U/G Gifts in Standard

by Lee Shi Tian on 18 June 2018, Monday

Lee Shi Tian


U/G Gifts in Standard

God-Pharaoh's Gift is one of my favorite cards from Hour of Devastation and it is a card which I am always experimenting with. Unfortunately, the dominance of red decks is terrible new for the archetype. Nonetheless, I'm still trying to break the card and continually toying with different variants.

Before Pro Tour Dominaria, I tried out U/R Gifts. The deck suffers from not having enough interaction. We used to have Warkite Marauder along with Walking Ballista and Fanatical Firebrand to handle our opponent's threats. Also, Skirk Prospector is a great enabler, not only because you can accelerate into some nutty turn threes while also putting another creature in the graveyard.

Unfortunately, this card got printed, and the U/R Gifts deck just fell apart.


Goblin Chainwhirler

Hence, I moved on to U/G Gifts, and this was the list which Jason Chung played at the Pro Tour. The aspect I like most about the deck is the "Non-Gifts Plan." The deck can be extremely proactive and beatdown-ish with Verdurous Gearhulk.


God-Pharaoh's Gift Verdurous Gearhulk


A Closer Look

The deck performs like an ordinary aggro deck where you try to curve out with good creatures and pressure your opponent into making sub-optimal plays. Gate to the Afterlife and God-Pharaoh's Gift is your late game plan. Also, Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar is quite similar to Combat Celebrant because it creates such as a huge turn.


Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar Merfolk Branchwalker Jadelight Ranger

Merfolk Branchwalker and Jadelight Ranger are the best ways to make the deck consistent. They help you smooth your draw and fill up the graveyard to hit sufficient creatures to activate Gate to the Afterlife.

We did not play 4 Minister of Inquiries, unlike other Gift decks. The primary way to fill up the graveyard is through combat. At some point, I felt like cutting all the Minister of Inquiries but decided to keep some to maintain a nice mana curve. Having Minister of Inquiries also gives you the potential of some explosive draws. 

There are also plenty of "enter the battlefield" effects in the deck, and they benefit greatly from God-Pharaoh's Gift. These triggers will gain you a lot of advantage over the game, and thus, the matchup against slower decks is pretty good. Verdurous Gearhulk contributes towards the artifact count for Glint-Nest Crane.

We want at least 14 artifacts to justify playing the 1/3 Bird. Being able to dig for Verdurous Gearhulk is a huge play. Walking Ballista and Verdurous Gearhulk also make a good team and putting a bunch of +1/+1 counters on Glint-Nest Crane is also a play that won me many, many games.


Verdurous Gearhulk Glint-Nest Crane

Why I Did Not Play U/G Gifts At Pro Tour Dominaria

Lack of Interaction

This is the biggest problem of the deck. Without interaction, you have to make sure you're ahead. Once you fall back, it is very difficult to recover. There are plenty of games where you lead with Llanowar Elves and that mana advantage snowballs all the way to victory. However, there are also plenty of games where you stumble and fall flat on your face.

We cannot handle Soul-Scar Mage, and that is a huge problem. There are ways to play around Goblin Chainwhirler, but when Soul-Scar Mage is in play, you will neither be able to block properly or race effectively.


Soul-Scar Mage Heart of Kiran Winding Constrictor

Flying creatures such as Heart of KiranRekindling Phoenix, and Glorybringer are also hard to stop when you have no removal spells to interact with them. You also cannot kill Winding Constrictor and Walking ReBaliista, which means you're going to get run over very quickly by B/G Constrictor's synergy.

It Is Not The Best Non-Interaction Deck

Not having any interaction spells is a problem, but there is another reason that U/G Gifts was a poor choice for the Pro Tour. It was not even the best non-interaction deck in the format. If you compare U/G Gifts with Mono-Green Stompy, you'll find that Mono-Green is way more consistent at executing their game plan.

As a result, the deck is put into an awkward situation where it is difficult to understand the positioning of the deck. Although the game plan is more or less the same for all matchups, I was worried that the deck was not powerful enough.

Artifact Hate is Common

There are plenty of red decks in the format and Abrade is a highly popular card. All of the green decks are beginning to main deck Thrashing Brontodon. Also, blue control decks are paired with white because white offers removal spells such as Cast Out, Ixalan's Binding and even Forsake the Worldly.

When so many opponents have main deck answers to God-Pharaoh's Gift, it becomes less attractive to play any Gift deck.


Abrade Thrashing Brontodon Cast Out


Regardless of my doubts, Jason Chung did quite well at Pro Tour Dominaria and proved that the deck is among the best Gift builds in the format. If I'm not wrong, he had a 5-1 record against red variants, while he lost to two Mono-Green decks. The deck could be a good choice if Mono-Green does not exist in the format. U/G Gifts is also a good choice if you're not interested in playing mirror matches.

The deck has tons of decision making, and it is a deck I enjoy playing this style of deck. I hope this article can provide you with more insights on one of the fascinating decks in Standard. Thanks for reading!


@leearson on Twitter

Articles you might be also interested

Zen Takahashi shares a bunch of precious tips on piloting Turbo Fog in Standard!
Zen Takahashi writes about his favorite Legacy deck, Esper Stoneblade!
Simon Nielsen shares his preparation process for the previous Modern Grand Prix.

Copyright © 2002 - 2020 MTGMintCard.com