Welcome back to Master of Magics and another dive into what is quickly becoming one of our favourite ways to play Magic, in the form of Arena’s Historic format. Today we are going to look at a deck that has become a common site in the meta over the last couple of weeks. A deck that despite not been Red or typically aggressive, has wormed its way into my heart thanks to its sheer amount of synergy. Today, we look at Bant Angels.
When talking about this deck it’s important to highlight a number of key cards, those been Righteous Valkyrie, Bishop of Wings and Resplendent Angel. Righteous Valkyrie is almost single-handedly responsible for this deck been a viable strategy. A 2/4 with flying, it rewards you with life whenever another Angel or Cleric enters the battlefield under our control, equal to that creature’s toughness. Then, when you have 27 or more life, all creatures you control gain +2/+2. Considering most of the creatures in the deck have at least three toughness, this is not a difficult hurdle to clear, especially if we also have a Bishop of Wings.
While the Bishop of Wings might not care about other Clerics, it does like you to play Angels and rewards you with a flat four life every time you do. It also has some in built removal insurance as it will create a 1/1 flying spirit every time one of our Angels dies. As you can imagine, the combination of these two creatures can quickly turn things in our favour, and when we follow it up with our last card it can be pretty much game ending.
Resplendent Angel might only be a 3/3 with and expensive pump ability on the face of it, but it is its triggered ability that makes it such a valuable card in the deck. Creating a 4/4 Angel token during our end step if we gained at least five or more life, it is a literal army in a can in this deck. Think about it. Turn two play a Bishop of Wings, then on turn three follow it up with a Righteous Valkyrie, gaining four life. Then we play a Resplendent Angel, gaining a total of seven life. This triggers Resplendent Angel’s ability, creating a 4/4 Angel token in our end step, which also nets us an additional eight life. More than enough to get us that sweet +2/+2 anthem effect. I know that might seem like magical Christmas land to some, but trust me when I say it plays out this way more often than not.
So that’s the backbone of the deck, but what else do we run to make it more efficient. As ever, that’s start at the bottom and work our way up. First up, we will run a full playset of Speaker of the Heavens and Soul Warden. The Warden is a good way of gaining some extra life during the game, and also works well against enemy token strategies, while the Speaker is another high life total payoff than can produce more 4/4 Angel token (giving us more Bishop of Wings and Righteous Valkyrie triggers).
Moving on to the two-drop slot we have four copies of Youthful Valkyrie, which can be a real threat after a couple of turns of casting additional Angels. When we get to the three drops, we start to see why we call the deck Bant Angels, with the addition of Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate, as well as a single copy of Heliod, Sun-Crowned. Linvala is a great way of protecting our team from targeted or mass removal, while Heliod is a great way of pumping our creatures thanks to all the decks life gain.
Finishing off our curve at the four-drop slot, we have three copies of Ajani, Strength of the Pride and a full playset of Collected Company. Since most of our deck is made up of three or less cmc creatures, Collected Company can provide us with some great instant speed plays, bringing in fresh reinforcements to the battlefield when they are most needed. And as for Ajani, Strength of the Pride, well I would love to tell you that he was here to give us more life or Pridemate tokens. But honestly, it’s all about that 0 loyalty ability, which is a great way of sweeping away all our opponents permanents before we swing in for the win.
When we look at our mana base, we want to make sure we have untapped mana at every point of our curve while also making sure we have double white for some of our more valuable cards. To achieve this, we run full playsets of Glacial Fortress, Temple Garden, Sunpetal Grove and Hallowed Fountain, as well as a health supply of basic Plains.
4 Speaker of the Heavens
4 Soul Warden
4 Bishop of Wings
4 Youthful Valkyrie
4 Righteous Valkyrie
4 Resplendent Angel
4 Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate
1 Heliod, Sun-Crowned
3 Ajani, Strength of the Pride
4 Collected Company
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Temple Garden
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Hallowed Fountain
2 Deputy of Detention
2 Containment Priest
2 Eidolon of Obstruction
1 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
4 Skyclave Apparition
2 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
2 Remorseful Cleric
For a sideboard we are going to do something a bit different, and focus on answers to problematic threats that are also creatures with a cmc of three or less. This will allow us to fetch them up with Collected Company should we need to. First up we have some removal in the form of Deputy of Detention and Skyclave Apparition. For non-creature spells we can rely on Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, while Remorseful Cleric helps handle graveyard-based decks. Containment Priest is a bit of a nonbo with Company but is a good answer to other decks that like to cheat out threats, and Eidolon of Obstruction makes Planeswalkers a little less playable. Finally, while she might not be fetchable with CoCo, Shalai, Voice of Plenty is great at pumping the team and protecting them from removal.
And that is Bant Angels for Historic, a deck that has quickly become one of my favourite brews. Seeing all those triggers stack is so satisfying, and it’s a nice change of pace from my usual RDW playstyle. But tell me, is this a deck you want to try out in Historic? Or have you a different brew you want 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.
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