Deck of the Day: U/W God-Pharaohs Gift

It’s not every day you get a card that allows you to search your library, hand, and graveyard for a copy of a named card that has yet to see print. When this does happen, it tends to be a gimmick that isn’t ready for tournament play.

Not this time.

God-Pharaoh’s Gift lets you effectively eternalize a creature and give it haste every turn. This means that you’re making 4/4 Zombies with haste that get access to all of their usual enters-the-battlefield triggers every single turn. They also don’t go away at end of turn, so you can amass a massive army without any future investment. That does require you to pay 7 mana for the Gift and have creatures in your graveyard, but there are ways to get your powerful artifact into play on the cheap. You also need to load your graveyard up with creatures to maximize the Gift, and this deck has plenty of synergies to accomplish both tasks simultaneously.

Gate to the Afterlife referred to God-Pharaoh’s Gift before we had any idea what it was going to be. I’m sure many people forgot about it, especially with how weak Gate looked. For 3 mana, you’re getting no impact on the board whatsoever. When a nontoken creature dies, you get to loot and gain a life, which is okay, but not exciting. In a deck that’s looking to load up the graveyard, that becomes much more interesting. Gate also requires 6 creatures in your graveyard to turn on, and at that point you can spend just 2 mana to get a Gift into play. The Gate helps fuel itself with the looting ability, and even chump-blocking can become  favorable at that point, putting your opponent in a tough position.

With the looting and other self-mill options, Refurbish becomes a great way to get either of your combo artifacts into the graveyard. Strategic Planning allows you to dig 3 cards deeper for what you need while  loading up the graveyard, pulling double-duty here. Ipnu Rivulet gives you a land that you can cash in for some additional mill value.

Minister of Inquiries is  integral to this strategy. While you aren’t playing ways to gain additional energy, getting 6 more cards into your graveyard helps enable both Gate to the Afterlife and Refurbish. That it’s a creature to fill your graveyard is an additional bonus.

Champion of Wits is a great way to get Gifts out of your hand and into your graveyard, dig deeper, and get more creatures in the ‘yard. Champion also is a great card advantage source once you’re making 4/4s. It’s important to note that Gift isn’t legendary nor does it target, so you can have two in play, have one return a Champion to draw 4 and discard 2, and then have the second Gift return something you discarded.

Thraben Inspector and Mausoleum Wanderer give you some early game and value. Clues or countering spells are both useful, and they add additional creatures that you’re happy to see die in order to trigger Gate or return with Gift.

Cataclysmic Gearhulk is the reset button, letting you keep around one of your big artifacts and your best creature while killing many things on the opponent’s board. With just a Gate in play, you can  use Gearhulk to kill most of your own creatures, gain a bunch of life, loot a bunch of times, and then have your Gate become active to go find Gift.

Angel of Invention is the  end game. Returning an Angel with a Gift gives you either a 6/6 flying lifelink with vigilance and haste, or a 4/4 flying lifelink vigilance haste with a pair of 2/2 blockers left on the ground. One of these will often spell the end of the game, but chaining them together will allow you to beat even Ormendahl.

This strategy has been exploding in popularity and for good reason. It’s incredibly powerful and super cool. Graveyard shenanigans got an absurdly powerful new toy in God-Pharaoh’s Gift that should be a real game-changer in Standard for a long time.

U/W God-Pharaohs Gift

OLIVETTI, 1st Place in an MTGO PTQ

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