But what about her second incarnation, Avacyn, Guardian Angel? It doesn’t seem people like to build with her at all as a Commander. Even in the 99, only her original incarnation, Eight and a Half Tails and Linvala, Keeper of Silence really take advantage of her.
Considering how well Legendary Creatures are designed these days to be built around, what went wrong here? Or has something been overlooked? Let's take a closer look at Avacyn, Guardian Angel's stats and abilities and see how we may be able to build around them in EDH.
1W: Prevent all damage that would be dealt to another target creature this turn by sources of the color of your choice.
5WW: Prevent all damage that would be dealt to target player this turn by sources of the color of your choice.
Right away, we see that she's a flyer who doesn't have to tap when attacking thanks to vigilance. As a 5/4 creature, that means she plays a strong role on both offense and defense. Straight off, that's a good start.
Then, we get to her abilities. Preventing damage is pretty good, especially when it's a creature that you want to keep around. But giving a player protection is obviously better. Seven mana seems like a high cost, but depending on the situation, it's probably well worth the investment.
So far, based on her abilities, she slots in as one of the 99 in Eight-and-a-Half Tails EDH decks, as cheap damage prevention. Her second ability is a really expensive "Fog" that you can use politically to save another player. The real downside of this ability is that only prevents damage from one color (you can pay it again for an additional color, but why would you?)
In any case, a 5/4 vigilant flyer for 5 mana is really good, and having the 3 white mana in her cost doesn’t really change all that much since you’ll be running a mono-White deck, regardless. So how can we utilize her as a Commander in EDH?
Here’s a list based on a compilation of the handful of Avacyn, Guardian Angel EDH decks currently included in the EDHREC database. There are some other tweaks we have made, as well.
Avacyn, Guardian Angel
Guardian of the Gateless
Angel of Serenity
Angel of the Dire Hour
Avacyn, Angel of Hope
Non-Creature Spells (42)
Path to Exile
Swords to Plowshares
Rest in Peace
Entreat the Angels
Grasp of Fate
Rule of Law
Return to Dust
Shield of Kaldra
Wrath of God
Nahiri, the Lithomancer
Emeria, the Sky Ruin
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Temple of the False God
This Avacyn, Guardian Angel EDH deck list currently costs around $200 to build in paper Magic. A big part of that price tag includes Avacyn, Angel of Hope. You could alternatively swap Avacyn, Angel of Hope in as the Commander and still have a functional deck.
The deck plays like a mono-White control list, with only a handful of creatures with a casting cost of less than 5 mana. There are plenty of ways to prevent combat damage and deal with opponents’ biggest threats. However, there are a couple of ways to create a bunch of creatures in a hurry, with the “Miracle” Entreat the Angels and the Enchantment Luminarch Ascension. Those are the primary methods for winning the game outright in the deck. Beyond that, it’s basically just staying in the game until you can drop Avacyn, Angel of Hope and making all of your permanents indestructible.
If you want to spend extra money on the deck, Archangel of Thune and Linvala, Keeper of Silence are nice Angels to have, but aren't integral to the success of the deck. Kozilek, the Great Distortion from Oath of the Gatewatch gives you extra card draw and the ability to counter spells by discarding a card that shares the converted mana cost of the one you are countering. It’s a bit tricky to cast, however, due to requiring 2 mana from purely colorless sources to cast. You may have to swap out some Plains for other colorless sources to facilitate him, but it may be worth it.
Alternatively, you could build a more aggressive list similar to many of the Avacyn, Angel of Hope deck lists featured on EDHREC. However, the Angel of Hope’s ability to make your permanents purely indestructible is a huge advantage over the more “fair” Guardian Angel.
Are there other cards you’d like to play in the deck? Any other Commanders you would like us to cover?