Archetune-Up - A Light in the Darkness

(Sigarda, Champion of Light | Art by Howard Lyon)

The Night is Dark and Full of Terrors

Hello, and welcome back to Archetune-Up, an article series devoted to tweaking a deck with the help of the EDHREC Theme Pages!

With the beginning of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt previews, spoopy season is in full swing, and I couldn't be more excited. Autumn is my favorite time of the year, and Innistrad is my favorite plane, so having them both together at the same time is just awesome.

Over the next few weeks, as Halloween creeps in, I plan on writing about each of the five tribes of the plane, and what better way to start off than with the stalwart survivors, the Humans of Innistrad?

This new iteration of Sigarda has gotten a bit of flack for not being more interesting than her previous form, Sigarda, Heron's Grace (and for not having hexproof somewhere), but I quite like the aggressive slant of this version. A sizable, flying, trampling body is always welcome on a commander, and the added anthem and potential card advantage are lovely features that make this Sigarda appealing at the helm of a Human deck.

She isn't as defensive as her previous card, but I see that as a boon instead of a drawback. This is great for certain metas and playgroups where targeted effects are scarce and the protection isn't as warranted. Instead of using the commander as a form of defense, a Humans deck can really kick it into high gear with a more aggressive Sigarda to help them push damage through and close out games.

That said, while we're looking to put together an aggressive list, I still think Sigarda, Heron's Grace's average list is the place to start, so let's grab that and see where we can make some tune-ups!

Average Sigarda

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Commander (1)
Creatures (34)
Enchantments (7)
Artifacts (8)
Sorceries (7)
Instants (7)
Planeswalkers (1)
Lands (35)

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Unlike the past few articles, this average list doesn't have any glaring flaws. The land count is acceptable, there are anthems, and lots of Humans. The biggest issue is that there are a couple of other Angels in the list. I am very strict when it comes to my tribal decks. I don't care if the Angels have tribal synergies or not: if it isn't a Human, it's out. I'm cutting it. 😤

I could keep complaining about the non-Human cards I had to cut, but instead, let's just get into the cards I added from the G/W Human Theme, shall we?

Strength in Numbers

Because of the cuts to the creature count, the deck is now at 28 total creatures. For casual tribal decks, I like being at 30 or more, so let's pick up some solid Humans from this theme and add them to our growing coven!

The three Humans I added are strong and straightforward and are welcome additions to the list. Bastion Protector pumps Sigarda and helps her stick around, which is quite important, since she's one of main forms of card advantage in this deck. Silverblade Paladin is just a solid creature, letting us push damage through with two double striking creatures, one of which can be our commander. This is relevant, since it will let her knock opponents out with commander damage in three attacks. Finally, Courageous Outrider is just a solid Human with a good body, and it can replace itself, which I'll never turn away!

All three of these cards a very solid role-players, and each adds a bit of flexibility to the deck. Most of the time, tribal decks try to win games by going wide and dealing combat damage, so having ways to accrue card advantage or close out games with Humans, while also potentially facilitating commander damage, will give our deck a lot of dimensionality.

The Bigger the Toolbox, the Longer the Life

Now that all our Humans are accounted for, I want to make sure they have the proper amount of support. These last seven cards I'm adding are ways to give our survivors the push they needed to make it through the night.

Let's start off with Zendikar Rising MDFCs. There isn't a decklist I've put together that doesn't use these anymore. Of all the MDFCs that were incidentally scattered across the Human Tribal theme page, Makindi Stampede, Ondu Inversion, and Bala Ged Recovery caught my interest the most. These are all desirable effects that I'm happy to include, especially when they double as lands. Ondu Inversion is a particular favorite of mine, since sometimes you just need a board wipe, no matter if you're piloting a creature-based deck or not, and slotting it in as part of the mana base is a great option to have.

Other options for MDFCs for this deck would be Sejiri Shelter and Turntimber Symbiosis. Sejiri Shelter can be used offensively or defensively, depending on if you need to blank enemy removal or push damage through. Turntimber Symbiosis, on the other hand, is usually not great when it's cheating out smaller creatures, as it only adds three extra +1/+1 counters to whatever you find, but since Sigarda cares about having varied powers, those extra counters can be enough to trigger her Coven ability and dig for some extra friends!

Bar the Gate! Hold for Reinforcements!

Lastly, I've got four more cards to assist our Human companions through their most dire hour. We've seen a couple of them before, but the others are neat, niche inclusions for this list.

Both of these spells seek to modify our entire team in some way. Overwhelming Stampede is a game-ending spell that can quite literally overwhelm the board with minimal investment. Meanwhile, Spare From Evil can pivot between offensive and defensive, depending on what we need at the time. Giving all of our Humans protection from non-Humans is great for blunting an assault or completely bypassing our opponents' defenses, so use it accordingly!

Call the Coppercoats is an army in a can. It's been picking up in popularity recently, showing up in over 4,400 decks, and for good reason! I usually dislike spells that rely on our opponents, but when they're cheap, scalable, and an instant, I have to make an exception. Having a powerful and flexible spell like this ready to go at a moment's notice is incredibly strong, as it can add a large number of bodies to the board in a flash. The icing on the cake with Call the Coppercoats, though, is that all the creatures it makes are Human Soldiers, meaning that not only will Sigarda pump them, but they will also synergize with our plentiful Human payoffs, like Hamlet Captain and Heron's Grace Champion!

The final card, Bow of Nylea, might seem a bit odd at first, but I think it's worth the slot because of its versatility. The main appeal of Bow is twofold: first, to make our team a pain for enemies to block, and second, as a means of putting +1/+1 counters on our creatures. The ability to add extra counters as needed helps us diversify our team's power, and will go a long way in making sure we are able to trigger Coven. Like I said earlier, Sigarda is one of this deck's main means of accruing card advantage, so a permanent that helps our entire team while also enabling our commander's ability is awesome. That isn't even mentioning the other three abilities of Bow either! Pinging fliers, gaining life, and putting cards back into the deck are just icing on the cake. I think Bow of Nylea flies under the radar quite often, but here, it's right at home. 

Welcome to the Fold

There we have it! A lovely little Human list, poised to take on whatever the ghastly creatures lurk in the night!

While these two Innistrad sets are focused on Werewolves and Vampires, I think Humans stand to gain a lot here, especially since they're getting their own Coven Counters precon!

There are going to be a lot of synergistic Human Tribal cards coming out over the next few months, so be sure to keep a lookout. If there was ever a time to band together with your fellow Humans, it's now! There will be upgrades and powerful cards aplenty!

What about you though? What are your thoughts on Human Tribal? Was I too strict when I excluded all non-Human cards form the deck? What's your favorite Innistrad tribe? Make sure to let me know down below!

As always, you can reach me on Twitter (@thejesguy), where you can always hit me up for Magic- or Jeskai-related shenanigans 24/7. Do you have any comments, questions, or concerns? Please don’t hesitate to leave them below or get in touch! Stay safe, get vaccinated, wear your mask, and keep fighting the good fight. I support you. No justice, no peace.

Archetuned-Up NEW Sigarda

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Commander (1)
Creatures (31)
Enchantments (6)
Artifacts (9)
Instants (8)
Sorceries (10)
Lands (35)

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Angelo is a Connecticut resident who started playing Magic during Return to Ravnica, and has made it his mission to play Jeskai in every format possible. Along with Commander, he loves Limited, Cube, and Modern, and will always put his trust in counterspells over creatures. He is still hurt by Sphinx's Revelation's rotation out of Standard.