Let’s just get this out of the way: Avacyn’s Glory is one of the best decks in Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers.
No cheeky jokes about angels. No double-entendres featuring the phrase “white weenies.” If you are looking for a serious, mono-white beatdown deck, you cannot go wrong with Avacyn’s glory. It’s as if Wizards and Stainless wanted to make up for all the mono-red and black (and red/black) power in Duels 2013. Or, you know, they wanted to go back to the mono-white power of 2012. Whatever their reasoning was, it’s smooth sailing from here on out.
Strength in numbers
The main thing that makes Avacyn’s Glory so great isn’t actually Avacyn or any of her angel brethren (sistren?). It’s humans. Lots and lots of humans. Like Goblin Gangland in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013, this deck can produce huge swarms of 1/1 and 2/2 creatures within just a few short turns. And while it can’t pull out a turn three victory, it can come very, very close thanks to early game bombs like Champion of the Parish that can quickly grow insurmountable.
As if simply having lots of human soldiers wasn’t enough, the entire deck is chock full of ways to reward you for new soldiers joining and leaving the fray. Goldnight Commander will pump all your fighters for free whenever their friends come along, and Soul Warden is still great at ticking your life meter to the heavens. Other cards will grant you tokens (heaps and heaps of human and spirit tokens) for bolstering your army. And, in so doing, they’ll often trigger additional ETB (entering the battlefield) effects. Basically, it’s a virtuous feedback loop that builds nearly unstoppable momentum the more stuff you have in play.
Weakness in numbers
While Avacyn’s Glory is by no means a weak deck, that last point is important: you need guys on the field to make your new guys worthwhile. If you play a Doomed Traveler when you have a Geist-Honored Monk and two Champions of the Parish in play, you’re going to stomp face no matter what turn it is. But if you drop that same Doomed Traveler onto the battlefield right after your opponent has killed off most of your army, you’ve got… a 1/1 creature. Congratulations.
In essence, Avacyn’s Glory is all about creating a continuously growing permanent presence, and if your adversary can slow, halt, or reverse your growing ranks, you might find yourself in trouble. You do have a few outs, including lots of removal like Path to Exile and Fiend Hunter, but there’s not much you can do against board wipes and recurring removal. Your best bet is to simply try to outpace these kinds of threats.
Angels in the
Of course, when all else fails, you can always sound the trumpets and call in a favor or eight from Avacyn and her winged women warriors. Almost all of the angels available in Avacyn’s Glory are powerhouses that will drastically change the odds in your favor, if not outright win you the game. Angelic Overseer is an incredible value at five mana that acts as solid offense and defense, and even Seraphs of Dawn can hold off attacks indefinitely. And let’s not forget Avacyn herself, who is completely unbeatable by certain other decks. Get one or more of these divine divas into play and you can recuperate from even tragic losses.
All said and done, Avacyn’s Glory is a solid, well-constructed deck. It has potent early game threats that put your foes on a clock. It sports undeniable synergy that ensures you maintain and grow established leads. It’s full of removal and utility cards that can help you overcome obstacles. And, last but not least, it’s chock full of angels. If you can’t win with this deck, you are simply playing it wrong.
Well, enough preaching to the choir, as it were. Check out my detailed card analysis below and let us know what you think about this mono-white monstrosity!
Avacyn’s Glory main deck card-by-card analysis (alphabetical)
Angelic Overseer, 5.0/5.0
Easily one of the most powerful cards in Avacyn’s Glory, this angel does incredible work at just five mana. If you have a human on the battlefield (which you will almost constantly), she is basically unkillable, making her scary on both offense and defense. Always run all the copies of this card.
While Archangel is not terrible in its own right (she’s basically a pumped up Serra Angel), she simply doesn’t have a good slot in this deck. For two mana less, Angelic Overseer is a comparable beatstick that’s also invincible. For one mana more, Avacyn herself is a much larger beatstick that makes all your cards invincible. As such, there really isn’t a reason to ever prioritize Archangel over her winged cousins.
Champion of the Parish, 5.0/5.0
Easily one of the most overpowered cards in Magic 2014, this one-drop creature can be a 3/3 the turn after it comes into play and a 6/6 the turn after that. Champion of the Parish has monstrous synergy with nearly everything in the deck, making it a scary play in the early game. While he’s certainly not as good late game, he’s still better than most one-drops would be.
Doomed Traveler, 5.0/5.0
While not as directly powerful as Champion of the Parish, the flavorful little fellow offers a few advantages over his beefier cousin. First, he doesn’t die to removal. Last time I checked, that was a damn good trait for a creature to have. Second, he triggers dying/entering the battlefield effects twice, essentially giving you a big advantage with the right cards in play.
Elder Cathar, 2.5/5.0
While this guys effect may seem strong on paper, the fact that he’s a 2/2 for three mana takes away from his gleam. Lots of other 2/2 critters cost just two mana. And sure, this geezer’s got a pretty cool inheritance, but sometimes you won’t have a good target for bequeathal, making his death a waste. There are plenty of other, better three-drops in Avacyn’s Glory.
Elgaud Inquisitor, 3.0/5.0
Certainly not a bad card while you’re still unlocking stuff, the Inquisitor is ultimately a little too pricey to be an auto-include. Consider this: for four mana you get a 2/2 lifelink, while you could opt instead to get a 2/4 flying lifelink angel in the same deck. Yes, this guy is a human and yes, he leaves behind a token, but you’re better off with less gimmicky cards.
Fiend Hunter, 4.5/5.0
For three mana, you get a powerful blocker and a Tylenol: this guy clears headaches from the battlefield with ease! From a tempo perspective, his ability to exile any nuisance creature is incredibly powerful and will give you momentum early game or swing battles in your favor late game. Just keep in mind your opponent can “pop” him at any time, so play cautiously against removal heavy decks.
Gather the Townsfolk, 4.5/5.0
When played turn two after Champion of the Parish, the combo-liciousness of this sorcery is mind blowing. When played turn two before Honor of the Pure, the beatdown is brutal. When played pretty much any time when you have ETB/dying triggers in play, it’s fantastic. On its own, not so much… though that will be the extreme minority. The bonus of Fateful Hour is great, but will rarely ever be a factor for Avacyn’s Glory.
Geist-Honored Monk, 4.0/5.0
So, you’ve got this white weenie deck that’s powered by filling the table with tons of tiny townsfolk. Then you’ve got this monk that makes two tokens and gets more powerful the more creatures you control. In most situations, this holy hottie will weak havoc on your opponent. I only took off one point because playing her when you’ve got fewer than two creatures in play is usually a mediocre deal.
Goldnight Commander, 4.0/5.0
I really, really wanted to hate Goldnight Commander since he feels overcosted at four mana. But in Avacyn’s Glory, this little legionaire does work. It’s not uncommon for your deck to play two or three creatures in one turn, effectively giving your army multiple Honors of the Pure whenever you so desire. Combod with cards like Geist-Honored Monk, this commander is absolutely bonkers.
Hallow, 1.5/5.0 (4.0/5.0 vs burn)
This card would be decent in the presence of more burn-based decks, but in the current metagame it’s basically a dead draw. That’s a shame, because pulling this off would genuinely cause pyromancers to rage. If you know you’ll be playing against a burn-heavy deck, it’s definitely a good card. Otherwise, leave it out.
Honor of the Pure, 4.5/5.0
It makes your creatures do more damage. It makes your creatures live longer. It is difficult for most decks to remove. It costs two mana. Why are you still reading?
Oblivion Ring, 4.5/5.0
For three mana, you can remove almost any threat from the game. This is an incredibly powerful effect that, just like Fiend Hunter, can ruin your opponent’s best laid plans. While it doesn’t offer you the tempo advantage Fiend Hunter does, it can target more permanent types and is itself less open to removal, so they balance out.
Path to Exile, 4.5/5.0
Thought Oblivion Ring was good? How about a card that can nix nearly any creature for good (no takesies-backsies) at one-third the cost and at instant speed? There is the small downside of ramping your opponent (which should be genuinely considered during critical early game plays), but there’s also the opposite advantage: if you need to, you can exile your own creature for extra mana. That’s a rare, but a nice option.
Mentor of the Meek, 4.5/5.0
Here’s a dude who makes Elder Cathar look bad by comparison. While the octogenarian will grant you two +1/+1 counters, this schoolteacher instead offers limitless card draw for the rest of the goddamn game. Sure, you have to pay one mana each time, but where I’m from that’s Walmart-level card pricing. Put this sucker in your deck!
Midnight Guard, 2.0/5.0
Requiem Angel, 3.0/5.0
Not terrible by any means, Requiem Angel just doesn’t stand out enough to truly enjoy her six-mana spot. She’s less resilient than Angelic Overseer and less powerful than Baneslayer Angel. She costs more than Geist-Honored Monk, but will usually be a smaller creature and (unlik the Monk) isn’t guaranteed to make any tokens before she dies. That said, if you haven’t unlocked better options yet, Requiem Angel is a solid late-game beatstick and combo enabler, all in one.
Selfless Cathar, 3.5/5.0
I love the idea of Selfless Cathar, but in a deck chock full of one drops, this merry little martyr isn’t worth it. He’ll never do the damage that Champion of the Parish would, and by the time you have enough creatures to make Selfless Cathar’s ability useful, you’ve usually already won the game. It kind of combos with Unruly Mob (you can often catch opponents unaware with an instant +2/+2 buff), but that’s about it.
Thraben Valiant, 2.5/5.0
The art on this girl is so slick I really wanted the card to do more. It’s certainly a good creature in theory. But in practice, there is no point to vigilance if your attacker doesn’t live long enough to block the next turn. As such, I much prefer almost any other two-mana creature for Avacyn’s Glory.
Unruly Mob, 4.0/5.0
Like Champion of the Parish, these guys can get dangerous if not dealt with quickly in the early game. It’s not as powerful as the aforementioned creature, but the Mob can force opponents into making uncomfortable decisions. As such, this card can help you break through creature stalls even if it’s played later in the game.
Voice of the Provinces, 1.5/5.0
If you can’t understand why this card is garbage, I can’t help you.
Avacyn’s Glory unlocks card-by-card analysis (order of unlock)
Mikaeus, the Lunarch, 4.5/5.0
Mikaeus might be a lunatic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t profit from his insanity. For the low, low price of X, he’ll (eventually) give all your creatures +X/+X. But wait, there’s more! Act now and we’ll throw in an additional +1/+1 counter every other turn, absolutely free! Order now, supplies are running out!
Angel’s Mercy, 1.0/5.0
Wizards could’ve given us a good life gain card, like Congregate. Instead you get this piece of garbage.
Seraph of Dawn, 3.5/5.0
By no means a powerhouse, this diminutive but divine fighter is still reasonably costed for what she does. If you’re building a more defensive style of Avacyn’s Glory, Seraph of Dawn will do a great job holding off attackers and earning back precious life points. However, she is outshone by most of her sexier sisters.
Thraben Doomsayer, 4.0/5.0
While people like these aren’t particluarly popular in real life (think Times Square doomsday nutjobs), he’s right at home in your overly religious, all-white deck. Not only that, he can creature free creatures (and free ETB/dying triggers) every single turn. That’s an incredbly powerful ability that’s great for early momentum or late-game stalling. His Fateful Hour skill is game-winning on its own, but will rarely see play.
Avacyn, Angel of Hope, 4.0/5.0
Look who decided to show up to her own party! Avacyn, the multiverse’s most emo angel, is an absolute powerhouse that can end the game in two or three attacks. Not only that, she makes all your permanents incredibly difficult to kill, depending on your opponent’s deck. While she’s a formidable fighter, her eight-mana cost means she will very often be a dead draw, especially since you’ll typically want to run her deck light on lands to apply early aggressive pressure.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, 4.0/5.0
In contrast to Thraben Valient, Thalia here has a lot more of a useful set of second-turn skills. First strike makes her a powerhouse on offense or defense (even into late game in some scenarios), which is great. Her second ability also causes major headaches for control decks who want to slow your assault. It can bite you in the ass as well, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding what to play on turn two.
Ring of Three Wishes, 2.0/5.0
There are lots of decks where Ring of Three Wishes would be really cool. Avacyn’s Glory isn’t one of them. It doesn’t have the land to support spending twenty (20!) mana on activating its effect, and it doesn’t have powerful enough single-use cards to warrant paying so much to go find them. This would’ve been a better inclusion in almost any other Magic 2014 deck.
Baneslayer Angel, 5.5/5.0
The angel to beat all angels, Baneslayer literally ruined the power curve for all five-mana flyers. I honestly wish it didn’t exist. For those reasons, you’d be stupid not to put it in your deck… just don’t be surprised to see your foes ragequit the millisecond it leaves your hand.
Bonds of Faith, 3.5/5.0
It’s not as good as Pacifism at stopping creatures, and it’s not as good as most auras at buffing your army. But as a dual-use card, it’s reasonably competent at both. It feels a little redundant in a deck with so much removal already, which is the only reason it didn’t receive a higher score.
Increasing Devotion, 4.0/5.0
You like creature tokens? How about five creature tokens? Fuck it, how about fifteen creature tokens? Increasing Devotion is a very powerful spell that can instantly change the landscape in your favor, especially with Goldnight Commanders in play. There are some situations where having a bunch of 1/1 schmoes isn’t impressive, but those plays are few and far between.
Devout Invocation, 2.0/5.0
If you can pull this off, you will probably win the game next turn. That said, Devout Invocation is a dead draw when you have a small number of creatures alive or, if for some reason, you really need your army untapped (for instance, to have tap-to-activate abilities ready). This might be good in 2HG, but probably not.
Soul Warden, 3.5/5.0
Want even more combo power for all those creature’s your birthing into existence (what? did you think you summoned them?)… get Soul Warden. She’s not as dangerous in the long run as Champion of the Parish of Goldnight Commander, but the health gains add up. That said, you usually won’t need them.
Grand Abolisher, 5.0/5.0
Jesus, what was Wizards thinking? This cleric single-handedly shuts down control decks, not to mention combat tricks that might otherwise ruin your attacks. He’s a beast of a play on turn two, turn four, or turn fifteen.
Restoration Angel, 5.0/5.0
If you don’t play paper Magic, you might not understand just how good Restoration Angel is. Let’s put it this way: she was pretty much part of tournament-winning decks for the last year. As her name suggests, she can save your (non-Angel) creatures from removal or damage. More notoriously, she can trigger ETB and LTB effects in one feather-graced swoop. If that weren’t enough, she’s a 3/4 flyer that can appear out of nowhere and murder attackers unaware. Evil, evil, evil.
Hallowed Burial, 3.5/5.0
As far as “wrath” style spells go, Hallowed Burial is not the best choice for Avacyn’s Glory. It won’t trigger your “dying” effects and it’s a little more expensive than say, Day of Judgment. That said, the ability to wipe the board is very powerful, as it the bonus of keeping zombies and phoenixes out of your opponents’ graveyards.
Deathless Angel, 3.0/5.0
Very powerful, but also very expensive for what she does. Granting anything you’d like temporary indestructibility is great, but having the mana to cast her (then having more to use her powers) is not the strong suit of your deck. You’re better off with almost any other angel.
Martyr’s Bond, 3.0/5.0
This is a nasty enchantment but, just like Deathless Angel, it is too expensive for use in Avacyn’s Glory. The fact that this deck doesn’t really have that many non-land, non-creature permanents also takes away from its synergy with what you’re trying to do.
Twilight Shepherd, 4.5/5.0
At the same cost as Marty’s Bond, Twilight Shepherd stands (or flies?) in major contrast. When she hits the board, she immediately provides the benefit of resuscitating your fallen troops (and other permanents). What’s better, she’ll do it again when she herself bites the dust. You can use her right after a “suicidal” attack, or when you’ve planned some creature sacrifices, or just, you know, as a giant flying death machine. And it sure doesn’t hurt that the art is breathtaking.