I’m trying my best to avoid content on the same exact decks, but there’s something to be said about making innovative changes to an established deck. When I saw this particular list of 4-Color Saheeli, it felt like the direction I would try to take the deck if I were playing a Standard event next weekend.
Jaberwocki wasn’t the original designer of the R/G Marvel deck, but he did play it to the most success on Magic Online, making the world keenly aware of how powerful the archetype can be. This Saheeli version is based off of Ben Friedman’s list, and it does some impressive things thanks to a focus on delirium and a slight shift away from energy.
You’re no longer equipped with a full playset of Whirler Virtuoso, which isn’t crazy, but going with fewer than 4 Rogue Refiners is almost blasphemous. Getting energy is nice, but a reasonably-sized body and an extra card make for an incredible package. Both creatures interact well with both parts of the combo. Both Saheeli and Felidar Guardian can be underwhelming on their own, so having cards to blink or copy gives you some flexibility.
This deck has other singletons that are excellent to blink or copy at the top of the curve. The first is Verdurous Gearhulk, and it’s no surprise why this one is a giant beating. You have tons of creatures, so Gearhulk is sure to be able to spread the wealth. Even just throwing some counters on a Thopter token produced by your Virtuoso createsa real quick clock. Using Saheeli’s minus 2 on Verdurous Gearhulk generates a ridiculous amount of damage with haste.
Ishkanah, Grafwidow does require a bit of setup, but the payoff is game-breaking. An army of Spiders can take down most creatures in combat, chump-block Gideon for days, and Ishkanah matches up well against Archangel Avacyn. With Saheeli and Felidar Guardians in your deck, you can amass an impenetrable wall of Spiders.
Attune with Aether is pretty much a given in these decks. They all run a playset of Harnessed Lightning, so Attune is a nice early way to make sure they’re fully powered. It also helps to fix the mana of a 4-color deck, make additional Thopters, and help guarantee that Aether Hubs can do their job and make colored mana. With delirium, however, Traverse the Ulvenwald can do much of what Attune does, but is an actual late-game powerhouse. Having the extra energy to make a Thopter with Virtuoso is nice and all, but being able to find Felidar Guardian or Ishkanah is much nicer. If you can turn on delirium reliably, then Traverse is going to be a great card for you.
This change means you’re going to want more artifacts to enable delirium. Verdurous Gearhulk was step 1, but it doesn’t actually go to the graveyard that often, and it might be the card you wanted to fetch with your Traverse. Walking Ballista, though, provides defense against the 1-toughness aggro creatures in the format and against the Saheeli combo in any sort of mirror. It can also go to the graveyard to add two types for delirium in a pinch.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance joins Saheeli Rai and gives you 7 planeswalkers to help win the game or reach delirium. The playset of Harnessed Lightnings gives you some excellent removal spells and the core of your instants, but a single Shock can help gain tempo, defend against Saheeli, and turn on delirium for cheap. Having 4 Oath of Nissa, an already great card in these decks to fix mana and find both parts of the combo, also makes it easier to get an enchantment into the graveyard when you’re lucky enough to have 2. A pair of Oath of Chandra completes your removal suite and possible ways to add another card type.
We’re in what many are calling a two-deck metagame with Mardu Vehicles and 4c Saheeli, but that doesn’t mean you’re forced to play the same old lists. If you’re looking for a bit of variety in your combo, give this one a try!