4x Hopeful Eidolon
4x Nyxborn Shieldmate
4x Archetype Of Courage
4x Eidolon Of Countless Battles
4x Ghostblade Eidolon
4x Celestial Archon
4x Ethereal Armor
2x Blind Obedience
2x Ordeal Of Heliod
2x Gift Of Orzhova
2x Sphere of Safety
2x Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Ever since the release of Return To Ravnica i’ve been utilising the Sphere Of Safety, Ethereal Armor combo. It mostly works in multiplayer due to the high mana cost of Sphere of Safety and my unwilingness to base a deck around it, as often these decks over rely on the sphere and require an Azorius control approach to surviving whereas I am much of a weenie rush, creature combat based player.
Luckily Born Of the Gods and, to a lesser extent, Theros have made these two 10 a penny cards potentially game winning. Enchantment creatures have been done before, Lucent Liminid in Future Sight for example, but never to this scale and not with the intriguing Bestow ability. Bestow most of the time is pretty rubbish on its own, especially in standard with an emphasis on pace but I’ve found it pretty useful if you find yourself mired in the late game, offering an often unexpected new dimension to your creatures.
Hopeful Eidolon and Nyxborn Shieldmate function as useful early chumps and swingers; the great thing about Ethereal Armor in this deck is that a turn one Hopeful Eidolon and turn two Ethereal Armor means you can swing with a 3/3 first strike, lifelink at the very least. If you’re lucky enough to get a Nyxborn Shieldmate in on turn two as well then the Hopeful Eidolon is a 4/4, if you play a second Ethereal Armor instead then it’s an 8/8 first strike lifelink. Heck, us mono white players miss out on Madcap Skills but nobody can complain about swinging with an 8/8 in the second turn and a field of only Common cards, which will get up the nose of quite a few players.
Archetype of courage further boosts the attacking threat, nipping out the opponent’s first strike and allowing yours; it reminds me of Field Marshal but in this deck it’s kinda better. I mean, yeah it doesn’t give Soldier tribal the +1 buff but Field Marshal doesn’t take your opponent’s First Strike away and it cost me about £20 when i finally managed to track down a playset, opposed to just under a fiver for the Archetype. This deck screams value for money.
Eidolon Of Countless Battles is the centre piece, this is the card that inspired me to build the deck; the artwork, the low mana cost, the combo with ethereal armor, hell the synergy with every other non card in the damn deck. You only need to have another creature, any creature in play for it to be ok, then strap an aura or bestow it with something and you have an utter beast.
Ghostblade Eidolon isnt hugely rated, a 1/1 for 3 mana isnt great value, the double strike is useful but i cant see it being considered by many decks in standard besides decks like this. Whack Ordeal of Heliod on and swing four 4 damage, swing the next turn for 6, then 8 and gain ten life. Plus I love the artwork.
Celestial Archon is a big flying beasty, the only naturally flying card in the deck and one which is another sad example of power creep. I love Baneslayer Angel but Celestial Archon is the newest in the line of victims. Twelve years ago when i was first playing, a 4/4 with flying would be good value for 5 mana, throw in first strike and you’d be talking about 6 or 7. Now you can pick up a 40p rare with flying and first strike. It’s Serra Angel syndrome all over again and us white players have got to remember that and not say “yeah but Baneslayer had Lifelink, another 1/1 and protection against two rarely seen creature types”, but Baneslayer is £12 and not in standard. So, yeah, Celestial Archon makes a good battering ram and, if you can afford it, a hell of a big bugger to strap onto Eidolon Of Countless battles.
As for the question of why I only have two Gift of Orzhova in the deck, well at 3 mana i really want to be dropping creatures and although it is good, its not a game changer for me. Allowing a little lifegain should help slow down red decks though.
I’ve gone with 2 x Sphere of Safety as it is not the centre piece of the deck, i prefer attack to defence. its nice to fall back on though.
Oh and in the absence of Oblivion Ring from Standard i’ve put in Arrest and Blind Obedience to keep enemy blockers sparse.
I hope to give this a good go at an upcoming FNM, I imagine it will finish midtable. Bestow can be a little slower than traditional white weenie rush and my rigid adherence to formula (ie no Hero of Iroas because he himself is not an Enchantment) will no doubt come costly.