Res Arcana
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Opening the Gates


Since Hour of Devastation was added to Standard, people have been looking for ways to break God-Pharaoh's Gift. The card seems like it should be easy to take advantage of, but it just hasn’t found purchase in a format as polarized as this one. However, this weekend we might have seen a development on the reanimation front:

Gate to the Afterlife
This build is interesting because it completely cuts out the Refurbish and Cataclysmic Gearhulk package. This means that you don’t really have a backup plan - you’re all in on resolving and activating a Gate to the Afterlife. That’s not a small thing to ask in a format where Abrade is one of the most ubiquitous removal spells.

That said, you’ve got a ton of ways to find buy yourself time to dig for your artifact engine. Insolent Neonate helps stock your graveyard and dig through your deck, as do Champion of Wits and Glint-Nest Crane. Cathartic Reunion lets you see a ton of cards, while Trophy Mage will just find you a Gate to the Afterlife.

The downside of this engine is that you can go all in on your first copy of Gate to the Afterlife and then lose to an abrade. The upside is that just a single turn with a God-Pharaoh's Gift is enough to buy back a Trophy Mage or some such to ensure access to another Gift if that’s something you’re concerned about.

If you’ve been looking for a new shell to push God-Pharaoh's Gift to its limit in Standard, this seems like a reasonable choice. You’ve got plenty of flexibility to include cards like Magma Spray or add cheap cyclers to stock your graveyard more quickly. This deck is more capable than most of buying time so that you can hit land drops and just cast your midrange spells to try to win that way.

Commander 2017 is now available for Preorder!