t's that time again! The Born of the Gods Prerelease is just a few days away. We should be sure to reserve a spot at our local Prerelease if we haven't had the opportunity yet. These events have limited space and it's something we don't want to miss. The new set is full of hits and everyone seems to be bursting at the seams to play with cards like Searing Blood; Xenagos, God of Revels; Brimaz, King of Oreskos; Bile Blight; Courser of Kruphix; and Drown in Sorrow. Today, we'll be taking a look at some of the most exciting Born of the Gods previews, discussing their Constructed applications, and building decks that fully utilize their power.
Brimaz, King of Oreskos is one of the most powerful cards we've seen in quite a while. We're sure there's a streamlined strategy that uses Brimaz to win the game as fast as possible, but we'd like to stretch the card to its limit. Bile Blight and Drown in Sorrow are sure to make the Black Devotion strategy and more controlling, removal-based control decks into major players. Aggressive creature strategies will be forced to adapt. It's no longer reasonable to play an army of Humans that dies to Drown in Sorrow before it has an opportunity to apply any real pressure on the opponent. Creatures with 3 and 4 toughness become necessary, especially in post-boarded games.
What has 4 toughness and wins games by itself? Archangel of Thune. Archangel of Thune is a card that keeps us out of range from the Red decks while being resistant to Drown in Sorrow and Bile Blight. We can play enough creatures to ensure that our Angel isn't dealt with via Devour Flesh. I'm thinking that green-white has a lot of potential here.
How do we beat a Pack Rat? It's unfortunate, but we have no way to deal with an army of Rats. However, we can beat Pack Rat in a straight-up fight a huge portion of the time. Trostani, Selesnya's Voice in conjunction with Archangel of Thune lets our team grow at a faster rate than the Rats and all the life we'll be passively accruing can put us out of range from even the largest Gray Merchant of Asphodel triggers.
Brimaz, King of Oreskos is particularly filthy with the Trostani/Archangel combo. Whenever Brimaz attacks or blocks we'll be getting a guy, gaining life, growing our entire team, and presumably destroying our opponent.
Soldier of the Pantheon also interacts favorably here. Opponents will be casting multicolor spells and, if we have an Archangel on the battlefield, we'll be growing our team as a result.
This deck will obviously be a monster against aggressive strategies. The combination of Voice of Resurgence and a lot of 3 and 4 toughness will mean that Black Devotion strategies will have a lot of trouble keeping up and using their cards effectively.
This deck does a great job blanking cards that are currently popular—or at least minimizing their value. The major issue here will be the presence of control strategies. After sideboarding, we can bring in some extra copies of Garruk, Caller of Beasts; Advent of the Wurm; and maybe even a few more cards.
Let's put all of this together and make a green-white midrange deck:
Jacob Van Lunen's Selesnya Voltron
This Selesnya deck has a lot to offer, especially if the format becomes a place where everyone wants to be attacking. That may not be the case, though. It's entirely possible that we'll be facing off against decks that are rife with removal spells.
Ephara, God of the Polis is another card that's worth exploring. This card generates card advantage (the overarching strategy that involves trading cards for more cards) passively and conveniently becomes a game-winning creature once all the card advantage has pulled us ahead enough. There are a few different ways we can go about building a deck with Ephara, God of the Polis: We can make a reasonable aggressive deck that pounds away at the opponent's life total while never running out of gas thanks to the God. We could also explore the possibility of playing a godly top-end strategy that uses Heliod, God of the Sun to ensure that we can always draw cards and advance our board state with Ephara, God of the Polis.
Cards like Precinct Captain and Brimaz, King of Oreskos let us put creatures into play without having to resolve a spell. This means we'll be able to draw extra cards with Ephara, God of the Polis and keep the gas flowing indefinitely. Precinct Captain and Boros Reckoner will likely be quintessential pieces of all decks that try to abuse Ephara, God of the Polis.
Detention Sphere is one of the most powerful cards in pre-Born of the Gods Standard. The card deals with packs of Pack Rats, Gods, Planeswalkers, and most of the creatures that are currently played. Detention Sphere gives us two devotion for Ephara and will likely be a four-of in any deck that plays the God.
Let's take a look at what an aggressive Ephara, God of the Polis deck might look like:
Jacob Van Lunen's The Reckoning
This deck has a lot going for it. We can play an aggressive game and close the deal with Lightning Strike and Boros Charm. We can also play a more controlling strategy against the most aggressive decks where all of our removal, in conjunction with Boros Reckoner, should be enough to make those matchups very good. Ephara, God of the Polis works very well in a deck with burn spells. We don't need to fire them off when we draw them; we can lull our opponent into a false sense of security by holding a few burn spells and firing off a huge blast between his or her end step and our turn when our opponent taps all of his or her mana.
This deck also gets to play with an infinite combo. We can use Azorius Charm and Boros Charm to give one of our Boros Reckoners lifelink and indestructible when it's about to take damage. Then we can repeatedly target the Boros Reckoner with its own trigger and gain millions, billions, or trillions of life.
We already discussed the possibility of playing a deck that combines Heliod, God of the Sun with Ephara, God of the Polis. Let's take a look at a more controlling deck that plays Ephara, God of the Polis:
Jacob Van Lunen's Godly Azorius
This deck asks fewer questions, but the inevitability here is pretty incredible. The deck may want some number of Sphinx's Revelation, but I feel like Heliod, God of the Sun is a mana dump that can also draw us cards when used in conjunction with Ephara, God of the Polis, and there's certainly something to be said for not being redundant when brewing up a new strategy.
This deck has a lot of answers for Pack Rat and most of its threats require an answer or they'll threaten to win the game on their own. I'm definitely going to be trying to play Ephara, God of the Polis in some capacity in the coming weeks.
Gild is another card from Born of the Gods that really gets my creative juices flowing. This card seems like a perfect way to charge out a huge Rakdos's Return and it conveniently curves into Elspeth, Sun's Champion. There's definitely a wealth of homes for this indiscriminate removal spell, but the most obvious to me is the deck I played at Pro Tour Theros.
I've updated my Junk list with Born of the Gods. I feel like we'll be seeing a lot of decks that will have trouble with the Junk strategy and it's worth revisiting the strategy. I may also be a bit over-attached to the archetype.
Jacob Van Lunen's Born of the Gods Junk
Only time can truly tell how Born of the Gods will affect Standard. We've explored a lot of possibilities today and we've only begun to scratch the surface of what's possible.
Remember not to miss your local Born of the Gods Prerelease this weekend! Prereleases are Sealed Deck tournaments. Be sure to check out Marshall Sutcliffe's Limited Information column and take a look at my Limited Strategy Guide if you're looking to sharpen up your game in forty-card formats.
Knowledge is power!
Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published.