July 14, 2015

Gideon Up

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Welcome to Kytheon/Gideon week!

This week marks the first of five sequential weeks that work around the color wheel to look at the five primary Planeswalkers of Magic Origins. And for ReConstructed, that means one thing: decklists showcasing that transforming Planeswalker!

So, what's going on this week with Kytheon?

Well, Gideon loves to lead an army. And this week, he's going to be doing just that. This deck even gets to use Heliod for massive flavor points!

Let's take a look at what arrived in my inbox from Noda Teppei:

Noda Teppei's Devotion to Angels


The Battle Plan

White Weenie is a strategy that has existed since the dawn of Constructed Magic. Put a bunch of efficient white creatures into one deck, add in a few supporting spells to save your own creatures or get theirs out of the way, and start chopping away at your opponent's life total.

What's particularly noticeable about this version is its devotion bent. Heliod, God of the Sun is a card that has been sitting on the cusp of playability since its release in Theros, just waiting for the right moment—and here at the tail end of Standard is when he might finally have his chance. Thanks to the new Archangel of Tithes, getting enough devotion to turn him on is a cinch. And then, of course, that goes nicely with devotion all-star Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx; letting you pump tons of mana into Heliod and generate an even larger army.

Beyond that: attack!

The one main thing I want to look at is lowering the curve a bit. Right now, it goes a little high on the mana cost while still needing to have a lot of aggression to work—and the balance between those two could be improved.

And on that note, let's take a look, shall we?


Deck Breakdown

Which cards are devoted enough to stick around, and which should be left behind? Let's go through the deck card by card and see what can stay and what can go.


Let's start with one of the headlining cards from Magic Origins, and white's double-sided Planeswalker: Kytheon/Gideon! As a 2/1 for one mana it's already a card you could imagine playing, and the fact it can both gain indestructible and transform into the full-fledged Gideon makes this an excellent choice. Kytheon is certainly a reason to play a White Weenie strategy, and though you don't want to draw two early, it's good enough that I still want to play all four.

With that said, it's important to have enough additional early support. And while some decks are hostile toward 2/1s right now because of tokens and Sylvan Caryatid, having cheap creatures is important in this deck for both having a first turn play, being able to turn over Gideon, and adding to your devotion count. Plus, putting early pressure on the control decks is crucial.

I'd like four more one-drops—and the card I'm going to turn to is Soldier of the Pantheon. Multicolor cards are still seeing enough to make his ability quite relevant, and it does just what I'm looking for.


A card that has been looking for a home, the Dragons of Tarkir version of Anafenza fits in perfectly here. With two white mana symbols to increase your devotion, as well as the ability to make your creatures bigger as you play them, she's an excellent choice which is a must-kill threat from the opponent. Four is the right number here.


This reprint from Shards of Alara looks unassuming—but it's quite strong. Outside of just being a double white-symbol 2/2 first striker, it also puts you up a card a lot of the time. On the draw, it's pretty easy to play this on turn three before playing your land, and then follow up with another play. On the play, as a more aggressive deck, chances are you'll stop playing lands before your opponent and can use this to catch right up. It even means you can convincingly play one less land. I'll keep all four.


It's important that a deck like this one has enough to do on turn two, and Mastery is a card that comes down on the second turn and threatens the long game advantage.

However, Mastery has a few problems in this deck.

First of all, it takes a while before it actually does anything. If you play it on turn two, it's not providing any pressure on the opponent and you probably won't use its ability until you're out of other cards to cast.

Second, the fact that its ability overlaps so closely with Heliod—an indestructible God who is unlikely to leave the battlefield—means that you're just going to have redundant abilities sitting around. And while a 2/2 is better than a 2/1, it's not so much better that it's worth taking up extra slots for.

Instead, what I'd love is another aggressive two-drop, and preferably one with two white mana symbols. And fortunately, Origins serves up just the card: Consul's Lieutenant.

As a 2/1 with first strike, you already have a reasonable creature to fight with. But the fact that it can renown up to that crucial third point of power is excellent. But then on top of that it can even pump all of your creatures when it attacks, letting you real pile on damage. I want to play all four of them.


An efficient token-making machine, Brimaz has been showing up here and there in aggressive white decks since Born of the Gods released. And now, he finally has a solid home in a low-curve, aggressive strategy. As a complete powerhouse that adds plenty of extra damage to the board and both attacks and blocks effectively, I'm definitely keeping all four.


One of the new kids on the block, this card packs a punch and really puts a strain on your opponent's resources. A 3/5 that constricts their mana the turn after you cast it often means your opponent won't be able to make any fruitful attacks right away—and being able to crash in for 3 evasive damage helps tighten the screws and push the game out of the enemy's reach. And, of course, on top of that the three white mana symbols mean you only need one more to turn Heliod's creature side online. This deck wants all four.


It's finally the sun God's time to shine! (Okay, I mean technically he's always shining.) Both giving you a mana sink, crashing in as a huge creature, and providing all of your creatures vigilance does quite a bit of duty in this deck. (Vigilance is especially brutal on Archangel of Tithes. What a duo they make!)

Considering how easy Heliod is to make a creature in this deck and the fact that we cut Mastery of the Unseen, another major mana sink, I definitely want to up the count. And while going up to four is a little too heavy because it's a legendary permanent that doesn't easily die, this deck can definitely get away with three.


You need ways to get threats off of the board—and Banishing Light is a catch-all answer to anything that ails you.

The one big problem with Banishing Light is that Dromoka's Command is a popular card that can entirely blow you out by making you sacrifice an enchantment. And for this reason, I do think it's right to split Banishing Light with another removal spell as this deck does. However, since you also have Heliod, your enchantments are going to get eaten by the Command at some point and so I'm okay with that as a risk here. Just know that it's a possibility so you don't accidentally send your army to their doom with an ill-fated attack.


The other removal spell being used here, Valorous Stance's versatility is great. Though a little worse against sweepers, with Languish entering the format, helping a creature survive combat or avoid a Hero's Downfall can be the difference between winning and losing in many cases. I like two copies of this.


Spear is quite the flavor victory, getting Kytheon, Heliod, and the spear all into the same deck!

Unfortunately, it doesn't fit as well here as I would like. Anthem effects—effects that pump your entire team—tend to be best with a lot of tokens. And while this deck certainly has token making capacities, with Brimaz and Heliod, a lot of the time I would rather just play creatures early and add power and pressure to the board that way instead of having to rely on this enchantment. The spear can go.


The Siege is another card that has been looking for just the right place to show up. And this could be it . . . If Archangel of Tithes and Heliod didn't both cost four mana. That's already seven four-drops sitting on the curve, and you don't really want too many more than that. While the Siege does some great work, I'm going to cut it here.


A powerhouse card, to be sure. This is a card that can really take over the game. However, it's also at odds with some other elements of the deck. Six mana is something that's going to be tricky to reach unless Nykthos or multiple Knight of the White Orchids help you out. Elspeth is a game winner, but an expensive one—and that makes her a great candidate for a singleton. Exactly one Elspeth is a card that if you draw you can try and sculpt a game around, and that makes for an excellent late game topdeck. Plus, you can turbo into her if you have enough devotion and a Nykthos.


With all of those changes in mind, that brings the deck to:

You and Gideon together can unleash battle cries as you rush into the red zone together. And if things go right, you'll even have Heliod watching your back.

There's been a lot of attention on this kind of deck since the entire Origins Card Image Gallery went up, and I wouldn't even be surprised to see a couple players (perhaps Craig Wescoe) sleeve up something similar for Pro Tour Magic Origins in a couple weeks! It has a lot of potential.

Have fun!


McArtor's Mentions

Every week in McArtor's Mentions, we take a look at some of the other decks sent in and not used this week. Check them out:

Anthony Pichery's Mono-White Enchantment Devotion

Travis Miyashiro's Black-Red Shrapnel Blast

Hiroya Kobayashi's Lilianalesha


Nissa on the Horizon

Looking ahead two weeks, we're going to be at Nissa Week! And you know what that means: It's time for some Nissa-Fueled decklists.

Here's what you should be sending in this week:

Format: Standard (After Magic Origins)

Restrictions: Your deck must contain Nissa, Vastwood Seer. Additional Nissa theming is a bonus!

Deadline: Monday, July 20, at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

Submit all decklists by emailing me at reconstructeddecks@gmail.com.

Decklists should be submitted with YOURNAME's DECKNAME at the top. Underneath should be one card per line, with just a leading number. For example:

12 Mountain

4 Satyr Firedancer

3 Ash Zealot

4 Lightning Bolt

…and so on. Please don't use anything but a space to separate the card numbers and names—don't write "4x Lightning Bolt," for example. Well-formatted decklists have a much better chance of being read and making it into the column. Poorly formatted decklists are more likely to be ignored. (If I can't read your decklist, I certainly can't talk about it!)

I hope you had fun this article and came away with a new deck you want to try! As always, if you have any thoughts or feedback please send me a tweet or ask me a question on my Tumblr and I'll check out what you have to say.

I'll be back next time with a look at Jace (my favorite!) for Jace week.

Talk with you next week,

Gavin

@GavinVerhey

GavInsight



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