Standard has just undergone its biggest upheaval in two years, dropping four expansion sets and adding a whole new one in Guilds of Ravnica. Kaladesh’s energy and the Gods of Amonkhet are no longer dominating the format’s power level, and the sky is the limit for what brewers are looking to accomplish over the next few weeks.
And the sky is just the proper place to look for the card we’re focusing on today…
This card is stupidly fun and very easy to take advantage of. Sure, you need to take a turn off to cast it, but if you can untap with this on the battlefield, you’ll easily stabilize with an army of flying Angels that will never tap and never leave you open to attack.
Obviously, we need to survive until turn-6 to take advantage of the card. GW Divine Tokens need lots of early plays that clog up the board and keep us safe until we can cast it, and it needs plenty of ways to create tokens once it’s on the battlefield. Luckily for us, Standard is currently loaded with versatile token generators designed for both early and late game plays.
Unfortunately, this deck will require a hefty price tag with some of the most expensive cards on the market, right now.
With this deck, there are two stages of play
- Survive until you cast Divine Visitation
- Generate Angels with token cards
To get through the first stage, you’ll need plenty of quality and effective early plays to stall the board or help you to get to Divine Visitation faster.
This is a Green deck, so you’ll obviously want a playset of Llanowar Elves. It’s best creature in Magic’s long and fabled history, so anything less would be wrong.
Two of these allow players to cast Divine Visitation as early as turn-3, but the more common situation will be casting it on turn-4. One turn might be crucial point for many opponents’ decks, so Llanowar Elves is essential for getting to your game plan early and obtaining consistent victories.
GW Divine Tokens isn’t an aggressive deck, but a few early points of damage will never hurt. After you get a hit in with Skymarcher Aspirant, she can act as a blocker, keeping back threats and possibly trading up while waiting to cast Divine Visitation.
This deck should also have no problem triggering ascend, changing Skymarcher Aspirant into an effective attacker later in the game. She swings in for an additional two points of damage alongside your angels, possibly distracting a blocker.
Ideally, you’ll want to ramp into two or three… maybe even four creatures before casting Shanna. On turn-2, she can be a 2/2 with semi-hexproof, not bad. With a Saproling Migration on turn-2, she’s a 4/4 semi-hexproof when you play her on turn-3.
Once the Angels and Saprolings start really flowing, be careful. She can get up to 8/8, possibly 9/9, rarely 10/10. Either way, Shanna is a bargain that deflects big creatures and demands attention when attacking, soaking up blockers later in the game.
If the Angels never get there, Shanna can act as an alternative win con because this deck does guarantee she’ll be huge in size.
The most resilient early creature in the deck, Thorn Lieutenant is a 2/3 for two mana, one of the best prices in Magic. This blocks most one-drop and two-drop creatures, meaning nobody is getting through to you until at least turn-4. Plenty of time to set up a Divine Visitation.
If an opponent targets Thorn Lieutenant with a removal spell, you still get a blocker to hold the line down, which can help get to Divine Visitation. If an opponent targets Thorn Lieutenant for removal after Divine Visitation is cast, that 1/1 Elf becomes a 4/4 Angel. They won’t want to do that, meaning you’ll always have something to block with.
Value in the early game, value in the late game. Perfect card!
Don’t be fooled by Kraul Harpooner’s 3-power, this card can play defense just as effectively it can play offense. We’re not trying to be aggressive here, so go ahead and leave him up as a blocker in the face of a flying threat. If your opponent has a flying threat, don’t hesitate to take it down the second Kraul Harpooner hits the battlefield.
Later in the game, this card can clear a path for your Angels to fly through, making it effective removal at any point in the game.
Turn-4 might not be an early play, technically, but Shalai does hit the battlefield before Divine Visitation. She protects your creatures from removal spells, protects you from direct damage, and as a 3/4 flyer, she blocks very effectively. Definitely enough to hold the fort until her Angel backup arrives.
At that point, she protects them from removal and can pump them all up, making them absurdly strong and impossible to deal with.
Turn-5 is here, and you’re casting this card. If you don’t, you either haven’t found one yet, or you’re playing the deck wrong! If you’re behind, play it! It will help you stabilize. If you’re ahead, play it! Ensure that your opponent can’t catch back up.
You’ll want four of these to ensure you draw it at some point. Without this card, the deck doesn’t work. Hold the fort with tokens, flyers, and reach creatures until you can find it.
When choosing token generators, it’s important to ensure that they can be cast at any point in the game. In the early game, you’ll want to comfortably cast these cards to aid in blocking and keeping your life total high. In the later game, you’ll want them to efficiently create your Angels.
In that regard, March of the Multitudes is a great Magic card and one of the best token generators in the set, but we don’t run one because it’s so ineffective in the early game. On turn-4, you can create three lifelink tokens for four mana and an open board state. Those tokens are forced to block right away, and the end result is gaining three life for all that cost. No thanks.
Occasionally, you might be able to pump some crazy amount of mana into this card and create seven or eight Angels, but is that necessary? It’s just “win more” at that point.
Cheap, consistent token generators. Play the safe game, and you’ll find your Angels, I promise.
Legion’s Landing is as consistent of a token generator as you can ask for in this deck. You get a token immediately just for casting it, and once that card flips, you’ll have access to a steady flow of lifelink vampires throughout the game.
Once Divine Visitation comes down, three mana produces a 4/4 Angel each and every turn. Not bad!
Divine Visitation also guarantees that this will never be a dead card in your hand. The first one flips into Adanto, but the second one still creates an Angel for a single mana when you cast it. Then, if you draw the third and the fourth one, you can still cast them to get that Angel. The legendary rule destroys your old one, but it doesn’t matter. You still get that Angel!
A perfect card for our deck and a stupidly overpowered common. Early in the game, this creates two token blockers for just two mana, a good deal for one of the gummiest plays in Magic. Opponents hate plowing through token blockers, and that’s what this is.
When Divine Visitation hits the board on turn-5, if you hit a land drop on turn-6, you can cast Saproling Migration with its kicker for six mana, creating FOUR Angels! This is why we’re not playing March of the Multitudes, it gets overshadowed by a silly, little, common sorcery. It’s much better in the early game and just as effective in the later game.
Even if you don’t have Divine Visitation on turn-6, Saproling Migration can still effectively gum up the board with four Saprolings and hold back attackers until you find it.
If Emmara comes down on turn-2, she’s a bear that can block nicely. More importantly, she can attack if an opponent leaves an opening, creating tokens each time she taps.
In the early game, the lifelink tokens will help sustain your life total while you wait for Divine Visitation. Later in the game, every time she taps, she’ll create an Angel. Opponents will definitely want to waste a block on her since Emmara gets out of hand easily and generates so much free value every single turn.
We do have Song of Freyalise in our deck, and with that cast, Emmara has the potential to tap for a free Angel two turns in a row. That’s just a rude, broken move.
Another useful common. While not half as effective as Saproling Migration, Yavimaya Sapherd is still a great blocker to cast on turn-3 and an effective Angel generator on turn-6. Three mana gets you a 2/2 blocker and a a 4/4 Angel.
Good early, good late. Consistent. Great common.
Time to open your wallets, friends. History of Benalia is an expensive card, but man oh man, for three mana you’re getting two Knight tokens for two turns, meaning four tokens in total!
If cast on turn-3, the Knights act as quality blockers to hold the line until Divine Visitation hits the board. On turn-5, if you cast Divine Visitation, don’t hesitate to send the pumped up Knights in for big damage. If they are killed or trade with a few creatures, they’ll soon be replaced by Angels anyway.
Casting History of Benalia after Divine Visitation gets you two Angels a turn for two turns. Sadly, those Angels don’t benefit from the third ability, but whatever. Not necessary. That’s 16 points of damage and should be enough to fly over everything and close the game.
Tendershoot Dryad is a bit out of our range as an effective early blocker, but we’re still playing one because it’s far too effective to overlook.
Turn-5 Divine Visitation and turn-6 Tendershoot Dryad means you’re getting an Angel every single turn for the rest of the game for absolutely free. I mean, what’s not to like about this combination?
What’s that? Ascend doesn’t matter? Well, if you don’t find Divine Visitation, you still need a way to win, and an army of 3/3 Saprolings can still get the job done. Perfect top of our curve.
Sometimes, you just need a little help getting that mana. Song of Freyalise helps you ramp properly into Divine Visitation, and it even allows players to take advantage of it right away!
Cast Song of Freyalise on turn-4, then Divine Visitation on turn-5, and you should still have at least two or three untapped creatures on the board to cast a Yavimaya Sapherd or an unkicked Saproling Migration. That’s an Angel or two on turn-5! If one of the creatures you tapped is Emmara, that’s an additional Angel!
I also like Song of Freyalise later in the game. If cast with Shalai on the board, your vigilance Angels can attack and then tap right away, generating mana to trigger Shalai’s pump ability. The synergies. They hurt so good!
Removal is important in every deck of Magic, so we’ll need at least one or two of these. I’m not too worried about taking down threats since our blockers should hold them back long enough to get our Angel engine running.
Still, trample destroys us in the meantime, and there are plenty of evasive abilities that tokens can’t deal with. You’ll need a removal spell in those situations. Conclave Tribunal is essentially free in this deck, requiring nothing but tapped creatures to hold down their biggest threat. Doesn’t get cheaper than that!
Perfect Dual Lands! With Llanowar Elves and Song of Freyalise, we’re not going to run that many lands either.
Sometimes, the Angels just aren’t going to work. Your opponent sideboards in a Naturalize, and BOOM, blows up your whole gameplan! How rude!
Well, we have to deal with this situation effectively with alternate ways to win, and I have a good one!
We’re not looking to beat down here like in Mono-Green Stompy. We’re looking to build up our strength and close the game with a dominant late game, and there are few creatures in Magic right now that can tangle with Carnage Tyrant later in the game.
It can’t be removed, can’t be countered, and with Shalai on the board, it doesn’t even die to Settle the Wreckage. This is a “poop your pants” card that no opponent ever wants to see.
Song of Freyalise is a solid way to get to Carnage Tyrant, but Growing Rites of Itlimoc is even better. Go wide with your Saprolings and cheap creatures, then reap the benefits of all that mana. You’ll have your Carnage Tyrant in no time!
Lyra rotates in well against aggro decks, when you are looking recoup from early life loss. She also shines in mirror matches where you’ll do anything for just a little advantage over an opponent. Something has to break those Angel stalemates, so how about pumped Angels with lifelink?
Selesnya’s new Reclamation Sage, this can take care of pesky artifacts and enchantments in some situations, and it comes to the battlefield as a 4/3 in other situations. Rotate in as necessary when dealing with decks that rely on these types of cards.
If you can’t find Divine Visitation and you need to secure your life total, Knight of Autumn can also help in that regard.
Solid removal against aggressive decks. They are faster than Conclave Tribunal and more likely to catch an opponent off guard. If you’re getting pounded in the early game and your tokens are being tossed aside, these will help.
Huatli is the best Planeswalker for this deck and should have no problem securing that ultimate ability the turn after she comes down. If your opponent is sitting on a Settle the Wreckage to wipe out your Angels and you don’t have Shalai to protect them, just sit back, defend, and draw token generators using her ability.
Force your opponent to use Settle the Wreckage or any other board wipe, and you can replace them on the spot.
Vivien Reid is also solid against decks with flying creatures, especially rival Lyra decks and other White/Blue flyers.
- 4x Llanowar Elves
- 2x Skymarcher Aspirant
- 2x Emmara, Soul of the Accord
- 2x Kraul Harpooner
- 2x Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy
- 4x Thorn Lieutenant
- 3x Yavimaya Sapherd
- 2x Shalai, Voice of Plenty
- 1x Tendershoot Dryad
- 1x Conclave Tribunal
- 4x Divine Visitation
- 4x History of Benalia
- 4x Legion’s Landing
- 3x Song of Freyalise