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White: The New Red

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For the past year, I’ve been writing articles with an emphasis on my love of Red in Standard. It was packed with powerful cards, and it had a dominant presence in the environment through aggressive decks like Red Deck Wins, Vampires, Boros, Goblins, and Kuldotha Red—and even control decks like Big Red, R/U/G, and Valakut Ramp. There were even combo decks like Pyromancer Ascension and Splinter Twin. With the recent major changes to Standard, my favorite color for the format has changed.

Red has taken some major hits. It has lost amazing burn spells: Lightning Bolt, Burst Lightning, Forked Bolt, Searing Blaze, and Staggershock. It’s lost terrific aggressive creatures: Goblin Guide, Plated Geopede, Kargan Dragonlord, and Kiln Fiend. Gone are the combo cards: Pyromancer Ascension and Splinter Twin. Red is no longer the power color in Standard. This brings me to the new power color: White.

White is both powerful and versatile. It has good cards to be the cornerstones of decks, such as Champion of the Parish, Honor of the Pure, Intangible Virtue, Puresteel Paladin, Mentor of the Meek, Tempered Steel, and Geist-Honored Monk. It has terrific 1-drops in the form of Champion of the Parish, Elite Vanguard, Gideon's Lawkeeper, and Glint Hawk. It has excellent removal: Dispatch, Fiend Hunter, Oblivion Ring, and Day of Judgment. It has terrific sideboard cards: Timely Reinforcements, Slayer of the Wicked, Purify the Grave, Celestial Purge, Divine Offering, and Revoke Existence. It even has game-breakers like Hero of Bladehold, Elspeth Tirel, Gideon Jura, and Sun Titan. It also has great synergy with artifacts with Tempered Steel, Dispatch, Myrsmith, Puresteel Paladin, Origin Spellbomb, Glint Hawk, Glint Hawk Idol, and Shrine of Loyal Legions.

Perhaps the most obvious use of White is White Weenie/Humans:

[cardlist]

[Creatures]

4 Champion of the Parish

4 Elite Inquisitor

4 Elite Vanguard

4 Fiend Hunter

4 Geist-Honored Monk

4 Gideon's Lawkeeper

4 Hero of Bladehold

[/Creatures]

[Spells]

4 Honor of the Pure

4 Oblivion Ring

[/Spells]

[Lands]

20 Plains

4 Ghost Quarter

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

This is a deck with a real mana curve for Constructed: It has twelve 1-drops, eight 2-drops, eight 3-drops, four 4-drops, and four 5-drops. The deck takes maximum advantage of Champion of the Parish, since all twenty-eight creatures are Humans. With Lawkeeper, Hunter, Oblivion Ring, and Ghost Quarter, it can deal with almost any problem your opponent presents. If your opponent is playing with mass removal, you can reload your board for Honor of the Pure with a Hero or a Monk.

White has more ways to generate and/or take advantage of tokens than you can fit into a single deck. Here is an example:

[cardlist]

[Creatures]

3 Blade Splicer

4 Myrsmith

4 Myr Sire

[/Creatures]

[Spells]

3 Master's Call

4 Dispatch

4 Intangible Virtue

4 Flayer Husk

4 Mortarpod

4 Origin Spellbomb

4 Shrine of Loyal Legions

[/Spells]

[Lands]

18 Plains

2 Buried Ruin

2 Phyrexia's Core

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

This is a deck with very strong synergies. There are twenty cheap artifacts to go with Myrsmith. There are thirty cards that make tokens to go with Intangible Virtue. Eighteen White cards can be used to power the Shrine of Loyal Legions. Thirty cards provide artifacts to help make sure you have Metalcraft for Dispatch. Mortarpod has a seemingly endless supply of ammunition, thanks to Myrsmith, Shrine, Sire, Call, and Splicer. Dispatch takes care of big threats, while the ’pods take care of smaller ones. The low curve gives the deck plenty of early game, while cards like Myrsmith and Shrine help the deck stay busy as the game goes on.

White token decks can take many powerful forms. You can even make a strong control deck around a token theme.

[cardlist]

[Planeswalkers]

2 Elspeth Tirel

2 Gideon Jura

[/Planeswalkers]

[Spells]

4 Dismember

4 Day of Judgment

4 Timely Reinforcements

4 Intangible Virtue

4 Oblivion Ring

4 Contagion Clasp

4 Origin Spellbomb

4 Shrine of Loyal Legions

[/Spells]

[Lands]

16 Plains

4 Ghost Quarter

4 Isolated Chapel

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

The main thing that separates this deck from the other token deck is that it has a greater focus on answers than questions. It also has a higher curve and a greater commitment to the late game. The Shrines and Spellbombs allow you to plant the seeds of future creatures, all while preparing to play Day of Judgment first. Keeping your creatures on hold for a while can also help you set up Timely Reinforcements. Dismember can also synergize with Timely Reinforcements through its life payment. Contagion Clasp plays a powerful role in this deck. First, it gives you early removal for cards like Stromkirk Noble, Champion of the Parish, Birds of Paradise, and Merfolk Looter. Second, the ability to proliferate every turn is good with Shrine of Loyal Legions and planeswalkers. While this deck isn’t quite the token-generating dynamo that the previous list is, it’s still definitely worth running Intangible Virtue for Spellbombs, Shrines, Reinforcements, and Elspeth Tirel. With Tectonic Edge gone, it’s worth running Isolated Chapels to give you the option of playing Dismember for less or even no life.

As you can see, I love using White with artifacts. Tempered Steel is another reason.

[cardlist]

[Creatures]

4 Myrsmith

4 Memnite

4 Porcelain Legionnaire

4 Signal Pest

[/Creatures]

[Spells]

4 Dispatch

4 Tempered Steel

4 Glint Hawk Idol

4 Origin Spellbomb

4 Shrine of Loyal Legions

[/Spells]

[Lands]

16 Plains

4 Ghost Quarter

4 Inkmoth Nexus

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

In terms of tempo, this deck is much like my aggro/token deck. While it may not have the Mortarpod element of the token deck, it has Tempered Steel instead of Intangible Virtue, giving it greater smashing power. Which deck is the better choice for you may depend largely on what your metagame is like. If you’re expecting many aggressive decks like Red Deck Wins, you might be better off with the token deck because of good anti-aggression cards like Mortarpod, Myr Sire, and, to a lesser extent, Flayer Husk, which can help you make it to the late game. If you’re really concerned about RDW, perhaps you should be playing the control version with Timely Reinforcements and Day of Judgment. If you’re worried about control decks, especially those with Planeswalkers like Liliana, Tempered Steel might be the way to go. This deck puts the most pressure on and is well equipped to get rid of Planeswalkers by attacking. Thanks to Spellbomb, Idol, Shrine, and Nexus, it’s even got game against Day of Judgment.

The other powerful way to approach White with artifacts is to play a Puresteel Paladin deck with a lot of Equipment.

[cardlist]

[Creatures]

2 Mirran Crusader

4 Glint Hawk

4 Mentor of the Meek

4 Puresteel Paladin

2 Kemba, Kha Regent

[/Creatures]

[Spells]

4 Dispatch

2 Silver-Inlaid Dagger

2 Sword of War and Peace

4 Accorder's Shield

4 Flayer Husk

4 Mortarpod

2 Mox Opal

[/Spells]

[Lands]

18 Plains

4 Inkmoth Nexus

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

Like my other White lists and the lists for most good decks, this has a variety of strongly interlaced synergies. The Accorder's Shields are good with a turn-one Glint Hawk, and it’s great for drawing cards with Paladin. The Dagger is a cheap Equipment for Paladin and goes nicely with your ten Humans. Glint Hawk allows you to replay Equipment for Paladin and to get new Germs; plus, it gives you a flyer to put Equipment on. Mentor of the Meek gives you a second card-draw engine—in addition to the Paladin. A Kemba with a Shield beats just about any aggressive deck. Between Mirran Crusader and Sword of War and Peace, the deck has ways of protecting from every color. The Crusader with a Dagger hits for an impressive 10 damage. The Sword doesn’t just give you life; it’s another way to reward you for your massive quantities of card-draw. The Opals can be extremely powerful in this deck. With a Shield and a 1-drop Equipment, you can start using an Opal on the first turn. Even without Metalcraft, they give you another free artifact to go with a turn-one Hawk. Also, when you’re “going off” with Paladin, it can be powerful to be able to play an extra mana source, especially when it’s an artifact. The Inkmoth Nexus gives you more creatures to equip and more artifacts to help you achieve Metalcraft when you need it.




As you can see, mono-White has a lot of options. Given the powerful cards White brings to the table, I’m sure you’ll be seeing many multicolored decks with it, too—W/U control, G/W Humans or tokens, and so forth. Now I just need to pick what White decks I should focus on as I start serious testing for Worlds. Should I go with aggression, control, artifacts, tokens, Equipment, or some combination thereof? You can follow the World’s coverage to find out . . . or just wait for my report.

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