When Thalia’s Lieutenant was spoiled in Shadows over Innistrad, I thought this was the last piece of the puzzle, that would make a Modern Humans deck feasible. I tried a couple of different versions, including a variant of Norin Soul Sisters (link to Kevin’s videos), and an Aristocrats version with Teysa, Orzhov Scion (link). The decks were good, definitely FNM-level, but maybe we needed another piece.
It may not surprise you that my favorite card from Eldritch Moon is also a Human: Hanweir Garrison. It’s essentially a Goblin Rabblemaster that creates human tokens. This means it can trigger Champion of the Parish and Thalia’s Lieutenant multiple times just by attacking.
Over the last week I’ve been trying to make this deck work. I started out with Red (for Hanweir Garrison) and White (for Champion of the Parish and Thalia’s Lieutenant). I knew immediately that it had to be an Aether Vial deck. This card is phenomenal in aggro decks with powerful two-drops and three-drops, essentially doubling the amount of mana you can spend in the first 4-5 turns of the game. It also allows you to play fewer one-drops than you’d otherwise play in an aggro deck, which suited me fine since Champion of the Parish was the only one I really wanted.
The inclusion of Collected Company was logical as well, since I would be playing two-drops and three-drops, so I added Green. After playing for a bit with Naya (White-Red-Green, not LSV’s daughter), I realized I wanted a 4th color: Black. Dark Confidant would give me a source of card draw that I needed to keep up with Aether Vial, while Xathrid Necromancer would make my opponent’s spot removal look silly. I considered Blue as well, mainly for Reflector Mage and Mantis Rider, but discarded this idea because I hate 5-color land bases.
I tried a lot of other Humans before arriving at the deck list as it is now. I started testing Thalia, Heretic Cathar quite late, because I thought that Imposing Sovereign would do the same for a mana less, but Thalia has been over-performing especially against three-color midrange/control decks. Although this is not a Soul Sisters deck, I am playing a single Norin the Wary (which is great with Champion of the Parish and Thalia’s Lieutenant), and 4x Auriok Champion (protection from Red and Black is very relevant).
I’m playing 22 lands; enough to cast Collected Company on time. This includes 4x Cavern of Soul, the perfect land for a tribal deck and the main reason (along with Aether Vial) why I beat Jeskai Control very consistently. I’m also playing a one-of Hanweir Battlements, but haven’t been able to meld it yet with Hanweir Garrison (it will happen anytime now). Giving a creature haste is actually pretty powerful in this deck, especially since Aether Vial gives you lots of spare mana after the first few turns. The rest of my lands focus mainly on having Green mana for Collected Company, since this is a critical card.
The sideboard can still use some fine-tuning, but it’s a good start. 3x Kor Firewalker makes my burn match-up easy; 3x Thalia, Guardian of Thraben makes my own Collected Company more expensive, but that’s fine if it hurts my opponent more; 3x Gut Shot is great against Affinity and Infect, and also slows down the Eldritch Evolution and Kiki-Chord decks that I’m expecting to see a lot.
The following video playlist shows a deck tech, 3 replay videos of prerecorded matches (next time I’ll try live matches again), and a wrap-up. The deck isn’t perfect and has some bad match-ups (mainly other swarm-aggro and fast combo decks), but is a fun and proactive deck to play.