MTG noob, first custom deck help: Angelic Host

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Hi guys,

I am a new player by new I mean I have dabbled with Magic on and off since it came out but it never really grabbed me.  However my son loves it (along with Pokemon TCG, his 8) and his passion has sparked my interest.  I dug up a deck I made back in 2012 I believe.  It's the only complete, custom deck I have and has proven pretty good against other inexperienced/non-optimized decks.  But I am sure there is room for improvement.  Just wanted some feedback from more experienced players on ways to improve it.  Thematically I want an angel-army deck – so all flying + healing deck taking cards in the following order of preference to populate the deck Angel -> any flying -> lifelink -> any healing.

I will probably increase the moths to 4 to have some fast cards as my deck is otherwise slow.  But looking at the database I see a lot of lifelink/flying options there but dont know what I should replace with what - if anything.  Also open to changing the one non-flying I have, the sun titan, but this is the best card I have so its the main reason its in the deck

Thanks in advance.
I will say make it 24 Plains at least, but I might go 26 or 28 if it were me.

  1 Condemn

2 Stormfront Pegasus
2 Pacifism
1 Honor of the Pure
  1 Mighty Leap

1 Sword of Vengeance
  1 Solemn Offering

2 Assault Griffin <-- too slow for attacking, too little toughness for blocking
3 Cloud Crusader <-- if only this could attack without tapping!
1 Day of Judgment
  2 Armored Ascension

4 Serra Angel
1 Baneslayer Angel

1 Sun Titan

3 Vengeful Archon <-- yea.. definitely 26-28 Plains
1 Angelic Arbiter <-- ditto

Everything not listed, I might suggesting cutting altogether.
Regarding Serra Ascendant specifically -- it isn't likely you will have 30 or more life.

What's missing is anything in the 1/2/3 mana range. A deck needs plenty of those. You want 4 Pacifism for starters. I guess maybe keep the Moths in after all, as it's better than nothing. Some other cards that might fit the bill:
Attended Knight - yea, probably this
Blinding Mage
Celestial Flare
Divine Verdict (costs 4 mana, but good for the deck anyway, and possibly better than the 4 mana creatures you're currently using)
Gideon's Lawkeeper
Palace Guard
Pride Guardian - better than Moth?
Wild Griffin - I like this :x
From your "Rule of 9"-compliant version on the other thread...

I feel like it's time to talk about a concept called "mana curve"

The idea behind a mana curve is that you want to manage your mana usage.  In an ideal situation, you want to both cast at least one spell every turn and use as much of your avaliable mana each turn cycle as possible.  You can visualize a mana curve by connecting the dots on a graph of your deck's mana cost.  A mana curve focused on the higher end means your deck is slower: it has more cards it can't play until later in the game.

Here are some example mana curves

An aggro deck aims to win before the other player can throw up much of a defense.  Most of their cards cost 3 mana or less.

A midrange deck tries to play a balanced game, both competing early and having good plays later on.  A midrange deck has a number of 3-4 mana plays, with a few both lower and higher.

A control deck wants to win the long game, usually by preventing their opponent from being able to act effectivley, and is equipped to take advantage of the mana reserves it will have in far later turns.  At the same time there are Four, Two, and even One mana cards that are essential to the success of a control deck, because without those aggro decks will kill them before they get a chance to defend themselves.

As per the other thread, this is your mana curve.

And this is where the creatures (The things that keep you from being murdered by Daring Skyjek and Legion Loyalist, considering you have no way to kill them except via combat) fall on that curve.

This is a problem -- you literally cannot cast any form of defense for yourself until turn 4 at the earliest, and when you do it's a Seraph of Dawn -- which is nice, but not if you're already a long way behind.  Ajani's Mantra might help you somewhat, but not against a dedicated aggro deck.  For example, here's about how a game would go against my casual Stompy build, which is pretty average as far as the speed of an aggro kill goes.

Versus Stompy

My Turn 1: Play a Forest and Nettle Sentinel (Cards in hand: 5) 20-20
Your Turn 1: Play a Plains (CiH: 7)
My Turn 2: Attack.  Reveal my hand to cast Land Grant, play the Forest off it and Talara's Batallion.  (CiH: 4) 20-18
Your Turn 2: Play a Plains and a Ajani's Mantra. (CiH: 6)  20-18
My Turn 3: Attack.  Play a Rogue Elephant (CiH:4).  20-12
Your Turn 3: Gain a life, Play a Plains and another Ajani's Mantra (CiH: 5) 20-13
My Turn 4: Briar Shield on my Batallion, Attack.  Exile a card from my hand to cast Bounty of the Hunt.  Total Incoming damage to you: 13, with the ability to make it 15.  2 cards remain in my hand even now  Game is Over.

If you'd gone first, you could have gotten 2 more life from mantras and had a Seraph of Dawn in play... which would have spared you for another turn, but you were already too far behind on board position to recover.  I could burn the Bounty to kill the seraph and save my creatures, at which point the next attack would be almost assuredly lethal -- Baneslayer would be your only hope.  If my remaining 2 cards (3 if I was going second) included another bounty of the hunt and anything green to cast it with, there would be no salvation.  This happened because my aggressive deck played its cards, turning potential advantage (Cards in hand) into actual advantage (Damage and board position).

Things go very differently for you if, instead of the slow and barely relevant gain of the mantras, you had cards to deal with my cards: Swords to Plowshares and Wrath of God, for instance.  You could cast Swords on my Batallion, taking no damage from it at any point, giving you enough time to wipe out ALL my creatures before dropping your own.  At that point I'm out of cards, you still have a stable life total, and your plays are better than mine -- victory for the Control Deck, even if I was temporarily 4 life up from the StP.

In short, you need fewer big angels and more ways to survive until you can cast your big angels.  When you think about it, the only reason you want multiple of your flying finishers is because I might be playing a deck that can kill one outside of combat.  Having more than one Angelic Arbiter or Baneslayer Angel on the battlefield at a time is overkill in more circumstances than it isn't.

In short the steps to winning with a Control-ish deck (which you seem to be leaning to) are.

1) Survive.
2) Gain and maintain the better board position.
3) Win at your leisure.

Make sure you can do all three steps

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Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

Thanks for the advice.  Mana curve did not occur to me to this detail.  I notice the original deck can be a bit slow and so I added lower mana cost creatures but I wasnt consisitent at all - was very random.  Here is a refined version of the orginal deck.  Thematically I stayed with Angel/Flying/Celestial.  Gameplay wise its meant to be a control deck with lifelink/healing.

In terms of cards to mana it looks like this (card count/mana):
24/0 (plains)

Goldenglow Moth + Industructibility works well if you can get it.  Though the one off heal is OK by me as well.
That last part of your post is incorrect, I counted 9 cards that cost five mana.

Anyway you can easily drop the Safe Passage for another Plains.
That last part of your post is incorrect, I counted 9 cards that cost five mana.

Anyway you can easily drop the Safe Passage for another Plains.

you should check out this card angelic accord it's a nice add to your deck because you have so many lifelinkers...

I am a new magic player, I will appreciate if you correct me.

Will try it out.  Thanks! Now I want to tweak the basic lands a bit, any advice?
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