Despite their dominant runs in Standard and Pioneer, Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai have struggled to make their mark in Modern, hovering between fringe and tier 2 as the archetype picked up new pieces over the years. Their time may have finally come however, as Zendikar Rising brought not just one but two key new pieces in Skyclave Apparition and Omnath, Locus of Creation.

Both cards have already proven to be strong enough in their own right, and the ability to reuse their enters-the-battlefield triggers with your combo pieces adds a new layer to your fair backup plan.

Before we go any further, here's the list I've been working on:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Four-Color Saheeli by Baker Neenan

'Four-Color Saheeli' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Baker Neenan

Event:

Rank:

Modern

Market Price: $1037.25

Cards

Skyclave Apparition

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $7.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221860_200w.jpg

When Skyclave Apparition enters the battlefield, exile up to one target nonland, nontoken permanent you don't control with converted mana cost 4 or less.
When Skyclave Apparition leaves the battlefield, the exiled card's owner creates an X/X blue Illusion creature token, where X is the converted mana cost of the exiled card.

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Sacred Foundry

Color Identity:R,W

Market Price: $14.92

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175200_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R} or {W}.)
As Sacred Foundry enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Windswept Heath

Market Price: $23.32

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{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Windswept Heath: Search your library for a Forest or Plains card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Stoneforge Mystic

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $37.08

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When Stoneforge Mystic enters the battlefield, you may search your library for an Equipment card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.
{1}{W}, {T}: You may put an Equipment card from your hand onto the battlefield.

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Noble Hierarch

Color Identity:G,U,W

Market Price: $16.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218333_200w.jpg

Exalted (Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
{T}: Add {G}, {W}, or {U}.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235542_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Misty Rainforest

Market Price: $72.47

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{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Misty Rainforest: Search your library for a Forest or Island card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Tireless Tracker

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $8.28

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Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, investigate. (Create a colorless Clue artifact token with "{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.")
Whenever you sacrifice a Clue, put a +1/+1 counter on Tireless Tracker.

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Celestial Purge

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98738_200w.jpg

Exile target black or red permanent.

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Unified Will

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.44

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/34786_200w.jpg

Counter target spell if you control more creatures than that spell's controller.

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Aether Gust

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.70

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192535_200w.jpg

Choose target spell or permanent that's red or green. Its owner puts it on the top or bottom of their library.

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Felidar Guardian

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126480_200w.jpg

When Felidar Guardian enters the battlefield, you may exile another target permanent you control, then return that card to the battlefield under its owner's control.

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Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.55

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235540_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

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Batterskull

Market Price: $7.69

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218861_200w.jpg

Living weapon (When this Equipment enters the battlefield, create a 0/0 black Germ creature token, then attach this to it.)
Equipped creature gets +4/+4 and has vigilance and lifelink.
{3}: Return Batterskull to its owner's hand.
Equip {5}

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Birds of Paradise

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $9.77

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/121762_200w.jpg

Flying
{T}: Add one mana of any color.

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Hallowed Fountain

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $8.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182831_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W} or {U}.)
As Hallowed Fountain enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Path to Exile

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $3.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218377_200w.jpg

Exile target creature. Its controller may search their library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle their library.

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Rest in Peace

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $4.81

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161538_200w.jpg

When Rest in Peace enters the battlefield, exile all cards from all graveyards.
If a card or token would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, exile it instead.

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Sword of Feast and Famine

Market Price: $56.76

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218926_200w.jpg

Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and has protection from black and from green.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, that player discards a card and you untap all lands you control.
Equip {2}

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Flooded Strand

Market Price: $27.81

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92828_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Flooded Strand: Search your library for a Plains or Island card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Oath of Nissa

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $2.79

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/110818_200w.jpg

When Oath of Nissa enters the battlefield, look at the top three cards of your library. You may reveal a creature, land, or planeswalker card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.
You may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast planeswalker spells.

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Lotus Cobra

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $2.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221778_200w.jpg

Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, add one mana of any color.

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Sword of Fire and Ice

Market Price: $40.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218611_200w.jpg

Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and has protection from red and from blue.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, Sword of Fire and Ice deals 2 damage to any target and you draw a card.
Equip {2}

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Saheeli Rai

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $5.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122604_200w.jpg

+1: Scry 1. Saheeli Rai deals 1 damage to each opponent.
−2: Create a token that's a copy of target artifact or creature you control, except it's an artifact in addition to its other types. That token gains haste. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step.
−7: Search your library for up to three artifact cards with different names, put them onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Veil of Summer

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $11.56

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192543_200w.jpg

Draw a card if an opponent has cast a blue or black spell this turn. Spells you control can't be countered this turn. You and permanents you control gain hexproof from blue and from black until end of turn. (You and they can't be the targets of blue or black spells or abilities your opponents control.)

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Stomping Ground

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $9.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182841_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {R} or {G}.)
As Stomping Ground enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Disdainful Stroke

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230900_200w.jpg

Counter target spell with converted mana cost 4 or greater.

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Breeding Pool

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $23.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182842_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G} or {U}.)
As Breeding Pool enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $3.99

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235548_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Omnath, Locus of Creation

Color Identity:G,R,U,W

Market Price: $5.44

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221779_200w.jpg

When Omnath, Locus of Creation enters the battlefield, draw a card.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you gain 4 life if this is the first time this ability has resolved this turn. If it's the second time, add {R}{G}{W}{U}. If it's the third time, Omnath deals 4 damage to each opponent and each planeswalker you don't control.

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Temple Garden

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $11.83

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175203_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G} or {W}.)
As Temple Garden enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Teferi, Time Raveler

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $13.61

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187194_200w.jpg

Each opponent can cast spells only any time they could cast a sorcery.
+1: Until your next turn, you may cast sorcery spells as though they had flash.
−3: Return up to one target artifact, creature, or enchantment to its owner's hand. Draw a card.

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One of the core tensions of building around Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian (or any one or two-card combo for that matter) is the choice of pairing your combo with acceleration to win sooner or interaction to stall the game until you're ready. A turn-four kill isn't always fast enough in Modern, and the variety of ways for your opponents to win the game before you can combo off essentially requires you to play countermagic—which can be problematic with the tap-out nature of the deck.

Force of Negation could theoretically fix this problem, but not right now when Balustrade Spy and Primeval Titan are pillars of the format. With this in mind, it makes sense to just race your own kills out as quickly as possible, and rely on your sideboard for additional interaction in matchups where it's necessary.

Lotus Cobra may be fragile, but the explosive turns it offers are crucial for speeding up your kill turn in matchups where you need to race, or just rapidly pulling ahead on board against creature decks so you can safely develop planeswalkers. It often effectively costs zero mana when paired with a fetch land, allowing you to deploy combo pieces, Stoneforge Mystic, or interactive flicker targets like Teferi, Time Raveler or Skyclave Apparition in the same turn. This can easily put your opponents in a no-win situation, as they are faced with multiple threats that demand an immediate answer before they have the mana to properly respond or any threats of their own to pressure back.

Lotus Cobra also adds an extra layer of speed when paired with Felidar Guardian ability to flicker a land, allowing you to play both Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai on turn three off of just a Lotus Cobra and a fetch land. Saheeli Rai can do similar things by copying Cobra before playing a fetch land to generate two extra mana, which you can use to find and protect a Felidar Guardian or just put a bunch of extra permanents in play to overwhelm your opponent.

The old builds of Four-Color Saheeli tended to play Eldritch Evolution, which I copied over into my initial builds of the archetype when incorporating the new cards. What I found was that thanks to the disruption offered by Skyclave Apparition and (to a lesser extent) Teferi, Time Raveler, the deck is no longer so reliant on assembling the combo as quickly as absolutely possible. Instead, you can afford to play actual threats and value cards, which give you more resilience against interaction and insurance against flooding out.

Stoneforge Mystic was the perfect missing piece to the puzzle that really puts the deck over the top. The equipment turns every mana dork into a must-answer threat over a longer game, making it far more difficult for reactive decks to run you out of threats. At the same time, the ability to cheat a Batterskull into play against creature decks gives you enough free mana to keep up in 2020 Modern. The five mana to play a Batterskull or play and equip a sword even lines up perfectly with playing Omnath, Locus of Creation and a fetch land, which helps ensure you're consistently able to make use of your fairly mana-intensive equipment.

When to Combo Off

Whether or not to go for the combo against open mana is always a tricky question, as you have to weigh the risk of interaction against your ability to win an extended game by waiting. Here are some guidelines to inform your decision:

Sideboard Guide

Modern is too deep a format to cover sideboarding against every possible archetype, but we can go over the most common ones at the moment. Carry over the reasoning from similar archetypes to fill in any gaps.

Vs. Four-Color Control

-1 Batterskull
-1 Omnath, Locus of Creation
-3 Skyclave Apparition

+1 Veil of Summer
+2 Tireless Tracker
+2 Rest in Peace

Against blue control decks, the primary goal is to pull ahead on mana as soon as possible then use that to force through either a combo kill or Teferi, Time Raveler. Failing that, drawing extra cards with Tireless Tracker or a sword to work toward that goal in the longer term is also reasonable. Winning via incidental pressure is largely unrealistic due to the difficulty of interacting with Field of the Dead and working through their excessive life gain though, so your end goal is still to assemble the combo.

Vs. Mono-Red Prowess

-2 Teferi, Time Raveler
-2 Lotus Cobra
-2 Saheeli Rai
-1 Sword of Feast and Famine

+4 Path to Exile
+2 Aether Gust
+1 Celestial Purge

Lava Dart makes it fairly difficult to actually combo in this matchup, so your focus is primarily on board control, looking to remove your opponent's creatures and win a longer game. You can consider taking this even further and boarding in Tireless Tracker over the remaining copies of Teferi, Time Raveler, especially if you're on the play or your opponent's configuration is particularly greedy.

Vs. Rakdos Shadow

-4 Lotus Cobra
-1 Saheeli Rai
-1 Sword of Feast and Famine

+4 Path to Exile
+1 Celestial Purge
+1 Veil of Summer

The details of these decks are still up in the air, but a lot of the same general rules vs. Prowess apply. The latest iterations have begun moving away from Lava Dart and Soul-Scar Mage, but if your opponent is playing those you probably want Aether Gust. I'm more inclined to cut mana sources over card draw here since their pressure is slower to come online and they have Thoughtseize to tax your resources.

Vs. Burn

-1 Sword of Feast and Famine
-1 Sword of Fire and Ice
-3 Teferi, Time Raveler
-1 Oath of Nissa

+2 Aether Gust
+4 Path to Exile

Burn on the other hand has to go much further out of their way to stop the combo and relies far less on board presence to kill you, so focus on racing. Oath of Nissa gets shaved because not spending a mana on a cantrip makes it much easier to avoid taking 2 damage from your own shock lands in the early game.

Vs. Humans

-3 Teferi, Time Raveler
-1 Saheeli Rai
-1 Sword of Feast and Famine

+4 Path to Exile
+1 Celestial Purge

Vs. Oops All Spells

-3 Stoneforge Mystic
-1 Omnath, Locus of Creation
-1 Batterskull
-1 Sword of Fire and Ice

+3 Rest in Peace
+1 Unified Will
+1 Disdainful Stroke
+1 Veil of Summer

On the play, mulligan to a sideboard card not named Veil of Summer or to a high probability of a turn-three kill. On the draw, mulligan to a sideboard card not named Veil of Summer.

Vs. Belcher

-2 Omnath, Locus of Creation
-1 Batterskull
-1 Sword of Fire and Ice

+1 Unified Will
+1 Disdainful Stroke
+2 Aether Gust

On the play, mulligan to a sideboard card or turn-three kill. On the draw, mulligan to a sideboard card.

Vs. Amulet Titan

-2 Stoneforge Mystic
-1 Batterskull
-1 Sword of Fire and Ice
-2 Omnath, Locus of Creation
-2 Teferi, Time Raveler

+1 Unified Will
+1 Disdainful Stroke
+2 Aether Gust
+4 Path to Exile

You can beat Primeval Titan if it's making Zombies off Field of the Dead, but not if it's getting Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle triggers thanks to Dryad of the Ilysian Grove. So prioritize keeping Dryad off the battlefield early.

Vs. Eldrazi Tron

-2 Stoneforge Mystic
-1 Omnath, Locus of Creation

+1 Disdainful Stroke
+2 Path to Exile

As a bit of an aside, Cleansing Wildfire has been deeply unimpressive as an anti-big mana sideboard card, in large part because of how ineffective it is against Eldrazi Tron and Amulet Titan. If Green Tron makes a big comeback or you're using it as a Rampant Growth effecy then it's more compelling. Otherwise, you're better off committing entirely to Blood Moon or Stone Rain or letting them have their lands and attacking their haymaker spells more directly with countermagic and removal.

Vs. Gruul Ponza

-1 Sword of Feast and Famine
-2 Lotus Cobra

+2 Aether Gust
+1 Celestial Purge

Oath of Nissa lets you cast your planeswalkers through Blood Moon, so if you get basic plains you can combo off. If you don't, you can still use Teferi, Time Raveler to bounce the Moon and go get one. Path to Exile is appealing against a few of their threats, but is downright embarrassing against grindier stuff like Bloodbraid Elf, Seasoned Pyromancer, or any planeswalker, so you're better off only boarding in the more generic interaction and accepting you might die to Glorybringer sometimes.

Vs. Death and Taxes

-1 Sword of Feast and Famine
-2 Teferi, Time Raveler
-1 Omnath, Locus of Creation

+4 Path to Exile

Mana dorks make you pretty good at playing through Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Leonin Arbiter, but extra cheap removal goes a long way in making sure you don't fall behind to Ghost Quarter and die to mopey beats with a bunch of spells in hand.