Super Secret Felidar Sovereign

Concerning:

Felidar Sovereign :: Soul Sisters ::Super Secret Felidar Sovereign Mirror Match Tech
Teenage Heartthrobs :: Losing at Magic: The Gathering :: … and Felidar Sovereign

Yesterday we chatted a bit about my post-Nationals enthusiasm RE: Utter-Leyton’s Mythic Conscription deck. However I was very excited and showed interest in three different decks that came out of that tournament. I felt Mythic Conscription was the strongest (especially after playing all of them), but it wasn’t the first I tried.

Teen Heartthrob Gavin Verhey (and my co-conspirator at new project http://FloresRewards.com) sent me his Soul Sisters deck list. As you probably know, Gavin finished Top 32 at US Nationals with Soul Sisters elevating his life total turn after turn… Better yet, he had some sideboard tech for the inevitable, impending, “shiny new deck” mirror matches: Felidar Sovereign.

Shhh… Don’t tell anyone about Felidar Sovereign

“I think you just want to get into the position where you play Sovereign and hold two Brave the Elements. I don’t think you will be able to race very often… but we never tested it.” -Gavin

This is the deck I tested:

Soul Sisters – Gavin Verhey

4 Ajani’s Pridemate
4 Brave the Elements
3 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
4 Kor Firewalker
2 Oblivion Ring
4 Ranger of Eos
4 Serra Ascendant
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul’s Attendant
4 Survival Cache

4 Kabira Crossroads
15 Plains
4 Tectonic Edge

Sideboard:
1 Celestial Purge
3 Felidar Sovereign
2 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
4 Luminarch Ascension
2 Oblivion Ring
3 Path to Exile

I cut one Celestial Purge, the Sun Titan, and the War Priest of Thune from Gavin’s original deck list. My reasons were basically that the deck is already hard against Red Deck and Jund (ergo less necessity for Celestial Purge, even if it is better than Oblivion Ring against Pyromancer Ascension); Sun Titan is whatever… I don’t know when I would play it, really; and War Priest of Thune — while a beating in decks that can actually clock Pyromancer — primarily gains value only against monkeybrains when you are presenting a sad 10+ turn clock.

So how did I run?

I played Soul Sisters in eight tournaments over about two days. These were the results:

  • Jund – Won flip, won match; +10 points
  • Mythic Conscription – Lost flip, lost match; -8 points
  • Mythic Conscription (same guy) – lost flip, won match; +8 points
  • G/R – lost flip, lost match; -10 points
  • Naya Fauna Shaman – lost flip, lost match; -8 points
  • RDW – lost flip, won match; +6 points
  • Four-color Ramp – won match; +6 points
  • Jund -lost flip, lost match; -10 points

Basically I ended up dead even, and down a couple of points. I know that MTGO points are not really indicative of anything (heck, they aren’t even public) but I have a personal goal of attaining and maintaining a 1900+ rating on MTGO. I have read this is the rough equivalent of Pro-level execution, and that seems as fine a goal as any… But of course experimentation with decks rather than a single-minded focus to maximize points is at odds with that goal. Clearly my performance with Gavin’s Soul Sisters is nowhere near my post-Nationals performance with Mythic Conscription (or, for that matter, my performance levels with Mono-White Eldrazi, Esper, or Pyromancer Ascension… the decks I liked coming into Nationals).

So what happened?

My opening match with Soul Sisters was a classic case of Exhaustion and profitable trading. My Jund opponent was able to deal with most everything, but I always netted something along the way. Game Two I lost to three Jund Charms (basically a Wrath of God for your guys but not his Putrid Leeches)… but the match in three more or less went according to book.

I split matches with Mythic Conscription (same guy). My only notes for this one are “same guy” in the second row; ha. I remember the second match just trying to Overwhelm him with the grind. Everything I did was more value (generally life) and he had to respect my little Ajani’s Pridemate. Calls could be close but I remained outside of Sovereigns of Lost Alara range… at least most of the time.

The first time around I remember being completely out-classed. Soul Sisters is best of breed when everything is going according to the Cliff’s Notes… Serra Ascendant is Baneslayer Angel; Ajani’s Pridemate is Tarmogoyf; so on, so forth. But when you are one square peg out of a round hole  you can be completely dominated by the Mythic Rares in a Conscription deck. All of his cards represent so much mana, so much incremental cardboard, it can he hard for the little White men to compete.

The G/R deck I wasn’t pleased to lose to; not at all. I was basically manascrewed both games, and he got two if not three Cunning Sparkmages; it’s not like I was planning to roll over to a Nest Invader.

The Naya Fauna Shaman matchup was extremely frustrating. I was again dominated by Cunning Sparkmages in the first game but had Linvala in the subsequent ones. Linvala is a house against a deck that relies heavily on Knight of the Reliquary, Noble Hierarch, &c… Or at least it is supposed to be. In the third game he just had some Knights and drew a ton of dual lands to make them big. The problem was that even though he was locked out of Cunning Sparkmage, he had Basilisk Collar and Knight of the Reliquary was so big he could keep pace with my lifegain. Late in the game he got the Stoneforge Mystic and applied a second Basilisk Collar to a second Knight of the Reliquary and eventually bowled over the so-called “race” we were in, eventually going completely over the top. I don’t know what I could really have done better… My deck was executing, I got my sideboard card, and he still beat me, and with his third-string plan.

The RDW match was probably my favorite of the set. He revealed a Kor Firewalker with Goblin Guide on the second turn and packed on the spot. Moral victory!

No clue how I beat the four-color Ramp deck. His crushed me Game One and also had everything… which is unsurprising four a four-color deck that can cast every super expensive (as in secondary market value) spell. But what can I say? Sometimes Ajani’s Pridemate is just bigger than Primeval Titan. Too bad.

Unfortunately we finished the set with a loss to Jund. This was another case of just being out-classed on power level and card versatility.

Post Script

One of the reasons I was interested in this deck at this stage is that I was looking ahead to the TCGPlayer.com $5K tournaments here in New York City come October. Mythic Conscription is obviously going to lose its current flair with the disappearance of Sovereigns of Lost Alara (though it is possible that a Planeswalker-heavy classic Baneslayer Angel build might be just fine); I was just looking for a way to get a jump on the playtest process.

I failed to win all my good matchups, and even if I stole the Ramp match, I don’t think that I was really well positioned in the queues. For example, I was all excited to run out Felidar Sovereign tech, and… No mirror matches.

If there is one thing that I would note it is that I never felt like I had enough land. Gavin’s deck plays only 23 lands, but when I played against Tom Ross’s build at US Nationals, it always seemed like it had an unending amount of land for a deck so deep in one-drops. Just something to think about: Remember, Conrad Kolos’s deck from the all-Jund Pro Tour had about a billion lands, and still mono-one-drops.

Good luck to my peeps in Amsterdamn; bad luck to not my peeps.

LOVE
MIKE

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5 comments ↓

#1 ProdigalT on 08.31.10 at 10:41 pm

This deck loses Soul Warden in the rotation, which might be enough to doom it, or at least put the brakes on it. And obviously Elspeth. There’s a neat 1WW Flying Venerable Monk in Scars, but that’s hardly enough. Speculating on what’s going to be viable after rotation is a losing game anyway, especially since Alara was so stacked. Scars has a Mox of some sort, so who knows what that brings.

#2 Jokeeeer on 09.01.10 at 5:07 am

What about a G/W deck post rotation using Fauna Shaman and Vengevine engine to find Ascendants and Pridemates and Leyline of Vitality as substitute for Soul Warden. Theres bound to be cards in Scars to replace the other cards lost like O-ring and Elspeth. Maybe new Elspeth might make a fine substitute for old Elspeth, otherwise Ajani Goldmane is still around and his abilities seem to fit nicely in the deck as is.
With Fauna Shaman, Vengevine and possibly Birds of Paradise I would probably run Emerge Unscathed instead of Brave the Elements or perhaps a 50/50 split to still be able to alpha with the white creatures. Also being able to use Stirring Wildwood seems sausy.

#3 MTGBattlefield on 09.01.10 at 8:28 am

Super Secret Felidar Sovereign…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#4 vagabundomg on 09.01.10 at 8:54 am

I was your GR opponent, I am sorry I was lucky with the sparkmages. I had to put them main due to all the Soul sisters out there on MODO right now. I also like the idea of the above poster and I was also thinking in a GW core past rotation because it has the best tools to recur vengevine with kor sky fisher and squadron hawks.

#5 admin on 09.01.10 at 9:05 am

@vagabundomg – Ding!

Ya got me!

The deck as advertised was supposed to be good against [other] “fair” creature decks but the Cunning Sparkmages seemed really restrictive to this strategy. Keep it up of course :)

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