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Welcome to another week of Precon Recon here at Pojo.com! This weeks Precon Recon comes from a reader request. Alex Yue asked me to go old school this week, and reconstruct the Divine portion of the Divine vs Demonic Duel Deck, keeping with the Vintage feel. Well Alex, your wish has been granted. I will be taking a look under the hood and seeing what we can do to make this deck play much better. For a look at the original deck list, just head here: http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/productarticle.aspx?x=mtg_tcg_divinevsdemonic_themedeck#deck1.
Okay, so from looking at the article and decklist, the folks at Wizards new what was going to be issues, yet elected to leave it up to us to fix. The article attached to the deck states there is little to no early game, and it is up to careful spell selection to stave off early offense to survive long enough to make it to end game. So that will be a crucial focus point in the reconstruction. Another focus point will be mana. The outline says that the deck needs it, so that’s what we will do.
The easiest of the fixes is to the mana problem. The Secluded Steppes are not really necessary. I would remove them, as well as two Plains. Replace those with any combination of the lands from Ravnica that produce White mana and another color. The added mana is extremely useful if applied carefully. Knowing when to drop them is the main strategy. This should work quite well at fixing the mana. Add more of those lands if you feel four isn’t enough, just make sure you know that a bouch is required to play them.
So now to the main portion, the deck itself. While looking at the deck list, I forgot how slow it plays. My wife loves angels, and has several angel decks. I remember when we got this deck, it was almost immediately torn apart for other decks. The main portion of this deck is just so slow, it must be more luck than anything for it to win.
Some of the first spells I would go about removing are the Charging Paladin’s, the Icatian Priests, and the Venerable Monks. The main issue behind the deck is it is all about trying to gain life with mid-grade casting cost creatures, and then expect them to hang around and block. That strategy is old, and no longer used, because it doesn’t work. Sustainer of the Realm, Angelic Protector, and Angel of Mercy are more examples of cards geared toward that theory that should also be removed. There is eleven cards removed, and that is before we hit spells.
From the spell side it would be a smaller list to list what we are actually keeping. But, here we go with the pulls. Serra’s Boon, Otherworldly Journey, Marble Diamond, Healing Salve, Angelsong, Angel’s Feather, and Angelic Benediction should all be removed. These spells just symbolize the play defensive atmosphere. This deck is only slow because we allow it to be. This deck could be a major attack force, if we allow it. I’ve never in any literature know the Angels to rise against Demons, but once there sit back and wait, hoping for the best. They rise to the battle, meeting any threat with force, quashing all who stand against them quickly, and efficiently.
These removals bring the total up to a whopping twenty cards. Literally over half the deck. Granted, these cards are decent, just not in this deck any more. They have applications in decks that are suited for defensive play. But if you want to go against demons, you better have an offense to be there early. Attempting to go toe to toe with demons is never something you want to see. You’d rather end the game before the first ones reveal their ugly heads.
So what can we do with twenty spaces, damn near anything we choose. I will be suggesting some rares, but if you cannot get them, I will have some uncommon/common ideas as well.
The first thing I would throw in is some great early defense that gives life as well as protects ours. Wall of Hope and Wall of Essence are two of the best Walls ever made. I prefer the Wall of Hope, and recommend four copies. This cards says any damage dealt to it is granted to you in life. It will stall an opponent from attacking with anything less than three creatures, since the lifegain off the first blocked creature could negate the damage from the other. Another absolutely great card is the Magus of the Moat. He shuts down anything without flying. Since Angels are all fliers, you delay the game, while building up a sizeable attack force in the air. If unable to get ahold of a Magus of the Moat, consider adding Ghostly Prison. The forced mana paying can easily stop creatures from attacking you, and multiple instances stack, meaning two Ghostly Prison’s is a forced 4 mana for one creature to attack. Another option is just to put in Silent Arbiter. He makes it so only one creature can attack and block each combat.
Another great card for this deck is Knight of Dawn. For two white mana and one generic mana you get a first striking 2/2, that you can pay two white mana and give him protection from the color of your choice until end of turn. This could allow him to get past blockers for a hit, or even stop a large creature (providing it doesn’t have trample) without losing a creature. This guy is another four copies of. Some other great creature ideas for this deck, but they are rare would be Commander Eesha (protection from creatures) or Voice of All (choose a color, has protection from that color).
In place of the Angel of Mercy’s, you should run the Shattered Angel from New Phyrexia. The ability to gain 3 life every time an opponent plays a land is much better than just 3 life when you drop the creature. Probably just two copies at most for this one though.
Now for some other spell selection. Armored Ascension. I don’t think I need to say much more than that. +1/+1 for each plains you control, and flying, yessir, I’ll have four please. Path to Exile. Permanent removal of a creature, exchanged for a land, which you could be the main benefactor of with Shattered Angel out.
Another feasible swap could actually be replacing Reya Dawnbringer with Emeria, Sky Ruin. They have the same ability, but the land would trigger long before the Angel. Not to mention creature removal spells are more common than land removal spells. Which, if you decide to go ahead with that swap, consider putting in Admonition Angel. Landfall: Exile target non-land permanent, and for only six mana. Another decent Angel swap is putting Emeria Angel in place of Luminous Angel. While the guranteed creature every upkeep is nice, you could be dropping a land every turn as well. And getting the angel out there early is also what counts.
These I feel are some of the best fixes for the deck. Of course other things are nice as well, Blinding Angel can stop an opponent from attacking. Knight of the White Orchid is a cheap guy with first strike that can fetch you a land if need be. And there are many other options. I feel however that the combination of Magus of the Moat, Ghostly Prison, Knight of Dawn, Shattered Angel, Armored Ascension, Path to Exile, Emeria, and Admonition Angel are by far the best choices. Mix and match them up as you choose to get the best overall feel. I think somewhere along the lines of 4 each of Armored Ascension, Path to Exile, Ghostly Prison, and Knight of Dawn, 2 each of Magus of the Moat, Shattered Angel, Admonition Angel, and then adding in a couple copies of the Emeria to make up the mana is the best combination.
And there you have it! I think that that is a decent way to run this deck, and of course, if you disagree, feel free to edit as you see fit. This deck style is very much more aggressive, so make sure you keep swinging away. Don’t hold back unless you must.
And if there is a preconstructed deck you would like to see get reconstructed, just send me an e-mail!
Next time I think I will look at another Commander deck, or perhaps look at a deck from the upcoming M12!
So until next time, keep safe, and keep gaming!
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