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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Jul 02 2014 11:00am
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Welcome to another edition of Becoming a Modern Man!  In this article I will be taking a look at a WR Genesis Chamber deck.

There's quite a lot going on here so let's take a look a closer look in the deck tech.



Norin the Wary
Norin the Wary
Oddly enough this cowardly fellow is actually the star of the show.  Norin's innate ability to flee the battlefield and then return is pretty much the basis of the entire deck.  Norin combines with the Soul Sisters, Champion of the Parish and Genesis Chamber to provide you with sizeable benefits on his return to the battlefield.

Soul WardenSoul's Attendant
Soul Warden/Soul's Attendant
The Soul Sisters are already the stars of their own deck but they make a cameo here.  The Soul Sisters reward you with 1 life for each time a creature enters the battlefield.  This combines well with both Norin (who leaves the battlefield nearly every turn) as well as Genesis Chamber as you will gain life from both your own and your opponent's activations of the Chamber.  The life gain isn't essential to the deck, there are no Serra Ascendants in the deck, but it does help keep you alive and make your opponent's life more difficult.  The other bonus of the Soul Sisters is that they are both Humans which means they can pump the next card I am going to discuss, Champion of the Parish.

Champion of the Parish
Champion of the Parish
Champion of the Parish is another good friend of Norin's.  As Norin is a human whenever he leaves and returns you get another +1/+1 counter for your Champion which soon racks up to make him pretty huge.  It's not unusual to go Turn 1 Champion into Turn 2 Norin, put a +1/+1 counter on Champion, attack with Champion - Norin is exiled, Norin returns, put a +1/+1 counter on Champion.  In that scenario you already have a 3/3 that is going to keep on growing - also if you have a Soul Warden or other one drop in hand you get a 4/4.

Ajani's Pridemate
Ajani's Pridemate
The Pridemate is a cast off from the Soul Sisters deck.  Much like Champion he racks up +1/+1 counters but the Pridemate racks them up off Soul Sister activations which can allow for much quicker growth.  Unfortunately, he doesn't combine amazingly with Genesis Chamber as giving your opponent's chump blockers make the Pridemate somewhat less effective.  I have some mixed feelings about Pridemate in the deck.

Mentor of the Meek
Mentor of the Meek
White and Red are not the best colours for card draw, as such we have Mentor of the Meek who provides a rather unique draw engine for the deck.  Mentor allows you to draw a card whenever a creature with 2 power of less enters the battlefield.  This means he triggers for Norin as well as Genesis Chamber tokens - if you put this trifecta together you can draw a crazy amount of cards.

Ranger of Eos
Ranger of Eos
Ranger of Eos is a very important source of card advantage in this deck.  It allows you to tutor up any two of the various one-drops in the deck, be it more Soul Sisters, a Norin or perhaps a Champion.  There are a variety of combinations you can go for with each having their own advantages.  There are also a couple of one-of tutor targets for the Ranger which I will discuss below.

Grim Lavamancer
Grim Lavamancer
The Lavaman is a very powerful one-drop and a frequent feature on Becoming A Modern Man.  Lavamancer can be fetched up to finish off the opponent with a few shots to the dome or to pick up problem creatures.  I actually added Arid Mesa to the deck in testing just to make Lavamancer a little bit better as this deck doesn't actually but many cards in the graveyard of its own accord.

Legion Loyalist
Legion Loyalist
Legion Loyalist is our other one-of tutor target.  Games can often get down to board stalls with this deck.  Loyalist providing first strike and trample to your guys is pretty tasty but that last line of text (which to be honest I didn't read for a long time) means your opponent's Myr tokens cannot block any of your creatures - the trample also allows you to get past other chump blockers with your large Champion of the Parish or (Ajani's Pridemate).

Purphoros, God of the Forge
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Norin's latest travels have led to an allegiance with the Theros God Purphoros.  Purphoros is a powerful card in this deck, dealing out 2 damage to your opponent each time a creature enters the battlefield means you get triggers off Norin, Genesis Chamber tokens and any other creature entering your side of the field.  The damage from Purphoros racks up pretty quickly.  It's a nice way to get through a potential board stall, or an Ensnaring Bridge as has happen in the past, and is also a way to kill Planeswalkers if required.  There aren't a lot of ways to successfully interact with Norin + Purphoros so it's a nice consistent source of damage that can easily take down the game.  Purphoros' other ability to give your guys a +1/+0 boost is also very relevant went you have an army of 1/1 Myr tokens.  Pushing through that extra damage can be very important.

Overall, I've not be greatly impressed with Purphoros.  I want it to be good and when you have Norin it is pretty nice but otherwise generally it's an overly expensive card that does nothing, or very little, the turn you play it.  I feel if it triggered off your opponent's creatures entering the battlefield as well as your own it would be a whole lot better but as is it feels very clunky.  I often find myself sideboarding it out as it feels very slow and 3 definitely seems like the wrong number - I think I would rather just play 1.


Genesis Chamber
Genesis Chamber
Genesis Chamber is a very interesting and powerful artifact that has never really quite found its niche.  The first problem with Chamber is that you need to play it early to get maximum advantage out of it but it doesn't usually net you an advantage the turn you play it.  The second problem is the effect is symmetrical and so your opponent can take advantage of it too.  It's sort of like Howling Mine in the sense that you want to run it out on turn 2 but your opponent will be the first person to take advantage of it.  Here a lot of the down sides are negated, at least as much as possible, with the Soul Sisters rewarding you for creatures entering your opponent's side of the field and Norin making sure you get a creature into play every turn.

Blasting Station
Blasting Station
Another interesting artifact from Mirrodin Block.  Blasting Station isn't amazing in this deck but once you have a Genesis Chamber in play you can start firing your Myr tokens at opposing creatures or to the dome if necessary.  I haven't been overly impressed with Blasting Station but it has certainly come in handy on occasion and there are certainly enough 1 toughness creatures in Modern to make it worthwhile.


Path to ExileLightning Bolt
Path to Exile/Lightning Bolt
Being White and Red we have access to two of the most powerful removal spells in the format.  However, as this deck is all in on its combo pieces it doesn't run the full removal suite available.  Certainly if you find yourself running into a lot of problem creatures then you might want to consider upping the numbers but generally, much like Soul Sisters, this deck is about flooding the board and overwhelming the opponent rather than heavy removal.


Cavern of Souls
Cavern of Souls
This deck gave me the opportunity to pick up my first copies of Cavern of Souls.  Cavern is obviously a great card in any tribal themed deck.  This deck is largely made up of humans so Cavern can keep your Humans uncounterable and also fix your mana occasionally.


Blood MoonBrave the ElementsStony SilenceSuppression FieldRest in PeaceWear/TearRule of LawPath to ExileSoul's Attendant

  • Blood Moon is a very powerful non-basic hate card.  As we are running a lot of basic Plains it really doesn't hurt us too badly while it can be backbreaking against some decks.  I might actually think about going up to 3 in the board because it is a really good card, though it seems like a lot of decks are a bit more basic savvy these days.
  • Brave the Elements is a card that I don't really like in the sideboard.  A good number of our creatures are white but far from all of them.  It's much less likely to set an alpha strike through blockers here as we aren't making white tokens and Genesis Chamber provides our opponent with colourless blockers.  Not a massive fan.
  • Stony Silence is a very effective hate card against artifact heavy decks.  Tron is the big hit here as the deck can really struggle if it cannot crack it's Chromatic Spheres, Expedition Maps and Oblivion Stones.  It can also be decent as a hate card for Birthing Pod, forcing the deck to play fair.
  • Suppression Field is a nice hate card that is useful in multiple situations.  It prevents Splinter Twin/Kiki-Jiki combos going infinite thanks to having to pay 2 mana per iteration.  It also works nicely to slow Birthing Pod, makes cracking Fetchlands come at a cost and makes Tron's artifacts a lot less effective.
  • Rule of Law is an anti-Storm card for the most part.  Not sure running one copy does a great deal.
  • The extra Path to Exile comes in against any deck where you need that extra removal.  It's particularly useful against combo decks like Twin and Pod.
  •  The extra Soul's Attendant is nice when life gain is important such as against Aggro decks and Burn.


Our first matchup is against RG Tron, which along with Scapeshift seems to be seeing a resurgence with the popularity with Birthing Pod.  This matchup seems quite good as they do very little to interact with us, allowing us to set up our combos largely unhindered.

Our second matchup is against UR Delver, a deck I took a look at a couple of articles back.  This matchup was a lot of fun.  Obviously to some degree we have the same game plan with them looking to flood the board with tokens with Young Pyromancer and us looking to do the same with Genesis Chamber.  I think it's the tempo game that can really get you as if they stick an early Delver and Remand your spells and bounce your creatures you are going to struggle.  However, we have a lot of cheap creatures and ways to prolong the game through life gain that certainly help us keep the game going.  I think if you are able to stabilise with a good board state you have a good chance but UR Delver is a crafty deck and can certainly pull out unexpected wins.

Our third matchup is against Scapeshift.  This seems like a really bad matchup but actually turned out to be a lot closer and more interesting than I expected.

Our fourth match is a rather crazy matchup against a Burn at the Stake Storm deck.  We gain some crazy amounts of life in this match from our Soul Sisters.  The match was very entertaining as we both try and flood the board with tokens.

As I was writing this article, another list popped up in the Dailies going 4-0.  Let's take a look at KabukimanX's list:

There a few interesting bits of technology in here.  The first one that springs out is the inclusion of Swords.  With Genesis Chamber spewing out 1/1 tokens this deck seems like a decent home for a Sword or two - though in the same vein the symmetrical effect of the Chamber does potentially give your opponent a lot of colourless 1/1s to chump with.  Worth testing but not sure how good the Swords are in this deck.  Kher Keep is another nice bit of tech as a way to get additional Soul Sister or Mentor of the Meek activations. 

Main deck Suppression Field is an interesting bit of pre-board hate which might be a good metagame call against Birthing Pod, Splinter Twin and Tron decks.  Not a good combo with the Swords though.

I have enjoyed playing this deck but overall I feel like it's all a little bit too cute.  There are a lot of very cool interactions in the deck and it's certainly a lot of fun when it gets going but I can't help but feel that straight Soul Sisters is the superior way to go if you are looking for a competitive deck.  The deck is slightly more resilient against board sweepers I guess, thanks to Norin and Genesis Chamber, but generally the deck struggles to put away games quickly and the longer they go on the more likely it is that your opponent can find an answer.  Interesting deck and certainly one that can catch opponent's off-guard but unlikely to be a big player.


Man, Cavern of Souls is the by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 07/02/2014 - 18:21
Kumagoro42's picture

Man, Cavern of Souls is the FIRST land you have to tap every turn, not the last. :)

Nice deck, make you want to play it (Soul Sisters superior? I don't think it has ever been more than a Tier-2 deck in the meta, and it's certainly more fragile than this – not to mention duller to play with).

Were you sideboarding out Mentor of the Meek? You never played one in all those games.

Also, I'd like to hear your audio commentary on live games. Are you afraid that talking while playing would be too distracting? It might be, but on the other hand, it would be a more relaxed comment, given the natural pauses of a live game, compared to the frenetic nature of a replay, where you have to talk really fast to keep up on what's happening. Plus, it'd be interesting to see you analyze the opponent's deck and your answers to it on the fly.

Thanks for the comment Kuma! by olaw at Thu, 07/03/2014 - 12:00
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Thanks for the comment Kuma! Greatly appreciated.

Immediately after this I played a few matches with my old Soul Sisters list and didn't have a very good time. I'm sure it used to be at least a minor contender but it's fair to say it was never Tier 1. The reason I say I prefer Soul Sisters is that it closes out the game which is my main gripe with this deck. The combos are very cool but it's just not very good at closing things out even once it is in the ascendancy.

Mentor of the Meek is one of the cards I was siding it fairly frequently, though 2 Purphoros were always the first to go, I think I usually kept at least one in. For me it's one of the least essential pieces but I could be wrong. It's fairly awful spending 3 mana for a 2/2 that sometimes provides no benefit but I suppose that's the risk of the card. I had a game against Tron where Mentor was insane but I think against removal heavy decks he doesn't tend to last long. Maybe I should have stuck with him a bit more but I haven't had too much luck with him.

I've had a few people ask me about doing live videos. I'm not afraid to do them, though they do have their own unique set of challenges, I'm more concerned about my laptop's ability to record and upload them. Uploading the 6-10 minute videos I currently put up can take 20-30 mins so I can't imagine what a full length match might take. I'm definitely willing to give it a go though so I'll see what I can do.

Purphoros can be a win con by Paul Leicht at Thu, 07/03/2014 - 13:45
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Purphoros can be a win con sitting on the board as long as you have a continue flow of tokens. They don't even have to survive as long as they can deal damage on entry. That said, get 5 tokens down with some mana up and have them cross the red zone and thats all she wrote because Purphoros also has a mass pump that people often forget.

I'd say it takes a certain state of mind to use the God appropriately though. It may be that this deck isn't quite the one because of the play style it encourages.

I think you could try two by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 07/03/2014 - 15:20
Kumagoro42's picture

I think you could try two slightly different routes with this deck. One is going the Purphoros route. As it is, it might be correct to just use 1, but a version of the deck that uses 3 may be conceived. You'd need some other token generators in main deck, possibly Spectral Procession and/or the new Triplicate Spirits with convoke.

The other route is to keep the Pridemate/Champion routine fueled by Norin and the Sisters, and add green for Rancor (or maybe even one Nylea).

You can even try both and add green for both Rancor and Awakening Zone (which is a powerful card that never finds a home).

I won't suggest Bitterblossom just now. :)

If you are building around by olaw at Thu, 07/03/2014 - 16:12
olaw's picture

If you are building around Purphoros you could even have Young Pyromancer and then Dragon Fodder and Krenko's Command just to have lots of ways to make multiple creatures. Then you could run Spectral and Triplicate Spirits to round it out. Though I guess that's slightly less resilient to removal than a Genesis Chamber base.

Glad somebody got around to by Procrastination at Wed, 07/02/2014 - 20:27
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Glad somebody got around to an in-depth break down of this deck. I run into it every so often online and depending on which deck I'm using, the match up can range from a cake walk to frustrating.

I think your conclusion that the longer the game goes, the worse the situation can be for this deck is not entirely accurate. In some match ups, this deck WANTS the game to go long. The Norin deck is all about momentum. It wants to hit a critical mass of threats/life gain that the opposing deck can't overcome. This gives it a nice match up against "fair" decks that can't keep up with the incremental gains. On the other hand, decks that can do "unfair" things, such as go infinite or combo out Turns 3-4, force this deck to win at a pace that it can't adapt to very well.

I think adding Red to the Soul Sisters shell gives it more power. It opens up a range of removal and sideboard cards that the mono white deck doesn't possess. In my opinion, the deck is held back by its lack of an "agreed upon build". That sounds boring, but even the builds doing well still differ on a balance between neat tricks and streamlined play. If "A little bit too cute" can turn to "Powerful tricks that are hard to counter" then this deck can really be a contender.

A great choice to write about. As always, keep up the solid work!

- Gio

Thanks for the comment, by olaw at Thu, 07/03/2014 - 12:18
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Thanks for the comment, Gio!

The deck is definitely one that can be frustrating to play against. Knowing that attacking will only lead to more tokens being generated and life being gained can be very frustrating. You're right that it's these little incremental advantages that really make the deck tick.

In terms of long games, you're right that the deck likes a long game in the sense that your board tends to become increasingly favourable the longer things go, however, my concern is with the inability to close games. I think in my match against RUG Twin there was a game where I had to upperhand for a very long time but my inability to finish things off just let my opponent draw Splinter Twin and win. I think the matchup against Birthing Pod is quite good until they stick a Birthing Pod or find their combo pieces - which is more likely to happen if you can't finish the game quickly. Even outside of the unfair/combo decks giving your opponent turns to draw cards means they are more likely to find Anger of the Gods or Oblivion Stone or various other cards that can lose you the game.

I agree the deck has a lot of potential and it's almost funny how effective Norin the Wary can be in a format as powerful as Modern. I'm sure the lists for this deck could become more tuned, however, I just don't think the cards are quite there to make it a real contender. Let's face it, cards like Mentor of the Meek and Purphoros were not exactly pushed for power level. Imagine if Purphoros cost 2 mana or even 1 mana - then we might be talking. It would be nice to see more support for this kind of archetype.