Friday, December 9, 2011

4 Color Life Gain

With the announcement of the very first promo card, Faithless Looting, coming out for the upcoming expansion, Dark Ascension, the wheels in my head started turning and then it was decided... it was time to take another look at Life Gain.

4 Color Life Gain

Creatures (14)
4 Serra Ascendant
4 Firemane Angel
2 Primeval Titan
2 Felidar Sovereign
2 Anger

Miscellaneous (16)
4 Faithless Looting
4 Unburial Rites
4 Dragon Scales
4 Gerrard's Verdict

Mana (12)
2 Lion's Eye Diamond
4 Mox Diamond
4 Tithe
2 Life from the Loam

Land (18)
2 Diamond Valley
4 Maze of Ith
4 Riftstone Portal
4 Plateau
2 Savannah
2 Scrubland

How does the deck work?

Because this deck works as a life gain/reanimator hybrid, the first step is to drop essential cards from your hand and library into your graveyard. Of the creatures, the Primeval Titan and Felidar Sovereign should be you primary targets for your Unburial Rites, in that order. The Firemane Angels are a fine secondary target (especially with multiple Dragon Scales in the graveyard), but these are primarily included in the deck for their passive life gain. Also, they have a built in reanimation ability which can actually be paid for in this deck thanks to the Primeval Titans and Lion's Eye Diamonds.

Once you get a Primeval Titan in play, you want to get at least 1 Diamond Valley, 1 Plateau, and as many Mazes of Iths as possible. From there, you want to start sacrificing creatures with the Diamond Valley (along with any other means of life gain) to get 40+ life and win the game with Felidar Sovereign. If that fails, you can always beat down your opponent with huge creatures that have haste and vigilance.

How does this deck differ from similar decks out there?

There are a few notable differences between this deck and other Reanimators, most notably, this deck is much less "all-in" than those other decks.

The Serra Ascendants and Dragon Scales provide an outlet for early game pressure and fortunately, both the ascendants and scales have built in mechanics to work just as well in the late game. Serra Ascendants can make a quick finish, skyrocketing your life from 30 to 40 and the Dragon Scales give vigilance to all you creatures and provide extra toughness when sacrificing with the Diamond Valley.

Also, because the Primeval Titans can fetch Mazes of Iths, this deck can afford to be slower than those other Reanimators.

What is your favorite thing about the deck?

I've always been a fan of life gain decks. Even way back when I stuffed my deck with walls, Castles, Ivory Towers, Ivory Cups and my only win condition was a set of Serra Angels, I've always been a fan of life gain decks. When Judgement came out, Test of Endurance was interesting, but it doesn't compare to Felidar Soverign. Felidar Sovereign is just so much more fun to build a deck around.

What makes this deck casual?

This deck is casual for many reasons, but I want to point out the inclusion of Serra Ascendant. To be honest, the ascendants shouldn't be in the deck at all. If I wanted to make this deck as effecient as possible, I should immediately throw those out, replace them with additional and more efficient reanimation. I just don't want to. The ability to get 30+ life and give them all +5/+5 is worth a few more losses here and there. They're just too fun not to include in the deck.

(I'm going to classify this deck as a "Tier 1 Casual" just because of the Lion's Eye Diamonds and the potential of dropping a turn 1 hasted Primeval Titan (with vigilance?).)

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