Today's edition of the Planeswalker Deck Project asks some big questions. Before we get started, though, are you all caught up on the series?

When I first saw Kaya, I wasn't sure if she was a Ghost Assassin (one who assassinates specifically Ghosts) or a Ghost Assassin (a ghost who assassinates).

To be honest, I'm still not 100% sure how it all shakes out, since Kaya apparently can "ghostform", which would support the latter theory...but the only kills of hers that I'm aware of are Brago, King Eternal and the Obzedat Ghost Council, and they are definitely ghosts, so that offers credence to the former theory.

Let me know on Twitter if you have some insight, but keep in mind: If Kaya assassinates specifically ghosts, why did Niv-Mizzet task her with killing Liliana at the end of the War of the Spark book? I know my lore, people! Come correct!

Anyway, the ghost question was heavily on my mind while designing this Spirit-filled deck:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Kaya, Ghost Assassin by Andy Hurst

'Kaya, Ghost Assassin' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $16.95

Cards

Yargle, Glutton of Urborg

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164756_200w.jpg

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Ursine Fylgja

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/14140_200w.jpg

Ursine Fylgja enters the battlefield with four healing counters on it.
Remove a healing counter from Ursine Fylgja: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to Ursine Fylgja this turn.
{2}{W}: Put a healing counter on Ursine Fylgja.

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Skullmane Baku

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/12355_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane spell, you may put a ki counter on Skullmane Baku.
{1}, {T}, Remove X ki counters from Skullmane Baku: Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn.

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Long-Forgotten Gohei

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98897_200w.jpg

Arcane spells you cast cost {1} less to cast.
Spirit creatures you control get +1/+1.

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Angelic Page

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216545_200w.jpg

Flying
{T}: Target attacking or blocking creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

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Lingering Souls

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.34

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128649_200w.jpg

Create two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying.
Flashback {1}{B} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Kaya, Ghost Assassin

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $4.40

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/121429_200w.jpg

0: Exile Kaya, Ghost Assassin or up to one target creature. Return that card to the battlefield under its owner's control at the beginning of your next upkeep. You lose 2 life.
−1: Each opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
−2: Each opponent discards a card and you draw a card.

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Phantom Nomad

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/10169_200w.jpg

Phantom Nomad enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it.
If damage would be dealt to Phantom Nomad, prevent that damage. Remove a +1/+1 counter from Phantom Nomad.

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Blessed Breath

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/11948_200w.jpg

Target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.
Splice onto Arcane {W} (As you cast an Arcane spell, you may reveal this card from your hand and pay its splice cost. If you do, add this card's effects to that spell.)

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Revered Dead

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/14792_200w.jpg

{W}: Regenerate Revered Dead.

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Kami of the Waning Moon

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/12057_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane spell, target creature gains fear until end of turn. (It can't be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or black creatures.)

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/196476_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Will-o'-the-Wisp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.32

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161842_200w.jpg

Flying (This creature can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.)
{B}: Regenerate Will-o'-the-Wisp. (The next time this creature would be destroyed this turn, it isn't. Instead tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.)

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Orzhov Basilica

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243969_200w.jpg

Orzhov Basilica enters the battlefield tapped.
When Orzhov Basilica enters the battlefield, return a land you control to its owner's hand.
{T}: Add {W}{B}.

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Nameless Inversion

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98604_200w.jpg

Changeling (This card is every creature type.)
Target creature gets +3/-3 and loses all creature types until end of turn.

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Nikko-Onna

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $2.40

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/12497_200w.jpg

When Nikko-Onna enters the battlefield, destroy target enchantment.
Whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane spell, you may return Nikko-Onna to its owner's hand.

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Ghost Council of Orzhova

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98608_200w.jpg

When Ghost Council of Orzhova enters the battlefield, target opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.
{1}, Sacrifice a creature: Exile Ghost Council of Orzhova. Return it to the battlefield under its owner's control at the beginning of the next end step.

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Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215715_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

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Polluted Mire

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/132119_200w.jpg

Polluted Mire enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B}.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Horobi's Whisper

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/68355_200w.jpg

If you control a Swamp, destroy target nonblack creature.
Splice onto Arcane—Exile four cards from your graveyard. (As you cast an Arcane spell, you may reveal this card from your hand and pay its splice cost. If you do, add this card's effects to that spell.)

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Basilica Bell-Haunt

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/183035_200w.jpg

When Basilica Bell-Haunt enters the battlefield, each opponent discards a card and you gain 3 life.

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Waxmane Baku

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98602_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane spell, you may put a ki counter on Waxmane Baku.
{1}, Remove X ki counters from Waxmane Baku: Tap X target creatures.

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Promise of Bunrei

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/254203_200w.jpg

When a creature you control dies, sacrifice Promise of Bunrei. If you do, create four 1/1 colorless Spirit creature tokens.

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Death Denied

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180904_200w.jpg

Return X target creature cards from your graveyard to your hand.

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Forbidding Spirit

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/183317_200w.jpg

When Forbidding Spirit enters the battlefield, until your next turn, creatures can't attack you or planeswalkers you control unless their controller pays {2} for each of those creatures.

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Spirit en-Kor

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/5423_200w.jpg

Flying
{0}: The next 1 damage that would be dealt to Spirit en-Kor this turn is dealt to target creature you control instead.

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Celestial Kirin

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.85

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/12408_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane spell, destroy all permanents with that spell's mana value.

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Morkrut Banshee

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219520_200w.jpg

Morbid — When Morkrut Banshee enters the battlefield, if a creature died this turn, target creature gets -4/-4 until end of turn.

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Rend Flesh

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/12145_200w.jpg

Destroy target non-Spirit creature.

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Terashi's Grasp

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98754_200w.jpg

Destroy target artifact or enchantment. You gain life equal to its mana value.

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Kami of Ancient Law

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98743_200w.jpg

Sacrifice Kami of Ancient Law: Destroy target enchantment.

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Guardian of the Guildpact

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.70

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/13872_200w.jpg

Protection from monocolored

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Drifting Meadow

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212384_200w.jpg

Drifting Meadow enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {W}.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Hikari, Twilight Guardian

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98607_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane spell, you may exile Hikari, Twilight Guardian. If you do, return it to the battlefield under its owner's control at the beginning of the next end step.

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Candles' Glow

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/11962_200w.jpg

Prevent the next 3 damage that would be dealt to any target this turn. You gain life equal to the damage prevented this way.
Splice onto Arcane {1}{W} (As you cast an Arcane spell, you may reveal this card from your hand and pay its splice cost. If you do, add this card's effects to that spell.)

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Orzhov Guildgate

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188501_200w.jpg

Orzhov Guildgate enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {W} or {B}.

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Scoured Barrens

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215899_200w.jpg

Scoured Barrens enters the battlefield tapped.
When Scoured Barrens enters the battlefield, you gain 1 life.
{T}: Add {W} or {B}.

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Drogskol Shieldmate

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/120481_200w.jpg

Flash (You may cast this spell any time you could cast an instant.)
When Drogskol Shieldmate enters the battlefield, other creatures you control get +0/+1 until end of turn.

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Forsaken Sanctuary

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171205_200w.jpg

Forsaken Sanctuary enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {W} or {B}.

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Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $1.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/96515_200w.jpg

Whenever another nontoken creature enters the battlefield under your control, bolster 1. (Choose a creature with the least toughness among creatures you control and put a +1/+1 counter on it.)

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Thief of Hope

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98603_200w.jpg

Whenever you cast a Spirit or Arcane spell, target opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.
Soulshift 2 (When this creature dies, you may return target Spirit card with mana value 2 or less from your graveyard to your hand.)

Buy This Card! https://www.tcgplayer.com/product/98603/magic-modern-masters-2015-thief-of-hope

The Game Plan

To win here, use Spirit synergies to contain opposing threats, and nickel and dime the opponent until the heavy hitters can come online and connect. Shandalar allstar Will-o'-the-Wisp, Revered Dead, Phantom Nomad, and Forbidding Spirit help limit aggression. Two copies of Thief of Hope get in for damage and lightly pad the life total, while getting some mileage on the way out with Soulshift. (Keep in mind that Nameless Inversion is a 2 CMC Spirit, allowing you to rebuy a removal spell. If this strategy seems familiar, you may remember it from Modern Masters 2015 Limited. Even though Will-o'-the-Wisp's stats won't make you think about the attack step, it does not have Defender! If Long-Forgotten Gohei or some Anafenza bolster counters show up, that lil goober can engage in some beatdown too.

Once the mid-late game approaches, the real hitters come online. Guardian of the Guildpact plays incredible defense and is also commonly unblockable, Basilica Bell-Haunt presents a fairly large body with a great ETB ability, and Morkrut Banshee is (usually) Flametongue Kavu with better stats. Hikari, Twilight Guardian plays offense and defense most of the time, given how many Spirit and Arcane spells we've got, and Yargle can pack a pretty mean punch if it lands.

In a pinch, this list has the tools to go wide with Promise of Bunrei and multi-format staple Lingering Souls. (As an aside, this deck makes great use of rarity downshifts. Promise, Hikari, and Will-o'-the-Wisp are all downshifted and they're very fun. I'm delighted to be able to play them without burning Rare slots. Downshifts are awesome.) Before we get to the removal, the pair of Baku creatures can be very potent in this list if planned around correctly. Keep their abilities in mind; they're very scary on most boards. Just don't let them be the last Spirits played!

Okay, the removal is...fine. There's really not much of it, but what's here is solid. The two Nameless Inversions are efficient, they trigger all of the Spirit-matters cards, and they come back from the aforementioned Thieves of Hope. Rend Flesh kills most creatures. Don't forget about Horobi's Whisper on the splice! Getting multiple uses out of targeted removal can't be beat. Terashi's Grasp offers lifegain and a disenchant in a package that can also be spliced.

The Rares

This deck skews lower on the curve, since plenty of mana gets sucked up by random tricks and splice shenanigans. Anafenza (may she rest in peace) offers a cheap, powerful legend that makes use of our motley crew of creatures and adds some bulk to otherwise wimpy bodies. A Phantom Nomad's best friend.

During its tour of duty in Standard, Ghost Council here was a pillar of the format, offering a powerful and resilient threat. To be fair, combat damage used the stack back in those days, which made Ghost Council's slide effect substantially better, but it's still great! Still hard to kill, still has synergy with Promise of Bunrei, still hits hard for a Black/White creature. My deepest regret here is that I'm playing a MM2015 version because I can't find the Guildpact ones; I must have traded them at some point! What a judgment error. Ghost Council forgive me.

This got some big attention when War of the Spark came out because of its ability to pull off an Armageddon impression with new card Ugin's Conjurant. I dunno what happened there because I haven't heard it mentioned since then, but I was overjoyed that I already had one of these sitting in the box and didn't have to get it. (Those speculation-fueled price hikes are a real beating!)

Ugin's Conjurant is not present here; that card is Ugin's business and not Kaya's. But the Kirin is still powerful, and because this deck has permanents up the curve, there will be all kinds of destruction. Just don't forget that Kirin's ability is symmetrical, and sequence your plays to avoid nuking your own stuff.

Long forgotten indeed! Wipe the dust off and take a gander, because The Gohei here does everything this deck is interested in. We're playing Spirits and Arcane spells, and this makes our Spirits bigger and Arcane spells cheaper. Can't ask for more than that.

Unsung Hero

Ursine Fylgia

I don't know if I had ever seen this card before I saw it on Gatherer while doing research for this deck. Imagine my surprise when I found one in the collection! This big Bear Spirit is a very cool card. A 5-mana 3/3 is not inspiring, but it triggers our various Spirit abilities, and its healing counters make it very hard to kill. Our curve only really goes up to 5, so once we find ourselves with extra mana laying around, that mana can be dumped into healing counters and turn the Fylgia into a veritable Phantom creature. I'm always excited to get the chance to play neat cards with cool art and cool flavor that wouldn't see play anywhere else. Ursine Fylgia, welcome to the Big(ish) Leagues!