Today’s Standard budget deck, Selesnya Life Gain, requires only eight common, eight uncommon and seven rare wildcards. This assumes you have a few cards unlocked through the new player experience intro decks, particularly the “Lifeline” deck introduced with Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Players who obtained the previous “To Adventure!” deck should get access to the new cards in a patch somewhere in early August. This is a green/white life gain deck with a multitude of life gain synergies legal in the 2022 Standard Best-of-One format.
Selesnya Life Gain has two Clerics that pick up +1/+1 counters whenever we gain life. Trelasarra, Moon Dancer also lets you scry 1 every time, with the only drawback being that she’s legendary. Hallowed Priest is one of those Arena-only cards, which is why the deck can only be played in Best-of-One. Righteous Valkyrie rewards you for playing other Angels and Clerics, which represents the majority of the creatures in this deck. Once you get to the 27 life threshold, you’re also rewarded with an extra teamwide +2/+2 bonus.
Besides Valkyrie, this deck has a couple more repeatable ways to gain life to turn on your life gain synergies. Prosperous Innkeeper gains life whenever a creature comes into play under our control. The extra Treasure it generates gives it the nod over Impassioned Orator, which is also legal in Standard Best-of-One. Soulmender is another Cleric available in Best-of-One that can gain life every turn, whereas Druid Class gains life with every land that’s played.
Cleric Class is another great addition from Forgotten Realms, increasing your life gain on the first level, adding counters on the second level and eventually reanimating a creature on the third level. Lurking Roper doesn’t have the best creature type for the deck, but provides a great board presence for the mana value, with a drawback that’s often advantageous in this deck. Priest of Ancient Lore is another great addition, providing board presence and a life gain trigger while replacing itself.
The extra rare wildcards are spent on a second copy of Valkyrie Harbinger, which can often generate an Angel token the turn it comes into play. Branchloft Pathway will also significantly improve the consistency of your mana base, with plenty of applications in other decks. You get one copy for free in the Lifeline intro deck.
The deck is only legal in Best-of-One Standard due to the inclusion of Hallowed Priest and Soulmender. Nevertheless, if you wanted to modify the deck for Best-of-Three after rotation, a good sideboard includes Cosmos Elixir to fight more controlling strategies with card advantage. Elite Spellbinder is another Cleric that can provide hand disruption against combo and control strategies. Ranger Class is another great inclusion when up against a control deck. The deck doesn’t run any removal in the main, so Inscription of Abundance or Devouring Tendrils can fill that role while also potentially enabling life gain synergies.
The land base can be upgraded to include a few copies of Cave of the Frost Dragon to give the deck an extra late game mana sink. Angel of Destiny could also give us an extra angle (or Angel?) of attack and works wonders alongside Righteous Valkyrie. Skyclave Cleric has the flexibility of being a Cleric that gains life while also being a land.