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Giada Brings Hope to Standard


Hello everyone. With the release of Streets of New Capenna, a new Angel 'lord' was released. Giada, Font of Hope has been discussed a lot as the new hotness to make Angel tribal decks worth playing. While a lot of that discussion has been based on Commander, Giada is also making waves in Standard. This week I have a few decks for you that feature Giada, Font of Hope at the forefront of them. Let's get started.

Mono-White Angels

We'll start with the deck that is least likely to run into mana issues, Mono-White. Here's the deck list.

Giada, Font of Hope
As I mentioned earlier, Giada, Font of Hope is very important in all of these decks. She has the ability to tap for one White mana that you can use to cast your host of Angel spells faster. While she's on the battlefield, she will also provide each other Angel entering the battlefield an additional +1/+1 counter for each Angel you already control. Incremental bonuses like this can help you overpower your opponent very quickly. Since every creature in this deck is an Angel, with one exception, you'll be able to place a ton of +1/+1 counters throughout the game.

Speaking of the other Angels in this deck, there are a couple you'll want to pay attention to that are included in all of the decks this week. The first is Youthful Valkyrie. This innocent looking 2-drop can grow in size to immense proportions if played early. Every time another Angel enters the battlefield, Youthful Valkyrie will get a +1/+1 counter, thereby growing two creatures at once if Giada is also in play. The second is Legion Angel. By being able to search your sideboard for another copy of Legion Angel when you successfully cast a copy, you'll ensure that you have another Angel to cast in the future. All of these decks have full playsets of Giada, Font of Hope, Youthful Valkyrie, and Legion Angel because they are simply some of the best Angels currently in Standard.

A great addition to this deck is Sanctuary Warden. This Angel Soldier comes into play with two shield counters, so it has the potential to stick around for a while. It also has a mana value of six, so you'll be able to put quite a few +1/+1 counters on it if Giada is in play. It also has an ability that allows you to remove a counter from a creature (or planeswalker) you control to draw a card and create a 1/1 Citizen creature token. You can use that token as a chump blocker, or attack with it as a means of pushing through a little extra damage when your opponent is stretched thin for blockers.

Orzhov Angels

The next Angel deck I have adds a bit of Black mana, providing a way of returning Angels to the battlefield that have previously gone to your graveyard. Let's take a look at the deck.

Liesa, Forgotten Archangel
Adding Black mana allows us to include Liesa, Forgotten Archangel in this deck. Similar to how Legion Angel offers card advantage by fetching additional Legion Angels from your sideboard, Leisa allows you to return any nontoken creature that dies to your hand. This allows you to keep the pressure on your opponent, as you'll have a steady stream of blockers available to you. You'll also be able to use their abilities that happen upon entering the battlefield, like the ability on Inspiring Overseer that allows you to gain one point of life and draw a card when it enters play. Keeping Liesa safe can be difficult, but Boon of Safety will help provide some protection.

That Black mana also allows us the addition of some removal spells. Vanishing Verse can exile any mono-colored permanent. While it can be tempting to use this on an opponent's creature, you might consider holding it if you notice their deck relies on a specific enchantment to run smoothly. Creature destruction can best be obtained with the second chapter of Firja's Retribution. Thanks to the +1/+1 counters Giada can provide, you can often completely wipe out your opponent's forces simply by tapping your own Angels. Once all of their blockers have been destroyed, you'll be able to attack on the following turn with double strike, due to the third chapter of this saga.

I talked earlier about the advantage of having Liesa, Forgotten Archangel on the battlefield, but there will be times that she ends up getting destroyed. For you to maintain your dominant presence on the battlefield, you can use Haunting Voyage to return your Angels to the battlefield. Haunting Voyage isn't cheap to cast, and in order to maximize its effectiveness, you'll need to foretell it, but doing this can often leave your opponent in a no-win scenario. Since every creature in this deck is an Angel, you should have no problem figuring out which creature type to return with Haunting Voyage.

Obscura Angels

The final deck I have for you adds Blue mana to the mix. Let's take a look at the deck to see how that changes things.

Void Rend
The addition of Blue mana offers a little additional protection for this deck. That protection comes in a few forms. With Negate, you protect yourself by countering your opponent's spell. Void Rend allows you to destroy any nonland permanent, with the knowledge that Void Rend cannot be countered. Finally, Slip Out the Back boosts a creature with a +1/+1 counter, but then causes that creature to phase out. You can use this in a variety of ways. It can be a great way to protect your own creature from a removal spell your opponent has cast. Alternatively, if you need to push through those last few points of damage, you can target your opponent's creature, phasing out an important blocker they might have.

Kaya, Geist Hunter offers another way to push damage through. By activating her +1 loyalty ability, you'll give deathtouch to all of your creatures. This can make your opponent hesitant to block, since they know that it's likely that whatever they use to block will be destroyed. Kaya also has a -2 loyalty ability that doubles the amount of tokens you create during the turn. As you'll see, there are a few ways of creating tokens in this deck, which makes Kaya a valuable member of your team.

Elspeth Resplendent can create five 3/3 Angel creature tokens with her -7 loyalty ability. You won't be able to utilize this much, since it's quite expensive to use. Starnheim Unleashed can also create a number of 4/4 Angel creature tokens, with the amount depending on whether this spell is foretold or not. Finally, both Rampage of the Valkyries and Firja's Retribution will create a 4/4 Angel creature token when they enter play. Both of these enchantments also offer you a means of creature destruction, albeit slightly different in manner. One will destroy creatures of your choosing, while the other allows your opponent the choice of which creature to sacrifice.

Wrapping Up

Giada, Font of Hope is all but certain to play a large role in Standard during the next few months. Her ability to cast threatening Angels more quickly than usual combined with the +1/+1 counters she provides those Angels guarantees that the Angel tribe is here to stay and should remain a threat until rotation happens this fall.

What do you think of these decks? Do you have any suggestions for improvements? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Also, 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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