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Building with The Forgotten Archangel


This is a story of four sisters.

On Innistrad, a land of Vampires, monsters, and things that go bump in the night, humanity had a protector. Before the Vampire Sorin Markov created Avacyn, the benevolent Angel who fought the demons for humanity, there were four sisters.

Sigarda, Host of Herons protected the living.

Bruna, Light of Alabaster protected the dead.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight fought the monsters.

Liesa, Shroud of Dusk consorted with the monsters.

Liesa was the oldest and most powerful of the four sisters, but she chose a different path. "We must know our enemies if we are to defeat our enemies," she said. She worked with Vampires, Demons, and the forces of darkness, all in an attempt to keep the evil at bay. The other three worried about her choices, didn't like her methods - but they were sisters. They had a bond which couldn't be broken.

Until Liesa went too far. She formed a pact with a Demon. Avacyn (who had been created by then) declared her a heretic, and her sisters turned on her, for she had made a deal with the very creatures they were sworn to fight. Avacyn then destroyed her and her entire flight. Any mention of her name was forbidden, and she was lost to time.

Commander Legends gave us Liesa, Shroud of Dusk for the first time. Avacyn had been corrupted and unmade, Bruna and Gisela had descended into madness and turned into the abomination Brisela, Voice of Nightmares. Sigarda had wept and aided the Humans in their battle against the Eldrazi and their former protectors, eventually attempting to take up Avacyn's role. But Midnight Hunt is bringing us a new Leisa, one who isn't afraid to get her hands dirty and do whatever it takes to prevail. This is one I want to call my Commander.

Liesa, Forgotten Archangel

Liesa, Forgotten Archangel | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper

The goal here is fairly simple: leverage Liesa's outstanding Gravedigger ability so our friends can't play Magic. With Liesa out, we can play a Plaguecrafter out and sacrifice it ourselves. Everyone else will sacrifice something or discard a card. We'll get the Plaguecrafter back, then the following turn we can play it again... and again... and again, until our opponents have no creatures, no 'walkers, and no cards in hand.

But it doesn't stop there. We return every creature that dies, as long as it's a nontoken creature. So, we can Exploit our own Vulturous Aven to draw more cards, or sacrifice our Wall of Omens to replay it for the same. We can kick our Nullpriest of Oblivion and Reanimate another creature, then sacrifice it to Viscera Seer for a Scry or a Spark Reaper for a card, then kick it again next turn to Reanimate yet another creature.

The creatures are the centerpiece of the deck. We want to play them, sacrifice them, and replay them, squeezing out every bit of value we can. Each creature does something. They destroy stuff, are sacrifice outlets, draw us cards, protect our board state. We want to aggressively play out our creatures and leverage them. Don't be afraid to lose them, even permanently, because we'll always be able to rebuild and restore our board state.

The other stuff we've got is all designed to support our creatures and their rotating life and death. We've got some mana rocks, and because we have some heavy color requirements, they all make colors. We do have Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, as well as Thespian's Stage to copy Cabal Coffers, so we can make an absurdly large amount of mana in the late game, allowing us to play out our hand every turn. We have a few sacrifice outlets, because sometimes we'll need a way to get a creature in the 'yard. Eldrazi Monument makes all our stuff stronger and we can just replay whatever we sacrificed.

A few catch-all removal spells are good things to have, so Oblivion Ring and Banishing Light get the nod, as do Anguished Unmaking, Utter End, and Vanishing Verse. We have additional card draw spells, though we shouldn't have too much trouble keeping cards in our hands. Kaya the Inexorable is a nice way to double up on Liesa's ability; occasionally things happen where we can't get her out for some reason, and Kaya's +1 protects our key assets. Kaya's ability also protects from Exile, so we can use it to keep a finisher from going away even in the face of a Path to Exile or Merciless Eviction.

In addition to Nullpriest of Oblivion, we have a few more ways to get back creatures from our graveyard. This is a safety net for stuff we run out before Liesa's even on the board; we might want that Callous Bloodmage back, but we blocked with it on turn four, so we have a few ways to rescue things otherwise lost.

Finally, there are a few finishers in the deck; eventually we need to actually win the game, and we should be able to demonstrate we can. Luminate Primordial is extra removal (in case anyone is foolhardy enough to actually still try to have creatures out), and Vish Kal can eat all our other creatures to get massive. Liesa herself can, of course, beat down, and her other version is no slouch as well, costing our opponents life each time they try to do something to us. Ashen Rider and Angel of Despair further our work of stopping the game in its tracks and double as finishers.

Once the cycle starts, it will be very difficult to stop; we'll be drawing cards, keeping the board clear, playing lands, and increasing our own board state even if they kill Liesa, because we'll just replay her with our boundless mana. Eventually, assuming everyone doesn't just scoop from sitting there not being able to do anything, we'll wallop them with flying 5/5s or slowly eat away at their life totals with Qarsi Sadist.

What would you do with Liesa, Forgotten Archangel? Would you make any different choices for this deck? I would love to hear your ideas!

Sometimes the thing we try to forget will come back to haunt us, and sometimes the best way to do something isn't the most obvious. Liesa is an example of both.

Thanks for reading.

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