Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Angel Cards in Magic
In Magic, angels are powerful creatures typically found in white, although they occasionally delve into red and black. These holy warriors usually require large amounts of mana to cast but have strong combat stats, flying, and many excellent defensive effects.
With added support from the Modern Horizons and Core 2020 sets, angels are more prominent than ever; how can you reinforce their themes? These are the ten best angel supports in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Defy Death
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 5
The cool thing about Defy Death is that it works best on angels, but can also work on other creature types. You return any creature from your graveyard to the field, and if it's an angel, it gets two +1/+1 counters, fortifying it in battle.
While five mana is a fair amount, this can actually provide a discount on expensive aces like "Iona, Shield of Emeria," and it's one of few non-black graveyard revivals.
9. Seraph Sanctuary
If you're blending multiple colors, you should probably look for different lands, but for mono-white themes that can afford a few colorless slots, Sanctuary provides an excellent support. When it enters the field, you gain a life, and whenever an angel arrives under your control, you gain another.
Plus, Sanctuary can tap for a colorless, and unlike many non-basic lands, it arrives untapped and ready to be used. Use its lifegain to support life-related seraphim like "Resplendent Angel."
8. Emeria Shepherd
For seven mana, Shepherd's 4/4 stats aren't great, even with the addition of flying. However, she's an angel with a terrific landfall trait returns any non-land permanent from your graveyard to your hand when you play a land. But if that land was a plains (and in mono-white decks, the odds of that are strong), you can return it directly to the field instead!
Since most angels require several mana, this provides a great way to get them back onto the field while avoiding their costs, and you're free to use the effect on other cards as well.
7. Radiant, Archangel
This legendary angel only begins as a mediocre 3/3 with flying and vigilance, but she gets +1/+1 for every other creature with flying! Not only does this let your other seraphim empower Archangel, it also counts opposing creatures with flying, often making Radiant the strongest creature on the field.
6. Bruna, the Fading Light
A 5/7 with flying and vigilance isn't bad for seven mana, especially since Bruna returns an angel or human from your graveyard to the field when she arrives.
That's another tempting way to avoid expensive angel fees, and if you also control "Gisela, the Broken Blade," the two will meld into the monstrous "Brisela, Voice of Nightmares" (with 9/10 stats!) during your end step.
5. Kaalia, Zenith Seeker
Blending white with red and black, Kaalia provides a nice mid-game warrior, carrying 3/3 stats plus vigilance and flying. And when she enters the fray, you can add any angel, demon, and/or dragon from the top six cards of your deck to your hand, potentially scoring three extra cards!
Despite her appearance, Kaalia herself isn't an angel, but her subtypes are still useful since some angels (like "Angelic Overseer") reward you for using humans.
4. Kaalia of the Vast
Despite costing more mana than her Seeker form, Kaalia of the Vast actually has weaker 2/2 stats and lacks vigilance. However, when she attacks, you can play any angel, demon, or dragon from your hand tapped and attacking, skillfully gimmicking some of the game's most expensive monsters into play.
Kaalia has flying, but remember that her stats aren't especially high and leave her vulnerable to counterattacks; guard her using spells like "Dolmen Gate" that shield your attacking creatures.
3. Serra the Benevolent
Serra's one of the best planeswalkers in the game; her +2 not only adds multiple loyalty counters, but grants your creatures with flying +1/+1 for the turn. And Serra conveniently arrives with just enough loyalty to use and survive her -3, which grants you a 4/4 angel token with flying and vigilance.
If you can pull off Serra's ultimate -6, you get an emblem that prevents damage from bringing you below one life as long as you control a creature, a powerful shield that makes you nigh-invincible until opponents eliminate your troops.
2. Bishop of Wings
Like Kaalia, Bishop is a human rather than angel, and she specifically needs two white mana, making her a bit unwieldy in mutli-color decks. However, her impressive 1/4 stats make her a powerful early-game blocker, she gives you four life whenever an angel enters under your control, and she creates a 1/1 flying spirit token whenever one of your angel dies.
Talk about value; that's an impressive number of bonuses for a two-cost card, and don't underestimate how useful four life can be for outlasting red aggro decks in standard format. An easy choice for my own angel builds, Bishop is surprisingly cheap, costing well under two dollars!
1. Lyra Dawnbringer
Lyra combines the power of a beatstick with the utility of a support. She herself is a mighty 5/5 with flying, first strike, and lifelink, letting her outspeed and kill most foes before they can counterattack.
Stopping there, you'd already have a great card, but Lyra goes above and beyond by granting your other angels +1/+1 and lifelink, letting you recover staggering amounts of health with each combat phase.
Supporting Angel Decks in Magic
We've already seen several ways to return your angels from the graveyard to the field, but you can prevent them from dying in the first place with cards like "Avacyn, Angel of Hope," who grants your permanents indestructible, or "Iona, Shield of Emeria," who entirely locks foes out of a color.
Use these defensive tools to protect your field as you build your army and consider running spells like "Grand Abolisher" to prevent your angels from getting countered. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of angel supports, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill