So here we are at the beginning of the deck quest, we have spoken about why we set this quest, now to go forth and explore the possibilities. We know we need 36 decks each of differing colour combinations, so where to start? Well… let us start from what I perceive to be the beginning with “mono white.”
So, we have many great commanders to choose from like; Avacyn, Akroma, Kemba, Mangara and Odric. With so many great commanders, where do we start to decide who should lead our most challenging commander deck in the colour pie?
Avacyn is a positively brilliant commander with every permanent having indestructible, we could aim to get her out and put some huge threats down, unless these are exiled. There is not much our opponents can do to stop us.
Akroma and Odric could be a great aggro deck, with the keywords of the creatures buffing each other creature, and we have a vast selection to choose from. Plus, we could double down on white weenie and flood the board with so many creatures making it difficult for our opponents to deal with.
Mangara one of the new contenders to the commander scene, this gives us what white lacks, card draw. We could use this extra card draw to speed up our deck use all the prison effects like Ghostly prison and Ensnaring bridge. This will allow us to build a commanding board state.
These are all exciting choices, but I think we need something quick to cast, and cheap to recast if removed. However, we need something powerful that makes a huge impact on the board state. I feel Sephara, Sky’s Blade fills this role beautifully! Yes, Avacyn would be the optimum choice, but hear me out…
I opted for Sephara over Avacyn as she is one mana less and yes you get a 7/7 instead of an 8/8. This may seem a huge negative but, you essentially get to drop this one turn earlier. This is vital for expensive commanders. Another factor is the mana rocks needed to effectively get them out early like mana vault, mana crypt and jewelled lotus which are awfully expensive price wise. I do not feel I want to spend so much or need to on these cards, so I looked at other options.
The option to speed out our commander without mana rocks was Sephara’s ability,
“You may pay (w) and tap four untapped creatures with flying rather than pay this spell’s mana cost.”
That is Huge, yes commander tax will be added to this ability, but you effectively get to recast this three times using that ability and it is still a reduced rate. Yes, if we rely on this ability it sets the theme of the deck to be a flyers matter deck, but is that so bad? Evasion is a great thing to have and due to that, Sephara’s second ability gives them all indestructible! Nice!
With the bonus of her being a 7/7 with lifelink you only need to hit your opponent 3 times to win with commander damage plus you're gaining life to stabilize to the mid to late game.
So, we have our commander and deck theme, now let us choose our 99!
Into The 99 😉
Ramp is limited in mono white and not something we can do the conventional way; this does not mean it’s impossible. We can have the same as most with Sol Ring, Mind Stone & Commanders Sphere which also include card draw. If you wish to spend the money, there is Mana Crypt and Mana Vault. We have other options like Nyx Lotus and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx to gain huge amounts of mana in the middle to late game! Our best options by far are in mono white and Land Tax so we never miss a land drop, Weathered Wayfarer which can search for any land to our hand and finally the best by far Smothering Tithe. This if not removed will net us so much mana aiding us with our goal to get out big and expensive creatures.
Card draw is our second obstacle, but again not impossible. We will get the aid of artifacts for some of the drawing power we need with Endless Atlas, as we have mostly plains having 3 with the same name will not be an issue. Herald’s Horn in this angel tribal deck will net us the odd card here and there, The same with Vanquishers Banner. We can also use lands to aid us in this with Arch of Orazca and the newly printed War Room. But we do have some white options with Dawn of hope, as we can gain quite a bit of life in this deck we can trigger this a lot, and if not it creates 1/1 Lifelinkers to help us trigger it. Now this last one I’m … not sure you’ll agree with me, Armisice.. Yes, I know I have heard it all before but hear me out. We have very few ways to draw cards and when you play this. Your opponents won’t look at this as a threat so it can hang around longer, also when you're empty handed and have mana to spare, paying 5 to draw a card will not seem so bad, with the added benefit giving 3 life to an opponent, this can be used as a great political tool.
Removal and Protection are our next priorities as we are a slower deck than some, so we need to find ways to slow our opponents down to let us catch up. We have 2 of the best removal spells in Magic; Path to Exile and Swords to Plowshares which just straight exiles the threat we need gone. But wait there’s more! Generous gift can deal with any permanent that we want gone and Oblation can shuffle away that problem too. There are also a few tricks up our sleeve that most will not see coming, counter spells! Yes you heard right.. counter spells in white, and we are running four! First is Rebuff the Wicked; this counters a spell that targets a permanent we control, very good for protecting our commander. Next is Illumination, this can counter an artifact or enchantment which in commander is not as narrow as you may think. Third is Lapse of Certainty, this counter spell counters anything, except if goes back on the top of their library instead of graveyard. It's not perfect but sometimes you just need that extra time to mass a plan against what they’re going to replay. Finally, there’s Dawn Charm. This modal spell has 3 options which are all very useful, We get to choose one of the following; Prevent all combat damage this turn, regenerate target creature or counter target spell that targets us!
Slowing the game down is another strategy we have to help us stabilize into the mid to late game. Authority of the Consuls gives us life and stops aggro decks from running away with the game. Linvala, Keeper of Silence stops creatures from activating abilities slowing mana dorks. Angelic Arbiter make opponents choose between casting spells or attacking as they now can’t do both. Rest in Peace will stop all reanimator decks giving us plenty of time to amass our army of angels.
We do have a panic button or 5 in case there is too much for us to deal with. These board wipes should normally not affect us too much as our commander offers indestructible to other flyers but devastating to the opposition. Divine Reckoning is by far our best wipe, as we get to choose our commander and destroy the rest, but as they are indestructible this won’t kill them either. However for our opponent they choose one and lose the rest. We also run Wrath of God, Shatter the Sky and End Hostilities for those Voltron players. Settle the wreckage is an interesting card as if you're careful and attack with your tokens (we will be making a few) you can use this on yourself or your attacker .This could ramp us or save us from massive damage. Yes its very odd playing this way, however my play style is very unorthodox and players do not expect the bizarre.
So, we are Ramping, Drawing and protecting ourselves, what’s next? Oh yeah angels. The final touch to this white powerhouse. There are so many good angels out there what is the best for us? Most is personal preference but here are some of my big picks, and why I chose them.
Serra Ascendant (yes I’m very aware it’s not an angel) but one mana for a 6/6 flying lifelink (if you're above 30 life) you've got to be mad not to run this?! I’ve never seen a better one drop!
Twilight Shepherd, Reya Dawnbringer, Emeria Shepherd and Dawnbreak Reclaimer are some of our best angels for recursion bringing back our fallen turn after turn making us very difficult to deal with. Lyra Dawnbringer is our best lord giving all angels +1/+1 and lifelink but pairing her with Archangel of Thune, which once we attack and gain the life will place +1/+1 counters on each creature, yes this will trigger of each creature that attacked with life link that dealt damage. We can also stay in the game with Platinum Angel who states we cannot lose the game and our opponents can’t win the game, adding an Avacyn, Angel of Hope, making all our permanents indestructible means we are very hard to kill.
For utility we added cards that only make the board state harder for our opponents to deal with, Serra the Benevolent’s emblem gives us “if we control a creature, damage that would reduce our life to less than 1 reduces it to 1 instead” making it again very difficult to kill us. Luminarch Ascension, Angelic Accord, Helm of the Host and Resplendent Angel creating more board presence with a token army.
So I will post the link to the full deck list below so you can see the full deck I built. Once again from what I’ve spoken about I hope to have at least opened your eyes to the power mono white has, and what it can do. We are limited by it but not stopped. If we play the game smartly and choose only cards that make an impact and affect the game, we can keep up and stabilize even overtake to win games.
White is so much more than weenie and a support colour. It is a force to be feared and very much left in the corner outside of the playgroup.
I have played this deck many times and have loved the experience and interactions I can perform, seeing someone’s face when the mono white player says “I’m countering that spell”, you can’t beat it.
So please before you slam white for being weak and underpowered, take a minute and think what does white do best? How can I use that to my advantage? There will soon be game play of this deck on my YouTube channel for any who wish to see this in action.
So now to you… what are your favourite mono white decks or cards? I’d love to hear your take on this deck and/or how you play it differently.
Hope to catch you all next time and please stay safe, play fair, and be kind to yourselves.
You're all amazing
Toni Lotusbloom McCorkindale