Do you enjoy enchantments? Do you enjoy tokens? Do you enjoy playing cards that cause your opponent to pause and read them? Then do I have a deck for you!
Ajani?s Legion ? Journey into Nyx Standard | Michael Yee
- Planeswalkers (2)
- 2 Gideon, Champion of Justice
- Spells (23)
- 3 Warleader's Helix
- 2 Mizzium Mortars
- 3 Anger of the Gods
- 2 Assemble the Legion
- 3 Banishing Light
- 4 Chained to the Rocks
- 4 Soul Tithe
- 2 Spear of Heliod
- Lands (24)
- 6 Plains
- 7 Mountain
- 1 Boros Guildgate
- 2 Temple of Silence
- 4 Sacred Foundry
- 4 Temple of Triumph
I cannot take all the credit, as it was built with the help of my Twitch viewers. The birth of the deck was quite interesting. Being quite bored of playing Boros Burn, I started out wanting to make a Boros midrange deck using cards such as Aurelia, the Warleader, Stormbreath Dragon, and Assemble the Legion. I was building the deck on stream, and one viewer suggested Ajani's Chosen since I already had a fairly large number of enchantments in the deck, with cards such as Banishing Light and Chained to the Rocks.
Ajani's Chosen. With the Theros block’s focus on enchantments, Ajani's Chosen has plenty of ways to trigger. This is emphasized due to certain cards being enchantment creatures or having ways to produce them. So, I re-envisioned the deck and added in more enchantment-related cards as well as more removal.
The deck plays more like a control deck in regard to responding to our opponent’s threats. In total, we have twenty-one ways we can remove creatures. There is definitely no shortage of removal, but the thing I like about the removal suite is the balance between burn removal and removal through our enchantments. Anger of the Gods is among my favorite board wipes because it’s something that isn’t on many people’s radar. When they see my deck opening with Temple of Triumph or Sacred Foundry, they’re thinking burn, possibly even Boros Aggro. Against the aggressive decks, we can set them back an incredible amount with Anger. With decks such as Jund Monsters decks, it gets rid of their ramp sources. Even powerhouses such as Mono-Black Devotion have applicable threats to hit, such as Pack Rat, Nightveil Specter, and Lifebane Zombie. The point I’m making is that there are very few decks against which Anger of the Gods doesn’t have something good to hit. The deck wants to play the longer game, so slowing our opponent down is paramount, hence all the removal.
Now, you may be wondering why I’m playing zero constellation cards in an enchantment deck. The reason is I just don’t find any of the red or white constellation cards appealing. Forgeborn Oreads is a bit too weak for my liking, and we’re not looking to grind our opponent out with its triggers. Skybind has some fun applications, just not with any of our permanents, and Harvestguard Alseids just doesn’t have any good targets in this deck.
That said, we have a slew of enchantments, ranging from creatures to more removal. With Ajani's Chosen, I wanted to make the majority of my deck enchantments to build a hefty board state while doing other relevant things.
Banishing Light is an immediate staple for a deck like this; however, I don’t feel the deck needs four. I really like the card, but it was one of those situations in which I wanted to make room for other cards and testing showed three to be the right amount. With four, I felt drawing two was often pretty bad for me. We’re really looking to just hit certain threats with it, and often, when I had two in my hand, the other just sat there with either no targets or things that I wouldn’t be happy spending mana on (such as an Elvish Mystic).
Chained to the Rocks is another great removal spell. It allows us to use our mana very efficiently, which also makes it much easier to trigger Ajani's Chosen twice in one turn. There’s not much to say other than that it’s effective creature removal!
Heliod, God of the Sun can come online with ease in this deck due to the amount of white symbols we have across our permanents. The main reason for his inclusion is that his ability produces enchantment tokens. This means we gain a 2/1 and a 2/2 for with Ajani's Chosen on the field. Combined with Spear of Heliod, we can produce quite a nice board state. This deck doesn’t have much to do on our opponent’s turn, so having a way to dump mana is nice. The vigilance is also quite handy since we can push through damage and still leave back chump-blockers when needed.
Assemble the Legion is one of the main win conditions I wanted to keep in from the old iteration of the deck. It’s not as great as it used to be due to all the enchantment removal running around, but I feel that’s not a reason to ignore it. It allows us to turn corners to get aggressive, it works well in creating chump-blockers, and it pressures opponents to find answers. Spear of Heliod also works extremely with it, creating 2/2 haste creatures every turn. Unless we’re extremely far behind, it’s a card that can just sit there and win us the game—or force our opponent to answer it.
Now let me shed some light on some of the more unique choices in my deck.
Gideon, Champion of Justice has won me games—enough games for me to see that he’s more powerful than I thought he would be. We’re playing a heavy-removal play style, so he’s able to put people on a quick clock when the board is clean. The in his casting cost also helps in bringing Heliod, God of the Sun online. Gideon is also a threat that usually pressures our opponent for an answer. His +1 will generally put more than 1 counter on him, so he’s a bit tougher to get rid of with just combat damage or burn. This means he either Fogs damage for us for a couple of turns or he is able to swing as a 5/5—or larger—indestructible creature. Both outcomes are fine for us, but when we’re (hopefully) keeping our opponent’s board state nice and clean, it should be easy for Gideon to put our opponent on a quick clock alongside the rest of our creatures.
Eidolon of Rhetoric’s inclusion was more for the fun factor in the early builds. My viewers suggested having the combo of Eidolon of Rhetoric with Possibility Storm. Put simply, when these two cards are on the board, it creates a soft lock, making it so neither player can cast any more spells as long as those two cards are still online. While it is fun, I wanted to make the deck a bit more competitive, so I definitely had to take Possibility Storm out. However, Eidolon has actually proven to be quite useful. It is a solid 1/4 (or 2/5 with Spear of Heliod) blocker for . Alongside Nyx-Fleece Ram, we can roadblock most aggro decks. The card comes out in midrange matchups, of course, since those opponents generally only do one thing per turn, but against decks such as aggro or burn, Eidolon does a ton of work and will usually buy us the time we need to set up our own board.
Soul Tithe is great. Whenever I play this card, it either becomes a 2-mana removal spell for any nonland permanent or slows down my opponent’s plays. The taxing effect it has on decks is extremely powerful and is vastly overlooked. There are many decks right now that seek to gain the most out of their mana and want to play things on curve. Restricting the amount of mana someone can use for a turn buys us the time we need to make it to our top-end threats. For large threats such as Elspeth, Sun's Champion or Desecration Demon, I find my opponents will usually pay the tax. However, they’re spending 4 to 6 mana for the turn doing so, and that means they really don’t do much else. It would be quite different if it only enchanted creatures, but since we can hit planeswalkers, enchantments, and creatures, it is very versatile in a control-style deck such as this one. It has very few poor matchups since every deck needs mana to cast things, and if you can tax the opponent’s resources, you can buy the time you need to draw into your threats. Furthermore, Soul Tithe forces players to sacrifice the enchanted permanent rather than destroy it. This means it even kills off Gods or other indestructible permanents if your opponent chooses not to pay the upkeep cost.
You’ll notice the sideboard is a bit hedged toward aggro. With Mono-Red Aggro winning multiple tournaments in a row, I have a feeling there are some fast decks coming up in Standard. That being said, the deck is pretty balanced in the sense that there aren’t many terrible matchups for us. Control is probably our toughest deck to go against since W/U/x control is a bit more streamlined than our control deck. The sideboard brings in more threats for that matchup, but honestly, we’re just looking to take out creature-based decks—such as aggro and Jund Monsters—and to have pretty positive matchups against things like burn. Even Mono-Black Devotion is a good matchup for us, and I can’t say enough good things about Soul Tithe in that matchup.
The deck is extremely fun, and what started as a joke deck turned out to be viable and, in many cases, a fairly strong deck. There are enough tools to combat the rest of the format, and while there are certain matchups that can be a bit tougher for us, I’m overall quite happy with the deck and where it is headed. If you want something new and exciting to bring to your next Friday Night Magic or playgroup session, try this deck out. There’s plenty of room to make it more your own!
- Michael Y.