Starnheim Unleashed

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Tokens

Legality

Format Legality
1v1 Commander Legal
Alchemy Legal
Arena Legal
Block Constructed Legal
Brawl Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal
Commander: Rule 0 Legal
Custom Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Gladiator Legal
Highlander Legal
Historic Legal
Legacy Legal
Leviathan Legal
Limited Legal
Modern Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Penny Dreadful Legal
Pioneer Legal
Pre-release Legal
Standard Legal
Vintage Legal

Starnheim Unleashed

Sorcery

Create a 4/4 white Angel Warrior creature token with flying and vigilance. If this spell was foretold, create X of those tokens instead.

Foretell (During your turn, you may pay and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

Guerric on [Primer] Helming the Host of Heaven *Update*

1 month ago

As I continue to ponder the Breathkeeper Seraph/Pyre of Heroes combo, I think I am leaning towards putting it in the deck. This change would almost certainly accompany swapping Steelshaper's Gift for Enlightened Tutor, though I'll probably wait till the latter is reprinted in order to do that. While the combo itself is what draws a lot of people, this deck works very well without it, and it would be a mistake to build the deck around it. That being said, the utility offered by both pieces even on their own is worthwhile. The pyre is just a great utility tutor in its own, and one of the few ways we can grab any angel in the deck we want, including the seraph if we have a five drop. It can be really helpful in grabbing our hate pieces, including Linvala, Keeper of Silence and Angel of Jubilation (even though the latter shuts the pyre off, we'll still be glad to have her against lifepay and sacrifice shenanigans). We can sacrifice the seraph to it to grab Sephara, Sky's Blade, and then can pair it to seraph when she returns in order to give us a really mean indestructible board state that will be difficult to get around. We could use it to get Brisela, Voice of Nightmares  Meld  Meld out, and can even sacrifice the seraph to get Bruna, the Fading Light  Meld, bonding it to Brisela when it returns. We could also sac a three-drop to get Serra Paragon, and the immediately get back said three drop with paragon's ability, and then can keep the same thing with other one, two, and three drop angels, getting focused "card draw" out of the equation. We can do the same thing by sacrificing the seraph to get out Emeria Shepherd which we can then use to get it back immediately if we have a plains in hand. Even on its own the seraph can protect Giada, Brisela, Sephara, or any other angel that is critical to our gameplan.

Needless to say, I think it would be a mistake to not include this combo, though I also think it would be a mistake to get too excited about it and build around it as it could compromise our main plan which is goldfishing and killing the table. This combo gives us some resilience and allows us to potentially leverage our angel library as a resource. It's great, but it's not essential. As such, a surgical approach would work best. I think I am likely to cut Darksteel Mutation and Starnheim Unleashed to put it in. I'll add Kabira Takedown  Flip into the mana base to keep my removal at parity, and cut the worst removal piece, which is mutation. Starnheim Unleashed is an awesome card in the deck and I am reticent to cut it, but this combo is just better. I'd still recommend playing it for anyone who has room in their list.

Including the pyre also raises the question of other pieces that could be included. Inspiring Overseer is one I've had my eye on for awhile, and it is great here as we can sac it to get four drops and then get it back when paired with the seraph. It was already good with Sword of Hearth and Home for getting a draw engine going, and will be great with Serra Paragon and Emeria Shepherd as well. It's not essential by any means and we have to consider the floor of the card which is that it is an over-costed, one-off angelic version of Elvish Visionary, but at the three drop slot it gets some consideration at any rate because of the times where it can be really good.

The other card that should be considered now is Archangel of Tithes. This wasn't high priority before because we rarely needed either of its abilities since we usually have enough huge blockers to deter attacking and our flyers don't often have issues with blockers. Nonetheless, it is a great toolbox piece against infinite attack step/attacker combos like Godo/Helm Kiki-Jiki/Village Bell Ringer, etc. These combos still kill us because they can generate enough attackers to get around and eventually kill our defenders, but with the archangel they'll never be able to pay for it, making it a helpful hate piece much like Linvala and Jubilation are.

I currently don't have slots to add these, but will be keeping an eye on things to potentially cut to potentially add them.

kirbysan on [Primer] Helming the Host of Heaven *Update*

1 month ago

Guerric

I got all the borderless versions of the cards in the first version of the deck and the extended art versions where applicable. I wasn't a huge fan of the borderless art for Battle Angels of Tyr or Sanctuary Warden so I opted for the regular borders on those: Battle Angels of Tyr, Sanctuary Warden.

If you do ever end up with a playset of fetches and decide to run it in this deck I'd highly recommend this Crucible of Worlds. Everything about this is just pure angel flavor, from the art to the text.

I picked up this Avacyn, Angel of Hope when building the deck as a birthday present to myself and you can see why I just desperately want to slot it in somewhere.

My Starnheim Unleashed is currently sitting on the sidelines for now but when I popped it off one game for 4 angels it was nice to look at before going straight to the graveyard.

The only foil I'm actually running in this deck is the etched foil version of Giada, Font of Hope as I'm not a big fan of the foil curling in the 99. Also when I first started building, some cheap angels like Segovian Angel have foil prices in the double digits and others don't even have foil copies. My self-proclaimed OCD wouldn't have it.

I'm currently running a separate list to yours with the swaps we mentioned in comments. I've also organized them by purpose and CMC. Not sure if it's helpful for you but it let's me think more specifically about swaps without remembering off the top of my head.

kirbysan's Giada list

Guerric on [Primer] Helming the Host of Heaven *Update*

1 month ago

kirbysan

Thanks for all the playtesting and updates! I probably will try out Pyre of Heroes after I play the deck in its current draft a bit. I had been thinking about just some of the interactions you mentioned, namely sacc'ing three drops for Paragon. Not sure if I'd cut Eye or something else for it, but the upside of a tribal tutor engine is pretty good. It is worth mentioning that even in a four player game it's not a given that they remove the Pyre, since the Pyre itself will start producing things they'll want to remove more. The Pyre does have costs associated with it as well, so its not like we are getting free stuff, we're just able to use our library as a toolbox which is useful for us, bit not necessarily threatening to any given opponent. If and when I do add Pyre I will probably also find a place for Breathkeeper Seraph because sac'ing the Seraph for Sephara, Sky's Blade is something that needs to happen. Inspiring Overseer is also a nice little card that I have but haven't been able to figure out how to replace yet. That's also a great interaction with Together Forever. It's easy to forget that while you can't regenerate or stop a sac'ced creature from dying that you can certainly get it back with effects just like Together Forever provides! I think Luminarch Ascension might be worse in multi-player where there are more people to target it. I'd expect it to be better in 1v1 where you could be against an opponent in colors that are bad at removing enchantments. In my case I know my group will insta-kill it, so if I am going for a mana sink Starnheim Unleashed is more likely to get the job done if I play it when it is likely to resolve. And personally I'm just really not into The Ozolith, though I could always be wrong and am open to hearing about how it performs. Thanks again for everything! Those are some great interactions and that is super helpful!

kirbysan on [Primer] Helming the Host of Heaven *Update*

1 month ago

Guerric

I wasn't able to play a multiplayer game this weekend but ran 9 games of 1v1. I won 7/9 games as unblocked angels seems to be consistently good. 6 games were against Necron Precron, 2 games against Faldorn Exiles & 1 game against Aesi Landfall. Made a couple swaps to give Pyre of Heroes a shot. Didn't touch the lifegain package but messed with the protection one. Since all 9 games were duels, some of the changes weren't great.

Eye of Vecna for Pyre of Heroes

Cosmic Intervention for The Ozolith

Angel of Condemnation for Karmic Guide

Angel of Jubilation for Inspiring Overseer

Starnheim Unleashed for Luminarch Ascension

Search for Glory for Enlightened Tutor

I notably left in Together Forever and didn't put in Breathkeeper Seraph because I wanted to see if there were synergies between Together Forever and Pyre of Heroes.

Lost 1 game against Necron Precon due to a combination of things. I missed 2 land drops early in the game and was forced to use Enlightened Tutor for a Sol Ring so I could play my hand. Later in the game Ioverplayed the hand and got hit by Shard of the Nightbringer followed by Their Name is Death on the next turn. I was definitely kicking myself at the end because I had Emeria Shepherd and played it when I should've held it. Necrons actually did pretty well against this deck overall as they had fliers which stopped some early attacks. In the end though, as with most precons, they ran out of gas while Angels could keep chugging along and beefing up.

Lost 1 game against Faldorn Exiles due to Food Chain & Eternal Scourge with Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald producing a million wolves on turn 4. With no answers in hand, it was a quick and clear loss.

I was able to get Pyre of Heroes out in several games. One of my favorite combinations was using it on Inspiring Overseer to drop in Serra Paragon and then recasting Inspiring Overseer for the extra life and draw. On the following turn I sacrificed it again to grab Battle Angels of Tyr and hit for even more draw.

During the final game against Aesi Landfall I wanted to see how much value I could get out of Pyre of Heroes so I kept an obviously risky hand. My starting hand consisted of Arid Mesa, Plains, Fabled Passage, Emergence Zone, Mutavault, Pyre of Heroes, and Path to Exile. Aesi had a pretty slow start without much ramp but dropped Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait turn 5 which I promptly pathed. The only Angel I drew was Angelic Curator which I pyred into Inspiring Overseer. I also had Together Forever on the board so when I pyred Inspiring Overseer into Serra Paragon I was able to bounce it back to hand and recast Angelic Curator on the same turn. Next turn I cast Inspiring Overseer and pyred that into Thraben Watcher and started swinging for lots of damage.

In a multiplayer game other players would've had more answers for our board and Pyre of Heroes may not stick around. However, I don't think it seems threatening on its own and most times it's just a value engine. I think there may be a case for swapping it out for Eye of Vecna. They cost the same for 2 colorless. Their activations are also the same at 2 colorless. The differences are the 2 damage we take for Vecna and also that the draw occurs on upkeep before our draw phase and we have to pay the 2 and life if we want the card. If we drop Vecna early game and we're looking for something key, usually a land or a low cost angel and there's no guarantee that we'll get it. So if we're on turn 4, we've expended 2/3 available mana on drawing either a land or a 2cmc angel because we can't play anyting else. If we aren't dropping Vecna early and instead on turn 6-7 then it's pretty slow compared to its counterparts. Yes it replaces itself but nothing else we do will give us cards the turn we need it. All the other draw cards play into our strategy of either playing angels, attacking or gaining life. Also, the ones we pay into can be done on opponents turn when we're holding up answers, so there's no "wasted mana".

Out of the current swaps The Ozolith and Luminarch Ascension were very mediocre. This is likely due to the duel format and will need more testplaying in a 4-man setting. I was able to get The Ozolith up to 18 counters one game but it didn't matter since I was dead the next turn.

I think just based on this trial run that Pyre of Heroes deserves a strong consideration especially with Inspiring Overseer. Let me know your thoughts!

Guerric on [Primer] Helming the Host of Heaven *Update*

1 month ago

kirbysan

Thanks for the input! I think I'll probably cut Sigarda's Splendor after all. I haven't seen Vanquisher's Banner be bad yet, so I'll keep monitoring things but it's probably better to go for the high ceiling low floor type cards when we get above 3 cmc. As for Darksteel Mutation, the key is simply having a removal place to take the spot of Harsh Mercy. I've found that several times when I had it in hand I didn't need a board wipe but did want a targeted removal. That card wasn't good for that since each player gets to pick a creature type to keep, so it went. Mutation is nice since it can sideline a commander at least temporarily, though there are ways around it. Another good option is Fateful Absence, which simply destroys a creature or planeswalker, but which can be done at instant speed. Either way, it doesn't have to be integral, we just want to up the efficient removal with this slot.

As for other cards, my thoughts are as follows. Linvala, Keeper of Silence is the easiest because this card has saved my bacon more times than I can recount, and has been a true all star for me. I expected her to be fine but she's been a real star. Angel of Jubilation is also solid. We're always happy to have the anthem and when her second ability comes into play we'll be very glad we have her as she shuts down some of the more degenerate shenanigans in the format. Search for Glory is another easy one, and is a very underrated card. We have a lot of amazing legends here, and she can tutor all of them. One which I have used multiple times is tutoring Sephara, Sky's Blade and then immediately playing her for .

Together Forever is a board protection piece and the theory on it is good. I haven't seen it as often as other cards, but when I have I've played it, used it, and been glad to have it. It doesn't stop our pieces from being destroyed per se, but it does preserve the cards themselves for the cheap cost of per card. The biggest danger in this deck is getting blown out with an empty hand, and this ensures that we can at least have a hand if we play carefully. It is also good in less dramatic situations though. When I've enjoyed it most is when I've used it to save Sephara, Sky's Blade only to immediately replay her for the next turn, something that vexed my opponents greatly. Now if I were putting Avacyn in I could consider cutting this card since it is in the same category (sort of), but I've found it to be good and plan on keeping it for the time being. Starnheim Unleashed in this deck is the sort of token splashy card that allows for a big play that can put us over the top. It's not critical to the function of the deck, but where it is good it is generally pretty great. The ceiling is to play it with Crashing Drawbridge on the board or to flash it out on the end step right before our turn with Emergence Zone, where the element of surprise can take over the game. That being said, if you wanted to slot Luminarch Ascension in, something I have thought about doing, it could go in place of this as it has a similar function in terms of being able to pump out a massive amount of angel tokens. Luminarch Ascension has added value as a permanent since it can generate angels repeatedly for small mana. It'd downside is that there is no element of surprise. Our opponents will instantly know the threat it poses and will likely work to remove it as quickly as they can, possibly before we get to activate it at all. I think both cards are good and can justify a place in the deck, though I wouldn't say either is essential.

Angel of Condemnation is a card that I have pondered cutting and haven't really used too much in my playtesting so far, though it's certainly not bad and the theory on it is good. It's one of those cards with a lot of utility. On the one hand it is a removal piece, and a think we can use extra mana on at instant speed to repeatedly disrupt our opponents. Often we shouldn't need to exert him. Just blinking our opponents degenerate piece on their upkeep will generally keep them from exploiting it during their turn. Of course if we do exert him we can sideline a piece until an opponent removes him, and usually only the opponent who owns the degenerate piece will be willing to do so. This card can also be useful on our own stuff. We'll be happy to blink Sanctuary Warden for an extra card sometimes, or maybe blink any of our creatures to gain life off of Bishop of Wings and make an angel token off of Resplendent Angel or put some counters on stuff with Archangel of Thune. I've played enough blink decks to know that we tend to find all sorts of synergies like this if we have a card like this one in the deck and are looking for them.

Needless to say I am pretty happy with the list in general, and most of the cards I haven't liked I've cut. This doesn't mean we can't cut these or any other cards, but the threshold of a new card needs to be high for me to consider it.

kirbysan on [Primer] Helming the Host of Heaven *Update*

1 month ago

Guerric

I was able to use Darksteel Mutation twice last week and at first it seemed amazing. However, both players I used it against were able to use copy effects to get their commander "back" and keep going. I don't think it's integral to deck performance yet.

I personally removed Sigarda's Splendor for my trial run last week. While it does fit thematically with the deck I didn't get sufficient lifegain out of it and drawing the card on next turn and only once per turn didn't provide enough value over the course of the game. If we cast it turn 4 we should start slow playing turn 5+ since we're expecting a board wipe. That means we're holding up cards in hand and playing cards for value or leaving mana up for answers. We're not really storming off with a bunch of white weenies to gain a bunch of life so the lifegain is incremental. That means if someone else is playing big creatures and swings at us and we don't want to chump with an angel, then we lose the card draw. I put it in the same category as Court of Grace which at least gives us the card at end of turn and provides us with a 4/4 body on upkeep rather than the card. Even if we lose monarch, we still get 1/1 bodies that can play into our favor with sufficient anthems. Furthermore, when an opponent has monarch they usually get targeted so another opponent can steal it.

I was initially against Thorough Investigation as it just seemed so slow. But when we're in mid-game and holding mana up for answers, it's nice to use the spare mana to crack clues if we don't use our answers. One time, after a board wipe and I was only holding angels to rebuild I cracked 3 clues on opponent's end step which just gave me so much more gas. The scry from Dungeon of the Mad Mage was highly useful as we don't have that ability otherwise. I even finished the dungeon one game but only got a Youthful Valkyrie off it. Being able to crack these clues convinced me that Luminarch Ascension needs to be slotted in. We could use spare 2 mana to dump out a 4/4 Angel on end steps after a board wipe and just start swinging.

Mangara, the Diplomat was pretty useful the 2 games I got it out. In game 2, I drew 4 for 4 mana and another game drew 2 before a board wipe. It also doesn't draw out the single target removal as our angels are usually the bigger target.

Vanquisher's Banner was also pretty useful the 2 games I got it out. In game 2, I drew 5 for 5 mana and another game drew 3 before the game ended.

Well of Lost Dreams was never played in the 10 games I played. It definitely has a place as it has a high ceiling but it's a dead card in hand without any lifegain on board.

While we're on the topic of replacements I was wondering how the following cards have been working for you:

Together Forever

Search for Glory

Starnheim Unleashed

Angel of Condemnation

Angel of Jubilation

Linvala, Keeper of Silence

kirbysan on [Primer] Helming the Host of Heaven *Update*

1 month ago

Guerric

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!

Opponents: Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain & Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow

Starting hand was very strong, I held a Youthful Valkyrie, Bishop of Wings, Righteous Valkyrie, Vanquisher's Banner as my draw card and 3 lands which included a fetch and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx.

T1 - Fetch to Plains

T2 - Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx + Giada, Font of Hope

T3 - Plains + Bishop of Wings + Youthful Valkyrie

T4 - Plains + Using Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx to cast Pearl Medallion & Mangara, the Diplomat which I had drawn into.

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.

Land + Pearl Medallion + Smuggler's Share (drew) + Starnheim Aspirant (drew) + Righteous Valkyrie.

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.

I played Vanquisher's Banner + Archangel of Thune + Valkyrie Harbinger drawing 2 and swung in for a bunch bringing both of them to their low 20's while I shot up to 60+ life.

I drew 1 off Smuggler's Share and 1 off Mangara, the Diplomat but Yuriko played a Toxic Deluge for 11 wiping our creatures and bringing their life total into the low 10s.

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.

Opponents: Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain & Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow

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

T2 - Seraph Sanctuary + Giada, Font of Hope

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.

Opponents: Marneus Calgar, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger & Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald

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.

2x Plains, Teferi's Protection, Angel of Condemnation, Starnheim Unleashed, Resplendent Angel, Herald of War

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.

Unfortunately the Ulamog player attacked with a single unblockable voltroned Wurmcoil Engine against Marneus who cast an Entrapment Maneuver netting 10 4/4 Angels.

In the end Marneus had 16 Angels attacking me and I tried to buy time with a Teferi's Protection which got countered with a Dovin's Veto.

Opponents: Shorikai, Genesis Engine, Muldrotha, the Gravetide & Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait

Starting hand was great against these commanders:

4x Plains, Dowsing Dagger  Flip, Battle Angels of Tyr, Smuggler's Share

T1 - Plains

T2 - Plains + Giada, Font of Hope

T3 - Plains + Smuggler's Share

T4 - Plains + Dowsing Dagger  Flip & equipped, swing and flip to Lost Vale, cast Battle Angels of Tyr with Giada and Vale.

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.

Opponents: Isshin, Two Heavens as One, The Scarab God & Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait

Starting hand had no draw again but did have lifegain synergies so I decided to keep.

2x Plains, Cavern of Souls, Windswept Heath, The Book of Exalted Deeds, Archangel of Thune, Angelic Field Marshal.

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:

Giada, Font of Hope

Soul Warden

Seraph Sanctuary & a bunch of other lands

Angel of Vitality w/ 3 +1/+1 counters

Angelic Field Marshal w/ 4 +1/+1 Counters

Thorough Investigation

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.

Opponents: Lazav, the Multifarious, Delina, Wild Mage & Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald

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:

Giada, Font of Hope

Angel of Jubilation - just an anthem and would've shut down my fetches but I played it late game

Serra Avenger

Angelic Skirmisher

Angelic Sleuth

Linvala, Keeper of Silence - didn't stop anything on my opponent's board because they were all triggered abilities

Smuggler's Share

Thorough Investigation

Opponents: Lazav, the Multifarious, Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder & Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait

Starting hand was top heavy but decided to keep:

Plains, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, Pearl Medallion, Sword of Hearth and Home, Well of Lost Dreams, Sword of the Animist, Archangel of Thune

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.

Opponents: Ghyrson Starn, Kelermorph & Roon of the Hidden Realm

Starting hand was decent: Plains, Plains, Thorough Investigation, Thraben Watcher, Search for Glory, Dowsing Dagger  Flip, Sword of Fire and Ice

T1 - Plains

T2 - Plains + Giada, Font of Hope

T3 - Plains + Thorough Investigation

T4 - Plains + Thraben Watcher

T5 - Nykthos + Dowsing Dagger  Flip & equipped, flipped to Lost Vale, Sword of Fire and Ice

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.

Opponents: Jared Carthalion & Isshin, Two Heavens as One

Starting hand was strong if a little slow: Fabled Passage, Windbrisk Heights, Eye of Vecna, Sanctuary Warden, Pearl Medallion, Battle Angels of Tyr, Serra Avenger

Ramp wasn't ideal and I saw the limitations of having too much colorless sources. The Plains, Windbrisk Heights and Giada, Font of Hope were the only 3 sources of white most of the game.

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.

Opponents: Jared Carthalion, Isshin, Two Heavens as One & Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools partnered w/ Armix, Filigree Thrasher

Starting hand was ok, no draw engine but great lifegain:

Flooded Strand, Secluded Steppe, Emergence Zone, Soul Warden, Starnheim Aspirant, Angelic Skirmisher, Segovian Angel

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.

Out of the 10 games played, I won 7 so those odds are pretty good and I'm happy with the result.

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.

Guerric on [Primer] Helming the Host of Heaven *Update*

8 months ago

Cyb3rguerrill0 I have a lovely FTV Foil Entreat the Angels and it was in my original draft of the deck, but I cut it before the final list for space. It would be better if I had some topdeck manipulation and could feasibly cast it for the miracle cost often. I judged Starnheim Unleashed the better card, but I'd prefer to play both. I'll probably try it out soon though. I do think the upside of these cards is as finishers, even if they can just be used on the low end as a over-costed angel "creature" cards. I do suppose the upside of white never being a card draw monster could be that casting it for the miracle cost would be more normal. In this case such would be an especially good play with Crashing Drawbridge out.

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