Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Sythis Enchantment Decks in Brawl
Sythis remains one of the best commanders in MTG arena's brawl format, if not the best, especially after enchantment support from Kamigawa Neon Destiny. While weak at 1/2, she only needs two mana and gives a draw and a life just for casting any enchantment!
This makes her great against counterspell decks (you get the rewards even if countered) and aggro (lifegain makes it hard to kill you in time), and her draw power lets her go toe-to-toe with dedicated control decks. How you can best optimize her build? These are the ten best enchantments for Sythis commander and historic brawl decks in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Michiko's Reign of Truth
This easy-to-cast saga's first two triggers (one on entry, one at your next turn's main phase) give a creature +1/+1 until end of turn for each artifact and enchantment you currently control.
In a dedicated enchantment build like Sythis, this can make even your wimpy 1/2 commander swing for heaps of damage, and keep in mind that brawl starts with 25 life (not 40 like commander), so your opponent can only take so many hits.
Best of all, the last trigger transforms the saga into Portrait of Michiko, an enchantment creature with stats equal to your artifacts/enchantments, ridiculously strong for her low cost. Use her to pressure planeswalkers like Teferi and Bolas and force your opponent into chump blocks.
9. Elspeth Conquers Death
Purpose: Removal and revival
A strong card for any white deck, this saga especially belongs in an enchantment deck like Sythis. While a bit costly at five mana, ECD exiles an opposing card of cost three or more on entry. Unlike enchantment removals such as Banishing Light and Borrowed Time (also recommended), your opponent doesn't get the card back if ECD leaves the field.
The next triggers are fluff, but appreciated fluff—the second effect makes your opponent's non-creature spells cost two or more until your next turn and the third revives a creature or planeswalker from your graveyard with a bonus +1/+1 or loyalty counter.
8. Starfield Mystic/Jukai Naturalist
Purpose: Cost reduction
Starfield Mystic is today's only non-enchantment card, so casting him won't trigger Sythis's draw. But he compensates by making your enchantments cost one less, and he gets a +1/+1 counter (on top of decent 2/2 stats) whenever an enchantment enters your graveyard from your field.
Jukai Naturalist doesn't get counters, but similarly reduces your enchantment costs by one, counts as an enchantment himself, and has lifelink.
Both are essential to the casting speed of the deck, and each can reduce the commander tax of Sythis if destroyed, getting your deck's ace back in the game with mana to spare.
7. Kenrith's Transformation
Purpose: Removal (especially on commanders)
Auras that disrupt opposing creatures, like Demotion, work great in this deck, but Transformation deserves special mention for giving a bonus draw on entry; it turns its enchanted creature into a 3/3 elk who loses abilities.
The great thing about aura-ing enemy commanders is that they don't go back to the command zone, leaving your opponent unable to access them until they find a way to kill their commander or eliminate your enchantment. Use this on prominent brawl commanders from Winota to Kinnan to an enemy Sythis.
6. Mirari's Wake
Purpose: Mana ramp
Wake gives your creatures +1/+1, but you're really after its ramp, letting your lands tap for an extra mana. Combined with Sythis' draws, you'll continuously refill your hand and have enough mana to field pretty much anything. If possible, try to time Wake so that you have some lands leftover as soon as it arrives, letting you access it at least a bit if it's hit with removal.
Enchantment creature Nyxbloom Ancient also serves a similar purpose by letting your permanents tap for triple mana, but its seven-mana cost admittedly makes it a late-game play.
5. Song of Freyalise
Purpose: Mana ramp
Here's perhaps the most underrated card on the list. Song only costs two mana, and both its initial and second trigger let your creatures tap for one mana of any color (until your next turn).
Even bearing in mind summoning sickness, this often pays for itself on arrival, gives Sythis something to do besides just sitting around and looking pretty while drawing. Plus, its last effect helps aggro a win, giving your creatures a +1/+1 counter plus vigilance, trample, and indestructible for the turn, effectively letting you swing out with no fear of punishment.
4. Conclave Tribunal
Purpose: Low-cost removal
Like many white enchantment removals, Tribunal exiles a non-land until it leaves the field. But if you use it an opposing commander, your opponent will often choose to put their commander back in the command zone, which gives no penalty if Tribunal exits. Even better, Tribunal has convoke, letting you reduce its cost by one per creature you tap (which you can do even if they just arrived), possibly casting it for zero mana!
Of course, white's classic instant Swords to Plowshares remains another removal staple, but Tribunal's enchantment synergy and wide range of targets makes it even better for Sythis.
3. Sterling Grove
Grove grants your other enchantments shroud, preventing players from targeting them. This is a phenomenal defense that absolutely demands a removal, but if your opponent tries to hit Grove, you can sac it for one mana to put an enchantment from your deck on top, ensuring you draw a needed card.
If you see your opponent keeping mana open early in the game, consider playing Grove before Sythis, as doing so will protect her once out and ensure you gain quick access to her draw power.
2. Hallowed Haunting
Purpose: Swarming and aggro
Whenever you cast an enchantment, Haunting creates a spirit token with power and toughness equal to the number of spirits you control (adjusted as the number changes), so the longer it's around, the more devastating each individual token becomes.
If that weren't bad enough, Haunting grants all your creatures flying and vigilance while you control seven or more enchantments, letting your army soar over most blockers and quickly inflict lethal.
1. Sanctum Weaver
Purpose: Mana ramp
Weaver is sometimes a better turn-two play than Sythis, as she taps for one mana (of any color you like) per enchantment you control. Counting herself, that's at least one, but with the vast majority of your deck being enchantments, this gets ludicrous real fast.
Use your land-mana first to swarm low-cost enchantments, then when you're out, tap Weaver for a heap of fresh resources to continue building your board.
One reason I enjoy Sythis builds is the relative lack of enchantment board wipes—most control decks focus on creature nukes, leaving Sythis boards hard to mass-eliminate. Because Sythis triggers just by casting, she's also effective against Baral counterspell decks, and her enchantment removals (like Baffling End) work great against blue-green mana-ramp Kinnan, while her lifegain helps outlast red aggro commanders like Winota, Joiner of Forces.
Arguably the hardest Sythis matchup is against Golos Tireless Pilgrim, whose entrance effect of searching a land and ability to access all colors can occasionally overwhelm Sythis, yet Sythis easily stands among the best historic brawlers. But for now, vote for your favorite enchantment and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2022 Jeremy Gill