All the Ways to Play Saheeli Rai

Saheeli Rai
Saheeli Rai is suddenly the most popular Planeswalker from Kaladesh!
What are different ways we can play her?

We’ve touched before on the Saheeli Rai + Felidar Guardian combo…

There are many ways you can achieve nigh infinite damage. You can start on Saheeli Rai on turn three and follow up with Felidar Guardian on turn four; you can play Felidar Guardian on turn six, “blink” one of your lands, and then play Saheeli Rai. In either case the planeswalker will copy the Cat Beast, which will then blink the planeswalker. Rinse and repeat.

This combo is exceptionally powerful. It can do an amount of damage with almost no ceiling.

The combo is so compact (maybe eight slots in a deck) that it can be “fit” into not just decks that are dedicated to the combo itself, but hybridized in other strategies. Here are three places you might see Saheeli Rai in the upcoming Standard:

  1. A Control Deck – This version will be full of cards like Disallow and Torrential Gearhulk. This looks to be the intuitive way to build the combo in Standard; the problem is that — aside from Felidar Guardian blinking Torrential Gearhulk, neither card is particular good with the other fifty-two.
  2. A Ramp Deck – Not necessarily a green deck… Inspiring Statuary or other artifacts can work here.
  3. A 187 Deck – This deck would play cards like Pilgrim’s Eye or other value-rich creatures. The advantage here is that both Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian can be synergistic with the other creatures in a deck. Maverick Thopterist, for instance, can protect Saheeli Rai with multiple bodies, and also enjoy copy- and blinking-based 187 synergies.

How to Fight Saheeli Rai

Far and away the most common, and mana efficient, spoiler to this strategy is the simple Shock. Its inclusion in Aether Revolt may be almost prophetic; Shock has always been super cheap and reasonably flexible… It can add “combo killer” to its roles as quick creature defense and pillar of The Philosophy of Fire.

Saheeli Rai drops to Shock range when she moves to copy a Felidar Guardian, even if you spent the previous turn ticking her up.

The combo can be vulnerable to other interaction and removal (even a 1/1 Walking Ballista, if well placed); and Felidar Guardian is just a creature, if four toughness.

The Kitchen Sink

You may have seen Hall of Famer Raphael Levy Tweet about “Team Top Level” …

Cheer Patrick and the rest of Team Top Level on at PT Dublin and all year. The rest of these guys include multiple Pro Tour winners and the reigning World Champion. Go Team Top Level!

Patrick and Mike apparently had about an hour to talk NBA prior to recording this week’s episode. The NBA chats are immortal on the Patreon feed. The whole thing is patrons-only but we excerpted a little Insta video anyone and everyone can enjoy / check out / share:

Bring it, Saheeli Rai!

Direct Download

Out with the Old, in with Felidar Guardian

Felidar Guardian
Felidar Guardian is going to enable [at least] one new infinite combo in Standard.

Bonus episode!

New busted engines and combo decks in Standard!

A new world order from at least two different directions!

But first, the bans…

We will certainly get to the powerhouse that is Felidar Guardian, but the reason Top Level Podcast recorded a new “emergency” episode this week is the bans. A ton of cards were banned in both Modern and Standard. We devote most of the podcast to the justifications, implications, and ramifications of the bans, but briefly:


  • Gitaxian Probe: This card probably had it coming for a long time; it’s hard to balance any card that costs exactly [only] one Phyrexian blue mana. It mostly just drew you into your Become Immense while reducing its mana cost for free. Infect will remain super viable (but will have lost a little juice, which is justifiable), but the jury is out on Death’s Shadow, Storm, etc. Mike predicts the big winner will be Affinity.
  • Golgari Grave-Troll: When this was recently un-banned, Cathartic Reunion had not yet been printed. Don’t look for Dredge to die completely in Modern. There are plenty of Dredge cards to replace this card, just at a downgrade. The graveyard will be “fine” … Just a little less powerful (which is fine).


  • Emrakul, the Promised End: “She is the problem.” -Patrick. If there were only one card to be banned, this would have definitely been the one.
  • Smuggler’s Copter: If you were only going to ban two cards, it should have been Emrakul and this one (so WotC got that right). Smuggler’s Copter, remember, is the first card in years to post thirty-two (32!!!) copies in a single Top 8.
  • Reflector Mage: Patrick’s argument around this ban is perfect and you really just have to listen to it. Reflector Mage isn’t the intuitive right choice for blunting U/W (heck, they don’t even always play it, as it has neither Flash nor Flying), but it is not only perfect but a contextually better choice than Spell Queller. Trust us… err… Patrick, rather.

The World According to Felidar Guardian

The spoiling of Felidar Guardian has caused unprecedented interest in Saheeli Rai. If for no other reason than that, banning this new card prior to Pro Tour Aether Revolt would be a disaster. So, they didn’t.

The simple combo is turn three Saheeli Rai, turn four Felidar Guardian. Saheeli Rai copies Felidar Guardian (with haste), the Felidar Guardian blinks and resets Saheeli Rai; rinse, repeat, attack for a ton.

The combo can also be accomplished cleanly on turn six by playing Felidar Guardian and blinking a land (so your two mana becomes three, or enough to cast Saheeli Rai). Infinite again.

Whether this combo wins Pro Tour Aether Revolt or not remains to be seen… But it will certainly be something Pros will be thinking about.

Your bonus episode, “Out with the Old, in with Felidar Guardian”:

Direct Download

Back Thursday, per usual.