Ajani, Strength of the Pride seems very interested in two specific things: gaining life, and making Ajani's Pridemates. Right on! A nice, straightforward marriage of mechanics and flavor for a Planeswalker deck. Ya love to see it. 

Ever since M11, WotC has slotted in some creatures linked to Planeswalkers in both name and abilities. (You'll likely see many of them over the course of this project.) And none of them have been as resonant or successful (or reprinted!) as Ajani's Pridemate. It's even seen play in various constructed formats like Modern (in the very neat Soul Sisters deck) and Standard (see LSV's deck from the last Pro Tour). I would theorize that it's because it pairs well with what Ajani as a Planeswalker often wants to do—gain life, add +1/+1 counters to your creatures—and what White as a color likes to do—gain life, play cheap aggressive creatures—in a simple, digestible package. 

Ajani, Strength of the Pride, AKA 'Jani, Strength of the Pride, AKA Johnny Strength, recognizes the success of this particular card so well that it makes straight-up token copies of it! The blueprint of this deck is clear: create circumstances that make Ajani's Pridemate strong, and play a couple copies of the real thing, too. 

Noted. Presenting: 

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Ajani, Strength of the Pride by Andy Hurst

'Ajani, Strength of the Pride' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $36.97

Cards

Mistveil Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $1.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180847_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)
Mistveil Plains enters the battlefield tapped.
{W}, {T}: Put target card from your graveyard on the bottom of your library. Activate this ability only if you control two or more white permanents.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/ultimate-masters/mistveil-plains

Blessed Alliance

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/119685_200w.jpg

Escalate {2} (Pay this cost for each mode chosen beyond the first.)
Choose one or more —
• Target player gains 4 life.
• Untap up to two target creatures.
• Target opponent sacrifices an attacking creature.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/eldritch-moon/blessed-alliance

Emissary of Hope

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/11740_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever Emissary of Hope deals combat damage to a player, you gain 1 life for each artifact that player controls.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/darksteel/emissary-of-hope

Leonin Vanguard

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/169217_200w.jpg

At the beginning of combat on your turn, if you control three or more creatures, Leonin Vanguard gets +1/+1 until end of turn and you gain 1 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2019/leonin-vanguard

Answered Prayers

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191208_200w.jpg

Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, you gain 1 life. If Answered Prayers isn't a creature, it becomes a 3/3 Angel creature with flying in addition to its other types until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-horizons/answered-prayers

Sunmane Pegasus

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207115_200w.jpg

Flying
{1}{W}: Sunmane Pegasus gains vigilance and lifelink until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/theros-beyond-death/sunmane-pegasus

Speaker of the Heavens

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $2.92

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215680_200w.jpg

Vigilance, lifelink
{T}: Create a 4/4 white Angel creature token with flying. Activate this ability only if you have at least 7 life more than your starting life total and only any time you could cast a sorcery.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2021/speaker-of-the-heavens

Faith's Fetters

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226975_200w.jpg

Enchant permanent
When Faith's Fetters enters the battlefield, you gain 4 life.
Enchanted permanent can't attack or block, and its activated abilities can't be activated unless they're mana abilities.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-legends/faiths-fetters

Chalice of Life // Chalice of Death

Market Price: $0.54

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/57607_200w.jpg

{T}: You gain 1 life. Then if you have at least 10 life more than your starting life total, transform Chalice of Life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/dark-ascension/chalice-of-life

Battlegrace Angel

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.55

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98737_200w.jpg

Flying
Exalted (Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, it gains lifelink until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-masters-2015/battlegrace-angel

Zuran Orb

Market Price: $3.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/4955_200w.jpg

Sacrifice a land: You gain 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/ice-age/zuran-orb

Ajani, Strength of the Pride

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $11.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192523_200w.jpg

+1: You gain life equal to the number of creatures you control plus the number of planeswalkers you control.
−2: Create a 2/2 white Cat Soldier creature token named Ajani's Pridemate with "Whenever you gain life, put a +1/+1 counter on Ajani's Pridemate."
0: If you have at least 15 life more than your starting life total, exile Ajani, Strength of the Pride and each artifact and creature your opponents control.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2020/ajani-strength-of-the-pride

Sandstone Bridge

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/105377_200w.jpg

Sandstone Bridge enters the battlefield tapped.
When Sandstone Bridge enters the battlefield, target creature gets +1/+1 and gains vigilance until end of turn.
{T}: Add {W}.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/battle-for-zendikar/sandstone-bridge

Chastise

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/12598_200w.jpg

Destroy target attacking creature. You gain life equal to its power.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/9th-edition/chastise

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206144_200w.jpg

Daxos's toughness is equal to your devotion to white. (Each {W} in the mana costs of permanents you control counts toward your devotion to white.)
Whenever another creature you control enters the battlefield or dies, you gain 1 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/theros-beyond-death/daxos-blessed-by-the-sun

Ajani's Pridemate

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187127_200w.jpg

Whenever you gain life, put a +1/+1 counter on Ajani's Pridemate.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/war-of-the-spark/ajanis-pridemate

Feudkiller's Verdict

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/68260_200w.jpg

You gain 10 life. Then if you have more life than an opponent, create a 5/5 white Giant Warrior creature token.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-masters/feudkillers-verdict

Banishing Light

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231195_200w.jpg

When Banishing Light enters the battlefield, exile target nonland permanent an opponent controls until Banishing Light leaves the battlefield.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-kaldheim/banishing-light

Twinblade Paladin

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $6.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192751_200w.jpg

Whenever you gain life, put a +1/+1 counter on Twinblade Paladin.
As long as you have 25 or more life, Twinblade Paladin has double strike. (It deals both first-strike and regular combat damage.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2020/twinblade-paladin

Divine Offering

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/39149_200w.jpg

Destroy target artifact. You gain life equal to its converted mana cost.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/mirrodin-besieged/divine-offering

Sejiri Steppe

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/46808_200w.jpg

Sejiri Steppe enters the battlefield tapped.
When Sejiri Steppe enters the battlefield, target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.
{T}: Add {W}.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/duel-decks-knights-vs-dragons/sejiri-steppe

Implement of Improvement

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126411_200w.jpg

{W}, Sacrifice Implement of Improvement: You gain 2 life.
When Implement of Improvement is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, draw a card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/aether-revolt/implement-of-improvement

Cursebreak

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/58849_200w.jpg

Destroy target enchantment. You gain 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/avacyn-restored/cursebreak

Linden, the Steadfast Queen

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199209_200w.jpg

Vigilance
Whenever a white creature you control attacks, you gain 1 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/throne-of-eldraine/linden-the-steadfast-queen

Saltblast

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233508_200w.jpg

Destroy target nonwhite permanent.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/time-spiral-remastered/saltblast

Recuperate

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/10849_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• You gain 6 life.
• Prevent the next 6 damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/scourge/recuperate

Condemn

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227257_200w.jpg

Put target attacking creature on the bottom of its owner's library. Its controller gains life equal to its toughness.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-legends/condemn

Angel of Vitality

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $2.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192522_200w.jpg

Flying
If you would gain life, you gain that much life plus 1 instead.
Angel of Vitality gets +2/+2 as long as you have 25 or more life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2020/angel-of-vitality

Blessed Light

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/164396_200w.jpg

Exile target creature or enchantment.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/dominaria/blessed-light

Nomad Stadium

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9597_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {W}. Nomad Stadium deals 1 damage to you.
Threshold — {W}, {T}, Sacrifice Nomad Stadium: You gain 4 life. Activate this ability only if seven or more cards are in your graveyard.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/odyssey/nomad-stadium

Fountain of Renewal

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/168493_200w.jpg

At the beginning of your upkeep, you gain 1 life.
{3}, Sacrifice Fountain of Renewal: Draw a card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2019/fountain-of-renewal

Path of Bravery

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216561_200w.jpg

As long as your life total is greater than or equal to your starting life total, creatures you control get +1/+1.
Whenever one or more creatures you control attack, you gain life equal to the number of attacking creatures.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/jumpstart/path-of-bravery

Watcher of the Roost

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92896_200w.jpg

Flying
Morph—Reveal a white card in your hand. (You may cast this card face down as a 2/2 creature for {3}. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
When Watcher of the Roost is turned face up, you gain 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/khans-of-tarkir/watcher-of-the-roost

Renewed Faith

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161569_200w.jpg

You gain 6 life.
Cycling {1}{W} ({1}{W}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
When you cycle Renewed Faith, you may gain 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/masters-25/renewed-faith

Herald of Faith

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/168440_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever Herald of Faith attacks, you gain 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2019/herald-of-faith

Attended Healer

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222011_200w.jpg

Whenever you gain life for the first time each turn, create a 1/1 white Cat creature token.
{2}{W}: Another target Cleric gains lifelink until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/attended-healer

Famished Paladin

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/155634_200w.jpg

Famished Paladin doesn't untap during your untap step.
Whenever you gain life, untap Famished Paladin.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/rivals-of-ixalan/famished-paladin

Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230464_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/plains

Serene Steward

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/105675_200w.jpg

Whenever you gain life, you may pay {W}. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/battle-for-zendikar/serene-steward

Ancestor's Chosen

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180839_200w.jpg

First strike (This creature deals combat damage before creatures without first strike.)
When Ancestor's Chosen enters the battlefield, you gain 1 life for each card in your graveyard.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/ultimate-masters/ancestors-chosen

The Game Plan

The goal here is to utilize lifegain effects to trigger our creatures, or get us past a certain life total threshold that enables other payoffs. Ajani's Pridemate is the signature monster, accompanied by Serene Steward, Twinblade Paladin, Attended Healer, and Famished Paladin. Fountain of Renewal, Daxos Blessed by the Sun, Answered Prayers, Herald of Faith, and Leonin Vanguard offer consistent triggers to beef up our team. It's not important that these cards gain a lot of life, just that they gain life often and with relative consistency. And if your life climbs to a higher total, payoffs like Johnny Strength's ultimate ability, Angel of Vitality, and Feudkiller's Verdict will shine and prove difficult for an opponent to overcome. (Feudkiller's Verdict is a card I enjoy very much, and I was so happy to see it downshifted in Modern Masters! This card stood a very good chance of being one of the 4 Rares, and now it doesn't even need to take one of those slots! Always fun to see Rares get downshifted in reprints.) 

The removal package here has some nice ones, too. Recently reprinted in a Core Set, Faith's Fetters is the real deal. Remember that this hits any permanent type, including an opposing Planeswalker, and the 4 life boost that comes with neutralizing a key threat makes the Fetters quite potent. Chastise is another one, especially against Green creatures. You'll likely be favored in most races anyway, because your life total is likely to get boosted throughout the game, but Chastise laughs at any opponent trying to trade with you punch for punch. Destroying their (presumably) biggest or most annoying attacker AND gaining life equal to its power kills your opponent's morale in addition to their creature. 

The Rares

What a payoff! 27 life isn't even that tough to get, given how many ways we can trigger some lifegain, and once we do, this little fella becomes an angel factory. He may be fragile, but this speaker projects loudly. 

If our goal is to trigger Ajani's Pridemates & co, we can't do it more consistently and more freely than with Queen Linden. Twinblade Paladin is the Queen's favored knight, but you have a plethora of monsters that will all benefit. Add all that to a pretty competitive body for only 3 mana, and you have a rare that wins Most Destined To Pair With This Planeswalker. Long may she reign. 

I remember way back in the day when Shards of Alara made its debut, lots of players wondered how good the Exalted mechanic actually was. Turns out, pretty good! Rares like the Battlegrace here helped figure that out quickly; not only is there a +1/+1 bonus, but lifelink is a hell of an additional ability to tack on for no mana. As a 5/5 flying, lifelinking attacker herself, she'll threaten to end a game quickly, no matter how many Pridemates you've amassed. 

Diet Linden, in enchantment form. And sometimes, like diet soda, you'll badly want this over the original. Path of Bravery lines up exactly with what your deck is trying to do, and only needing 21 life to get the Anthem effect is Easy Mode.  

Unsung Hero

Zuran Orb was once considered an incredibly powerful, unfair card. Players would pair it with Balance so they could float some mana, sacrifice all their lands, cast Balance, wreck their opponent's board, and be up a bunch of life and maybe a creature or two to an opponent's empty board. It was so good, it even got banned in Standard! 

[cue exasperated teenager voice] Okay Boomer. Balance hasn't been around in a while, and I'm genuinely curious if Zuran Orb would ever see play even in draft if it were reprinted today. I suspect not. But here, Zuran Orb is back to its dominant ways. We do have a 6-drop and a 7-drop that we'd like to cast, but other than that, there aren't many mana sinks other than Serene Steward. This means that excess lands can be tossed away to the Orb for free, instant speed triggers to pump up our squad. Anytime I'm able to successfully weaponize nostalgia in this project, a Serra Angel gets its wings. No Balance? No problem!