Get a Life (Post rotation build) – a Farewell to Wurms

It’s almost time to say goodbye to my Scars of Mirrodin, Mirrodin Besieged, New Phyrexia, and M12 friends. I want to thank you all for your hard work. You got me back on my feet when I had nothing, NOTHING (I really did have no Magic cards with me in Japan back in the Spring of 2011 before M12 came out). I had left all of my cards back in the USA and had to start my collection completely from scratch. I remember my first power card I opened, Hero of Bladehold. I was stoked to pull it and it went right into my deck. During the M12 pre-release event I got my first Inferno Titan (which got me started on my UR Titan control build). But now I must say good bye to all of them. I have totally broken down all of my previous decks and taken out all rotating cards, supplementing them with cards that will be standard legal come October 5th.

Only my GW Life gain deck is still running any old cards. On October 5th, I’m going to lose:

  • 2 Wurmcoil Engine
  • 1 Batterskull
  • 2 Ichor Wellspring
  • 1 Phyrexian Core
  • 3 Pristine Talisman
  • 1 Razorverge Thicket

and from my sideboard I will lose:

  • 1 Ratchet Bomb
  • 1 Spine of Ish Sah
  • 1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
  • 2 Celestial Purge
  • 2 Stingerfling Spider

You’re probably thinking, “damn, there goes a lot of power, card draw, and mana acceleration . . . this deck is losing a lot”. However, you’d be wrong. I’ve already come up with a suitable replacement for many of these cards, and the deck is only going to get stronger with Return to Ravnica. Here’s my post rotation take on my “GET A LIFE”.


  • 3 Rhox Faithmender
  • 3 Cathedral Sanctifier
  • 4 Restoration Angel
  • 2 Emancipation Angel
  • 4 Elvish Visionary
  • 3 Thragtusk
  • 4 Fiend Hunter
  • 4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
  • 3 Cloudshift
  • 2 Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice
  • 2 Centaur Healer
  • 1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
  • 2 Arbor Elf
  • 1 Armada Wurm

Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice

The basics of the deck are still the same. I’ve thrown in Avacyn’s Pilgrim and Arbor Elf to help accelerate my deck. They are very important not only as blockers but also to help get out Restoration Angels, Rhox Faithmenders, and Thragtusks early. What makes this deck a lot more effective is that it turns every creature into a Cathedral Sanctifier with Trostani’s help. Every time I drop a card, I gain life. Every time I populate, I gain life. Everytime I blink a card, I gain life. This deck will be lacking in power a little bit without the Wurmcoil and Batterskull, but cards like Armada Wurm (5/5, puts a 5/5 trample Wurm token into play when it enter’s the battlefield) will definitely go a long way to overwhelm my opponent, as well as gain me life whenever I populate.

Centaur Healer

This deck should also have a better curve than before. Previously I only had Fiend Hunter as a 3 drop, but this time I threw in some Centaur Healers that are basically Sanctifiers with a bigger body, and I also put in two Emancipation Angels. The angels are useful at reusing a card, and the card I want to do that the most with is Elvish Visionary. I’m losing my Trading Post/Ichor Wellspring combo, and there aren’t really any good artifacts to run in the main deck anymore so the way I’ll get my cards is by dropping the same Elf multiple times. It will also let me drop a Thragtusk again later in the game, creating a beast token when it leaves play. Having another 3/3 flyer is also good for evasion. Overall I think this deck will could be described better as a GW Aggro/Life gain deck. There are tons of creatures and they can all take a beating and hit back just as hard.


  • 2 Gavony Township
  • 2 Seraph Sanctuary
  • 2 Cavern of Souls
  • 4 Sunpetal Grove
  • 4 Temple Garden
  • 5 Plains
  • 4 Forest

Temple Garden

It really doesn’t matter that I’m losing Razorverge Thicket, cause the Temple will be a lot better. Phryexian Core is a moot point now that Spine of Ish Sah and the Wellsprings are gone . . . Seraph Sanctuary is still in there for my Fiend Hunter/Fiend Hunter/ Restoration Angel infinite life combo, but it’s not the main focus of the deck. Rather, it’s another win condition built in to an otherwise slick deck. While playing recently I noticed that I have all of these small creatures on the board that are nothing more than chump blockers once I put them in play, but why not get some use out of them? Gavony Township is DEADLY in this deck, especially with mana creatures to speed up your armies growth. While your opponent’s creatures become worthless in the light of your life gain, your weenies start to become beasts, and before you know it, Wurm sized.

The deck is still a life gain deck, but now it’s also a very deadly GW aggro deck with creatures that have a very high defense and gain life whenever they are played.


1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Elixir of Immortality
2 Terminus
3 Natural End
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Chalice of Life/Chalice of Death
2 Silkslash Spider
2 Dryad Militant

The sideboard is definitely going to change depending on the metagame at the time, but to start off I think I like this set up. My biggest wall to break is going to be that Rakdos enchantment that stops players from gaining life, but with 3 Natural Ends I should be safe. Elixir is great against mill, or even in the main deck because gaining 5 life and shuffling back in your creatures that died that turn is no loss to you. I would rather have Stingerfling Spider as my arachnid of choice, but as it rotates I’ll have to rely on Silklash Spiders to kill armies of Spirits and Angels. Hopefully my own won’t be in play yet, or they’ll be beefed up by Gavony Township enough to save them from the spider’s webs. Silklash won’t do anything when they enter the battlefield and might have problems against Griselbrand and Thundermaw Hellkite, but having mana producers should ensure that they get out early and also that it can create a giant “web” to destroy spirits or birds the first turn it comes into play.

I also like the Dryad Militant/Grafdigger’s Cage combo to shut down flashback and Snapcaster Mage strategies. I might throw in some black mana for Deathrite Shaman, because he does a great job of gaining you life while also having the possibility of killing an opponent through their graveyard. His black mana ability would destroy control decks, while his green ability is great against aggro and ESPECIALLY Frites decks. Terminus is still in the sideboard as a last resort against overwhelming odds (ie Tokens), but hopefully you’ll have enough creatures in play yourself (as well as tokens) to put up a fight.

And last but not least I decided to include Chalice of Life/Death into my sideboard again. There are going to be those games where you can’t attack or you simply can’t get a decent army on the table, and that’s when Chalice of Life comes into play. Against a slow control deck, you could definitely get it out on the 2nd turn with a mana producer, and after dropping some Cathedral Sanctifiers you could flip it. It’s fun to play with and adds a lot of flavor to control match ups!

How to play this deck:

I’ve had a lot of experience with this deck. It’s had it’s ups and downs and I learned what hands to keep and what hands NOT to keep. A great hand would be 2-3 mana, a mana producer, an Elvish Visionary, and a 3 or 4 drop creature. Fiend Hunters would be great to keep. The kind of hands you don’t want to keep are 1 mana + one mana producer hands. 3 mana is key in this deck, and if you can get 4 you should have no problem setting up a great defense. I’d also worry about having too many 4 or 5 mana creatures in my hand with only two mana. Keep a hand with creatures that cost 3 or under, but be careful of those heavier hands.

Also, for the most part you shouldn’t attack or block unless it’s absolutely necessary and/or safe (tapped out, no creature situations). You need to set up a defense first and get your life count up really high before you start to attack. Getting a Gavony Township out early is definitely a plus. Don’t be afraid to hold back your Fiend Hunters for your opponents finishers, and you don’t always have to cast your Thragtusk or Restoration Angel. Make your opponent deal with what you have on the table, and after they use up their spells or tap out, THAT’S when you flash in a Restoration Angel and add to the beatdown the next turn.

Blink abilities such as Cloudshift and Restoration Angel’s enter the battlefield ability should be use to save your creatures from a kill spell or from being exiled, and you can also use them to save a blocker after they have blocked an attacker. Most creatures have a bonus entering ability, so this will be beneficial for you.

This deck did really well against UW Delver the other day, and I also managed to shut down a UWR midrange deck but locking my opponent’s Thundermaw Hellkites away with my Fiend Hunters while steadily gaining life with my Rhox Faithmenders. I’d be careful against the new breed of GR Beatdown decks with Hellrider though. You MUST take it out as soon as possible. The loss of Celestial Purge really sucks, but this deck has a lot more 3/3 or bigger blockers in it, and with mana producers you should most likely have one out on turn 2.

I wish you best of luck and urge you to try this deck out if you have the cards! There are other builds you can make with this deck that might be cheaper (Fiend Hunter x3 and a Healer of the Pride infinite life combo for example), so if you find something else that works let me know! Thanks for reading and look for another article this weekend!