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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Commander: Rule 0||Legal|
Dawn of Hope
Whenever you gain life, you may pay . If you do, draw a card.
: Create a 1/1 white Soldier token with lifelink.
4 days ago
I am hoping for some community feedback on something. My plan has been to cut Harsh Mercy for Darksteel Mutation, as I found the former didn't help much, and in situations where I wanted it more single target removal was what I wanted. Mutation can also sideline annoying combo commanders, and so I intend to add it. I also intended to add Smuggler's Share in place of another card draw piece, but have had trouble deciding which one. Currently Smuggler's Share is in in place of Harsh Mercy since those situations are set, but I need to go back and cut the draw piece so I can put Darksteel Mutation in. Here are the options as I see them-
Critics of my earliest list didn't seem to care for this card, but I've found it to perform well. It is 3 cmc, which makes it a perfect turn three play, and it allows us to net clue tokens for free every turn since we are pretty much always attacking. Additionally, replacing this with Smuggler's Share wouldn't do anything to lower our curve, whereas cutting a pricier card would. While we do, of course, have to pay each time we want to sac one for a card, I've found that we can often do this and are often happy to do so. With our low curve we often may want to hold mana open for removal, Lapse of Certainty, board protection pieces like Cosmic Intervention, and even creatures with flash. If we don't need to do any I have often been glad to make use of it by drawing cards on my opponent's end step right before my turn. I've also found this card incredible in a blowout. When everything has been destroyed, it is great to be able to spend a bunch of mana and re-draw our hand to keep in the game. It has saved my game at least once. As such I think I am least inclined to cut this one, but I am putting it out there as it is still nowhere near the most superior tier of card draw, which in this deck would be Mask of Memory.
When playing with Mangara I have found him to be a powerful draw engine. His first ability rarely comes into play since I usually have big vigilant blockers that deter attacks. Still, it is there. His second ability has been amazing though. In my playgroup at least, most players are casting at least two spells per turn by the mid game, and I have got a lot of cards off of him. I've found his lifelink ability situationally good as well, since his toughness allows him to attack more often than one might think. The weaknesses of Mangara are that he costs four mana, which is more than we like to pay for an engine piece, and that as a creature he is arguably the most fragile permanent type. I haven't found in my experience that he gets hit with targeted removal too much since I usually have more threatening pieces on the board which draw that. He does die to board wipes though, which is not really true of most of our other draw pieces. That being said, when he dies to board wipes, I have usually already drawn several cards off of him, justifying the four cmc I put him on the board with. As with Thorough Investigation I am not inclined to cut him, but he is four cmc and thus deserves to be considered.
Some might consider it a heresy of sorts that I even suggest cutting this card as it is a staple draw engine in most tribal decks. In my mono-green elf deck it is incredible and makes for one heck of a draw engine. It essentially turns every angel we cast into a cantrip- we draw a card to replace it. We'll usually draw at least one card during our turn off of it, and sometimes we'll draw two. There is also the anthem, which we always appreciate in an aggro deck even if we don't need it. That being said, it's nowhere near as good here as in my elf deck. There I have gratuitous amounts of mana, more creatures than lands, and very cheap creatures, allowing the card to take over the game if not answered. Here our resources are more limited, the 5cmc is felt more, and our ceiling isn't so high. We therefore have to more carefully consider the downsides. The most obvious is that at 5cmc this is our most expensive draw piece. Paired with that, it is a pretty fragile permanent type, as players tend to pack lots of artifact hate. Moreover, this is precisely the type of permanent players tend to remove, as it keeps our tank full of gas in the long run just by doing what our deck does. The floor for this card is that our opponents blow it up before we draw a single card off of it, putting us back a turn at a point we can't afford that. It would be worth it if we could play it and draw two cards off of it the first turn, but at 5 that this is highly unlikely, meaning it has to survive a turn or two before we can get a return on our investment. Also, this is just a personal consideration, but if I cut it I can put it in my Trynn and Silvar deck where I think it will do great work and draw less hate. This card as such is much higher on the cut list than the prior two.
At the outset it is worth mentioning that this card has a bit of a symbiosis with the last card on the list. When I initially made this deck one focus was on using lifegain for card draw, but since then two of these life-draw pieces, Dawn of Hope and Cosmos Elixir have been cut. As such, cutting either of these last two cards would pretty much eliminate this theme. With that noted, onto the card. This card has almost always been on the chopping block as I revise the deck, but so far it has always made it through, and not for nothing. To begin with, as an enchantment it is a more resilient permanent type. People tend to pack less enchantment removal, and when they have it in hand they are wise to use it on truly game-winning enchantments. I always chuckle inwardly while playing my Teysa deck when someone blows a Disenchant effect on one of my mana rocks just before I play Necropotence or Bolas's Citadel. Needless to say, if they have it they probably aren't wasting it on this card, which will probably last the whole game. This card is essentially an Angel's Feather stapled to a Phyrexian Arena, albeit without the life loss and with a limitation on the draw instead. As such its ceiling is simply drawing a card every turn and gaining some life. It's floor, on the other hand, is just having an over-costed Angel's Feather on the field, which is still just fine. This card as such furthers two of our gameplans- life gain and card draw, and as we cast lots of white spells it will gain us quite a bit of life, especially if Angel of Vitality is on the field. I've found it almost always draws me the card as well. This card will almost never wow us, but Phyrexian Arena continues to be a staple card not because it wows us but because drawing an extra card per turn turns out to be pretty great. Another argument in favor of this card, and this has only to do with flavor, is that it belongs in an angels deck. We have both Bruna and Gisela in the deck, so if we can't have Sigarda herself we might as well have one of her spells. You can also pick up a beautiful, full art foil of this card for about a buck, making it a cosmetic delight. As such I am pretty reluctant to cut this, though I have always considered it.
I have wanted to play this card forever, and this deck was the first commander deck where I had enough life gain to make it worthwhile. I think in considering this card, we need to do a ceiling-floor-middle analysis. The ceiling for this card is incredibly high. We swing in with a crazy amount of lifelink damage, and then dump our mana into drawing a ton of cards. The floor is like with Vanquisher's Banner- we play it turn four and it immediately gets blown up before we draw a single card. Even then, we spent four mana on it and not five. The middle though is really good though, as at per card we will draw lots of cards even with small lifelinkers, and this could arguably be called the most powerful draw piece in the deck for that reason. As an artifact, it is a pretty fragile permanent type and will likely be targeted for removal. That being said, the mid to late game comparison to Vanquisher's Banner is useful. Let's say I have eight mana available and a single big lifelinker in the air. I can play this for four, swing, and then immediately draw four cards off of it when I gain the life. This will usually have made the turn worth it even if the card gets blown up afterwards, and of course, of it does not get blown up, we'll probably win that game. Banner on the other hand would draw us one card if we could cast an angel after it, but wouldn't do much more than that. As such, given this card performs well at most levels, I think it's more likely than not that I keep it in, but it is on the list.
6 days ago
My typical decks are Muldrotha, the Gravetide recursion, Teysa Karlov aristocrats and a Shorikai, Genesis Engine mechs. Those three usually have big flashy plays for instant wins so this deck definitely plays different. I looked over your whole primer and took your advice to heart to reduce the number of changes and focus only on your new additions and lands. I ran a few games using your methodology for mid-range aggro decks and listed how the deck performed. Let me know if this helps helm the host!
T1 - Fetch to Plains
T5 - I drew 1 off Mangara, the Diplomat. Jhoira had played a Words of Wind forcing us to bounce Pearl Medallion. Yuriko saw our scary board state and hit us with a few unblockables but we still remained above 40 life.
T6 - I drew 1 off Smuggler's Share and 2 off Mangara, the Diplomat. Jhoira started building their boardstate with their commander out and a bunch of rocks. Yuriko had a few creatures out and was chipping away at our life totals.
At this point I could've slow played it further but with 2 draw engines out I felt comfortable in restocking my hand.
T7+ - At this point my memory is foggy, I replayed Giada and a few low cost angels with Vanquisher's Banner which refilled my hand a bit. But Yuriko miracled a Devastation Tide and played an overloaded Damn. Eventually Jhoira got knocked out by Yuriko after trying to rebuild their board state twice. By the end I had whittled Yuriko down to lethal and played Bruna, the Fading Light Meld reanimating Gisela, the Broken Blade Meld from the graveyard but never got to swing with it as Yuriko conceded.
Starting hand was decent but I don't remember much of it since it got wheeled away with a turn 3 Windfall.
T1 - Fetch to Plains + Soul Warden
T3 - Plains + Crucible of Worlds
Lost 5 cards in hand to Windfall and drew a new 5. Jhoira played a Winter Orb and Yuriko played a Null Rod to shut down Jhoira's mana rocks. It also shut down my equipment in hand which was a Sword of the Animist and Mask of Memory. I stopped keeping track of the turns and cards played since the whole game slowed to a crawl. The one saving grace was that I never missed a land drop with the fetch land in the graveyard.
Yuriko kept playing Thieves' Guild Enforcer and changelings to try an alternate mill win strategy. I was hit with a board wipe and Giada was targeted twice. I overloaded Winds of Abandon which left the Jhoira open to be killed. I attempted to cast Emeria Shepherd which would've been perfect with my fetch land and 20+ cards in the graveyard but it was removed after it hit the board. Yuriko played 4 extra turns spells to try and whittle me down from high 30's to 8 but they ran out of answers and were dead on the crackback.
I should've mulliganed this hand as it didn't have a draw spell but I didn't want to hold up the table and the curve looked good.
I was able to build up a decent board state and there were no wipes all game. However, Faldron played a Wand of Wonder and began using my removal spells against my angels. Marneus dropped a Divine Visitation mid-game and started pumping out 4/4 Angels w/ Vigilance which stalled my attacks towards him signifcantly.
Towards the end of the game I was able to tap Starnheim Unleashed for 9 creating 4 Angels with Giada on the board pumping them to double digit beasts. Marneus had the scariest board state but only 4 Angels at the time so I figured I could swing wide and knock them out.
Starting hand was great against these commanders:
T1 - Plains
T2 - Plains + Giada, Font of Hope
T3 - Plains + Smuggler's Share
Mid-game Shorikai played an Organic Extinction doing a one-sided board wipe and started hitting for double digits with vehicles. I tried to rebuild with Emeria Shepherd but she was countered by Aesi. Fortunately, Shorikai ended up scooping to play Warhammer making it a 3-man pod and all our board states were pretty even. I had drawn a card on each of his turns due to their Shorikai ability. Aesi had provided me a couple treasures but wised up and started dropping lands on opponents turns with Burgeoning.
This game lasted quite awhile so there was plenty of back and forth and a lot of answers were used on my board. Both Muldrotha and Aesi had an Unnatural Growth and were staring down each other. I patiently waited until they were both tapped out and had no answers to pull off this sweet combo:
I had Bishop of Wings & Giada, Font of Hope on the battlefield and tons of mana. I cast Bruna, the Fading Light Meld into Emeria Shepherd. Cracked a Myriad Landscape for 2 Plains bringing back Righteous Valkyrie & Gisela, the Broken Blade Meld. Since they had no responses I was able to merge to Brisela, Voice of Nightmares Meld Meld. Due to all the Giada triggers and lifegain I shot up from 20 life to 62.
Aesi was hamstrung due to Brisela's static ability and their creatures weren't big enough to swing into my massive angels. Muldrotha on the other hand attempted to swing in for a massive 59 damage due to Unnatural Growth but I used Teferi's Protection and won the game on my turn.
Starting hand had no draw again but did have lifegain synergies so I decided to keep.
I was only able to get one use out of The Book of Exalted Deeds trigger before Archangel of Thune was blown up and The Scarab God exiled it and copied it for their board. I actually drew a Mutavault and decided to do the combo of putting the Enlightened Counter on it. However when we got to the mid-game I felt like that was the wrong move to do so early.
Late game I had the following:
Seraph Sanctuary & a bunch of other lands
Angel of Vitality w/ 3 +1/+1 counters
Angelic Field Marshal w/ 4 +1/+1 Counters
4x Clue Tokens
Between the Soul Warden, Angel of Vitality and Seraph Sanctuary I was gaining 2 life whenever they cast a creature and 3 whenever I cast an angel. If I'd let the book stay on the battlefield longer I could've had a free 3/3 angel on each of my turns. Instead I cracked clues rather than play out my hand to draw into more answers and win the game. The Enlightened Counter never came into play, but I reminded the table at the end that without any land destruction, I could've gone to negative life and still not lose.
Forgot to take a picture of my hand this game but I kept Smuggler's Share as my draw card which ended up doing nothing. The Faldron player had already played a few games against the Giada deck so purposely missed double land drops to not give me a treasure.
Faldron cast an Etali, Primal Storm turn 6 with no haste enablers so I blew it up my turn. However, Lazav decided to copy it and the board had no answers. Lazav began swinging and got 2 rounds of Etali triggers which was pretty brutal. Since Lazav became archenemy, we teamed up to take him down bringing his life total to 4.
Perhaps the most memorable moment this game was that Faldron had suspended a Wheel of Fate so the whole table was playing out their hands for 4 turns, completely expecting to draw 7. When he went to removing the last suspend counter, Lazav cast Notion Thief so instead of us each drawing 7, he drew 28 cards. Unfortunately for him, he didn't have any way to use those cards to stop the flood of salt from the table and was killed shortly after by a pissed angel.
I was able to clean up the table after a few rounds with this final board state:
Angel of Jubilation - just an anthem and would've shut down my fetches but I played it late game
Linvala, Keeper of Silence - didn't stop anything on my opponent's board because they were all triggered abilities
Starting hand was top heavy but decided to keep:
I figured with 2 ramp equipments and lifegain comboed with the well I'd be setup for mid-game pretty nicely. What I didn't plan for was missing land drops for 2 turns and having Giada blown up twice. By this time, the Aesi/Faldron player had figured out that Giada was consistently winning and decided to put a stop to it.
However, that let Ydris really take the game away. By the end I only had 4 lands, Archangel of Thune equipped with Sword of Hearth and Home and a Pearl Medallion. Aesi died to a single 30+ swing from Ydris leaving myself and Lazav to deal with the massive board state.
I thought I slowed him down by playing Darksteel Mutation on Ydris when he had no cards in hand but he topdecked Sakashima's Protege to copy Ydris and start the pain all over again. With Ydris having lethal on board next turn the only way to stop it would be to top deck the one board-wipe in the deck. But Lazav shot himself in the foot by playing Gyruda, Doom of Depths tossing my top 4 cards into the graveyard. The top card was Winds of Abandon and Lazav whiffed on the Gyruda trigger much to his chagrin.
T1 - Plains
T2 - Plains + Giada, Font of Hope
T3 - Plains + Thorough Investigation
T4 - Plains + Thraben Watcher
On turn 6 I was able to knock out Ghyrson Starn, Kelermorph with the sword setting him back a turn. He responded the next turn by blowing up my sword. After a 2 board wipes Ghyrson was back in a threatening position. I cast Darksteel Mutation on Ghyrson which completely shut down his strategy.
Closed out the game with an overloaded Winds of Abandon and swung lethal at Roon. I was also able to hardcast Sephara, Sky's Blade which would've stopped any board wipe coming from Ghyrson. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx was amazing yet again this game. I was able to tap it for 10 white using 8 to pay for the Winds and God-Pharaoh's Statue tax.
There were some pretty wild swings this game as Jared got all 5 colors turn 4 with some ramp and started dropping Kavu's. He played Knight of New Alara turning them into 8/8 tramplers and started swinging in for 24 damage each turn. Isshin dropped a Tectonic Giant, Fervent Charge & Aurelia, the Warleader to swing in with 21 damage each combat & an additional 6 to the face. With so much damage flying around, the loss life from Eye of Vecna was actually pretty annoying. I used it 4 times during the course of the game when I probably should've played the bigger threats since a board wipe seemed unlikely.
Battle Angels of Tyr was blown up immediately but I was able to drop a Angelic Skirmisher & Righteous Valkyrie mid-game. If I had attacked more early game with Skirmisher out I could've had this one but I made a huge misplay. Jared swung in with everything at me after pumping 2 Kavu's up to 13/13's. As I was only at 46 life, I didn't get the anthem off Righteous Valkyrie so I had to take 26 bringing me down to 20. Isshin swung in everything at Jared knocking them out and on second combat came at me when I was at 8. As Righteous Valkyrie was only a 6/7 blocking into their 7/8's I figured I could survive the turn with one unblocked and just gain the life back next turn. Isshin was tapped out but had 2 treasures that I forgot and used a Boros Charm to get lethal.
Starting hand was ok, no draw engine but great lifegain:
T1 Soul Warden netted me a ton of life over the course of the game as Jared & Isshin did not play any board wipes. After playing Angelic Skirmisher as well and a couple angels, I was developing an oppressive board state.
Tevesh/Arminx drew a lot of hate early game because they played a strong ramp turn with a bunch of expensive mana rocks but then durdled for most of the game. Jared played a Two-Headed Hellkite that they pumped to 10/10 and just started swinging. Isshin tried going wide with Adeline, Resplendent Cathar and a few combat tricks but with Soul Warden on the field I ended up always being net positive after thier attacks.
Eventually the board grew massive and any one of us could've knocked out Tevesh/Arminx as they were wide open. I was sitting comfortably at 60+ life due to Soul Warden and Angelic Skirmisher. Tevesh/Arminx ended up playing Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and wiping all our creatures.
We all rebuilt our boards pretty quickly with Tevesh only having Armix, Filigree Thrasher and a couple equipments. Isshin tried going for the combo and knock out 2 of us with Godo, Bandit Warlord & Helm of the Host but misplayed and couldn't equip Godo.
Jared and I knocked out the Isshin player because of the obvious combo but Tevesh/Arminx equipped their commander with Commander's Plate, Cranial Plating, Skullclamp and swung 17 commander damage at Jared. I blew up their Cranial Plating with a Generous Gift and brought them down to lethal. The game ended next turn like dominoes, Arminx killed Jared and I killed Arminx.
Game 3 loss was due to Marneus just having the better plays here. Even if I were able to prevent some of their bigger combos, they could've won off straight value. Removal and threat assessment by the other 2 were pretty light towards Marneus which definitely helped them win.
Game 7 loss was due to 2 players getting mana screwed. After not being able to curve out with Giada it was almost impossible to come back. Top-decking that Winds of Abandon may have helped but they were so far ahead it's doubtful.
Game 9 was a misplay. Playing against the Isshin deck I should've known that there would be combat tricks but I was used to slow battlecruiser decks and not 2 mid-range aggro decks.
Smuggler's Share has been hit or miss. If I'm playing against blue, I'll typically get the draw, if I'm playing against green, I'll get the treasures. However, if the opponents aren't playing either of those colors and/or play smart, they can often get around it and it's a dead enchantment on board. I'm still leaving it in because when it does work, it works very well.
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx has been great overall. Early game it may not do much but mid to late game it really shines. I usually leave 2 lands and Nykthos up after T5/6 fully expecting a board wipe and using it to activate abilities or crack clues. I'd highly recommend this land over a basic plains.
Crucible of Worlds was a powerhouse in Game 2. Unfortunately I only ever drew it in 1 other game and it was immediately blown up after I used it once. I think it's worth it because if left unchecked provides you tons of ramp and if it draws out a threat then our draw artifacts or equipments live.
Emeria Shepherd is a bomb. 2 games it was instantly blown up because of how big a threat it was. When it was left unanswered, it absolutely carried the game. I think it's a definite swap for Karmic Guide to get that last push end game.
Darksteel Mutation was great the 2 times I used it. I think there's a need for another one-sided board wipe against decks that go wide and have flyers. In game 3 Marneus out angeled the angel deck and we simply didn't have enough token generation to get through.
Folk Hero wasn't mentioned in the gameplay reviews but I did draw and play it a few games. Unfortunately it was played later in the game when I already had other draw engines on board so its impact was minimal. However, it's definitely an improvement over Dawn of Hope as I didn't have to pay mana for the few cards I did draw.
You've mentioned that Avacyn, Angel of Hope deserves a place in this deck and I wholeheartedly agree, mostly because I bought the new borderless version from double masters specifically for this deck. However, her close cousin Sephara, Sky's Blade almost accomplishes the same thing except she only protects creatures. I think the only reason to end up running Avacyn is to lean into the land destruction that she's known for.
2 weeks ago
Let me know if you have any thoughts on these changes. I'll post full justifications once they are complete.
3 weeks ago
Somehow I missed Folk Hero, so thanks so much for drawing my attention to it! That card will be perfect in this deck and I am going to get it and replace Dawn of Hope, which I've been itching to get rid of. It's great for a lot of reasons. It nets us a free extra card each turn, which can power our engine. It also comes down early as you said, which is great. It is also is an enchantment, which is a hard permanent type to get rid of and is low cmc, making it a less than desirable target for removal since its not as OP as many cards of this nature are. And of course, on rare occasions we might get a draw on an opponents' turn when we flash out an angel, which is just gravy. This is a perfect draw piece in the deck. Thanks again!
1 month ago
NonetheWeisser - I think that is a good play dropping Elspeth for additional creatures. As you alluded to, The vials and Giada only aid in getting out creatures.
Any thought of adding anything like Dawn of Hope into the deck? Would likely be tough to make any room as everything fits so nicely already but with the focus on gaining life to create angel tokens and the ability to bring in creatures with vials, you might have some mana to burn on some nice draws.
2 months ago
Well, I cut Zuran Orb, World Shaper, Sanguine Bond, Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Dawn of Hope, and Demon of Loathing, in favor of Plaguecrafter, Body Launderer, Karmic Guide, Viscera Seer, Blood Artist, and another dredge card. Llanowar Mentor is in there as well, but I don't remember what I cut to slot him in. Still not sold on him since he's kind of a dead card if I don't get him early in the game.
I need to get over the "competitive scale". I know my deck works better with these changes, but the competitive scale doesn't quite agree. Oh well haha
Thanks again for all these very thoughtful suggestions. I had to kill some darlings, but so it goes.
2 months ago
I agree with bushido_man96, consider cutting the life gaining strategy?
You're not comboing with Sanguine Bond and it's a higher mana cost card that's not a creature. Gray Merchant of Asphodel does much less if you're not using it in a combo as the wincon. Dawn of Hope is good repeatable draw when your Commander has lifelink, but attacking with Nethroi shouldn't be priority since you're really playing it for it's 7 mana mutate reanimation not to consistently attacking.
Drizzt Do'Urden and Demon of Loathing are subpar. Yannik, Scavenging Sentinel is another creature who can combo with Karmic Guide and a sac outlet for another all creature wincon combo that Nethroi can reanimate.
2 months ago
bushido_man96 I was on the fence about Dawn of Hope, and Pact Weapon has been in and out of this deck. I think replacing both of those with something better is a good call. I envisioned Pact Weapon being equipped to Nethroi, negating any of the life-loss from the card draw with his Lifelink.
That is an interesting perspective about cutting the lifegain sub-theme entirely. Gray Merchant of Asphodel was in the original build and I had/have a pretty decent devotion to black. So I added Sanguine Bond to capitalize on that. But I could definitely be open to replacing those cards with some more exciting creatures at lower CMC if you think that would be wise?
multimedia I had Llanowar Elves in the deck, but I decided to pull the mana dorks in favor of cards that put lands (which are harder to remove) onto the battlefield. Like Sakura-Tribe Elder. I will definitely consider Llanowar Mentor though! Creating multiple token mana dorks and being an additional discard outlet for dredge cards seems like a no brainer. Llanowar Wastes and Necroblossom Snarl also seem like good adds! I had considered adding more green sources since most of my ideal early card plays (Fauna Shaman, Ramunap Excavator, and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove) require green mana.
Thanks again for those suggestions!