God-Pharoah's Gift

Sultai God-Pharaoh’s Gift Historic Deck Guide

Now I know what you’re thinking. You want to play a cool new Historic deck, but you can’t give up on Historic’s most broken card. I got you covered. Today, I’m presenting a deck that looked like a meme, but played like a dream, Sultai God-Pharoah’s Gift (GPG). I saw the original list from Rivals Player Yoshihiko “WanderingOnes” Ikawa, and although cool, admittedly, it didn’t look the best.

[sd_deck deck=”RcSg3zJSX”]

Although I had my reservations about the list, there was also a good amount I liked about it immediately. I really like the Gate to the Afterlife versions of GPG in general, but the obvious draw to the list was Uro. With a large number of self mill enablers, Uro is a great backdoor strategy to have when Plan A doesn’t work out. I was a big fan of the Mono Black GPG version back in August, but it always felt like it struggled to win when it didn’t draw a Gate to the Afterlife. Uro is just an obscene card, so being able to shoehorn it into any deck is a big plus. The downsides, however, is that God-Pharaoh's Gift actually seemed very weak in the deck, despite how obscenely powerful the card inherently is. None of your hits were that exciting and somehow Gilded Goose was the best of the bunch.

Although I saw a lot of changes likely needed to be made, I wanted to see how this list felt first so I ran it through some matches at High Mythic on stream. Surprisingly, it went a lot better than I expected record wise, but worse than I expected with how the deck felt. God-Pharaoh's Gift and Uro are amazing cards, and the self mill cards performed extremely well, but the other elements didn’t stack up well and the lack of interaction felt absolutely killer. However, I saw that there was a large amount of potential after a somewhat miraculous 3-0, so I started tuning and tried to fix the holes in the deck.

[sd_deck deck=”c9AjJ5jHm”]

As I said, a lot of the elements of the deck worked well so I didn’t need to do too much, just patch up it’s weak points. Right off the bat, the Cat package felt terrible. Cauldron Familiar needs Mayhem Devil to feel whole, not just a smattering of random creatures. Furthermore, Priest felt really good when I drew it, so I knew I wanted more, and added additional interactive pieces in Ravenous Chupacabra. With these changes, I nabbed an additional 3-0 on stream and knew we were cooking with gas. With the formalities out of the way, let’s break down the card choices.

CARD CHOICES

Emry-Lurker-of-the-Loch-Throne-of-Eldraine-MtG-Art

4 Gilded Goose: A mana accelerant, a life gain engine, and a surprisingly good GPG target, this one drop does it all. You’ll primarily use this to accelerate out your more expensive permanents, but it’s very nice to gain life in a pinch

4 Minister of Inquiries: Having more self mill options is always nice, despite this being nearly a strictly worse Stitcher’s Supplier. That being said, 1 mana to put 6 cards in your graveyard is a very good deal, even if it’s not instant.

4 Stitcher’s Supplier: I don’t know who put Supplier into Historic, but I love them for it. 1 mana to self mill 6 cards is a very nice deal and gives you a free chump block whenever you want it. Great at fueling Uro or Gate to the Afterlife.

2 Brain Maggot: Having interaction in your Historic decks is very important and this deck is no exception. Brain Maggot is worse than Thoughtseize but it provides a body that’s critical to fueling Gate to the Afterlife. Furthermore, Brain Maggot is one of the best targets to get back off of GPG as you can take a potential answer before your opponent has a chance to play it.

4 Priest of Forgotten Gods: All of your 1 drops immediately drop off in usefulness after they’ve come down, so Priest is here to make them good throughout the whole game! Priest allows for some powerful turns in conjunction with Gate as you can quickly fill your graveyard then get two mana to crack the gate! Furthermore, Priest is just back breaking in general against most of the creature strategies as you can reliably activate it multiple times.

4 Emry, Lurker of the Loch: When I first saw Emry, I figured it was just a 1-2 mana mill 4 which seemed very below par and was unsure why it was here. When I played with her, I completely understood. The self mill is gravy, but the real prize is the ability to cast artifacts from your graveyard, most notably, your Gate to the Afterlife. With her threatening to recur Gates, the opponent is generally forced to remove her quickly. 

4 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath: Why this card is still legal I couldn’t tell you, but while it was, may as well use it! Uro is amazing in conjunction with all the self mill and provides a cycle effect if you cast it with a Gate out as well. Be mindful that Uro will sacrifice itself if it comes back off of a GPG.

4 Ravenous Chupacabra: Chup was always one of the best cards in the Mono Black version so I was surprised to not see it included here. Chup is probably the best GPG target and gives you targeted removal which is important for not falling behind. You can board some out, but nearly every matchup plays some amount of good creatures.

4 Gate to the Afterlife: The engine that makes this deck work. Get 6 dudes in your graveyard then crack it for a Gift, nothing too noteworthy here.

2 God-Pharaoh’s Gift: 2 has been nearly agreed upon as the optimal number of Gift in the GPG strategy. Although I can see an argument for 3 as Emry is good at recurring old Gates, drawing them is so bad I think 2 is acceptable. 

24 Lands

SIDEBOARD

Fatal-Push-MtG-Art

2 Fatal Push: We have a lot of removal already but it’s on the slower end. We don’t want to fall behind against faster strategies like Monored or Auras, so having some targeted removal is good.

4 Thoughtseize: A lot of decks have particular cards that are leagues better than the rest of their deck, use Thoughtseize to take them.

2 Brain Maggot: Creature Thoughtseize is good at stalling reactive opponents and nearly being a Thoughtseize versus those who don’t have interaction.

3 Reclamation Sage: There’s a lot of random powerful artifacts and enchantments running about in Historic. The scariest one for this deck is Rest in Peace so we want a lot of answers to it.

1 Hostage Taker: There was a consideration to play Hostage Takers over Chupacabra in the maindeck but I like the guaranteed kill overall. However, Hostage Take overperforms against decks that play creatures but not really any removal as you can pretty safely keep what you steal. Small, but important note, this can also take artifacts.

2 Elder Gargaroth: Sometimes you just need a big beefy boy to help you out. Gargaroth is great in matchups where it’s difficult to kill it and is a great backdoor way to win if the Gate plan doesn’t work out.

1 Massacre Wurm: Arguably the most powerful of all the GPG hits, Wurm was significantly better when Goblins was the most popular deck, but it still has a lot of value being here. Not only is Goblins still relatively popular, it’s insane against any small creature strategy in general.

MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARD GUIDE

Sultai Midrange

InOut
+4 Thoughtseize-4 Gilded Goose
+2 Brain Maggot-2 Priest of Forgotten Gods

Your primary game plan is going to remain the same, try to resolve a GPG against them. We don’t need to be fast necessarily but having interaction is important as your opponent resolving a Nissa or a Hydroid Krasis is an easy way to lose this matchup. It depends on the build but I would say this matchup is pretty even.

Jund Sacrifice

InOut
+2 Fatal Push-2 Brain Maggot
+4 Thoughtseize-4 Priest of Forgotten Gods
+1 Hostage Taker-4 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
+2 Elder Gargaroth
+1 Massacre Wurm

For Mono Black this matchup felt unwinnable, but I like our odds here way more since we have better threats and interaction. They are likely to keep their Claim the Firstborn so you have to get rid of all of your good targets and Brain Maggot is obviously quite bad against Mayhem Devil. I’m unsure about the Thoughtseize as the lists can vary a lot, but nabbing powerful cards like Collected Company or Klothys, God of Destiny seems very important. Despite Cat/Oven being very scary in general, I think Reclamation Sage is simply too narrow.

Goblins

InOut
+2 Fatal Push-4 Gilded Goose
+4 Thoughtseize-4 Priest of Forgotten Gods
+2 Brain Maggot-2 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
+1 Hostage Taker
+1 Massacre Wurm

For Goblins we slow down our main game plan and attempt to interact with them a lot more. GPG is still how you’ll generally win, but you need to stop a devastating Muxus from resolving as best as you can. We have a lot of removal and a functional 8 Thoughtseize so that shouldn’t be supremely difficult to accomplish.

Auras

InOut
+2 Fatal Push-4 Minister of Inquiries
+4 Thoughtseize-4 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
+2 Brain Maggot-4 Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
+3 Reclamation Sage
+1 Hostage Taker

Auras lists can vary greatly, but the game plan is the same, don’t let them overwhelm you with a big creature. With lists that play a lot of Hushbringer, Uro becomes a lot better so you could put some back in over Gilded Goose. Keep Thoughtseize-ing them and taxing their protection spells and you’ll be fine.

Gruul / Mono Red

InOut
+2 Fatal Push-2 Brain Maggot
+1 Hostage Taker-3 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
+2 Elder Gargaroth

Like a lot of the board plans, we slightly detract from our main game plan to better interact with theirs. If you get a Gate or an Uro early, it’s very hard to lose these matchups and even without those you can still play a reasonable game against them.

That’s what I have for today! If you like my content and want to see more of it, you can check me out on Twitch! Have a nice day!

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DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on
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