Welcome back to another article on Blood Moon! With the complete spoilers for the 2019 Core Set now upon us, I'd like to start a "tradition" of doing spotlight reviews of some of my favorite new cards when they are released. If you've read previous articles on this website before, you probably already know that I favor eternal formats, typically Modern. Spoiler week (or weeks) is always one of my favorite times when new sets are being released... because even though there are roughly 18k magic cards, you can never have too many!
Let's start of with Supreme Phantom — what can this bad boy do, what tribal fun can we have? Let's find out!
I personally stumbled upon tribal spirits before even seeing it in competitive play as an archetype. Drogskol Captain is what really sparked my initially imagination and led me to start messing around with different pals to fight by his side.
As it stands, there are two primary variants to the tribal spirits scene: Azorius Spirits (Blue/White) and Bant Spirits (Blue-White-Green). While I totally agree that these color combinations can be a great way to go, I honestly am not a big fan of how people are running spirits as of late...
Here are two screenshots of the most recent versions of Azorius and Bant Spirits in competitive play. To me they both "feel" like they took a pre-existing deck, such as a generic blue control deck, and then added in spirits where they wanted. Reflector mage is great, but IT IS OBVIOUSLY NOT A SPIRIT.
I am not, however, hating on Reflector Mage as a playable card in general. He's a great dude, and has a lot of place in Modern decks. And while this is not an article about Reflector Mage, the deck already has Spellqueller which provides a similar effect and is in fact a spirit. We need to ask ourselves the question: "are we making tribal spirits, or tribal spells on a body?" Of course the prior is true. This might be a topic for a separate article entirely, but I did want to make this distinction.
Adding Supreme Phantom
So, here he is: one of the cards I am most excited to play with from M19. Supreme Phantom is not a complicated guy, essentially just a typical "lord", or a creature the gives boosts to all of the other creatures you control of a given creature type.
Note, that similar to Drogskul Captain, the boost ability only affects OTHER spirits. This is why it suddenly becomes even more important with Supreme Phantom to avoid using non-spirit creatures... it is a lost opportunity, essentially (especially with all of the spirits recently printed in Shadows of Innistrad and Eldrich Moon).
Needless to say, Drogskul Captain has the added benefit of Hexproof accross the board for your spirits; but Supreme Phantom is very promising. It boasts a reduced mana cost with the same +1/+1 pump, and actually has an added toughness. This extra toughness is ideal in my opinion, as it is not often that you're going to want to swing in with your lords (unless the game is already won practically).
So what currently is in meta decks for tribal spirits that we could potentially swap out to make room for Supreme Phantom? As mentioned previously, I think Reflector Mage needs to go. Cards like Leonin Arbiter and Thalia simply just do not fit in this deck, they belong in some sort of Hatebears archetype.
Will Supreme Phantom automatically be included in all tribal spirit decks? Or should it? I don't think so. As we see a wider and wider variation of spirit playstyles, we will begin to see more aggressive builds, and then others that are more conservative or control-focused. Phantom doesn't really have a home in the control builds.
In this light, we will want to run as many creatures as possible to exploit Supreme Phantom's ability. Or, create as many spirits as possible, namely tokens. Lingering Souls is a great option for this, and why I almost consider Supreme Phantom's printer to usher in a third variant of tribal spirits: Esper Spirits (Blue/White/Black).
I'll do a deck-tech on Esper spirits in the near future. Tokens and spirits make things a whole different ball game!
As always, thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this article, check out this one that I wrote about Skirk Prospector.