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Three Flavors of Lifegain in The Brothers' War Standard


Hello everyone. While Phyrexia: All Will Be One is nearly here, there's still a couple of weeks before this new set is available at retail. While everyone is excited to brew up some new decks with these cool looking cards, the fact is that you still might need a deck to play before you get your hands on these cards. Fear not, because I've got you covered. This week I have a few decks you can play that feature lifegain. Let's get started.

Selesnya Lifegain

We'll start with a two-color deck, Green and White. It utilizes a lot of Angel synergy to gain both life and +1/+1 counters. Let's take a look at the deck.

Gala Greeters
When I think of Angel synergy, the first creature that comes to mind for Standard is Giada, Font of Hope. As a 2-drop, you should be able to get Giada into play early in the game, which really makes a difference. While she's on the battlefield, each other Angel you bring into play gains a +1/+1 counter for each Angel you already control. As your Angelic army grows in number, each new creature will also grow in size. Giada can also be tapped to provide you with one White mana that can only be used to cast an Angel spell, allowing you to cast bigger creatures than your opponent.

Since Giada doesn't have lifelink, we'll need to look to other cards to provide the lifegain this deck is built around. Lunarch Veteran // Luminous Phantom and Gala Greeters both have abilities that allow you to gain life when another creature enters the battlefield under your control. Steel Seraph allows you to give one creature lifelink at the beginning of your combat. Finally, Tamiyo's Safekeeping provides you with two points of life in addition to its other benefits. These will be the primary means of gaining additional life throughout the game.

With the additional life you gain, you'll be able to place +1/+1 counters on Voice of the Blessed. As the game goes on, it will gain vigilance, flying, and indestructible, making it a great target for the lifelink that Steel Seraph provides. This is one great finisher for this deck, but there is also another. If you're ever in a position where transforming Enduring Angel // Angelic Enforcer is possible, Angelic Enforcer has the potential to end games in a hurry. It has evasion in the form of flight, and its power and toughness are each equal to your life total. When it attacks, you'll double your life total, making this creature even more formidable. You can quickly put your opponent into a position where they must destroy Angelic Enforcer or they will lose.

Bant Lifegain

Next, I have a Bant lifegain deck for you that uses some of the same tricks as the previous deck, but also has some surprises up its sleeve. Let's take a look at it.

Shanna, Purifying Blade
This deck isn't as based around Angels as the previous deck was, and therefore doesn't include Giada, Font of Hope. However, that doesn't mean it's entirely devoid of anything Angel related. Steel Seraph and Inspiring Overseer are both Angel creatures that help you gain life. This deck also includes Voice of the Blessed, which is a great payoff for gaining life each turn.

Another great payoff for gaining life is Shanna, Purifying Blade. With Shanna on the battlefield, you'll have a place to use up any extra mana you might have whenever you have a turn where you gained life. She will allow you to draw up to a number of cards equal to the amount of life you gained that turn, which will help you continually have new things to play.

This deck also includes a nifty little combo that can get you additional power in the air, as well as additional boots on the ground. Plus, this entire combo can be played on your opponent's turn. Begin by playing Resolute Reinforcements. This will give you a 1/1 Human Soldier and a 1/1 Soldier creature token. Next, play Zephyr Sentinel and target the 1/1 Human Soldier, Resolute Reinforcements. This will put that card back into your hand, giving Zephyr Sentinel a +1/+1 counter. You can then play Resolute Reinforcements again, creating another 1/1 Soldier creature token in the process. The combo is even better if you have Lunarch Veteran // Luminous Phantom on the battlefield, as you'll gain a bunch of life.

Mardu Lifegain

The final deck I have for you is called Mardu Lifegain, although it's mostly a Mono-White deck. Let's check it out.

Sigarda's Splendor
Sigarda's Splendor is a big reason this deck is nearly Mono-White. While Sigarda's Splendor is on the battlefield, it can be a great way to draw extra cards as the game progresses. It also allows you to gain one point of life whenever you cast a White spell. That extra life will allow your Voice of the Blessed to grow in size and gain new abilities very quickly.

The addition of Black and Red mana offers you access to a couple of cards that can help out quite a lot. The first of these is Liesa, Forgotten Archangel. Liesa has lifelink, which can potentially give you a lot of extra life. She also offers a way back from the dead for any nontoken creature that you control, returning those cards to your hand where they can be cast again. She also exiles any creatures that die under your opponent's control.

The other card that can make use of your Black and Red mana is Archangel of Wrath. Thanks to it having a kicker ability that can be activated with Black and/or Red mana, you'll be able to deal anywhere from two to four points of damage to any target. And, since the damage comes from two activations of the kicker ability, that damage can either be dealt to the same target or to different targets. This can be a great way to finish off your opponent if they're in range.

Wrapping Up

Lifegain decks are a popular choice for many people. By gaining extra life, you make it more difficult for your opponent to defeat you, and it gives you extra time to bring out your heavy hitters. If you enjoy gaining extra life, give any of these decks a try.

What do you think of these decks? Feel free to share this article with your friends anywhere on social media. And be sure to join me here again next week as I continue my search for innovative decks in Standard. I'll see you then!

-Mike Likes

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