Last updated on November 30, 2023
Giada, Font of Hope | Illustration by Eric Deschamps
Giada is a mana dork for angels that also gives them +1/+1 for each other angel you control when they enter the battlefield. It provides white some much-needed early acceleration while also making your angels incredibly threatening as the game progresses. It’s everything mono-white lifegain/angels wanted, and that’s why today I’m coming to you with a sweet guide detailing the commander, the list I put together, why I chose the cards I did, as well as how to pilot it.
Let’s get started!
Avacyn, Angel of Hope | Illustration by Jason Chan
Angel of Finality
Speaker of the Heavens
Herald of War
Angel of Vitality
Sephara, Sky's Blade
Bruna, the Fading Light
Angel of Destiny
Mother of Runes
Bishop of Wings
Angel of Jubilation
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
Angelic Field Marshal
Archangel of Tithes
Avacyn, Angel of Hope
Gisela, the Broken Blade
Archangel of Thune
Well of Lost Dreams
The Book of Exalted Deeds
Sword of the Animist
Sword of Hearth and Home
While the deck is angel-tribal, it also (naturally) has a solid lifegain theme going. Most angels have lifelink or interact with lifegain in one way or another, which makes it an obvious and almost accidental theme.
At worst it gives you access to cards like Serra Ascendant and Angel of Vitality, which can be excellent creatures for the cost. Lifegain also prolongs your games, which is excellent in creature-based decks where combo or control decks can slowly run out of resources. Meanwhile most of your creature base are bomb angels that can win the game on their own on an empty board, like Sanctuary Warden.
All in all I really like angels as a tribe. They’re easy to play, fun to attack and win with, and are a great choice for players of all skill levels. They also have plenty of support thanks to the tribal support in Commander as an evergreen format with cards like Lyra Dawnbringer. Not to mention general support with artifacts like Oketra's Monument.
Today’s build obviously revolves around Giada, Font of Hope. Giada is a brand-new angel commander from New Capenna that gives your angels a number of +1/+1 counters for each other angel you control on top of being a mono-white dork. It’s quite literally a walking Door of Destinies.
The extra you get on turns 3 and 4 with Giada in play is really something. White doesn’t really have any other mana dorks, so having what’s basically a turn ahead of the rest is much more powerful than it is in green. Most of the most powerful angels sit around four or five mana value anyhow, so you won’t miss out on much value in the 3-drop category.
While you’ll always be able to play Giada, Font of Hope on turn 2, or even turn 1 with Mana Crypt, it’s still important to build an excellent creature base that can support you in those crucial early turns.
Esper Sentinel is a gift from above. At best this card wins games on its own by giving you consistent card advantage, and at worst it extracts a removal spell that would otherwise strike your commander down.
Mother of Runes is also something you’d be happy to have in an opening hand. It can protect Giada, Font of Hope from at least one layer of removal. Getting a 2-for-1 on your 2-drop commander is a sweet deal, and you’ll still likely get to keep Mother in the process if your opponents aren’t smart.
Serra Ascendant is just a great creature all around. It has lifelink in addition to being a 6/6 flier for , which will likely just tank a hard removal or bounce spell from one of your opponents. Odds are you’ll kill somebody early with it if your opponents can’t kill this out of the gate.
There’s also Weathered Wayfarer, which can sometimes be a trap to keep. Don’t keep bad mana hands with this card that have only one or two lands, because you’ll fold to basically any removal spell if you don’t immediately draw a land.
This is where things get interesting. This is an angel deck after all, right?
Angel of Jubilation is one of your many 4-drops, and this one gives all other nonblack creatures +1/+1. Yeah, it hits your opponents too, but it also shuts down sacrifice and life-paying mechanics. It’s basically a black hate card, which you’ll find satisfying since that color will have the most removal for your angels in the first place.
Archangel of Tithes is a strong utility creature. It taxes attacks against you and on creatures blocking yours. It’s just a nice stax piece that either gives you some free damage, protects you, or just slightly inconveniences your opponents at worst. It also has a nice stat line which makes it great on rate.
Linvala, Keeper of Silence is in a similar boat to the Archangel. It’s a decent stax piece and destroys some decks while doing nothing to others.
Lyra Dawnbringer is also a pretty sweet angel overall. It’s a great creature for the cost, and the angel tribal buff adds up once your board starts going wide.
Valkyrie Harbinger is powerful since you’ll be gaining four or more life basically every single turn. It also hits on your opponents’ end steps, and it will basically disincentivize all attacks towards you as a 4-attack creature with lifelink.
Getting into the real pricey creatures now, starting with Sephara, Sky's Blade. Sephara is the namesake angel for a lot of cards in Magic, and it doesn’t disappoint. It gives all your creatures flying and indestructible, which is basically just indestructible for you. You can still cast this as early as turn 4, and having a 7/7 indestructible flier alone that early is great.
Serra's Emissary is a similar angel. It’s a big 7/7 flier that does something crazy. This time it gives you and your creatures protection from a chosen creature type. This helps push damage through decks with fliers like sphinx or angel tribal on top of being a win condition against tribal decks.
Your deck is also blessed by none other than Avacyn, Angel of Hope. Avacyn gives everything indestructible, which is more valuable than you might think. It insulates you from board wipes, one of your only real enemies, while also protecting your mana rocks or tribal pieces from single-target removal.
Every deck needs interaction, even tribal decks that just want to absolutely beat face turn after turn. Luckily white has some pretty sweet removal and protection pieces.
Path to Exile is some of the best single-target removal. It’s one mana, hits anything (even those creatures with indestructible), and awards a simple basic land.
Swords to Plowshares is just as good as Path. A bit better, actually.
Flawless Maneuver is even better since it comes online on turn 2 regardless of whether or not you have an extra up to pay for it.
Teferi's Protection is in a similar boat to Maneuver and can help protect your board when you’re just one swing away from killing somebody.
Akroma's Will is about as terrible for your opponents as it comes. It gives your entire board flying, vigilance, double strike, lifelink, indestructible, and protection from all colors until end of turn if you control your commander. Doubling your damage is already enough to get me on board, but all these other buffs make this a “kill target player(s)” card.
Lastly you have Heliod's Intervention and Austere Command if you end up needing to purge certain types of permanents from the board. Every deck has the potential to fall behind on board, even angel tribal, so you want that nuclear button in case things get a little dicey.
You have a few enchantments in this list, all of which are exceptionally powerful and ones that you’ll be happy to have in play. Some in your opening hand, even.
Smothering Tithe is, obviously, one of the best cards in the deck. Enchantment removal is always underplayed in Commander, especially if nobody's playing green at your table. Having even a few Treasures on turn 4 or 5 can launch you ahead, and don’t even get me started if somebody feeds you more.
Sigarda's Splendor is an excellent value engine that continues as the game goes on. It helps keep your life total up while also drawing you many, many cards in the process. We love this card, and it’s really incredible on turn 4 with your commander and another angel.
Court of Grace is especially good since you’re a creature-heavy deck. Odds are you’ll keep monarch for half a dozen turns most of the time. The free 4/4 each turn is sweet, but the extra card draw is what will usually win you games.
Luminarch Ascension can and will win you games. It creates a 4/4 for and comes online pretty quickly, almost always in longer games. It could even force opponents to make bad attacks into your board in an attempt to stop you from putting counters on it.
The Mana Base
This deck benefits greatly from acceleration, even if you have your commander out. A lot of your angels are in the 4-mana cost range or higher, which means even an Arcane Signet can be strong. After all, it’ll give you a turn 3 5-drop at worst.
Mana Crypt is particularly strong sine it gives you your commander on turn 1, and a 5-drop or less on turn 2. You don’t need to worry about dying to the triggers either since you’ll be gaining so much life it just won’t matter.
Sol Ring is also decent, but less so. It doesn’t accelerate your commander out, but it does immediately help on the next turn to get a second 2-drop or a bigger play on turn 3. Either way it’s good enough to include in the main list.
You don’t need too many nonbasic lands since the deck is mono-white tribal. But there are a few solid utility lands you don’t want to pass up on, like Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Nykthos will generate copious amounts of mana, sometimes more than you can spend, which is perfect.
War Room comes in handy in a lifegain deck, which you are, as well as in long games. Three mana to draw a card each turn is a small price to pay. Especially if you have Nykthos in play.
Emeria, the Sky Ruin helps pay you back for drawing too many lands on top of playing longer games where you might’ve otherwise folded to a board wipe. It’s easy to hit seven lands, and bringing back huge angels each turn is pretty sweet.
The “strategy” for this deck is incredibly simple: just play Giada, Font of Hope on turn 1 or 2 and start drilling your opponent’s life totals to zero. You’ll be one turn ahead mana-wise thanks to your commander, which should hopefully allow your creatures to have a massive impact.
The biggest part of playing this deck successfully is knowing who to kill first. The mono-green player won’t have board wipes, and they probably won’t have a lot of reach creatures to hold you back. They’re not the same kind of threat that the mono-blue combo player is. It can sometimes be hard to know who to kill first. That’s just multiplayer Magic. But having a general sense of who can kill you in a long game versus who can’t is crucial.
Other than that, know that board wipes are going to happen and plan around them. There are ways to dodge or mitigate wipes in this deck. Just try not to be upset when a wrath inevitably happens.
Combos and Interactions
This list, fortunately for you, doesn’t have any common Rule 0 violations that may get you in trouble. There are no infinite combos or hyper-efficient tutors like Demonic Tutor in this list. The only cards I could even imagine people having problems with are Smothering Tithe and Esper Sentinel since they produce tremendous value if not removed, often winning you the game.
This deck has a pretty hefty price tag, which means you should be aware of what you can and can’t cut in your attempt to slash the budget. I’ll tell you right now that Mana Crypt should be your first pick. This isn’t a cEDH deck, and the Crypt is about 20% of the total price. Get this out of there and you’ll feel a lot better about your cart’s overall price.
Next I’d point your attention to Cavern of Souls. This is another big ticket item that doesn’t always generate value. Sometimes your opponents aren’t playing blue (not that I would understand) and you just don’t need it. Wasteland is also not necessary and would help to chop down the price a tad.
After that, Resplendent Angel has a somewhat big price tag of around $35. It’s pretty expensive, and despite being one of the best cards, you need to actually be able to buy the deck to play it.
Giada, Font of Hope screams “angel tribal” louder than just about any other commander. If you’re dead set on not playing angels, then I suppose you could run a nasty stax deck. A lot of angels have stax effects built in, like Linvala, Keeper of Silence and Angel of Jubilation. And a lot of stax pieces are also in mono-white, even if they aren’t angels.
That’s pretty much the only other build I could see you running, but it’s an option if you want it.
Lyra Dawnbringer | Illustration by Chris Rahn
That concludes today’s guide for Giada, Font of Hope! I was super excited when this card was spoiled, and I might just put a list together myself for my next Commander night.
What do you think of Giada as a commander? Do you think it’s the best angel commander, or do you think that something like Liesa, Shroud of Dusk does more for angels and the lifegain theme? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments or over in the official Draftsim Discord.
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