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Standard Angels and Clerics and Wizards, Oh My!


Hello everyone. A couple of weeks ago, I brought you some tribal decks featuring Zombies, Vampires, and Demons. Since I'm a big fan of tribal decks, I'll be focusing this week once again on a few more tribal decks for you to play. While my last tribal column focused on more monstrous creature types, this week I'll be focusing on typically heroic creature types. Let's get started.

Orzhov Angels

The first deck I have for you features the Angel tribe. I wrote an entire column a while back about the Angel tribe, and this is a current example of a deck that showcases this powerful tribe. Let's check it out.

Giada, Font of Hope
Giada, Font of Hope is the lynchpin of any current Angel deck. Getting Giada out as early as possible is important, as she gives each other Angel entering the battlefield a +1/+1 counter for each other Angel you control. Since all of the creatures in this deck are Angels, you'll get extra value when Giada is on the battlefield for simply doing what you would normally do during the game, playing your creatures. Giada can also be tapped to provide a White mana that you can use to cast an Angel spell with, which helps you get even more Angels into play.

Another key Angel to get into play early is Righteous Valkyrie. This Angel Cleric will gain you additional life whenever another Angel (or Cleric) enters the battlefield under your control. That extra life will allow Righteous Valkyrie to provide a +2/+2 bonus to each of your creatures once your life total is at 27 or more. Plus, the life gaining and +2/+2 bonuses stack when you have multiple copies of Righteous Valkyrie in play.

In the Streets of New Capenna story, Elspeth acted as a protector of Giada, so it's very thematic that Elspeth Resplendent is included in this deck. By using her +1 loyalty ability, you'll give a +1/+1 counter to one of your creatures, plus your choice of a flying, first strike, lifelink, or vigilance counter. Since all of your Angels have flying, you can usually not choose that one, but first strike and vigilance are both excellent choices, providing you extra defensive capabilities. Elspeth's ultimate -7 loyalty ability will create five 3/3 Angel creature tokens with flying, which should be enough for you to finish off nearly any foe.

Orzhov Clerics

Our next deck focuses on the Cleric tribe. While it shares the same colors with the previous Angel deck, the only non-land cards shared between these decks are Elspeth Resplendent and Righteous Valkyrie. Let's take a look at the deck.

Orah, Skyclave Hierophant
Every creature in this deck is a Cleric. That makes Orah, Skyclave Hierophant an important creature, as he will be able to return any creature in your graveyard with his ability, provided that it meets the mana value requirement. This helps ensure that your side of the battlefield is always flush with potential attackers. By returning Clerics from your graveyard to the battlefield, you fuel the ability of Cleric of Life's Bond, gaining additional life and +1/+1 counters. Both lifegain and +1/+1 counters are other minor themes within this deck, and both can help you achieve a victory.

Like the previous Angel tribal deck, this deck can gain quite a bit of additional life when you have a copy of Righteous Valkyrie on the battlefield. In addition, both Lunarch Veteran // Luminous Phantom and Kor Celebrant will give one point of life whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control. Other ways of gaining life in this deck include lifelink on creatures such as Markov Purifier and Orah, Skyclave Hierophant. That life serves an additional purpose other than simply keeping you in the game longer.

When you gain life, you'll be able to put a +1/+1 counter on Voice of the Blessed. Once it gets four +1/+1 counters, Voice of the Blessed gains flying and vigilance, making it much more formidable in combat. If you manage to get ten or more +1/+1 counters on Voice of the Blessed, it will also gain indestructible. At that point, your opponent will likely scoop. In addition to the natural +1/+1 counters Voice of the Blessed will get when you gain life, you can add even more by targeting it with Luminarch Aspirant's ability, or with Closing Statement.

Izzet Wizards

The final deck I have for you features a few Wizards alongside a bunch of spells. Let's take a look at the deck.

Vadrik, Astral Archmage
At its heart, this deck is a control deck. You'll be able to use spells like Syncopate and Devious Cover-Up to counter your opponent's spells. You also have a ton of spells that will deal direct damage to your opponent's creatures. This will help you keep your opponent's side of the battlefield free of most major threats. Light Up the Night is the only direct damage spell in this deck that can target your opponent, so keep that in mind if your opponent is down to their last few points of health.

This deck does utilize the power of its Wizards, quite literally in the case of Vadrik, Astral Archmage. With Vadrik in play, your instant and sorcery spells will cost one mana less for each point of Power Vadrik has. Vadrik's power (and toughness) will grow each time the night/day cycle changes. Kaza, Roil Chaser can also be used to lower the cost of instant and sorcery cards. This reduction is based on the number of Wizards you have in play. Finally, Eruth, Tormented Prophet will exile the top two cards of your library whenever you would draw a card. This replacement effect allows you to play those cards this turn, but the amount of cards you have in your hand will no longer increase due to this effect.

This deck also includes a pair of planeswalkers that will help you win the game. Rowan, Scholar of Sparks can use her +1 loyalty ability to deal direct damage to your opponent. Keep in mind that you won't actually draw cards while Eruth, Tormented Prophet is in play. Rowan's -4 loyalty ability will allow you to copy any instant or sorcery you cast, for just two mana. On the flip side, Will, Scholar of Frost offers you protection with his +1 loyalty ability and additional cards with his -3 loyalty ability. His -7 loyalty ability can be used to exile your own permanents to create an army of 4/4 Elemental creature tokens that you can use to defeat your opponent with. Finally, both Rowan and Will reduce the mana cost of your instant and sorcery spells by one, fitting right in with the rest of your Wizards.

Wrapping Up

Whether you enjoy playing aggressive, midrange, or control decks, tribal decks have something for everyone. I really enjoy playing tribal decks because of the many, varied options they provide.

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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