Necessity is, as they say, the mother of invention.
I never had the Shoals or the Ghost Council to play Ghost Dad when it was new. I played versions of the deck that relied on other cards I could get, because what I really enjoyed out of the deck was things like pillory your three super huge dudes. Pillory and later Enslave were the reason I played the deck.
For a time I also played an Extended version of the deck that lived in the lovely realm where Phantom Centaur and Armadillo Cloak were legal side by side. Do you know how silly that was? A 7/5, trampling, lifelinked pro-black creature that would not die serving on turn four? It was magnificent!
Since returning to Magic Online, I’ve been playing out of the scraps I have in my collection, since I can’t really afford to sink money into buying a lot of newer cards. Back to the Tallowell I went, and came up with a list that ran blue-white to support its spirit/arcane theme.
The thing that’s sticking in my head about this is how some of these tools have to be played to be good. For example, in some casual circles, you deal with a large population of tempo decks, so maybe paying 2 mana for a Pacifism vs the 1 for Oppressive Rays may be a problem. Or maybe you deal with slower, utility areas so Arrest is even better, or maybe even Prison Term. If you already have a manabase that supports it – like you own UW Temples or Colonnades – you could choose a slower, beefier version with creatures like the Godhead of Awe.
Another thing I had to consider is the value of the Ordeals. The buff spell I’d been using for my own creatures was Ethereal Armour, but it was running alongside unimpressive creatures like Nibilis of the Urn.
Ultimately, the engine core of the deck is Tallowisp and about ten auras, alongside spirits and arcane spells. Some of the cuter arcane options include the blue and white shoals – which are, thanks to things like Legacy Ninja Bears, expensive – but there’s also creatures like Kira, Great Glass Spinner who can serve as a sort of backup Dragskol Captain.
Either way, it’s a blue-white spirit deck, with a low mana curve, that uses Tallowisp to fuel its card draw. It’s not great, but it’s certainly not going to anger people in the casual room. My version runs a set of Rune Snags, but only because I wanted a counterspell and I’m fond of that one.