Basically, whenever you play a Spirit (or Arcane) spell, Tallowisp allows you search your deck for an Aura card and add it to your hand. Does Tallowisp trigger itself? Sadly, the wording of its ability doesn't allow it to count itself when it enters the battlefield, since it already has to be on the board for its ability to take effect. However, it has a 1/3 body for 2 mana, which is relevant, especially in Modern with all of its 2-power creatures.
Tallowisp is already a decent card on its own, and it calls for decks to be built around it. But it's also a Spirit. After Shadows Over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon, Spirit creatures are more relevant than ever. I figured, I always wanted to try Spirits in Modern, so why not see how an Aura build built around Tallowisp would work out.
There have been some successful brews in the past built around Tallowisp. They were actually some decent decks. One that particularly caught my attention was this Modern Bant Tallowisp Shoal deck that utilizes Shining Shoal and Unflinching Courage. As cool as it sounded, it wasn't really the flavor I was going for with my deck.
I wanted to keep the deck in two colors and make it purely tribal. I wanted to go all in to make it work. At first, I considered build a Geist of Saint Traft deck, but as I looked over the newer Spirit creatures, I actually decided to go a much different direction.
U/W Tallowisp Aura Spirits (Modern & Casual)
4 Mausoleum Wanderer
3 Selfless Spirit
2 Spell Queller
3 Drogskol Captain
Non-Creature Spells (28)
2 Ethereal Armor
4 Path to Exile
3 Hyena Umbra
3 Azorius Charm
2 Steel of the Godhead
1 Angelic Destiny
4 Flooded Strand
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Prairie Stream
Some Quick Thoughts on the Deck
While I love Geist of Saint Traft, I didn't want the deck to be too one-dimensional, even with a Hexproof Geist to load up with Auras. The 4/4 Angel that you get when the Geist swings is nice, but I felt building around him would just be too inconsistent. So I decided to spread the Spirit love around.
Mausoleum Wanderer is really, really good. It's good against Burn and Control, especially when it grows to 2/2 or 3/3. As a consistent one-drop it can mess up quite a few decks. Heck, against Tron it can stop Ancient Stirrings! It's so versatile in the Modern format, and while people who have already played Spirits in the format know this, it's not really well-known JUST how good this guy is!
Rattlechains is sweet. Not only does he make you able to cast Spirits at instant speed (oh hi, instant speed Wanderer!) but when he comes into play, you can make a target Spirit hexproof. This is super important against all of the removal in the format.
Everyone knows how good Selfless Spirit is. Making your dudes indestructible is just really, really good.
Notice how all these Spirits so far have flying? That's awesome, because even though 1 or 2 points of damage doesn't seem relevant, it all adds up!
Tallowisp is the card in this deck that inspired me to build it in the first place. I had four copies initially, but I found 3 was probably fine. The tutor ability is extremely relevant and I activated it every game I played this deck. Also, being a 1/3 means it walls 2 power creatures all day! Also, it's actually pretty good to suit up with the Auras, as I found.
Spell Queller was just too good to not include. Not only is he a quasi-counterspell, but a 2/3 flyer is awesome. I only needed two copies at first, but I may adjust this number later.
One inclusion that you probably wouldn't expect is Drogskol Captain. The cool thing about him is he pumps your other Spirits by +1/+1 and gives them hexproof. He doesn't give this to himself, but if you get two Captains on board, this deck becomes EXTREMELY hard to deal with. With everyone in this deck except Tallowisp able to fly, it's pretty awesome.
So what do we seek out with Tallowisp? There are two copies of Ethereal Armor and three of Hyena Umbra. The first strike is important in many cases and Ethereal Armor just gets better and better with each Enchantment you cast. The Umbra has totem armor, which gives your guys an extra protection against removal.
Steel of the Godhead is a two-of and it's the second-best equipment in the deck. While white creatures only get the lifelink, blue creatures are unable to be blocked. White and blue creatures get both abilities and an additional +1/+1 for each color. It's pretty awesome.
The last Aura is Angelic Destiny. While this is not a card you'd typically expect to see in Modern, it is relevant. Getting +4/+4 and flying is good enough, but you get first strike, too!
To protect our gameplan, we have Path to Exile to deal with problem creatures. There are 3 copies of Remand to keep up our tempo, too. I like these better than Mana Leak in this deck, as the extra card really helps. There are also 3 copies of Azorius Charm. I chose the Charm because of its versatility. It can draw you a card, give your creatures lifelink, or bounce a creature to the top of an opponent's deck. The lifelink really does matter, too, especially against burn and aggro.
The mana base is extremely simple. Prairie Stream is extremely good, believe it or not. You can even fetch it with Flooded Strand and the deck plays enough basic lands that it comes in untapped. I may adjust the mana base later on, but it seems pretty solid as symmetrical as it already is. Mystic Gate, the white/blue filter land, actually would probably be a good inclusion, but who wants to spend money on those?
This isn't a final version. It doesn't even have a sideboard! But it's already working extremely well in playtesting. I've been considering adding in a copy or two of Threads of Disloyalty, which can steal creatures with converted mana cost 2 or less. It's a nice target for Tallowisp. I may also throw in a copy of the Geist of Saint Traft, simply because an Aura-based deck doesn't feel complete without him.
While I'm not sure how it will hold up against the top 8 decks, I think it has a chance! For now, I'd say it's a purely casual deck, but it has the pieces to be a very, very strong Spirit deck if you decide to play "real" U/W Spirits in Modern.