Resplendent Angel Art by Volkan Baga

Explorer Selesnya Angels Deck Guide – Obliterate Creature Decks

Looking to smash some of those pesky creature decks? Skura is here to give you the exact deck you need! Find out what the best list for Angels is and why it's so well positioned right now in Explorer!

Selesnya Angels in Explorer is fundamentally a creature deck that aims to abuse the synergies between the creatures played, all by gaining life. The deck is very difficult to race as it can get 5 to even 15 life in a single turn which throws off the math completely. Creatures also have a lot of toughness which makes them very good at blocking. All in all, it’s a very good deck in fair creature metagames.

(E) Selesnya Angels
by DoggertQBones
Explorer
best of 3
5 mythic
39 rare
4 uncommon
12 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Planeswalkers (1)
Instants (4)
60 Cards
$576.22
15 Cards
$91.25
Please insert deck uuid. click the edit button for this block.

Deck Tech

Giada, Font of Hope Art by Eric Deschamps
Giada, Font of Hope Art by Eric Deschamps

As mentioned above, it’s a creature synergy deck so the vast majority of the deck is going to consist of creatures. Let’s break them down by creature type:

Angels

Youthful Valkyrie is our angel two-drop of choice. Upon entry, it provides us with a good blocking body. All the subsequently played angels make it bigger, as if it’s a white Ledger Shredder counterpart. Already as a 2/4 or 3/5 it’s almost unkillable and roadblocks combat very well.

Giada, Font of Hope is a relatively fresh addition from Streets of New Capenna. It made the deck much more reliable as the deck has historically been flush with 3-drops making it very clunky. Now, it has a two-mana lord of sorts which also adds mana. Thanks to its vigilance ability, you can both attack and post-combat add mana. for additional value That’s also why it’s key to remember the creature types as you can spend its mana only on creatures with angel subtype.

Resplendent Angel is a part of a game winning curve with turn one one-drop, turn two Bishop of Wings into Resplendent Angel. It results in you getting a 4/4 angel off the trigger, and of course, a bunch of life. It’s very difficult then to grind through two creatures with 4 toughness and two flyers. It also has an activated ability which shines in those games when you’re flooded a bit.

Angel Clerics

Righteous Valkyrie is arguably the strongest angel in our repertoire. First, it has 4 toughness which is very relevant. In addition, it gains a ton of life thanks to it’s trigger. With multiple Valkyries on the battlefield, especially off of Collected Company, you will have gained upwards of ten life in a single turn. It’s buff gets turned on relatively often so you can actually go hard aggro mode seemingly out of nowhere.

Inspiring Overseer is also a new addition. It’s not that great on rate, but providing that card draw can be game-winning. It’s a great way to turn Collected Company, a card advantage engine, into an even more pronounced advantage. Despite its lackluster rate, it makes up for it in just being an angel and, hence, triggering all the synergies.

Clerics

Speaker of the Heavens and Lunarch Veteran are our only one-drops. They both serve the function of gaining life and having relevant creature types. Speaker sometimes dominates the game thanks to its activated ability.

Bishop of Wings is a very innocuously powerful card. It provides a very strong blocking body, gains a ton of life, and even provides mass removal insurance thanks to its last ability. Don’t underestimate playing with or against it.

Now, let’s discuss the non-creatures that the deck usually plays in the main.

Collected Company is our main card advantage. Its arguably the strongest in this deck as it enables a lot of synergies. Getting two creatures when they can both trigger each other’s abilities and synergise with what’s already on the battlefield can spell disaster for the opponent. It’s also an instant speed spell which makes it very annoying for the opponent as you can cast CoCo mid their attacks and blow them out with good blocks.

Ajani, Strength of the Pride is sometimes played main and/or side with the intention of being a threat that’s not removed by conventional creature removal. Its {0} ability is wins games on the spot. The biggest issue with playing multiple Ajanis, despite their strength, is the fact that they are not creatures which makes CoCo worse and it does not synergise with the rest of the creatures in the deck.


MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARD GUIDE

Righteous Valkyrie Art by Chris Rahn
Righteous Valkyrie Art by Chris Rahn

Rakdos Midrange

INOUT
+1 Shalai, Voice of Plenty-3 Lunarch Veteran
+1 Shapers' Sanctuary
+1 Lyra Dawnbringer

We need to squeeze out every 2-for-1 that we can — usually in the form of Collected Company and lifegain/angel synergies which produce more angel tokens. Our creatures having a lot of toughness is not irrelevant in the face of Bonecrusher Giant.

Late in the game, you can sandbag a land so that you don’t get draw step Kolaghan's Command-ed. You can consider siding in Reidane, God of the Worthy to make their planeswalkers more expensive.

I don’t side in Rest in Peace as there is usually only Kroxa, the Death’s Hunger, but if you see more graveyard synergies feel free to go for it.

Rakdos Sacrifice

INOUT
+1 Shalai, Voice of Plenty-4 Inspiring Overseer
+1 Shapers' Sanctuary-1 Collected Company
+2 Yasharn, Implacable Earth
+1 Lyra Dawnbringer

A pretty good matchup. Their ping damage with Cauldron Familiar does not do much against us. Yasharn, Implacable Earth singlehandedly can win the matchup, although it cannot be played with Collected Company.

Be mindful of specific versions. If you see a lot of graveyard synergies, bring in Rest in Peace. I like Lyra Dawnbringer here as Fatal Push does not kill it and it completely swings combat around in your favour. I like trimming on CoCo when I bring in a bunch of non-CoCo targets.

Azorius Control

INOUT
+2 Reidane, God of the Worthy-4 Lunarch Veteran
+2 Heroic Intervention

Our main plan is not to get easily swept by them with Depopulate or Shatter the Sky. Their deck is very clunky, so we need to leverage that. In addition, casting multiple spells per turn is your best friend to minimize the impact of countermagic for which they have to usually tap out turns 3-4.

Try to cast Collected Company on their upkeep if you don’t fear a mass removal or end step if you do.

Mono Red Aggro

INOUT
+1 Shalai, Voice of Plenty-1 Ajani, Strength of the Pride

When a red deck sees the deck, it knows it’s toast. Bishop of Wings is a nightmare for Mono Red. Most often, Bishop will successfully block a creature and then get killed through some damage-based removal which is a good trade for us.

A single Collected Company can swing the game around if you hit two three-drop angels. Their main chance at winning is if you have kept a slow hand with low-toughness creatures and preferably kill you before CoCo gets on line. Tough order and that’s why it’s a good matchup.

Greasefang

INOUT
+2 Rest in Peace-1 Ajani, Strength of the Pride
-1 Inspiring Overseer

What I’ve found is that, even if they do their thing, you can overcome it, especially on the play. Nevertheless, we still want to stop them in their tracks. The more interactive they are, the worse it is for us. Our goldfish is in my opinion better as we both expand the board and get a bunch of life. If we make our creatures bigger with Righteous Valkyrie, we won’t even flinch at them getting all those Angels with Parhelion II.

Mono Blue Spirits

INOUT
+1 Lyra Dawnbringer-2 Lunarch Veteran
+2 Reidane, God of the Worthy-1 Ajani, Strength of the Pride

Predictably, they’ve got a hard time overcoming our board once it’s established. Flying creatures are at a premium. However, it might be tough to resolve our 3-drops in the face of their countermagic so if they get the upper hand early, it might be quite tough to come back.

I like Reidane, God of the Worthy mainly as a flyer. You might steal an occasional game if you play against an opponent who chose to play all snow basics.


Tips and Tricks

Youthful Valkyrie Art by Anna Steinbauer
Youthful Valkyrie Art by Anna Steinbauer
  • There could be marginal situations when you want to put exactly one creature off of Collected Company and you can. CoCo does not make you have to put two creatures.
  • When you CoCo into two creatures and it makes multiple triggers to go on the stack, you can stack them any way you want.
  • If you CoCo into two Youthful Valkyrie, they both see each other and will both get one counter.
  • If you use the {0} ability of Ajani, Strength of the Pride, your opponent may respond by dealing you damage to get you below the required 15 life threshold.
  • Thanks to Speaker of the Heavens vigilance, you can first attack with it and then activate it.
  • You can suicide attack with your Speaker of the Heavens just to get the life needed for other synergies.
  • If you have Luminous Phantom (other side of Lunarch Veteran) and the opponent casts a mass removal spell, you’ll get life for each creature you lose, but not the Phantom itself.
  • Always remember which creatures have which creature type – Cleric, Angel.
  • Resplendent Angel ability grants it lifelink which conveniently enough makes the angel deal 5 lifelink damage which then triggers itself to create a 4/4 Angel.
  • You will get an angel off of Resplendent Angel even if the Angel did not ‘see’ you gain the life.
  • Righteous Valkyrie triggers on both Angels and Clerics.
  • If you have multiple Righteous Valkyrie and you meet the second ability’s condition, you’re getting multiple +2/+2 buffs.
  • Inspiring Overseer gains you 1 life with its draw a card trigger. While 1hp might not be relevant itself, it might trigger some other cards of yours such as Resplendent Angel.
Card Kingdom - Double Masters 2022
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Skura

Also known as Skura or IslandsInFront on Twitter and YouTube, Filip started his career upon the release of Gatecrash and has been passing the turn in all formats ever since. He coaches and creates written and video content, mainly centered around the control archetype. He is passionate about Magic game theory and countering spells. Outside of Magic, he is a fan of snooker/pool, chess and Project Management.

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