Dear Azami: Angels And Demons

Cassidy returns to some well-worn space for him, venturing once again into Angel Tribal with Radiant, Archangel at the helm. He’s learned how to build this exact deck from experience, but it’s shaped differently for a reader than it would be for himself…

Today, we’re talking Angels. Take it away, Mark:

Dear Azami,

With the growing popularity of Commander in recent years, I’ve become infatuated with the idea of building an Angel tribal deck. Below is the creature base I’m currently working with. An effort has been made to maintain a somewhat ‘bell-shaped’ mana curve. There’s so much that could go into a deck like this that I’m at a loss as to where to start. Any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated.

Commander: Radiant, Archangel

49 Plains

1 Adarkar Valkyrie

1 Admonition Angel

1 Aegis Angel

1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath

1 Angel of Finality

1 Angel of Fury

1 Angel of Glory’s Rise

1 Angel of Jubilation

1 Angel of Retribution

1 Angel of Serenity

1 Angelic Arbiter

1 Angelic Overseer

1 Angelic Page

1 Angelic Skirmisher

1 Archangel

1 Archangel of Strife

1 Archangel of Thune

1 Avacyn, Angel of Hope

1 Avenging Angel

1 Baneslayer Angel

1 Battlegrace Angel

1 Blinding Angel

1 Chancellor of the Annex

1 Deathless Angel

1 Emancipation Angel

1 Emeria Angel

1 Exalted Angel

1 Guardian of the Gateless

1 Guardian Seraph

1 Guiding Spirit

1 Haunted Angel

1 Herald of War

1 Iona, Shield of Emeria

1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence

1 Luminous Angel

1 Pristine Angel

1 Requiem Angel

1 Restoration Angel

1 Reya Dawnbringer

1 Seraph

1 Seraph of Dawn

1 Seraph of the Sword

1 Serra Angel

1 Serra Avenger

1 Shattered Angel

1 Shepherd of the Lost

1 Silver Seraph

1 Sublime Archangel

1 Twilight Shepherd

1 Victory’s Herald



I’ve touched on my love/hate relationship with mono-white Angels tribal decks in the past; last year, I overhauled a reader’s Avacyn, Angel of Hope deck and kind of took a beating from the readers in the process. Some were in the “You suck at synergy!” camp, while others – including one of my current writers over at GeneralDamageControl.com, Erik Tiernan – docked me points for auto-piloting on a few selections (Restoration Angel) and missing other obvious ones (Moonsilver Spear). For those of you who defended my choices, thank you (and you’re on the Christmas Card List.) To Erik – you’re fired. (Just kidding, my friend. But plan on sleeping with one eye open at GenCon…)

But seriously, there’s no other tribe that I’ve come back to building time after time. Angels are inherently cool and (mostly) really well-balanced in Magic. They’re mostly rare, and mostly all pretty strong, with solid power and toughness for their cost and a range of strong abilities.

Of course, some go over the edge a bit, as is the case with Iona, Shield of Emeria and the aforementioned Avacyn; the former is, of course, the scourge of mono-color decks everywhere and the reason we can’t have nice things in Commander. (Yeah…I’m a Painter’s Servant fan-boy. Whatever.)

Avacyn is a tough nut to crack. She’s fantastic – huge statistics, back-breaking ability – but the design is almost too easy. It’s almost like the creature we were all expecting would be printed for years finally showed up. Commander players know how strong indestructibility is as a keyword, and giving it to everything you own can be brutal to the rest of the players in your game; it’s almost a groan-inducing “Yeah… of course you play that card…” sort-of thing. (It is groan-inducing when Kaalia of the Vast drops it into play on turn four and follows up with Armageddon.)

So it is important to keep things focused with Angels, lest you just end up being ‘that guy.’ Fortunately, you’ve started exactly where I did, and right where I would go back to if I rebuilt my deck again – Radiant, Archangel. She’s the perfect thematic angel commander – she rallies around her tribe, getting bigger with each one that hits the board, is vigilant like every proper Angel should be, and best of all, is rare and expensive in foil form. Ah, the joys of Urza’s Legacy foils…

But she’s an under-the-radar choice at the same time. Five mana for a 3/3 flyer isn’t a great deal in this day and age even though she has the potential to get huge. As a result, people tend to leave her alone until she does, so you have the benefit of playing a nice, balanced commander that you can actually use. Contrast that with something like Avacyn, which tends to either eat removal immediately or else just win the game if no one’s removal could exile a permanent, and you can see that Radiant is the penultimate happy middle ground.

Now, I wanted a little more information before diving in, so I asked Mark a few more questions:

First off, what’s your desired price range?

“I don’t mind spending a few dollars for cards that will really enhance the deck. Super high end cards should be avoided (Moxes, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, etc.).”

I see you’ve read my work before, sir.

What’s your playgroup look like? Level of competition, decks, strategies, etc?

“Our group is mostly casual, except for one guy who loves to play Karn, Silver Golem lockdown. Other decks played include Progenitus, Derevi, Empyrial Tactician and Rakdos, Lord of Riots.”

Seems good so far.

Do you have any pet cards that you absolutely want to keep?

“I’d like to keep a few of the more iconic cards: Avacyn, Iona and Linvala. Flavor-wise these, along with Radiant, make up a quasi ‘Fantastic Four’.”

Okay… forget what I said earlier about Iona and Avacyn.

On a serious note, I really feel it’s important to play the cards that inspire you and make you happy. That’s the joy of Magic in general, and it really defines this format. Balance and communication are the keys to making Commander work – these are the cornerstones of the ‘social contract.’ If it’s Iona, or Tooth and Nail, or house-ruling Erayo, Soratami Ascendant back onto the legal side of things, then go with what you feel – but make sure that you’re not bringing a tactical nuke to a spitball fight. Talk to your fellow players and figure out how they feel about cards and power-levels. Aim for a balance, and an understanding, and everyone will have a blast. That’s the goal.

And that’s the goal with this deck too; it seems like even though you have a casual metagame, it seems like the other players are fine with Avacyn and Iona, so we’ll make absolutely sure we keep the four intact.

From there it’s a pretty blank slate to work with; you have one giant lump-sum of Plains (a few too many in my personal estimation) and a giant pile of Angels – and that’s it. This is true tribal at work, and I’m going to stick to this theme all the way. However, there are a few elements that you need to include: mana-fixing, card advantage, removal and utility all need to be wicked up a notch or two. We want an end result that still holds true to your vision, is fun to play, and can stand up to your typical game.

Let’s get to work.


While there is something to be said for a deck aiming to just play out to an even mana curve, I think 49 lands is a bit on the heavy side. Actually, I think 49 total mana sources period is too heavy. (By that, I mean lands, acceleration and land search cards.) I’m going to aim for 44 total mana sources, and here’s how:


Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains Plains

That trims the number of Plains in the deck by seventeen to an even thirty-two. To fill back in on the real estate front:


Seraph Sanctuary Emeria, the Sky Ruin Winding Canyons Temple of the False God Strip Mine

Utility additions start the ballgame here.

Seraph Sanctuary is a cute little addition that will end up surprising you with the amount of life that it will end up gaining you during a game. It’s at home in this deck, and in the past, I’ve seen it pad my life totals by between ten and fifteen points depending on how early it came down. Best yet, it’s not a land that people want to waste removal on.

Emeria is the mono-white no-brainer. You’ll hit seven Plains, and you’ll recur Angels – end of story. This effectively stretches your creature slots out and makes your deck seem bigger, but be warned – this is a land that will eat removal.

Someone in my shop last week made the comment, “It’s not a Dear Azami article until Winding Canyons is added to a deck.” Maybe this is my regular homage to Sean moving forward, but the reality of a mono-white deck is that it isn’t all that tricky by nature. Tap your mana, play your creatures, attack, pass the turn, and wait until you untap. Instant-speed creatures are great for any deck, but are fantastic for red-zone ones like this. Also, considering how terrifying some Angels can be, this is a great rattlesnake to have on your side of the table.

Temple of the False God is pretty staple-ish and not all that flashy, but Angels don’t typically come cheap. We’ll take all the help we can get.

Finally, Strip Mine – because you need outs to certain problems, such as Maze of Ith, Cabal Coffers, and… well, Emeria, the Sky Ruin.


Land Tax Armillary Sphere Marble Diamond Tithe Gift of Estates Pearl Medallion Sol Ring

I went for a good blend here of acceleration and land tutors. As you get deeper into Commander as a format, you slowly start eschewing reliable standards like Coalition Relic and Darksteel Ingot for options that go straight for lands in the deck instead; this protects you from having your mana rocks removed and also thins your deck out, allowing you to potentially draw more business later on. Green does this incredibly well as a color, which is one good reason why it is typically regarded as the best color in Commander. While it’s not as well-known, white does a good job of doing this as well; I added a few decent options, and sprinkled in some old reliable options to round out our mana production.

In the former category, the two go-to spells are Tithe and Gift of Estates. Both care about opponents controlling more lands than you do, but again, green is a thing, and it’s really well-represented in your metagame by what you told me. Tithe is quick, dirty, and cheap, so you’ll get value as early as turn one with it, and it’s easy to get a two-for-one since it’s an instant. Gift of Estates is just a slightly more-expensive fixed-rate return on sorcery-speed investment; the Commander 2014 reprinting saw this card make its first comeback since Ninth Edition, and it’s very underrated.

From there, we have Armillary Sphere, which is an old standard across all colors. It just does its job and does it well – pay admission cost, go get two Plains. End of story.

Next we reach Land Tax, the first truly expensive addition and a Commander staple to boot. There isn’t much to say about this one that hasn’t been said a million times online, so just understand that there’s literally not a better turn one play in this deck. Keep in mind that the wording says “…up to”, so you can tailor your needs or simply thin your deck out.

Marble Diamond and Pearl Medallion are two sides of the same coin. They both go about making your life one white mana easier by turn three. Since Angels can be on the expensive side, these fit your bell curve really well, and let you get up to speed in a hurry, thus circumventing some of the typical lag this deck can generate.

And Sol Ring…see Land Tax above. It’s a standard for a reason; no card does this better. End of story.


This part is a killer. Your initial list had a full fifty Angels in it. Half a deck right there. Gaining back five slots through selective trimming and realigning of the mana base is not going to gain me the room I need to give you some of the things that I want to fit in here – and that’s not to mention that there are some upgrades to the Angel roster itself that I think need to be in place as well. Wow.

Doing the math, I need to get down to about thirty-eight Angels (not including Radiant herself) in order to free up a minor amount of space to add in some other odds and ends, and I have eight Angels going back in. That means twenty cuts.

Twenty. Yikes.

Here goes nothing…


Admonition Angel Angel of Fury Angel of Glory's Rise Angel of Retribution Angelic Overseer Angelic Page Archangel Avenging Angel Chancellor of the Annex Emancipation Angel Exalted Angel Guiding Spirit Haunted Angel Pristine Angel Restoration Angel Seraph Seraph of Dawn Serra Angel Serra Avenger Shepherd of the Lost

Good lord. Let’s try to explain; top to bottom order, for no other reason than I don’t want to lose track of what’s going on here, and I’m hanging on by my fingertips here already.

Admonition Angel is a card that I have tried and failed to make work in the past. It’s a cool, splashy effect, and it’s on the money in the cost-versus-power ratio. The reason it goes is what I call the ‘Oblivion Ring Conundrum’ – simply put, a board wipe leaves you empty and gives back everything to your opponents. If this deck did a better job of instant-speed response trickery, it might be more abuseable; as it is, I barely kept Angel of Serenity, and that card doesn’t need land drops to get the job done.

If I’m paying six mana for an Angel, it’d better do more than be a 3/3 and shuffle into my deck when it dies. Sorry, Angel of Fury.

You must have some tribal zombie decks in your metagame, because Angel of Glory’s Rise isn’t getting back anything in this deck. This should just be a straight board wipe.

Angel of Retribution fails for the same reason as Angel of Fury – seven mana for a 5/5 first striker isn’t all that great a deal, considering there are stronger Angels that could be in this slot, and that there are ways to buff the entire team with first strike that I want to slot later on.

Angelic Overseer… no humans, no thanks.

Unfortunately, one of the things that I find with a deck like this is that adhering to a curve starts to get really tough due to all the good options. Sadly, something needs to go, and Angelic Page is getting chopped despite being a nice little early drop. Besides, on-board tricks aren’t all that tricky, and I’d rather just have the effect for the whole team all the time.

Hi, Archangel! If you hurry, Angel of Retribution might be able to share a cab to the airport with you.

If you thought that Angel of Fury bothered me, at least it went somewhere into the deck instead of clogging up the top like Avenging Angel does.

Chancellor of the Annex is kind of a tough one. The opening hand reveal ability is almost always a feel-bad, because it’s usually just someone trying to play a mana rock or somehow otherwise fix their land drops. It’s a little better late game, but a one-mana tax isn’t much to overcome once people have established a decent mana base, and I’d much rather use the slot for something a bit more interesting.

Besides, Angels don’t want to make people feel bad, right?

Emancipation Angel – Not instant-speed, not saving anything. And not worth the triggered cost as a result.

Exalted Angel – Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It’s close – really close – but there’s a duality to this card that works (well, worked) in competitive formats that doesn’t translate in Commander. Unmorphed on turn four and attacking, you’ll be painting a huge bullseye on yourself, and the life gain won’t be enough to offset the return beating you’ll take. Late-game, it’s just a four-power lifelinker, which is pretty weak.

Guiding Spirit is an easy cut – it’s blue in addition to white, so it’s not legal in this deck.

Haunted Angel is a funny card; for the longest time, I thought that when it died, you got the black angel token – not the rest of the table. And even then, I didn’t think it made the cut. Then, I actually saw someone play it, and realized what the wording actually said…

Pristine Angel is another victim of not enough size and not enough interactions. The real joy of using this card is to play it and attack with it, and then use instant-speed spells to untap it and force your opponents to waste their own removal trying to get rid of it. In this deck, you’re more likely to just find a way to give it vigilance, in which case you’ve paid six mana to buy a 4/4 miniature flying Progenitus. Not terrible, to be sure, but it’s a card that just draws attention to you. If it was about two or three sizes bigger, I’d be reconsidering the cut.

Restoration Angel – Merry Christmas, Erik. You’re welcome.

The problem with Seraph is pretty straightforward – what fight is it winning at 4/4? No one in their right mind is blocking this down or attacking into it if they don’t have a way to make sure it ends up dead too. Now, knock two mana off the top and we’re in business, but at seven? No thanks.

If Exalted Angel got chopped and would be attacking for an extra two power a full turn earlier, then Seraph of Dawn has no chance at all. I know I’m starting to kill your curve here, but I just don’t see any way around this…

…and to add insult to injury, here goes the iconic O.G. – Serra Angel is next on the list to go. If you want this in just on principle, I wouldn’t argue, but personally, Serra hasn’t aged well. We can do better for the mana cost.

Speaking of curves and mana costs, Serra Avenger is just not cut to be a Commander card. Cheap is good, but no one is losing sleep in a forty-life format over a 3/3 that can’t even get in the ring when it might matter.

And lastly, Shepherd of the Lost. Too little, too late. I want the Angels in this deck to pop and blow people away, and this isn’t going to cut the mustard in that area.

So… with that marathon out of the way, let’s see the new guys:


Angel of Salvation Angel of the Dire Hour Angelic Field Marshal Avacyn, Guardian Angel Goldnight Redeemer Karmic Guide Seraph of the Masses Sunblast Angel

I love my flash creatures, and Angel of Salvation is a cool combat trick; she’s like a reverse Bogardan Hellkite, except that her cost is variable, thus hiding her potential deployment.

Actually, for those of you out there playing Commander with a points system, flashing this in in response to a Hellkite should be some sort of achievement. Something to think about.

Angel of the Dire Hour is one of the new Commander 2014 toys, and I simply can’t get enough of this card. It might be my favorite Angel, period. Again with the flash, and if there’s nothing I love more, it’s mass removal that fits the situation and isn’t selective at all. Actually, that’s not true: the one thing I love more is when that removal is exile-based. Just awesome.

At first, I wasn’t really all that up on the whole “lieutenant” mechanic. People kicking around the various forums had been discussing the potential for this sort of thing for years, and I think that might have taken some of the wind out of the sails of these cards as a result; they simply weren’t going to live up to the expectations everyone had.

That said, I’m coming around on them. My guess is that Thunderfoot Baloth is the most powerful of the group, but they’re all decent – and Angelic Field Marshall is a perfect fit in this deck. A 5/5 for four that makes your commander bigger and your entire team vigilant is pretty awesome in a deck designed to power out huge flying Angels and get into the red zone.

Avacyn, Guardian Angel gets totally lost in the wake of her older, more-awesome self, but don’t sleep on her – she’s actually a pretty strong option for the deck. Her cost is pretty solid for her power and toughness, and she has native vigilance. From there, her protection abilities are pretty powerful, since they both take effect for the duration of the turn, not just the next instance of damage. On top of that, she’s a political card since she can target other players and their creatures as well. I think she might be seen as a little closer to her prior incarnation if her first ability could be used to protect her as well; still, this is the late game card you want to see when you’ve got the mana to sink into her.

Goldnight Redeemer is a nod to what I plan to do next. With a little recursion and a token generator or two, Goldie can dig you way, way out of a big hole. I’ve said it before, but lifegain is not given enough consideration in Commander, and under the right circumstances, it can be really strong. Speaking of recursion…

Karmic Guide. Yup… good ol’ errata makes her an Angel Spirit. There’s no surprises here… she’s been a powerhouse for a very long time, due to the lack of any restrictions on what she targets. The big surprise to me is always how often the Protection from Black actually matters.

Seraph of the Masses is a pseudo-Radiant, Archangel. Her ability only looks at your creatures (Radiant looks at all fliers), but the Convoke offset means that she’s likely to be pretty cheap – if not free.

And at uncommon, no less. Things have come a long way since Urza’s Block.

Finally, there’s Sunblast Angel. This is the original Angel stapled to a board wipe, and she’s still an incredible powerhouse. This alone is enough to add Winding Canyons to the deck, and I’ve been on both the giving and receiving end of that combo more than once. It should go without saying that a deck full of vigilance creatures loves a card like this.

Okay! We’ve got the team, and the lands and mana producers. That leaves us with seventeen slots to fill, which need to be split up primarily between removal and card advantage with a few tricks sprinkled in for flavor.


For this section, I tried to focus more on cards that only benefit you – that is to say, I steered clear of things like Font of Mythos and Howling Mine despite them being an easy way to draw extra cards for white decks. Due to the lack of fetchlands and shuffle effects, I also steered clear of the low-hanging card filtering – namely, Sensei’s Divining Top and Scroll Rack.


Mind's Eye Seer's Sundial Staff of Nin Illuminated Folio Jayemdae Tome

Mind’s Eye is the original “EDH Tax” card from back in the day; back before the format was renamed Commander, this was one of the original cards that went from bulk to $4 or $5 seemingly overnight. It’s higher and climbing now.

Seer’s Sundial is another decent way to get some card advantage for a reasonable cost. I like this card because it makes all those quasi-worthless late-game lands drops at least slightly more worthwhile.

Staff of Nin is not a stranger to Commander players at this point. Six mana for a personal Howling Mine is nearly worth it alone, but adding a good way to deal with tokens and other assorted one-toughness problems makes this a strong inclusion.

Illuminated Folio is a bit tough for me, as I’m not a big fan of giving opponents information. However, when used properly, it can end up being a decent rattlesnake (“I’ll reveal a board wipe and another board wipe. Attack someone else.”), and the downside can be easily mitigated by good card management. It’s not easy to draw a card for one mana, so this is worth it.

Finally, Jayemdae Tome. This isn’t just O.G. Commander, it’s O.G. Magic in general. I think this even saw competitive play once upon a time. The activation cost is the real killer, but it remains one of the best ways for white to draw cards with no negative complications.



Valorous Stance Austere Command Rout Return to Dust

At least three of these are pretty easy to explain; for anyone familiar with my writing, you know Austere Command is my go-to board wipe due to the awesome mode-selection utility that it brings to the table. Rout gets the slot over the cheaper Wrath of God simply because the ability to get in at instant speed is something this deck doesn’t do a lot of, and the surprise factor is worth it.

Return to Dust… probably another gold standard as well.

Valorous Stance is the cool-factor addition here. I took ten or fifteen minutes agonizing over running this or Swords to Plowshares, and in the end, I gave in to the added utility. The limitation on the removal seems worth the instant-speed ability to blank removal, ruin combat math, and flat-out save your best creature. I’m not saying this is the more powerful option, but it does open up to more options, and this deck wants as many of those as it can get.



Devout Invocation Spirit Bonds Luminarch Ascension

I wanted to get a few decent token options in the mix as well. Tokens are a fantastic way for this deck to play defense while also growing Radiant into a one-hit commander damage wonder. Luminarch Ascension is probably the easiest – and most hated – way to accomplish this. Anyone who has played with or against this card knows that if it gets destroyed, it was a reasonable thing to do. Left unchecked, this card can literally win games on its own.

Devout Invocation might come across as a bit of a ‘win-more’ card, but I like the mechanics and theme of it too much not to include. With the ways this deck is making tokens, and how easy it is to give creatures (or finds ones with) vigilance, this has a good potential to be a powerhouse. Heck, it’s decent even if you only tap two creatures to cast it.

Finally, Spirit Bonds. This is a great token generator and a really solid way to protect your creatures. Don’t miss out on using it to help others in need; karma is a thing after all, and you can really control the board with this card. I have to wonder if Justin Gary is a fan of Commander, because this feels like the kind of card that someone who plays casually yet understands competitive strategy would create.


If you were around for my last mono-white Angels article, you know that I included both of the cards here back then as well. They’re two of the main cards that I can call out as the cornerstones of my past decks, and if I ever do another mono-white Angels list in the future, you can be fairly sure they’ll be in that recommendation too.

Marshal's Anthem True Conviction

True Conviction is a straight-up bomb. I’ve watched this card almost single-handedly turn games around more times than I can count. The combination of lifelink and double strike is just backbreaking when applied to a tribe like Angels, since nearly every creature you play can go toe-to-toe in combat and end up unscathed and gain you life in the double-digits in the process. True story – the last time I saw True Conviction get countered in a game, it was by a player who passed on countering an entwined Tooth and Nail – and it was easily the right call. That’s how good the card is.

Marsha’s Anthem is also a bomb of a card in this deck. Most of the Angels in the list get pushed over the edge from ‘strong’ to ‘brutal’ with even a subtle +1/+1 when compared to the average non-Angel out there. Add a really easy way to reanimate your team for a very reasonable casting cost and this card should be a no-brainer.


I wanted to end by going over the list of cards that I wanted to add but had to cut for space, and including a few that do some interesting things. At this point, I feel this deck is very well balanced, so I wanted to identify a few cards around the edges that serve to make it a little stronger and a little smarter.

Scout's Warning Urza's Incubator Belbe's Portal

I’ve been a long-time fan of Quicken, and Scout’s Warning is the creature equivalent. As we mentioned with the Winding Canyons addition and a few of the new Angels, the ability to flash in creatures in this deck is so strong based on the typical power level of its Angels, and also because it isn’t something that people expect. This is the card I had in mind when I added Sunblast Angel, but take any Angel in the deck, drop it onto the battlefield at an opportune and unexpected moment, and staple card draw to it, and you’ve got a great little piece of surprise utility.

Urza’s Incubator nearly caused me to fall out of my chair when I saw where the price tag had gone (spoiler alert: I’m sorry about this one). This likely should be included in the mana development section at the top, but it’s no surprise either way – this is a casual favorite, and with tribes like Dragons making a big Commander resurgence, this is a card to pick up and hang on to. A two-mana discount on your Angels is game-breaking.

Last but not least, we come to Belbe’s Portal. His Armor isn’t all that great, and neither is his pet bird (Belbe’s Percher), but man does his Portal rule. Is there a better tribal enabler than a card that gives all your creatures flash and reduces their casting cost to three colorless mana? And despite that, I have never played this card once, because I always forget it exists when I go to make my decks. Consider this living vicariously through you. And you’re welcome.


That was deceptively tricky, Mark. I didn’t think I’d be agonizing over the cuts here, especially considering that your submission was pretty straightforward and that I’ve built this deck personally several times over. I really feel like I left a lot on the table, but I simply couldn’t find further cuts to make. Possibly with more time… but that’s the way Dear Azami works.

Here’s the deck:

It’s a tighter list, with a better mana production element, less chaff, more awesome Angels and a balance of removal, card acceleration, and some solid utility and tricks to round it out.

You’re getting a $20 store credit to StarCityGames.com for participating in today’s Dear Azami, which will help to offset the cost of the replacements and upgrades. Let’s pull up some dollar amounts:

Seraph Sanctuary $0.15
Armillary Sphere $0.15
Marble Diamond $0.25
Goldnight Redeemer $0.25
Seraph of the Masses $0.25
Illuminated Folio $0.25
Jayemdae Tome $0.25
Temple of the False God $0.29
Angel of Salvation $0.49
Angelic Field Marshal $0.49
Avacyn, Guardian Angel $0.49
Sunblast Angel $0.49
Marshal’s Anthem $0.49
Seer’s Sundial $0.49
Spirit Bonds $0.49
Return to Dust $0.55
Gift of Estates $0.69
Scout’s Warning $0.75
Staff of Nin $1.05
Rout $1.25
Pearl Medallion $1.45
Devout Invocation $1.49
True Conviction $1.49
Angel of the Dire Hour $1.75
Emeria, the Sky Ruin $1.89
Valorous Stance $2.09
Belbe’s Portal $2.19
Karmic Guide $2.69
Sol Ring $2.85
Luminarch Ascension $4.95
Strip Mine $5.69
Tithe $5.69
Austere Command $6.89
Winding Canyons $7.49
Mind’s Eye $9.19
Urza’s Incubator $10.39
Land Tax $13.45

TOTAL: $91.19

If I were to be considering the options that were right on the bubble this time (and believe me… I am still!), it would be the following cards:

Some of these are pretty self-explanatory; Swords was the near-miss I mentioned above. Decree is another close call; arguably the mother of all Angel token generators. And as far as reanimation goes, Defy Death is as on-theme as they come.

Past that, I love cards like Dawn Charm: they’re the right balance of multiple great abilities, and cards like this are the ones I always gravitate toward for Commander. They cover a lot of space in a very small package, and that’s really important – after all, 99 cards really isn’t all that much space.

Door of Destinies is a card I personally used in all of my former Angel tribal decks. The thing is a powerhouse if it makes it past the first few creatures you cast, and can make your team downright monstrous if left alone.

…Oh, all right. Fine. I suppose that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Moonsilver Spear is both on-theme and not a bad little addition as well, should you find the space. (There, Erik – are you happy?)

Anyway, Mark – I really hope you enjoyed what I did with your deck today. I know the bell curve kind of went out the window, but I think the added utility will make this a fun deck for years to come.

Good luck with your local games!

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