Vanquisher's Banner

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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
Pioneer Legal
Vintage Legal

Vanquisher's Banner

Artifact

As this enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.

Creatures you control of the chosen type get +1/+1.

Whenever you cast a creature spell of the chosen type, draw a card.

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

4 days ago
Here are my most recent updates, with some brief justifications. I've telegraphed most of my thoughts on these before, so I'll try to go for a briefer treatment.

1) Harsh Mercy OUT Darksteel Mutation IN

Harsh Mercy seemed like it would be amazing, but I find I don't often need to wipe the board in this deck, and usually when I considered using Mercy it was to deal with one or two problematic creatures. Unfortunately, they get to pick what they keep and can always keep something, so this turns out to be not as good as we'd think, particularly as we don't really need it to clear blockers since we fly. More targeted removal seems to be what the doctor ordered, and Darksteel Mutation can sideline problematic combo commanders. I may switch this to Fateful Absence eventually, but for now we'll go for the more durable if less flexible answer.

2) Serra Paragon IN Baneslayer Angel OUT

It should be fairly clear why this card belongs in, as it is amazing and adds on the recursion in the deck for the low cost of 4 mana. We can get her going as early as turn three! Baneslayer is iconic and fun to play, but it is higher on our curve and has never been too synergistic, so it gets the axe.

3) Karmic Guide OUT Emeria Angel IN

I was always nervous about the cmc on the latter, but others have assured me it works great, and this update is lowering my curve across the board so I can afford to raise it two for a far superior version of Guide. Emeria Angel lets us get back whatever we want turn after turn, and is a must answer value piece that can do work in the late game.

4) Angel of Invention OUT Steel Seraph IN

This change is more experimental, but the latter costs three when we cast it here, which lowers our curve by two. Its ability is really relevant and synergistic, and allows us to have lifelink the turn we cast this. I do like what I can cutting though as anthems are good here, so there is a chance I go back or re-add it down the road, but for now we are cutting the curve.

5) Sigarda's Splendor OUT Smuggler's Share IN

Smuggler's Share will no doubt be good in this deck and we need to cut a draw piece for it. I agonized on what to cut as Splendor is better in the early game and less likely to be removed, but is bad late game when it won't give us value. Vanquisher's Banner is amazing in the late game but is a bit more of a high risk, high reward sort of card here. I opted to keep banner because I feel like we need more of the latter category than the former. We'll see how it goes, though others have assured me that banner works well in the late game, and it has indeed done that where I've used it in other decks.

6) Ghost Quarter OUT Mutavault IN

While I like having the extra answer to lands, we can't afford too many colorless lands in this deck and I think this is the least needed as we also have Generous Gift. Mutavault is great obviously for the combo with The Book of Exalted Deeds, but it is also a great way to upper our counters with spare mana. If we activate it on our turn before casting any angels we'll get extra counters on said angels when they ETB. This utility can definitely make a difference over the course of the game even without making it into a Platinum Angel land, and the latter is amazing.

7) Eerie Interlude OUT Guardian of Faith IN

Interlude was always bad because you lose all of your counters on the blink since Giada would re-enter at the same time as them. Guardian is awesome because by phasing out they never leave the battlefield and thus keep all of their counters. Of course if you have Teferi's Protection do feel free to play that in place of either this or Cosmic Intervention

lagotripha on Myrtron

5 days ago

I like this idea, but I feel like it needs some draw power and big payoffs - a couple playtests and I was sitting on lands and myr without a big 'this is how I win the game'.

I think the biggest thing would be leaning into green for Winding Way. It would let you grab myrs for the myr gameplan or grab tronlands in the top cards of your library, as well as opening up Ancient Stirrings which finds every card in your deck.

Icon of Ancestry / Brass Herald offers this kind of effect at a higher cmc but colourless.

The difference between 'big mana' tron myr rather than more 'artifacts cost less' myr is that it changes combo options - Myr Retriever loops and Heartless Summoning isn't going to do well. You need some big artifacts that stick and turn your myr into big threats - the myr tribal artifacts only do sorta okay at this, but they're a little light on synergy with each other.

If you want big winning combos, its more likely to be Kuldotha Forgemaster type cards that grab a big artifact threat - most of which would be lore appropriate.

I've had fun with Trading Post in these lists, alongside Myr Sire/Genesis Chamber to create a 'value until your opponent runs out of cards' style, but it does need the myr to be able to trade efficiently.

Trying to stick something like Vanquisher's Banner then play your entire deck, or run things like Thoughtcast, Lead the Stampede or Thought Monitor (with the artifact taplands) are all neat options but would take a lot bigger changes. A slow list built around using myr as mana dorks, artifact lands and Storage Matrix has some potential too, but all these options are getting further away from what the list currently is.

Have fun, and good luck with the playtesting.

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

6 days 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 week 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

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

1 week 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-

1) Thorough Investigation

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.

2) Mangara, the Diplomat

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.

3) Vanquisher's Banner

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.

4) Sigarda's Splendor

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.

5) Well of Lost Dreams

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.

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

1 week 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*

2 weeks ago
Here is what I am thinking for an update which is coming soon. This isn't a final list, but reflects my current thinking. Please chime in if you have thoughts on it!

Dawn of Hope OUT Folk Hero IN

Card draw piece out (I've considered Sigarda's Splendor, Thorough Investigation, Mangara, the Diplomat or even Vanquisher's Banner) Smuggler's Share IN

Baneslayer Angel OUT Serra Paragon IN

Eerie Interlude OUT Guardian of Faith IN

Harsh Mercy OUT Darksteel Mutation IN

Colorless Land (either Ghost Quarter, Emergence Zone, or Scavenger Grounds) OUT, Mutavault IN

I may also add in either Steel Seraph or Inspiring Overseer and take out Angel of Invention

Let me know if you have any thoughts on these changes. I'll post full justifications once they are complete.

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