Selesnya Auras was a deck always on the precipice of being a real contender after the release of Theros: Beyond Death, but it was just missing something. I loved playing the deck but it never felt as powerful as other decks in the meta. Then, Ikoria released and brought with it one of the most powerful abilities in recent times in Companion. One of the most powerful and prevalent of the Companion cards is Lurrus of the Dream Den, who showed his strength early in the RB Aristocrats decks, then moved on to flex his muscles in Jeskai Cycling. But is he the missing ingredient in making GW Auras a real metagame contender? I think so.
Note: This guide was prepared before the announcement of the ban announcement on June 1.
Selesnya vs Mono White / Orzhov / Abzan
I will start off with why I prefer GW over Abzan, WB, or even Mono White. Abzan has a very painful and slow mana base with more shocks and tapped lands and we don’t gain much from Black. “Hateful Eidolon, Dead Weight, Aphemia, the Cacophony and Kaya’s Ghostform” I hear you cry, but those cards aren’t that powerful except for Hateful Eidolon. Mono White has had some great success recently but giving up green cuts you off a lot of power that you can add to your deck for little cost. Cards like Season of Growth and Setessan Training create a huge card advantage engine, Paradise Druid fixes any mana issues and when combined with Sentinel’s Eyes creates a fantastic hexproof and vigilance attacker that is really hard for most decks to deal with. I have even had the situation come up often where the only way to deal with it was a sweeper, and I could tap the Druid for mana and cast a Karametra’s Blessing, even while having no untapped lands, to save it.
Dead Weight is a fine removal spell and castable from the graveyard with Lurrus to remove a creature a turn or make one weaker, but has no use when the opponent is not playing creatures small enough to be removed by -2/-2 and is basically a dead card. Warbriar Blessing is, in my opinion, a better removal spell and is never truly dead, even in match-ups where the opponent has no creatures. I can always just throw a Warbriar on something and it will still count towards my All That Glitters damage, power up a Starfield Mystic when it is removed, draw us a card with Season of Growth, or at the very least, boost my creature out of Deafening Clarion range.
Aphemia, the Cacophony is legendary so it’s clunky, even as a 2-drop. I know you can cast the multiple copies to legend rule sacrifice and make a 2/2 at the end of the turn, but at that rate you are just playing a bear that does not come into play instantly. It’s weak on its own since it can’t even block a 1/1, and it requires an enchantment or creature in the grave to make a token which you often won’t have available on the early turns where you want to play it. I also understand that you can follow up with it after a board wipe and it can be good in that scenario, but the negatives do not outweigh the positives for me.
Kaya’s Ghostform is a great way to protect your creatures and is re-castable with Lurrus to make your creature pseudo-unkillable but is that really what you want to be doing? It doesn’t give any power or toughness so it’s a pretty bad top deck, it doesn’t immediately impact the board in any way, and is only a card I would use as a flex spot for grindy matchups and would cut any other time. Taking all that into consideration, I just don’t think the splash or playing Black is worth it.
The Main Deck
Now that that is out of the way, this is my current preferred main deck and I love it:
This is a stock GW list and a shell that I just loved playing before Ikoria. The big change I made to the list was in removing Setessan Champion to allow Lurrus to be used as my companion. Setessan Champion is a great card and provides a ton of advantage, as well as a powerful threat, but he’s clunky in costing 3 and he’s also weak to board wipes and removal, and isn’t an immediate threat since he’s only a base 1/3.
Lurrus, on the other hand, lowers our mana curve, is great to cast after a board wipe, and allows us to recast everything in our deck from the graveyard except Karametra’s Blessing. We also always have access to Lurrus, making hands of Season of Growth, 2-3 lands, and powerful enchantments, a reasonable keep instead of an instant mulligan because we don’t have creatures. In that regard, he makes our deck much more consistent. He is also a 3/2 with lifelink so, on base stats alone, he is much more powerful. So Lurrus gets my nod of approval for this deck.
As a concession to Lurrus’s mana requirements, I cut three Forests to play three copies of Overgrown Tomb. I think this is fine as it’s only 3 shock lands and 2 life isn’t that big a cost and, since I only cut Forests, this doesn’t take away any consistency. Yes, we might be more consistent if I played more GW lands but all other GW lands come in tapped; we already play 4 tapped lands which I think is fine, but I don’t want any more. I want to be as on curve as possible; this is also why I don’t play any copies of Fabled Passage, and I don’t think any of the Triomes make the cut because 3 mana to cycle is a lot for this deck, and if we are in a situation where that is the best play then we are probably losing anyway.
The other notable change I made was the addition of Hushbringer to fill flex spots. I really like this change because Hushbringer shuts down so many threats in the current metagame, such as Agent of Treachery, which was a major problem for this deck before because the opponent could just steal our beefed-up threat and beat us over the head with it. Hushbringer also shuts down Cauldron Familiar, Daxos, Blessed by the Sun, Anax, Hardened in the Forge death triggers, the Titans enter the battlefield triggers, the Cavaliers, and Frilled Mystic. Given, they still get a body if a Titan escapes, as it will no longer sacrifice, or if a Cavalier hits the field, but often our creature we load up with enchantments will be much more intimidating than a 6/6 and we will often gain significantly more of an advantage than we would otherwise be losing. The list just goes on of how powerful this card is. It is also a 1/2 flier with Flying and lifelink, which makes it a decent blocker as well as a fantastic attacker with natural evasion when we load it up with enchantments and a protection spell or 2 and we have a great win condition. The only downside to playing it is it often shuts down our scry effect off of Season of Growth and, when a Alseid of Life's Bounty dies, we won’t get a Starfield Mystic trigger from it. We will still get triggers from regular enchantments entering the graveyard but that is a small sacrifice I am willing to make to play it.
Starfield Mystic doesn’t look it but it is a powerhouse; decreasing the cost of our enchantments and allowing us to double spell sooner is fantastic and, with Season of Growth in play, every Aura we play is 1 mana buff a creature and draw a card, allowing us to churn through our deck at a faster and more cost-efficient rate. Also, we don’t feel as bad “putting all of our eggs in one basket” because, if that creature dies, Starfield Mystic can get huge and then a single Setessan Training makes him the new threat. When you have him in play with Season of Growth, you will see how strong he is.
As I said before, Warbriar Blessing is one of the many fantastic reasons to play GW an is much better than a card like Dead Weight. But to reiterate in a bit more detail, it is a fantastic removal spell, especially with our abundance of creatures with lifelink. It also boosts some of our creatures out of Deafening Clarion and other damage-based removal range, and at its worst, it’s just another enchantment to make our All that Glitters slightly better, another cantrip when Season of Growth is in play, or just to put on an Alseid of Life's Bounty you then sacrifice to give Starfield Mystic two +1/+1 counters. I know other enchantments do all of that as well and they also give more power, but the flexibility of often acting as a removal spell makes it worthwhile.
Some players like Transcendent Envoy in Starfield Mystic’s spot and I can understand why, but there are a ton of situations where being able to cast Season of Growth for 1 can lead to game-ending turns. I know it is also has flying and can be a great win condition, but Starfield just provides more value when a creature we loaded up dies. Setting up turn 3s where we can cast, for example, a Season of Growth and All that Glitters, and still hold up a Karametra’s Blessing or a mana to activate Alseid of Life's Bounty is devastating as compared to just casting one spell. When you experience the difference in testing yourself, you’ll quickly understand why one is a rare and the other is uncommon.
With a deck this linear, I’d recommend keeping your sideboard as diverse as possible. I look for cards that take care of multiple threats in the meta rather than just target a single card or deck. I do this because you must be very careful taking too much from the main because it dilutes your game plan and makes the deck more inconsistent. So, only board in the most impactful cards. For now, my recommended starting board is as follows:
Devout Decree is great against all flavors of Aristocrats and Mono Red.
Ram Through is a great removal spell in this deck; a Rabid Bite at instant speed with a ton of utility. It can give us a weird pseudo double strike effect if we have a creature with trample, and allows us to gain basically double life off our lifelink creatures.
Destiny Spinner makes our entire deck basically uncounterable until it is removed, while being an enchantment creature that gets its cost reduced thanks to Starfield Mystic and does not need to be enchanted to gain indestructibility with Karametra’s Blessing, making it hard to remove. She also makes our lands into big threats in grindy matchups.
Soul-Guide Lantern is used for graveyard decks in general, but also has the added benefit of exiling Jeskai Cycling’s Graveyard, so Zenith Flare does not one shot us or our biggest threat.
Revoke Existence is my prime choice for artifact/enchantment hate because of its applications against Aristocrats. Since it exiles, it completely removes cards like Witch’s Oven from the game so they can’t recast them later. It’s really good versus the Lurrus enchantment mirrors, which have risen in popularity due to the mono white version’s recent success.
I think Glass Casket or some other sort of pseudo removal would be nice in this deck, but I haven’t really needed it because I get under the bigger creature decks so easily and gain so much life versus the other aggressive lists. Warbriar Blessing and Ram Through have been more than enough, but I can see adding some in if you really fear aggressive decks.
I encourage anyone who picks up this deck to tune it to their specifications; it is by no means set in stone and I change my boarding to what I feel like, what my opponents show me, and what I suspect them to have based on how my opponents play. Generally, I sideboard like this to give you a strong starting point:
|Jeskai Lukka||+2 Mystic Repeal|
+2 Revoke Existence
|-4 Warbriar Blessing|
|Jeskai Cycling||+2 Soul-Guide Lantern|
+2 Ram Through
|Temur Reclamation||+2 Mystic Repeal|
+2 Revoke Existence
|-4 Warbriar Blessing|
|Mono Red Aggro||+2 Devout Decree|
+2 Ram Through
|-4 Starfield Mystic|
|Rakdos Sacrifice||+2 Devout Decree|
+2 Soul-Guide Lantern
+2 Revoke Existence
+2 Ram Through
|-4 Warbriar Blessing|
-4 Starfield Mystic
|Flash Decks||+4 Destiny Spinner||-4 Hushbringer|
|Control Decks||+4 Destiny Spinner||-4 Warbriar Blessing|
I hope this guide was informative and useful. As always, I can be found streaming this and many other great decks on Twitch. Feel free to give me a follow on my social media for new lists, videos, updates, and memes. Until next time. Hero out!