Gates to the Shrines

Core Set 2021 is just around the corner, and with it a whole bunch of new and exciting cards for our favourite collectable card game. With awesome reprints like Massacre Wurm and Azusa, Lost but Seeking, to Cats and Dogs getting ready to take over Magic, M21 is shaping up to be the shot in the arm we were all looking for. New decks will be created thanks to these cards, but also older and more tested strategies will come back for one last hurrah before we hit rotation. Today, we look at an old deck that I believe could be the base for a new strategy. So, let’s not dally and jump right into the action.

Sometimes you see a card, (or set of cards) during a preview season and think to yourself “That would be fun, but it is probably unplayable”. In seasons past we have seen many of these cards, from Hedron Alignment to Happily Ever After and many more besides. They are the alternative win-cons, the outside chancers, and the cards we all say “If I pull this off its going to be sweet” too. In Core Set 2012, this comes in the form of the Shrine cycle of cards.

These Legendary Enchantments provide a slew of effects from card advantage to mana ramp, that reward an enterprising player for having as many of these Shrines in play as possible. These are topped off with WUBRG Shrine Sanctum of All, that acts as a tutor for our other Shrines but also gives us added value by triggering all our other Shrines twice (provide we have at least six Shrines in play).

Now, this might not seem all that powerful at first glance but let me put this into perspective. If we have all six Shrines in play at the start of our precombat main phase, then we get to drain our opponent for twelve life, we gain twelve life, draw twelve cards and discard two and add twelve mana of one colour to our mana pool.

Additionally, we can pay one and discard a Shrine or a Land card to deal twelve damage to a Creature or Planeswalker, or spend a single  white mana and tap a target Creature we don’t want to attack us or block our own threats. All in all, not too shabby. Certain seem like the bases of a deck to me. But if we are going make this work, we need a deck that can generate every colour of mana available, and also a way of finding our key pieces in order to play them. First up let’s handle the mana issue, by going back to one of my favourite decks from the last two years.

Gates decks have been around since Ravnica Allegiance, and has easily been able to generate all the colours of mana you could ask for, thanks in no small part of Gateway Plaza, Plaza of Harmony and the odd Chromatic Lantern. Not only that, but with Growth Spiral and Circuitous Route it is very easy to ramp up and get all the lands we should need in no time at all. Add to this the card draw of Guild Summit (to dig for our key pieces) and Gates Ablaze to keep the board clear and we have the bases of a deck all setup and ready to go.

In terms of numbers of Shrines, I think one of each single coloured enchantment should be fine as well as three copies of Sanctum of All. This is because Sanctum of All can get Shrines not only from our library, but also from our graveyard. This makes hand attack and enchantment destruction much less of a problem, and since Guild Summit often digs very deep into our deck finding our key pieces is not too much of an issue. But if you are worried fear not, as two copies of Idyllic Tutor can sort out and short comings.

But we have got to be prepared for any eventuality, and it is possible that our Shrines could end up been exiled and thus become unusable. But that is where our backup beat down plan comes in to play, with Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and Hydroid Krasis. Uro can help ramp us up and keep alive in the early game, before becoming a force of nature later on once our graveyard becomes a little fuller. Hydroid Krasis on the other hand is a solid source of card advantage and health, as well as been one of the deadliest threats in current Standard (especially if we have a Sanctum of Fruitful Harvest in play).

Creatures (7)
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Hydroid Krasis

Spells (14)
Growth Spiral
Gates Ablaze
Idyllic Tutor
Circuitous Route

Artifacts (2)
Chromatic Lantern

Enchantments (11)
Sanctum of Tranquil Light
Sanctum of Stone Fang
Sanctum of Fruitful Harvest
Sanctum of Shattered Heights
Guild Summit
Sanctum of Calm Waters
Sanctum of All
Lands (26)
Gruul Guildgate
Izzet Guildgate
Stomping Ground
Simic Guildgate
Sacred Foundry
Plaza of Harmony
Steam Vents
Orzhov Guildgate
Gateway Plaza

Sideboard (15)
Lava Coil
Prison Realm

When it comes to the sideboard we run Lava Coil and Prison Realm for when we require targeted removal, and a playset of Negate to battle against control decks. Additionally, four copies of Wilt work wonders against other enchantments and Artifacts that could prove problematic.

And that is the deck I like to call Gates to the Shrines. If you want to see this deck in action (as well as last weeks Deathtouch Tribal) then make sure you tune in tomorrow at 8pm GMT for the Core Set 2021 Early Access Preview Event. Thanks to a free preview account from Wizards of the Coast, I’ll be testing out the new set along with a ton of other Magic content creators ahead of the sets release. Details of the streaming platform will be posted over on twitter @MTGTengu. If you have a deck you want me to try out, please let me know in the comments below, and while you’re there you could like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics.

We also have a Patreon so if you want to support future content for the site consider becoming one of our Patrons. Just a $1 a month would do so much to help us create more of the content you enjoy. If you have any ideas for new and exciting decks you want me to look at you can contact me directly @MTGTengu over on Twitter. But until next time remember no matter the game you play or where you play it, Good Luck and Have Fun.

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