Heliod, Sun-Crowned

Heliod, Sun-Crowned

Legendary Enchantment Creature — God

Indestructible

As long as your devotion to white is less than five, Heliod isn't a creature.

Whenever you gain life, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature or enchantment you control.

[[symbol:1]: Another target creature gains lifelink until end of turn.

Heliod, Sun-Crowned Discussion

Mana_Mythic_Legendary on Pursuing Perfection, Part 10: Selesnya …

3 days ago

Every dual color up until now has been some sort of aggressive, negative experience for other players, and Selesnya certainly has the potential to be no different. Combining Green’s predilection for quality with White’s penchant for quantity (AND stacking board buffs) makes for a lethal pairing in the combat phase. Rhys the Redeemed, Captain Sisay, and Gaddock Teeg are just a few commanders with justifiable appeal for power gamers. And don’t forget the enchantments: Aura Shards, Mirari's Wake, and Hunting Grounds all have singularly disruptive board presence, and that’s just a few on a stellar list.

And yet, undeniable potency aside, this is an almost grandmotherly pairing: you don’t so much play Selesnya to ruin someone else’s day as to ensure you have the best one. A properly built deck in these colors should wrap around its pilot like a blanket fresh out of the dryer, basting you in a pervasive feeling of shelter, growth, and self-promotion. Another good analogy might be a garden tended by someone with an emerald thumb, game-breaking fertilizer, and the patience of Saint Francis. In summary, players running these are very much there to do their own thing without interruption: the problem is, once they’ve done their own thing, opponents find out that the “game-breaking fertilizer” is typically their own mulched remains.

It’s also oddly human-centric.

Ok, enough poetry. Now to the really fun bit: we’re here to talk thematic commanders, so let’s dive into that roster. Today, we’re discussing the Selesnya themes of Lifegains, Counterplay, and “Don’t Loot at Me!”. As always, please bear in mind that our focus here is not necessarily competitive but rather on thematic, archetypical commanders. Just don’t judge me harshly for including a lot of beasts.

Lifegains

I spelled with an "s" for a reason. Yes, as covered in a past article, Black has a more intimate relationship with the life total. Yes, Black both drains life and spends life. BUT… there is a profound difference between eating cookies and baking them. Black is the undisputed cookie monster (and a bit of a baker, to be fair), but Selesnya could, to continue the analogy, take any bake off by storm. Prize money, people: Selesnya’s about not only baking that cookie, but getting prize money for it. In other words, crossbreeding these colors gets you a thematic trend toward gaining life AND triggering something whenever you do. Think combotastic crap like the Accomplished Alchemist and Rhox Faithmender, or Heliod, Sun-Crowned and Spike Feeder. The possibilities are… well, a little scary.

Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn

The Oprah of lifegain. Who needs general damage when you can drown your opponent in creatures the approximate size of your life hack? Smack them with the Angel of Destiny, or… wow, there are a lot of relevant angels. Gather it. Just bring your lifelink and enjoy.

Trelasarra, Moondancer Direct, though the scry is a nice touch. This is a commander made for some sort of evasion, the Soul Warden cycle, and a pile of tokens. Like, maybe March of the Multitudes. Hehehehe…

Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice … Sheesh. I mean, I’ve had this built on and off, but… still, sheesh. If you’ve never heard of the Phyrexian Processor, enjoy the pearl I just gave you. Green-White is token central: hell, their own private keyword about it is right on this commander. This is a definite instance of the Green penchant for chunks being over-synergized with the white predilection to breed like rabbits. Or, in this case, Phyrexian Minions.

Counterplay

I’ve covered stax twice by this point, once in White and once in Azorius. I don’t deny that the potential for oppression is there: one of my favorite cards in Selesnya is Glare of Subdual. However, I can’t help feeling that it’s coming from a different direction in this slice of the pie. While Blue and White are geared toward inflicting stagnancy, Selesnya’s stax are angled toward preventing thematically negative effects, kind of a mercy mission for your opponent’s resources. I think Quakers would like it here.

Trostani Discordant Mind control pervasive in the local meta? Not anymore! Second Trostani is actually a rather inoffensive commander for everyone who’s not a thief, offering both board support and considerable political clout. Other players may even go out of their way to keep her up and you in the game, just to screw over that one guy.

Gaddock Teeg Ah, the man himself. I never found him especially oppressive, leaning more toward creatures by disposition. Not everyone will feel the same way. He cuts most conventional boardwipes out of the mix, and God help super-friends. You can almost picture the little hobbit raising his hands and saying “Let’s have a nice, simple game, shall we?” Which isn’t something you expect in a typical game of Commander, now that I think about it.

Yasharn, Implacable Earth Land fixing is nice, but this is where things are downright hostile. Those may look like tusks, but those are really two giant middle fingers pointed at black decks.

“Don’t Look at Me!”

When we were little, my brother would build cereal box walls between us as we ate breakfast, then stare at me over them. Whenever I eyed him like the nutcase he was, he’d scream “DON’T LOOK AT ME!!!”

I don’t think I need to explain the point.

Dragonlord Dromoka

I always liked the aesthetic of Dosan the Falling Leaf, but not enough to make him a commander. Dromoka, meaty beast of two colors that she is, has a bit more appeal. All but guaranteeing an uninterrupted turn, combo players could do worse.

Sigarda, Host of Herons A 5/5 with flying for five would be nice. Hexproof on a general is competitive. Putting a kibosh on all offensive-sacrifice decks ever tagging you? Downright savage. I like this card a lot.

Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist So… commander damage is a tried, true plan. Lots of people try it. Lots of people won’t be particularly offended by Mirri’s soft push for it. All the token-fiends out there, though, are going to flip their collective gourds when they find out the Silent Arbiter got legendary and started playing favorites. Word of advice: NEVER give her vigilance.

And, for a personal favorite: Karametra, god of the harvest

As readers know, I like ramp. However, even I think this is broken. I genuinely feel guilty whenever I think of building it again. While she doesn’t approach the misery of Zur the Enchanter or Purphoros, God of the Forge, the power dynamic here is shattering. One turn with a Whitemane Lion or anything similar will secure you a lead. One turn with whitemane lion and a Lotus Cobra? Amulet of Vigor? Tireless Provisioner? God have pity on your tiny, shriveled soul, because your opponents won’t. At least, if they ever manage to catch up under what I assume will be a deluge of ETB and blink effects. There are so many degenerate, savage combos encouraged by this reaping wench that I couldn’t list them all and reasonably expect anyone to finish the article. Let me just close this by saying she turns any card with landfall into a gamechanger, and there are a LOT of good landfall cards.

That's it for this round. Thoughts and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed it, and will come back soon for Simic!

Prior Articles:

Gruul

Rakdos

Dimir

Azorius

Green, with links to the other mono-colors

Spyrechild on Coven of the Heron's Grace

3 weeks ago

I am looking to build a deck very similar in the near future so I thought I'd share some of my picks for it with you.

Descendants' Path

Realmwalker

Pyre of Heroes

Aura Shards

Cathars' Crusade

Visions of Glory

I may or may not be looking at running a small lifegain sub theme as such I also plan to include.

Soul Warden

Soul's Attendant

Linden, the Steadfast Queen

Combine these with Heliod, Sun-Crowned and you have +1/+1 counters for days.

Love what you have done so far though. Which of the three are you thinking of settling on for the top spot?

ArrestedSnow on Tough LOVE

1 month ago

Heliod, Sun-Crowned but no Walking Ballista? +1 regardless.

Silvermen978 on Vito & Vamps

2 months ago

Skysurfer, Thanks for the suggestions! I already happen to have 4 Nighthawk Scavenger and 3 Sanctum Seeker so I updated the list, I plan on getting Exquisite Blood and a couple others you mentioned, I also just learned about Heliod, Sun-Crowned , so I might try and get those aswell.

unstable_anomaly on Full Metal Alchemy (Osgir, the Reconstructor)

2 months ago

Hey hairy-wombat thanks for stopping by, really appreciate the compliment and suggestions.

You make an excellent point about Recruiter of the Guard and Imperial Recruiter . TBH I think I may have overlooked the fact that they can both tutor Walking Ballista . If I remember correctly I think they were both in the first draft of the deck, but I ended up taking them out for two reasons...

  1. I opted for some larger artifact creatures because it was fun to reconstruct multiple copies and then swing for the win.

  2. Winning with the same win condition over and over again can be somewhat boring in my opinion.

That being said I have tuned the deck quite a bit since the first draft, and the more I tune it, the more it becomes a combo heavy deck. I've also added quite a few smaller creatures in place of the heavy hitters which does make your suggestions even more appealing. If my math is right it looks like there's currently 9 targets for Recruiter of the Guard and Imperial Recruiter respectively. Being able to flicker them a few times with Eldrazi Displacer would also be pretty spicy. All things considered I think you've definitely convinced me to take another look at both of these, but I'm curious what you would cut to make room for them?

As far as Heliod, Sun-Crowned is concerned I don't have any lifegain or +1/+1 counter strategies in the deck, so without Walking Ballista or a way to tutor for it, Heliod is just a dead draw.

darkmus on Serra's Descendants, competitive Angel Tribal

2 months ago

K0rt Thanks for the in depth suggestions. Yes, is actually working quite well in the new meta, there aren't that many combo decks around now, which are our main "weakness". The Anguished Unmaking vs Vindicate thing, as said before, there are no many Heliod, Sun-Crowned around lately, so yeah, they are pretty interchangeable depending on your local meta. Urza's Saga doesn't tend to be a big problem anyway.

I play Emeria's Call  Flip in the mono white version. In tens if not hundreds of matches I think I casted it like 3 times, and it resolved 1. The thing is we rarely get to 7 lands, and when we do its against control, and by that point they always have counter spells because we have been casting our things with Aether Vial and Cavern of Souls . In the other hand I ended needing to pay 3 life for basically a plain many times. In mono white for sure put 1 in there. But in BW we have enough lands that hurt us. Archangel of Thune is a beast, she steals games out of nowhere. She's a huge finisher. Next to Righteous Valkyrie the reason we are able to win matches. She rarely ETBs and doesn't put at leas 2 +1/+1s on all our other stuff that can attack(if not 4+), that's huge immediate value. Yeah, if she's killed in that exact moment with the trigger on the stack you don't get it. But it happens like 1% of the time, and you can easily play around that playing her with vial or protecting her with Giver of Runes and Shalai, Voice of Plenty . I don't think Angel of Invention is even in the same league as her (in this deck at least).

I've tried Serra the Benevolent and is more or less the same thing as with Emeria's Call  Flip seems great but it ends up adding nothing. the +2 is worthless, we don't tend to have a ton of creatures and our early ones don't have flying. The ultimate the very rare time I got to use it was always in a win more situation in which I had a ton of life anyway. She rarely was able to -3 more than once. Easily 9 out of 10 times (if not more) she ended up just being a 4cmc Serra Angel . And by that point the deck rather have other 4cmc angels that add more, and can be made uncountable with cavern or play at instant speed with vial.

About the side yeah, that is more adaptable to everyones local meta. This thing works super well in general against tribes, basically we excel against Aggro and midrange, do well enough against control and tend to be f*** against combo. So most tribes are easy wins, with the life gain they can't race us and we fly. Elves is for sure faster than us but not a lost game by any means, the thing is I don't she them that often. But if it is a common deck in your area I'll suggest to add 2 Settle the Wreckage , if not I wouldn't add a sideboard card just for a deck which is rare and not such a big threat. The hardest tribal decks are combo goblins and the new elemental deck (that can be brutal, not as a tribal deck, but as a deck in general). Non of them are an autolose by any means, but they ere the toughest ones. Stony Silence is a great card. I had Damping Matrix in the side before and I changed it for Linvala, Keeper of Silence . But in the new meta I am totally going back to Damping Matrix which is a bit of the best of two worlds between the silence and Linvala. Selfless Spirit is another great card, I've had it on the side but I don't seem to find many board wipes lately so I took it out. There is not much control in my area ATM. But another one that goes in and out depending on the meta. The control match up is not easy but it can be grinded up with the help of cavern and vial to cast our things and Giver and Shalai to save them from dying. Also don't over commit. Tends to be a 50-50. Thanks for the great suggestions!

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