Wings of Light Deck Guide by WingspanTT
Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers on SuperCheats.com
"Wings of Light" Deck Guide
for: Magic: the Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers (XBLA)
by WiNGSPANTT



-=TABLE OF CONTENTS=-
---------------------
(Use your browser's search function to quickly find each section)

[#ABOUT] About this Guide
[#INFOS] About the Author
[#HSTRY] Version changes history
[#PLAYS] Playing the Deck
   [#MS]    The Right Mindset
   [#TT]    This for That
   [#TC]    The Clock
   [#GL]    Get a Life
   [#WP]    White Plower
[#SCENE] Gameplay Scenarios
[#CARDS] Card Analysis
   [#CR]    Creature Spells
   [#NC]    Non-Creature Spells
   [#UN]    Unlockable Cards
[#MATCH] Deck Match-ups
   [#TP]    Teeth of the Predator
   [#HF]    Hands of Flame
   [#ES]    Eyes of Shadow
   [#TW]    Thoughts of the Wind
   [#CV]    Claws of Vengeance
   [#EE]    Ears of the Elves
   [#SF]    Scales of Fury
   [#WL]    Wings of Light
   [#AD]    Artifacts of Destruction
[#TERMS] Glossary



[#ABOUT]
-=About this Guide=-
--------------------

This guide is intended to explore some of the nuances of the mono-White deck
"Wings of Light," one of the unlockable decks for Duels of the Planeswalkers.
This guide is not intended to teach you how to play Magic (Duels has an
excellent tutorial, as well as a Mentor Mode for this) or what to do every
turn with every creature. Instead, the guide focuses on this deck's specific
mind-set, single card analysis, and deck-by-deck match-ups against the core
Duels decks. Despite Wings of Light's simplicity, or maybe because of it, it
can often be difficult to determine the best plays at any given time. By the
end of the guide, you should have a better idea of when to play the majority
of cards in Wings of Light, as well as how to take advantage of the deck's
strengths to ensure victory.



[#INFOS]
-=About the Author=-
--------------------

WiNGSPANTT is a long-time PC and console gamer, as well as a Magic: the
Gathering veteran since 1997. When he's not making Spy Lesson video tutorials
for Team Fortress 2 (YouTube channel: WiNGSPANTT), he is usually writing,
acting, or promoting Life in a Game, a videogame parody show he co-created and
co-wrote. 

You can learn more about WiNG (who plays the villain) and watch all episodes of
Life in a Game at www.lifeinagame.com. You can also contact WiNG with feedback/
questions about this guide or Life in a Game at wingspantt {at} gmail [dot] com

Any donations via PayPal may be made to the same address and are greatly
appreciated.

This guide is for personal, non-commercial use only and is the sole copyright
of its author. You may not sell this work, and you may not edit, modify, or
claim ownership without the written consent of its author. You may distribute
hard copies of this guide if printed and bound in its entirety and if
distributed non-commercially with no claims of authorship.



[#HSTRY]
-=Version Changes History=-
---------------------------

06.27.09   v0.01   First beta version rejected from GameFAQs
07.01.09   v1.00   First full version uploaded to GameFAQs


[#PLAYS]
-=Playing Wings of Light=-
--------------------------------


[#RM]
-=The Right Mindset: Diminish, Deter, Destroy=-

(Please note that this and all strategy sections primarily address multiplayer
strategy. A computer opponent is far too dumb for some of these tactics to be
relevant.)

Wings of Light is a simple deck, but it is not simple-minded to play. Unlike
a hurling a boulder at one's opponent, playing Wings of Light is about
leveraging your position to continually maintain the upper ground, both
literally and figuratively. By playing to the deck's strengths, you will find
that your plays fall into three steps of strategy: Diminish, Deter, and Destroy.

The Diminish stage is first, and primarily revolves around using your small
creatures, such as Suntail Hawk and Venerable Monk, to apply early game
pressure. Yes, free damage is good, but you must also be willing and able to
attack into situations you know will yield 1:1 trades if blocked. Because Wings
of Light features a large number of cheap creatures, you can usually be assured
that creature trades will work in your favor, as you are fully capable of
replacing your lost knights and monks. Even if you don't lose creatures, your
opponent will not be able to swap all-out attack damage as easily with you,
thanks to the boons granted by Venerable Monk and, later, Angel of Mercy. By
applying early pressure, you're encouraging your opponent to waste removal and
stall cards on your weaker creatures, while diminishing their life and card
reserves. This early upper hand will make the mid-game less of a nail-biter.

The Deter stage is, in most cases inevitable. Although Wings of Light features
a large number of cheap creatures, it doesn't offer many strong turn 3 or turn
4 drops that can rival the likes of Whooly Thoctar, or even a simple Wall of
Spears. For this reason, you will soon find yourself holding the majority of
your grounded creatures in reserve, ready to block.  Because of the inherent
combat advantage given to blockers (the blocking player can assign creatures to
intercept as he/she sees fit), you are in a good position to stall the game
until you're able to play either a strong flyer, or a pumping enchantment like
Glorious Anthem or Serra's Embrace. In the interim, you should be blocking
whatever you know you can kill, and letting through anything that won't drop
your Clock to something worse than 5 turns. The Deter stage is the best stage
for applying your first Pacifism, which can either shut down all offensive
enemy pressure, or remove dangerous blockers, which will allow you to revert
back to a "Diminish" play style.

Your ultimate goal, however, is to simply overpower your opponent's forces with
superior creature value and number, Destroying their blockers and, eventually,
their life total. Without unlocked cards, this may be difficult to do, since
Wings of Light's heaviest hitting creatures and creature enchantments are all
unlockable cards like Serra's Embrace and Purity. Although an Angel of Mercy is
swell for what it is, your opponent could easily put a 4/4 or larger flier into
play for the same cost, and in the long run, 3 life gained is not particularly
important. Luckily, Glorious Anthem is a fairly certain draw by mid game, and
will essentially turn all of your poorly-costed cards into fair or even
amazingly valuable plays. This is why in almost all match-ups, Glorious Anthem
is a key card for victory, as it makes all of your creatures inherently more
valuable mana-for-mana the instant you play them. Forcing your opponent back
into a defensive stance, you can pursue a victory by the brute force of coerced
chumps or from a variety of air beats.


[#TT]
-=This for That: Card Advantage and Trades=-

(For further information on Card Advantage, see the Glossary section)

Let's get this out in the open: aside from Holy Day or a particularly fiendish
use of Wrath of God/Mass Calcify, Wings of Light isn't going to trick the
opponent. There are absolutely no default instants or instant-use abilities
aside from Holy Day/Luminesce, and none of your permanents have coming-into-
play (I guess now "entering the Battlefield") abilities that will ruin your
opponent's plans. Unless of course their plan was to make you NOT gain 3 life.

Taking that into consideration, you will have to play to Wings of Light's
strength: combat control, in order to effectively produce card advantage. And
in a deck with no instant solutions or real removal, card advantage is of even
more importance than in a more complicated deck. After all, you're rarely going
to draw a card that nets better than a 1:1 or 2:1 trade. 

The first thing you'll come to realize is that many of your creatures become
useless by mid-game. Sure, a Youthful Knight with Serra's Embrace or Holy
Strength is nothing to sneeze at, but all those Venerable Monks, Soul Wardens,
and, in many cases, Suntail Hawks will just be too small to send into combat on
anything other than suicide swings. Don't give in to the urge to throw them
away for 1 or 2 damage unless it's going to be a fatal strike. For one, you
give your opponent free card advantage by doing so. Second, most other decks
DO have instant solutions that can ruin your big damage swings like Incinerate,
Terror, etc. Third, if you kept your smaller creatures around, they'd be
available for late-game chumping or possibly as targets for your next Serra's
Embrace.

On offense, apply pressure by giving your opponent blind attacks. What I mean
by this is it is usually in your benefit to make the opponent guess as to
whether it's best to trade, chump, or pass on your attackers. The simplest way
to do that is to play creatures in your second Main Phase. Now, that's starter
advice, but there are other blind moves you can make. Playing land in your
second Main Phase may cause your opponent to believe you're mana screwed, and
may make him or her block on 1:1 trades thinking they can afford to starve you
out. Consider playing enchantments like Holy Strength AFTER combat if you think
not using it will allow damage through that would otherwise be chumped. The
more often you break your opponent's expectations of what your deck can/will
do, the less comfortable they will be fighting what is otherwise a fairly
straightforward soldier/angel deck.

Keep in mind you will always have the advantage on block, with a decent number
of First Strikers, walls, and (with life gain) the flexibility to just let hits
through. If you find yourself in a defensive position, don't be too eager to
trade 1:1 on blocks, especially if you're at 27 life. Even a 6 damage pass can
be worth it if you stalled long enough to draw Pacifism for a more permanent
solution. And remember the general rule: trade 1:1 on defense when doing so
will put you up to a 6+ turn Clock, and chump only when you're under a 3 turn
Clock. Trading 1:1 in less dire circumstances will often lead to you drawing a
permanent solution to your problem a turn too late (a Holy Strength that would
result in an infinite Clock, or a Holy Day to lure an all-out attack), and
chumping too early will almost ALWAYS lead to taking larger damage the
following turn.


[#TC]
-=The Clock=-

(For further information about The Clock, see the Glossary section)

The Clock is a term I've coined for what is, in most situations in creature-
oriented duels, a more important measure of the game's momentum than one's life
total. Simply put, the Clock is the number of turns a player has to live, given
the current (or assumed) rate of damage being taken. For instance, a player
with 9 life being attacked for 3 damage a turn is on a 3 turn Clock. A player
with 9 life being hit for 4 a turn is also on a 3 turn Clock. A player with 4
life with enough blockers to prevent all damage is on an infinite Clock (or is
"off the Clock"). So why is the Clock important?

As you've probably seen, there are many games in which one player has made a
comeback and won with under 5 life. Certainly that's a precarious situation,
but just knowing your life totals doesn't always make the best decisions clear.
What really matters is card advantage, pressure, and of course, killing your
opponent. Before you commit to an attack or block, ask yourself what Clock you
and your opponent are on/will be on. If blocking one attacker won't actually
increase your Clock turns (either because your life total is so low or the
damage is so high), in most cases it won't be worth blocking, at least as long
as you have a plan for cutting into your opponent next turn. Similarly, in many
mid-game situations there is no point to playing an additional creature if it
wont' actually regularly damage your opponent or trade/chump effectively for
you. Simply holding the card is insurance in case a Wrath hits the board. It's
also a minor bluff, as most players wouldn't expect anyone to hold back an
extra creature, especially in Wings of Light.

Consider this scenario: You have two 2/2 Venerable Monks. Your opponent has
four 1/1 Elves. Neither of you has attacked for 3 turns. You should press the
attack. Sure, you could lose both creatures, but assuming all things are equal,
your opponent will lose four creatures, as well as important late-game assets
for the Ears of the Elf deck engine cards. If your opponent doesn't block,
takes 4 damage, then retaliates for 4 next turn, he/she has ONLY negated the
life you gained just from playing the Venerable Monks! Your opponent may thus
be on a 5 turn Clock, while you're on a 6 turn one. And by combining this
mindset with blind attacks, your opponent will frequently make incorrect
decisions about when and where to block and attack.


[#GL]
-=Get a Life=-

It's been said that life gain cards suck; but allow me to clarify. Dedicated
life gain, the act of gaining life for its own merit, sucks. For one, most life
gain is, in most situations, weaker than what a single chump blocker could
accomplish. Second, life gain ultimately doesn't swing momentum in your favor
unless it's played when both you and your opponent are on 1 turn Clocks. 

Given those facts, the life gain in Wings of Light is indeed useful, but you
cannot use it as a crutch. First off, disregard Angel's Feathers in all but the
mirror match (for details, see its card analysis). If you played every
Venerable Monk and Angel of Mercy in Wings of Light, you'd gain 20 life. Throw
in your Goldenglow Moths, and that number could be 28 or 32, if played well.
Not bad! But remember that, just like burn, there is no rush to gain life.
Whether you gain 3 life this turn or next turn, it doesn't matter unless your
death is imminent this turn. That said, since Venerable Monk and Angel of Mercy
are useful cards by themselves, I'm not recommending you hold them back. 

But if you have to choose between playing a Serra Angel or Angel or Mercy (or
a Skyhunter Skirmisher vs. Venerable Monk), play the more efficient, non-
healing cards first. Not only will they hurt your opponent's Clock more
quickly, they'll give your opponent the illusion of false progress. When you
play Angel of Mercy next turn, erasing their Incinerate, you'll have gained the
same bonus without giving them as much information on your "real" life total.

Venerable Monk and Angel of Mercy can, in some cases, create card advantage. If
you play Venerable Monk against Hands of Flame, it's quite possible your
opponent will have to use two Shocks to cancel it: one to kill the Monk, and
one to burn you for the life you gained. If your life is high enough that your
opponent wastes Giant Growths to slam you for an extra 3 damage (instead of
in-combat for more valuable creature trades), all the better.

Remember that Holy Day and chump blocks (especially with Goldenglow Moth) will
be far more effective in negating damage if timed correctly. But in either
case, always remember that life gain and chump blocks/Holy Day are more useful
mid game, when threats are more potent and your Clock is shorter. With that in
mind, enjoy frustrating your opponent as you end the game in your favor, still
at 20.


[#WP]
-=White Plower=-

When all is said and done, Wings of Light is NOT a reactive deck. Out of 36
spells, only 7 are "answers," so sitting around in a stall believing in the
Heart of the Cards isn't gonna usually result in a solution. So, don't think
about looking for answers, because your deck has 29 "Problems." 

You must, in all scenarios, assume that, given enough time, your opponent will
draw an "answer" to your current offense or defense. Sitting around and waiting
for that to happen will, in many cases, shift all momentum to the other side of
the table. Yes, if you attack with your Monk, they COULD Unsummon it. But if
you wait 11 turns, they'll DEFINITELY Unsummon it, then counter it. Nice play,
Dr. Garfield... nice play.

Your creatures are largely unblockable or unpleasant to block. You can ignore
small threats due to life gain, block for advantage medium threats, and chump
or Pacify large threats. If all else fails, you can lure massive attacks, just
to Holy Day, then counterattack. But in almost no situation should you sit and
wait. No amount of sitting is going to matter when your opponent pulls a third
Thieving Magpie or a Seismic Assault or Godsire.

Again, I'm not advocating all out assault, but when the Clock is in your favor,
or even when it's barely in your opponent's (but you have an ace up your
sleeve), press the attack. You can't afford to find out how many turns it can
take Wings of Light to lose.


[#SCENE]
-=Gameplay Scenarios=-
----------------------

In this section of the guide, I present several hypothetical game scenarios and
consider the best possible play for Wings of Light. Keep in mind that these
examples are designed to provoke your analysis of the deck, and not meant to be
carpet strategy for all similar situations. All scenarios assume it's your
first main phase unless otherwise stated. Note that, in keeping with the rest
of the guide, I have omitted life totals in favor of the Clock for each player.
Keep this in mind for your own experiences in difficult situations.


Scenario # 1

Your notable cards in play:         4 Plains
Your notable cards in hand:         1 Venerable Monk, 2 Pacifism, 1 Holy Day
Your life clock: 4 turns

Opponent's notable cards in play:   3 Grizzly Bear, 4 forest
Opponent's number of cards in hand: 2
Opponent's clock: Infinite

Best play:
You're at 6 turns, but if your opponent drops an Overrun or Blanchwood armor
next turn, you're potentially at under 2 turns... not pleasant territory.
Although in the long run playing 2 Pacifisms will prevent the most damage,
there are many more advantages to playing Venerable Monk first.

First, Venerable Monk will automatically erase one Grizzly's damage next turn,
and probably trade 1:1 with another. I say probably because it's always
possible Green will Giant Growth the blocked bear, but that wouldn't be a total
wash; you will have traded a known (Venerable Monk) for the surprise card which
could have easily done you in later, or taken out a more valuable creature.
Cutting the attacking force in half will double your Clock, as well as force
your opponent to reconsider whatever plan he/she had for next turn. It also
makes the odds that the next card you draw will be relevant much higher by
presenting a situation that is now controllable.

The second reason to play Venerable Monk instead of 1 or 2 Pacifisms is that
turn 5 is a notoriously nasty drop turn for Green. Whether it's a 5/4 Wurm or
an Overrun, odds are whatever your opponent has been saving all game is coming
out soon and it won't be pleasant. Holy Day can easily cancel the Overrun, and
Pacifism would be better served used on any of Green's larger creatures. If it
turns out your opponent is bluffing with pointless cards in hand, you might
gain the creature advantage, at which point you can use Pacifism aggressively
to remove his/her bears as blockers and put your opponent on the Clock. 


Scenario # 2

Your notable cards in play:         2 Youthful Knight, 5 Plains
Your notable cards in hand:         2 Angelic Blessing, 2 Plains
Your life clock: Infinite

Opponent's notable cards in play:   1 Goldenglow Moth, 4 Plains
Opponent's number of cards in hand: 3
Opponent's clock: 8

Best play:
The thing to remember about Angelic Blessing is that, as a Sorcery, it will
never truly "surprise" your opponent and ruin their combat calculations. It
serves only one purpose, and that's to get damage through your opponent's
defenses and into his/her face.

If you play Angelic Blessing while Goldenglow Moth is out, all you'll be doing
is wasting an extra 3 mana to have your 5/2 get chumped while your opponent
erases all the damage you did last turn in the process. Your best bet, with no
real opposition in play, is to just press the attack until your opponent
delivers an answer to your knights, or is forced to pop the Goldenglow Moth at
Clock turn 2 or 3.

If he/she plays a small creature, such as their own Knight, a Venerable Monk,
or a Suntail Hawk, you can continue attacking knowing that even on a 1:1 trade
you'll still be off the Clock, while your opponent's options dwindle. If he/she
plays a large creature, you can use 1 Angelic Blessing to pressure a block,
then follow next turn with another Blessing, depending on their reaction.

If your opponent chumps early with the Moth, bumping their Clock up a turn, be
careful how you use Angelic Blessing. Since the other White deck has been
holding two cards with four land out, odds are whatever's in hand includes a
large creature (for which you have no answer), a Holy Day, or a nasty
enchantment being saved for a worthwhile creature. If you suspect Holy Day,
use Angelic Blessings on separate turns, as dropping Holy Day to prevent 7
damage is not particularly appealing as for preventing 10. Since you have the
knowledge of holding double Blessings and they don't, you can pressure this
play.


Scenario # 3

Your notable cards in play:         1 Angel of Mercy, 2 Suntail Hawk, 6 Plains
Your notable cards in hand:         1 Goldenglow Moth, 1 Holy Day
Your life clock: 3

Opponent's notable cards in play:   1 Bull Cerodon, 4 Forest, Mountain & Plains
Opponent's number of cards in hand: 4
Opponent's clock: 4

Best play:
The good news is Bull Cerodon can't block your fliers. The bad news is your
opponent has a Bull Cerodon and 6 horrible surprises in hand. The really bad
news is you're dead in 3 turns. Play ball.

What possible cards could your opponent be holding? That's the first thing you
want to ask, and the answer's aren't fun. On one hand, it could be another Bull
Cerodon, or perhaps a Sangrite Surge. Or maybe even Godsire. On the other hand,
it could be Incinerate, Wild Swing, or Blaze. There are many reasons an
opponent would hold any of these cards, but given the breadth of horrible
consequences caused by any of them, you don't have any wiggle room.

If you attack and the opponent has Incinerate, at the least your Angel of Mercy
is toast. If you don't attack and the opponent has Incinerate, the Angel's
toast anyway. If your opponent has Blaze, either the angel or YOU are toast
next turn, and if they have a horrible creature, you can drop your clock to 2
instead of 1.

In most cases, playing Goldenglow Moth first, before combat, isn't a bad
option. It tells the opponent that using burn now might mean not getting any
damage through next turn, which could save your fliers. Now, if the Moth dies,
you've bought yourself some free damage. If the Moth lives and the Angel dies,
you've bought yourself anywhere between 1 and 3 turns on your Clock if you play
right.

Either way, you should swing with everything. Sitting around to block isn't
going make a big difference in either of your clocks, and waiting for the
opponent to draw an answer is ineffective. Plus, you already have one answer in
hand, Holy Day. Provided your attack goes unblocked and your Moth unburned, you
have now evened up your respective Clocks, by buying yourself one turn.

Next turn, you should probably block with the Moth, since the odds a bigger,
more threatening attack showing up is low, while the odds of nasty removal
showing up is high. Use Holy Day in conjunction with Goldenglow Moth when you
block in order to gain a "free" 4 life and to preserve the Moth for another 
4 life plus chumped damaged the following turn. You can store extra Plains in
your hand to bluff Holy Day, especially since you're not going to draw anything
more than 6 mana, and Mass Calcify won't kill the Bull Cerodon. 

After that, what you do will depend on what your opponent's move is, but most
likely you'll be forced to keep both Suntail Hawks behind and attack solely
with the Angel of Mercy to protect yourself against Claws of Vengeance's
creatures with Haste. Chumping will also buy you time to pull a Pacifism, Wrath
of God, Holy Day, or just more chump blockers to give your angel enough time
to win. True, your opponent may roast you are the angel in the interim for
lethal damage, but nothing in your deck can really prevent that, so just play
as if it doesn't matter. Because, for all intents and purposes it doesn't.
Push and pray.


Scenario # 4

Your notable cards in play:         Nothing
Your notable cards in hand:         2 Plains, 1 Glorious Anthem, 1 Suntail Hawk,
                                    1 Venerable Monk, 2 Angelic Blessing
Your life clock: Infinite

Opponent's notable cards in play:   Nothing
Opponent's number of cards in hand: 7
Opponent's clock: Infinite

Note: You have just drawn your hand, mulliganed once, and must now decide
whether or not to keep it or mulligan down to 6 cards. Your opponent is playing
Scales of Fury and is drawing first, and you are certain he/she is not taking a
mulligan. You are playing first.

Best play:
This is a tough decision. Normally I'd say "never take a hand with under 3
lands unless you can play most cards in hand," but there are some decent
options here. But before you take any starting hand, you must also ask yourself
"Self, what are the best and worst possible outcomes if I take this hand?"

The worst outcome is pretty obvious. You play Plains, Suntail Hawk, and...
that's about it. You draw other cards but no land, and are unable to play
anything in your hand. By the 4th or 5th turn when you do draw Plains, your
opponent has already killed your Hawk, or maybe has a 3/3 and four 1/1 tokens
on the board. Now what?

The best outcome, however, isn't much better because your hand has a serious
problem: nearly everything costs exactly 3 mana to cast. Why is this a problem?
Let's assume you play the Hawk, draw a Plains, attack. Now it's turn 3. What do
you play? The problem is that from now until turn 6, EVEN IF you drew a land
every turn, you could only play one spell a turn because everything costs too
much to drop in pairs. Meanwhile, your opponent could already have a 5/5 dragon
in play and you'd have no response. If you get hit with a Blightning any time
in the next 4 turns, you're even more screwed. It's not just about the cost of
your cards, but whether or not you'll actually be able to play them in a
timeframe that is relevant. A much better hand would hand at least one turn 2
drop, or an additional Suntail Hawk. Either of these could help Glorious Anthem
be a much better turn 3 play.

Yes, it's possible you'll get an even worse hand if you go to 6 or 5 cards, but
against a deck with a strong ground stall game and nasty air and removal
options, this hand is just suicidal and slow. Before you take your starting
hand, always ask yourself not if you have enough lands, but "What can I do with
this hand before my opponent's plays will get scary?" Against Scales of Fury,
scary turns can be as early as turn 4. Against Blue or Green, 5 is usually the
most dreaded turn. Either way, if your answer to "What can I do before X" is
"Play one Suntail Hawk and then maybe an enchantment or a mediocre creature,"
your hand probably isn't worth keeping. Think about your hypothetical plays for
each turn, and if you feel butterflies in your stomach, it's time to mulligan.


[#CARDS]
-=Card-by-Card Analysis=-
-------------------------

Here I've broken out every card in Thoughts of the Wind, both default and
unlockable, with thoughts on best uses and overall value to winning with
the deck.

[#CR]
-=Creature Spells=-

Suntail Hawk (4 in deck; 1/1 Flying)

An excellent first-turn drop, getting a creature with evasion on the board
right away ensures your opponent is always on a clock. But while it's certainly
an efficient creature, Suntail Hawk just isn't going to win you many games.
Every single deck (except Teeth of the Predator) has a cheap flier that will
easily trade for the Hawk, so you will often find it hanging back mid-game,
prepared to chump if need be. And since it's so small and already has flying,
Suntail Hawk is also a weak candidate for Serra's Embrace and Angelic Blessing.


Youthful Knight (4 in deck; 2/1 First Strike)

Although not nearly the powerhouse White Knight was back in the day, Youthful
Knight is certainly welcome on the field at any time. Though puny, the inherent
First Strike means he can often single-handedly deter a small army of
2-toughness creatures. First Strike also makes Youthful Knight shine under
Glorious Anthem, and it's a strong candidate for your buffs. After all, nobody
likes staring down a 4/3 Flying creature with First Strike and Vigilance. At
mid game, you'll find Youthful Knight relevant in all combat steps. Plus, the
original Stronghold print also featured my favorite flavor text of all time!


Venerable Monk (4 in deck; 2/2; Gain 2 life when CIP)

While your opponents are playing Underworld Dreams and Troll Ascetic on turn
three, you're playing a 2/2 creature with no abilities! HELL YES! Although he's
a warm body on the field, Venerable Monk is not a particularly strong fighter
at any time. If you have the choice to play a Youthful Knight or a Skyhunter
Skirmisher instead, do so. Sure, gaining 2 life is a nice bonus, but unless
you're taking a severe beating, play more useful creatures first. 


Angelic Wall (2 in deck; 0/4 Flying, Defender)

It's a wall, but unlike Wall of Spears, Angelic Wall can only soak up damage,
and will never deter a multi-creature offensive strike. Thanks to its Flying
and 4 toughness, however, Angelic Wall can block anything outside of Phantom
Warrior and creatures with Fear. Since playing it will never net you card
advantage without Glorious Anthem, don't rush to get it out unless you're
under constant attack.


Goldenglow Moth (2 in deck; 0/1 Flying, Gain 4 life on block)

Born to be a chump blocker, Goldenglow Moth is best used as such. Don't play
it if you have better options, but get it on the field at some point as it can
save your life when your opponent launches unexpected assaults. A good trick
with Goldenglow Moth is to assign it as a superfluous double blocker. Let's say
an opponent attacks with a 1/1 creature. Instead of just blocking with your
Suntail Hawk, block with the Hawk and the Moth. You'll gain 4 life and, chances
are, the opponent will assign damage to the Hawk. After all, who would kill a
0/1 creature over a *real* threat? By using the Moth in all such blocks, you
can gain a lot of life before your opponent destroys it in a fit of rage. And
keep in mind that if you decide to use Holy Day, you should still assign the
Moth to block since you will gain 4 life with the complete safety of the Moth
ensured, ready to gain another 4 when the real chump block happens next turn. 


Angel of Mercy (4 in deck; 3/3 Flying, Gain 3 life when CIP)

While not particularly scary compared to most angels, Angel of Mercy will be
your turn 5 drop most games. And though the life gain is nominal, it's often
just enough to erase the damage your opponent has caused by the time Angel of
Mercy hits play, which can demoralize your foes. And even at 3/3, Angel of
Mercy is still superior to most fliers in the game playable at that point.
Don't be afraid to apply pressure with it knowing you've set your own Clock
back a couple turns just by getting it on the table. Throwing a Holy Strength
on Angel of Mercy is usually a strong play that makes her a strong rival to
the larger fliers like Air Elemental and Sengir Vampire.


[#NC]
-=Non-Creature Spells=-

Angelic Blessing (4 in deck; Sorcery)

If you're forced to discard a card from your hand at any point in the game,
discard Angelic Blessing. I don't mean to say that Angelic Blessing sucks, but
with four copies in the deck and its highly situational use, 9 plays out of 10
you should prefer any other card over Angelic Blessing. Though it would have
been excellent as an instant, Angelic Blessing is just an expensive, predic-
table Giant Growth with wings. Like all single-use damage boosters, save it for
a large attack or for when you know the added evasion will grant you the
killing blow on your opponent. In most cases, your best target will be Youthful
Knight to deliver 5 damage with First Strike.


Glorious Anthem (3 in deck; Enchantment)

Whenever you draw Glorious Anthem, do everything in your power to get it into
play. Glorious Anthem is incredibly powerful, making your weak units strong and
your strong units scary by granting ALL creatures you control +1/+1. Glorious
Anthem makes chump blocks become even trades, and ends creature stalemates by
making your army threatening enough to force blocks. Multiple copies stack, to
hilarious effect. Though it's not killable, like Elvish Champion, keep in
mind Thoughts of the Wind can counter it, and the multi-colored decks can
Naturalize it. A smart opponent will Naturalize it during combat to screw up
your carefully planned damage calculations.


Holy Day (3 in deck; Instant)

Prevent all combat damage. 5 damage? Check. 20 damage? Check. 380 damage?
Check. As the only instant and only real combat trick in your deck, it's
incredibly important that you save Holy Day for horrible, game-ending attacks
when your Clock is down to 1 or 2 turns. Long, drawn-out stalemates will often
end when your opponent casts a nasty spell and attacks with everything. But all
out attacks often end when you tap one mana and chuckle. Be mindful that
smarter opponents will expect a Holy Day on game-winning turns, and may hold
back or poke with single creatures to "test" for it. Save Holy Day for the real
disasters, as your life gain cards can cover smaller amounts of damage.


Holy Strength (2 in deck; Aura - Enchant Creature)

While not a terrible card, Holy Strength just doesn't do much for a deck aiming
for air superiority. Adding +1/+2 to a creature your opponent couldn't block
anyway isn't that helpful, and throwing it on a weak grounded creature will
just make it a slightly better blocker, as most of your forces will still be
too small to intimidate on offense even with the aura. If you draw it, it's
usually best to throw on a Youthful Knight (to boost its First Strike damage)
or any creature you expect to be attacking or blocking frequently with. You can
also use it to make killing a creature via direct damage difficult, but be
aware that an opponent can Incinerate your creature in response to Holy
Strength, killing your target and wasting your enchantment.


Pacifism (4 in deck; Aura - Enchant Creature)

Rendering any creature unable to attack or block is a powerful effect. But
don't let the fact that you have four copies in deck go to your head. Aside
from Pacifism and the slim chance of drawing Wrath of God or Mass Calcify,
Wings of Light has no creature removal, so use it only when doing so will turn
your Clock back many turns, or cut your opponent's short. For instance, on
offense you can Pacify your opponent's single Wall of Spears, allowing your
three 2-power creatures through for at LEAST one turn. There aren't many cards
in Magic that will net that much damage for two mana. On defense, remember that
the sooner you use Pacifism on a creature, the more damage you prevent, so
don't treat it like chumping. If you know a creature will be a threat,
neutralize it immediately. If you Pacify an enchanted creature, you've also
gained card advantage by shutting down two of your opponent's cards with one of
yours. That said, if you CAN handle a creature with standard combat, save
Pacifism for a creature that's more problematic. 


[#UN]
-=Unlockable Cards=-
--------------------

I'll get this right out: the unlockables for Wings of Light are, for the most
part, strong cards. While I can recommend almost all of them, I cannot
recommend adding all of them SIMULTANEOUSLY to your deck. Many of these
unlocks are expensive cards which, if placed in Wings of Light en masse, will
grossly disrupt your mana curve. I would therefore advise that no matter which
additions you make, you add no more than 2 of the more expensive (5+ casting
cost cards) unlocks at any given time. Having Mass Calcify and Purity is
awesome, but having them in your opening hand with one land? Not so much.


-=Creature Spells=-

Serra Angel (1 unlockable; 4/4 Flying, Vigilance)

The first angel in Magic, Serra Angel is one of the most iconic cards in the
game, and one of the most unquestionably solid fliers in limited play. When
you compare Serra Angel to Angel of Mercy, you'll instantly realize how much
worse the latter is. While Angel of Mercy nets you 3 life, Serra Angel could
net you ten times that amount by blocking a 3/3 EVERY TURN. And attacking. For
4 damage. Serra Angel makes a solid addition against any deck, as she's a
capable combatant, resistant to cheap burn, and a nasty flying fatty.


Voice of All (1 unlockable; 2/2 Flying, Choice of color protection when CIP)

Another strong choice, Voice of All is a creature which, once in play, is nigh
-invincible to all but a few spells and effects. Since you can assign any color
protection you want, she is de facto unstoppable for most of the mono colored
decks, as she cannot be targeted, blocked, or take any damage from sources of
that color. For this reason, she can be used as a constant damage source or an
invincible blocker, though you will still take trample damage over two. Keep in
mind that against the multicolor decks, you will have to choose between
protecting her from removal (say, Eyeblight's Ending) or creatures. Also keep
in mind that even if you intend to give Voice of All Protection from Blue, she
can still be countered before resolving. **As it stands, there is also a bug
in Duels of the Planeswalkers that treats her "As Voice of All comes into play"
as a "When Voice of All comes into play" ability. This means that opponents can
INCORRECTLY destroy Voice of All before her protection is enabled. Hopefully
this bug will be addressed in an upcoming patch.**


Skyhunter Skirmisher (1 unlockable; 1/1 Flying, Double Strike)

Though seemingly innocuous, Skyhunter Skirmisher is a powerful card due to
Double Strike. Of course, Double Strike is always a powerful ability, but
having it on such a cheap flier means all of your buffs to it will be doubled 
nd easily carried over to your opponent. Having a single Glorious Anthem in
play, for instance, effectively makes Skyhunter Skirmisher a 4/2 Flying
creature! And although I wouldn't recommend this for Suntail Hawk, dropping
Serra's Embrace or Angel's Blessing on the Skirmisher can be particularly
nasty. Even if it can't get through on offense, Skyhunter Skirmisher can be 
extremely powerful on defense when coupled with your Youthful Knights.
 

Paladin en-Vec (1 unlockable; 2/2 First Strike, Protection from Red & Black)

Much like Voice of All, Paladin en-Vec can be an incredibly powerful card on
the field, though its protections are pre-specified. That said, his First
Strike makes him of good use against pretty much every deck. Consider him an
upgrade to Youthful Knight, and try to slap Serra's Embrace on him as soon as
possible to give your opponent a hard-hitting, possibly unblockable headache.
Unlike Voice of All, Paladin en-Vec's protections are permanent and un-bugged,
which means he is invulnerable to red and black the second he hits the table.


Soul Warden (1 unlockable; 1/1 Gain one life when creatures CIP)

Soul Warden is a stronger card in common "white weenie" decks which focus on
hordes of small creatures or tokens, but not so great in Wings of Light. While
the deck could use more efficient creatures, an additional 1/1 is rarely
helpful, and the life gain is often unnecessary when coupled with the bonuses
granted by Venerable Monk and Angel of Mercy. Just to keep the deck slim, I
would leave Soul Warden out unless you're playing in a 3 or 4 player game, or
against Ears of the Elves, to ameliorate its onslaught of weenies and tokens.


Spirit of the Hearth (1 unlockable; 4/5 Flying; Shrouds you from opponents)

While granting a generally powerful effect, Spirit of the Hearth's ability is
really only useful against two, maybe three, of the decks in Duels. And for six
mana, it's not even much better than a Serra Angel in terms of combat. Spirit
of the Hearth's main use, other than hosing Red and Black, is in three and four
player games. After all, if you can't be targeted, all of your opponents'
nastiest spells will be pointed at other players' heads. Or at Spirit of the
Hearth. I'd recommend any of the other big fliers, otherwise.


Reya Dawnbringer (1 unlockable; 4/6 Flying; Reanimates one creature at upkeep)

Reya Dawnbringer features an incredibly powerful ability, returning one
creature from your graveyard into play EVERY TURN. At nine mana, it may not
seem worth it, but remember that if you are able to play Reya, most of the
time this means you've reached some kind of stalemate with your opponent. And
what better way to end a stalemate than an endless barrage of creatures? Note
that Venerable Monk and Angel of Mercy will trigger and heal you upon
resurrection, so you can even send them on suicide attacks to gain life back
next turn. As a 4/6 Flier, Reya is no softie herself, and even if she's
killed, you've usually gotten your mana's worth within two or three upkeeps.
But always remember that at nine mana and with only one copy available for
your deck, the odds of drawing Reya and being able to play her are slim.
**There is currently a bug with Reya Dawnbringer and all cards which return
creatures from the Graveyard. Creatures restored by Reya will have no summoning
sickness, effectively granting them free haste. While that's good for you,
expect it to be addressed in a future patch.**


Purity (1 unlockable; 6/6 Flying; Heals non-combat damage; Shuffles from grave)

Purity's abilities are neat; whenever you'd take non-combat damage, it
nullifies it and heals you (Lava Axe would do zero damage and heal 5 life,
effectively healing you double the intended damage), and it can never really
end up in the graveyard. However, both skills are trivial bonuses to what makes
Purity great: it's a 6/6 Flier for 6 mana. Deals like that don't come around
often, so snatch this one up. Remember that no smart opponent would ever hit
you with a Shock while you have Purity in play. Purity would therefore benefit
most from The Rack or Megrim, where the damage isn't optional. Much like
Spirit of the Hearth, using Purity in larger multiplayer games will force your
opponents to choose other suckers for that 14 damage Blaze. As for Purity's
deck recursion, just treat it as a nice bonus and a chance to revisit an old
friend. You can also choose to discard Purity to any discard effects, knowing
you might get it back later.


-=Non-Creature Spells=-

Angel's Feather (4 unlockable; Artifact)

Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme; do not use this card! You've
probably heard it a million times by now, but avoid this and all of the life
gain artifact cards at all costs. Early game draws will slow down your war
machine, and late game draws are useless. Angel's Feather is especially bad in
Wings of Light because it's relatively slow, and it already has a healthy dose
of life gain. Leave this one out unless you're going into a mirror match.


Luminesce (1 unlockable; Instant)

It's a Holy Day that only works on Red and Black creatures, which is both good
and bad. It's good because it DOESN'T affect your creatures, meaning you can
create a completely one-sided combat phase at moment's notice. It's bad due to
the obviously slim niche of the card. In general, I'd leave this card out.
While it may have been useful if you could unlock two or three, the odds of
drawing it when you need it most against a couple of decks is negligible.


Serra's Embrace (2 unlockable; Aura - Enchant Creature)

Initially, I dismissed Serra's Embrace as a weak card, but then something
odd happened. I started noticing that whenever I lost to another player using
Wings of Light, it was almost always because he/she beat me to death with an
Embraced creature. And why not? For four mana, it basically upgrades any
creature you have lying around into a Serra Angel which may or may not have
First Strike. It also increases your capacity to break creature stalemates,
as well as giving you the flexibility to attack, knowing you're not leaving 
ourself open to block. And even thrown on an already flying creature can
yield interesting results. A 3/3 Double Striking, Vigilant flier? Yes please.


Wrath of God (1 unlockable; Sorcery)

To many new players, Wrath of God doesn't seem that good. It destroys all
creatures, even your own. How does that help? Wrath of God's most powerful
factor is that you'll know you have it, but your opponent doesn't. And while
your foe does everything possible to empty his/her hand of beasts onto the
field, you've got a 4-mana nuke loaded into your missile bay. Wrath of God is
best used when you're completely screwed, but there are other applications. If
there's a stalemate, just hold creatures you draw until you have two or three,
then Wrath. Odds are your opponent will be caught unawares while you mophim/
her up with your small army. Since Wrath is a Sorcery, exploit it. Attack
with all of your creatures in a suicide move. Since they're about to die
anyway, it doesn't matter if you lose any, and you may be able to get some
damage through or trick your opponent into wasting valuable combat tricks and
creature removal. Then just sit back and pull the trigger. 


Mass Calcify (1 unlockable; Sorcery)

What if Wrath of God didn't kill all creatures, just everyone else's creatures?
Well then, it would be hilarious! And cost seven mana. Mass Calcify destroys
all non-white creatures, thus cementing its status as the most racist Magic
card. Just be cautious if you decide to include it in your deck, as it will
not destroy multi-colored white creatures, and it will be useless in the mirror
match. Unlike Wrath of God, Mass Calcify doesn't prevent regeneration, so it
won't take that nasty Mortivore off the table. In fact, it will probably make
him significantly nastier. True, While Mass Calcify costs seven mana, it
practically ensures victory in all but the rarest situations.


[#MATCH]
-=Deck match-up Strategies=-
----------------------------


[#TP]
-=Vs. Teeth of the Predator=-

Biggest threats: Loxodon Warhammer, Giant Spider, Giant Growth
Biggest weakness: Only win condition is ground-based combat damage

Teeth of the Predator is a traditional Green "Stompy" deck, relying on brute
force, speed, and overwhelming numbers to beat you into submission. Its larger
creatures are huge beasts that will try to trample over your defenses, and the
smaller creatures can be readily boosted with powerful auras and instants to up
their threat level. That said, it's a straightforward deck with little strategy
other than "Smash!" and "Smash more!" If you can keep pressure applied while
neutralizing its ground forces, you should be able to sail in for the win.

One of the key components to defeating Teeth of the Predator is good use of
your enchantments to level the playing field. While a 2/2 Grizzly Bear for 2
mana is good, a 3/2 First Striker (Youthful Knight) will be superior pound-for-
pound once you have a Glorious Anthem out. Feel free to trade early-game damage
back and forth, as you will likely have more creatures at your disposal before
the Green player gets to his bigger threats. If you're attacked for a seemingly
even trade, let it go and counter-attack next turn, as it's likely you're being
baited with a Giant Growth.

If your Clock is in a better position than his/hers, continue to attack with
any creature that will beat or trade with his/her creatures. Leave everyone
else behind to mass-block or to chump, and attempt to move towards an air-based
offense. Teeth of the Predator only has TWO copies of Giant Spider to block
your fliers, and it can be mowed over with Serra Angel or most creatures with
Serra's Embrace.

While Troll Ascetic is not dangerous by itself, the fact that you cannot
Pacify it makes it a threat, especially when coupled with Blanchwood Armor. If
this occurs, your best course of action is to ignore it as long as possible,
then chump it when you're under 3 turns on the Clock. This may give you enough
time to establish air beats or to draw Holy Day or Wrath of God. All other
creatures in the deck can be easily handled with either First Strike defenders,
massive life gain advantage, or Pacifism, and Overrun is easily countered by
Holy Day. Teeth of the Predator is a relatively good match-up for Wings
of Light.



[#HF]
-=Vs. Hands of Flame=-

Biggest threats: Pyromancers, Kamahl Pit Fighter, all burn spells
Biggest weakness: Inferior creatures that can be mowed over

Because Hands of Flame often aims directly at your life total, the deck is not
a particular worry for Wings of Light. Your life gain will directly counter
some burn spells, your creatures are generally superior in combat, and your
buffs put most of them out of 1:1 burn trade range.

Don't get cocky, though. Your creatures, though efficient, are almost all
within range of one Shock or Incinerate without the help of a Glorious Anthem
or an aura, and letting the opponent land a Prodigal Pyromancer will mean
you'll have smaller creatures popping left and right, and your deck has no way
to efficiently remove or negate it. Hands of Flame will attempt to establish
early momentum, which is why you must be willing to make 1:1 trades in combat
early game. By the time mid game comes and you're both topdecking answers, your
creature draws will still be relevant, while Red's? Not so much.

Unlike against Teeth of the Predator, you can't afford to volley all-out
attacks back and forth. Establish a handful of fliers or strong ground troops
to attack with, and leave the rest on defense. This is because Hands of Flame
has a large amount of burn and Haste Creatures which can greatly multiply the
damage you thought you'd be taking next turn. In addition, a single Raging
Goblin that makes it through your defenses can be Enraged, with disastrous
results. That said, if you can stop the initial pressure and stave off ping
damage with Glorious Anthem or larger creatures, Hands of Flame is a good
match-up for Wings of Light.


[#ES]
-=Vs. Eyes of Shadow=-

Biggest threats: Underworld Dreams, Mind Rot, Drudge Skeleton
Biggest weakness: Weak fliers with no dangerous abilities

Eyes of Shadow is a deck of attrition, and as such it should be your goal to
get your most important cards into play and keep them there. As you're
continually forced to discard your hand and give up your creatures, you must
keep in mind that, even if no threat is apparent, you will eventually be on a
very tight clock due to unblockable creatures, recurring upkeep damage, or
extremely large creatures that grow every turn. Fun, huh?

Getting one ground creature into play is, to put it mildly, futile. Eyes of
Shadow has an army of regenerating Drudge Skeletons that you will, frankly,
never kill. You'll therefore need to establish an air force, or simply
overwhelm the ground. However, between Skeletons and chump-blocking Ravenous
Rats, this isn't likely without the luckiest of draws. Although it sounds like
a waste, I highly recommend using Pacifism on Drudge Skeletons, as it will
otherwise slow you down so much you will never damage Black enough before your
own ticking demise is ensured.

Once Eyes of Shadow reaches turn 3 and 4, you will begin to lose every card in
hand. It is essential that (early on) you keep extra cards in hand, so you're
able to discard disposable ones (such as Holy Day) to protect your real
investments. However, once you have enough land to play everything in your
hand, empty it. Cards in your hand will, in all likelihood, be lost soon
anyway, and if there are any Megrims in play, you'll pay for it.

It is certainly possible you'll be under pressure from The Rack to keep cards
in hand, but keep in mind that 1 to 3 damage a turn from the Rack is probably
not enough to put you on a shorter clock than you'd put your opponent on if you
played those cards. A single 2/1 Youthful Knight in play can, at the least, tie
up a blocker for your other creatures to get through. It also forces Eyes of
Shadow to use removal skills on your weaker creatures, so that hopefully by the
time you pull an Angel you're in the clear.

A game against Eyes of Shadow is, unfortunately, more about your punishing the
opponent's mistakes than of your calling the shots. Since you have no way to
remove the painful artifacts and enchantments from play once they hit, you'll
have to push through them and attempt keep every threat you have from being
discarded. This is a very close match-up for Wings of Light.


[#TW]
-=Vs. Thoughts of the Wind=-

Biggest threats: Phantom Warrior, Snapping Drake, all countermagic
Biggest weakness: Slow and mana-intensive

Although a slow deck, Thoughts of the Wind poses a minor threat to yours
because, like Wings of Light, this blue deck features a large number of fliers.
For this reason, it can be difficult to force through mid-game damage, as its
creatures will trade with all but the largest of your winged warriors.
Additionally, the countermagic and other manipulations present make formulating
a strategy difficult.

Much like the game against Ears of the Elves, it's paramount that you apply
early, constant pressure, even if you must trade off creatures in combat. You
have more creatures at your disposal in the long run, so don't worry about
keeping up. Besides, encouraging Blue to play more creatures to stay safe is a
good way to keep him/her tapped out, leaving your spells to be played with
relative impunity.

Getting Glorious Anthem into play early on is incredibly important against
Thoughts of the Wind, as it will even out your creature trades, as well as
allow all of your ground forces to break through the deck's otherwise powerful
Walls of Spears. Glorious Anthem is also important because, if it's not
countered, Thoughts of the Wind only has one card in the entire deck that can
deal with it, Boomerang.

If you're playing first or your sense in any way your opponent is having mana
trouble (doesn't play a 2nd or 3rd turn land), press your attack without
caution. He/she will want to counter your creatures, but will not have a lot of
options in the long run. You WANT them to Cancel your Venerable Monk, so
there's more chance you can successfully play Angel of Mercy later on.

One advantage you have when facing Thoughts of the Wind, compared to other
decks' match-ups with Blue, is that you have a large number of disposable
spells. If you have reason to believe your opponent is waiting to counter your
cards, save an extra mana to play a Suntail Hawk first. It may be enough to
elicit a counter from your opponent, at which point you can play your *real*
threat. Your goal should be to have more cards in hand than your opponent, as
not only will you have more options, but he/she will be increasingly nervous
about the situation and may counter harmless spells or allow some things
through he/she would have countered if it had been the last card in your hand.

Because you can apply constant pressure, use throwaway spells, and deal with
Thoughts of the Wind's fliers easily, your main concerns should be neutralizing
more threatening creatures (like Phantom Warrior and Air Elemental) and getting
your Glorious Anthems into play. Don't be afraid to make aggressive moves, and
keep superfluous cards like extra Plains in hand to keep Blue on its toes.
Overall, this is a fairly good match-up for Wings of Light.


[#CV]
-=Vs. Claws of Vengeance=-

Biggest threats: Woolly Thoctar, Bull Cerodon, Pacifism
Biggest weakness: Three-color mana requirements can slow deck down... maybe

Relying on many of the same tricks Wings of Light pulls, Claws of Vengeance
will immediately start to put out a strong ground game while stalling for
the heavy-hitting beasts. Unlike Wings of Light, its ground game is incredibly
strong, and its late-game beats are a force to be reckoned with. Oh, and it's
got four Pacifisms. Prepare for a long fight... or a painfully short one.

You're not going to win any 1:1 creature trades early on. Your standard 2/2
costs 3 mana; theirs costs 2 and has haste. Your best critter with 4 toughness
is Serra Angel at 5 mana. Their best one is the 5/4 Whooly Thoctar at THREE
MANA.While it's true there won't be too many 3rd turn Thoctar drops, there
will be many Thoctar plays, and none of them will be pleasant. Be prepared
to utilize your First Strikers to stall the ground game for as long as
possible. Save Pacifism for the nastiest beasts, like Bull Cerodon or Godsire
(though keep in mind Pacifism will not prevent Godsire from spawning
8/8 tokens).

Early in the game, do not pull 1:1 trades on defense, as you will need every
blocker you can muster for later plays. Claws of Vengeance has absolutely no
fliers, so stalling for Hawks and Angels, then pumping them accordingly, will
be your main avenue for victory. If you're forced to chump a Sangrite Surge,
do it, but don't waste tons of blockers to kill the target, just chump it
or eat the admittedly insane damage.

Topdecking Holy Days and/or Wrath of God will be handy, but the odds you'll
live long enough to play them is low if you don't carefully manage your blockers
early on. Apply pressure whenever you have the creature advantage, but keep in
mind Bull Cerodon comes out turn 6, with Haste. This is a tough match-up for
Wings of Light.


[#EE]
-=Vs. Ears of the Elves=-

Biggest threats: Gaea's Herald, Elvish Champion, Coat of Arms
Biggest weakness: No air defense and little overall removal

It's common to play Wings of Light carefully, building a defense then taking to
the skies for the kill, but you simply cannot afford to do that against Ears of
the Elves. The more time you give Ears of the Elves, the more numerous and
powerful its forces will become. It is essential in this match-up to apply as
much pressure as possible, even if it requires constant 1:1 trades.

Gaea's Herald allows Green/Black to make a continuous stream of 1/1 Elf tokens.
Elvish Champion gives all Elves +1/+1. And Coat of Arms gives every creature
+1/+1 for each creature that shares its creature type. That means if five elves
were in play, they'd each get +4/+4! And you'd be lucky to have two critters of
the same type! Because the most powerful cards in Ears of the Elves are
cumulative, it is essential that you overpower this deck before it can get two
or more of these buffs into play. Attack aggressively, leaving only the bare
minimum of safe blockers behind to cover yourself.

Although Pacifism can be useful against Rhys the Exiled or Elven Riders, you'll
soon realize that it's the overwhelming number of creatures you have to worry
about, not their individual threat. For that reason, you should employ Pacifism
more offensively, decreasing your opponent's defensive options, allowing you to
attack more continually. Ears of the Elves has absolutely no fliers, and only
one creature to counter fliers (though it's a nasty one), so don't hesitate to
push anything you can through the air, including early game Angelic
Blessing attacks.

If Ears of the Elves fails to find some of its key damage boosters, you will
find this an easy fight, as many of its creatures are otherwise pathetic, or
at least inferior in direct combat. However, due to the lack of counters and
removal in Wings of Light, staving off the myriad elf combos in the deck will
be an uphill battle. Save multiple Holy Days for your 1 and 2 turn clocks, and
push as much damage as you can through. This is a very tough match-up for Wings
of Light.


[#SF]
-=Vs. Scales of Fury=-

Biggest threats: Blightning, Dragon Roost, Rampant Growth
Biggest weakness: No real threats other than massive, terrifying dragons

Scales of Fury's entire game consists of stalling the ground with annoying
creatures while stalling for enough time and land to play a slew of nasty
dragons. Because your ground forces will be inherently superior, and because
you'll be in the air much sooner, Scales of Fury is possibly the best matchup
you could hope for.

Early game problems like Blightning, Incinerate, and Rampant growth will mean
fast disruption and mana acceleration you'll have to race against. Your smaller
critters won't be safe from burn, but that's fine. If you can lure out removal
on a 2/2 Monk, your angels and other pretties will be all the more safe when
they see play. Your worries will be toward end-game, when plays like Violent
Ultimatum can seriously shut you down. And if a Dragon Roost gets into play,
you've probably lost the game unless you can win in the next two turns.

That said, the rest of the dragons are not particularly scary because you'll
have the life total, chump blockers, and Holy Days to handle the big damage,
and Pacifism shuts the rest down easily. With a Glorious Anthem or two out,
your fliers will easily trade or beat half of Scales of Fury's dragons, so if
you stay focused on pressuring and keeping card advantage at all times, you
should pull the victory in this strong match-up for Wings of Light.


[#WL]
-=Vs. Wings of Light (mirror)=-

Biggest threats: Glorious Anthem, Pacifism, all Auras
Biggest weakness: No dangerous combat tricks to worry about

As in all mirror matches, the deciding factor here will be a good starting
hand, well-managed resources, and excellent combat decisions. As you can
probably guess, you aren't going to win with pinprick pokes all match, as
your opponent's life gain and blocking forces will have none of that.

Instead, you will have to make only the safest attacks, applying pressure
when you know you're on a longer Clock, and never making 1:1 or worse trades
when you have fewer creatures available. Since the game will most likely
devolve into a creature stalemate, it will probably be decided by who draws
the largest fliers first, or the most copies of Pacifism. Getting an early
Glorious Anthem will, of course, give you a large advantage. Otherwise,
everything you need to know is basically outlined in "The Right Mindset."
This is, naturally, an even match-up for Wings of Light.


[#AD]
Vs. Artifacts of Destruction (NPC deck only)

Biggest threats: Master of Etherium, Platinum Angel, Shard Sphinx
Biggest weakness: Terrible, shamefully bad AI

Luckily for Wings of Light, the majority of Tez' deck isn't that scary, and
the cards that are are mainly fliers and large, Pacifiable fatties. Your
challenge will be to beat through his wall of artifacts to get damage on
the table before he's drawn his whole deck. Luckily, you'll be drawing
quickly too.

Don't be afraid to trade early hits, because it's the late game antics
that will put you on a really short Clock. Master of Etherium and Shard
Sphinx are nasty, nasty creatures that benefit greatly from Tez' mountain
of artifacts. If you can Pacify or even double block them to eliminate them,
do so. Platinum Angel will basically seal the game, but the AI is too stupid
to NOT attack with her, which may put you in a position to destroy it.

You will be drawing a LOT of cards, so focus on playing creatures that will
be useful as blockers immediately or attackers next turn, instead of just
pumping out the biggest guys you can every round. If you can trick the AI
into all-out attacking you, followed by Holy Day, you can score a lot of
free damage, especially since Tez' life gain source, Fountain of Youth, is
a complete joke. Make sure you've swapped in your heavy fliers for the
match-up, and don't be afraid to restart until you've drawn a strong
initial hand. This is a good (but close) match-up for Wings of Light.


[#TERMS]
-=Glossary=-
------------

This Glossary is intended to define some terms used in this guide for those who
are newer to Magic: the Gathering. This Glossary is not intended as a
substitute for the Duels of the Planeswalkers Tutorial or for the official
rules of Magic: The Gathering. Words in quotes are words that are defined in
other places in this Glossary.

-Bluff: Just like in poker, Magic is a game of calculated risks. Bluffs make up
a large part of the experience against an opponent. If he/she believes you have
a Cancel, will he/she cast an important card? If you attack in a manner that
appears suicidal, your may intimidate the opponent into letting the damage 
through. It is said in Texas Hold'em "The best play is the play you would make
if you knew what cards your opponent has." Try to make such plays, and try to
prevent your opponent from making them by keeping extra lands and cards
available at all time. Keep in mind that bluffing is harder when you have fewer
cards in hand or against the Duels computer AI, which does not respond to
bluffs at all.

-Bounce: To return a permanent to it's owner's hand. Bouncing can be either
defensive (protect a creature from death) or offensive (remove a defender
before it blocks). There are so many applications for bouncing, it would be
impossible to list them all. 

-Broken: Any card or card combination that is deemed too powerful to be fair.
Many broken cards are banned or restricted by Wizards of the Coast after their
release proves catastrophic. Some broken cards allow easy "infinite" combos, or
are simply so powerful they force every deck in the "metagame" to use that card
or directly counter it to win.

-Burn: Any instant or sorcery spell used solely to inflict damage. The vast
majority of burn cards are Red, even spells that have nothing to do with
"burning" something with fire.

-Card Advantage: Ultimately, Magic is a card game and as such, the player with
more cards is generally in a better situation. More cards means more options,
but it also means less uncertainty. It means you can formulate plans more that
one turn in advance, as well as intimidate your opponent with hidden tricks.
Card advantage specifically refers to making choices and plays that leave you
with more cards than your opponent. For instance, you choose to attack with a
Serra Angel, knowing full well your opponent would need to block with all
three of his fliers to kill it. Although you will lose your best flier, he/she
will lose all his fliers (or take massive damage). Your opponent loses many 
ptions in that trade, whereas you only lose one. This is like casting
Holy Day after your opponent has cast two Overruns and attacked with twelve
2/2 token creatures. Your single card has erased at least two of his turns,
three of his cards, and dozens in mana and damage. Card advantage is also why
something like Thieving Magpie is such a good card. If Magpie attacks even once,
it has already replaced itself in its controller's hand. The longer it is in
play and attacking, the more options its controller gains.

-Chump/Chump Block: A blocking assignment that is intentionally suicidal. Chump
blocks are usually desperate decisions meant to forestall large amounts of
damage. Any creature without Trample can effectively be chump blocked by a
single 0/1 creature. Because chumps have no chance to kill the attacker, it's
best to wait as long as possible before chump blocking.

-CIP: Short for "coming into play." Many permanents have abilities that are
activated when they come into play. Most abilities do not care where the
permanent comes into play from (hand, graveyard, etc) unless specified. Under
M10 rules, this terminology will be replaced with "enters the Battlefield."

-The Clock: This is not a common term in Magic, but one used by me to describe
a way to think about combat damage. If one player has one or more creatures
that can't be blocked or are not prudent to block, his/her opponent is
essentially on a clock. At 20 life, a 1/1 puts you on a 20 turn clock. A 4/4
puts you on a 5 turn clock. An 11/11 puts you on a 2 turn clock, etc. The
concept of the clock is important because it forces you to consider how quickly
you must neutralize a threat in order to win. It also allows you to judge your
relative odds of winning in combat damage "trades." If your opponent has an 8/8
creature and you're at 17 life, you're on a 3 turn clock. But if you have a 3/2
flier and he/she's at 5, you have the advantage. Don't let specific numbers
scare you. Always ask yourself who has more turns on the clock, and make
decisions that ADD time to your clock or SUBTRACT time from the opponent's
clock. For instance, if your opponent is at 2 life, and is on a 2 turn clock,
playing another creature is not likely to decrease that player's clock unless
you expect he/she may remove one of your creatures from play.

-Concede: To give up the game to your opponent. At the time of this guide's
writing, there is no way to concede in Duels, which probably contributes to
the high rate of rage-quitting. Conceding in traditional Magic is common when
an opponent establishes a "lock" or when one knows there is no way any topdeck
can save him/her.

-Control: Thoughts of the Wind and Eyes of Shadow are good examples of a light
control deck. A control deck's aim is to put its opponent's deck in a position
where all of its plays are irrelevant. This can be accomplished via defense and
countermagic, as in Thoughts of the Wind, or with a variety of other strategies,
such as perpetual discard effects that force a player to topdeck all plays.

-Countermagic/counterspell: Any instant or ability that negates another instant
or ability directly. The archetypal card Counterspell is the mold for all such
effects.

-Deck/Decked: To be "decked" is to lose the game by failure to draw from the
Library. This is usually the result of "milling" but can also occur in
exceedingly long, defensive games.

-Drop/Drops: A "drop" is a planned play on a given turn. For instance, you
might say "Thoughts of the Wind doesn't have any good turn two drops" to
indicate there are few viable plays for the deck on the second turn. Drops
usually refer to permanents.

-Infinite: There exist certain card combinations which can result in infinite
mana, damage, life, turns, or tokens/counters in Magic. So far, no such
combinations exist in Duels, and they are unlikely to be implemented for
obvious balance reasons. When a deck "goes infinite" it usually signifies the
opponent's immediate or inevitable loss unless he/she is able to counter or
negate the infinite combo immediately. Rules state that for all "infinite"
variables, the "infinite" player must actually choose a number, and cannot
simply say "I have infinite life" or "I deal infinite damage to you." In this
manner, it is possible that a player with 8 trillion life might be dealt 8
trillion and 1 damage by a player who later goes infinite. Some infinite
interactions will break the game rules and immediately end the match in a
stalemate.

-Lock: A lock is established when one player has gained "control." A soft lock
is one which makes the majority of the opponent's draws and plays irrelevant
(i.e. all combat damage is negated). A hard lock is established when it is
physically impossible for the opponent to win the game with any draw or play.
Many control and combo decks are focused on establishing one of these types
of locks.

-Mana Curve: A deck's mana curve is a representation of how many cards it has
at each "drop," illustrating how easy it will be to meet the needs of the deck
in order for it to consistently play strong hands. Much like a bell curve, most
decks should have a couple 1 or 2 casting cost cards, a larger amount of 3 and
4 casting cost cards, and a small number of cards costing 5 or more.
Obviously, the mana curve of each deck can differ, and a deck with strong mana
acceleration can get away with a more expensive-to-cast card base.

-Manascrew: Manascrew refers to being placed in a bad board position due to
drawing too few land. It's imperative that you only take a starting hand with
three or more land to help avoid getting manascrewed. Keep in mind that the
more land you begin with, the less likely you are to draw land later on. The
opposite of manascrew is mana flood.

-Metagame: The metagame is the current climate in Magic that refers to the most
commonly used decks and strategies in competitive play. For all intents and
purposes, there is no metagame in Duels, but one may evolve as hidden card
combos, deck strategies, and DLC decks/features emerge.

-Mill: Milling refers to forcing a player to put any number of cards from the
top of his/her library into the graveyard. The term gets its name from
Millstone, an artifact from early Magic which performed this task. Although
Milling does not directly hinder your opponent's gameplay (as he/she's still
drawing random cards), it decreases the options that player has over the course
of a long game, and may even lead to "decking." A player who cannot draw a card
(because his/her library is empty) loses the game.

-Ping: Any ability of a permanent (usually a creature) that deals 1 damage to a
creature or player. Prodigal Pyromancer is a good example of a creature with a
pinging ability.

-Pump: Any ability that allows a creature to increase its own power, toughness,
or both. Pump can also refer to Giant Growth effects used on creatures in a
similar manner.

-Sac: Short for sacrifice, it is common to sac a permanent to fuel a sac
ability if that permanent would otherwise be destroyed. "I'll block, then sac
him to regenerate this Legend."

-Stompy: A deck designed to win by aggressive use of large creatures in combat.
Stompy usually refers to Green decks.

-Strictly Better: A card is strictly better than another when it is identical
except for one notable attribute. For instance, Flying Men is strictly better
than Cloud Sprites because it's identical, but has no restriction on blocking
creatures without flying. Serra Angel is not strictly better than Angel of 
Mercy because their utility depends on the circumstance.

-Tapped out: Having all lands tapped, with none available for use. Being tapped
out is generally a vulnerable state, not only because you're unable to react to
your opponent's plays, but also because your opponent knows there is little you
can do to stop his/her tricks. For this reason, it's best to play instants and
instant abilities during your opponent's turn, and not your own. It will force
any reaction from your opponent to potentially leave them tapped out, right
before you take your turn and untap.

-Timmy/Johnny/Spike: These terms refer to three common types of Magic player.
Timmy is the player who is obsessed with the grander Magic cards like huge
creatures and spells with enormous effects. He likes winning with huge damage,
drastic attacks, and big surprises. Johnny is the player who is obsessed with
card interaction and prefers carefully planned and executed combos to win
duels. He likes winning with special combos he carefully planned, or by pulling
off particularly obscure card tricks. Spike is the player obsessed with
efficiency and winning at any cost, and will play any deck or strategy proven
to win. He enjoys winning knowing he played his best.

-Topdeck/Topdecking: Topdecking means you're either out of cards in hand, or
out of useful cards in hand, and are effectively improvising strategy based on
what you draw off the top of the deck. Obviously, this is a highly vulnerable
state and should be avoided when possible. Even if you are topdecking, it's
wise to keep one card in hand (even a useless extra land) so your opponent
doesn't know how desperate your situation is. "Topdeck" can also mean "a lucky
draw from the top" such as drawing Wrath of God as your only card the turn
before you would have died.

-Trade hits: Trading hits can either refer to back-and-forth all-out attacks,
or 1:1 blocking that destroys both blocker and attacker.

-Win Condition: A deck's win condition is its intended way to beat the opposing
deck. For many decks, the win condition is creature-based combat damage. For
Hands of Flame, there exists "ping" and "burn" win conditions in addition to
creature combat. Thoughts of the Wind relies on evasion creatures to deal
lethal damage. Having more than one win condition makes your deck more 
versatile and less likely to get shut down by one defensive strategy.


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