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Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Style for Each – Lifegain

April 30, 2012 by  
Filed under FAQ, In-Depth FAQ

Sub Themes

Hey there and welcome back for yet another round of our Sub Themes introduction. Last article, we had introduced Voltron to you all. This Sub Theme works to power up your General to the 21 power or more and sends it in for the winning beat. Alas as easy as it is to just kills by just attacking with a powered up General, this is also the weakness for this Sub Theme. With that one General down, your efforts put in and chance of winning is all gone at the same time. Therefore, two sets of power ups are in these decks, one for powering up your General, the other to protect it. For today article we shall look at another Sub Theme which also protects but the subject of protection we are talking about here though is you, the player, and not your General.




The name of this week Sub Theme is called Lifegain. The main goal of this Sub Theme, as its name implies, is to keep your life total up. This will buy you time to deal with your opponents’ defenses. As games are played with multiplayer, forty life might not be enough when you are damaged by everyone. This is a sound strategy for as long as you could deal with the General damage, normal damage would never kill you. Lifegain could be achieved by many ways ranging from one shot Instants and Sorceries; to permanents ways from Artifacts, Creatures, Enchantments and even Lands. Here are some of the ways you could use:-

With so many life gained, there are many directions you could go from here. Since you are always above life from your opponents, you could go in for the kill with beatdown race. Also there are a couple of alternate win conditions which could let you win just by having lots of life. With this Sub Theme, it is not impossible to win without dealing any damage or attacking anyone. Below are some ways to use the huge life gain you got throughout the course of the game:-

  • Kuro, Pitlord – Kills any creature with your life
  • Greed / Necropotence – Uses your life to draw more cards. Especially powerful as this Sub Theme could gain you back the life you lost. With more cards drawn, you get more ways to gain more life for more cards….
  • Felidar Sovereign / Test of Endurance – Alternate win con just by having a huge amount of life
  • Martyrs’ Tomb – Uses your life to protect your Creatures
  • Phyrexian Reclamation – Uses your life to return Creatures lost. Especially 187 Creatures which could gain life
  • Unspeakable Symbol – Lets you cash in all those life gain for power on your Creature



General Damage and Poison Counter are present in the EDH. In regardless of how many life you have, you still loses the game when you 21 General Damage and 10 Poison Counter. In order to prevent yourself from being killed by these two means, it is a good idea to pack your decks with the following:-

  • COP – Depending on the Color of the General and Infect Creatures, use the appropriate COP to counter it
  • Inner Sanctum – Temporary way to deal with General Damage, as you will eventually be unable to pay for the Cumulative Upkeep of paying 2 life
  • Martyr’s Cause – Use your Creatures to prevent the General Damage
  • Righteous Aura – Prevents all General Damage or Infect Poison Counter from one source with the loss of only 2 life
  • Runed Halo – Let you gain Protection from one General, so that you have one less General to worry about
  • Solitary Confinement – Prevents all damage. Especially good combination with Necropotence as you always have cards to discard to upkeep Solitary Confinement
  • Story Circle – Protects you against a chosen color


Also there is the danger of buying time, when you do nothing against your opponents. While in normal variant, Lifegain could buy you time, but in EDH the more time you buy yourself could also be time for your opponents. This is especially so for Sub Theme, Lifegain, as you basically do nothing to your opponents. In EDH, life total also usually does not matter as opponents maybe able to set up insane combos while you are buying yourself time.


Generals of Choice:

  • Atalya, Samite Master:- General who protects your Creature or gains you life. Color Identity of White also house the greatest number of life gain.


  • Treva, the Renewer:- Gains life by connecting with your opponents. Color Identity opens up for control and more life gain also.

  • Ghost Council of Orzhova:- Pokes at your opponent while gaining you 1 life every time it enters the battlefield. Color Identity opens up options of disruption and Black Tutors which could search for anything you need.

  • Capashen:- Gains life from your opponent with the largest hand size. His secondary ability to tap down one blocker could also win you games by attacking with him.

So to summarize for today article, the main aim of the Sub Theme, Lifegain, is to buy you time against your opponents. Gaining huge amount of life then using those gained life for other effects, ranging from drawing cards, powering up your Creatures and even winning the game. The biggest foil in this whole plan though is that General Damage and Poison Counter both ignore your life, meaning no matter how sky high your life is, 21 Commander Damage and 10 Poison Counters just spells your defeat. There is also the danger of not doing anything but gaining life that you are giving your opponents the time to develop their own boards and going into their insane combos which usually kills with no regards to your life total. That said, we come to a close for today article. Do come back next article for more Sub Theme.


This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.





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