Godo Ungiven

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The letter C!asting Gifts Ungiven has to be one of my favorite things to do in Magic, even if it's a little easier than it used to be. The reason I say that is due to one card, and one card only: Unburial Rites. It used to be that you would get four value cards, and set up elaborate loops with combinations like Hana Kami/Soulless Revival/Stir the Grave/Ethereal Haze or Recoup/Yawgmoth's Will-Black Lotus/Demonic Tutor, but nowadays the plan is usually just Unburial Rites/giant monster. Because of the wording on Gifts Ungiven, the opponent is forced to put both cards in the graveyard, letting you reanimate anything you please. One card, four mana, and two turns is not much to ask, and there have been tons of Gifts/Rites decks over the last couple years.

Much like most Gifts decks, this one has Elesh Norn as one of the big creatures to reanimate. Killing all your opponent's creatures forever is a good plan, and a fair number of decks in the format can't beat it. Another common choice is Iona, which locks out the noncreature decks fairly well. Again, pretty standard. It's the last target that drew me to this deck, and for Godo reason. Bringing back a Godo, Bandit Warlord and fetching a Batterskull is awesome, for many reasons. First of all, it's actually good. Batterskull is an extremely powerful card, and combined with Godo you end up with a very solid board presence. Most importantly, though, it's sweet, and that's really how I end up making many of my deck decisions. I just wish there was a way to get some Mutavaults into the mix for extra Samurai action (although Batterskull having vigilance is already a great combo).

Another reason this deck is sweet is that it's a solid RWU deck even apart from the Gifts engine. It's got burn spells, removal, Grim Lavamancers, and even Sphinx's Revelation, which allows it to play a normal game much of the time. I'm not saying the sample hands can't get ugly (Celestial Colonnade, Blood Crypt, Cavern of Souls, Ghost Quarter, anyone?), but that it can operate as a good midrange to control deck before springing the Gifts trap out of nowhere.

Luis Scott-Vargas
Luis Scott-Vargas
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Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).

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