While seven mana is a fairly high casting cost for a 4/4 flyer, Resolute Archangel has a pretty sweet ability that used correctly can be quite a turn-around for the player casting her. A new card being featured in Magic 2015, the Archangel has the ability when she enters the battlefield, if your life total is lower than your starting life total, it becomes your starting life total.

The first thing to understand about Resolute Archangel‘s ability is that it is in fact a life-gain effect. There is a card with a similar effect called Invincible Hymn from Shards of Alara. In the case of that card, your life total becomes the number of cards remaining in your library. It was ruled that you actually gain or lose the life necessary to reach that life total.

In Commander, this sort of ability is quite useful and in most cases is better than Invincible Hymn. In life-gain decks that utilize Felidar Sovereign, which causes you to win the game if you have 40 or more life at your upkeep, having the Resolute Archangel around to help seal the deal definitely helps. Since in Commander you typically start at 40 life (except in some 1-vs-1 cases at which you start at 30), the Archangel can essentially reset the game clock for you. The best part about many decks that ultimate life-gain is that they also have Black-based cards that cause your opponent to lose life whenever you gain it. So there are some major shenanigans that can come from this card.

Another great application for Resolute Archangel is a deck like Kaalia of the Vast. Being that Kaalia’s deck is often the first target at the Commander table, life totals will often run fairly low in the early turns. With Kaalia’s ability able to bring out Resolute Archangel without having to cast her, Kaalia can allow opponents to over-extend a bit and reset the life total back to whatever the starting life total was. Also, a card like Quicksilver Amulet can help to bring the Archangel in un-countered and almost out of nowhere. She’s a very good card for that deck. Some Kaalia decks even run a life-gain sub-theme, which helps the Archangel to fit in even more effectively!

In Constructed, this effect is probably pretty useful, too, although seven mana in a typical 60-card Constructed deck is a bit tricky if it doesn’t have a direct effect on the board state. Cards like Angel of Serenity can get away with it due to her ability to exile three creatures at once. Starting life totals are important, but usually just to prolong a game. So while she might see play in some fringe decks, she’s probably not going to be much over bulk rare status. However, being an Angel, as well as her Commander utility, it’s likely Foils will be fairly valuable.

In any case, I personally love Resolute Archangel for her flavor and Commander play-ability. She’s going to be a super fun card to stick to your opponent late game in Limited.

How would you play Resolute Archangel? Is she a card you think could work outside of Commander and Limited?

– Elspeth for the Win