My So Called Life Gain Deck (revisited)

I’ve had a lot of practice with my life gain deck recently and the results have been nothing less than amazing. It’s been very consistent and has battled back from the brink on a number of occasions. There were a few times that I got bad draws and, but overall it’s been great. Quite a few players in Nagoya have expressed their interest in the deck and are planning on building their own. I’m still waiting to get some Thragtusks to put in the deck, but I think my latest build is the best. I’ve made quite a few changes from the original set up after making a lot of trades. Please take a look at the new deck list and let me know what you think.

(If you want to see the original post with ALL of the combos you can do with this deck, please look here –

My So Called Life Gain deck (last edit 8/20/12)

Creatures: 22

  • 4 Cathedral Sanctifiers
  • 4 Rhox Faithmenders
  • 2 Wurmcoil Engine
  • 3 Restoration Angel
  • 4 Fiend Hunters
  • 4 Elvish Visionary
  • 1 Stingerfling Spider
  • 1 Serra Avatar

We will Rhox you

My biggest addition has been adding 2 more Rhox Faithmender for a full play set. I took out Stonehorn Dignitary after hearing about the Faithmender’s ruling. If you have one, it’s x2 life. If 2 are in play, you gain x4 life. If there are 3 you gain x8 life, and if you have 4, it’s x16 LIFE! It doesn’t matter if you’re opponents are attacking you. Casting one Cathedral Sanctifier the next turn with 4 of these in play will gain you +48 life! There are no decks that can deal with that type of life gain. I managed to get 2 in play with a Wurcoil Engine and then there was no looking back.

Stingerfling Spider

Another creature that has been amazing in this metagame is Stingerfling Spider. He’s been so good that I’ve decided to keep him main. When he comes into play he destroys a flyer, which in most cases is a Restoration Angel or Delver of Secrets. He’s got a big body so he’s also a good blocker. I can’t tell you how good he is in a deck full of Cloudshifts and Restoration Angels. He’s a must in this deck! I also decided to put in two Elvish Visionaries because they work well with the blink mechanic and act as blockers.

Spells/Artifacts/Enchantments: 15

  • 1 Spine of Ish Sah
  • 2 Trading Post
  • 3 Pristine Talisman
  • 1 Batterskull
  • 3 Cloudshift
  • 2 Ichor Wellspring
  • 2 Rancor

This deck does a great job of gaining life and gaining it fast, but what it lacks are finishers or any oomph after you gain all that life. What this deck was missing and what it got was Rancor.


I should have added this along time ago. It works with any creature, and it doesn’t matter if I blink the creature to save it’s life. As long as it doesn’t get countered or if the creature is destroyed before the Rancor is attached, Rancor will always be coming back to me. I think having 2 is a good balance. You don’t want to sacrifice too much life gain for power, because then you end up not reaching the critical mass you need. Rancor is especially awesome with Rhox Faithmender, making him a 3/5 life gain that nets you 6 life each time he attacks or blocks. Rancor is also great on Restoration Angels, Cathedral Sanctifiers (on the 2nd turn) and ESPECIALLY on Serra Avatar. What’s good about having a 40/40 Avatar if somebody is just going to chump block it?

As far as other changes I made, I put one Chalice of Life in the sideboard to deal with Control players, and took out the Mycosynth Wellspring because I think Ichor Wellspring’s card draw is more important.

Lands: 23 

  • 4 Sunpetal Grove
  • 1 Razorverge Thicket
  • 2 Phyrexian Core
  • 1 Seraph Sanctuary
  • 1 Cavern of Souls
  • 3 Ghost Quarter
  • 3 Forest
  • 8 Plains

I managed to get two more Sunpetal Grove’s in trade and it makes it a lot easier to cast my green spells without worrying about messing up my large white mana base. I have 8 potential green Mana producers for 8 cards total (5 cards main, 3 Sideboard), and that should be more than enough. Ghost Quarter has been really useful against Inkmoth Nexus recently. After rotation, I probably won’t need that many, but I’ll keep them in anyways. If the metagame changes to more control, I would definitely add another Cavern of Souls to this list. Post rotation, I think I’ll be replacing those Phyrexian Cores with another Seraph’s Sanctuary and a pain land or two from Ravnica (you know they’ll be back!)

Sideboard: 15

  • 2 Celestial Purge
  • 1 Oblivion Ring
  • 1 Karn Liberated
  • 2 Terminus
  • 1 Elixir of Immortality
  • 2 Natural End
  • 1 Stingerfling Spider
  • 1 Ratchet Bomb
  • 1 Grafdigger’s Cage
  • 2 Chalice of Life/Chalice of Death
  • 1 Suture Priest

The biggest loss of my sideboard was Timely Reinforcements. Great card, but if my deck is working well, I’ll never get that life bonus, and I don’t really need the soldiers. I want life, plain and simple. I put one more Suture Priest in the side to punish fast decks that put a lot of creatures into play (Elf Wave anybody?). The Chalice of Life works best against control, so they are fine sitting here since the deck has no problem gaining life. I added another Terminus and I think this will be a great card to have when you go up against decks like Frites, Birthing Pod, Tokens, or other crazy aggro decks.

I also decided to add in a Grafdigger’s Cage to mess with control players and Zombies. What’s great about having 3 Trading Posts is that you don’t have to worry about these things getting destroyed. Sacrifice it, let it get blasted, and just bring it back. Aside from those changes, I think the deck is pretty much set. I would definitely add in some Thragtusks if you have them, but be sure to leave those Rhox Faithmenders in play. They’ll definitely take Wurmcoil Engine’s place in October! As a last minute addition, I also added in Karn Liberated because it’s more useful than an Oblivion Ring that I can only use once.

If you’re thinking of building this deck, it shouldn’t be too expensive. As of 8/14/12, Restoration Angels are going for about $12.99 a piece on, Wurmcoil Engines are about $10 each, Trading Posts are $3 each, Sunpetal Grove is $2.50 apiece, and the Terminus’ are $5 each. There are definitely some cards you can do without for the time being, but I think these are the most necessary. I’m sure if you shop around you can find these cards for even cheaper, but overall I don’t think you’ll be spending more than $100 for the whole thing. Not bad if you want to live forever ;).

I have to recommend this deck! If you try it out let me know how it does!