One of the most frustrating aspects of a Magic: The Gathering spoiler season is seeing all the amazing cards coming up for release and impatiently waiting for them to actually release the damn cards so they can enhance your EDH/Commander deck.
It’s seriously frustrating, and it keeps going. Thanks to the upcoming release (and ongoing spoilers) of Zendikar Rising, we’ve had to re-work parts of this deck tech TWICE in 24 hours due to new cards being spoiled.
Again, both exciting and frustrating.
As we always say here at TriadGaymers, we’re flavor over function, Vorthos over value, and optimal fun over optimization when we brew our decks, and this one is one of our personal favorites. It’s still evolving, but has proven to be a fun deck to play win or lose.
With the long history of angels and demons in the Magic: The Gathering lore, we were fascinated on the concept of “What if the Angels and Demons worked together?” We had come across a pair of partner commanders to helm this ship, but we hadn’t figured out how to really make them pop. Then it hit us: these celestial and infernal beings need help on our plain, and that help definitely comes in the form of their clerics. With them, Heaven and Hell can work together to get destroy your opponents life total
The Partner Commanders
Like most partners from Battle Bond, Regna, the Redeemer and Krav, the Unredeemed were literally made for each other. Their abilities play very well with each other and are the an amazing fun duo leading the joint task force of Heaven and Hell.
Regna is obviously expensive to cast but has a great ability to generate 1/1 white Warrior tokens to either provide chump blockers or feed Krav’s appetite. Also, she is in a position to benefit from the other 98 cards in the deck that enhance her angelic nature. She’s also by nature a 4/4 flyer, at the end of the day, is not something to ignore.
Krav really plays well into the concept of sacrificing creature to gain life, counters, and card advantage, especially when fed by the tokens that Regna produces. However, when designing this deck, it was noted that we didn’t just want to rely on just Regna’s tokens to fuel Krav’s demonic powers. That’s where the other 98 cards come in to help.
Angels and demons, especially in Magic: The Gathering, are big, expensive to cast, amazing, and immediate targets. With that in mind, and also to play into the flavor of the deck, we realized that there were a great number of amazing clerics through out Magic’s history that would be amazing support for our commanders and the fellow angels/demons, while also providing their great value on their own.
The Bishop of Wings helps provide Regna with the life gain we need with other angels coming into the battlefield (both token and non-token). Also, as some of our angelic avengers might fall, they also provide a nice afterlife effect for generating Spirit tokens to sacrifice to Krav. With a higher toughness and only costing two white mana, the Bishop of Wings can be a great early play to get one of the various engines of this deck going.
The Skirsdag High Priest was a must have for this deck. With the average CMC of the clerics this deck (all 20) being 1.5, it’s not too unlikely to have a few fellow clerics either give their life for their holy/unholy cause and allow Skirsdag to activate his morbid ability to summon a demon.
Obviously, no demon themed deck in Magic would be complete without the notorious Shadowborn Apostle. While the rules technically allow you to have any number in a deck, we decided to keep it at a practical 9. The reason was two fold. First, If we did nothing but Shadowborn Apostles for our black clerics, it would be very boring for both us and our opponents. Secondly, while their ability to sacrifice themselves to bring forth demonic horrors from the abyss is really nifty, they become a target due to their notoriety. When building this, we thought it would be great if we can use their ability as printed, but the are also great fodder for the abilities of Krav and some of the other Clerics.
Some clerics walk the fine line between light and dark, and in a deck like this, that’s really helpful. The Edgewalker personifies this and makes some of their fellow clerics a lot easier to get out (even getting out the Shadowborn Apostles for free) Fun Fact: Edgewalker wasn’t in the original deck. He was a later discovery that really made the deck pop.
What makes the clerics in this deck such a crucial piece to the machinations of both Heaven and Hell is that each one brings in its own value while also providing sacrifice fodder or complimentary support to the commanders.
Angels has been in Magic: The Gathering since near the beginning of the game and they’ve always held the fascination of many players. While normally very expensive to cast, the benefits that they offer are sometimes just too good not to try. The trick while creating this deck was trying to balance value and casting cost to get some of the glorifying goodies!
With the clerics being a low CMC, and also possibly producing additional tokens as well, Sephara, Sky’s Blade is usually something that we can cheat out really easily. Besides being a beefy card on her own, what really drew us to her is her inclusion of making all other flying creatures be indestructible (spoiler: Demons usually fly too).
Despite being an angel, the Blinding Angel has been reported to us to be “the most evil card in this deck” on multiple occasions. While a little pricey, her combat damage leaves a lasting impression on the board, allowing you to summon more celestials to dominate the battlefield.
Is your opponent going wide and summoning a bunch of creatures and turning sideways into your life total? Sounds like you could really use some divine intervention; and by intervention, we mean Guardian of the Gateless. This angel’s ability to block more and more at a starting 3/3 P/T makes it an amazing blocker on its own, and possibly an unmovable object based on its interactions with its other celestial friends and foes.
While this deck doesn’t feature some well known powerhouses like Avacyn or Akroma, that decision was mainly due to mana production and cost. Since there is not a great deal of ramp in white or black, we decided to go with slightly more affordable heavenly helpers.
We’re going to be honest. In Magic: The Gathering, demons are just plain neat. We definitely made sure that we would find some big burly demonic entities that would still play nice with others, and also maybe had some easy ways to cheat them out on their own, or find them with the Shadowborn Apostles.
And Those In-Between
For flavor reasons, we wanted to explore some of the amazing Black/White angels that existed in Magic, and we were not disappointed in what we found. Each of them is expensive, but also just fun to play and have some great value.
The Seraph of the Scales was amazing in it’s standard run and will probably stay in Commander for a long time. It’s a great black and white utility card and a great way in this deck to either fly into your opponents board or produce more sacrifice fodder.
The Deathpact Angel was an amazing find for this deck, not only being a black and white angel, but also providing additional cleric support and its own graveyard recursion. While pricey at 6 CMC, it was a perfect balance of both the flavor and function of this deck.
We’ll be honest, the Angel of Despair is in here purely for flavor reasons. At 7 CMC, we’re really not expecting to get them out, it’s just nice to think that we might be able to!
The best way to lay out the battlefield for an epic confrontation where both Heaven and Hell are working together is with some value laden enchantments. Between either controlling the board state with the Dictate of Erebos, increasing life gain with Authority of the Consuls, or creating more tokens with Divine Visitation, these enchantments were must haves for this deck.
For additional attackers, sacrifice fodder, and heaping amounts of divine/demonic flavor, we wanted to make sure we could generate both demon and angel tokens through a variety of means. While we’ve covered some of that with earlier cards, there are a few more important mentions that help summon the supernal envoys to win the game.
Obviously these two planeswalkers, in both lore and function, are another perfect example of Heaven and Hell, setting aside their differences in peace, understand, and respect, to obliterate your opponent
Some extra tokens won’t help, especially with such flavorful titles.
The Future of this Deck
As mentioned earlier, the upcoming Zendikar Rising release is going to spell some major changes for this deck, as a cleric focus is definitely coming into play as well as some sweet angels and demons.
At the time of writing (had to say that due to on-going spoiler cards), this is the plans we have for the future of this deck including some sweet Zendikar rising cards.
With no way to cheat out our limited number of enchantments, while this is so on brand for this deck, Sigil of the Empty Throne didn’t make the cut
We have other ways of making creatures indestructible that are less expensive than the Deathless Angel
While a great card, room was needed for an angelic upgrade.
We decree that Decree of Justice is just too expensive
With the mana base on this a little iffy, the transformed ability makes us sacrifice a human each upkeep, and while our clerics are up for it, we’re not.
With such a creature heavy deck, delirium is hard to achieve and we added other board wipes to this deck.
While a perfectly fine enchantment, especially with self recursion, it’s not as necessary with all the flyers we have.
With all the clerics being so cheap, the ability to exploit the value was minimal, despite flavor.
We want to be gaining life, not losing it. It seemed really expensive for one ETB trigger. This was a hard cut though due to flavor.
An additional ping to all opponents and life gain just from having a cleric turns this Relic Vial into a nice little wannabe Blood Artist.
Needed some graveyard recursion for cheap as well as early and cheap menace makes the Null Priest a for sure add.
This card is just scary good. Scary. Good. Probably the scariest angel in Magic.
Another cheap cleric that is going to increase our life and work well with Regna.
Wait, so not only do I get to play with it’s demonic nature, but it’s a cleric in a cleric deck that gives us +1/+1 counters? Ummm…. *drool*
Another cheap cleric and very much on flavor. We see this as a mid game card where the sacrifice gets us a lot of value.
This card was a must have. Besides being another cheap cleric, it intersects so well with both the commanders and the other clerics.
While not from Zendikar Rising, we needed another board wipe with some ramp potential
Adding more value with cheap clerics in this deck? Is anyone surprised?
As we mentioned before, this little Heaven/Hell mixer was a super fun deck to build and is a super fun deck to play. It is creature heavy with a steep mana curve, but when it goes off, it’s super effective.
What would you put in this deck? Let us know in the comments!