Tag Archives: mono white

Deck Spotlight: Mono White Soldiers

Hello Everyone, and I’m happy to say that I’m fast approaching a glut of magic tournaments. The first Saturday in November is a PTQ, then comes the 2009s (aka provincials) and another PTQ is scheduled for the winter, but a date has not been pinned down.

What does this all mean? It means that most of my spare time is now going to be devoted to becoming better at sealed deck and Standard, which means (hopefully) more frequent articles about my findings.

Today I’ve decided to write about my favourite deck for Standard, which only became a real deck after M10, and my best Standard performance is always with this deck. Maybe it’s just me, but I love the idea of getting 9 power worth of guys for 6 mana. Add on to that one of the best pump effects the game has ever seen, and you’re looking at a pretty solid deck.

The deck, if you’re wondering, is Mono White Soldiers.

I began playing this deck shortly after M10, and I’m pleased to say that it’s still a very strong contender in the new Standard. The funny thing about the deck is that the only cards it really lost in rotation were cads that weren’t actually soldiers. I’m talking about Spectral Procession, Figure of Destiny, and Windbrisk Heights. Obviously this deck loses a lot of potential for the “god hand”, but it still has a very solid game plan, even with aggro’s nemesis Day of Judgment running around.

Lets start off with the decklist that I’ve been running lately.

Mono-White Soldiers

While some of the card choices are obvious, there are a fair few that aren’t so much.

The most controversial card as a four of is actually Captain of the Watch. Many people think that a weenie deck shouldn’t play something so expensive, but I find that the quantity and quality of tokens you produce is much more important than sheer speed. This does not mean that this deck is not an aggro deck, it very much is,it just has a more developed curve than perhaps traditional white weenie. Rather than dropping a bunch of small guys on turns 1-4, and then petering out, this deck keeps going, with it’s late drops supplementing the early drops. With cards like Pyroclasm and Day of Judgment available to wipe the board, it is of the utmost importance to have a play that will more or less put you back where you were after they Wrath. The Captain is the perfect card for this, because it demands yet another immediate answer after they wrath.

We also have a few other cards that really shine after a board wipe. Conquerors Pledge is simply amazing, and it wins so many games that soldiers otherwise couldn’t. Note that I’ve never kicked a pledge, even in my games against Turbo Fog, because soldiers already applies so much pressure that you shouldn’t ever hit 12 land. Pledge is greatly amplified when you have a pump effect out, and makes games just disgusting. I’m considering a fourth copy because they work so well, but I haven’t decided yet.

Super Tech Tip: Playing against Jund? Be very careful as to what token they target with Maelstrom Pulse. Conquerors Pledge produces Kor Soldiers, while Elspeth and co. produce garden variety Soldiers. For this reason, make sure you have different types of tokens, and you don’t short change yourself.

Back pre-Zendikar, this deck had 2-3 Ranger of Eos, and it was great for both card advantage and getting back into the game. However, he was able to search for Figure of Destiny, which was often a much better target than Elite Vanguard. Thus, I cut the Rangers down to 1 and added in the random Baneslayer Angel. It randomly wins games, and is one more great topdeck you can draw into. Note that I only have 1, and I haven’t really considered any more, even if I could get them.

In pre-Zendikar standard, the deck played a full set of Harms Way, and was able to blow out most decks with it. Unfortunately, due to the rising threat of Baneslayer Angel and Vampire Nocturnus, It has been necessary to have at least some spot removal in the main deck.

Elspeth is a card that I feel has gotten more powerful with rotation. There is now almost no chance of her getting countered, and the impact she has on the board is just amazing. I actually find myself getting more value out of pumping an existing soldier and swinging in for usually 5+ points of damage than I do from making another soldier. However, it depends greatly on the game state.

Super Tech Tip: When playing against vampires, don’t be afraid to just run out Elspeth or Ajani when they have a Vampire Hexmage out. Simply announce that you wish to retain priority, use an ability, and let them die. The fact that you get rid of a 2/1 first striker (and a potential 4/2 with Nocturnus), is actually quite important in the vampire matchup, and getting an ability off is quite nice. Note that Elspeths are generally more valuable than Ajanis, so if you fear a Hexmage, it’s generally better to let the cat die off first. Of course, If you already have a sizable army, you could very well wish to do it the other way around for more rounds of pumping, but normally Elspeth should be conserved.

Brave the Elements is one of my favourite cards from Zendikar. It enables a sense of assurance that you can deal with whatever your opponent throws at you, whether they be removal spells of blockers, you can save your guys for the small price of one mana. This is another card I’m considering playing more of in the mainboard, it’s just that good.

With the loss of Windbrisk Heights, I looked to see what other non-basics couls spice up the deck’s mana base. I could play fetchlands, but see little positive benefit to me, whereas vampires can use them to trigger the effects of Bloodghast and Vampire Nocturnus. However we have no such effects here. With cards like Black Knight and Malakir Bloodwitch running around, it is crucial that we have some form of answer. Gargoyle Castle is good at stopping a late-game Knight, and it also chumping a Bloodwitch. If you can get an Ajani counter onto the gargoyle, all the better for the long haul.

Emeria, the Sky Ruin is for the long games against control decks. Being able to recur Captain of the Watch every turn is prety good. It also gives you something to aim for when you keep drawing plains. I’m tempted to drop it down to one, but then you run the risk of not drawing it in the matchups where you need it most.

Vampires is probably this decks worst matchup, while Jund is actually quite good both pre and post board. Cards like Kazandu Blademaster are just great at blocking Bloodbraid Elf, and your guys quickly get so strong that they even force them to chump with Broodmate Dragon. Here’s what I generally board against Jund.

In:
2 Path to Exile
3 Celestial Purge
2 Ethersworn Canonist

Out:
2 Harm’s Way
1 Ranger of Eos
2 Elite Vanguard
2 Ajani Goldmane

Against Vampires we have a great deal of cards we bring in. We must simplify the board state as much as possible so that we don’t take too much damage from a resolved Nocturnus. This means making lots of one for one trades in the early game, and eventually out-aggroing them. Thus, White Knights and Kazandu Blademaster are serving double duty on both offense and defense, and you have to out aggro them. If they don’t have board slots targeted at white weenie, your job becomes infinitely easier.

In:
2 Path to Exile
3 Celestial Purge
2 Brave the Elements
4 White Knight

Out:
2 Harm’s Way
1 Ranger of Eos
4 Elite Vanguard
3 Captain of the Watch
1 Veteran Armorsmith

In the mirror match, you have to be faster than your opponent, and make profitable trades. Thus a full set of Harms Way is needed, as well as Brave the Elements are the best things you can possibly have, but your opponent will have them also, so it becomes a very skill-intensive match.

In:
2 Harm’s Way
2 Brave the Elements

Out:
2 Path to Exile
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Elite Vanguard

These are the 3 decks that have been doing well at my local store, and I believe that white weenie is extremely powerful because few people see it coming. It’s favourable matchup against Jund is one of the most attractive things about it, and it has a good shot against Vampires after board.

Oh, and you auto-win against turbo fog as I found out last FNM. Just play out enough guys to win, and conserve your hand. Emeria shines, and no matter how many Wrath effects they have you still win.

What decks have you guys been playing lately? Is there anything awesome and fun you think I should take to FNM? Sound off in the comments, through my email (zak -AT- power9pro.com), or via my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/zturchan.

Cheers,

Zak