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Judgment Day: Avacyn the Purifier EDH | *PRIMER*

Commander / EDH Aggro Competitive Multiplayer Primer Stoneblade Voltron



On Innistrad, the night was always dark and full of terrors. Humanity struggled against the monstrous forces that preyed on them, but were fighting a losing battle. However, with the help of the archangel Avacyn, they began to turn the tide and survive.

But now, due to the influence of a deranged planeswalker bent on revenge, Avacyn has gone utterly mad. She is convinced that the world will only be pure when its sin is burned away in cleansing fire - and she intends to put the entire plane to the torch.

Welcome to the Avacynian Inquisition.

No one escapes their sins.

No one escapes their past.

No one escapes judgment.

So! I saw the new Avacyn, and I loved the thematic consistencies of her abilities - the flavor is just out of this world. She also was a powerful threat with evasion, not to mention the sweet art, and I immediately decided I must make an EDH deck around her. This was one of the first decks on the internet to use her, and has an unusual approach.

The main difficulty in building around Avacyn is that her white side requires you to play many creatures to get value from the indestructibility, but that her red side is likely to kill them all.

However, she has proven to be a powerful Voltron general. Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas may be bigger, and Aurelia, the Warleader may be faster, but neither of them are stapled to a board wipe that clears the air before a swing. Her red side is one power away from a 3-hit-kill, although unfortunately she loses vigilance.

In terms of total damage output, there aren't many legendary creatures that can match Avacyn. Cards like Basilisk Collar that grant deathtouch or lifelink to Avacyn are invaluable: they act as a complete board wipe (leaving no blockers so Avacyn can swing in for a lot of damage), and will often give you a ridiculous advantage in life totals.

The most common strategy I’ve seen online for this commander is to prevent her from flipping in the first place, or to blink her in response to her damage trigger to save your creatures. I've had a large number of comments advising me to deconstruct my deck entirely and reconstruct it thusly.


Instead, this deck plays as an aggro/voltron hybrid, making it adaptable to both strategies, and surpassing many of the normal limitations of the two archetypes. This deck is optimized for a small multiplayer pod of 2 or 3 opponents, and the fusion of strategies makes the deck much more non-linear and fun to pilot than normal Boros decks!

AGGRO: When in aggro mode, cards like Silverblade Paladin, Aurelia, the Warleader, Waves of Aggression, and Serra Ascendant can take over the game. Especially with boosts from cheap equipment like O-Naginata, it's pretty easy to hit for fast, early damage.

VOLTRON: Not only does Avacyn have "haste" (you can cast her at the end of the previous player's turn then attack during your turn), she also has inherent evasion, so you don't have to waste slots to give it to her. Furthermore, most potential flying blockers are small, so when she flips, she will be able to attack unopposed. Other creatures can fulfill the voltron role too, of course, if Avacyn gets Arrested or distracted by the Song of the Dryads.

The common factor between these two modes is the reliance on equipment. With cheap equipment and tutors, any creature can become a legitimate threat. Equipment can be quickly cheated out by Sigarda's Aid, Stoneforge Mystic, Puresteel Paladin, et cetera.

However, to control the transition between these two “modes”, you need control over when your creatures die. For this reason, there are a significant number of utility creatures who sacrifice themself to flip Avacyn. The exact selection of these creatures is somewhat meta-dependent; my Maybeboard contains some other creatures to slot into this space.

You can also bluff using Avacyn: if any one of your smaller creatures dies, she becomes a much more deadly combatant while clearing the air of most blockers as well. For this reason, opponents often decide not to kill your utility/aggro creatures, leaving them free to dominate the board.

More specific information about specific cards and combos are in the next section.


As I've mentioned, Avacyn, the Purifier is the most reliable mass removal in the deck. Three damage hits many token armies, most small utility creatures, and most flying chump blockers.

To reliably flip her, though, I rely on self-sacrificing creatures. The exact combination of these creatures has rotated over time, but currently it balances protection (Benevolent Bodyguard), damage prevention (Kami of False Hope), control (Hope of Ghirapur, recursion (Restoration Specialist), removal (Silverchase Fox), acceleration (Generator Servant), card draw (Magus of the Wheel), and resilience (Selfless Spirit). Most of these cards can be fetched with Ranger of Eos and/or Recruiter of the Guard.

However, sometimes a mere three damage just doesn't cut it...

Basilisk Collar + Avacyn, the Purifier: As I've mentioned several times, deathtouch and lifelink are almost subthemes in this deck at this point, because of how good they are with Avacyn's transformation trigger. It's common to gain 100+ life as well as killing the whole board off of this combo.

Blasphemous Act + Archangel Avacyn  Flip: Blasphemous Act is cheap enough that I can cast it and Avacyn on the same turn, so that the board wipe becomes one-sided. It's also just perfect in terms of flavor: what's more "blasphemous" than the Angel of Hope becoming an omnicidal maniac? Plus, I've won games by combining it with Repercussion, hehe. Maybe I should add that back in...

Boros colors have always lacked the ability to draw cards. However, this deck somewhat mitigates this disadvantage:

Sword of Fire and Ice + Silverblade Paladin (or other double strike): This gives the deck extremely powerful and consistent draw, in addition to the relevant protection. Three cards per turn should accelerate you well above your opponents. And double Shocks can pick off many competitive commanders, or just two small utility creatures.

Scroll Rack + Land Tax: The infamous Legacy-playable combo is a staple in white decks, and is a strong contender for the strongest draw combo in the game. An Ancestral Recall every turn? Sign me up!

Puresteel Paladin is a beast by himself, giving extra cards and often free equips. A turn two Puresteel Paladin can often close out the game alone.

A janky combo I discovered recently: If you enchant Stoneforge Mystic with Gift of Immortality, you can tutor for Sword of Fire and Ice to shoot her and get a free tutor every turn.

And of course, Memory Jar, Magus of the Wheel, and Wheel of Fortune give major advantage when this deck frequently empties its hand by T4.

Winter Orb/Static Orb+Quicksmith Rebel/Sword of Feast and Famine: The two Orbs are strong mana lockdown cards already, and often guarantee victory when you've suited up your voltron threat. But paired with either of those two cards, the stax effect becomes entirely one-sided! It's difficult to lose once you've resolved any of these combos.

Note: I've chosen to not run any MLD cards in my mainboard. However, if you choose to add them, they'll significantly strengthen the deck.

Gift of Immortality + Hope of Ghirapur locks a given opponent out of casting non-creature spells. Similarly, Gift of Immortality + Kami of False Hope gives a continuous fog lock.

In fact, Gift of Immortality combos with every ETB and self-sacrificing creature in the deck, giving everything from 7 cards per turn to continuous protection/indestructible to repeatable tutoring opportunities.

To have a shot against competitive Tier 1-2 decks, despite the 5CMC commander, the list needs a lot of acceleration to keep up. Beyond the obvious mana rocks, there are several combos that can accelerate the deck's tempo to a competitive level:

Because Archangel Avacyn  Flip has flash, you can attack with a creature holding Sword of Feast and Famine, then cast Avacyn in two "installments" (ie tap two, untap, then tap 3 to cast her before the mana fizzles). This is an unexpected way to cast her much earlier than should be possible - turn three is relatively common with a good hand.

Generator Servant can allow me to cast my commander two (!!) turns early, and give her haste. I'm almost always glad when I draw it - even if I don't need the mana, it still is useful as a way to flip my commander. Even nastier, Gift of Immortality + Generator Servant is the second Sol Ring in this deck.

Sigarda's Aid + Stoneforge Mystic: Each card is fantastic on its own, but together they allow you to tutor, play, and equip any equipment in the deck for only . Stonehewer Giant does the same by himself, but costs much more mana and is vulnerable to removal. Notably, using this combo to cheat out Sword of Feast and Famine functionally doubles your mana.

And by cheating out Argentum Armor as early as T3 (even without any acceleration), you can functionally cast Vindicate every turn while swinging for 7 damage. Consider: Turn 1 Serra Ascendant (or any other 1-mana creature), Turn 2 Stoneforge Mystic, Turn 3 Sigarda's Aid and activate Stoneforge, swing for 7 and nuke a permanent.

For when beating face once isn't enough...

Sword of Feast and Famine + Waves of Aggression + Land Tax gives 4 combat steps per turn. Even without the Land Tax, Waves of Aggression transmutes late-game lands into significant advantage.

Sword of Feast and Famine + Seize the Day gives 3 combat steps, though it can only be activated once. Still, 3 combat steps should be enough to kill most players with commander damage, and it gives you triple Swords triggers.

Aurelia, the Warleader fulfills this role as well, in addition to being a good creature to carry Swords or be given double strike.

The deck has 10 tutors, and using them intelligently is one of the most important steps to mastering this deck. While the correct choice is heavily dependent on the boardstate and your hand, here is some general advice:


Category 1: Equipment Tutors (Steelshaper's Gift, Relic Seeker, Stoneforge Mystic, Open the Armory, and Stonehewer Giant)

These tutors are the heart of the deck. There are twelve possible targets, but there’s no one clear choice among them. If you are in a high-removal environment, Champion's Helm or Swiftfoot Boots is a good choice. If you have many cheap threats in your hand, or if you control a Winter Orb/Static Orb, your best choice is Sword of Feast and Famine. Conversely, if you find yourself with a mostly empty hand, or plan to wipe the board with Blasphemous Act, Sword of Fire and Ice is the best option. If you have lots of mana and want to close off the game, Argentum Armor is the best threat (and usually the choice when you control Stonehewer Giant). If it’s the early-game and you need a cheap power boost, O-Naginata is the best. If your opponent relies heavily on low-toughness creatures (such as having a 1-toughness commander), you can grab Umezawa's Jitte to keep their board under control. Et cetera.

Open the Armory can also grab Gift of Immortality, in metas with lots of board wipes, or to synergize with Kami of False Hope, or for other odd corner cases.


Category 2: Creature Tutors (Ranger of Eos and Recruiter of the Guard)

Ranger of Eos can grab Serra Ascendant, Benevolent Bodyguard, Mother of Runes, Hope of Ghirapur, or Kami of False Hope. The choice here depends on several factors: board state, your opponents, and what point in the game you find yourself at. Serra Ascendant is the most common choice, as long as you still have more than 30 life. Kami of False Hope helps protect against fast, combat-oriented decks. Mother of Runes and Benevolent Bodyguard give protection to your creatures (Mother of Runes is repeatable, but suffers from summoning sickness). And finally Hope of Ghirapur can shut down a control deck for a turn. Three of the creatures can also flip Avacyn when needed.

Recruiter of the Guard grabs almost every utility creature in the deck (17 in total) and has proven herself invaluable. The most common choices are Serra Ascendant (for early, fast aggro), Quicksmith Rebel (if you control an Orb), or Stoneforge Mystic (if you need to find equipment). And of course she can grab anything that Ranger of Eos can, or the Ranger himself.


Category 3: Other Tutors (Land Tax, Sword of the Animist, and Sunforger)

With Land Tax and Sword of the Animist, you generally want to tutor whenever possible. It’s sometimes even worth skipping a land drop to activate Land Tax. Sword of the Animist also synergizes with Sword of Feast and Famine to untap the land you just tutored. The one exception to the “always tutor” rule is when you’ve used something like Enlightened Tutor, and you want to draw the card on top of your library.

Sunforger may be expensive to cast and equip, but make no mistake, it can end the game on its own. It can tutor for removal (Swords to Plowshares and Return to Dust are handy), Temur Battle Rage for double strike and trample, or Boros Charm to dodge kill spells and mass removal. It's doubly silly with Puresteel Paladin active.

Some builds pair Final Fortune//Glorious End and Angel's Grace here as well, though I find that too "cute". I’m also considering playing Mana Tithe to have a tutorable counterspell (since opponents’ mana is often limited due to Static Orb and Winter Orb).

With so many moving parts, some negative interactions are inevitable.

Notably, Sword of Fire and Ice does not play nice with Seize the Day, Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder, Boros Charm, or Temur Battle Rage. This can be circumvented by moving the Sword around before casting those spells (or if you have an active Puresteel Paladin).

This is basically the reason I'm not currently playing Sword of Light and Shadow. My own deck simply plays too many white targeting effects that would be nullified by that Sword, despite the strong effect and good color coverage.

This is a sweet deck. I'm proud of it. It's damn near optimized.

But it's not cheap. And I find that unfair - everyone should be able to try it!

So, if you're trying to build this on a budget...

You could cut all of the cards above $20 immediately. The most important of those are Sword of Fire and Ice and Scroll Rack, but the deck functioned fine before I originally got my hands on my copies. I would then also cut Land Tax (since it's lost its synergy with Scroll Rack). This immediately reduces the price by about ~$400 - we've already halved the price.

Most of the cards in here are foiled out, or promos of some kind. That artificially inflates the price of the deck, probably by several hundred dollars. In particular, I would still include Sword of Feast and Famine and Swords to Plowshares, but use non-foil versions. That should cut the price by another $40.

Of the $5-$20 category, most aren't strictly necessary. You could probably cut Command Beacon, Hero of Bladehold, Land Tax (as mentioned earlier), Mana Vault, Monastery Mentor, Path to Exile (use Oblation instead), and Rugged Prairie without too much trouble.

You might get away without Serra Ascendant (I didn't have it in the first draft), but I'd strongly recommend against removing it (he's freaking sweet and probably should be banned). If you do cut him, though, you can probably remove Ranger of Eos.

You could move the mana base to mostly basics. If you did, you might as well add in Ruination if you're okay with MLD. If you are, maindeck Cataclysm to make up for the loss in artifact power.

In terms of things to add back into all of these now-open spaces, I'd recommend Grafted Exoskeleton, Grafted Wargear, Fireshrieker, Overblaze, Quest for Pure Flame, Leonin Abunas, Mask of Avacyn, Blood Mist, Scythe of the Wretched, and some self-sacrificing creatures to taste. I've also had people suggest Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, which I could definitely see. Most of these have been in some version of the deck and performed admirably.

Overall, these changes should probably cut down the deck from the $1100 range to maybe $200. If you try building it on a budget, let me know how it works out!

To date, Avacyn has murdered the following commanders.

May their tortured, sinful souls Rest in Peace.

None escape the Avacynian Inquisition.

Adriana, Captain of the Guard, Adun Oakenshield, Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, Aurelia, the Warleader (it was a vicious duel indeed), Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Borborygmos Enraged, Brago, King Eternal (at least forty times), Breya, Etherium Shaper (took five hours), Chainer, Dementia Master, Child of Alara, Cromat, Daghatar the Adamant, Damia, Sage of Stone, Daretti, Scrap Savant, Daxos the Returned, Derevi, Empyrial Tactician (five games in a row), Doran, the Siege Tower, Ertai, the Corrupted, Ezuri, Claw of Progress (multiple times), Gahiji, Honored One, General Tazri, Gisa and Geralf, Grenzo, Dungeon Warden, Grimgrin, Corpse-Born, Hanna, Ship's Navigator, Hazezon Tamar, Heartless Hidetsegu, Hope of Ghirapur, Horde of Notions, Isperia the Inscrutable, Jaya Ballard, Task Mage, Kaalia of the Vast, Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas, Karador, Ghost Chieftan (fully optimized Boonweaver Combo), Karametra, God of Harvests, Kemba, Kha Regent, Kraum, Ludevic's Opus, Krenko, Mob Boss (I ended the game at 150 life), Kruphix, God of Horizons, Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix, Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis, Lavinia of the Tenth, Leovold, Emissary of Trest, Maelstrom Wanderer, Marath, Will of the Wild, Mayael the Anima, Meren of Clan Nel Toth, Merieke Ri Berit, Mina and Denn, Wildborn, Mizzix of the Izmagnus, Nekusar, the Mindrazer, Nin, the Pain Artist, Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind, Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, Omnath, Locus of Rage, Oona, Queen of the Fae, Patron of the Moon, Prossh, Skyraider of Kher (fully optimized), Purphoros, God of the Forge, Rakdos, Lord of Riots, Rashmi, Eternities Crafter (I won, but it took 29 hard-fought turns), Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Ruric Thar, the Unbowed, Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant, Saskia the Unyielding, Sen Triplets, Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa, Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, Sigarda, Heron's Grace, Sigarda, Host of Herons, Sliver Overlord, Tariel, Reckoner of Souls, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Teferi, Temporal Archmage (fully optimized stax/combo), The Gitrog Monster, Thraximundar, Ulrich of the Krallenhorde  Flip, Vendilion Clique, Vial Smasher the Fierce, Wasitora, Nekoru Queen, Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder, Zedruu the Greathearted, Zur the Enchanter.

Thanks in particular to Pro_Noob, nobu_the_bard, ToolmasterOfBrainerd, rob_shifflett, and Vandyel for their comments and suggestions.

And thanks to Casey4321, Lythia, KaijuSplicer, Sylvie, and forte8910 for playtesting this deck with me!

This deck was originally (albeit loosely) based off of You Gotta Be Kitten Me!.


I love this deck a lot - it's so much fun to pilot, and plays both elegantly and competitively. Overall, I'm very happy with its current state. However, this deck is relatively new (only a year or so), and I'd love to hear everyone's opinion on what I could change. There's always room for improvement!

How would you rebuild faster after a boardwipe (mine or someone else's)? What other creatures would fit well here? Are there any other good equipment or auras for voltron in commander? Can you think of any other good self-sacrificing creatures, or more generally, any other good ways to flip Avacyn? What cards should be added from the Maybeboard?

I greatly appreciate +1s and/or comments, if you like the deck. Thank you for reading! :)

...or Avacyn will come purify you!


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Date added 2 years
Last updated 1 week

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.42
Tokens 0/1 Plant, 1/1 Soldier, Elspeth
Folders Kaalia EDH, Potential, EDH Ideas, Possible new decks, awesome decks, Avacyn's Workspace, edh ideas, favorite, EDH, Decks to think about, See all 239
Top rank #1 on 2016-12-06
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Revision 60 See all

1 week ago)

+1 Chance for Glory main
+1 Archangel Avacyn  Flip main
-1 Memory Jar main
+1 Angel's Grace main
-1 Scroll Rack main
-1 Archangel Avacyn  Flip main
+1 Crackdown main
+1 Danitha Capashen, Paragon main
-1 Aurelia, the Warleader main
-1 Danitha Capashen, Paragon main
+1 Aurelia, the Warleader maybe
+1 Scroll Rack maybe
+1 Memory Jar maybe