The best of the angelic host.
When it comes to soaring over the opposition, there are few creature types better than Angels. These iconic creatures, traditionally aligned with the White slice of the color pie, have an impact on every format but they’ve found a home in Commander. These are the best angelic cards in the format.
#10 The Book of Exalted Deeds
While it spits out the smallest angel tokens we’ve seen (certainly somewhat strange to have 3/3 angels instead of the usual 4/4) this card can generate a lot of angels. That lifegain synergy would be enough to make this worth considering, but that’s not all.
More interestingly, the book is part of a combo with lands that can become “angels,” forcing your opponent to have some kind of land destruction in order to actually win the game. Even without that combo, transforming any angel into a Platinum Angel is far from nothing.
#9 Sigarda, Host of Herons
Being able to protect your board is very important in Commander, and while sacrifice effects are less common, Sigarda gives you a narrow form of protection that can sometimes be absolutely game defining.
When you do find yourself up against cards like Grave Pact or All Is Dust, Sigarda will absolutely make her presence known. You can very quickly get ahead of the rest of the table if they’re being taxed by the local aristocrat while you get to keep on flying.
#8 Angel of the Ruins
Flexibility can be key in Commander, and Angel of Ruins represents one of the best examples of this. If you’re running plains (especially any multiple land type plains) Angel of Ruins is a perfectly safe inclusion for your deck. At its worst, it finds you the land you need at any stage of the game.
While seven mana is asking a lot, being able to drop it in the late game as a Return to Dust attached to a 5/7 flying body can make a major difference. By that stage of the game, odds are very good that it will have relevant targets, so having something that’s good at essentially any time makes this a card that will never ruin your day (unless someone else is casting it against you).
#7 Rampage of the Valkyries
Getting a more or less on-rate body and then piling on value after the fact is just about everything you want to be doing in a game of Commander, and if you’re running a critical mass of angels Rampage of the Valkyries does exactly that.
Market Price: $10.45
Butcher of Malakir is a card that I want to love, but seven mana to maybe get a grave pact to stick doesn’t feel great. Rampage shaves off two mana and one point of attack for an angel-specific version, and absolutely crushes it in comparison. Punishing your opponents for trying to trade with your superior air force is hard to beat (quite literally).
#6 Righteous Valkyrie
Building up a healthy life total can be all you need to get a win, and Righteous Valkyrie does it better than most in a dedicated angel deck. If you’re in on angels, lifegain, or clerics, Righteous Valkyrie will do something for you and can even provide a substantial anthem for your squad.
While actually getting to the life total needed for her to buff your team can be hard, the life padding on its own, attached to a perfectly efficient flying body, makes the Righteous Valkyrie an option that’s entirely worth running in any strategy that can reliably trigger it.
#5 Avacyn, Angel of Hope
While exile removal is becoming increasingly common, Avacyn is still one of the best ways to protect your entire team. A flying, vigilant 8/8 that also makes anything that says “destroy” irrelevant for your board is pure power, giving hope in any game in which you can get Avacyn to stick.
All the better, and all-too-often ignored, Avacyn transforms all your own “destroy” wraths into completely one sided wipes. It can become downright trivial to win a game after resolving a Wrath of God, and playing Armageddon while Avacyn is out might be one of the meanest ways to win I can think of. (But you -are- likely winning after that, which is where mass land removal is perfectly fine in my book.)
#4 Atraxa, Grand Unifier
One of the newest additions to the pantheon of potent angels, the newest iteration of Atraxa is just amazing. First, she works as a fine Commander, grabbing a fistful of cards when you play her out from the command zone. As a four-color option with card advantage attached, that alone would put her high on the list.
She joins the pile of legendary creatures that refill your hand, but unlike many similar, legal, options (poor Griselbrand), she also comes with a spooky pile of keywords and a huge body on top. She’s one of the best reanimate and flicker targets in the format, getting a new fistful of cards every time you can trigger her ability. An easy recommendation if you’re in her colors.
#3 Luminarch Ascension
One card win conditions are something that I strongly recommend in the format. You need to be able to close out a game, which is why certain combos will sneak into even the most casual decks. Instead, more players should be running singular cards whose effect can take over a game on their own.
Market Price: $11.02
Luminarch Ascension is another card in a long line of token producers that, if left alone, can absolutely win the game all on its own. Spitting out 4/4 flyers for just two mana is one of the best mana sinks in the entire game, and it can rival any other token army without having to put any more work into it. About the only one card wins that can rival it are fully juiced X spells.
#2 Giada, Font of Hope
One of the best commanders for an Angel deck, and unquestionably the best option if you want to run mono white, Giada is already a fan favorite for a reason. A mana dork in the command zone is a proven bonus, and the fact that she strengthens every angel you can drop after her makes her an easy card to nearly top the list.
The simple fact is, if your goal is to focus on angels then Giada is essentially free. She’s one of the only real “auto-include” cards for angels, but unless you’re doing something particularly strange like an angel deck without White (… why?) then Giada deserves a slot in your deck.
#1 Kaalia of the Vast
While she has dipped in popularity over time, Kaalia is still the best angel enabler in Commander. Giada may be able to help you play your cards, but she’s also stuck in only one color. Kaalia can take any overpriced angel and slap it right on the board as long as she can attack.
Few cards let you play otherwise prohibitively expensive angels. Kaalia represents the “golden age” of big dumb battlecruiser Commander, which I will admit to having some nostalgia for, but the power she brings to the table is backed by much more than that nostalgia. If you want to play the most fun angels, Kaalia does it best and earns her #1 spot.