Deck gates

Gates Control

The first time I saw the Gates deck, I thought it was a meme. The first time I played against it, my opponent had a particularly horrendous draw, which confirmed my suspicions. Since then, I’ve played against it many more times, and I decided to try it for myself. I then found out it was very much a real deck, with some great matchups in the format.

Here’s the Gates deck I’ve been playing:

Playing Gates is a big cost—about half of your lands come into play tapped at any point, which is very detrimental. For it to be worth it, the upside has to be enormous. Luckily, it is. There are six big Gate payoffs in the deck, which are (listed in order of importance):

Gatebreaker Ram

Gatebreaker Ram

The greatest appeal is Gatebreaker Ram. For only 3 mana, you immediately get a 4/4 that attacks as a 5/5 trampler with vigilance. It’s very easy to bring this up to a 6/6, 7/7, or even 10/10 later in the game, so it’s basically immune to red. It cannot be killed or chump blocked, and it blocks everything. It’s also relevant that it always out scales Gates Ablaze, which is not true for your other creatures. This card is truly very strong and the reason to play this version of the deck. As a bonus, it makes a great goat sound when you play it on MTG Arena.

Guild Summit

Guild Summit

The second biggest payoff is Guild Summit. It’s a bit clunky, but the effect is undeniably powerful, as it’s strong early and late. If you lead with Guild Summit, then you are basically drawing an extra card per turn for the rest of the game, as it’s easy to chain Gates when you’re drawing two a turn (plus Circuitous Route draws two cards!). If you draw it later in the game, then it’s just a draw X spell. It’s not an optional trigger, so you should watch out for decking very late in the game if you have multiples out (though you can still usually stop playing Gates at a certain point, and Gate Colossus helps, so it’s not an issue as long as you’re aware of it). It’s also important to keep in mind that against Mortify/Crushing Canopy you want to make sure you already have your Gates in play when you cast Guild Summit, as the tap ability cannot be stopped (and the other one can).

Gates Ablaze

Gates Ablaze

The third payoff is Gates Ablaze, which is, for all intents and purposes, a Plague Wind for 3 mana. Sometimes you will have a Gate-light draw and then you won’t be able to kill a big creature early on (or even if you get a normal draw they might outpace you with cards like Tempest Djinn or Venerated Loxodon), so it’s not exactly Plague Wind, but it’s pretty close. It’ll never kill your Gatebreaker Rams and it will almost never kill your Gate Colossus. The fact that it’s so cheap works well with late-game Guild Summits, and a common play pattern is to play Guild Summit, draw 4-5 cards and still be able to cast Gates Ablaze that same turn. If it’s very late in the game, consider holding off on your 8th Gate so that Gates Ablaze doesn’t kill Gate Colossus.

Plaza of Harmony

Plaza of Harmony

The fourth payoff is Plaza of Harmony. It enters play untapped, taps for multiple different colors, and gains you 3 life on top of it? 3 life is worth a decent amount when you have such good late game, and against decks like Mono-Red it’s basically a counterspell. This will never be your only source of colored mana, which can sometimes be awkward, but it does let you play something earlier if you topdeck the right Gate. For example, imagine you have Izzet Guildgate and Plaza of Harmony in play. If you draw Simic Guildgate, you have immediate access to green mana and can cast Growth Spiral, whereas without the Plaza you would have to wait an extra turn for your Gate to untap.

Gate Colossus

Gate Colossus

Next comes Gate Colossus. Gate Colossus is significantly worse than Gatebreaker Ram. It’s more expensive, has a worse evasion ability, and surprisingly, is often smaller. But we can’t play eight Gatebreaker Rams, and a worse Gatebreaker Ram can still be good. There are two big advantages of Colossus:

  1. It sometimes costs 0. This can be relevant in turns where you play a big draw spell, like a Guild Summit or a Krasis, and then you just play all the Colossi you draw, whereas if you wanted to play Gatebreaker Ram you’d need to leave 3 mana up, which sometimes means foregoing three cards from Guild Summit.
  2. It has the ability to come back. This one doesn’t come up very often because a lot of the time they either can’t kill it or exile it, and sometimes you don’t even want to draw it again (since you’re trying to draw something even better), but when it does come up it’s pretty relevant. It’s also cool that, if you have Guild Summit, you can play a Gate and stack both triggers so that the Colossus resolves first, so you put it back on top and can immediately draw and replay it.

Archway Angel

Archway Angel

Archway Angel rounds out the Gate payoffs, and, while it’s certainly the worst one, it’s very good when it’s good. You often gain 10+ life when you play it, which means against some flavors of aggro decks all you need to do is get to 6 mana.

So, the payoffs are undeniably strong. Are they enough to make you play all your games half a turn behind? I think so.

Here’s what I decided to put in the rest of the deck:

Deafening Clarion

Deafening Clarion

You fall behind too often with Gates, so you need more ways of getting back in the game. Obviously Gates Ablaze is the best, but Clarion is usually enough against most aggro decks. One upside of Deafening Clarion here is that this deck actually attacks for big chunks, so the lifelink ability is relevant. Clearing their board and gaining 8 life from Gate Colossus basically closes the game versus any aggro deck.

Growth Spiral

Growth Spiral

Growth Spiral is a no-brainer and one of the reasons the deck can work. It just accelerates you by a full turn and works very well with Gates. It’s also an instant-speed trick with Gatebreaker Ram that you can use during combat or to save it from something like a Lava Coil.

Circuitous Route

Circuitous Route

Circuitous Route is also a potent card because your deck is full of X-spells. Turn-3 Gatebreaker Ram into turn-4 Circuitous Route is a fast clock, and it obviously works wonders with Guild Summit.

Hydroid Krasis

Hydroid Krasis

Hydroid Krasis is also excellent here. You have ramp (Spiral and Route) and lots of ways to delay the game (seven sweepers), so you often cast the first Krasis for 6 mana and then the second Krasis for 10 to win the game. Don’t be afraid to cast it for 4 or even 3 if you have to, though, as the deck has enough late-game power.

Knight of Autumn

Knight of Autumn

Knight of Autumn is a remnant of best-of-one play, but I’ve liked it a decent amount. It’s obviously versatile, and you really want it versus aggro decks and any Wilderness Reclamation deck. Even against control it often kills Search for Azcanta, so it’s a pretty good card. It is sort of a flex slot, but it’s the card I currently like the most.

Here are the things most people play that I don’t:

Expansion // Explosion

Expansion // Explosion

I don’t think Expansion // Explosion is very good in this deck. In general, the card is good because it’s this dual-purpose thing, where you get to copy an Opt, a Shock, or a Lava Coil in the early game and then later on you have inevitability because of your draw-X. In this deck, you have nothing to copy, so you’re really banking on them playing something (ideally a counterspell), and you already have the late-game insurance with your huge creatures, Colossus that comes back, Krasis, and Guild Summit, all of which can be played much sooner. Expansion // Explosion is just a worse version of these cards and I don’t think you need two more of them, so I’m pretty set against running any.

Wilderness Reclamation and Nexus of Fate

Wilderness ReclamationNexus of Fate - Foil - Buy-a-Box Promo

Wilderness Reclamation and Nexus of Fate. There is a Nexus version of Gates, and it’s certainly viable, but I feel like if that’s what you want to do, you’re probably better off with Simic or Bant.

The deck doesn’t have enough instants to fully abuse Wilderness Reclamation, and you also don’t get to play Search for Azcanta, which is one of the best Reclamation payoffs. Taking extra turns with Guild Summit is admittedly very sweet, but if I’m playing a Wilderness Reclamation deck I want to make full use of the card instead of making it an enabler for Nexus of Fate and Expansion // Explosion. The one great part about Nexus Gates is that your transformational sideboard is phenomenal since you get to play Rams and Colossus to beat down on people who load up on Duress and Negate, but my inclination is that it’s still not worth it compared to the normal Nexus decks (but still a viable alternative).

No Other Basics

Forest (347)

Most of the lists I see have two basics, sometimes three, and they split them up. Originally, I had one Island and one Forest, but I decided I wanted to have two of the same basic land so that I always know which land I have to lead with on turn 1 if I have Growth Spiral. This comes up more often than you’d think—you have an opening hand with Selesnya/Gruul Guildgate and Izzet/Azorius Guildgate, and you have Growth Spiral in your hand. If you run one Island and one Forest, you run the risk of playing the Izzet Gate and drawing the Island. If you run two Forests, then playing the Izzet Guildgate always works. As long as you keep the ratios the same, having all your untapped lands give the same color is helpful so you don’t have to gamble here.

The sideboard is still work in progress, but here’s the general rundown:

2 Archway Angel – Mostly versus red decks, but still useful versus some other aggro builds.

2 Cindervines – For the most part, this is Seal of Primordium. You’re not going to board it in versus a control deck in the hopes that it deals a lot of damage—you attack in very big chunks, so the incidental damage is not useful, and they’re not going to take 20 from it. It’s here mostly so that you only need to keep 1 mana up versus Wilderness Reclamation every turn and not 3.

1 Mass Manipulation and 1 Star of Extinction – These are your anti-midrange cards, mostly against Sultai. They board in Duress and Negate against you, so I think you want some expensive cards to make sure you have action left. Another option would be The Immortal Sun. Mass Manipulation is also good versus the mirror.

1 Collision // Colossus – For Mono-Blue and Drakes. Randomly giving your Colossus trample with, uh, Colossus, also comes up if they find a way to chump block it past its restriction.

3 Crushing Canopy – For Mono-Blue, Drakes, Nexus, and Esper decks. It’s very versatile. I like it versus Esper since it kills Thief of Sanity and Search for Azcanta.

1 Deafening Clarion – For aggro decks.

4 Negate – For control, Nexus, and the mirror.

Sideboarding is somewhat intuitive—you board out sweepers versus decks with few creatures and an assortment of expensive cards versus decks with a ton of creatures. Knight of Autumn is also a card that comes out when they have no targets and you don’t need the life (e.g., Sultai).

Your best matchups are the midrange decks, such as Sultai or B/R. You simply go over the top of them, and they aren’t fast enough to stop you from winning. I’ve also found Drakes to be a good matchup, since Gatebreaker Ram is so big and Gates Ablaze is great versus them, but you can definitely lose to their fast hands.

Aggro matchups are hit or miss. You are a very clunky deck, but you also have seven sweepers. If you manage to cast Clarion or Gates Ablaze versus a deck like WW, you usually win, but if you don’t draw it or they hit the first one with Defensive Formation then you’re in trouble. Overall, I think you’re favored. Against Mono-Blue, I believe they’re favored, as any good draw by them will outpace yours, though you can win if they have a bad draw. Against Mono-Red, you usually need either a fast Ram or a Deafening Clarion gaining life to put you out of burn range.

The control matchups can be quite tough, but it depends on what exactly they are playing. A fast Teferi in particular is a huge problem, since you have no way of removing it. You can bury them in card advantage with Guild Summit, but they have answers (counterspells if you play it late and Mortify if you play it early), and killing them is not the easiest proposition—you have limited threats and they have a lot of answers. Some people play one Nexus of Fate in the main deck to have a better shot against control, and I can get behind that. Post-sideboard, you improve.

Then there are the Nexus of Fate decks, and those are roughly unwinnable game 1 (though Knight of Autumn/Gatebreaker Ram can steal games if they’re unprepared), but improve the most of any matchup post-board since you have so much enchantment removal and Negates. Whatever creature plan they have, it’s unlikely to beat Gatebreaker Ram and Colossus, so all you have to do is deal with their plan A. Whenever I beat Nexus with Gates, it’s usually by playing an early Gatebreaker Ram and then not tapping out again. The Ram does kill them very quickly, so it’s not like you need a multitude of answers.

Overall, whether I’d recommend the Gates deck or not depends on your metagame. If it’s all Esper, Mono-Blue, and Nexus, then I think this deck is a bad choice. If it’s more midrange-centric, with some White Weenie thrown in, then I think it’s a good choice. Regardless, I’ve found it to be a very fun deck to play, and it’s certainly a real deck and not just a meme, so if you’re interested you should definitely give it a try.

Tags: Gates


This deck is not legal due to the following reasons:

  • Deck contains cards not legal in Standard: ["Azorius Guildgate", "Gruul Guildgate", "Izzet Guildgate", "Archway Angel", "Deafening Clarion", "Plaza of Harmony", "Selesnya Guildgate", "Simic Guildgate", "Gate Colossus", "Gateway Plaza", "Guild Summit", "Growth Spiral", "Circuitous Route", "Gates Ablaze", "Blast Zone", "Arboreal Grazer", "Hydroid Krasis", "Boros Guildgate", "Expansion // Explosion", "Breeding Pool", "Jace, Wielder of Mysteries", "Dovin's Veto", "Chandra, Awakened Inferno", "Mystical Dispute", "Aether Gust", "Shifting Ceratops", "Grafdigger's Cage"].

The deck will be not publicly searchable until the above errors are fixed.

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DIY Gates for Deck Stairs

How to Build Gates for a Wood Deck

Deck Gates Built with Kit and Balusters
If you have little ones roaming around, you know the feeling when you see them head towards the stairs! For inside stairs you can buy a pre-made gate in a color that suits your house. But what do you do about outdoor stairs like those on a deck?

You build some yourself!


I took this picture with every intention of building these gates with some leftover wood I had on hand, but that changed half way through the project.

Materials Needed to Build Deck Gate(And yes, my old, blue Ryobi saw is still going strong!)

But here’s what I actually ended up using:

When I was picking up 2x2s to make the balusters, I did some math. And the pre-cut balusters with the 45 degree angle on the end were actually cheaper than buying a couple of 8-foot 2x2s and cutting the angles myself. So price shop at your local lumber yard to see if it’s the same for you! I love me a bargain!


Since I was making 2 gates to fill my opening, I took the width of the opening, subtracted an inch (for the hinges and a little breathing room) and then divided by 2. Only subtract half an inch if you’re making 1 gate.

From this point forward all directions will be for 2 gates. Adjust accordingly. I cut (4) 2x4s to half the width of my opening. Then attached them to the horizontal parts of the braces from the kit, according to the directions. (I used these same kits to make a Dutch door for a shed in an episode of my web series. Click to watch now!)

First 2x4s Attached to Gate Brackets from Homax

Take your overall height measurement, mine was around 31 inches so that it would line up nicely with my existing handrails. Lay out the partially assembled pieces to that height. Now you can measure inside the braces to determine how long to cut your (4) vertical pieces. Attach the 2x4s, though it’ll be a tight fit and may require some strong-arming to keep it in place while you drive the screws.

Attaching 2x4 to Height of Gate

Attach to Posts

At this point, I attached the hinges to the 4×4 posts at the top of my stairs. I originally wanted them to swing out, but I realized once the 2x2s were attached on the front, they would hit the handrail and wouldn’t be able to open all the way. So I revised my plans!

I screwed the hinges in so they were flush with the inside edge of the 4×4, somewhat creating the illusion that the gate was a continuation of the handrail itself.

Toddler Boy Helping Momma Build Gate for Summer

Of course no project goes on around here without a helping hand or two!

Then, and only then, did I realize that the 4×4 on the right is not straight.🤨 So the gate leaned and did not match up with its counterpart at the top. Boo! One way to fix it would be to shim the bottom hinge so that it was plumb. But I decided to shave the top 2×4 so that after I hung it higher than the other gate they would match up perfectly in the most obvious place, the middle.


Part of the reason I wanted to hang the gates before adding the 2x2s was so that I could stain everything separately, eliminating having to cut in around the balusters. So once the top board was shaved, I took measurements where each baluster would be and cut them to size. They’re spaced about the same amount as the balusters on the deck handrails, which is according to our local code.

I used stain we had leftover from staining the deck a few years ago. I brushed it on the gate frames in place but laid out the balusters on a drop cloth and stained 3 sides before letting it dry and staining the 4th side. Once they were all dry, I used my nail gun to attach the balusters in place (5 on each gate).

How to Baby Proof a Wood Deck

Gate Latch

Lastly, you can’t have a gate without a latch! I was able to re-use this sliding gate latch from another project. I had to pick up extra long carriage bolts, though, since it needed to mount on the outside away from little fingers. Here’s a top-down view to show you how I did it. The piece on the right only attaches with screws.

Top Down View of Attaching Gate Hardware to Deck Gate

Now our gate is ‘baby proof’! Since kids seem to LOVE to play outside and this momma doesn’t enjoy it quite as much, I can safely let them play outside on the deck while I’m in the kitchen (right inside the door, which I leave open) preparing dinner. That’s what I call a win-win!

Open Gate from Wood Deck to Backyard

What hack have you discovered lately that makes your life easier? Leave me a comment to share!

Thanks for Checking In! ~Chelsea

*This post may contain affiliate links*


The Benefits Of An Outdoor Dog Gate For Your Deck -

No one wants to worry their pet will dart out the door ahead of them and escape out into the neighbors yard or onto a busy street.

Adding a dog gate to your deck is a good way to increase safety and security for your pet.

An outdoor deck gate adds a second layer of protection to keep your dog secure until you’re ready to allow them out into the yard.

You’ll also be able to relax on your deck with your dog without having to constantly keep on eye on where they are and if they caught a glimpse of a squirrel they might want to chase.

A gate can also keep your pet off the deck if you’re entertaining or otherwise need to prevent them from accessing it.

Choosing The Right Outdoor Dog Gate For Your Deck -

If you have been searching for the perfect outdoor dog gate for your own deck, you may have realized that finding the best option for your home can take a little bit of extra effort.

That’s because there are many factors to consider when purchasing an outdoor dog gate.

When choosing your gate you’ll want to:

  • Think about the type of installation required for the outdoor dog gate

  • Consider the best location to install the gate on your deck

  • Find the best size gate for your deck

  • Choose a durable material that will hold up well outside

Making sure that the gate you choose checks all the boxes for what you need can help ensure you find the best possible fit for you and your dog.

Types Of Installation For Outdoor Dog Gates For Your Deck -

there are generally two ways the gates will be installed: tension mounted or hardware mounted gates. .

Tension mounted means the gate is held in place by the tension of the rods on either side. Generally there are two parts on either side that are twisted out to hold the gate in place.

The benefit of tension mounted gates are that they are less permanent and easy to remove without causing damage to the deck. It can be a good for those who are renting or cannot drill holes into their existing deck posts.

Hardware mounted means the gate in held in place with permanently installed hardware that attaches to the deck posts on either side of the opening. This is the preferable means for installation if at all possible.

A hardware mounted gate install is more safe, secure, and permanent. It is the best choice for those looking to have a barrier that can withstand weight against it.


Gates deck

Gate Kits for Vinyl Deck and Railing

Vinyl Railing Gate Kit Contents: top and bottom rails, side rails, 1 pack of stainless steel screws, balusters (5 balusters for 34 inch wide gate and 7 balusters for 46 inch wide gate) and caps for side rails.

Colors: White

Height: 35.5 inches. (Gates can be special ordered up to 41.5" high in square or colonial balusters. Please call or email for pricing.)

Specifications & Drawings:PDF file click here

Installation Instructions:click here

Single Gate Width: 34" wide railing gate kit will fit a 36" wide opening and a 46" wide railing gate kit will fit a 48" wide opening. The two inch difference allows for a gap between the latch and hinges (if using our Kwik Fit Hinges only subtract 1 1/2 inches).

Double Swing Gate Width: to calculate the width for double swing gates, take the measurement from inside to inside of the two posts. Subtract 2 1/2" (if using our Kwik Fit Hinges only subtract 2 inches) and divide that number by two. This should provide the width for each gate. For example, if your opening is 70 1/2" you would subtract 2 1/2" and divide by two. Each gate would be 34" wide. We recommend using the Lokk latch when installing a double swing gate.

Custom Gates: Just tell us the dimensions of the gate you want. Don't forget to subtract for the latch and hinge allowance. You can also order custom gates online "click here".

Gate Hinges and Latch are sold separately. D & D Gate Hardware or Steel Gate Hardware

34" Wide Gate: Top and bottom rails can be cut so the gate width is between 29 and 34 inches wide. Gate ships at 34 inches wide. Picture above is shown at 34 inches wide. Once cut the space between the side rails and first picket will be less.

46" Wide Gate: Top and bottom rails can be cut so the gate width is between 41 and 46 inches wide. Gate ships at 46 inches wide. Once cut the space between the side rails and first picket will be less.

PVC Vinyl Deck and Porch Gate

Gate Balusters
Square - Colonial - Twist - Classic - Belly

Vinyl Railing Gate Specifications
Deck Vinyl Railing Gate Specifications
Drawing illustrates a gate 34" wide x 35.5" high

Vinyl Railing Gate Kit White PVC
Vinyl Railing Gate Kit


Customer comments:

Great Product!
My gate arrived within a reasonable time from my order placement. All the parts I had purchased were in the box and in fine condition. Just looking at the parts, installation was pretty intuitive. I put it together in short order and it looks great - merging seamlessly with the wood deck fencing. I'm very pleased with this purchase. Larry

We had a hard time finding a gate that would fit our space. This was a perfect solution. Easy to assemble and install. Emaliza

Love the versatility!

Great look and easy to assemble. Amy

Perfect Fit
Beautiful, durable materials. Shaoai



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