Thraben Watcher

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Legality

Format Legality
1v1 Commander Legal
Arena Legal
Block Constructed 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
Vintage Legal

Thraben Watcher

Creature — Angel

Flying, vigilance

Other nontoken creatures you control get +1/+1 and have vigilance.

Guerric on [Primer] Helming the Host of Heaven: A Giada Guide

2 months ago
I got in a couple of games last night, the first being 1v1 and the second a four player game. I won't go into tedious detail about all of them, but neither were wins, though in both the deck performed well, and I would have one the second if I hadn't made a mistake. Always, always kill the combo player first! I should know that better than anyone with all of the nasty combo decks I've built. I have some relevant observations on cards and mechanics that should help players of the deck.

The first is to not underrate vigilance, which a turn three Thraben Watcher gave to me for the whole of the second game. Some players have rated it as a junk ability, but it's strong when you give it to everyone, and we have several cards that do that. Even before Angelic Skirmisher got me to over 100 life in the second game I was pretty unattackable throughout because of my angelic attacker/defenders.

I also got to play Eye of Vecna for the first time and thought it was great. It immediately replaces itself, and you always have the option to pay the to draw the card since it comes right after untap. It sort of becomes like a Phyrexian Arena that we pay for with mana instead of life loss, which we'll take because we are in white. In the first game I had the mother of all draw cards in Well of Lost Dreams in my hand, but I could never find the free mana to cast it because I was under a clock to put my opponent away. I still think Well is incredibly good, but it makes me nervous about Vanquisher's Banner and reminds me of the importance of low cmc draw pieces.

I also did not like Secret Rendezvous, and will probably replace it with Rogue's Gloves before I play this again. This isn't because I am a detractor from Rendezvous generally, it a less aggressive deck it would be a good political card and welcome white draw piece. It is pretty hard to give cards to anyone in this deck where you will definitely be viewed as a threat. I'm surprised I haven't played Rogue's Gloves earlier. Once equipped it just gets us a free card every turn, and that's what we need. As good equipment becomes more and more relevant here, it makes me wonder if it might not be worth adding Steelshaper's Gift to the deck. At some point I am going to do a tutoring pass on the deck, and that card will be high on the list.

I've also pretty much planned for awhile to replace Eerie Interlude with Guardian of Faith. Interlude doesn't bring your counters back when you use it to save yourself from a boardwipe, whereas Guadian does, making it a superior card in that instance. Nonetheless, in this game I used Interlude to save my Angelic Skirmisher from targeted removal, which felt really good. As I continue to ponder this change it is helpful to remember that while interlude is worse in terms of board wipe protection it is better in terms of having utility to re-order counters if Giada is out, replay ETB creatures, or just protect from targeted removal.

In both games the engine set up well, I was a constant threat, and in the first game he only barely overcame me in the end with some lucky draws and really strong play sequencing. I was excited to play the deck against that friend, who is definitely the strongest player in my play group. As I plan further refining and revisions, I will definitely be prioritizing lowering the cmc of support pieces to two or three cmc as much as possible as I think that is key to success.

Guerric on [Primer] Helming the Host of Heaven: A Giada Guide

2 months ago
I've made it clear at several points that I am not a big fan of changelings in this deck, my main argument being that while they are angels and benefit from Giada, they don't fly and are thus subpar. Some of this was a reaction to constant suggestions on the forums and online deck techs of subpar changelings like Impostor of the Sixth Pride. As a result many lists were running this card over Angelic Page, Angelic Curator, or Segovian Angel, all of which are strictly better in the context of an angels deck and far more on theme. I also did try and immediately disliked Mirror Entity in my early trials, further souring my mood towards the untribe.

That being said, some helpful pushback and discussion here are leading me to qualify my thoughts that there are some changelings which can be good in this deck and be correct play options, so I wanted to talk about which ones and why.

The first of these and the clear strongest option is Metallic Mimic. The reason for this is because it is a 2 drop "angel" that anthems every other angel you cast by increasing the number of counters that are put on it. This is amazing because unlike a Thraben Watcher whose anthem leaves the battlefield when it is removed, the extra counters will remain unless a board wipe happens. Regardless of whether I end up playing this card or not I think it is probably "correct" to play it in an optimal list.

The second of these cards is Irregular Cohort. Phule451 made a good point that this card is a two-for-one that we can cast turn three consistently. If we cast it then from turn four on we are putting at least three counters on everything, which is pretty great. Two-for-ones are great for goldfishing and provide efficiency, so this does that. There are still some downsides to this card since the angels don't fly and as four cmc is the slot where we need to get more choosy since there is more competition for slots, but I think it is a valid and very playable choice in this deck.

The third card is the weakest but is still playable and that is Universal Automaton. The "sole" reason for this is that it costs solely to cast it, and there is only one other angel we get for that rate. Again, low cmc angels don't have to do as much to justify their slot in this deck- cmc is almost good enough on it's own!

Any of the above cards can be "correct" to play in this deck, so if you want to play them, by all means do! All of that being said, I don't think that I personally will be playing any of these cards for two main reasons. The first of these is pretty much what I said before about the flying piece, but perhaps I should elaborate more. I have a lot of experience playing flyer decks across multiple formats in magic and it's something I have a strong feel for. When I've had non-flyers in decks that are built around flying, they've always felt bad, and I've wished they weren't in my deck every time. This already happened to me with Mirror Entity in this deck, and I don't want to really have much of a desire to experiment with them more. The only card I could maybe see myself playing is Metallic Mimic, but if I did play that card it would take the place of a support piece and not an angel, and I would justify it by considering it a support piece and not take a slot from an angel proper. The other reason I don't see myself playing these is more about flavor. This is an angels deck, and I want to play big flying angels with cool art, not creepy shapeshifters masquerading as the real thing. Changelings may be considered angels mechanically, but they also are not truly angels, and it feels wrong for the angel tribe in particular. I love some of the changelings I play in my Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow deck because it seems like ninjas and changelings go together perfectly, but not so much here. Of course, this latter reason is entirely subjective, and in general I try to build my decks as optimally as possible, but where it doesn't hurt the deck's strategy I like to keep my decks as flavorful as possible as that makes it more fun in my book! That being said, I don't want to rain on anyone's parade who likes these cards and prefers them to other angels, as I think they are all playable here. I hope this helps some of you as you plan and play the deck!

Guerric on [Primer] Helming the Host of Heaven: A Giada Guide

3 months ago
I got in two more games today as part of a club I lead. 1v1 unfortunately, but it was up against a fairly controlling Ranar the Ever-Watchful deck with flyers and was a good matchup, and I still feel like I learned a bit about how the deck works and what some key cards are.

I must not have re-optimized mana well after the previous session because I only drew three lands over the course of the entire first game. That being said, I still won! Even with only three mana and Giada the curve allowed me to do most of what I wanted to do and put most of my angels out, so the curve and the deck's ability to put up a board state quickly even with limited resources is great. The all-star of the first game was Crashing Drawbridge, which, as I suspected, is great in this deck. I finished by playing out Serra Avenger and Angelic Curator (with plenty of counters) and then swinging with them and all of my other angels for lethal because of drawbridge. It helped me close out the game before my opponent could stabilize and hit me with a wipe, which would have set me way back due to my lack of lands. Another great combo was Righteous Valkyrie which is every bit the powerhouse you'd think it would be in this deck and Resplendent Angel, which ensured that tokens were bolstering my army and that my life total was more than padded.

The second game was much more evenly matched and could have gone either way, but I pulled that one out in the end as well. This would not have happened if Eerie Interlude hadn't saved my cast angels from Curse of the Swine, attesting again to the importance of board state protection in this deck. Quite critically, interlude was the only thing in my deck currently that would have saved me from that (other than Lapse of Certainty, so I was glad to have it! The absolute all-star in this game was Thorough Investigation. Wow! What a card! I thought it might be good, but the whole enter-the-dungeon mechanic seemed a bit cute to me and I was ensure if I would want to pay to sac clue tokens. The answer is yes! I amassed so many tokens from Investigation (as well as a couple from Angelic Sleuth when I blinked it with Interlude) that I knew I could refill my hand at any point, which I did! I'm going to put this card in all of my aggro decks- its a hidden treasure! Angelic Skirmisher is also a must-run in the deck. Everyone plays Lyra Dawnbringer but some don't play this card, which I feel like is better. While the life-link aura is the thing in this deck and two copies of it was great, I definitely experienced the utility of the first strike aura when I wanted to swing with Valkyrie Harbinger but was afraid to lose it to a large flying blocker. First strike made it so that he didn't want to block! Vigilance is also great, and Thraben Watcher was already making sure I wasn't in danger on the crack back in this matchup, but Skirmisher could situationally help with that as well. I finished it out by clearing away all of his blockers (including some absurdly large creatures) with Winds of Abandon. He put 13 lands onto the battlefield, but died to my Angelic Armada.

In both of these games, as with in the previous ones I've reported on, the life gain was real and powerful! I finished the second game with 98 life and the first one with life somewhere in the 70s, so this deck works amazingly well that way. I also played a turn one Soul Warden the first game and was quite thankful for it. I wasn't totally sure about the soul sisters in this deck, but I think I am glad for them. Another huge success in several games so far are the Angelic Accord effects. Having four of them makes it a consistent subtheme, and even a couple of free giant angel tokens goes a long way to killing opponents. I think my issues with card draw aren't that I don't have draw or that it doesn't work, just that this deck is hungry for more of it, which I will address in the first revision coming soon. I've already ordered some more cards based in part on suggestions I've received here from some of you, so thanks for those! I will post the revisions once they are made and my reasoning for them. I'll also update the primer and the acknowledgements to offer credit where credit is due!

Necrosis24 on Bup's Akroma/Sakashima

1 year ago

TheBubbaEA It really depends on your playgroup's meta when considering certain strategies. If your group has a lot of board wipes 3.45 will be too slow and hard to rebuild a board state if you are hard casting all your creatures. For me personally I like explosive turns so I find ways to generate a lot of tokens or cheat out a bunch of creatures near the end game (in my playgroup turn 10+). For example using effects like Omniscience , Rise of the Dark Realms .

If you do choose to go more aggro angels may not be the best option due to their avg high cmc. But if you do stick with angels a couple other cards worth considering would be:

  1. Herald of War
  2. Herald's Horn
  3. Oketra's Monument
  4. Warden of Evos Isle
  5. The Book of Exalted Deeds
  6. Thraben Watcher
  7. Righteous Valkyrie
  8. Valkyrie Harbinger
  9. (There are other cards with similar effect)
  10. Bishop of Wings
  11. Speaker of the Heavens
  12. Geist of Saint Traft

Some other cards I like, although may not be quite right for this deck:

  1. Basri Ket (For that -2) similar to Launch the Fleet
  2. Basri's Lieutenant
  3. Luminous Broodmoth
  4. Brought Back
  5. Storm Herd (Very high cmc but high reward when paired with Odric, Lunarch Marshal + Akroma, Vision of Ixidor )
  6. Well of Lost Dreams

Some white staples(some are quite expensive):

  1. Smothering Tithe
  2. Mangara, the Diplomat
  3. Esper Sentinel
  4. Land Tax
  5. Felidar Retreat
  6. Keeper of the Accord
  7. Archaeomancer's Map
  8. Verge Rangers

Sorry only white cards come to mind as I myself was building a mono white angels deck.

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