Fat Stacks — Sigarda's Angelic Humans

Feature Article from Cassidy Silver
Cassidy Silver
4/26/2016 11:00:00 AM
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Hello! This week on Fat Stacks, we are going to check out the final legend from Shadows over Innistrad Sigarda, Heron's Grace. I initially put off building this deck because the inspiration was lacking. As soon as I got around to actually crafting the list though, I realized there was a lot of cool stuff going on.

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The main problem with Sigarda, Heron's Grace is that she feels a bit underpowered at first. Sigarda, Host of Herons is a veritable powerhouse, crushing defenses with the one-two punch of hexproof + anti-edict tech. There are lots of ways to kill Sigarda, Host of Herons, but it isn't ever easy. She is great to run as a Commander in her own right, and is also useful as a secondary win condition in other W/G/x decks.

Sigarda, Heron's Grace is different from her old counterpart. She no longer has hexproof, but she does give all our Humans hexproof, as well as us, the player. I appreciate having another Leyline of Sanctity on a stick, but the Human thing is a bit more awkward. We can certainly build around Humans, but Sigarda, Heron's Grace is not a Human. Traditional tribal decks want to have an on-type commander for the most part, for a variety of reasons. This is not to say that building this way is impossible, it is just more difficult, and dependent on the power of the tribal cards.

Sigarda, Heron's Grace's activated ability feels a bit off, especially because we have to exile a card from our graveyard. The price of the token doesn't really match their impact in the game. On the other hand, this ability can actually make quite a few tokens quickly, which is unique among Selesnya legends.

Will Sigarda, Heron's Grace be better than other legends to build around? Sigarda, Heron's Grace is fairly unique, and I don't feel like there is one go-to Selesnya legend right now. Each legend has their own playstyle and weakness, even if the decks end up sharing a lot of cards.

What Sigarda, Heron's Grace has going for her is she actually does two different things. In one mode, she is defensive, protecting Humans, as well as the player behind them. Player-hexproof protects from so many effects, whether it is targeted damage, or something like Bojuka Bog. It also protects against many forms of Diabolic Edict, though of course Grave Pact is still a thing. In general, having hexproof as a player is never really bad, even if the protection is only sometimes useful.

Protecting Humans is another issue altogether. Humans are actually kind of a new thing in Magic, surprisingly enough. Yes, many old cards have been retroactively made Humans, but growing up, Humans were just an assumed creature type. White Knight is a Human now, but it wasn't technically one back in the day. We can still see this a bit today, where there are a lot of race/class structures for tokens (Faerie Rogue, Goblin Warrior, etc.). We mostly get Soldier Tokens, and Knight Tokens, but rarely Human Soldier Tokens.

It was only with the original Innistrad block that the Human creature type got some love. As I was compiling the list of Human tribal technology for this build, it was starting to feel like all the cards were either from the original Innistrad block, or Shadows over Innistrad. I want to keep the Innistrad feel to the deck, so I more or less kept it to Humans or Angels.

Human tribal is something I've used here and there before, but never really dedicated an entire deck strategy to. Sigarda, Heron's Grace will give them all hexproof, which makes a lot of them pretty strong. I will start with the Humans that came from the plane of Innistrad, to illustrate just how much we get from there.

Starting small, we have Avacyn's Pilgrim, as well as Thraben Doomsayer. These capture the Innistrad Humans pretty well – one is clearly an Elf, and the other creates the signature Human Tokens. Riders of Gavony provide the entire team with some neat protection, while Mentor of the Meek will draw cards when we play the puny hu-mons.

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One card that also captures the Humans of Innistrad is Duskwatch Recruiter. The activated ability is more or less Lead the Stampede on a stick, which is pretty crazy. In limited, it felt like I was cheating when I had it in play. When it flips, it makes all creatures cheaper for us to cast, which is also unbelievably good.

The other tribe that represents Innistrad is the stalwart Angel, represented perfectly by Angel of Glory's Rise. This will give us even more reason to build around Humans, as we have a semi-Living Death as a long-term strategy. Exiling Zombies is also pretty relevant, especially with problematic zeds like Gravecrawler and Relentless Dead sloshing about.

Angelic Overseer covers another aspect of the Angel-Human relationship of Innistrad. In terms of game play, she benefits from Sigarda, Heron's Grace a lot, as Sigarda, Heron's Grace can more or less give Angelic Overseer hexproof and Indestructibility at instant speed. Herald of War will benefit both factions greatly as well, and even though it is not technically an Angel, I put in Dearly Departed. The automatic +1/+1 counter for the team is going to be nice.

What we are looking for here are cards that will get bigger for each creature we play, or even better, make all of our creatures bigger. Thalia's Lieutenant and Champion of the Parish are the two that stand out at first, as they both get bigger with each Human that comes into play. They will both get pretty big as we play the deck, and then we can drop a lot of tokens at once to buff them for the big swings.

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Looking past the Human clause of these cards, we can find other creatures that work similarly, without even leaving Innistrad! Champion of Lambholt doesn't care what color or type the creatures are, and has the amazing evasion ability that will lead us to victory rather easily.

We can go one step further and buff up our team all at once. Goldnight Commander and Valor of Akros will give everyone a temporary buff, which can end up being really devastating with a developed board state. Cathars' Crusade and Juniper Order Ranger improve upon this ability by making the bonus permanent. I will also include Mikaeus, the Lunarch at this point, since he will buff our team, and the +1/+1 counters from Cathars' Crusade and the Juniper Order Ranger will give him a constant supply of counters to share.

We've gotten through a good chunk of the deck, and we've only mentioned two cards from a plane other than Innistrad. From here though, we have to leave the gothic landscape to find other Humans to aid us. Eternal Witness, Yavimaya Elder, Bastion Protector, Knight of the Reliquary, and Yisan, the Wanderer Bard are all super-powered Humans, and will help deck with their various abilities.

We also have the changelings like Chameleon Colossus and Mirror Entity. Mirror Entity is strong with Sigarda, Heron's Grace's Human ability. Since Sigarda, Heron's Grace doesn't say “other” Humans in her text, if Sigarda, Heron's Grace becomes a Human, she will give herself hexproof. For this reason I included Runed Stalactite.

We've been talking about Humans a lot, but the tokens that Sigarda, Heron's Grace makes are also Soldiers. Soldier Tokens are nothing new at all, so I don't want to focus on them too much. I don't really plan to use the tokens Sigarda, Heron's Grace makes as the driving force of the deck, so the small boosts from most Soldier tribal stuff feel weak. There is one Soldier-based card that I think fits into this deck very well – Knight Captain of Eos. It will basically allow us to Fog on command with Sigarda, Heron's Grace in play.

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There is one other sub-strategy in the overall explosive finishes we want, and that is based around Radiant, Archangel. True, our Humans do not naturally fly, but it is rather easy to do with two cards in this deck – Cavalry Pegasus and Odric, Lunarch Marshal. Odric, Lunarch Marshal will naturally give the team flying because of Sigarda, Heron's Grace, and Odric, Lunarch Marshal will temporarily give hexproof back to Sigarda, Heron's Grace as a bonus. He works well with Angelic Overseer and Bastion Protector as well, and I put in the Lightning Greaves mainly so Odric, Lunarch Marshal can share the haste. To be honest, Radiant Archangel should have been in the Odric, Lunarch Marshal deck I built a couple of weeks ago.

To make the super-punch finishers from the Champion of Lambholt / Cathars' Crusade section of the deck even stronger, we can double the amount of tokens entering the battlefield. Doubling Season is the big name when it comes doubling tokens, but there's also Primal Vigor and Parallel Lives, as well as Second Harvest and Parallel Evolution.

We also have Rhys the Redeemed in the deck, which is where we start to break from the Innistrad theme a bit more. I feel like we can Salvage it though, with the inclusion of Captain Sisay. I like the idea that the best heroes of the W/G color identity are being brought together to protect the people of Innistrad, ferried by Sisay and her Weatherlight. To this end, I also included Dragonlord Dromoka and Trostani, Selesnya's Voice. Dragonlord Dromoka is mainly in there to protect the board when we go to win, and Trostani, Selesnya's Voice of course has a much weaker version of Rhys the Redeemed's token-copying.

Since we will have so many tokens, we should probably hit on a few of the cards that make token-based decks powerful. Aura Shards and Glare of Subdual are good examples, offering us some nice control that will scale with our army. Earthcraft and Cryptolith Rite are on the other side of things, providing us the gas we need to power out a big win. Devout Invocation will cap off the whole strategy, letting us turn our token army into a much bigger token army.

One last card that will help this deck a lot is the humble Riftsweeper. Even with all the synergies around the Human Tokens, exiling cards still feels like a hefty price to pay. The Riftsweeper will help recover cards that we exiled too early, or were perhaps lost to exiling removal like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.

Sigarda's Angelic Humans by WriterofWrong
Main Deck
Sideboard
1 Angel of Glory's Rise
1 Angelic Overseer
1 Avacyn's Pilgrim
1 Bastion Protector
1 Captain Sisay
1 Cavalry Pegasus
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Champion of Lambholt
1 Champion of the Parish
1 Dearly Departed
1 Dragonlord Dromoka
1 Duskwatch Recruiter
1 Emeria Shepherd
1 Eternal Witness
1 Goldnight Commander
1 Herald of War
1 Juniper Order Ranger
1 Karmic Guide
1 Knight of the Reliquary
1 Knight-Captain of Eos
1 Mentor of the Meek
1 Mikaeus, the Lunarch
1 Mirror Entity
1 Odric, Lunarch Marshal
1 Radiant, Archangel
1 Rhys the Redeemed
1 Riders of Gavony
1 Riftsweeper
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
1 Sun Titan
1 Thalia's Lieutenant
1 Thraben Doomsayer
1 Trostani, Selesnya's Voice
1 Yavimaya Elder
1 Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
Creatures [35]
1 Aura Shards
1 Birthing Pod
1 Cathars' Crusade
1 Coat of Arms
1 Council's Judgment
1 Cryptolith Rite
1 Descendants' Path
1 Devout Invocation
1 Doubling Season
1 Earthcraft
1 Gallows at Willow Hill
1 Glare of Subdual
1 Increasing Devotion
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Mirari's Wake
1 Parallel Evolution
1 Parallel Lives
1 Path to Exile
1 Primal Vigor
1 Runed Stalactite
1 Second Harvest
1 Skullclamp
1 Stoneforge Masterwork
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Valor in Akros
Spells [25]
1 Blighted Woodland
1 Canopy Vista
1 Eiganjo Castle
1 Flagstones of Trokair
11 Forest (295)
1 Fortified Village
1 Gavony Township
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Kjeldoran Outpost
1 Krosan Verge
1 Myriad Landscape
8 Plains (283)
1 Razorverge Thicket
1 Savannah
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Temple Garden
1 Temple of Plenty
1 Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Bastion
1 Yavimaya Hollow
Lands [39]
Deck Total [99]


1 Sigarda, Heron's Grace
Sideboard [1]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

Throw in a few removal spells, a bit of tribal tech like Descendents' Path and Stonework Masterpiece, and some other corner-case cards like Gallows at Willow Hill, and we have ourselves a deck. Overall, I like the way it shaped out, and I can tell it will get better with play and fine-tuning. The deck is still this weird off-tribal strategy, but the overall presence of Innistrad flavor helps tie it together.

Thanks for reading!

- Cassidy Silver




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