Soul Warden + Soul's Attendant - Illustrations by Randy Gallegos & Steve Prescott

Soul Warden & Soul’s Attendant | Illustrations by Randy Gallegos & Steve Prescott

Have you ever had a song that, no matter what you do, gets stuck into your head, and you don’t know why? What If I told you of a strategy with the name of a song? Is it catchy enough for you?

If you don’t know what song I’m talking about, let me introduce you to Magic’s Soul Sisters. Today I’m going to go over this trendy archetype, how it came to be, and its signature cards.

Without further ado, let’s dive into this lifegain strategy!

What Are Soul Sisters in MTG?

Leyline of Vitality (Magic 2011) - Illustration by Jim Nelson

Leyline of Vitality (Magic 2011) | Illustration by Jim Nelson

Soul Sisters refers to Soul Warden and Soul’s Attendant, which both gain life whenever another creature enters the battlefield. While there were other effects like Essence Warden already printed, it wasn’t until both of the already mentioned white cards were Standard-legal at the same time that the name of the archetype became popular.

Honorable Mentions

Gala Greeters

Gala Greeters

Not quite a Soul Sister since Gala Greetersability only triggers once. It would be too powerful otherwise.

Inspiring Commander

Inspiring Commander

Technically a Soul Sister, but Inspiring Commander is only available on MTG Arena.

Mardu Woe-Reaper

Mardu Woe-Reaper

One mana? Check. Gains life? Check. What’s the problem, then? The exile clause makes Mardu Woe-Reaper too unreliable.

Underhanded Designs

Underhanded Designs

Underhanded Designs is a conditional Soul Sister effect for artifacts. It doesn’t make the list since it doesn’t trigger specifically for creatures.

Best White Soul Sisters

#18. Ajani’s Welcome

Ajani's Welcome

One of the first Soul Sisters effects introduced in the game is Ajani’s Welcome. It doesn’t have any additional effect other than the base “gain one life,” but it makes the cut as one of the precursors of the strategy.

#17. Anointer Priest

Anointer Priest

Also known as the Soul Sister for tokens, Anointer Priest is worse than it looks. But at least it has embalm, which can be relevant in some Pauper strategies.

#16. Answered Prayers

Answered Prayers

Answered Prayers does the job while usually being a 3/3 angel in a creature-heavy deck. I don’t think it’s Commander playable, but who knows? Answered Prayers is there to help you if you’ve run out of better Soul Sister effects.

#15. Archon of Redemption

Archon of Redemption

I like this more than the other Soul Sisters as it’s a big flier and does the job based on toughness, meaning that you can get more than one life per ETB. With that said, the catch on Archon of Redemption is that creatures need to have flying for its effect to trigger.

#14. Authority of the Consuls

Authority of the Consuls

I enjoy playing Authority of the Consuls as a one-of in control decks where it can shine against some matches like mono red or Gruul (). Unlike other Soul Sisters introduced so far, this card only triggers whenever a creature enters under your opponent’s control.

#13. Distinguished Conjurer

Distinguished Conjurer

Distinguished Conjurer has an interesting second effect because it can also be used in blink decks that feature Yorion, Sky Nomad.

#12. Drogskol Cavalry

Drogskol Cavalry

This Soul Sister for spirits that gains twice the life as your regular one, and can create its own creatures. Drogskol Cavalry has a steep mana cost but makes up for it in power.

#11. Pious Evangel

Pious Evangel

Pious Evangel reminds of Lunarch Veteran, as they have very similar abilities, and they both can flip. Not a bad card, but there are better ones coming up.

#10. Healer of the Pride

Healer of the Pride

Four times the mana of your regular Soul Sister and a bit more power and toughness may not be good enough for Healer of the Pride to take over one of the other cards already mentioned, but this one gains you two life instead of one.

#9. Kor Celebrant

Kor Celebrant

Kor Celebrant is another Soul Sister, but with more toughness.

#8. Impassioned Orator

Impassioned Orator

Impassioned Orator is another Soul Sister like Daxos, Blessed by the Sun, but way worse.

#7. Auriok Champion

Auriok Champion

Auriok Champion was one of the best sideboard cards in Modern for a while. Its second ability wasn’t irrelevant, but its selling point was its protection from black and red.

Sadly a better version came into Modern with Modern Horizons 2 in the form of Sanctifier en-Vec, so it’s no longer used in the format.

#6. Bishop of Wings

Bishop of Wings

In a nutshell, this is a Soul Sister for angels except it gains four life instead of one. Bishop of Wings is very popular in Pioneer right now thanks to angels being a viable strategy.

#5. Daxos, Blessed by the Sun

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun triggers when your creatures enter the battlefield and when they die. It also benefits from your devotion to white, which can give it decent stats.

#4. Lunarch Veteran

Lunarch Veteran

Lunarch Veteran is the closest card printed recently to resemble an old-school Soul Sister. The nice part is that its disturbed ability makes it more playable in formats like Pauper.

#3. Righteous Valkyrie

Righteous Valkyrie

If you’re looking for both an enabler and a payoff for lifegain, it’s Righteous Valkyrie. I’ve seen boards develop out of nowhere when players find two of these with Collected Company or Kayla’s Reconstruction.

#2. Suture Priest

Suture Priest

Suture Priest is interesting as it does the job of gaining life while punishing your opponents for playing creatures.

#1. Soul Warden + Soul’s Attendant

Soul Warden and Soul’s Attendant are the original Soul Sisters, and why the name gained popularity. I remember when this was Standard-legal and there was an infinite combo going around with Felidar Guardian and Restoration Angel.

Best Black Soul Sister

#1. Ayara, First of Locthwain

Ayara, First of Locthwain

Ayara, First of Locthwain is also known as the black Soul Sister. It reminds me of Blood Artist to some extent because of its drain ability, but the latter is much better.

Best Green Soul Sisters

#7. Orchard Warden

Orchard Warden

Simply put, Orchard Warden is the Soul Sister for treefolk.

#6. Prosperous Innkeeper

Prosperous Innkeeper

Prosperous Innkeeper is both a Soul Sister and ramp all in one, which is actually quite useful.

#5. Social Climber

Social Climber

Social Climber is a more aggressive Soul Sister.

#4. Verdant Sun’s Avatar

I like the art on Verdant Sun’s Avatar because it reminds me of Littlefoot from The Land Before Time. Other than that, it’s a big Soul Sister in green.

#3. Wolverine Riders

Wolverine Riders

Wolverine Riders is the Soul Sister for elves. It creates an elf that triggers its lifegain ability every turn.

#2. Leyline of Vitality

Leyline of Vitality

Similar to Ajani’s Welcome but in green, Leyline of Vitality enters the battlefield for free if it’s in your starting hand, and it buffs your creature toughness by one.

#1. Essence Warden

Essence Warden

Essence Warden is the green Soul Sister as an exact copy of Soul Warden. It’s also great because its ability triggers whenever other creatures enter the battlefield, regardless of who they belong to.

Best Multicolored Soul Sisters

#3. Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim

Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim

Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim is similar to Daxos, Blessed by the Sun, except that its second ability takes it out from your opponent instead of giving you life. Deathtouch is also hard to get past.

#2. Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves

Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves

 Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves is the Soul Sister for wolves. I don’t know if Soul Sister/wolf tribal is a thing, but this card is an excellent addition if you’re looking for something along those lines.

#1. Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice

Trostani, Selesnya's Voice

There isn’t much to say about Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice except that it’s a perfect commander for a Selesnya () Soul Sisters deck.

Best Soul Sister Payoffs

Heliod, Sun-Crowned

Heliod, Sun-Crowned

Heliod, Sun-Crowned becomes nearly unstoppable whenever other creatures enter the battlefield with a Soul Sister in play because you can start distributing +1/+1 counters.

Ajani’s Pridemate

Ajani's Pridemate

Creatures like Ajani’s Pridemate are the main reason why these kinds of strategies exist as cheap payoffs that threaten to end the game quickly if left unanswered.

Felidar Sovereign

Felidar Sovereign

I don’t have much to say. You win the game with Felidar Sovereign in play if you have enough life.

Archangel of Thune

Archangel of Thune

Similar to Heliod, Sun-Crowned, but Archangel of Thune is better in some scenarios since it pumps the entire field.

Ajani, Strength of the Pride

Ajani, Strength of the Pride

Ajani, Strength of the Pride can easily be a one-sided board wipe for four mana in a dedicated deck.

How Competitive Are Soul Sisters Decks?

Soul Sisters strategies have had their time in the sun, but they’re pretty easy to counter when cards like Rampaging Ferocidon exist. The strategy is often good, but hardly ever great for that reason.

What’s the Best Way to Counter Soul Sisters Decks?

Board wipes are an effective answer to Soul Sisters since they rely on creatures. Cards like Leyline of Punishment can also shut down these strategies.

Has Soul Sisters Ever Had a Notable Tournament Finish?

Soul Sisters can catch a metagame off-guard once in a while, but it’s rarely been a top-tier contender in many formats. For example, lifegain strategies became popular in Standard when Heliod, Sun-Crowned and Daxos, Blessed by the Sun were printed.

More recently the angels deck in Pioneer, Explorer, and Historic has become the standard bearer of lifegain strategies reminiscent of the original Soul Sister ones and is putting up the best results.

Wrap Up

Gala Greeters - Illustration by Bud Cook

Gala Greeters | Illustration by Bud Cook

Soul Sisters have been popular in most major Constructed formats ever since Soul Warden and Soul’s Attendant have been around. I doubt they’ll ever see play in the more powerful formats like Legacy and Vintage, but they’re bound to pop up once in a while everywhere else,.

What do you think? Do you agree with my list? Did I miss any key cards? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.

Have a nice day, and stay safe!

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