Welcome back to another Adam Plays Magic! This week, we're covering @MTGMilan's version of GW Angels which won a 400-person Pioneer RCQ last week. The deck focuses on the typical angel midrange shell with cards like Giada, Font of Hope and Righteous Valkyrie with card advantage generated through Collected Company. What separates this build from the pack is the inclusion of Kayla's Reconstruction, a new addition from The Brother's War which acts as additional copies of Collected Company, and a great mana sink.
Kayla's Reconstruction digs seven cards deep (compared to Company's six) and pulls X creatures or artifacts with mana value of three or less. At four mana, it's a weaker Company, but at five or more it has the potential to find multiple powerful game pieces and put them directly into play. This helps with finding sideboard cards like Pithing Needle or the deck's heavy hitters like Resplendent Angel.
Milan's build is focused on the Pioneer metagame, which differs from Explorer in a few respects. Unlike Pioneer, UR Arclight Phoenix and the Lotus Field combo decks aren't present due to missing some key cards in Explorer. As such, I've made a few tweaks to the sideboard to answer more popular decks in Explorer. For example, I've cut Deafening Silence in favor of Unlicensed Hearse to target Greasefang, Okiba Boss decks. The sideboard is ultimately flexible and should be modified based on the anticipated metagame. Don't take this exact configuration as gospel.
What I Like
GW Angels has a ton of incidental life gain from Bishop of Wings and Righteous Valkyrie allowing the player to reach the mid-to-late game consistently. By that point, each copy of Reconstruction is backbreaking for the opponent as it threatens to put two, three, and up to seven bodies into play.
There is a constant threat of the angels deck's board state exploding in size with each passing turn. Decks that win via damage will find it difficult to race against it as well. In fact, anything outside of combo will struggle to beat evasive threats and the large swaths of incidental life gain each turn. Even control will have trouble as GW Angels can rebuild quickly after a board wipe.
I really like the singleton copy of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx in this list as well. Every permanent in the main deck is white and several of them like Skyclave Apparition and Bishop of Wings add two devotion. Nykthos can use this to power out large Reconstructions ahead of schedule and overwhelm the opponent.
What I Don't Like
It comes with the territory of being a Company deck, but GW Angels has a large focus on three-drops. This makes it difficult to double-spell on any given turn. Also, while most of the cards synergize well with each other, individually they can be relatively anemic. A late-game Youthful Valkyrie doesn't have the time to build up into a reasonable threat. The same can be said for Giada and Bishop.
To make room for the Reconstructions, a few of the support cards from GW Angels needed to be cut like Lunarch Veteran // Luminous Phantom. Losing Veteran makes for unfortunate situations where life gain from Bishop or Righteous Valkyrie won't reach the critical mass needed for Resplendent Angel to make a token. The deck also no longer plays the various Ajani's Pridemate variants like Voice of the Blessed, which significantly cuts down on the number of game-ending threats at the deck's disposal.
Overall I really like this deck and I think it's well-positioned in the current Explorer metagame. It can struggle against Mono-Green Ramp with a fast draw, but it stabilizes well against its creature-heavy draws. Karn, the Great Creator and Cavalier of Thorns are the only permanents that offer any cause for concern. Phyexian Revoker and Pithing Needle in the sideboard do a great job of staving off the Karn lines and a wide enough board can safely ignore Cavalier's reach.
I'm interested to see where else the Company-Reconstruction shell can go. It seems powerful in a deck trying to land Knight of Autumn, Glasspool Mimic, and other strong toolbox/value threats. As the mana for Explorer continues to improve, this may be a real possibility going forward.