New Capenna Commander: Angel Tribal with Giada, Font of Hope

Giada, Font of Hope is one of the best tribal Angels ever printed. Join Commander expert Bennie Smith as he builds around this new all-star!

Giada, Font of Hope, Illustrated by Eric Deschamps

Streets of New Capenna has been fully released into the wild, and there are a ton of great goodies in the main set and Commander decks to satisfy all sorts of Commander fans. What’s really surprising, given the gold focus of the set, is how many sweet mono-color legends are available, especially mono-white!  Last week, I did a deep dive into Bennie Bracks, Zoologist; this week, I want to dig into Giada, Font of Hope!

Giada, Font of Hope

There is a lot of value packed into this card.  Mana rocks that cost two mana are quite potent in Commander and you see them in most decks: Arcane Signet, Fellwar Stone, Mind Stone, Thought Vessel.  With Giada, you have one sitting in the command zone!  While there is a restriction on the use of the mana in that you can only cast Angel spells with it, I think it is a really clever design choice in giving white some mana acceleration that feels very… white.

Having a mana rock for two mana stapled to a 2/2 with flying and vigilance would be quite playable, but there’s even more — each other Angel you control enters the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter on it for each Angel you already control. This is a pretty incredible bonus for a tribal deck and given that many Angel cards already have sizeable bodies, it can build a potent battlefield presence quickly.

A nice subtle thing about Giada’s ability suite is that you’ll be casting threatening Angels ahead of curve that will often push an opponent to use their targeted removal on creatures other than Giada. Also, the fact that Giada is so cheap to cast means it’s going to be easy to recast, which is yet another reason not to waste targeted removal on it.

Angel fans have all sorts of amazing legendary Angels to build tribal decks around, but relatively few true “tribal lords.”  I feel that Giada, Font of Hope immediately rockets to the top of the list of best Angel tribal commanders, especially if you’re okay with keeping it monocolor.  Let’s dig in!

Angel Tribal

Youthful Valkyrie Bruna, the Fading Light Righteous Valkyrie Lyra Dawnbringer Seraph Sanctuary Herald of War The Book of Exalted Deeds Starnheim Aspirant Scroll of Avacyn

The first thing we’d look for are cards that boost Angels or care about Angels, and if they’re actual Angels too, even better. Looking for low mana Angels we can cast early, Youthful Valkyrie a solid choice, and Standard all-star Righteous Valkyrie is another must-have. Lyra Dawnbringer is probably accustomed to being in the command zone for a mon-white Commander deck, but does fine work in the 99 of a Giada deck as well.

With enough lifegain in your deck, The Book of Exalted Deeds can churn out 3/3 white Angel tokens that will often be quite a bit bigger with Giada out.  Plus, if you have an Angel you’ve protected with something like Swiftfoot Boots and you’re in danger of losing the game, you can use the Book’s activated ability to create your own Platinum Angel.

Other Tribal Cards

Herald's Horn Urza's Incubator Heirloom Blade Pyre of Heroes Harsh Mercy

There are a lot of other tribal support cards you can pepper into the deck, and I’m particularly interested in Herald’s Horn and Urza’s Incubator since they help shave mana off the cost of Angel spells and there are a lot of really good Angels that are high up the mana curve.  Heirloom Blade is just a fantastic way to refuel your hand after a removal spell has killed the equipped creature.

Pyre of Heroes is awesome because there are so many great Angel cards that have special utility attached to them, so you can sculpt your board based on the state of the battlefield.

Utility Angels

Angel of Destiny Angel of Serenity Angel of the Ruins Angel of Finality Sunblast Angel Glorious Protector Archangel of Tithes Aegis Angel Angel of the Dire Hour Enduring Angel Exquisite Archangel Linvala, Keeper of Silence Adarkar Valkyrie Radiant Solar Breathkeeper Seraph Angelic Guardian Angel of Jubilation

Speaking of Angels with special utility attached, here’s a bunch of them to consider!  In particular I like the four mana choices like Linvala, Keeper of Secrets and Angel of Finality since you can often cast them on turn three with Giada.

Other Good Angels

Sublime Archangel Angel of Vitality Karmic Guide Baneslayer Angel Archangel of Thune Angel of Invention Akroma, Angel of Wrath Gisela, the Broken Blade Akroma, Vision of Ixidor Segovian Angel Thraben Watcher Serra Avenger Seraph of Dawn Inspiring Overseer

Outside of specialized utility Angels, there are also lots of Angels that are just really good creatures, and one of my favorites is Sublime Archangel. It’s only four mana, so you can cast it early with Giada, plus it lets you attack with one gigantic creature while you keep the rest of your army back for blocking if you need to. In particular, I love that this is one way you can really boost Giada to open up commander damage as a victory condition.


Mirror Entity Bloodline Pretender Irregular Cohort Impostor of the Sixth Pride

If you want to round out your Angel count lower on the mana curve you can dip into creatures with the changeling ability like Mirror Entity and Bloodline PretenderIrregular Cohort brings two Angels stapled to one card, which helps leverage Giada’s +1/+1 counter ability.

Angel Tokens

Empyrial Storm Starnheim Unleashed Sigil of the Empty Throne Luminarch Ascension Resplendent Angel Angelic Accord Valkyrie Harbinger Seraphic Greatsword

There are also a fair number of cards that create Angel tokens that we might want to consider, though keep in mind that Giada’s mana ability can’t be used to cast them.  I’m pleased that the white card from the “commander storm” cycle has finally got a great home here with Giada given that Giada is likely to die and be recast several times over the course of a game, letting Empyrial Storm rebuild a huge battlefield presence in one card.  I also really like Valkyrie Harbinger since it’s an Angel that can pretty easily churn out extra Angel tokens.

+1/+1 Counters Matter

Cauldron of Souls Twilight Shepherd Sanctuary Warden Angelic Sleuth

Outside of Giada’s +1/+1 ability just making your Angels bigger, there’s cards we can use to really take advantage of it even more.  Cauldron of Souls is a slam dunk here, giving all of your creatures including Giada persist in the face of a battlefield sweeper and when they come back with -1/-1 counters Giada’s ability will add +1/+1 counters that will knock off the -1/-1 counters (other than the one on Giada). Twilight Shepherd can be sacrificed with Giada on the battlefield as many times as you want.

Sanctuary Warden and Angelic Sleuth are two brand new cards that slot perfectly into a Giada deck since Giada will be handing out counters on your creatures.

Flying Matters

Sephara, Sky's Blade Serra the Benevolent Radiant, Serra Archangel Radiant, Archangel Rally of Wings

Another secret sub-theme of any Angel deck is that they all fly, so we can tap into cards that care about fliers.  Sephara, Sky’s Blade is a slam-dunk here, giving all your other fliers indestructible attached to a huge body with lifelink. If you happen to be playing Halo Fountain, you can even use Sephara’s alternate casting cost to tap down creatures you can untap to activate Halo Fountain.  While most combat tricks don’t warrant card slots in Commander decks, Rally of Wings does a lot of heavy-lifting in a deck with all fliers and is probably worth a two-mana slot.

Serra the Benevolent is a flavor home-run for the deck, creating a Serra Angel token and then using its plus ability later to boost your Angel army.

Monowhite Matters

Emeria Shepherd War Room Emeria, the Sky Ruin Commander's Plate Mass Calcify Endless Atlas Flagstones of Trokair Gift of Estates

There are other advantages to playing a monocolor deck, such as maximizing the power of cards like War Room, Endless Atlas and Commander’s Plate.  For a mono-white deck specifically, we get to run the incredible Emeria, the Sky Ruin and Emeria Shepherd, along with cards like Gift of Estates that can help ensure you get to play enough Plains. Mass Calcify is a great removal spell for monowhite decks that can really accelerate your endgame.

Mana Ramp

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx Pearl Medallion Smothering Tithe Archaeomancer's Map Oketra's Monument Sword of the Animist Wayfarer's Bauble Sword of Hearth and Home

While Giada helps with mana ramp, the fact is that an Angel tribal deck is probably going to be quite heavy higher up the mana curve, so we’ll want to squeeze in a lot of other ways to ramp your mana. Shaving the cost of white spells is handy so Pearl of Medallion and even Oketra’s Monument are a big help. While I almost never personally play Smothering Tithe, I’d make an exception for a mono-white deck like this one where you can really use that extra mana to cast big Angels.

So, do you agree that Giada is the best monowhite Angel commander we have available to us now?  What other cards would you slide into your Giada deck?

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