Monday, June 4, 2012


The R/W color pair is typically notable for its blazingly fast aggro decks. This is a slower, more meditative take on the Boros archetype. The backbone of the deck is the build-around-me rare from Ravnica, Searing Meditation (the other key card used to be Firemane Angle, which is where the name of the deck comes from). I actually piloted a version of this deck to some success in FNM tournaments, as it was a direct answer to the nearly 100% aggro metagame at the time. Everyone was playing Zoo, so I figured a deck that was basically 90% lifegain and removal would do well… it did.

This iteration of the deck is considerably different from my previous builds. It basically takes the “Soul Sisters” archetype made famous by Conley Woods, and splashes Red for Searing Meditation and Lightning Helix. Here’s the list:

4x Soul Warden
3x Soul’s Attendant
4x Ajani’s Pridemate
3x Wall of Reverance
3x Serra Ascendant
1x Reveillark

3x Ajani’s Mantra
4x Recumbant Bliss
4x Lightning Helix
4x Searing Meditation
3x Survival Cache

4x Kabira Crossroads
3x Clifftop Retreat
3x Rugged Prairie
8x Plains
6x Mountain

As you can see, nearly everything in the deck gains you life. The few exceptions are there to turn all that life gain into something we can actually win with. Ajani’s Pridemate gets HUGE, while Searing Meditation slings targeted burn around like it was nothing.

The important facet of the deck is knowing when to use your one-shot life gain effects like Helix or Cache. Usually you want to burn these early to control the board and help your Pridemates get bigger. You don’t usually need or want to wait on Searing Meditation to appear before using these. The early turns should be played fairly aggressively – ideally, you’d go turn 1 Warden, turn 2 Pridemate, turn 3 Helix a blocker and swing. From there you develop based on how you draw, and what your opponents are doing – if you can, keep playing aggro as long as it’s reasonably safe and profitable to do so.

Once you have a Searing Meditation online, you can then easily play a more controlling game, buring threats with Meditation, or if they’re too big to shoot down, just plop a Recumbant Bliss on ‘em and start using that lifegain trigger to start shooting your opponents directly.

Reveillark is pretty obvious, as it can recur every other creature in the deck. I’d like to add more copies, but frankly, I’ve managed to win games with zero creatures on the board, by going full-on with multiple Searing Meditation triggers. So, for now I think one Lark is enough to help us in a pinch.

Dropping Serra Ascendant on turn 1 isn’t usually the best play, which is why there are only 3x copies. Of course, it’s still better than no play, so I still make it, in the absence of other options.

The biggest question mark in the deck is Ajani’s Mantra, as it really only matters when you manage to stick either a Pridemate or a Meditation. You could easily replace them with more copies of stuff in the deck, or just throw in some Lightning Bolts or whatever. A couple Day of Judgement would be advisable if you find yourself not quite able to keep up with creature-based offensives.

Planar Deck

Goldmeadow (The tokens are great for triggering Wardens)
Fields of Summer (Duh)
Minamo (Dig for those Searing Meditations!)
Naar Isle (With so much life gain, it’ll hurt us WAY less)
Sea of Sand (Ditto)
Bloodhill Bastion (Just ‘cause it makes Serra Ascendant terrifying)
Kilnspire District (Gives us more mana to fuel our Meditations)
Astral Arena (Usually we’re only attacking with Pridemate anyway)
Aretopolis (Life gain and card draw, both relevant and useful)
Kharasha Foothills (Make the most out of our very limited number of attackers)

The planes here mostly just reinforce what the deck is trying to do, either by dealing damage or gaining life. It’s always gonna suck for this deck when other decks hit Chaos on Fields of Summer, but at the same time the life gain synergizes so well with what we’re doing that it’s worth the risk.

That’s all for now. Enjoy!

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