Sigarda, Heron’s Grace didn’t seem all that impressive to me at first glance. It’s going to take a lot for a five-mana creature to live up to the hype of Archangel Avacyn, especially when they share a color. Generally, for five mana, I want a lot of immediate value, and when I first looked at Sigarda, Heron’s Grace, I said to myself, “She’s just going to die to a removal spell.”
On a second glance and further review of the format, I realized that Sigarda, Heron’s Grace may actually have what it takes to be a solid Standard top-of-the-curve creature. We’re losing both Whisperwood Elemental and Wingmate Roc to rotation, so maybe one of these two legendary Angels can fill the void.
Paying five mana for a creature, just to see it die to a two- or three-mana removal spell and getting nothing in return, is a bad deal. Looking at Sigarda, Heron’s Grace, she doesn’t have hexproof like Sigarda, Host of Herons did, and there’s no crazy enters-the-battlefield effect. So what makes her a little different? Well, when we glance at some of the removal spells we are left with after rotation and others we are getting in Shadows over Innistrad, the new Sigarda gets to dodge quite a few of these potentially staple Standard removal spells:
All of these spells have been played in Standard at some point, and none of them interact profitably with Sigarda, Heron’s Grace. It turns out that five toughness is a bit of a sweet spot against a lot of these spells, particularly Grasp of Darkness, Languish, and Chandra, Flamecaller.
Sigarda, Heron’s Grace not having hexproof herself is a real bummer, but let’s investigate what giving her controller and all of her controller’s Human creatures hexproof does for us. It first allows her to dodge removal spells that target the opponent, such as Foul-Tongue Invocation, Self-Inflicted Wound, and maybe even a Blighted Fen or Bearer of Silence. Archangel Avacyn doesn’t have the same resiliency to all of these removal spells, does she? Maybe there is a chance for Sigarda to compete!
Her ability to give Humans hexproof isn’t enough incentive by itself to build an all-Human tribal deck, but if Shadows over Innistrad gives us some more reason to do so, all of these removal spells stranded in your opponent’s hand that they can’t use to kill her will also stay stuck in their hand because your other creatures can’t be targeted. That’s a pretty big upside.
The same is true for any burn spells kicking around: can’t Fiery Temper her, can’t Fiery Temper her Human friends, and can’t Fiery Temper her controller, either! Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy; Den Protector; and Surrak, the Hunt Caller all seem like some pretty worthy human creatures to protect as well. Also, Werewolf creatures are Human before they transform. Sigarda, Heron’s Grace does a good job giving them some protection until it’s time to transform. I hope we get some more sweet human creatures in Shadows over Innistrad.
Now, the new Sigarda doesn’t provide us any immediate value when entering the battlefield, but if we get to untap with her or have some mana left over after casting her, we can start creating an army of hexproof Humans for two mana a pop. I will say, however, that G/W decks won’t be putting too many cards in their own graveyard, likely, especially with the absence of fetchlands. White-based removal seems to be more in the form of enchantments that stay on the battlefield these days, such as Quarantine Field and Stasis Snare, so most of our graveyard will be made up of our own creatures that got destroyed. If we do manage to create a small army of creatures, however, look at the fantastic on-color planeswalkers we have that work well with the token-making ability of Sigarda, Heron’s Grace:
All of our tokens can get a nice little boost from Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, and the planeswalkers provide us extra fuel for another token on the way out. Their ability to churn out creatures will surely be useful in grindy matchups.
Sigarda, Heron’s Grace also isn’t a slouch in combat either!
These creatures sure to be highly represented, along with a whole bunch of other smaller creatures, get outclassed in one-on-one combat with Sigarda, Heron’s Grace.
Sigarda, Heron’s Grace may find some good homes in Standard if people aren’t packing the appropriate removal spells for her. Ruinous Path, Stasis Snare, Quarantine Field, and Ob Nixilis Reignited all seem like removal spells that could hamper the amount of play Sigarda, Heron’s Grace might see. Anguished Unmaking, Declaration in Stone, and Lightning Axe are some newer answers for Sigarda, Heron’s Grace that may also have the same effect.
I think Sigarda, Heron’s Grace is a sweet card that could see some play in Standard. It will be interesting to see how she stacks up in the format, and I’m excited to see how the rest of Shadows over Innistrad unfolds to see if we can build some sweet brews with her!