Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Angels in Magic: The Gathering
Typically the strongest (and most mana-expensive) creatures in the white camp's arsenal, angels have faithfully served their masters since Magic's debut. Usually wielding high battle stats, angels also employ flying to soar over ground-based blockers as well as a variety of potent defensive abilities.
We've previously explored the game's most powerful seraphim, but with dozens of divine warriors remaining, which heavenly servants reign supreme? These are 10 more of the best angels in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Angel of Deliverance
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 8
One of the most expensive creatures in the game, Angel of Deliverance drains you of eight mana, so be sure to stock up on those Plains with enchantments like Land Tax. Deliverance's stats of 6/6 are a tad low for its high price, but it wields the expected flying trait and an awesome delirium ability: as long as there are four or more card types in your graveyard, whenever Deliverance deals damage, you exile a target creature your opponent controls.
By the stages of the game where you're able to play Deliverance, your graveyard should be filled with the brim with plenty of enchantments, artifacts, sorceries, instants, and creatures to meet the delirium criteria, and the effect activates regardless of whether Deliverance is dealing damage to your opponent, one of their creatures, or one of their planeswalkers. Additionally, exiling is the best form of removal since it prevents the chance of a graveyard revival.
9. Angel of Despair
Throw some Swamps into your deck alongside Plains to wield the black-and-white Angel of Despair. Her 5/5 (five power and five toughness) stats are only average for her seven cost, but she brandishes flying and a sweet entry trait: When Despair joins the fray, you destroy a target permanent your opponent controls. This can eliminate opposing artifacts, creatures, or enchantments, but can also be used as a more-rare planeswalker or land removal.
Using cards like Sheoldred, Whispering One, be sure to keep cycling Despair between your hand, field, and graveyard to activate her effect multiple times and obliterate your opponent's forces.
8. Angel of Invention
The first thing you may notice about Invention is her dreadful 2/1 stats considering her price, but don't worry, she more than compensates. Not only is she cheaper than most angels, Invention bears flying (duh), vigilance, and lifelink. The vigilance trait lets her attack without tapping, while lifelink gains you a corresponding amount of life whenever she deals damage, both useful boons.
Additionally, Invention's Fabricate 2 ability lets you either place two +1/+1 counters on her or create two 1/1 servo artifact creature tokens when she enters the field. The better choice depends on the current gamestate, but I'd often pick the former to boost Invention to respectable 4/3 battle stats and make the most of her lifelink. That said, as a final bonus, Invention buffs all other creatures you control by +1/+1, so your servo tokens would receive a nice upgrade, and Invention remains one of the most tragically underestimated Magic cards available.
7. Sigarda, Host of Herons
The green-and-white camp harnesses many powerful defensive spells, one example being Sigarda, Host of Herons. Her 5/5 stats do justice to her five-mana price, she has flying, and she adopts the rare hexproof ability, preventing your opponent from targeting her with any effects.
Beyond that, Sigarda also prevents your opponents from making you sacrifice permanents with their cards. This helpfully defends against several black induced-sacrifice effects as well as the fierce Eldrazi clan, whose annihilator abilities would otherwise have you forfeiting several of your cards with each attack.
6. Deathless Angel
Slightly more expensive than Sigarda but still cheaper than some of her brethren, Deathless Angel arrives as an impressive 5/7 with flying. She also wields a mana ability that lets you spend two white mana to grant a creature indestructible until the end of the turn. Indestructible is one of the best defenses in the game as it guards against the most common form of removal, the ability activates at instant speed on any turn or phase, and you're welcome to target Deathless with her own effect if you like.
I definitely place her into any angel build to give my units a shield when necessary, and she works great for protecting the angel-combo effect Kaalia of the Vast employs. You can also use the ability multiple times in a single turn as long as you have the resources to consume, and despite her strength, the lowest prices I could find on Deathless Angel only cost around two dollars to buy!
5. Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Like all legendary units, Akroma, Angel of Wrath adheres to the legend rule, meaning you can only control one of her at once. Luckily, she balances her hefty mana price with a heap of useful abilities: flying, first strike (letting her deal damage before getting hit back), vigilance, trample (letting excess damage to blockers bleed through to your opponent), haste (letting her attack/tap the turn she arrives), and protection from black and red.
Protection from red and black means she can't be dealt damage, blocked by, or targeted with any red or black spells, letting your rival's units betray them simply based on their colors. On top of her other numerous attributes, Akroma will rapidly decimate your opponent's army while nimbly avoiding most damage.
4. Angel of the Dire Hour
With 5/4 power and toughness, Angel of the Dire Hour ranks a bit low for a seven-cost creature, but she wields flying and the valued flash effect, letting you cast her at instant speed.
You'll likely want to save her until your opponent swings at you with a large band of monsters, confident of victory. At that point, cast Dire Hour and watch your opponent despair as her effect exiles all attacking creatures they control. This usefully removal prevents graveyard rebirths, typically eliminates several units at once, and since it doesn't target, it circumvents hexproof, protection, and shroud. After your mass opposing field-wipe, Dire Hour will simply serve as a study warrior to finish off your foe's weakened remnants.
3. Gisela, the Broken Blade/Brisela, Voice of Nightmares
For only four mana, Gisela, the Broken Blade ranks among the cheapest of angels, yet she brandishes a respectable 4/3 battle stats. Additionally, she has flying, first strike, and lifelink, further adding to her prowess and helpfully replenishing your life points.
If during your end step you control both Gisela and Bruna, the Fading Light, the two meld together into the daunting Eldrazi Brisela, Voice of Nightmares. It wields 9/10 stats, flying, first strike, vigilance, and lifelink, and it also prevents your opponents from casting any spells with a CMC or three or less! Formidable on her own, lethal when combined with Bruna, Gisela easily proves her worth. And speaking of her ally...
2. Bruna, the Fading Light/Brisela, Voice of Nightmares
Like Gisela, Bruna is legendary, so you'll only be able to field one at once, but either can serve as your commander in EDH format. Bruna costs three more mana than Gisela, but she wields 5/7 stats, flying, and vigilance. Additionally, when you cast her, you may return a target angel or human from your graveyard to your battlefield.
Angels and humans are some of the most common units in white, giving you many options to revive, and Bruna's ability works great for recycling a defeated Gisela back onto the field to fuse into Brisela, Voice of Nightmares.
1. Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
As impressive as Gisela's first form was, she also enjoys access to a red-and-white legendary build. 5/5 stats certainly aren't low, but don't quite justify Gisela's seven price. However, she utilizes flying, first strike, and two incredibly unique effects: If any source would deal damage to an opponent or one of their permanents, it takes double damage, and if any source would deal damage to you or a permanent you control, it only receives half damage.
These stupendous abilities give your army an unparalleled boost in combat, letting even weak units vanquish opposing enemies, often without dying. The doubled hurt trait helpfully triggers even when your opponent damages themselves (as some effects do), and the fact that your damage prevention is rounded up only serves as icing on a very tantalizing cake.
Future of Angels
While more-recent MTG sets like Ixalan have focused on other creature types, angels remain a prominent and viable competitive option. Expect to encounter them in almost any tournament, especially in white builds, and remember to find ways to counter (or employ) their awesome defenses to craft your own custom deck list prepared for any situation.
But for now, as we eagerly await future angel-including Magic booster sets, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
M-C-L on March 27, 2019:
Angel of the Dire Hour is too strong mid to late game with it's flash ability