Enchanting your deck
Enchantress is the first and, for the immediate future, the only legacy deck I own. I am not an expert on the legacy format and the last Brainstorm I cast I probably resolved sub-optimally. However, this has not stopped me forming strong opinions on the topic, particularly about Enchantress.
Enchantress is a combo-prison-ramp strategy. (Legacy being what it is, it amazingly is not the only such deck, as 12-post also fits the bill.) It plays differently than any other legacy deck and it feels incredibly satisfying to win with. This is a good thing because the deck is not tier one and generally does not feature on any kind of metagame breakdown (it is usually lumped in the ‘other’ category).
That being said, you can get a long way in Legacy just by knowing your deck really well, and Enchantress will reward the time you put into it. With the right match ups, you could certainly take down a tournament.
Given that there is very little content about the deck out there, here is my guide to playing Enchantress.
The Enchantress Deck
Your objective is to draw cards, so many cards, until you get to the point where it’s a bit embarrassing for your opponent, and you should probably end the game.
You do this by playing cards such as Argothian Enchantress, which allow you to draw a card whenever you play an enchantment. If you take a look at the deck list, you’ll notice that just over half the main deck cards are enchantments.
While drawing cards, you lock your opponent out of the game with Solitary Confinement and eventually win with one of several possible win conditions.
Here’s the list I’m using at the moment.
4x Argothian Enchantress
1x Eidolon of Blossoms
1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
4x Green Sun’s Zenith
2x Carpet of Flowers
4x Elephant Grass
4x Enchantress’s Presence
1x Mirri’s Guile
1x Quarantine Field
3x Solitary Confinement
2x Sterling Grove
3x Suppression Field
4x Utopia Sprawl
4x Wild Growth
1x Dryad Arbor
1x Misty Rainforest
4x Serra’s Sanctum
2x Windswept Heath
1x Wooded Foothills
1x Gaddock Teeg
3x Journey to Nowhere
4x Leyline of Sanctity
1x Oblivion Ring
2x Rest in Peace
3x Seal of Primordium
Your gameplan with Enchantress has three steps. Understanding why this is and understanding when you should move on to the next step is important to playing the deck well.
1) Establish your engine
The engine refers to the card-drawing machine that is Argothian Enchantress and friends. With Argothian Enchantress, Enchantress’s Presence or Eidolon of Blossoms in play, each enchantment you play will net you a card. Ideally, you want three of these card draw effects in play. That gives you a low chance of running out of enchantments in hand and a good chance of winning before you deck yourself.
I cannot overstate this step’s importance. Without adding ‘draw a card’ to your spells, you are not going to keep up with most other legacy decks.
2) Establish your lock
You play several enchantments intended to keep your opponent out of the game, but the hard lock comes in the form of Solitary Confinement. Against Abrupt Decay decks, you’ll want to get one or two Sterling Groves in play as well. Your other lock pieces, namely Elephant Grass and Suppression Field, will slow your opponent down, hopefully for long enough for you to win or set up Solitary Confinement.
Yet, it is important that you do not play Solitary Confinement on turn two except in direst of circumstances. If you intend to keep it around, then give your hand a hard look before casting it. Those are all the cards you have to work with to win, and you’ll be losing one every upkeep.
Remember step one! It is much, much more difficult to get Solitary Confinement in play and then get your draw engine set up than the other way round.
3) Win the game
There are several win conditions you can play, and most Enchantress decks play at least two. But do not follow those Enchantress players. They are leading you astray. Since the only win condition you need is Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.
You won’t be cheating Papa Emrakul into play. No Show and Tell or Goryo’s Vengeance nonsense. You’ll be casting it with good, honest to goodness green and white mana that you’ve tapped lands for. (Or land, as Serra’s Sanctum regularly taps for 15.)
Depending on how long steps one and two took, your opponent might let you skip step three once you’re drawing twenty cards a turn.
The correct question to ask now is, why are there two steps before ‘win the game’? Why is so much time devoted to not losing instead of winning? I’ll answer this by comparing Enchantress to another, vastly different combo deck: Storm, specifically ANT.
Storm has a two-step plan.
Assemble in hand a mix of mana, tutors, Past in Flames, Ad Nauseum and Tendrils of Agony. There are many combinations that will suffice.
Cast these spells in a sequence that wins the game.
If you draw a good opening hand, then you may skip step one. A lucky break for you!
Enchantress, on the other hand, can’t enact ‘win the game’ with any possible combination of cards in hand; Enchantress needs permanents in play, and lots of them. Doing this takes a few turns and is too slow for legacy, so you need either a faster win condition or a way of disrupting your opponent to slow them down. Hence Solitary Confinement.
Some people play Helm of Obedience and Rest in Peace as a fast-ish win condition. The problem with this is that RIP-Helm is a terrible combo that is disrupted by more or less everything. The better option is to focus on prison cards such as Solitary, and then use a slow but inevitable win condition, such as Emrakul.
This sets up Enchantress as a unique kind of deck: a combo deck whose first combo counters your opponent’s plan, rather than winning outright.
The Nut Draw
The ideal sequence to enact steps one-three quickly goes something like this:
- Turn 1: Forest, Wild Growth
- Turn 2: Forest, Argothian Enchantress, Wild Growth (draw a card)
- Turn 3: Serra’s Sanctum, Argothian Enchantress, Solitary Confinement (draw two cards)
- Turn X: Emrakul
One of the strengths of the deck is that it has a lot of redundancy. For example, Turn one Wild Growth can be replaced with Utopia Sprawl, Green Sun’s Zenith for Dryad Arbor, Exploration into a second land or Carpet of Flowers if your opponent plays an Island.
Argothian Enchantress can be cast or tutored into play with Green Sun’s Zenith, or you can play Enchantress’s Presence or Eidolon of Blossoms.
Furthermore, Solitary Confinement can be replaced by Elephant Grass, Suppression Field, Quarantine Field or various sideboard cards, depending on your opponent’s deck.
On top of that, any enchantment can be tutored up with Sterling Grove. This means you’ll be drawing multiple cards a turn to find missing pieces.
That’s enough from me for now. Check back again for part 2 where I’ll go over some of the specific card choices in more detail. Until then, proxy up the deck and give it a try either casually or come along to our Midweek Magic legacy event.