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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:30 pm 
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So I just finished up a quick few matches with my first Orzhov brew and it delivered a beating both times. My deck is a little different than the others I've seen, so I'll post it up here for input. Keep in mind this is a first-draft with only two games under its belt:

4 x Orzhov Guildgate
10 x Swamp
7 x Plains
4 x Radiant Fountain

3 x Ulcerate
1 x Elixir of Immortality

4 x Lone Missionary
3 x Ajani's Pridemate
3 x Vizkopa Guildmage

4 x Phyrexian Rager
3 x Tribute to Hunger
2 x Banisher Priest

3 x Angelic Accord
2 x Graveborn Muse
2 x Rhox Faithmender

2 x Indulgent Tormentor
1 x Baneslayer Angel
1 x Sanguine Bond

1 x Resolute Archangel


First things first, I'm going to start with four radiant Fountains because they were defended so vehemently; we'll see if I was wrong, and I may very well have been. I'm also running 25 land because the mana-hungry Guildmage is a core part of the combo engine.

I think Ulcerate is a pretty obvious inclusion in a lifegain deck, so I maxed out here.

I'm normally not a fan of Elixir of Immortality outside of slow control decks, but I think it's worth a slot here because it triggers Angelic Accord and it's a huge hit with a Guildmage activation or a Sanguine Bond. Add a Faithmender to the mix and it's pretty insane. It has the small upside of recycling lost threats back into your deck, as well. I would never run more than one of these, though, because drawing multiples is pretty bad.

I'm running what I think is the standard two-drop package of Missionary/Pridemate/Guildmage. Child of Night is okay, but I don't think it's good enough to make the deck. I see a lot of decks running Wall of Omens, but it can't attack, so I don't like it here. This isn't a control deck, it's more of a midrange deck that has a combo element for extra versatility.

I am, however, running the full playset of Phyrexian Ragers for card draw. This card can get into combat and kill something and losing one life just doesn't matter here. You can also give it lifelink with the Guildmage (unlike the Wall) and if you have a Faithmender and an Accord, you can suicide it to trade up for a 4/4 flier. Yeah that's a four-card combination.

Tribute to Hunger is also another fairly-obvious removal spell because of the lifegain element, and Edicts are rarely bad.

I'm running just two Banisher Priests because I think Ulcerate and Tribute are both great removal spells, but sometimes you need something that hits a specific creature and those two cards don't provide that. I thought about Flesh to Dust, but it's way up there on the curve so I was hesitant. I'll be keeping an eye on this.

I'm running all three Angelic Accords and both Faithmenders, and I think that goes without saying.

What I am doing differently is running both Graveborn Muses; they are cheaper and smaller Bloodgift Demons in this deck because they are the only two Zombies in the list. I thought that since we're going to be gaining a bunch of life that we should spend it somehow, and that's why I've gone with the Rager/Muse package as my card advantage engine.

At five mana, I've included the three bomby fliers. Everyone is going to run Baneslayer in this archetype, but Tormentor just fills so many holes and is a five-power flier to boot that I don't see how he could be excluded. The deck already has a decent card drawing component and some good removal cards, and this guy supplements both of those subthemes while being a win condition by draining life and attacking.

I've included only a singleton Sanguine Bond because it's bad in multiples. I understand the effect stacks, but putting two five-mana enchantments that don't affect the board in your deck isn't the best place to be unless you are building around the combo. I'm building a deck that doesn't need it, but it's a nice effect to have access to as a bullet.

I've put a singleton Resolute Archangel in the list as an experiment and I'm going to keep it until I draw it a few times, but I really don't think it's necessary. In my first two games I was always over the 20-mark fairly early so I have a feeling that I'm just paying seven mana for a vanilla 4/4 flier by including it in this deck.

--------------------

As for the first game, I stuck a Guildmage on T2, a Faithmender on T4, and a Sanguine Bond on T5. On T6 I untapped, activated the Guildmage, and cast a Lone Missionary to drain him for 16. I won on the spot because the Guildmage had gotten in for four points of damage before he played a blocker.

The second game was a bit more grindy because of a board stall, but I pumped up several Pridemates and kept eating his tokens when he was eventually forced to chump block with them. I had both Graveborn Muses on the field, though, and was drawing five cards per turn while able to recoup the lifeloss with a single Lone Missionary. It's kind of hard to lose when you're drawing that many cards.

--------------------

I think my take on the archetype with the Rager/Muse card advantage engine is quite strong and I look forward to tuning the list. If you're new to the archetype or if your version of the deck isn't performing as well as you'd like, then try this out.

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Last edited by Hakeem928 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:38 pm 
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Hakeem928 wrote:
(...)

I think my take on the archetype with the Rager/Muse card advantage engine is quite strong and I look forward to tuning the list. If you're new to the archetype or if your version of the deck isn't performing as well as you'd like, then try this out.


This looks great! I made an Orzhov deck but it was kinda slow and clunky, the main thing it lacked was imo card draw (altho I did use 2x Indulgend Tormentor). Graveborn Muse andPhyrexian Rager seem like great ideas with all the life gain! I'm looking forward to the polished version!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:52 pm 
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Disagree with the Resolute Archangel. You'll likely never need it other than it being a mediocre flier for the cost, though it does stack with the Faithmender for a huge life swing if its effect does go off.

I can't see why you aren't running Swift Justice. It's essentially removal that triggers your combo pieces. Tribute to Hunger is nice and everything, but if you only hit a token it isn't doing you anything. Swift Justice on a Pridemate can kill in conjunction with Sanguine/Vizkopa.

I would never put the Fountains in anything other than a mono deck, let alone a deck with multiple double costs in both colours, and espeically a lifegain deck that shouldn't need the effect. It certainly isn't worth the colours screws you're going to invariably get.


Last edited by Stevolutionary on Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:57 pm 
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Disagree with the Resolute Archangel. You'll likely never need it other than it being a mediocre flier for the cost, though it does stack with the Faithmender for a huge life swing if its effect does go off.

I can't see why you aren't running Swift Justice. It's essentially removal that triggers your combo pieces. Tribute to Hunger is nice and everything, but if you only hit a token it isn't doing you anything. Swift Justice on a Pridemate can kill in conjunction with Sanguine/Vizkopa.


Resolute Archangel does not "gain" life, it allows your life total to instantly become what it was when you stated the game. Therefore, it does not stack with Rhox Faithmender. But I'm with you on that...it's a mediocre flier.

I do however agree with your assessment of Swift Justice. It's cheap, lowers the curve, and it has senergy with your lifegain combos while also being a situational removal spell.


Last edited by InFaMoUsGeMiNi on Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:57 pm 
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@Stevo

Yeah, I alluded to that in my breakdown of the choices; it was a definite theory-craft and I don't think it's necessary at all.

As for Swift Justice, I can just activate the Guildmage's first ability if I want to give something lifelink. Six mana isn't a stretch if I have a Sanguine Bond in play. If I were going to run a one-mana instant in this deck it would be Gods Willing because it protects my bombs/Banisher Priests and Scries. That was one of the final cards I cut, actually, and I may try to work back up to two copies by cutting the Angel and a land.

Edited because gemini got in before I had typed my response.

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Last edited by Hakeem928 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:58 pm 
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Disagree with the Resolute Archangel. You'll likely never need it other than it being a mediocre flier for the cost, though it does stack with the Faithmender for a huge life swing if its effect does go off.

I can't see why you aren't running Swift Justice. It's essentially removal that triggers your combo pieces. Tribute to Hunger is nice and everything, but if you only hit a token it isn't doing you anything. Swift Justice on a Pridemate can kill in conjunction with Sanguine/Vizkopa.


Resolute Archangel does not "gain" life, it allows your life total to instantly become what it was when you stated the game. Therefore, it does not stack with Rhox Faithmender.

I do however agree with your assessment of Swift Justice. It's cheap, lowers the curve, and it has senergy with your lifegain combos while also being a situational removal spell.


If you go from 1 to 20 life, you gained 19 life.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:00 pm 
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Resolute Archangel does not "gain" life, it allows your life total to instantly become what it was when you stated the game. Therefore, it does not stack with Rhox Faithmender.


You're wrong here. I could be mistaken, but as far as I am aware the rules changed a while back to state that any effect that modifies life totals counts as gaining or losing for the purposes of interacting with other cards.

Even if I am wrong there (and I'm sure I'm not) it works that way in D15. I've seen it done.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:01 pm 
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Hakeem928 wrote:
Disagree with the Resolute Archangel. You'll likely never need it other than it being a mediocre flier for the cost, though it does stack with the Faithmender for a huge life swing if its effect does go off.

I can't see why you aren't running Swift Justice. It's essentially removal that triggers your combo pieces. Tribute to Hunger is nice and everything, but if you only hit a token it isn't doing you anything. Swift Justice on a Pridemate can kill in conjunction with Sanguine/Vizkopa.


Resolute Archangel does not "gain" life, it allows your life total to instantly become what it was when you stated the game. Therefore, it does not stack with Rhox Faithmender.

I do however agree with your assessment of Swift Justice. It's cheap, lowers the curve, and it has senergy with your lifegain combos while also being a situational removal spell.


If you go from 1 to 20 life, you gained 19 life.


The card does not read "gain", instead it reads "becomes". You do not gain life. After its triggered ability is resolved it does appear as though you have increased your life total but you did not technically "gain" life.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:07 pm 
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Hakeem928 wrote:
@Stevo

Yeah, I alluded to that in my breakdown of the choices; it was a definite theory-craft and I don't think it's necessary at all.

As for Swift Justice, I can just activate the Guildmage's first ability if I want to give something lifelink. Six mana isn't a stretch if I have a Sanguine Bond in play. If I were going to run a one-mana instant in this deck it would be Gods Willing because it protects my bombs/Banisher Priests and Scries. That was one of the final cards I cut, actually, and I may try to work back up to two copies by cutting the Angel and a land.

Edited because gemini got in before I had typed my response.


Well, the first strike is still important in terms of removal, and having 6 mana free isn't always guaranteed. In my build I ran 2 Sanguines and 3 Vizkopas, so it was important for Bond interaction. I suppose that's less important if you run just 1.

I eventually deleted my build though as apart from Goblins, W/B lifegain is the most played deck online, and there's not much wiggle room in terms of making it your own. Unless you're basing the deck on Accords, Bonds and/or Vizkopas to some degree or another, you're doing it wrong, and then the rest of the deck largely builds itself (Faithmenders and Muses, Ulcerates and Baneslayer, etc)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:09 pm 
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The card does not read "gain", instead it reads "becomes". You do not gain life. After its triggered ability is resolved it does appear as though you have increased your life total but you did not technically "gain" life.


118.5. If an effect sets a player's life total to a specific number, the player gains or loses the necessary amount of life to end up with the new total.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:15 pm 
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Hakeem928 wrote:
@Stevo

Yeah, I alluded to that in my breakdown of the choices; it was a definite theory-craft and I don't think it's necessary at all.

As for Swift Justice, I can just activate the Guildmage's first ability if I want to give something lifelink. Six mana isn't a stretch if I have a Sanguine Bond in play. If I were going to run a one-mana instant in this deck it would be Gods Willing because it protects my bombs/Banisher Priests and Scries. That was one of the final cards I cut, actually, and I may try to work back up to two copies by cutting the Angel and a land.

Edited because gemini got in before I had typed my response.


Well, the first strike is still important in terms of removal, and having 6 mana free isn't always guaranteed. In my build I ran 2 Sanguines and 3 Vizkopas, so it was important for Bond interaction. I suppose that's less important if you run just 1.

I eventually deleted my build though as apart from Goblins, W/B lifegain is the most played deck online, and there's not much wiggle room in terms of making it your own. Unless you're basing the deck on Accords, Bonds and/or Vizkopas to some degree or another, you're doing it wrong, and then the rest of the deck largely builds itself (Faithmenders and Muses, Ulcerates and Baneslayer, etc)


While I somewhat I agree with the sentiment that a lot of the core cards are pretty obvious, I still think there's room to put a bit of individual spin on the archetype.

With regard to it being the most played archetype, I've only sat across from a single resolved Sanguine Bond and I haven't seen Angelic Accord yet. I've seen a bunch of WB decks with Pridemates, Ulcerates, etc., but nothing that resembled a cohesive deck like I would see posted on here. I don't see a lot of goblins, either, maybe it's the time difference and I get all the stoners from the West Coast of the US. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:27 pm 
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Hakeem928 wrote:
With regard to it being the most played archetype, I've only sat across from a single resolved Sanguine Bond and I haven't seen Angelic Accord yet. I've seen a bunch of WB decks with Pridemates, Ulcerates, etc., but nothing that resembled a cohesive deck like I would see posted on here. I don't see a lot of goblins, either, maybe it's the time difference and I get all the stoners from the West Coast of the US. :)


Games played will also be a factor. I notice you don't have the Battle Mastery achievement yet, but I'm closing in on 200 wins online so have likely played a lot more.

Frequency for me has to be;
1) R Goblin/Hoplite Aggro Auras
2) W/R Aggro
2) W/B Lifegain
4) W/G Tokens

As a point of principle, I don't run any of those as a result. I also had a B/R sac/steal deck and a U/R Spell deck (Talrand/Kiln Fiend/Guttersnipe) but felt they were relatively common and too difficult to differentiate from the vanilla builds and still make them work, so I got rid of them as I they felt too much like playing a precon form the old Duels, but with even less personalisation.

DLC should open them up to new avenues.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:09 pm 
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I should have it, I've won 101 ranked games plus a few player matches. Honestly, most of what I'm seeing are just hodge-podges and decks with overly-pronounced themes. I'm finding that the level of competition has dropped, and I think it's because the difference in player skill is more apparent when deckbuilding is part of the equation.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:01 pm 
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I've had a few incidents where I was unable to get double-black for my Muses/Tormentors and double white to be able to activate Guildmage and cast a white spell. I've only had one incident where a Radiant Fountain gave me a 4/4 Angel and I was winning anyway because I had an Accord and a Faithmender in play. Maybe mobius's color requirements were different than mine, but the Fountain is as terrible and clunky as I thought.

As a side note, I still won those game because my opponents were pretty bad and just didn't punish me for my drop in consistency.

I did go back to 24 land and cut the Archangel for 2 copies of Gods Willing and they have been amazing when I've drawn them.

I'm really unimpressed with Tribute to Hunger here; I can't keep the board clean enough for this to matter much. I'm thinking of dropping one copy for the third Banisher Priest, but I'm going to keep three Tributes for a little while longer just because the sample size is still pretty small.

New manabase is:

4 x Orzhov Guildgate
12 x Swamp
8 x Plains


Currently 8-1, and have won on mulligans to three, four, and five. Lost to a huge flying Hero of Iroas (when I kept a solid seven) and didn't find my Banisher Priest in time. Chump blocked with two Tormentors before losing. Sad.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:52 pm 
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Trouble I'm finding with this archetype is that while the angelic accord and sanguine bond sound great, late game your casting them with an empty hand. Also by turn 5 when I'm dropping creatures and swinging all day how much life am I expecting my opponent to have left to make it worth while? Am I running the deck because it's strong or because it feels cool killing someone dropping a missionary? I agree that fountains have been woeful, I need a faithmender and accord out before I can drop a fountain to bring in an angel. That is cool, but again very situational. Sigh.

Not that I want to rehash the whole luck argument but it takes me back to my poker days. Small stakes mind, nothing major. I always loved cleaning someone out to have them say I was lucky or they were unlucky. I always told them they were right, and was very sympathetic. I wanted them to forget I read all the poker books I could get my hands on and my decisions were based on pot odds, etc. That way they'd happily sit down with me the next week. I always cashed more often than I lost because I'd go home and replay the crucial hands in my head again and again. Being reflective is what I think you were getting at Hakeem. I think the phrase people are grasping for is 'variance' like drawing/not drawing 20 land in a row, etc. Anyways, all these decks feel clunky.


Last edited by Harmless Brew on Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:54 pm 
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I've been testing a lot of cards in this deck lately and swapping out underperformers. Here are some notes on what I've tried:

Gods Willing - This has been an excellent card when I've drawn it by protecting my key creatures from removal. It's a strong effect and I'd like it to make the final list in some number.

Swift Justice - This card has overperformed for me and I probably would have overlooked it, so thanks Stevo. It's definitely going to be in the final decklist, I just have to tweak the numbers.

Cruel Sadist - I really want to like this card as a threat that just grows until the opponent has to deal with it, but the fact that the first ability costs mana is a real hindrance. I've had success with this card, but if you tap out (which this deck tends to do) then you can't tick her up. Overall just too slow and too cute.

As for what I've cut, it has been consistently leaving out Tribute to Hunger. This deck can't keep the board clean enough to get real value from the Edict effect, and as a result the lifegain is usually minimal and not enough to trigger anything outside of Ajani's Pridemate.

I'm also thinking that Sanguine Bond should just get the axe altogether. I rarely want to draw it because I've been winning more through combat now with the addition of Swift Justice. Since we're building to win through combat, it makes sense to just focus on Angelic Accord because the lifegain translates into board presence. Bond is nice, and I did beat a deck that made an indestructible Palisade Giant through Aegis Angel by draining him out, but I can do that with Vizkopa Guildmage.

I also think that adding the Shadowborn Demon wouldn't be a terrible idea here because it's another solid removal spell and I have a lot of sacrificial fodder like Missionaries and Ragers to feed to it and keep it on the board if the situation demands.

I think I'm going to do a solid bout of testing with the following list:

4 x Orzhov Guilldgate
12 x Swamp
8 x Plains

4 x Swift Justice
3 x Ulcerate
1 x Elixir of Immortality

4 x Lone Missionary
3 x Ajani's Pridemate
3 x Vizkopa Guildmage

4 x Phyrexian Rager
3 x Banisher Priest

3 x Angelic Accord
2 x Graveborn Muse
2 x Rhox Faithmender

2 x Indulgent Tormentor
1 x Baneslayer Angel
1 x Shadowborn Demon

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:58 pm 
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Hakeem928 wrote:
I've been testing a lot of cards in this deck lately and swapping out underperformers. Here are some notes on what I've tried:

Gods Willing - This has been an excellent card when I've drawn it by protecting my key creatures from removal. It's a strong effect and I'd like it to make the final list in some number.

Swift Justice - This card has overperformed for me and I probably would have overlooked it, so thanks Stevo. It's definitely going to be in the final decklist, I just have to tweak the numbers.

Cruel Sadist - I really want to like this card as a threat that just grows until the opponent has to deal with it, but the fact that the first ability costs mana is a real hindrance. I've had success with this card, but if you tap out (which this deck tends to do) then you can't tick her up. Overall just too slow and too cute.

As for what I've cut, it has been consistently leaving out Tribute to Hunger. This deck can't keep the board clean enough to get real value from the Edict effect, and as a result the lifegain is usually minimal and not enough to trigger anything outside of Ajani's Pridemate.

I'm also thinking that Sanguine Bond should just get the axe altogether. I rarely want to draw it because I've been winning more through combat now with the addition of Swift Justice. Since we're building to win through combat, it makes sense to just focus on Angelic Accord because the lifegain translates into board presence. Bond is nice, and I did beat a deck that made an indestructible Palisade Giant through Aegis Angel by draining him out, but I can do that with Vizkopa Guildmage.

I also think that adding the Shadowborn Demon wouldn't be a terrible idea here because it's another solid removal spell and I have a lot of sacrificial fodder like Missionaries and Ragers to feed to it and keep it on the board if the situation demands.

I think I'm going to do a solid bout of testing with the following list:

4 x Orzhov Guilldgate
12 x Swamp
8 x Plains

4 x Swift Justice
3 x Ulcerate
1 x Elixir of Immortality

4 x Lone Missionary
3 x Ajani's Pridemate
3 x Vizkopa Guildmage

4 x Phyrexian Rager
3 x Banisher Priest

3 x Angelic Accord
2 x Graveborn Muse
2 x Rhox Faithmender

2 x Indulgent Tormentor
1 x Baneslayer Angel
1 x Shadowborn Demon



A solid list here. I have been really upset with tribute, considering every turn 1 is land into 1/1 go! I like the draw with muse and rager.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:28 pm 
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Hakeem928 wrote:

Swift Justice - This card has overperformed for me and I probably would have overlooked it, so thanks Stevo. It's definitely going to be in the final decklist, I just have to tweak the numbers.


No worries! See, I do know a thing or two! :)

As for the rest of your list, I think It's pretty solid apart from the single Elixir. I'm not a huge fan of the card outside specific scenarios. Banisher Priest is solid, but as someone who builds decks based mainly on combat tricks, I can't bring myself to use it as I nearly always 2 for 1 someone when they take one of my creatures and I kill the Priest during combat (and most of my creatures usually have an ETB trigger on them when they return too)

I would personally sub the Elixir for Ordeal of Heliod. It instantly triggers on an attacking 4/4 Pridemate, as it doesn't care where the counters come from, turning it into a 6/6 as well as giving you 10 life.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:42 pm 
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Elixir is a value card, but I'm not married to it.

As for Banisher Priest, I agree that he opens you up to blowouts which is why I like Gods Willing. I don't have it in the current list because I'm maxing Swift Justice to get a feel for what the final number should be. I'm thinking 3 Justice, 2 Gods Willing, and no Elixir could be a good mix of trickery and protection, but I haven't played Shadowborn yet so he may stay on the sidelines while Elixir sticks around to trigger Angelic Accord and recycle lost threats.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:57 pm 
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Hakeem928 wrote:
Elixir is a value card, but I'm not married to it.

As for Banisher Priest, I agree that he opens you up to blowouts which is why I like Gods Willing. I don't have it in the current list because I'm maxing Swift Justice to get a feel for what the final number should be. I'm thinking 3 Justice, 2 Gods Willing, and no Elixir could be a good mix of trickery and protection, but I haven't played Shadowborn yet so he may stay on the sidelines while Elixir sticks around to trigger Angelic Accord and recycle lost threats.


I personally would not put Shadowborn in. Unless you can abuse his ETB in some way, he's generally just a sorecry-speed Flesh to Dust that can block the next turn. Sure, you can eat your own creatures to make him stick around, but that isn't ideal, and he's especially poor of you're also using an Elixir to kill your graveyard.

I use him in a couple of decks, but I combo with him in both.


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