This entry is part 9 of 12 in the series Let's Kill

Hayes Bam! Hayes The Hayes here for another issue of “Let’s Kill”.

Do you like to throw snares into your opponent’s plans? Do you like to play on the turns of other people? Does the prospect of killing someone with a 30/30 Children of Korlis satisfy your need for white ‘weenie’? Feast your eyes on Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero. This rebel commander and her ragtag team of 2/2’s and basic mana artifacts have the potential to untap and kill you from long range. Do not underestimate the power of synergy! Major credit goes out to Clay Westman who introduced me to this deck and has since killed me with rebels many times.
Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero

 

 

The lifeforce of the rebel deck is of course the rebels themselves. Lin Sivvi has the ability to tutor up any of them as long as you pay the correct amount of X for her first ability. Additionally, because her first ability can be used at any time you can build your deck to have a low creature density. Instead of drawing into a 2/2 rebel you can construct your 99 to have only some rebels and the rest of your action spells be mana rocks, anthem effects, answers to other strategies, etc to power up your deck. This is sort of card advantage in a white deck, which is hard to pull off.

Let’s take a look at what critical rebels are on any roster of a powerful Lin Sivvi deck and why they are there:

Rebel Recruiters

These guys are a family of low powered creatures that sometimes have flying or another vanilla trait thrown on them. Stamped onto them is also a fetch ability similar to Lin Sivvi’s where instead of paying X you pay a preset number to find a certain range of CMC rebel from your deck and put it onto the battlefield. The main point of the fetch rebels is to increase the amount of rebels you can put onto the board as the game progresses and also to find Sivvi in case she gets tucked away.

Ramosian Sergeant

Defiant Falcon

Ramosian Captain

Ramosian Lieutenant

Amrou Scout

Ramosian Sky Marshal

Ramosian Revivalist

Defensive Insurgents

When your playing football defense is just about as important as offense. Lin Sivvi needs to survive until the later stages of the game and these folks help her get there.

Children of Korlis is the best defensive card in the deck. It straight up says “One shot me or don’t even bother attacking me” to your opponents. The children come with the added bonus of actually being able to gain you life if you have enough mana. If you have 4 mana plus an additional fetch rebel you can pay 1 to get children, sac children, put children on the bottom of your deck, then go fetch children again. Because children ‘remembers’ how much life you have lost this turn it can make your life total go positive with these two activations. Aven Riftwatcher can also be used to gain life in this deck but pales in comparison to children.

Our suicidal best bro for the deck is Defiant vanguard. Most of the time he’s like removal, and can be another deterrent from your opponents attacking you.

The modern masters limited staple bound in silence also makes it into this deck. Being able to instant speed hose a creature that’s just been enchanted with Eldrazi Conscription feels oh so good.

You have to play Lawbringer and lightbringer if you’re expecting any red or black creature based decks. These guys can really get under the skin of these colors and ruin any combos or tricks they might have in store for your honest rebel deck. At the worst these guys can bully your opponent’s red and black commanders out of the game. Run them.

Thermal glider and Nightwind glider are better than they look. They can provide some harassment when provided and defense against their respective protection colors.

If you want a cute little turret that can randomly snipe attackers Ballista Squad is the way to go. I’d imagine that basilisk collar makes this card hilarious. Shield dancer falls into the same category as Ballista Squad but i’d imagine that Ballista Squad is better because the squad can snipe creatures that are attacking your opponents as well as you.

All of these cards take advantage of Lin Sivvi’s first ability but I’d argue that Lin Sivvi’s second ability is more powerful with respect to these defensive cards. At first glance “Pay 3 to put target rebel card from your graveyard on the bottom of your library” seems pretty nonchalant but is actually Lin Sivvi’s best ability. Provided enough lands you can abuse whichever rebels you need to buy time and gain small amounts of value over your opponent over and over again.

Offensive Guerrilla Warfare 

I first considered Reveille Squad as a defensive card but the more I’ve seen it in play the more I’m convinced that it is an offensive enabler. It allows you to attack out with your team and harass your opponent’s life totals while still having a fall back and defend option when its not your turn.

obelisk of urd

 

Cho-Arrim Bruiser and Whipcorder do great harm in tapping down your opponent’s creatures so they can’t block. This seems like its not worth the time when your attacking in with 2/2s and the like, but being in white gives Sivvi access to all of the best anthem effects in the game. When you are attacking in with an army supported by multiple anthem buffs it is actually a lot of damage. The new M15 card Obelisk of Urd only strengthens this ability.

Mirror Entity

The most powerful offensive card in this deck is mirror entity. This is the part where you untap and kill your opponent. When you have five or six rebels out with Entity you can grow your team to astronomical proportions in addition to your anthem buffs. Bam! You just one shot one of your opponents.

If for some reason you can’t go the mirror entity route there’s still tools like True Conviction to get you there. Even if you don’t kill your opponents with the doublestrike the lifelink usually should be enough to sustain you until you can kill them.

I’d imagine that Soul of Theros from M15 would be a reasonable finisher in comparison to True Conviction. You might doubt Sivvi’s power to generate mana but remember that there is always Nykthos,Shrine to Nyx. Sivvi along with her rebels and white anthems can really add to that devotion count. Generating +10 mana with Nykthos is not unreasonable.

What other tools do we have besides Nykthos?

I stress not putting too many creatures in your deck. Sivvi will find them, trust me. If someone tries to troll you with Aven Mindscensor troll them right back with a Zealot il-Vec.

White has access to some of the best hate cards in the game, so that might be a good place to start if your meta is leaning heavily in one direction.

White can often fall behind in the mana production category compared to other decks so big money makers like Caged sun and extraplanar lens are musts in your deck. Pro tip on the extraplanar lens: run snow lands so that your opponent’s can gain the extra mana from tapping a normal plains.

Some folks might like to run a armageddon, and I wouldn’t blame them; white has to leverage its inability to ramp forward to keep up with the many splash-green decks in the format. I’d stay away from it personally because Lin Sivvi does nothing when you have no access to mana. The only time an armageddon would win you the game is if everyone else has nothing and you think you could ride the game out on four 2/2s. Stick with cards like land tax and expedition map so that you can increase your hit rate of Nykthos and other specialist lands like Cavern of souls.

The best artifact is possibly Thousand-Year Elixir because it allows your rebels to find other rebels which can find other rebels the turn they come out provided you have the mana. The untap a creature ability is also +1 pure value. This can be somewhat important if there are multiple wrath spells.

Playing wraths is totally fine in this deck. While you value your creatures Sivvi can rebuild in a modest amount of time so it is OK to cause symmetric destruction.

How does Sivvi interact with other decks?

While I don’t consider this deck tier 1 it does hold its own in a competitive metagame. I’d consider this deck best played in an environment that isn’t too fast. Generally speaking the more lands that this deck has in play the more powerful it becomes in comparison to other decks at the table. Lin Sivvi can buy time with her disruption to get you to this point, but has little ability to interact with non-creature based combo decks (pure blue decks come to mind). Ideally when you are playing Lin Sivvi you want each other deck at the table to be competitive enough to be able to disrupt the other competitive decks. In a weird way being the ‘worst deck at the table’ is a benefit to you because people might undervalue what you are doing and expose themselves to more of your attacks.

Magical Christmas land for Lin Sivvi comes when the metagame is full of decks that are trying to win through simple combat steps. Lin Sivvi can’t stop a charging Craterhoof behemoth with a team behind it, but guys without trample will easily get picked off by Sivvi’s rebels.

Let’s break it down a little further

Blue is possibly best situated against Lin Sivvi. It’s access to cyclonic rift and other mass bounce spells are some of the most effective ways of getting rid of all the time and energy spent by the Lin Sivvi deck in developing it’s board. The greatest advantage that blue has is that usually they don’t employ heavy creature strategies. Lin Sivvi feeds of being able to interact with creatures. It creates a buffer where the hard work in developing synergy within the rebel deck leads to a greater production in 2/2s and 3/3s that don’t do much of anything compared to other matchups where those creatures have more meaning.

White has a bad and grindy matchup against Lin Sivvi. Usually they are playing creatures or small pesky fliers or trying to reanimate stuff with a black splash, and Sivvi has answers to the black splash. Creatures are good, more opportunities to search out a reveille squad and play attack and defense while maintaining maximum value. Cards like planar cleansing can pack some heat, but that’s symmetrical damage. Sivvi can rebuild from that. I’d say the biggest hoser coming out of white has to be rest in peace. If the rebels on the board die they don’t come back and Sivvi will eventually run out of ammunition to tutor for. When stuff like Children of Korlis gets exiled that’s pretty bad for sivvi’s ability to sustain her life total in grindy matchups. Sivvi is going to try to tempo out and play anthems against white, while the enemy white deck is going to try its best to disrupt this.

Red can be absolutely terrible. Stuff like pyroclasm is great or ineffective at destroying Sivvi’s tempo depending on whether or not there is an anthem effect on board. In corner case scenarios I could see Sulfuric Vortex being a major problem card for Sivvi because it turns of Children, but Vortex is such an anti-political card that it would probably do more harm than good. Cards like Blasphemous Act are clean sweeps against this deck, but there are a few rebels that can give themselves protection from red to dodge out of it. If I’m playing red and I’m looking to kill Sivvi I might think I could race, but remember that Sivvi has thermal glider which can really put an end to that. If you can swarm, swarm. If you can cause enough indirect damage to one shot sivvi go for it. But please don’t try to attack with only 2 or 3 guys. It is not enough and exactly what Sivvi wants you to do.

I’d expect black to be either totally fair or totally unfair against Sivvi. Sivvi has lightbringer that can disrupt some shenanigans but black has ways to work around this and recur their threat through Sivvi’s hate. If the black deck is a combo deck then Sivvi has nearly no chance unless Sivvi chooses to beat the black player in the face each turn. Sivvi just isn’t fast enough to pressure down a dedicated black based combo deck. Beyond leyline of the void I don’t see much tech coming from black that would totally blow out Sivvi, but debatably black doesn’t need to hose Sivvi. Black can usually just win from its own game plan faster than Sivvi can beat it down.

Green seems to be a straight up race. Green’s ability to create massive swaths of creatures and add trample where appropriate seems really difficult for Sivvi to combat. If the green player is smart and wants to just burst Sivvi’s bubble he can beat down on her each turn. Even though Sivvi can go and find Children and heal herself each turn this is valuable time being lost not searching up other rebels and building a board presence. Eventually the green player will overrun the rebels and destroy Sivvi. Try not to butt heads with the green player. There is a world where Sivvi can perfectly curve out and get the right amount of anthems she needs to score a touchdown deep inside the red zone but I wouldn’t count on it.

The greatest travesty that a Sivvi can face is having their manabase disrupted. Destroying Nykthos or assembling the Crucible of worlds and strip minecombo are really solid routes to go when fighting Sivvi. When you put Sivvi off lands you put Sivvi away from her rebels. When the rebels can’t group up the rebel deck dies. So if you want to pack any serious heat for Sivvi just run flashfires.

Why should I build Sivvi?

If your metagame is full of fair decks this deck is totally worth building. Its pretty cheap; all the rebels cost next to nothing though you might have to find some on the internet if your card store doesn’t have an expansive collection. Even the white EDH staples and anthems shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. The reprint route is great as well. The must have cards beyond the rebels are Nykthos, Thousand Year Elixir, and obviously a sol ring. From there you have lots of freedom to build to combat your own metagame.

If you are a fan of white weenie this is the deck for you. It embodies everything the archetype has ever stood for.

Questions? Suggestions? Concerns?
@hayesthehayes

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