The Theros: Beyond Death spoilers are all done. Heliod got his punishment, and now he gets his deck tech! Heliod, Sun-Crowned is a mix of life gain with a combo finisher. Mono white, though lacking the power creep that other colours have received, it does have some fun tools…nobody ever sees the Lapse of Certainty coming. We’re going to focus on its strengths and see what we have to work with for synergies.
Heliod, Sun Crowned
Emeria, the Sky Ruin
Flagstones of Trokair
Hall of Heliod’s Generosity
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Angel of Grace
Angel of Jubilation
Archangel of Thune
Archangel of Tithes
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Heliod, God of the Sun
Linden, the Steadfast Queen
Mother of Runes
Ranger of Eos
Ranger-Captain of Eos
Recruiter of the Guard
Spirit of the Labyrinth
Thalia, Heretic Cathar
It was noticed almost immediately that Heliod, Sun-Crowned combos for infinite damage and life with Walking Ballista. By paying 1W you can grant Lifelink to Walking Ballista and repeatedly remove +1/+1 counters while Heliod’s static ability adds them back on. This combo exists in Modern and Pioneer but we’re here for Commander so we have a lot more options. To support this combo we’ll point out a few tutors and some more fun cards that could assist in pulling this off.
First, we’ll point out the other redundancy to the combo Triskelion which can function the same as Walking Ballista albeit at the cost of more mana. Both of these creatures can be tutored for with Enlightened Tutor and Recruiter of the Guard. Walking Ballista can be found with both Ranger-Captain of Eos and Ranger of Eos, the latter of which can also pick up Mother of Runes or perhaps a nice Serra Ascendant. Then again, Ranger-Captain of Eos has a nice sacrifice ability to stop your opponents from playing non-creature spells which may give you the opportunity to combo off.
There are a number of tools to use as a back up to give Lifelink and even to add counters. Angel of Thune adds counters to your whole board rather than just the one target and True Conviction grants Lifelink to your board as well. Of course, True Conviction is not the most mana efficient option but it’s a fun card I’ve added to the deck. The more effective options are Basilisk Collar, Loxodon Warhammer, and ironically now Shadowspear.
Each of the mono-coloured Gods once again have a triggered/static ability and an activated ability. Heliod’s triggered ability is based on gaining life to give +1/+1 counters to creatures and enchantments. The enchantment part of this ability is interesting because if you lack any other targets you can just put them all on Heliod himself making him an even bigger creature if you have enough devotion.
Mono-white has some of the most pieces for a life gain strategy so let’s go through some. While you can slot in the soul sister package, Soul’s Attendant and Soul Warden felt a bit weak but Auriok Champion has built-in protection making it more viable. Blind Obedience not only slows down any mana rocks and creatures your opponents may play but the Extort mechanic will help you gain life and drain your opponents. The combination of Blind Obedience and Sensei’s Divining Top can give you a spell to Extort each turn as well. Along with Authority of the Consul, these low-cost enchantments are great life gain and devotion.
A mix of white devotion, life gain, and token generation is the core of this version. Cards such as Linden, the Steadfast Queen, Legion’s Landing, and Dawn of Hope find a good home here.
Anytime you can slot in a Stoneforge Mystic you have to bring in an equipment package for support. Where there’s Stoneforge Mystic there is usually a Batterskull. The Lifelink works in conjunction with Heliod’s ability; when equipped to Walking Ballista or Triskelion, it acts as the Lifelink to combo off. Lightning Greaves is the best 0 equip Haste and protection option. Skullclamp works great with our tokens. For example, the ones generated by Heliod, God of the Sun, it supplements the natural lack of card draw that white has. Sword of Fire and Ice and Sword of Feast and Famine are just pure value and protection, it’s hard to say much that hasn’t been said about the power of the Sword of X and Y series. Lastly for what I have included is Umezawa’s Jitte which has a neat trade-off with Heliod. Rather than getting a temporary +2/+2 buff for the turn you can gain 2 life and get a +1/+1 counter.
These were the only ones I had space for but you can always put in whatever you’d like. Some more options for the equipment package are Shadowspear, Godsend, Sword of Kaldra and the rest of the Kaldra pieces. Other options for support are Sigarda’s Aid, Nahiri, the Lithomancer, Stonehewer Giant, maybe even Sram, Senior Edificer or Balan, Wandering Knight.
I want to point out of the fun things we get to play for utility being a mono-coloured and specifically mono-white deck.
Emeria, the Sky Ruin: A card that is hard to run anywhere else but mono-white. With 7 or more Plains you’ll get to return a creature from your graveyard to the battlefield each upkeep.
Castle Ardenvale: A new addition to mono-white from Throne of Eldraine that creates 1/1 Humans. Whether to block, Skullclamp, or give life link it’s all good options.
Kor Haven: You can win every fight when blocking if the attacker doesn’t deal any damage.
High Market: If they’re going to die anyway may as well gain a life and trigger Heliod.
Flagstones of Troskair + Thespian Stage: I want to go over this janky move. With Crucible of Worlds on board, copy Flagstones of Troskair with Thespian Stage. The legendary rule put Flagstones of Troskair in your graveyard. Trigger, search for a Plains and put it onto the battlefield tapped. Play Flagstones of Troskair for repeated Plains searching.
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx: What Theros devotion deck would be complete without a Nykthos in the deck??
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Mono-white has a lot of power and synergies available and having an indestructible God as the Commander doesn’t hurt either. The life gain can be incredibly relevant and the fact it can target multiple creatures and not just one that you control lets you play some multiplayer politics. With this deck you should be able to play to your strengths, building your resources, and then finish off your opponents whether by combo or the old fashion way.
What do you think of the deck? How are the synergies? What parts would you add and remove? As the cheapest to cast of the mono-coloured Gods, I’m probably going to build this if not just to try and hit someone with a 21/21 Heliod.