Angel of Love (an Alara Reborn Standard deck)

As part of the continuing countdown to Regionals, I continue to bounce a bunch of deck ideas around. This one has firmed up enough that I’m willing to post it. Once again, the deck name comes from a random song, albeit one with a vaguely appropriate name this time around.
This is a W/G midrange deck that I explicitly modeled off of Katsuhiro Mori’s take on the Ghazi-Glare deck from Worlds 2005. The environment and purpose of the deck is different enough that this isn’t ‘templating’ as such, but I did pick up some valuable ideas from the Ghazi-Glare deck. For example, Farhaven Elves are in many ways functional replacements for the Wood Elves in the Ghazhi-Glare build.
After some testing against the major archetypes, I like this enough to publish the list. Click through to the extended entry for deck list and commentary.

Angel of Love

24 Creatures:
Noble Hierarch
Qasali Pridemage
Farhaven Elf
Kitchen Finks
Battlegrace Angel
12 Spells:
Path to Exile
Behemoth Sledge
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Garruk Wildspeaker
24 Land:
Treetop Village
Wooded Bastion
15 Sideboard:
Celestial Purge
Knight of Meadowgrain
Oblivion Ring
Captured Sunlight
Austere Command

Okay, some comments.
Generally, this is a midrange deck that hopes to accelerate into decent multivalent threats in the form of Angels, Threshers, Elspeth’s dudes, and Garruk’s beasts, each of which can pick up a Sledge and go to town.
This deck features a full four of Noble Hierarch and another four of Farhaven Elf. Both can fix and accelerate in both colors, and neither is a completely dead topdeck (which, as we’ve established, I hate). Hierarch adds some exalted power to the mix, which is super helpful in this build as it makes your random midrange dudes bigger than their random midrange dudes. Farhaven is a body (handy) and thins your deck.
Utility Creatures
We have four Kitchen Finks, bringing the life and the persist. They’re just good. On top of that, this deck maindecks four Qasali Pridemages to take down all those pesky Bitterblossoms and Glorious Anthems that the tokens decks bring to the table…along with some exalted sauce. At the very worst, Pridemage is a Watchwolf that can hand off some power to a bigger dude as required.
At the top end, we have full fours of Cloudthresher and Battlegrace Angel. I’m a huge fan of the Grace, as it’s yet another functional topdeck, in that it hands off the exalted bonus and lifelink the turn it comes down. The Threshers are critical in sweeping away tokens, and are also just ginormous. A Thresher equipped with a Sledge is tremendous.
The Threshers clearly fill this slot as well, in the most critical spot of clearing out tokens. On top of this, we have four copies of Path to Exile to knock out the opponent’s finisher and to generally clear up nonsense that’s causing you problems.
Orthogonal Threats
I promise I’ll explain my use of terms like ‘orthogonal’ and ‘multivalent’ eventually. Anyway, here we have six planeswalkers, three each of Garruk and Elspeth. They are both tremendous in this deck, as they can generate extra beaters and Elspeth in particular is a “must kill this thing” threat that cohabits with all your other giant threats that this deck can kick out. Elspeth is, appropriately, the champion of this deck.
Notice this deck also has four copies of Treetop Village, which is nice. I haven’t tested it yet, but this deck’s manabase may also be able to handle some Mutavaults.
Pushing on Through
Finally, we have two copies of Behemoth Sledge. This is a good card in today’s metagame. Tokens can chump a Cloudthresher all day long, but a 9/9 trampling, lifelinked Cloudthresher is a nigh-insurmountable threat.
The dirtiest thing that playtesting has kicked up so far is that same Sledge-equipped Thresher attacking just after the second Grace has hit play, making it an 11/11 triple-lifelinked beast (well, elemental).
Pretty boring, in this case. So boring, in fact, that I think I may want to stick some Mutavaults into it. As it stands, you’re pretty Anathemancer-proof, though.
All sideboards are unresolved until shortly before the actual event, as always. This is just a tentative hack that has seen basically no testing. With that in mind, the idea is that the Purges can come in to kill major threats of the right colors (say, Ajani), the Knights can replace the Pridemages when the cats have no job in the matchup, the O-Rings are generic problem solving, the Captured Sunlight comes in against burn-heavy aggro, and the Austere Commands come in against tokens-based threats.
This is a fun deck, and it tends to build a positive, rolling momentum. In limited testing, it does a good job of plowing through a lot of the opposition that we might expect from the current metagame. I’m seriously considering taking Angel or some variation on it to Regionals in about a week.

2 thoughts on “Angel of Love (an Alara Reborn Standard deck)

  1. I haven’t tested them in parallel (for example, trying both out in the same two slots in this deck), but right now, I think Behemoth Sledge may well be a better pick overall, if your mana base can handle it. The slight reduction in offense is more than made up for by the increased defense. I had a couple instances in testing Angel where I had to go on the defense for a while, and even a Pridemage with a Sledge is a solid wall against many attackers. With the Loxodon Warhammer in that same position, I’d be able to pick off one attacker, but I’d lose my blocker much more frequently (similarly, it makes your creatures pleasingly resilient against burn).
    So overall, my vote is on the Sledge over the Warhammer, colors permitting.

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