Raging Levine – The God Pack

Hey folks! There’s been so much talk recently about Journey into Nyx, especially with these “God packs” being opened. I’ve been wanting to talk about the new Gods in JOU, and I was thinking about deck lists while I was opening my Sealed pool yesterday at one of our local release events. Obviously, people were talking about the God packs, so I thought to myself, “what would I do if I opened a God pack?”

Well, clearly, I’d build a Commander deck! I suppose I could build 15 Commander decks, but that doesn’t sound nearly as fun as building one sweet one with all 15 Gods. But, as they say, who is driving? None of the 15 Gods are driving? How can that be?

What better way to exalt the gods of Theros than to juxtapose them against the fakest god in all of Otaria? Seriously, Cromat just isn’t as much fun as Karona in this context. Plus, we can choose the creature type “God” – how many times in your life will you ever get to do that?

So what goes in this deck? Well, I want to make sure we balance our mana symbols as much as possible across the 5 colors. We might have to play some artifacts in order to make the mana we need to make, but I’m going to try to avoid that as much as I can. Let’s start with the 15 things we need to start with:

So these cards are obviously not all trying to do the same thing at the same time. That’s okay, because they’re going to be big indestructible beatdown machines once we get them online. We’ll have some ways to cheat the gods into play, but we don’t want to fill ourselves with hubris, so we’ll need some mana as well. With all the cool types of mana we’re going to have, we’ll be able to cast some extremely multicolored creatures. Hmm… I’m having trouble thinking of multicolored creatures…

Remember, we’re unlikely to have a ton one type of mana all at once, so we want our permanents like this so that they can be castable and useful to multiple gods. Are all of the Nephilim amazing? No, but they do the job. (Plus, we’ll do something fun with Ink-Treader at some point, I promise.)

Those are just the beginning of our multicolored creature bonanza, however. If we’re going to go for it, let’s go for it all the way, right?

Yep, these are some 5-color monstrosities. Maelstrom Archangel is a great way to get these gods into play, and Fusion Elemental is just cool and big while having a mana cost that contributes a devotion point or two to every god in the Theros pantheon.

Not a creature, but I think it’s important for us to be able to cascade from one god into another. That sounds like fun, right? Fun is good. That’s why I think we should have a little fun with our theme and add some godlike cards from the past that happen to be costed in a way that will help us get our indestructible monstrosities online…

You’ll notice Godhead of Awe isn’t on this list. That’s because it turns all of our gods into a 1/1. That’s not okay – Gods are awesome, and they need to stay awesome instead of being in awe of some humility knockoff. In place of Godhead of Awe, I need to include five U/W hybrid symbols to keep our balance as even as possible. So, what can we include to fix that problem?

The Gods of Theros just love enchantments, so why not make everything an enchantment? Appropriate, I think. Speaking of enchantments, I’ve got one more that I think merits a spot…

Your spell is Birds! My spells are Gods! And they’re all creatures! Okay, we have a couple of non-creatures, but I think that with this many gods we’ll be well on our way to outclassing any birds our opponents might or might not control.

So now that we’ve got the hybrid angle, let’s see if we can find some three-color cards that will contribute to the devotion angle. I think one per shard (or non-shard) will probably work out well for us.

Esper comes in early with a nice heavy hitter for us. This ought to be a good card to support our gods – every good god needs a champion, and this sphinx is a champion that’s much harder to defeat than that one guy in Game of Thrones. (You know the one I mean.)

With gods come angels, and this card fits that bill quite nicely while still having three colors in its cost and some amazing art to go with it. We don’t need mono-8 drops, and this is a good enough mid-game creature to play in a deck like this even if it might miss the cut in others.

Bant is here to rock the house with a classic creature-theft effect. You should have one of these if you opened the Derevi precon, so if you’re building along at home, go ahead and grab it now. Stealing things might not be godly, but it will up our devotion count, so take whatever you can to turn your gods on. Remember, you can always switch what you’ve taken if you have a new, more important god suddenly!

While I’m not a huge fan of the Wayne Reynolds style, I do like this creature because it lets us grab things to increase our devotion. I know we’re sort of a slave to increasing our devotion in this deck (though not with Increasing Devotion, which makes stupid costless tokens) but it’s important to note that this deck wants to win with a Karona-powered god alpha strike, and without devotion, we can’t do that.

See my description of Tariel above, only with more dragon-ness. Karador was briefly considered for this slot, but then I remembered what indestructible meant.

I know this throws our mana count off by one in favor of green, but I’ll correct that later. I can’t resist playing a card named Godsire in a deck full of gods! (Don’t get me started about Godtoucher. That card was in the deck originally, but Heliod sued. It was awkward.)

Okay, now we’re up a black mana, but again, how can I resist the most powerful planeswalker of all time? Nicol Bolas is so powerful that Patrick Chapin wrote a song about him that has an extended edition to boot! Nicol Bolas is …

Uh, hang on. I’m being told that Jace, the Mind Sculptor is the one the song is about. That’s really not important, though. What’s important is that, if you ignore mana cost, Nicol Bolas is better than all the other planeswalkers put together. Does this beat out every other Grixis card for this spot? Yes, very easily.

Cascade, cascade. There, there. You’ll have just as much fun casting this spell someday as I will in this deck. I don’t care what you’ve cascaded into – you haven’t lived until you’ve cast this with Maelstrom Nexus in play and cascaded into three gods.

Okay, so now we’re up a red mana symbol… or are we just down a blue and a white at this point? I think that’s more accurate to say. We’ll fix that in post-production. The more important thing to know is that eight-mana haymakers aren’t the only things in our deck, but they are some of the best things. Just watch out for Karrthus!

This didn’t seem good at first glance, but then I remembered that this deck wants to hit its land drops every turn until the game is over. Seriously, every turn. That means we’re going to need to draw cards, and Damia will help us refill after we’ve gone deep and played a lot of sweet ones.

Let’s take a quick second and fix our issue – since we’re down a white and a blue mana symbol, we can add a good multicolor card to keep the balance. How about…

There’s nothing gods love more than some good banter during a filibuster. Think about it – history has so many great filibusters. Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? That amazing West Wing episode with the positive message about autism research and fighting for what you believe in? The hilarious Patton Oswalt filibuster in Season 5 of Parks and Rec?

…Okay, real-life filibusters are awful, but honestly, I hope our opponents let us win with this, because that would be amazing. Speaking of amazing, I have some ideas for cool enchantments we can toss in here. Let’s start with this one:

“I’ll cast Heliod,” he said, “and I’ll use Wild Pair to tutor up Keranos.” The table seemed to lurch under the weight of the godly might on Eric’s side of the table. Boys became men. Men became wolves. Doves cried (and scaped.) Somewhere in the woods, a porcupine fainted.

And for a moment, Magic Online was totally stable and bug-free.

Sometimes you can’t cast Nicol Bolas with the eight lands you have, but you really need to kill your opponent, who is at 8. Fire away, folks!

I debated Conspiracy to make everything gods, but then who would be special in this crazy world? Not the gods, that’s who. Instead, our opponents’ creatures will betray them and swear their undead allegiance to the true gods (and one false one.)

What’s better than getting enough devotion to make your god a creature?

Doing it at instant speed by casting ANOTHER GOD. WHAT.

If the Gods can’t win, then dang it, nobody can. This game will end in a draw! A draw, I say! (NB: If your friends try to strangle you for casting this, try Martial Law.)

We’re running out of room, but I think you know what these gods need to finish off the deck: some good, old-fashioned wrath.

At this point we’re out of room for things that aren’t lands, given that we’ve got so many bizarrely costed cards in this deck and so much devotion to give them. At least the mana symbols are spread evenly across colors for the permanents in the deck! So, what does it look like at the end? Let’s see…

Commander: Karona, False God

Okay, that’s it! I’m DEFINITELY recording a video with this, so keep an eye out for it. That takes us through all the Journey into Nyx Gods, so… wait, you want me to make a deck for every god because this deck is ridiculous and impractical? Okay, fine. But try it! It’s either totally sweet or totally unplayable!

-Eric “Raging” Levine
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@RagingLevine on Twitter

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