Archetune-Up - Pantheon of the False God
(l Art by Richard Wright)
Those Who Bring Nothing Take Nothing Away
Hello, and welcome back to Archetune-Up, an article series devoted to using the Theme pages on EDHREC to help tweak a reader-submitted deck!
Over my first three months on Archetune-Up we've already hit all five colors; we've looked over a mono-red deck, a Sultai deck, and a mono-white deck, so today we are combining them all with a five-color deck, submitted by Daniel Guerrera (@DannyG237)!
Dan's original deck was a God Tribal deck with an Angel subtheme, using Karona at the helm. This list hasn't been updated since before Amonkhet block, so he asked me see what changes I could suggest. His only stipulations were that I had to keep, , the God Tribal theme in the deck. Let's take a look at the list.
Karona, False God
As we can see, Dan is super heavy on theme here, with all five of Karona's Decrees,, and 41 creatures that almost are all either Gods or Angels. It pains me to say this, but I think this deck may be a bit too thematically heavy, even for me.
With an average CMC of 4.97, a severe lack of card draw, and a plan that consists of dropping high-cost Angels and Gods, the deck feels super clunky. The most obvious way to fix an issue like this is with the addition of card draw and mana ramp, but before I made even the most minor of changes, I wanted to hammer out the direction that I wanted to take the deck.
Unlike my previous articles, where I've tried to pull from at least three different Themes on the site, I decided to embrace Dan's enthusiasm for themes and go deep into just two of them. Due to this, I had to make a tough choice. There wasn't room to jam a copious amount of Gods and Angels while still having the deck running smoothly. Much like my last article, I was caught between trying to either balance an Angel subtheme, or cutting it completely. Because Dan wanted to keep the God theme first and foremost, the Angels lost out once again. Aside from Avacyn, all Angels in the deck were removed in order to solidify the decks functionality. One day we will have an Angel deck in this series, just won't be this month.
Never be Afraid to Trust an Unknown Future to a Known God
The first and most obvious place to look was for ideas the God Tribal page. Instead of just throwing in all 28 Gods, I decided to focus mainly on the Theros Gods since Dan had already added all 15 to the deck. But Gods aren't the only thing that is page had to offer - there's a second theme on that page, which we'll get to later. For now, let's look at the non-Theros Gods we can add to the deck.
Two of the Gods from Hour of Devastation,and , wandered their way into the deck. Besides being the correct creature type, both of these cards are powerful in their own right. As long as they are not exiled, every time they die they will return to your hand. Getting into specifics, can make you a Zombie army while providing welcome graveyard hate. , on the other hand is much more subtle. It will make you 1/1 flying, hasty chumps whenever you draw a card, which we will end up doing a lot of in the final version of this deck. They also synergize with , who will damage each opponent when you make an Insect, or , who will ensure you get one Insect a turn, and will therefore allow you to draw a card each turn!
and are the only two Gods from War of the Spark to be included in the deck. While was a consideration, the thought of the Theros Gods not always being creatures and making his ability moot made me reconsider him. Oketra, like , will help us amass a large army of 4/4s while being hard to deal with in her own right. Since removing the Angels from the original list, we are now down to about 30 creatures in the deck, but that is still more than enough to get value from Oketra over a long game. Conversely, Bontu is here to quickly turn any unneeded permanents into gas to keep the deck functioning. Whether we're getting rid of lands, any of our (now) plentiful enchantments, or tiny creatures, Bontu has the ability to synergize with and . It's great when the fickle gods can all get along.
Sadly, none of the Gods from Amonkhet made the cut.came close, since she would allow us to pitch extra cards we will draw to deal damage to the table. In the end though, I couldn't find room, though she would be the most welcome addition out of the five available Gods from the set.
Since we're in all five colors, I figured that this is a good place to add. Nearly 40 of our cards can be cast with when we use all five colors to cast it!
The last five cards from the God Tribal page were the catalyst for the second thematic direction I decided to take the deck. These cards are , , , , and . Knowing that the deck's average CMC was going to be a bit on the higher side, I figured that the pillowfort effects would be highly beneficial. They also do a good job at preventing Karona from attacking you during your opponents' turns!
If my math is correct, that means at bare minimum, we already have 20 enchantments in the deck. This became my jumping-off point for the second theme.is one in a long subset of permanents that draw you cards when you play enchantments. What if we decided to turn the dial on enchantments all the way up? Unlike Angels, enchantments can provide ways for us to draw cards and ramp, while also providing synergy with our Theros Gods!
The Embodiment of our Aspirations
This line of thought immediately lead me to the Enchantment theme. Here is where I was became engrossed in the options available to the deck. Due to my unceremonious gutting of the Angel theme, I was able to dedicate over 25 slots (a quarter of the deck!) to work with Theros's pantheon.
I would be remiss if I attempted to make a deck with an enchantment subtheme and didn't add all the enchantresses available. While we already added, we have six others available to us: , , , , , and . acts as a pseudo-enchantress, drawing cards whenever an enchanted or enchantment creature attacks. In the final version of the deck, there are 35 enchantments, so we will be able to draw plenty of cards off this core set of creatures.
In an attempt to create a critical mass of enchantments in the deck, and usingas inspiration, I decided to look into how enchantment creatures and Constellation could help improve the deck.
Surprisingly, black has some of the strongest Constellation effects available.is an underrated, repeatable way to exile opposing graveyards, and one of the few that leaves yours intact too! is another overlooked enchantment creature that can shred your opponents' hands with ease. Finally, , the bane of token decks everywhere. It can easily wipe the entire board should enough enchantments enter the battlefield in a turn. It is one of the strongest cards we can include to keep creatures in check.
Our ramp package is split between "traditional" ramp likeand enchantment ramp like . These cards fix our mana, which means that playing our expensive spells now shouldn't be an issue. Four of our ramp spells even cantrip thanks to our enchantresses, so they won't even be dead draws late game!
The last few cards are strong enchantments that have no particular synergy with the deck outside of their card type.is practically a in this deck. will help us mitigate the card draw issue the deck suffered from. Lastly, makes your already indestructible or hard-to-kill Gods even more of a pain to deal with. It can also tutor for any enchantment when you need it!
It would be a mistake to have a five-color enchantress deck and not include. Slap it on Karona, or a God, and you'll be hitting opponents for a ton of damage! Karona may not be the best target for , since your opponents will also be gaining life from her attacks, but it will put her in range to knock someone out from three hits of commander damage.
Two cards that I'm surprised are missing from the Enchantment Theme page are and . At first, looks like a bad mana rock, but it is deceptively good in this deck. Should you decide to cast it for just a single green mana, you guarantee yourself a Constellation or enchantress trigger every turn since it will bounce itself back to your hand on your upkeep. On top of that, it can be used as a rock if you need the mana. can loop with , so you're always able to get back any enchantment you need when you need them.
Absence Makes the Heart... Wish it had Made Different Cuts
This article's Lightning Round is dedicated to the unsung heroes of deckbuilding - cards that just missed the mark, or cards that paved the way so others could be included. Here I will be talking about my cuts, and potential improvements and adjustments that could be made to the deck down the road.
is a contender as an alternate commander to this deck, as it would reduce the costs of your Gods. It could also potentially allow you to dial back the pillowfort effects a bit, since he won't have the potential to attack you the way Karona does.
Sadly,and were the last two cards cut from the deck. They're powerful and on-theme - what other Planeswalker gets to flaunt "God" in their title? - but there just wasn't room.
and the cycle could be swapped with the pillowfort effects if you so choose. Each of these puts Karona into the "Three-Hit Club" on commander damage, while ensuring that she will never swing your way.
and are enchantment versions of which will trigger all of your enchantresses and can be recurred with and for added value. They would be solid additions.
If you wanted to spring for some more token-based shenanigans with your enchantments,, , and are your jam. They are a good include should you choose to forego the God theme or choose to enhance it, since five of your gods synergize with, or make tokens of their own.
Any of the manyvariants work well in this deck. Most of the time they will be a three-ish mana removal spell that cantrips thanks to your enchantresses. Solid value all around.
Finally, literally any instants would be welcome. When building a highly thematic deck, I like to focus on the theme first and foremost. Then, after a few games, I prune the deck a bit to add generally good cards. This is how we ended up with a deck with zero instants. For a while it had the usual, , s, etc. in it, but I opted to not include them in the first draft of the deck. These are fantastic cards that I would suggest adding in after you get three or four games under your belt so you know what you can cut for them. In my opinion, the most important hing about a first draft of a deck is knowing your theme can work, not that you're running the most optimal or powerful spells right off the bat.
Better to be Beneath a God's Notice Than Beneath Their Heel
Whenever I've seen Karona, she's been used as a meme commander, or she is being used simply for her colors. It was nice to sit down and tune up a deck that actually incorporated her into the plan and wanted to cast her.
Despite going deep on only two themes in this deck, we had plenty to talk about, and even more cards than we could have added into the deck. I know I say this every article, bit the pages on EDHREC are incredible. They are a wealth of knowledge and provide a plethora of deck building options that everyone can and should take advantage of.
If you would like to submit a deck for me to tune-up with the help of the Theme pages, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or get my attention on Twitter @thejesguy!
Thanks for reading, and as always, thanks for arche-tuning in!
Pantheon of the False God
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