The Rogue Report (Modern) – The House That Norin Built


Welcome back for another edition of The Rogue Report! I’m Cody and this week we’re going to be diving into one of my favorite rogue modern decks, R/W Norin (aka. R/W Soul Sisters). I’ve had this deck built time and time again and it proves to be one of the most fun decks I’ve ever piloted. I think the greatest part of this deck is it has so many different angles of attack. I’ll explore some of the different game outcomes a little later.

When most players hear Soul Sisters, they immediately think of a relatively under-powered strategy generally associated with newer players (I do not support this.) I think there are a few life gain builds that are able to compete in the ever-changing modern landscape; sometimes Martyr life comes up, sometimes Soul Sisters. The list that I like to refer to is a build that was slaved over for a couple years by creator Jessica Engelen of Thunder Bay. She was able to pilot this deck to first place in a modern PPTQ as well as top 8 of a Open in Thunder Bay, ON. Here’s the list from top 8 on Oct. 29th, 2016.

Lands (20)
4x Arid MesaGenesis Chamber
2x Cavern of Souls
2x Flooded Strand
2x Mountain
3x Plains
1x Rogue’s Passage
4x Sacred Foundry
1x Windswept Heath

Spells (12)
2x Gather the Townsfolk
2x Genesis Chamber
4x Lightning Bolt
3x Path to Exile
1x Return to the Ranks

Creatures (28)
3x Auriok ChampionNorin the Wary
4x Champion of the Parish
1x Legion Loyalist
2x Lightning Berserker
3x Norin the Wary
2x Purphoros, God of the Forge
3x Ranger of Eos
2x Soul Warden
4x Soul’s Attendant
4x Thalia’s Lieutenant

Sideboard (15)
1x Rift Bolt
1x Shattering Spree
1x Grafdigger’s Cage
2x Stony Silence
2x Ghost Quarter
2x Rest in Peace
2x Mark of Asylum
2x Blood Moon
2x Wear//Tear

Norin’s so fun! He just keeps running away! One of my favorite things about this deck is how different every game can be. From a competitive standpoint that usually isn’t the greatest thing but somehow this deck embraces the chaos. A couple examples of the madness I’ve personally experienced:

  • Stuck on two lands. Oh well, we had T1 Norin the Wary into T2 Genesis Chamber. Proceed to attack every turn with Norin the Wary and make some Myr minions. Add a soul sister (life gain creature) to the mix to aid in keeping alive. One benefit to this super soft-lock is Norin the Wary is VERY hard to interact with. I’ve only ever seen it die with my own eyes twice; a Keranos, God of Storms trigger, and a Liliana of the Veil edict effect. One downside to this plan is in the text of Genesis Chamber, whenever an opponent plays a creature, they also make a Myr token. Luckily, this will just help us in our life gain venture.
  • I’ve seen a few aggro draws from this deck that do a really good impression of a more focused aggro deck. Sometimes you just T1 Champion of the Parish into T2 1-drop, 1-drop T3 Any 1-drop + Thalia’s Lieutenant. Oh baby, those ones feel good.

Image result for purphoros god of the forge


There are some really neat subtle features of this deck that I want to discuss. First of all, the full soft-lock is Norin the Wary + Genesis Chamber + Purphoros, God of the Forge. Every turn Norin will attack and exile himself. At the end of the turn he will re-enter, triggering Purphoros, also triggering Genesis Chamber to make a Myr which also triggers Purphoros. A steady stream of chump blockers and at least 4 damage per turn is not bad at all. Additionally, in a late game situation as described, Ranger of Eos becomes very effective. If Purphoros, God of the Forge is not a part of the equation, sometimes attacking through is our route to victory. Rogue’s Passage (my subtle and only contribution to Jess’ original list) helps to accomplish this goal, but so does the sneaky “one-of-fun-of” Legion Loyalist. If we use Ranger of Eos to grab Legion Loyalist when the enemy has a force of Myr token chump blockers (compliments of our Genesis Chamber), don’t fret! Remember, battalion on Legion Loyalist says “can’t be blocked by creature tokens this turn”. Just be sure to attack with three creatures or more!

Another one of my favorite features of this deck is it’s resilience given a board stall. Champion of the Parish + dashing Lightning Berserker in and out (maybe not even attacking) can prove very effective. This will also help grow Thalia’s Lieutenant. The one of copy of Return to the Ranks can be absolutely devastating in combination with a Purphoros, God of the Forge, let alone the size of the Champion of the Parish, Thalia’s Lieutenant human squad that returns.

The 1x Rift Bolt in the sideboard here still makes me wonder but I just can’t quite put my finger on it.

This is a build from 2016, and I do want to mention that when I had first suggested Rogue’s Passage, Jess had x number of copies of Ajani’s Pridemate in the deck. I still think it is a good spot for the land, however in the past year or so I have also experimented briefly with Westvale Abbey. In the future I would maybe consider trying out Legion’s Landing, as I like having a land that can make Purphoros trigger every turn (while also chump blocking and gaining bits of life). However, it is slightly non-bo’ing with our Genesis Chamber (isn’t triggered by creature tokens). I’ve also loosely considered trying to stretch into Mardu to try something like this with Hidden Stockpile. Maybe getting a little too janky. Also, as a nod to Return to the Ranks in this list, I suggest considering  Dusk//Dawn as well.

This deck isn’t particularly cheap but is relatively competitive in the modern format. As stated before, this deck is incredibly fun to play and I recommend it to anyone for a local event or a Burn-heavy meta. Have any suggestions? Played against this type of deck before?

Let me know below!

Thanks again for reading, and if you have any comments, suggestions, or stories don’t be afraid to like and share!
A pleasure as always,



Cody McCowell

Cody McCowell

Cody is a magic player aspiring to one day play in the Pro Tour. He is enthusiastic about avid, competitive play and interested in off-beat strategies, multi-format grinding and competing in other CCG'S (Force of Will, Hearthstone, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Super).

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