One: Seachrome Coast

So all that’s left is a late-game source of card advantage that doesn’t cost a million mana, and a card that plays extremely well into Rakdos Midrange, and we’re happy people!

March of the Machine answers both of these requests!

Now that we have all of the spoilers from March of the Machine up, here’s an updated list that features two of what I think are the most exciting additions for us: Errant and Giada (I’ll be calling them ENG), and Surge of Salvation (SOS, which is super appropriate because it does help your friends in need)! For anyone who hasn’t seen these two cards yet:



Dre, you DO know ENG’s not a Spirit right?

Errant and Giada gives us a few things that we’ve wanted for awhile: an instant-speed threat that also provides us card advantage, and a card that is naturally resilient to the removal Rakdos Midrange plays!

Errant and Giada seriously evades just about everything that Rakdos Midrange players naturally have in their Game 1 removal suite: Bonecrusher Giant’s Stomp does 2 damage, but they have 3 toughness. Same goes for a Bloodtithe Harvester activation when they only have 1 Blood Token. They cost 3, so Fatal Push doesn’t do anything without Revolt. ENG’s also an ANGEL, meaning Power Word Kill also doesn’t touch this card.

To help facilitate ENG’s ability, this specific list is going to play more creatures than I’d normally play. This list also has a sideboard that aims to beat the top of the current Pioneer metagame. That’s where Surge of Salvation comes in!

Okay, so it’s Veil of Summer without the good part.

We’ve had “give your creature Hexproof” effects the entire time Spirits has been a deck. Everything from Dive Down to Slip Out the Back to Shore Up has been tested, and players still have discussions today over which of these effects is best for us. What we do agree on is that these spells are typically at their best against Rakdos Midrange, even if that matchup is still difficult.

Surge of Salvation can play a huge role against the best deck in Pioneer, being a spell that doesn’t make you choose between the benefits of the various one-mana spells we’ve played in the past. For example:

Spell Pierce is great vs. Thoughtseize and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, but isn’t good against Fatal Push after Turn 2 or Rending Volley/Fry at all.
– Shore Up is great vs. removal spells as a whole, but does nothing against Thoughtseize or the random -2 from Liliana of the Veil.
– Slip Out the Back is great vs. removal, but if your opponent makes you use a Slip before combat on your turn you don’t get to attack. If your opponent responds to you casting Curious Obsession with a removal spell, Slip will make your CO fizzle too!

Surge of Salvation solves ALL of those problems in the same card!

Cool story. Where’s the deck list you promised?

This list is actively trying to target the top of the metagame. Cards like SOS and Reckoner Bankbuster are great against Rakdos Midrange, but we also have things like the fourth Spell Queller in the sideboard for decks like Azorius Control and Lotus Field Combo. We don’t particularly need help against Greasefang, but the matchup comes up so often that we’ve got two Unlicensed Hearse anyway. The fact that they play well against Izzet Phoenix also doesn’t suck. The rest of the cards are primarily for your Green and Red matchups, neither of which appreciate Aether Gust or Portable Hole.

I’m very much looking forward to trying this out in the next week once March of the Machine drops, and I’ll see y’all on the next one!

About The Author

SpiritSquadMTG, or just Dre, has been playing games at a high level for 25 years, 13 of that within the Magic: the Gathering space. You can find him talking about Magic, especially Spirits, on YouTube or occasionally playing in Upstate New York.

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