No, Worship Isn’t as Strong of a Sideboard Card as it Looks—But It Still Has a Place in Modern

When Worship was first printed in Urza’s Saga nearly two decades ago, it was one of the best cards from one of the strongest sets in Magic’s history. This enchantment effectively made it so you couldn’t lose if it was on the battlefield, assuming you had a single creature. Easy enough, right? Nowadays, Worship isn’t widely played, but it pops up in the sideboards of creature decks in Modern here and there. Should it be seeing more game time than it is?

It stands to reason that Worship would increase in popularity once Spirits appeared. The Spirits deck is filled with creatures, much like Humans in Modern, but works to get to 4 mana to cast Collected Company. So when you aren’t playing Ancient Ziggurat, a spell like Worship gets more realistic.

Spirits also has a good amount of hexproof. Drogskol Captain gives your other Spirits hexproof, which means that they’ll have to deal with your lord first, but a second copy or a Phantasmal Image can lock your opponent out of using targeted removal on any of your creatures. Throw in Geist of Saint Traft and Worship’s value has never been higher than it is in this deck.

Multiple copies appeared in the sideboards of Spirits decks pretty universally, but some of the more famous pilots have warned against it. Instead of going to Worship, they recommend other cards for the creature matchups, so let’s look at the metagames in which Worship is best.

Against control, Worship is hot garbage. Not only do they feature plenty of sweepers, Cryptic Command is one of the best and most played spells.

Against a burn deck or swarm strategy, Worship looks really nice. Trying to kill every creature on the other side of the battlefield is exactly what these decks do not want to do. If they don’t have enchantment removal in their deck, or a way to make you lose life, they’re out of luck.

Against other aggro strategies, this is not the case. Humans has ways to tax Worship with cards like Thalia and Kitesail Freebooter. Once in play, Reclamation Sage is probably the only out, but they’re already likely to bring those in thanks to Aether Vial.

This biggest setback for Worship was the advent of Infect. Some of the more aggressive strategies in Modern, such as Affinity or Hardened Scales (another version of Affinity, effectively), rely on Inkmoth Nexus to win the game. Against the Infect deck, Worship is a borderline dead card. Because of this, it’s tough to find enough matchups where Worship can shine.

Worship is still powerful, but you need to be both playing a specific kind of deck (one filled with creatures, preferably those hard to interact with), and against a relatively aggressive strategy that may be short on answers. There will be plenty of times where Worship is a good card against Humans, and there are plenty of other potential aggro and rogue strategies where Worship will shine, but you have to anticipate a particular metagame to take advantage of it with an effect like this.


JOOHYUN, 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive League

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