Posted by ‘BRIONNE’ aka ‘FORK OF DOOM’

I have a confession to make. I’m bad at making casual decks. It’s quite sad. Any time I start jotting down a deck list, I hit the $100 mark before I make it to ten cards. My decks are lost without Demonic Tutor, Survival of the Fittest, Kiki-Jiki, Tooth and Nail, or Sol Ring. I have a list of self-determined “staple” cards that I add to nearly every deck. I have such a problem with adding these cards to decks that I have a hard time not looking at other people’s lists and trying to add them. “What is this unique but subpar card?” I’ll ask. “Why not Phyrexian Arena?” Or, “Zombies are cool and all, but I’d probably ditch them for countermatic, removal, draw power, and some efficient beaters. You can keep Graveborn Muse, though. She draws you cards.” I always intend to add cool cards I love to my decks, but in the end I always cut them for better cards. Why play Sphinx Ambassador when you can play Consecrated Sphinx?

Those of you who have read some of my previous articles may remember my talking about how fun it is to make casual decks. I have three of them right now (Vish Kal, The Mimeoplasm, and Riku) and they are a blast. The problem is I have to go out of my way not to put too much thought into them, because if I put any thought into them my deckbuilding instincts take over. I simply pull potential cards out of my collection, toss them in a pile, then narrow that down to a suitable 99. The result is a deck that is fun to play, but only against decks of a similar power level. Meanwhile, the coolest casual decks I’ve seen aren’t bad at all. They still play powerful cards, but have some sort of theme they follow. This means that playing “bad” cards that fit your theme is a must. I’ve despaired of ever being able to build a deck along these lines.
When Avacyn Restored was spoiled, I finally saw a general that inspired me to build a casual deck, and a tribal one at that. (The only tribal deck I’ve ever played involved Bitterblossom and several copies of Cryptic Command, which is about as far from casual as you can get.)

Sigarda, Host of Herons
Flying, hexproof.
Something about not sacrificing permanents, blah blah blah.

She’s obviously very good, but it wasn’t her text box that got me. It was her mana cost and creature type. She’s a legendary angel, which has been done a few times before. But she’s green white, which makes her the first possible general for G/W angel tribal. (Sorry Gabriel Angelfire, you were just too bad to ever be considered.) I love the idea of angels, it’s probably one of the only tribes I’ve ever wanted to play. The problem is that they’re just too expensive to cast, which is where green comes in. Green means I can Tooth and Nail for Akroma and Avacyn. I squealed like a 13 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert when I realized that. I decided that I would at least draft up a list, and perhaps throw it together. I was determined to actually make a real theme deck. The biggest challenge to overcome in this endeavor is my tendency to take every deck I encounter and make it as good as I possibly can.

To start with, I wanted some ramp. I’m quite fond of ramp, and three of my four main decks have green in them. I think I have an addiction or something. I like putting my ramp on bodies as much as possible, because I am willing to exchange less efficient ramp for a body to strap equipment on. Except for Explosive Vegetation, that card is nuts.

Seedguide Ash
Dawntreader Elk
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Yavimaya Elder
Wood Elves
Explosive Vegetation
Primeval Titan– I know he’s probably not very casual and he’s super lame now but I don’t care. He is still one of my favorite creatures ever.

I also wanted a way to search for my favorite angels. Also my utility creatures. I’m sort of iffy if this is okay in what is supposed to be a casual deck, but I eventually talked myself into it.

Primal Command– Also the ability to shuffle people’s stuff in always makes me happy.
Fierce Empath
Eladamri’s Call
Tooth and Nail– Is this card ever okay in casual? I’d like to hear your opinions. I thought that if I wasn’t doing my normal number of getting something stupid like Avenger of Zendikar or Griselbrand that I’d be okay.
Chord of Calling– I played this card before it was ten dollars, so I get to play it now. Also it has a giant green bird on the artwork and how is that not cool?

I had to succumb to my urge to put in some utility creatures, especially because I couldn’t bring myself to play any of the really bad angels.
Eternal Witness– I am incapable of avoiding staple syndrome, okay?
Qasali Pridemage
Captain Sisay– I like the idea of The Cap’n being mildly useful at best. My way of sticking it to all the annoying Sissay decks out there.
Stoneforge Mystic– I’m addicted to equipment, but some of my equipment is very flavorful so I allowed myself to play her. (Although I’m also playing Swiftfoot Boots 
and Behemoth Sledge)
Sun Titan– There are few good targets, so in this situation this is me playing a pet card.
Knight of the Reliquary– No LD suite to abuse, just a few utility lands.

Obligatory Removal Suite. When playing white it’s hard for me not to be packing a removal suite twice this size plus a ton of sweepers.

Ghost Quarter– The only one of the group I thought would be fair enough to play in a casual deck.
Swords to Plowshares
Path to Exile
Krosan Grip
Crib Swap

I finally get to the angels. I only played the ones I like, plus Platinum Angel.

Reya Dawnbringer- My first instinct is “she’s too expensive”, but then I realized that I can’t have an angel tribal deck without her.
Guardian Seraph- One of my pet cards, and I finally have a deck that I can’t cut it from!
Adarkar Valkyrie
Mirror Entity- Technically an angel. I have this dream of winning the game with five or six 10/10 angels.
Restoration Angel- So pretty!
Victory’s Herald
Platinum Angel- I have an irrational hatred for this card. It goes back to a game involving my double-striking Baneslayer with several exalted triggers not making a difference.
Twilight Shepherd
Sunblast Angel
Shattered Angel- Another pet card.
Karmic Guide- Normally she’s busted, now she’s just a reanimate on a body.
Herald of War
Exalted Angel- I’m so excited to have a chance to play such a classy beater.
Deathless Angel
Battlegrace Angel- My first angel, which I’m convinced most Magic players never forget.
Baneslayer Angel
Avacyn, Angel of Hope- Lame or not, I have to play her in this deck.
Archangel of Strife- I hated her at first, but she’s great for alpha strikes and I love Greg Staples angels, so in she went.
Angelic Arbiter– This card makes people want to punch you, also I adore Steve Argyle’s work.
Angel of Jubilation
Akroma, Angel of Wrath- This lady has wrecked a lot of face for me.

After I picked out my angels, I decided I had to play some flavor cards. It also helped that some of them are amazing. I’m looking at you, Akroma’s Memorial.

Akroma’s Memorial
Akroma’s Vengeance- I was so relieved to realized I could squeeze in one sweeper as a flavor card.
Mask of Avacyn
Moonsilver Spear
Angelic Chorus
Angelic Destiny- I’ve always thought this card was kind of cool, and now I get a chance to play it.
Entreat the Angels
Angelic Renewal– It has an angel on it and is by my favorite Magic artist. Hmm, I might actually be getting the hang of this. (Also it’s good with Sun Titan. See, I can’t ever do something just because it’s cool.)
Defy Death


I thought I had done my flavor duty, but then Andy saw this list and was all “You should explain why you aren’t playing any generic tribal cards like Coat of Arms or Steely Resolve.” So I’ll do that now: It never occurred to me to add any of those cards. I don’t ever remember that those cards exist. And Steely Resolve is really good, too. That’s how miserable I am at building decks that aren’t over thought and full of my personal “staples”.

Other than the cards I’ve listed, the deck just needs a mana base. I’ve also got four slots still open, so I’d appreciate any suggestions. I’d also like for those of you out there who enjoy playing more casual decks to give me some input. Did I reach my objective of building a good, fun casual tribal deck, or did my instinct to build a well-oiled machine of a deck kick in? I would really like to build a deck that I can play against others without feeling bad because of its price tag or tactics. I realize that not everyone enjoys playing the format the same way I do, and I feel that I should have a deck for every play situation. I have the most fun playing when my deck is the same power level as the other decks at the table. This is my attempt at building a medium power level deck that is fun and indulges my love of angels and pretty artwork.

I look forward to hearing your comments and advice on this deck, because this is one area in which I definitely need help.