We are now deep into Theros Beyond Death previews, and it's shaping up to be a compelling set which will influence various formats in the coming months. I haven't hidden my excitement about Magic: the Gathering's 83rd set as I first forayed into Standard around Theros and Khans of Tarkir, which produced fond memories for one of my favorite card types: enchantments. Theros was an enchantment-centric set and Theros Beyond Death looks like it's heading in the same direction. With the emphasis on enchantments apparent, I'll be discussing Enchantress from a Pioneer perspective, as I think we will begin to see various takes of the archetype within the format when Theros Beyond Death is released.
Enchantress is a much-loved archetype. Its primary objective is to generate plenty of mana, accumulate card advantage, and convert them into wins. Enchantress preys on strategies that hope to win through creature damage with Sphere of Safety, which thwarts this approach with ease. By slowing down the opponent's game plan, token generators like Sigil of the Empty Throne can close out games. Currently, in Pioneer, we have one decent card-advantage engine in Eidolon of Blossoms but with Theros Beyond Death looming, that looks to change very soon. Admittedly, Eidolon of Blossoms is nowhere near as compelling as Argothian Enchantress in older formats. However, Eidolon of Blossoms can offer explosive turns in the midgame by chaining off cheap enchantments including enchantment creatures such as Courser of Kruphix.
Enchantress archetypes tend to base in Selesnya colors with the potential to splash if required. Even recently, we have seen minor success with Selesnya Enchantress in Pioneer which won a local 1K at the hands of Jameson Perdue of Team PHX.
One of the most beneficial elements of this build is that it comes to a total of only $170, even fully optimized. The inclusion of Mana Bloom is excellent as you can cast it for two, remove the counter, gain one mana and bounce it to your hand. By doing this, you can recast the enchantment to draw more cards and create more Angels. It's an incredibly synergistic card, however, you do not want to run any more than two as it can be bad in the early turns, despite the ramp it offers.
I think you can make a case to add a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx instead of the Castle Ardenvale given how much devotion to white and green there is, but would require a payoff to make it viable. I'd be interested in trying a Secure the Wastes or March of the Multitudes out of the sideboard offer another win condition as well as a decent mana sink. Despite its affordability already, we can strip away a few cards to create a more budget entry into the archetype.
The list above comes to ~$80 and provides an excellent entry into Enchantress. As typical with most enchantment-based lists, most of the value comes in the land base. We have replaced the Temple Gardens and Sunpetal Groves for Canopy Vista, Fortified Village and a handful of basics. If you are looking to upgrade this deck, the manabase is where I would start, and then I'd focus on replacing Satyr Enchanter with Courser of Kruphix, which is more expensive thanks to the play it sees in Modern. Courser of Kruphix remains an excellent addition to the strategy even without fetchlands, and is a compelling blocker against aggressive strategies.
Additionally, plenty of the value came from the sideboard in Jameson's list, specifically Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Planeswalkers are potent within an Enchantress shell as they gain protection with Sphere of Safety which means more value can be generated by them. Also, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar creates tokens himself as well as pumping up all your other creatures. I foresee Gideon, Ally of Zendikar being a Pioneer staple in the future and recommend picking these up sooner rather than later, as I don't expect the price to stabilize.
Although it may seem odd, the omission of Starfield of Nyx in these lists is a sensible one. Despite Starfield of Nyx being incredibly powerful in an Enchantress strategy, it's not favourable in a format where Supreme Verdict is the premier sweeper of the format. Typically, enchantment removal is difficult to come by which is another advantage to play the archetype—Starfield of Nyx opens you up to more removal which we want to avoid. Enchantress is a slow strategy but also forces your opponent to play to your tempo; there are other win conditions available outside of swinging with a board of enchantments.
Enchantress can splash into other colors to provide alternative win conditions. For example, splashing into red can offer Outlaws' Merriment or Assemble the Legion to always guarantee threats, which also compliments well with Divine Visitation if you want to go heavy on the token approach. Otherwise, we can splash into blue which gives us Detention Sphere and Search for Azcanta, or we can delve into black for Doom Foretold and Doomwake Giant. One of the best features of Enchantress that it has access to plenty of mana fixing enchantments.
Setesssan Champion is the ideal card for Enchantress. Not only does Setessan Champion draw cards off playing enchantments, but she also grows larger herself, which is a win condition packed in one. In terms of fitting this new Enchantress in, I would start looking at shaving a few Nyx-Fleece Ram. Both Starfield Mystic and Herald of the Pantheon are essential, as jumping from two to four mana is huge given how many enchantments we are running. You could make a case for Courser of Kruphix, but filtering out bad draws is also important and provides life gain which makes Nyx-Fleece Ram somewhat redundant.
Theros Beyond Death looks to invigorate enchantment-based strategies and I am excited to see what ports over to Pioneer. If Setessan Champion is anything to go by, I'm incredibly optimistic for this set. With this, I'm hoping to see different takes on Enchantress and perhaps more optimistically, a viable Bogles strategy in the format!
Emma Partlow is a writer and Modern enthusiast based in Suffolk, England. She's been involved in Magic since Khans of Tarkir back in 2014, and loves helping players dive into Modern and Pioneer.
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