Angels & Birdseed - Standard

Jeremy is a brewing machine these days, and his decks are going off of the deep end...


Your deck is already built isn't it? The one you play every FNM, or the one you've been building toward in Arena and are now comfortable playing? Yeah...I get it. I wish I had some of my Arena game play for you guys to watch with this deck. It's hilarious. The best part about this list is that it includes a number of commonly played cards; your opponent thinks they have your strategy nailed down, and then you drop a Divine Visitation and they scoop. In most games you are being a nuisance that passively generates small creature tokens on a cast trigger. That alone can be an effective strategy in winning games - but we are taking this deck to a point where 5 CMC is the top of our curve. Our schedule for new content demands that I share this brew with you now, as opposed to later, so you can begin tuning it for your personal preferences.


Token Generation

By now we have seen multiple uses of Hero of Precinct One, and my use is not all that grand of a deviation, or anything special. I am loading our deck list with multicolored spells in combinations of red, white and blue in the hopes that we can scrape value off of the cast trigger produced by the Hero. I want to be able to use the best possible spells available to us to help our line progress toward a win. Hero is a "piece" of the deck and I really want to stress that. We get multiple cool synergies here: Heroic Reinforcements is a cool interaction - 3 tokens for 4 mana, +1+1 and Haste. Depose // Deploy gives us a token and draws us a card when we Deploy, and gives us 3 tokens and gains us a minimum of 4 life when we Deploy. This card is just value town for us. I love it.

Legion Warboss does not have cast triggers, but it represents a constant source of token production for us to capitalize off of during games. One unattended or unacknowledged Warboss can end a game. Two becomes a total nightmare, and when we curve out correctly into Divine Visitation, we are spitting out a 4/4 flyer at the beginning of each of our combat steps. When the game is still in the early turns and the pathway is clear we have opportunities to mentor our 1/1 tokens and make them bigger. I often find myself sticking to this strategy to veil my true intent for the mid to late game turns. I love that we curve from Hero at 2 drop, to Legion Warboss at 3 drop, and that our curve progresses into our next card so cleanly. Take a gander...

Curve to 4 with token generators. Our two drop creature and 4 drop creature both produce tokens on a cast trigger. This fundamental mechanic to the deck gives us more utility and versatility in responding to actions form our opponents. Murmuring Mystic is a great additional layer to our deck. We produce flying 1/1 bird illusions upon casting an instant or sorcery spell. What's more, the Mystic is a 1/5 body. Talk about great defense - talk about out of reach of most damage based removal. We rock four copies because the cosmos tell us to, and because we need 12 token generating cards to ensure we always have one online when we need it most which is all the time. I think Murmuring Mystic is a sleeper; it has more story to tell us yet.


Drawing Cards is Good

Let's talk about the mainboard options that are explicitly incorporated in this list to ensure we are actively filtering and drawing cards. Opt is nothing new, we get a scry trigger and a draw trigger for one blue at instant speed. The Murmuring Mystic will poop out a bird, and the Opt helps us stabilize/get ahead with an answer, tosses another token generator in our hand, our helps us find mana when we need to have all three colors available to us. As we continue to review the instants we include in our deck let your mind remain with the core functionality of our deck, we are looking to build a token army that gets bigger and overwhelms our opponent. Legion Warboss does this by itself, but we need triggers for our Heroes and Mystics:

Expansion & Explosion are multicolored spells. Expansion is a highly strategic inclusion in our deck; we can copy a ramp spell, counter a counter, copy a kill spell, copy a draw spell, copy any instant or sorcery at instant speed. We also trigger the Hero for a token, and we trigger the Mystic for a token. Explosion makes drawing this card late or mid game exceptional. We get an instant speed X damage spell that also draws us cards equal to the damage dealt and cast triggers from Heroes and Mystics. Chemister's Insight represents our need to be drawing cards, and does that better than any other blue spell in Standard.


Massive Utility and Synergy

Depose basically boils down to nothing more than a combat trick and tempo for our deck. It serves as a cast trigger generator for our Heroes and Mystics, which is great, and from a strategic standpoint I have seen the tapping of a single creature at well placed times swing the momentum of the game back to our favor. It is critical that we have options. Deploy, with an active Divine Visitation feels legitimately unfair at times. Even without our best win condition on the battlefield, this spell is an all-star. Sure, we get triggers from the Hero and Mystic for tokens, but we also get two thopters and gain a pile of life. I have had games where I was gaining large amounts of life with a single Deploy (10-15) - I have had games where the extra two damage for blocking swung the combat landscape in my favor.

Reponse // Resurgence is also purpose driven; we are using Response to activate token triggers of course but also to discourage our opponents from going to combat or declare blockers at all. 5 damage at instant speed during the combat phase is nothing to scoff at, I mean it flat out kills most of the best creatures in the format. I use it liberally. Resurgence is an an undervalued and unused card. The purpose of its inclusion is clear at this point with it being multicolored and all (tokens), but it can end the game outright in the proper sequence. Resurgence is mainly included for the Legion Warboss to get good and abusive - it's almost "hateful" with an active Divine Visitation and Legion Warboss on the battlefield.


Just Say No

A deck like ours needs direct answers to strategies that prohibit our plans. For this we are including some rare counterspells from the most recent two sets. Absorb is not a new card (originally printed in Invasion), but it is new for Standard of late and does gain us some incremental life while hard-countering a spell for us. People tend to look for smooth solutions to countering when it comes to having the mana available, and our mana base is hardened here, you should be able to cast Absorb when you need to. Go for it.

Ionize is a new spell in Guilds of Ravnica, it fits perfectly into our game plan by allowing us a 3 mana counterspell with upside of damage to the caster. Even more importantly, both Absorb and Ionize are multi-colored instant spells and trigger our Heroes and Mystics! Good gracious, could I have possibly gone any more "all-in" than I have with this deck? Yes. But I didn't, so love me anyway. Justice Strike is another multi-colored instant that is a lot better than people realize - it may be outstanding in the current meta. It's perfect for dealing with Gruul matchups, but not so good for killing Wildgrowth Walkers or Carnage Tyrants - we run one additional copy of Justice Strike in our sideboard for when we need to backhand Tempest Djinn's.


The Payoff

Divine Visitation is our coup de grâce in our deck list. Our token generators, our spells that turn out tokens all become more lethal and effective when we are utilizing those mana mana resources for obnoxious amounts of power and toughness. At five converted mana cost, with a dedicated two white mana, you will see that our mana base leans toward white in its construction. The goal is to optimally curve to one of three copies of Divine Visitation and begin using our various mechanical tricks to start spitting out game ending Angel tokens. It should be coming together for you now - you should be seeing how this all ties together into a beautiful token synergy that feels great to play, and wins games. I have an excellent record with this deck! 95% wins.


Options, Options, Options

Enchantments are all the rage right now, I wanted to include an instant speed cheap answer to the enchantment heavy meta in Standard right now. I chose Demystify for obvious reasons - it perfectly suits my requirements and dispatches easily of any enchantment or aura. Depending upon extended testing I may end up running more copies of Demystify.

Essence Scatter counters creatures that are lower to the ground in CMC, and Negate catches spells faster. Sometimes needing to counter on turn two is required, followed by turn three. I wanted to have options for additional counter potential even though it heavily disenfranchises our multi-colored token game plan. Unbreakable Formation can be an excellent auto-include in a creature-heavy match up where we are looking more to the mid-game for winning. When cast during the main phase of our turn we can grow our army and wreck havoc during a combat step, when needed it saves our board from a wipe too.

Heroic Reinforcements in combination with Hero of Precinct One and Murmuring Mystic is amazing. It's hard for me to really put into words how satisfying this interaction is once lined up and executed. 8 power, haste, for 4 mana. Think about this: Heroic Reinforcements, followed by Expansion in response, with a Hero and Mystic in play. 16 power, haste? MMM. Ral, Izzet Viceroy helps us take our token strategy a different direction by dropping two Divine Visitation or a couple Legion Warboss to longer and threaten the emblem. He is an outstanding Planeswalker and fits perfectly into a deck like this.


We're Done

Wrap it up, put a bow on it, and ship it to your loved ones, because this deck review is done.


I LOVE THIS DECK, AND YOU WILL TOO. Give it a play, and let me know what you think.


~Jeremy

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