Brewing: Thalia’s Lieutenant in Modern Humans

It’s easy to focus on the big impact, independently powerful cards in Shadows Over Innistrad.  It’s also easy to write off the awkward tribal cards that seem to lack the proper support in Standard.  Thalia’s Lieutenant will not likely see much play in standard due to lack of incentive to play the human “tribe” but just might be exactly what a Modern humans deck needs.

thalia's lieu

Unlike Vampires or Werewolves, the human creature type is printed in nearly every set in the history of Magic.  In fact, many times, lords and other human strategies appear in an even more focused fashion (ie-Mayor of Avabruck in Innistrad, Human Warrior archetypes in Khans, and Human Ally archetypes in Zendikar).  Modern gives us an opportunities to combine all the incentives of playing the creature type human into one deck but some important pieces have been missing.

Take Modern Merfolk, for example.  The deck is strong because of the many copies of Lord of Atlantis and Master of the Pearl Trident that you can run.  This gives a pilot a great reason to run Merfolk creatures because every lord-type creature increases their value automatically.  We’ve got reasons to play humans because of cards like Champion of the Parish and Mayor of Avabruck but the core of this sort of deck is clunky at best without a good, catch-all 2 cmc lord.  Thalia’s Lieutenant gives us just that.

Rather than brewing the deck, I’d like to just start the discussion today.  Please share your brews in the comments if you’re feeling ambitious.

Why Humans?

There are TONS of tools that may encourage Thalia’s Lieutenant in Modern.  The main one that I can think of is Champion of the Parish.




Following a turn one Champion of the Parish (or a turn one Aether Vial into Champion of the Parish) with a Thalia’s Lieutenant is a strong start similar to a turn one Nacatal in to a fetch for Sacred Foundry but, unlike Nactal, both pieces will continue to grow into larger bodies as more humans show up.




Now consider these two potential lines of play…
Gather the Townsfolk


T1: Champion

T2: Gather the Townsfolk – Champion becomes a 3/3

T3: Lieutenant – Champion becomes 5/5, tokens become 2/2s (attack for 9 on T3)





T1: Champion

T2: Lieutenant – Champion becomes 3/3

T3: Thatcher Revolt – Champion becomes 6/6, Lieutenant becomes 4/4 (attack for 13 on T3)




On the play, worst case scenario is facing down an opposing Wild Nacatal and Tarmogoyf or Eldrazi Mimic and Thought-Knot Seer.  Either way, both of your non-token creatures in the second scenario outclass, if not, trade with the defenders.

I’ll leave just leave that there…

Modern-Legal Options

Let’s first consider the humans played in modern already:

Next, take a look at the other ‘lord’-type or ‘human tribal’ cards we have access to:

And some that are interesting to say the least:

Feeling overwhelmed?  I know I am…  This isn’t even all of them.  A keyword search for modern-legal cards with the creature type “human” will result in nearly 30 pages of results.  There’s got to be something there.

Additionally, consider these other three powerful enablers:

Here are a couple of cores that I came up with based on some of the most interesting interactions in this bunch.

RW Human Tokens

4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
2 Kytheon, Hero of Akroas
4 Champion of the Parish
4 Monastery Swiftspear
3 Keldon Marauders
2 Monastery Mentor
2 Abbot of Keral Keep

4 Gather the Townsfolk
4 Thatcher Revolt
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path to Exile

While admittedly a little light on non-creature spells to trigger prowess, this style promotes a very aggressive ‘go-wide’ type of attack beginning with one of 10 possible one-drop creatures to be followed by a Gather the Townsfolk or Lieutenant.  While the deck may be weak to bad draws/mulligans, with the right tools, it can play a very explosive aggressive game.

BW Humans

4 Champion of the Parish
4 Bloodsoaked Champion
4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
4 Dark Confidant
4 Orzhov Pontiff
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
2 Xathrid Necormancer

4 Gather the Townsfolk
4 Path to Exile

Bloodsoaked Champion is a fantastic resilient threat capable of putting a lot of pressure on your opponent in early turns.  It’s raid ability trigger’s Thalia’s Lieutenant’s +1/+1 so attacking into a larger enemy defender just might be worth paying the 1B post combat just to grow your Lieutenants once a turn.  Another great option is Orzhov Pontif, a fantastic utility stat boost for your team or one sided board wipe when your opponent is banking on their army of Lingering Souls to keep them alive.

GW Counter Humans

4 Experiment One
4 Champion of the Parish
4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
4 Mayor of Avabruck
3 Abzan Falconer
2 Warden of the First Tree
1 Mikaeus the Lunarch
2 Den Protector

This is my favorite option of the three.  There seems to be the most natural support for a more mid-range plan that culminates in an lethal attack over top via Abzan Falconer.  Experiment One and Champion of the Parish, which are naturally two of the best one drop options, contributes to this plan automatically by growing with +1/+1 counters from the start.  I might even consider a Hardened Scales or two in this sort of build.

Another option in this same style would be to go even further with the midrange plan and run the following package:


I’ll leave you with some fantastic sideboard options with the keyword “human” conveniently included somewhere on the card (some may be repeats from above).  Happy brewing!