[Top 5] MTG Arena Best Lifegain Decks

MTG Arena Best Lifegain Decks, MTGA Best Lifegain Decks
Who says you need surgery for a gaping stomach wound?

In MTG there's a saying that goes, "Winning with one life is the same as winning with twenty." This means that life total is a resource that players should manage like permanents or cards in hand. These days, there are more diverse ways of using life as a resource other than for damage races. In this list, we’ve chosen five MTG Arena decks that use life gain as a part of a winning strategy.

5. Orzhov Aristocrats (Historic)

As long as it’s good, she doesn’t mind which side the blood comes from.

The "aristocrats" name comes from vampires such as Blood Artist/Cruel Celebrant that drain your opponent's life each time a creature dies. To trigger this effect, the deck contains various removal spells and ways to sacrifice and reanimate creatures. Castle Locthwain lets you convert the life points you drained into extra cards.

What's good about this deck:

  • It has a great matchup against any creature-based decks. The infamous Cat-Oven combo stops non-trample creatures while inflicting life loss at the same time.
  • Your main angle of attack is through non-combat damage. This forces slow decks that prefers to play defense to attack or die to repeated life drain.
  • Removal is less effective against you compared to other creature decks. You can sacrifice your creatures for value in response to kill spells then revive them later.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of Cauldron Familiar, Witch’s Oven, and Blood Artist/Cruel Celebrant/Bastion of Remembrance.
  • Cast your Lurrus with mana left over to immediately cast a permanent from your graveyard. This lets you at least get some value if they immediately kill it.
  • Whenever possible, use Witch’s Oven or Village Rites on creatures that you blocked with or are about to die anyway to maximize the value you gain from it.
  • Count the aristocrat itself when calculating the amount of life you can drain if your board gets hit with mass removal.
  • Unless you’re starving for lands, save Agadeem’s Awakening to play as a spell later on. This deck's strategy lends itself towards longer games so you should be able to draw lands later.

Cards:

Deck
4 Cauldron Familiar
2 Serrated Scorpion
4 Blood Artist
4 Cruel Celebrant
3 Lurrus of the Dream-Den
4 Village Rites
4 Despark
4 Heartless Act
2 Agadeem's Awakening
3 Call of the Death-Dweller
2 Shatter the Sky
4 Witch's Oven
3 Bastion of Remembrance
3 Brightclimb Pathway
4 Castle Locthwain
4 Godless Shrine
1 Isolated Chapel
4 Plains
6 Swamp

Sideboard
4 Agonizing Remorse
4 Blightbeetle
2 Disenchant
2 Heliod's Intervention
3 Settle the Wreckage

4. Mono-Black Devotion (Standard)

Gary’s always hard at work to bring glory to Erebos.

This deck builds around the Gray Merchant's ability to drain the opponent's life based on your Devotion to Black. You have hand disruption and creature removal that lets you survive into the mid to late game to cast "Gary". Erebos, Bleak-Hearted and Castle Locthwain lets you leverage that life drain into card draw.

What's good about this deck:

  • You get to play powerful color-intensive cards like Tymaret, Chosen from Death and Ayara, First of Locthwain without issues.
  • Gray Merchant and Ayara give you a way to win outside of combat even if your opponent manages to stop you from attacking.
  • This deck rarely runs out of gas. Erebos, Bleak-Hearted, Castle Locthwain, and Ayara lets you draw cards as long as you have life points to spare.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of Foulmire Knight, Kitesail Freebooter, Ayara, and a couple of removal spells.
  • Think ahead when deciding what to take with Kitesail Freebooter’s ability. Choosing the removal spell that can kill it is fine unless you’re looking to bait them into using that on the Freebooter because you have a better target.
  • You can use Grasp of Darkness to take down creatures with greater than four toughness by combining it with your creature. Cast it after blocks and when your opponent doesn’t likely have a removal spell to blow you out.
  • Lead with Ayara over your other creatures if possible. This makes the most of her life drain trigger and lets you use her ability to sacrifice your other creatures in response to the opponent killing them.
  • Consider your options when you damage an opponent with Rankle, Master of Pranks. There are cases where you don’t want to use the draw option because it might let your opponent draw an answer.

Cards:

Deck
4 Foulmire Knight
4 Kitesail Freebooter
4 Tymaret, Chosen from Death
3 Ayara, First of Locthwain
3 Grimdancer
2 Murderous Rider
2 Erebos, Bleak-Hearted
2 Rankle, Master of Pranks
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
2 Bloodchief's Thirst
3 Grasp of Darkness
1 Agadeem's Awakening
1 Hagra Mauling
2 Omen of the Dead
3 Castle Locthwain
20 Swamp

Sideboard
2 Cling to Dust
2 Duress
2 Erebos's Intervention
2 Specter's Shriek
1 Blacklance Paragon
1 Eliminate
2 Feed the Swarm
1 Murderous Rider
2 Underworld Dreams

3. Jund Sacrifice (Historic)

Korvold is not a picky eater.

Jund Sacrifice makes use of the Food synergies introduced during Throne of Eldraine. The deck contains ways to sacrifice permanents that trigger abilities such as dealing out damage or drawing cards. Bolas’s Citadel lets you convert incidental life gain from Cauldron Familiar or Food tokens into even more card advantage.

What's good about this deck:

  • You will crush any deck that relies on small creatures like Goblins. Mayhem Devil together with steal and sacrifice effects will destroy all their creatures.
  • You can outvalue slower decks with ease. Even when you don't have the Citadel, Korvold, Fae-Cursed King and Trail of Crumbs will get you a ton of card advantage.
  • Removal is less effective against you compared to other creature decks. You can sacrifice your creatures for value in response to kill spells then revive them later.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of Cauldron Familiar, Witch’s Oven, Trail of Crumbs, and Mayhem Devil.
  • Always combine Claim the Firstborn with a sacrifice outlet. You can take creatures like Stonecoil Serpent or Hydroid Krasis because X doesn't affect converted mana costs.
  • Mayhem Devil triggers when either player sacrifices any permanent. You get free damage from your opponent using their creature’s sacrifice ability or when you use your Fabled Passage.
  • Don’t forget to leave one mana open to pay for Trail of Crumbs’s ability whenever you sacrifice a Food token.
  • If possible, cast Bolas’s Citadel before making a land drop. This lets you avoid a situation where you’re not able to play more things from the top of your library because it’s a land.

Cards:

Deck
4 Cauldron Familiar
4 Gilded Goose
4 Mayhem Devil
4 Woe Strider
3 Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
4 Claim the Firstborn
2 Thoughtseize
4 Witch's Oven
2 Bolas's Citadel
4 Trail of Crumbs
3 Blood Crypt
1 Castle Locthwain
1 Cragcrown Pathway
2 Dragonskull Summit
3 Fabled Passage
4 Overgrown Tomb
1 Phyrexian Tower
1 Rootbound Crag
3 Stomping Ground
1 Woodland Cemetery
2 Forest
1 Mountain
2 Swamp

Sideboard
2 Redcap Melee
1 Soul-Guide Lantern
2 Thoughtseize
2 Abrade
2 Noxious Grasp
1 Scavenging Ooze
4 Witch's Vengeance
1 Vraska, Golgari Queen

2. Orzhov Clerics (Standard)

As long as they’re Clerics, Orah gives you insurance against removal.

Orzhov Clerics is a tribal deck using all the best Clerics the Standard format has to offer. It takes advantage of White’s life gain themes and Black’s ability to recur threats if they’re killed. Despite having small stats, these creatures have the means to grow and scale-up in the mid to late game.

What's good about this deck:

  • Your cards' synergy makes the deck more powerful than the sum of its parts. Taborax, Hope’s Demise and Orah, Skyclave Hierophant rewards you with card advantage for sticking to Clerics.
  • Opposing creature decks will find it difficult to win damage races against you. This is because you gain life through both Lifelink creatures and life gain triggers.
  • You have repeatable ways to give power and evasion. Both Maul of the Skyclaves and Demonic Embrace will let you push Flying damage in cases where they’re able to stall on the ground.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of several creatures that go up your mana curve, a couple of removal spells, and Maul of the Skyclaves/Demonic Embrace.
  • Don’t hesitate to cast Nullpriest of Oblivion early if you don’t have early plays. The damage and life gain you’ll get far outweighs the benefit of waiting for six mana to cast it with Kicker.
  • Archfiend’s Vessel is the ideal target for your stat-boosting effects. Unless you use your removal, this deck doesn’t have a way to make it go to the graveyard other than your opponent killing it.
  • Play Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose only when you can immediately take advantage of his triggered ability.
  • Unless you’re starving for lands, save Agadeem’s Awakening to play as a spell later on.

Cards:

Deck
4 Archfiend's Vessel
3 Speaker of the Heavens
4 Cleric of Life's Bond
4 Luminarch Aspirant
2 Nullpriest of Oblivion
2 Taborax, Hope's Demise
2 Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose
2 Orah, Skyclave Hierophant
4 Bloodchief's Thirst
1 Erebos's Intervention
3 Heartless Act
1 Heliod's Intervention
2 Agadeem's Awakening
2 Call of the Death-Dweller
2 Maul of the Skyclaves
1 Demonic Embrace
2 Brightclimb Pathway
1 Temple of Silence
9 Plains
9 Swamp

Sideboard
4 Fight as One
4 Glass Casket
3 Heartless Act
3 Heliod's Intervention
1 Heliod, Sun-Crowned

1. Mono-White Lifegain (Historic)

Heliod only joins the action after you’ve shown enough devotion.

Mono-White Lifegain uses Heliod, Sun-Crowned's ability to grow your creatures each time you gain life. The creatures included either trigger life gain or grow bigger the more life you get. Ajani, Strength of the Pride ties the deck together by providing tokens that grow from life gain and also being a source of repeatable life gain.

What's good about this deck:

  • It has a great matchup against other aggressive decks. Because you also gain life while you attack, they have to inflict at least twice as much damage to you to keep pace.
  • Your creatures grow bigger over time. This means you will be able to break through even if the opponent stalls the board for a few turns.
  • You have plenty of cheap creatures that you can slip under control decks before they have enough mana for counterspells. Once flipped, Legion’s Landing also gives you an uncounterable source of creatures that's difficult to remove.

How to play this deck effectively:

  • Your best hand consists of Soul Warden, Ajani's Pridemate, Heliod, and Ajani.
  • Lead with Soul Warden so you can maximize the life gain you get from both you and your opponent’s creatures.
  • Play your Ajani’s Pridemate early so it has the best chance to grow into a huge threat. The same principle applies to your Lifelink creatures if you already have Heliod on the board.
  • Cast Legion’s Landing pre-combat if you’re going to attack with at least three creatures. This lets you flip it into a land immediately and use it for mana.
  • When you get several triggers from Heliod, distribute them depending on the type of removal you expect. Spread it around against target removal or put it on a creature you can protect if they have mass removal.

Cards:

Deck
4 Serra Ascendant
4 Soul Warden
4 Speaker of the Heavens
4 Ajani's Pridemate
2 Daxos, Blessed by the Sun
2 Luminarch Aspirant
4 Heliod, Sun-Crowned
2 Linden, the Steadfast Queen
1 Basri's Lieutenant
2 Venerated Loxodon
4 Ajani, Strength of the Pride
2 Emeria's Call
4 Legion's Landing
3 Shefet Dunes
18 Plains

Sideboard
3 Giant Killer
3 Grafdigger's Cage
4 Rest in Peace
2 Gideon Blackblade
3 Basri's Lieutenant

You may also be interested in:

More on this topic:
As a lover of real-time strategy and fighting games, Albert can't wait for games to start using neural controllers so he doesn't have to rely on his slow reflexes.
Gamer Since: 1991
Favorite Genre: PVP
Currently Playing: PokeMMO
Top 3 Favorite Games:Diablo, Civilization IV, Fable: The Lost Chapters
This article makes me feel:

More Top Stories