Video Daily Digest: New Christmas Gift!

Energy decks are far and away the boogeymen of Ixalan Standard. Could combining the archetype with God-Pharaoh’s Gift make for a friendlier but still winning combination? Ross Merriam and you are about to find out…

They say that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. But there’s a certain sadness in giving up your noble quest to topple the evil deck that is oppressing the format and its legion of followers. What if there were some sort of compromise that lets us recognize the power of the top deck without fully converting to the dark side?

Yes, today’s deck has an energy theme. Attune with Aether, Rogue Refiner, and Aether Hub are excellent Magic cards. But rather than boring Temur that just plays every energy card ever, this deck incorporates those highlights into a known powerful shell, God-Pharaoh’s Gift, alongside a few spicy numbers to keep the brewers happy.

The energy theme fuels Minister of Inquiries, a staple in Gift decks, supercharging it to the point where we’re definitely going to be playing Gate to the Afterlife and consistently activating it. So there’s already some natural synergy between the two shells, which is nice. Moving away from red and toward black gives you access to The Scarab God, which also plays well with Minister of Inquiries and is generally awesome. We’re off to a good start.

Moving away from white means we don’t get Angel of Invention, a key piece in many God-Pharaoh’s Gift decks, so we move toward a different high end, Multiform Wonder and Noxious Gearhulk. Both provide a significant immediate impact on the battlefield and much-needed lifegain. And with the amount of energy this deck can generate, Multiform Wonder is quite the threat.

The sweet part of this deck is the explore creatures. We’ve seen Seekers’ Squire before in Esper Gifts lists, but Merfolk Branchwalker has struggled to make it into Standard decks despite being ostensibly the most powerful explore creature. Here it does great work attacking early or keeping Longtusk Cub in check. The two of them, alongside Rogue Refiner, give the deck a strong core of advantage-generating creatures, so this deck can definitely play a game without its namesake card and thrive. Much like Temur Energy, it draws cards, kills things, and plays incredibly powerful midrange threats.

That combo has been the recipe for success in Standard for years now, and Temur is only the latest example. Being able to play their game well while also having the inevitability of God-Pharaoh’s Gift is a great place to be.