Welcome back to the lab. With Ravnica Allegiance in full swing, I’m seeing a lot of people in Arena trying out the newest toys, then there are those who went back to using streamlined decks pre-RNA that take advantage of brews to climb up to Mythic.
What I’m playing around now are the Gates because we have so many reasons why we should.
If you haven’t noticed by now, there are two arts per guildgate and their flavor texts suit which facade you’re facing, spoken by the guild’s former runner or current master.
We also have a bunch of gate-centric cards wat our disposal like Gates Ablaze which is super strong if you’re playing 10+ gates upward, literally killing almost anything that’s not indestructible. Gate Colossus at worst is a 4-mana 8/8 that smashes anything that strays long its path, even the 7/6 dinosaur we all love and hate. I also love Archway Angel in this deck just because it’s super good against decks that plans to win through combat. She gains you anywhere from 8-14 life which is more than enough to buy you time and set up our little combo.
Yes, we’re playing a combo package in this shell. We already know how good Nexus is thanks to Wilderness Reclamation alongside Teferi so we’re doing the same thing but with added flair (or complexity).
Lich’s Mastery is the first part of the equation. It stabilizes us against Nexus decks because they can’t win and we can’t lose. It also buys us some time if we have a stacked graveyard or hand against aggressive decks.
Together with Archway Angel, you can literally draw your entire deck and go off by casting multiple things like free Colossi and…
Chance for Glory. This cheaper Nexus is the second half of our equation. If we play this with Lich’s Mastery out, we circumvent the losing the game clause which is super sweet. We’re also playing 2 copies of Mirari Conjecture so that when it pops on its third saga, you can have multiple turns and crash in with multiple 8/8s and simply win the game.
Then we have our wish card in Mastermind’s Acquisition. This allows us to find our silver bullets from the sideboard, whether it’s a win condition like Banefire or a game reset button in Star of Extinction or Cleansing Nova. With Mirari Conjecture out, we can fetch two cards instead of one and really explode in value.
We will also play a bunch of ramp spells and life gain/cantrips to let us recover from slow starts. A hand with Growth Spiral and gates that allow you to cast them does a great job at ramping us to 4 mana on turn 3, then Circuitous Route takes over ramping us from 4 to 6 lands on turn 4. By turn 5, our Archway Angel can gain us 12 life not counting the land we drop that turn. There are times I would play 2 Chance of Glory on turn 5. On the first extra turn I play Lich’s Mastery, then on my second extra turn I play multiple colossi and win in a few turns.
Here’s the deck I’m using now for Best of One, which helped me get from Platinum 4 to Platinum 3.
The deck is pretty spicy and I love the sweet interactions, and definitely that moment where you chain extra turns is such a wonderful feeling.
The sideboard is very much open for customization for your meta on a best of 3 match-ups. In Bo1, I learned that we are very ill-favored against control decks so you will want to have disruption and a small counter magic suite in the sideboard.
We want to side in 4 Thought Erasure and 2 Negates and we take out the 4 Gates Ablaze and 2 Deafening Clarion against control. You can keep some copies of Gates Ablaze you if you think the opponent will side in creatures to counter your sideboarding plan of removing your creature control elements.
If you are going up against aggressive decks, Seal Away is something I like siding in especially when I see Adanto Vanguard and Tajic on the other side. They are very difficult to get rid of and can pose a serious clock.
We have several silver bullets in the sideboard for certain match-ups. Banefire is one way to end the game quickly by wishing for it when Mirari’s saga count is on 2, then burn the opponent once Mirari ultimates for 10+ damage.
The Immortal Sun comes right in against Nexus decks to shut down their Teferi’s and Karns.
Star of Extinction remains relevant against midrange decks like Simic Counters, Golgari Midrange, Esper Angels, and the likes.
The deck is pretty simple to use but allow me to explain why I don’t play the Ram. First, the Bo1 meta is very aggressive so I wanted to squeeze six 6-mana sweepers at the 3-drop slot. With so many Mortify, Cast Down, Angrath and Bedevil going around, I don’t think I would rely on an easy to remove creature as a win condition. Although I respect that it can single-handedly win games in the right match-ups but not inside a combo gates shell.
One interaction to take note of:
You can stack the effects of these two cards that you first put the Colossus on top of your library before you draw a card. This allows you to draw a new card next turn and not ‘time walk’ yourself.
That’s it for today! Have fun with Ravnica Allegiance! A lot of pro players are slowly breaking the new standard code and many meta decks are now making their appearances in MTGO’s 5-0 listing in Standard Competitive Leagues. Watch out, you might just see a Gates deck squeeze in between those decklists.