Hey there friends and loyal readers of Bleeding Cool's segments on Magic: The Gathering! When I covered the Gods of Amonkhet over the course of the past few weeks, I did so with a purpose: I wanted to segue into a discussion of the Gods of Theros. And, now that the talk of Amonkheti deities is out of the way, I can focus on that task. It's a hefty one, and one that may just cover fifteen different articles, and finally end around the time that Theros: Beyond Death releases at long last. Are you ready? I sure am; we are only going forward from here!
Today's focus, if you haven't already guessed it from the title or the thumbnail, is Heliod, God of the Sun. Heliod, much like other pantheonic leaders like Zeus or Jupiter (who are the same god under different names), is aloof to the plights of the mortal realm. He does not understand much of what humankind (or tritonkind, or leoninkind…) go through in their day-to-day lives. He's admittedly, kind of classist, if godhood can be considered a demographic class. He even killed Elspeth for killing Xenagos with the very spear he gave her to kill Xenagos with, simply because he was afraid that she would turn on him. Sounds oddly familiar and I can't quite imagine why…
But no matter, this is an article that ought to focus on his deck, more than Heliod himself.
This deck is mostly going to revolve around life gain, the retention of said life, and the payoffs that ought to come from achieving such godly life totals as you will in this deck, gods willing!
Life gain – There are just so many sources of life gain in this deck that it would be utter foolishness to try to list them all! Most of the sources (like Soul Warden or Ajani's Mantra) are repeatable effects, and this is especially important when trying to rack the life total to absurdly-high amounts.
Payoffs for life gained – The deck also contains plenty of payoffs for gaining or having a ton of life in this deck. Serra Ascendant is a good example, as is Serra Avatar. There are a lot of cards that mention Serra in the overall life gain category of cards in this game, huh?
Heartstone – Sometimes it's easier to make tokens with your commander than it is to cast spells. Heartstone allows you to do so at a discount. Watch out, though, because the effect is symmetrical.
Alternate win conditions – Test of Endurance and Felidar Sovereign are kind of obvious inclusions in a deck that revolves around having a ton of life to toss about, but that's for a good number of reasons. The cards are strong and if you can retain your life total for that long, you may as well do something productive with it!
Decks like this falter in a few ways (such as to anything that prevents life gain, or a deck that focuses on dealing Commander damage), but overall, this deck could make it pretty hard for an opponent to win through normal means. I haven't gotten the chance to test this deck out yet but if I ever do, I'm certain it'll have a decent outcome.
Despite white's considerable flaws (such as limited draw capability), what do you think? Does Heliod have what it takes to make a statement in Commander? Let us know!