Today we’ll be talking about Exquisite Archangel, a creature with a rather unusual ability; it doesn’t do anything until you’re about to lose the game! Of course, the effect is a powerful one indeed, which replaces losing with going back to your starting life total, one which essentially undoes all your opponent’s hard work if they were trying to win by damage. It doesn’t even matter if the Angel would die at the same time (you’ll still regain life, and then you’ll decide whether to send the Angel to exile or your graveyard). However, as we learned on Monday, there are other ways to win (and lose) the game; let’s take a look at a few of them today.
Exquisite Archangel vs. decking out: If you would attempt to draw a card while there aren’t enough cards left in your library, the Angel will prevent you from losing and exile itself, but you still won’t have any cards left in your library. You’ll probably have one turn to win the game, so use it wisely!
Exquisite Archangel vs. Triskaidekaphobia: If you’re at 13 life when either ability resolves, the Angel will prevent you from losing, exile itself, and put you back up to your starting life total (hopefully giving you a buffer before you go back to 13 life), but the ability will continue resolving, and you’ll gain or lose 1 life as appropriate. If both players have 13 life, however, good news for you–the game would normally be a draw, but the Angel replaces you losing with not-losing, while your opponent loses. Therefore, you win!
Exquisite Archangel vs. Mechanized Production: Unfortunately, the Angel won’t have any effect here, as “win the game” effects are separate from game rules and effects that say you “lose the game.” The only exception is in multiplayer games, where “win the game” instead means “all your opponents lose the game”; therefore, you will be protected by the Angel, but your other opponents will still lose, probably reducing the game to a 1v1.
Exquisite Archangel and Platinum Angel: It’s highly unlikely, but possible you’ll be able to pull this one off in Limited! If you do manage to get them both in your sealed or draft pool, and both onto the battlefield at the same time, once again the Archangel won’t have any effect. Platinum Angel straight-up prevents you from losing, so the Archangel won’t have anything to replace.
Exquisite Archangel in Two-Headed Giant: You and your teammate win and lose as a team, so anything that would cause your teammate to lose will also be replaced by the Archangel. For purposes of effects that care about lifegain (or loss, if your life total was somehow higher), though, only you will gain the life.