Sorin’s a Win

Planeswalkers tend to quickly become cornerstones of a format – and even if they don’t, players will damn well try to play them anyway. Dark Ascension is no exception. Sorin, Lord of Innistrad is already providing deck builders with a feast of ideas to gorge themselves on. One question remains: where will Sorin be best?

Many players have been trying Sorin in Black/White Tokens decks similar to the [card]Ajani Goldmane[/card]-centered decks of old. However, I want to spend today looking into a different use for Sorin. While he may remind many people of Ajani, to me he is most reminiscent of [card]Elspeth, Knight-Errant[/card].

Elspeth was a bit of an all-star in previous Standard, seeing play in numerous aggressive decks but also proving a key-player in control decks. While Sorin can’t hand out [card]Angelic Blessing[/card]s to help an aggressive deck beat past blockers, he does have the most important ability of Elspeth: token making.

Elspeth’s ability to make Soldier tokens to block while working towards a game-ending ultimate is why she was so good in control. Consider if those tokens had lifelink! Imagine the poor RDW player who is forced to spend resources dealing with Sorin while you amass 1/1 lifelinkers that slow the red deck down. A few extra points of life here and there can really add up.

Plus we haven’t even got to his ultimate yet. It’s easier to activate than Elspeth’s and will similarly close up the game for you in short order. Stealing all of your opponent’s creatures should be enough to seal up any game. Better yet, in control mirrors, where planeswalkers are crucial, your opponent can’t even afford to cast his against an active Sorin for fear of having them stolen. Sorin breaks control mirrors wide open.

How can we use Sorin in a control deck? Towards to end of Alara block’s time in Standard Elspeth saw play in a UWR planeswalker control-style deck sometimes referred to as Super Friends. Here is a sample list from that time:

UWR Walker by Donald Kastner
2010 SCG 5K Standard Open – Minneapolis

[deck]3 Ajani Vengeant
3 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
2 Jace Beleren
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Sun Titan
3 Wall of Omens
2 Day of Judgment
1 Earthquake
1 Essence Scatter
1 Journey to Nowhere
2 Lightning Bolt
4 Mana Leak
2 Oblivion Ring
3 Path to Exile
2 Preordain
3 Arid Mesa
4 Celestial Colonnade
1 Evolving Wilds
4 Glacial Fortress
3 Island
1 Mountain
4 Plains
3 Scalding Tarn
3 Tectonic Edge
2 Celestial Purge
1 Deprive
1 Earthquake
3 Flashfreeze
3 Negate
1 Oblivion Ring
2 Pyroclasm
2 Relic of Progenitus[/deck]

I played with this deck with Elspeth before and it was awesome! With Sorin to replace Elspeth I wanted to see if it is possible to create a viable planeswalker deck in current Standard.

This deck needs three things to make it work:

1) A host of planeswalkers that do unfair things and protect themselves/each other.
2) A way to draw cards.
3) Removal/counter magic to stop our opponents beating us.

After much thought and fiddling here is an initial attempt at the deck:

WB Super Friends

[deck]2 Elspeth Tirel
2 Gideon Jura
3 Liliana of the Veil
3 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
3 Mentor of the Meek
2 Sun Titan
4 Day of Judgment
3 Doom Blade
3 Oblivion Ring
3 Tezzeret’s Gambit
4 Timely Reinforcements
3 Sphere of the Suns
3 Ghost Quarter
4 Isolated Chapel
9 Plains
9 Swamp
1 Despise
2 Go for the Throat
1 Karn Liberated
1 Ghost Quarter
2 Grand Abolisher
2 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Ratchet Bomb
3 Revoke Existence
2 Tribute to Hunger[/deck]

*note: sideboard is only a suggestion and will depend on the Standard meta-game post-Dark Ascension release.

How does this deck do against the checklist?

1) Planeswalkers

Well, it certainly has a good number of these. I’ve already talked about Sorin but what are the other planeswalkers giving us?

[card]Gideon Jura[/card] is excellent at protecting you and all the other planeswalkers. If you also have a line of tokens your opponent is going to find interrupting your game very difficult.

Speaking of tokens, [card]Elspeth Tirel[/card] is excellent at suddenly changing a board state. She provides a mighty three dudes for just one activation. No deck likes the appearance of that many threats/blockers. In addition to her life-gain effect and potential board sweeper she provides a mighty headache for beatdown decks.

Liliana may look odd without a way to abuse her discard effect but she serves two important roles in the deck. Firstly, she is another removal spell against beatdown decks, especially good against the current Delver decks which may play just one or two creatures in a game that they are relying on to win. Secondly, she is a nice cheap threat against other control decks who will have to expend resources to prevent her ultimate. This will often result in them tapping out, leaving us free to resolve yet more planeswalkers. In addition the discard will hurt the traditional control decks much more than it hurts this deck.

2) Draw Engine

This was the hardest requirement to meet. The decks of old used both forms of Jace to draw cards. However, the current Jace is just so expensive that I didn’t want to run him. Additionally, with so many White and Black planeswalkers I wanted to remain in only two colours.

But how to provide card advantage… introducing [card]Mentor of the Meek[/card].

[card]Mentor of the Meek[/card] is an odd fit for a control deck. Normally, you think about him drawing cards alongside tokens or elves. In a control deck, he risks being a [card]Grey Ogre[/card] all too often. Fortunately, that isn’t the case here. There are plenty of ways to load up on cards with the Mentor in this deck. From [card]Elspeth Tirel[/card], to the brand new Sorin, Mentor quickly becomes a card drawing machine.

Oh, and did I mention the interaction with [card]Timely Reinforcements[/card]?

Mentor is much stronger than he looks. Give it a try and see for yourself!

Other sources of card draw come from [card]Tezzeret’s Gambit[/card], which has the bonus upside of incrementing the loyalty of all the planeswalkers. This can be a nasty little shock for the opponent who thought they had one more turn before they could lose control of their best creatures, have all their non-land permanent destroyed or have to chose which selection of their permanent to keep.

3) Interaction

With no Blue this deck can’t counter spells, but it doesn’t want to! As a tap-out deck, it just wants to let opponents resolve spells and answer them with removal–something this deck does nicely. [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] and [card]Doom Blade[/card] will remove any problem creatures with Liliana providing help. [card]Day of Judgement[/card] provides a much needed Wrath effect in today’s Standard metagame and with the [card]Sphere of the Sun[/card]’s ramping you to four you can cast it that much earlier!

Trying it out

Does the deck work? Yes.

Is it fun? Very!

I played a handful of games against Delver-Pike, UW-HumanHaunt and Conley’s winning deck from the GP, and the deck was able hold its own. One of the most back-breaking plays you can make is casting [card]Sun Titan[/card] and using his ability to return Liliana to play. You can then make your opponent sacrifice a creature generating some serious card and tempo advantage.

I thought Sorin’s -2 would not be super useful in the deck, but actually it was pretty good. For example: against U/W Humans I had cast [card]Timely Reinforcements[/card] on turn 3 and then cast Sorin. Using his -2 meant I could profitable block the [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card] and the [card]Hero of Bladehold[/card] that were going to be swinging in against me (although I suggest some way of remembering you have emblems as it was easily forgotten). It also made closing out games much faster.

Here’s a brief sideboarding guide for the deck, although with Standard about to shift who knows what you’ll actually come up against!

Vs UW Humans-Haunt

[draft]3 Liliana of the Veil
1 Tezzeret’s Gambit
1 Mentor of the Meek[/draft]

[draft]2 Tribute to Hunger
3 Revoke Existence[/draft]

Tribute provides a key out to [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card] and [card]Revoke Existence[/card] deals with opposing [card]Oblivion Ring[/card]s that have kidnapped planeswalkers. Handily it can also be used to destroy their equipment and anthems.

Vs Delver-Illusions deck

[draft]4 Day of Judgment[/draft]

[draft]2 Go for the Throat
2 Tribute to Hunger[/draft]

Vs Wolf-Run

[draft]4 Timely Reinforcements
3 Day of Judgment[/draft]

[draft]2 Go for the Throat
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Karn Liberated
2 Tribute to Hunger
1 Despise[/draft]

In all honesty this matchup is not great for the deck. The way you win is using the [card]Sun Titan[/card]–[card]Ghost Quarter[/card] loop to take out all their precious [card kessig wolf run]Wolf Runs[/card] and [card inkmoth nexus]Nexi[/card] and by killing all their Titans. You have the cards to do this but it’s certainly not the easiest.

Vs Esper Control

[draft]4 Timely Reinforcements
2 Doom Blade
4 Day of Judgment[/draft]

[draft]2 Go for the Throat
1 Karn Liberated
3 Revoke Existence
2 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Grand Abolisher[/draft]

[card]Go for the Throat[/card] is strictly better in this matchup as they may be playing [card]Grave Titan[/card] and probably won’t be playing any artifact creatures. Control decks hate planeswalkers. This deck is already playing so many they will be even more annoyed when Karn shows up as well. [card]Revoke Existence[/card] again deals with opposing [card]Oblivion Ring[/card]s. [card]Nihil Spellbomb[/card] makes [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card] that much less good and net a card for us. [card]Grand Abolisher[/card] helps the deck cast planeswalkers without fear of counter spells and provides an earlier aggressor.

Having tried Sorin in a Super-Friends style deck I was also keen to pop him into a more traditional control deck for you. Here is a list for you to try out.

Esper Control

[deck]1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Grave Titan
2 Snapcaster Mage
4 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
4 Day of Judgment
2 Dissipate
2 Doom Blade
3 Forbidden Alchemy
2 Go for the Throat
4 Mana Leak
3 Oblivion Ring
3 Sphere of the Suns
3 Think Twice
3 Darkslick Shores
3 Drowned Catacomb
3 Ghost Quarter
3 Glacial Fortress
3 Island
2 Isolated Chapel
3 Plains
3 Seachrome Coast
2 Swamp
1 Blue Sun’s Zenith
1 Celestial Purge
1 Curse of Death’s Hold
1 Divine Offering
1 Karn Liberated
1 Negate
2 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Oblivion Ring
2 Phantasmal Image
1 Revoke Existence
3 Timely Reinforcements[/deck]

This list is very similar to the current Esper control decks in Standard at the moment. Putting Sorin in this list was a bit like icing a cake–you already had a tasty treat but now it’s amazing!

Regardless of build it is pretty clear that Sorin, Lord of Innistrad will make a big splash in Standard. He can fill the shoes left by Elspeth (cue image of Sorin in bright red stilettos), providing existing decks with an upgrade and making new strategies possible. Give him a go in your favourite archetype and I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

If you have already been giving Sorin a twirl then I would love to hear about your impressions. Feel free to post your thoughts and deck ideas in the comments or to me directly via Twitter @onionpixie.

Until next week!

Special thanks to Gavin!

116 thoughts on “Sorin’s a Win”

  1. The reason Elspeth was busted in standard was because of the angelic blessing ability. It meant that you could slay any planeswalker they cast as long as they didn’t have a flying blocker. It meant that you could put your opponent on a clock with just this card. You could topdeck her with a Knight of the Reliquary on the board and just kill your opponent.

    Sorin is no Elspeth… He’s not even close. He is aweful and slow in control decks due to the creatures that are seeing play in standard and cannot even block them well. He is a good card in token decks. That is all.

  2. I’ve read all your articles except this one (which I won’t bother reading) and have noticed that you’re knowledge of the game is just terrible. Personally, I don’t know what audience you appeal to or what you’ve done to be allowed to write on this site, but it seems that you are definitely filling the quota for bad content without much effort.

  3. @Comment about other article: Caleb was writing about Sorin in the context of legacy, where yeah, he’s not as good. Carrie is writing about Sorin in standard. Talk about bad comparisons…

    In terms of the structure and depth of content, this is easily Carrie’s best article yet. I was liking it from the moment I read the title all the way to the end. There is nothing objectively wrong with this article as far as I can tell.

    I have read all of her articles, and all of the ensuing comment threads (including some that weren’t censored yet). I have given a few comments of my own, and they weren’t all gushing love. I am not afraid to give criticism, but I do it in a constructive and respectful fashion. And so far, she has improved on everything that I specified in said criticism.

    Telling her she’s a bad player isn’t constructive, and it certainly isn’t respectful. If you think her knowledge of the game is “terrible”, ok that’s fine, but may I ask what makes you think that? What is it that she wrote that gives you that impression? If you want anyone to give half a shit about what you have to say, you need to give a lot more then vague insults like “u suck”, “get back to the kitchen”, etc, etc.

  4. – Harder to cast
    – Negative loyalty ability to pump your dudes makes it less of an option
    – Better ultimate
    – Lower loyalty

    “Similar loyalty” is not an analysis.

  5. I dont quite understand the hostility, I thought this was an interesting and well reasoned article.

  6. @Jason

    So women are immune to criticism?

    Because she’s a woman she doesn’t deserve the same amount of vitriol that everyone else is?

    Seems you’re more sexist than most.

  7. Agree with Kyle, but otherwise the article was rather reasonable.

    @Comments: Seems like you’ve got yourself quite some fanclub there. Keep feeding the trolls! 🙂

  8. Great article Carrie, One of the reasons I check out channelfireball on a weekly basis. Keep up the great work.

  9. Nice article, not entirely sure if BW tokens is well positioned in todays metagame, but if it is, Sorin should definitely be a cornerstone, and using Mentor of the Meek is an interesting idea.
    Keep up the good work!

  10. Easily your best article so far Crrie. I like the idea of reliving superfriends, was my favourite deck to play at the time.

  11. While the article was a bit lacking and i am fine with that and think it is still worth reading the final list is just ridiculous, you slammed sorin into a deck that had no bussiness using it and made it worse just for the sake of it.

  12. The comments remind me of an old joke about the answer to some exam question:

    Q: Provide an argument to show that Carrie is wrong.

    A: She’s a woman.

    The article and its comments were useful to me though, since I had been mentally comparing Elspeth and Sorin as well. I see better now why they arent quite as similar as I first thought.

  13. I like the idea of your WB Super Friends.dec. It reminds me the WB board control from Kamigawa/Ravnica standard with good aggro matchups. But playing with this vs counters$snapcaster must be pretty frustrating.

  14. The biggest difference between elsepth and sorin is that knight errant was one color and saw play in a format with very good mana. Sorin is two colors in a format with much much worse mana.

    Also trying to build super-friends without superman TMS is just bad form.

  15. This is by far your best article. Which compared to your other articles means this is still pretty awful.

    You can’t really compare Elspeth to Sorin. Whilst they have 1 similar ability, the cards as a whole are completely different. Elspeth makes tokens and provides an efficient clock whilst getting close to the ultimate. Sorin makes tokens, but if you pump them, you go a far way from reaching the ultimate.

    I’m gonna go ahead and provide a similar comparison. Try Elspeth vs Nissa.

    By your logic, Nissa’s as good as Elspeth. They both protect themselves, they both help you win (or in Nissa’s case, not lose) and they both have a sick ultimate. Nissa’s starting loyalty is a bit lower, but I’m sure you consider that to be irrelevant.

    Also, I like what you did with your list. You successfully recognised that it’s slow and hopeless against aggro, so you play 4 Timely and 4 Day MD, therefore achieving the ultimate goal of losing every single G1 to non-aggro decks (and even then, you’ll probably still lose to Delver).

    Please just do us all a favour and stop writing. We get the idea – you got lucky with Tempered Steel, paid a large amount of cash to get some points (from your own article, you needed to enter a lot of events, since you kept losing) and now you’re trying to make us all stupid by reading useless articles.

    PS: Sphere of the Suns in Esper Control? I’d make a snarky comment but I’m too busy laughing.

  16. I don’t understand the sideboarding against humans. Why are you taking out Lilliana, a three-drop who can perform multiple edicts, for an instant that is a one-time edict? And then side in cards that “kidnap planeswalkers” when you’re taking them out?

  17. I think this was a fine article as well. Most of the points you made were excellent. I’d agree that 4 is the ideal CMC for Planeswalkers (3cmc is crazy, as you pointed out with Lilly and her best friend Sun Titan). I think my biggest issue is with the loyalty. They’re not really similar. One difference can be a lot in Magic and 3 loyalty sometimes hurts. Sure, he makes blockers, but it won’t be any fun if Lightning Bolt sees a reprint in M13 (as an example).

    I like the new Superfriends proposal, especially since you kept it to two colors. Fixing that, and getting Sorin cast with his two color casting cost shouldn’t be too difficult now that we’ve got Evolving Wilds back.

    Keep writing, keep growing, and keep playing the game. Ignore the trolls.

  18. The trolls need to make some proxies and test before saying mindless negative comments. Sorin sucks in a dedicated tokens deck unless as a sideboard. The superfriends deck has been awesome for me though. My own experience reinforces this article. Try the deck noobs.

  19. Whoa! Aaaaaaaannnddd the flaming fest continues. People should really quit bitching her, this article was good. I’m not sure if all the negative comments are due to her being a girl, but knowing the magic community I’d say so. A lot of readers should try to meet more women: you’ll see that they’re essentially no different from men.

    As for the mindless nulls that say “oh, Caleb said you mustn’t compare Elspeth to Sorin!!! And she just did it!!!!!!!!!!!! N0000000000B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” , hummmm, well…Maybe because they are referring to different formats?

  20. The people here are hating solely because Carrie is a woman it seems. I loved the article, and can’t see how her understanding of the game is horrible. There is not neccessarily a right or wrong, but differemt opinions.

  21. Disregarding super friends reanimation (people bashed on it enough already) – 4 Sorin in Esper Control? What is this i don’t even… You cant randomly put 4 copies of the card in a deck that has 0 synergy with it. It does nothing against agro plus you are rarely resolving sorin against control (and even when you do, their threat beats yours).

    Ofc, sorin is awesome when you are ahead already, but you should never play ‘win more’ cards :F.

  22. @jonproject Talk about useless info…lol What a loser. Why don’t you haters post something about the actual deck she has listed like what you would do to change after testing it.. Instead of a stupid analogy of someone that makes you sound like a 10 year old.

  23. Did I miss the part in the article where she asked everyone their opinions on whether or not she should quit writing?

    I mean, I don’t get on the bus and tell the driver he should quit driving. Or go to the shop and tell the clerk he should stop serving people. Or tell my tech support guy he should stop trying to help people.

    This writer is putting herself in public and speaking to you all. That doesn’t give you the right to insult her, or her writing. It gives you less right, if anything. Telling a bus driver he’s rubbish is one thing, but going to a poetry reading, or a gig, and standing up during the applause and shouting at the performers to quit is the most insensitive and disgusting behaviour imaginable.

    Yes, it’s the internet, and that means you’ve got your screen to hide behind, but that only makes your behaviour more despicable. Grow up and stop spewing your hate at someone doing something that you couldn’t.


  24. Deku_the_evil_clown

    Let’s get something straigt, people are not sexist because they dislike Carrie’s articles which btw are pretty mediocre at best.

    Kyle boggemes gets way more hate, just because his articles are bad.

  25. Carrie, ignore the trolls, listen and learn from constructive criticism.

    I may disagree with your assertions that Elspeth and Sorin are similar, but that doesnt mean that the article was useless. The decks look like a fun starting point for anyone that wants to try Sorin out. Do the decks need some tuning, of course, but that doesnt make them inherently bad decks.
    I do not envy your uphill battle here, Carrie. I applaud you for giving it an effort. I might suggest that you respond to some of the people that are asking honest questions (ignore the knuckle draggers).
    On a side note, I am starting to think that CFB should start requiring some sort of (free) membership in order to post on an article – if only to help protect against the stupid “you suck” type comments that i see here and on other (Kyle B., and Brian Grewe) writers.

  26. @fishy

    that’s cool and all but writing on this website is her job. if a bus driver appears to be a crap driver, I’m getting off the bus immediately & notifying the bus company that my safety is endangered.

    stop defending a bad position.

  27. @jonproject
    It’s FREE content!!!!!!!!!! Quit your pointless b*tchin’ and go somewhere else, or just skip the articles that you dont like. Trolling for no reason other than to make yourself feel better does no one any good save maybe yourself. :/

    @ Fishy
    Ditto 🙂

  28. @jonproject

    You’re missing the bit where I said it wasn’t like insulting a bus driver. Her writing is never going to be so bad that it endangers your safety.

    Unless she is failing on practical matters like spelling and punctuation, you cannot say the article is objectively bad. We’re talking about a subjective opinion here.

    If you go to a poetry reading (for FREE, I might add, even if the artist is getting paid), and think his poetry sucks, then it would be completely out of order to stand up and shout at him that he is rubbish and should quit writing poetry.

    That kind of thing would make you a massive jerk, basically.

  29. Thought about reviving superfriends myself, but in an esper colored fashion.

    Not sure if it will stand up to the meta though, since my (few) playtests, seem to indicate that its a bit clunky and no Ajani Vengeant hurts the deck a lot, miss him more then Jacde tms in the deck actually.

  30. Tragic slip does a lot of good for this deck, answering delver and other one drops early while not being completely dead late. Presumably it wasn’t spoiled when this was written. I don’t understand sun Titan at all in this deck though. There’s very little to get back even if we include evolving wilds, you’re not milling yourself at all, grave Titan seems better here. Just my very amateur two cents

  31. I’m not at all impressed by the Carrie-rage here. The article was thoughtful, if a little cursory in its analysis, but that in no way warranted the mysognistic response that some gave.

    However, I do find that there are some valid criticisms of the article that are probably worth debating. You would have to be living under a rock not to know that Planeswalkers are central to driving sales, and the reason they drive sales so well is that – broadly – they are amazing. This means you can jam them into pretty much any deck that supports the colours and chances are they will be useful. When you have a card like sorin who is “off the scale good” there is such a wide margin for error that you are never likely to be wrong to put him in the deck. The real art is of course in optimizing the planeswalkers’s abilities and I’m not sure that your WB brew did that. For example, Timely Reinforcements gets worse the more other token generators you have and the more life you can generate – so if you are knocking out 1/1 lifelinkers that become 2/1 lifelinkers I feel that there is an awkward tension with your four copies of Timely Reinforcements. There is less value with Day of Judgment, as opposed to Elspeth Tirel who’s curve matches Day nicely. What about playing fatal slip or even altar’s reap? I’m not suggesting that the deck doesn’t work, only that what Sorin brings to the deck isn’t necessarily playing at full strength with the other cards.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading the article and I’m hoping I’ll be one of the lucky ones who opens a Sorin – because let’s face it, no-one will trade these and who would buy them at this price?

  32. Carrie, I loved the article! I run my own version of super friends now and am looking forward to adding Sorin to the bunch! I have read many of your articles and look forward to reading many more! It’s funny how jealous and envious little boys can be. I hope it only fuels you more.lol

  33. Good article.

    I like the fact that you, unlike some other writers – who only theorize ad nauseam, actually playtested the deck.

    Could we get some actual numbers on win/lose vs the different archetypes?

    Also, did you ever want more Snapcasters? Snapcasting doomblades vs titans and timely vs critters/RDW seems good.

    Also, how was Liliana against the aggro decks with tokens and small critters?

    Thank you!

  34. Best yet Carrie. Great job

    It makes me wish for an extra few hundred pounds so I could afford it. (I had the same problem with Superfriends). Going to add it to my proxy gauntlet.

  35. Hmm BW walkers seems that it has terrible match up against most control decks without counters. In esper control sorin would be pretty nice but should probably spread it like 2 sorin and 2 gideon so you are not stuck with multiples in hand?

  36. Sorin is far from comparable with Elspeth:

    Reasons why sorin is far from comparable with elspeth:

    1. It is a very slow clock. Elspeth takes only five turn to wrap the game up while sorin takes six.

    2. The clock Sorin creates is volatile. Unlike Elspeth that only needs a single creature out to start clocking your opponent, the clock is dependent on a bunch of weak tokens that can be wiped, and the clock is restart or lengthened in the process.

    3. The ultimate is not game winning. Indestructibility makes permanents you drop consistently blank out all removals and creating huge card / board advantage. Sorins one however requires creatures on your opponents board to be effective. It means that all the ultimate threat on your opponent is that they could not place a efficient creature on board, which is easily countered by playing wipes / haste creatures.

    4. Color restriction, the obvious one.

    5. The – ability costing too much. If you cash in the – ability right after it resolves, Sorin will stay at low loyalty and fragile to any threats your opponent have on board.

  37. Great article! I had revived Super Friends back when Tezz 2.0 hit the scene and haven’t revisited it lately. Might be worth another look! I like you build quite a bit. Elspeth 2.0 was always a let down in the build though. Mentor of the Meek may make her the all-star of the deck though. Time to get brewing!

  38. Carrie, you can’t have only 4 double-color sources in your manabase because at that point you’re basically playing a Limited deck (this is why UR CounterBurn sucks by the way). Ghost Quarters may help a little bit, but it’s fixing by card disadvantage, which sucks. For starters try -1 Plains -1 Swamp +2 Evolving Wilds.

  39. I’ve read all of your articles so far and I’m not impressed. I don’t care whether you’re a man or a woman, but the things you say make me question your credibility.

    For example, it would have been rare to have anyone use Elspeth, Knight Errant’s ability in a competitive match. She was best at making dudes to block or making a token to bash the opponent or their planeswalkers every turn.

    Where do you keep coming up with your ideas?

  40. I will agree with most of the other people in that this was her best article, but also with the others that that isn’t saying much.

    People pointed out already that the planeswalkers are much different than she acknowledges, the wb deck was very slow, and 4 sorin don’t belong in esper.

    I want to address/talk about the issue of her sex and target audience.
    SCG has female writers, and they are accepted in that circle/community. The reason is, they tend to have a much more casual and varied community/user base.
    Here @ CFB, the majority of readers seem to be more interested in competitive play, that’s why you don’t see regular articles by multiple writers about things like cube, type 4, and other casual formats. The comments she receives, though some sexist, are honestly just about her content. Go back a couple of weeks and read the comments on Ochoa’s Modern daily events. He’s a well respected member of the community, but people felt there was a major lack of insight, as well as a large number of misplays, in his videos, and 99% of the comments reflected that.

    Lastly, all the people who are saying “you commentators who say its bad but not why” isn’t much different than saying “good article” without pointing out why.

  41. He’s just an unnecessary, boring, poorly designed card with an unreasonably bonkers ultimate. Yet another argument against planeswalkers existing as a card type. Getting annoyed that planeswalkers now always get to protect themselves by +ing for tokens, as they end up in any deck that can cast them. Superfriends decks feel like they are designed by six year olds.

  42. The commenters on this site have long since crossed the line into sexual harrassment. Jesus, it’s the twenty first century. I am intensely embarrassed to read comments by twerps who use their anonymity to be creepy, abusive and blatantly biased. Not that I haven’t experienced this level of deeply implanted hatred at FNM (I have, and it’s embarrassing to watch). It isn’t everybody, but some parts of the Magic community have been deeply corrupted by nerd rage. Magic isn’t for you trolls, it could be for everyone if you didn’t have to make it such a lame boy’s club.

  43. Nicely done on the article. I liked the look of your BW Superfriends list. I do have to echo the concerns of running a planeswalker as a 4-of, even one as powerful as Sorin. Even cutting to three and adding another Snapcaster would make sense. Otherwise, fun decklists, and ones I’m probably going to toy with trying to put together. Keep up the good work, Carrie!

  44. I enjoyed this article! I will agree with everybody else that the writing was far better then before. I also am not sold on the deck, but at the same time i appreciate somebody coming up with new ideas and am willing to give it a try. It should definitely have evolving wilds and maybe blue, but judging from this going up on tues. she probably hadn’t seen the whole spoiler?

    My opinion is Carrie is improving. If she can keep her articles at this writing level and just find the deck/strategy content to match it, she has the potential to be something truly special. I will agree her earlier articles could use some work, but thats no reason to rag on her now, cut her a break. This article seems like a trend for the better! I’m excited to read your article for next week and see if you can keep it up!!

  45. I have an actual question about the article. You mentioned you board out Liliana and board in Tribute to Hunger to help deal with Geist. That seems counter-intuitive to me. Wouldn’t it be better to board in Tribute alongside the Liliana’s against Hexproof stuff? It could be as simple as me just missing something obvious.

  46. What is it with people these days? I get it. Some people don’t like her ideas. Okay, well… most people apparently don’t like her ideas. However, we all need to realize that magic is based around the meta we play in (that is kind of a “duh” statement, but players seem to forget this when they disagree with an idea). Who knows, these idea’s could very well shape the post-Dark Ascension meta. I like to be around before the release of a set, because the people that hate on cards and ideas are the ones who end up playing them when they realize the person was actually right. Articles, like this one, need to be taken with a grain of salt, because at best these ideas are conceptual and abstract. I think it’s awesome that she went out on a limb, thought of something different, and had the balls (figuratively, of course) to post about it. I’m not trying to say the article is chalked full of hidden wisdom, because it’s obviously not, I’m just trying to say she is entitled to her opinion and the expression of her ideas. If you don’t like it, fine, say so. But have a bit of decency, and respect. Hell, she’s writing for channel, not you.

  47. One day it would be so freaking nice to read one of this women’s articles without scrolling down and seeing you sexist fucks mocking her. Its not like all the articles on here written by men are all good. Let it the fuck go, she a girl and she plays magic, that’s awesome if you ask me. I’m sure she could kick most of your guy’s asses, so don’t doubt her until you see her actually play. Stop bashing someone for putting time and effort into writing an article for people to enjoy and get something out of. Just because LSV didn’t write it doesn’t make it bad, its just a different take on things.

  48. Dont feed trolls

    #1 Ignore any troll comments referring to the writers sex, it is irrelevant and ignorant.

    #2 This is her best article for CFB so far, but that is not saying much since others were pointless trash on basic crap that ANYONE who would read MTG articles has already long known.

    #3 Yes sorin is no elspeth, but I like her brewing. It shows the ability of thinking outside te box of most people’s thought to just cram Sorin into a B/W or W/G/b token deck. Personally I think he is very good and will see play for sure, however in the current meta it may take a rotation to make him really shine..

  49. haha hure; mentor of the meek compared with timely reinforcement is the real draw engine in this deck; only stupid! haha against ub more only-dead-cards than relevant cards

  50. Hey, nice article!

    But personally, I think it would be better if you included some of the weak points Sorin has. Right now, you seem to glorify him as Elspeth of Goldmane reincarnated.

  51. Why does everyone keep claiming people who disagree with her or criticize her are sexist? Have you NOT read any other comments left on writers articles and videos? People make negative comments/criticisms about almost all of the authors. PLEASE if you’re going to claim people are sexist, do it in regards to a comment about “making me a sandwich” and not someone legitimately saying ‘you’re wrong, they’re nothing alike and this article seems uninformed and the deck lists seem unrealistic”. Honestly, if Luis, PV, or another core member of CFB posted a deck list where they jammed 4 of a new plains walker into a 3 color deck, they would catch the same criticisms. Yes, she’s NOT as experienced or knowledgeable as they are, but I think that’s kind of the point people are trying to make. I haven’t seen very many comments that say ‘you’re a girl so you don’t know what you’re talking about’, they have said ‘your theory seems bad, and your mana base is horrible’.

    To her credit, most people on her first couple of articles complained about her writing style as much as her knowledge. Here, I actually enjoyed her writing style, its just the idea seemed relatively bad. She presented a list, then it almost seemed like she realized it wasn’t very good, and then rushed to make a couple more lists that weren’t very well thought out.

    All things point to a person who’s new to the game as well as strat, and that’s fine, we understand not everyone is going to be amazing at the start, but PLEASE stop overshadowing valid points by claiming people are “sexist”

  52. I’m afraid I agree with blue that people are dismissing fair critisicms as “sexist.” Publishing an article about using Sorin and not including any of the other bw token cards or mana fixing is pretty pointless- like me building a standard deck with tarmagoyf or a legacy deck with sol ring. Where for example are the lingering souls or evolving wilds. To top it all off the list you created was truthfully pretty awful- 4 timely reinforcements and 4 days in a deck built to get out a load of creatures? Really?

    Even the comparison with Elspeth is flawed- in ways which others have allready pointed out. You are doing the people using your lists a disservice.

  53. Pingback: MTGBattlefield

  54. Just to remind some of you: only because you like her timmy deck doesnt make it a good article …

    Anyway: dont let yourself down @ author.

  55. Cars are like trucks.. similar . Lamborghini is like a Ford focus . People love hating. I liked your article . Any ideas on new decks in this blue white world are welcome ! Keep writing and ill keep reading

  56. That deck seems like it gets obliterated by wolf run and any deck with counterspells. AKA 95% of the format

  57. I’m sure this deck would be better with some evolving wilds – but I also assume that CFB has more than a day or two turn around on articles, so it probably hadn’t been spoiled when the article was written.

  58. @ F you guys >>: Go read her awful articles at GatheringMagic…people love crap and uninformed opinions over there.

    @ Blue, completely agree.

    I wan’t to be the first person to point out that Sorin’s ultimate is f***ing useless.

    If you get sorin on the table for 4 turns, and your opponent hasn’t killed it, they are a scrub, or playing a deck that would most likely main deck 4 sorin’s without synergy. If by chance your opponent hasn’t killed it, are not a scrub, and haven’t maindecked 4 sorins, then they have only one creature out, most likely do not have enough relevant targets to NOT make it a 6 loyalty doomblade.

    If perhaps they have 3 planeswalkers on the field, I think you are pretty well already f***ed.

    Sorin’s real strength comes from his +1 and -2.

  59. Do you guys expect her to be LSV every week? She’s far from the worst writer on the site. The reasons for this disparity in scrutiny I leave to others to speculate.

  60. There’s a lot of elitist “Pro’s” posting a lot of negativity here. Let me know when you children hit the PT.

  61. This person should not be writing for this site. “Interaction” between Mentor of the meek and Timely Reinforcements? You mean, “look at how magic cards go together!” This is just so childish. Sorin does not wear girl’s shoes. just stop with all this cute shit.

  62. This is my way to deal with Wolf Run:
    4 Ghost Quarter
    1-2 Surgical Extraction (1 if running Snapcasters)
    Surgical Extraction only states that you cannot target a basic land, but getting rid of every Wolf Run, and then every Nexus is fine.

  63. Some of girl can play, hope is the good one.

    all some guys saying fuck shit bad stuff is no good. so if she girl so what?

    go break a leg to all you, whom say bla ba la ba she is girl no play good.

    thank for nice writings, if you like can be friend i have email and monstor penis

  64. A lot of of people like to think they “know” what is a good & bad card, good & bad deck etc… It happens all the time people tell me my deck sucks after seeing a few cards or having no experience playing it. Ive changed my opinions on decks and cards a lot. One thing this game has taught me (maybe life in general) is that those that think they “know” whats black and white are the shittiest type of people to be around. They cause all the problems in the world as well because they never stop to consider or ponder and jam their one-sided solutions into an ever complexifying interconnected world. I doubt they are true “Pros” and are probably youngsters that don’t have enough experience or the world hasn’t kicked their teeth in enough yet. They more than likely have low self-images and bad social skills. Ever notice how open minded most of the real Pros are?? Go ahead and take that attitude into the real world and you’ll wonder why your all alone thinking you are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

  65. This was a very good article, and a very cool deck. I think this would do good against delver, but not against decks built to beat delver.

    Also, to all you haters: have you top 32ed a pro tour recently? Carrie just might be better than you. Whoever hired her to write for this site ( probably lsv) thought she was good. If you dont think she is good, AND dont think lsv is good, than pay to watch Brad and kibler.

    This stuff is free. Fishy has a very good point. If you dont like these articles, dont read them.

    One of the things that separates good players from pros is pro’s willingness to be more open: CBF played 4 treefolk harbinger! You didnt complain about that!

  66. Hi Carrie I just wanted to let you know I’m 10 inches tall, but I’m having a HARD time dealing with your article. Honestly it just kind of blows. I wish you could cum over to my house and I could teach you how to write because this article is so full of basic stuff it just sucks.

  67. Can someone explain to me why 3 and 4 are similar? Because they aren’t.

    Can someone explain to me why a 20 turn clock and a 5 turn clock are similar? Because they aren’t.

    I honestly think this is the most interesting topic, with the worst method of analysis I have ever seen. Like Luis Scott Vargas’ worst mistake was claiming Midnight Haunting wasn’t good. This, is a whole new level of what the holy fuck.

    Context matters, not the fucking card. How many times I’ve had to post this across forums etc staggers me that people in 2012 don’t understand.

    Not only was Elspeth broken in a vacuum, the context she had supported her completely do to whatever she wanted.

    You did absolutely nothing to show you have any intelligence to analyze the current card pool to show sorin will be the strongest planeswalker or whatnot.

    You just showed a fucking horrible chart someone can draw on MSpaint showing “similar” numbers.

    You need to be fired. I’ve written articles before and if I had a fanbase from Channelfireball reading this if I wrote it I would be ashamed to call myself a writer.

  68. I kinda have a hard time seeing how Mentor of the Meek is fully functional here. This seems like a very mana hungry deck that wants to tap out whenever it can. Though that does not invalidate the deck’s playablity as a whole.

    Ive supported Carrie and I will continue to do so. Keep on writing girl!!

  69. People here are unreal stupid. The number of you attacking her for things she didn’t say is insane.

    All she said was that Sorin reminds her of Elspeth. Which is obviously the PW it is most similar to.

    She didn’t say he was utterly broken so the number of people implying she didn’t apparently can’t read. Saying this is so bad you don’t even need to explain why is equally dumb.

  70. Man, there’s some crazy haters here. These areticles are nowhere near the level of boggemes.

    Carrie, I can’t understand why you would run Timely Reinforcements over Lingering Souls in a tokens deck? Surely it’s a better source of card advantage and tokens? Plus something you want to discard to Liliana when pressuring the opponent?

  71. Some good comments here – I agree with the objections to Mentor, he does seem kind of weak/awkward, and a lame topdeck. Jamming Sorin in Esper does feel a bit awkward. The lack of further commentary in the article also makes me suspect that she didn’t test this particular idea, at least not as extensively as her main “Superfriends” deck concept.

    However a large number of people have stated that her analysis of Sorin is totally out of line, and then subsequently declared her unfit to write articles. Except…


    Sorin analysis starts at about 20 minutes in. At about 23:30 they go through a checklist of points about Sorin that basically agrees with much of Carrie’s claims. At 24:00 they go into an in-depth look at Sorin’s -2. They also compare Elspeth to Sorin, and conclude that the +1 token making was the more important for both ‘walkers. At 25:00 LSV directly states Elspeth’s 2nd ability “really wasn’t that relevant”.

    So. Uhmm. Why don’t I see tons of flaming at LSV/TSG over in that comment thread? As I stated before, there are some good critical comments and here, and some bad ones. The ones attacking the analysis of Sorin seem a bit misplaced, unless you also disagree with the statements made in the aforementioned video by a player who’s play skill is not in dispute.

    @Lingering Souls Comment: That card was likely not yet spoiled when the article was sent to ChanFire. Such a card could potentially have a place in this proposed deck, as might Vault of the Archangel.

  72. The real problem with many commenters is this: (quoted from Steve above)

    “Please just do us all a favour and stop writing. We get the idea – you got lucky with Tempered Steel, paid a large amount of cash to get some points (from your own article, you needed to enter a lot of events, since you kept losing) and now you’re trying to make us all stupid by reading useless articles.”

    The thing is, she is a player that admitted not to have known Magic more than 3 years ago, got the Magic bug through Duels of the Planeswalkers and worked VERY hard (because besides the ‘money’ she also had to invest time) to get to a Pro level and try and stay there. She is an example to newer players of the game, who are often intimidated by the settled ‘elite’ of this game.

    But, she is also a threat to all the wannabe Pros that visit this website for insights and ideas and a place to discuss with peers. Because she stands for people that have less experience than them but that can and will come up in the game faster and higher than they have ever been. This has nothing to do with her gender and everything with jealousy. So the ‘haters’ just jump on all her comments and ‘LOL’ at her lack of knowledge because she only has 2 years of serious Magic experience.

    As a player who has been out of the game for over 10 years and returned in Scars era to have to relearn the game completely again and has to fight the same battles as Carrie also has/had to (mostly a lack of experience and firsthand knowledge of old sets and format situations) I applaud everything you write and recognize many of the same thought-battles I have to go through myself.

    I am glad you are a writer at CF, because what you say is not always objectively correct. I see in you the same directions I go when breweing and deck building, directions my more experienced Magic friends often don’t let themselves go anymore. They may not always be the best direction, or even be correct directions, but we have awesome writer/players like Conley, LSV and PV for that. You are here for a different group of people. And as soon as the jealous haters (notice I am not calling you sexist as I do not believe all of you dislike her because of her gender) realise that you are not writing for them, the sooner they can leave you alone or only give constructive criticism to make you grow as a writer and a player.

  73. I enjoyed this article. As a newer player, what suggestions would you give for this deck when meeting an aggressive early game such as Red Deck Wins. It seems that this deck has a slower curve and you could be down to 10 life before you get going.

    I am also wondering about how theses decks will compare to aggressive red decks with the new red curse that doubles damage.

  74. You state that your deck had game against Wolf-Run, while having literally no way to race or interact with that deck. Based on this, it is clear you have not tested that matchup, which in turn suggests you have not actually tested any matchup. Also, all of the cards in this deck matchup unfavorably to Delver decks as well. It appears that this deck’s only strong matchup would be humans, but even then it seems unable to beat an honor of the pure + moorland Haunt.

  75. The abuse isn’t so much trolling but is most likely to have come from 17 – 40 year old virgins with quite a bit of repressed anger at their failure to woo a women having a hard time that someone of the opposite sex has reached the highest stage of the game within a very short period of time.

    Seriously, CFB, get the facebook application to we can rid the comments section of idiotic people who are stuck in the stone age.


  76. at the risk of adding fuel to the fire, this is exactly the kind of post that underminds what carrie is trying to do. People are giving her their honest criticism, and people try and down play it and tell her its the truth, its just people trying to bring her down. You’re not doing her any favors by trying to sugar coat it. Instead of trying to support her feelings, how about you give her some evidence that she is doing well? What did you find informative about this? Do you think any of the listed decks will be successful? Do you think her opinion of the similarities between the two planeswalkers is realistic?

    “The abuse isn’t so much trolling but is most likely to have come from 17 – 40 year old virgins with quite a bit of repressed anger at their failure to woo a women having a hard time that someone of the opposite sex has reached the highest stage of the game within a very short period of time.”

    Then suggesting facebook huh?

  77. @jag

    so Kyle Boggemmes is “at the highest level of the game” ?

    give me a break. what other author’s only credentials are top 32’ing a PT?

  78. $$$MoneyMoney$$$

    The comment section as a whole is tending toward sexism.


    Angrier and more numerous comments than The Professors got on any of his videos.


    Yeah. More (and angrier) comments than The Professors.

    Carrie Oliver > The Professors.

    Not even close.

    Don’t care about the content.

  79. @Carrie

    Why no singleton karn inevitability package? I want to live in crazy fun town here you slam karn and then go gideon for zero and smash some face.

    I think you changed the name from BW super friends to BW tokens and took out liliana, added in some token generation from DA you’d have a more interesting looking brew.

  80. Sorin isn’t very good. 1/1 tokens. The lifelink doesn’t do much on a 1 power guy. His pump -2 vs +1 is plain bad. Keep up the brewing. Sorin just is not article worthy.


    Based on the amount of views and responses Carrie is getting she could easily become the Danica Patrick of MTG. (female success story used for marketing purposes)
    If you do not believe me LOOK at how many people read and comment on her articles. Than think about it long and hard.
    If this woman has a thick skin and decent luck she really could be a contender for player of the year. If nothing else like Danica Patrick, she gets fans talking.
    Give it three years, she will be player of the year. You and I both know this is a sales tactic, but again really think about this.
    This woman is not going to stop writing or playing anytime soon. She is worth too much $ (and she knows it)

    Happy New Year!!!!!!!

  82. @@jag

    Seriously? How many of the writers here made Top 32 Pro Tour within the 2nd year of their competitive Magic career? She rose fast and she has many years ahead of her. And many appreciate her over the fact that although she rose fast, she is still learning some things and has a gap in her knowledge like many of the newer players.

    You just showed your jealousy man. And also show your face instead of hiding behind your screen.

  83. @bue

    I already responded to your question in my earlier comment. I appreciate the fact that she does not have a perfect knowledge of Magic past. As therefore her opinions on cards and situations is also not burdened by past experience. This means she often does not see things that more experienced players realize and possibly overvalues some cards, but she can also give true value to cards the experienced players overlook because of their own past experiences with similar cards.

    She shares her own path to experience with us, with all it’s good and bad sides and good and bad calls. And for this, I appreciate her as a writer for this website. She makes people talk about her decisions instead of just praising the insight of the almighty Magic Pro, which happens often in other threads.

    Everyone who reads her articles knows she is far from a perfect Magic tactician. Only the spiteful and jealous have the need to attack her personally on this fact.

  84. I liked this article more than the previous ones by this author. I disagree with some of the points made, but the content itself made sense to me and was useful. I think Sorin does not need to be compared to Elspeth so much, the role he plays will be different. His effect is slower, but more powerful over time and requires people to play more creatures than Elspeth did.

  85. @ bue – My name is Andrew Jagger, mostly known in the UK as Jag, I am not frightened of giving my true name.

    @@@Jag, did I mention Kyle Boggemes? No, but I don’t have no problem with that guy either for that matter. I suspect alot of his abuse comes from jealous people who resorted to personal insults because they had nothing better to say.

    For the record , I’m actually enjoying Carrie’s articles from the point of her being new and fresh to Magic, as someone who has played for a long time with limited success, to see how the new players appoach the game is very eye opening.


  86. @biege357

    firstly, you should be perma-banned just for mentioning nascar.

    secondly, a better analogy would be the rebecca black of mtg

  87. Hey I’m a troll but I have to be honest to restore some balance in the comment section.
    I like the article because the token deck is something everyone thought about when they saw Sorin for the first time… I agree that Sorin and Elspeth are SIMILAR, not exactly the same but yes similar just like you wrote in your article!

    You should be proud to have the most comments on Channel Fireball!
    Really, what is the worst:
    Have 4 comments (meaning people don’t care)
    Have 50+ saying that YOU are not good and another 50+ saying that THE ARTICLE was good?
    Bonus: The trolls had to COMPLETELY read your article to criticize it! It’s a win/win for you! 🙂

  88. Article suffers from the same errors that plague almost every bad argument made about magic.

    1) Stating what your cards do is not a good argument for them being good (mentor + timely example), especially when you don’t include how many things have to go right for them to do what you say they do.

    2) Completely failing to cover obvious weaknesses (ex: Sorin is like Elspeth, and he makes up for missing her 2nd skill by having a faster ultimate. This skips an extremely important point – Elspeth’s second spell was just as useful if not more useful than 1st skill against enemy planeswalkers, and ultimates are pretty rarely used.

    3) Stating general rules about cards is not a good argument for constructed deck choices. “Control decks hate planeswalkers, therefore Karn is good against them” is not valid.

    4) No comparison at all to similar decks in the format – Comparing your deck to super friends is pretty pointless since that deck was built for a completely different format, and had a lot of tools that were different (and better) than this format (ex: JTMS). A better comparison would be to solar flare, the obvious other choice for tap-out control.

    Then again, just talking to magic players will probably inundate you with these same fallacies… UNLESS you go and read that one article PV wrote about magic misconceptions

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