In the previous color focused articles I pretty much dove right into the deck lists. As I tackle White I think I need to take a step back and focus on three issues that have been bothering me. Both deal with White Weenie builds.
I have been arguing, from day one, that the Uncommon slots for White Weenie should be devoted to Enlightened Tutor. To me this is just common sense but I have yet to see a single player take the message to heart. Let me go through the argument one more time. Sure, White Weenie can win with a horde of cheap 1/1 evasion creatures but there is a reason almost all White Weenie decks play 4 copies of Empyrial Armor. The reason is that Empyrial Armor wins games quicker and allows your creatures to achieve parity with anything else on the board. Since Empyrial Armor is the real win condition in the deck doesn't it make sense to play with extra copies? Your alternatives basically include Swords to Plowshares and Mother of Runes. StP really only serves one purpose in the deck and is overkill in a format that runs a number of weenie decks (when Stompy is swinging with 5 creatures removing a single River Boa doesn't win the game). Mother of Runes, on the other hand, is a more solid choice that grants a little flexibility and is good in a wider range of match-ups. If you opt for the Enlightened Tutor, however, you have the greatest degree of flexibility because you are running at least 5 copies of any Artifact or Enchantment in your deck or sideboard. Do you need Empyrial Armor or is it time to fetch a CoP? That is real flexibility and I can't think of any reason to deny yourself that kind of potential.
Issue number two is Flying versus Shadow as the evasion option of choice. Traditionally everyone chooses the Shadow creatures. On face, this makes sense; there are fewer creatures with Shadow than there are creatures with Flying. Let's evaluate this for a second. Basically the only two colors that will use Shadow creatures for evasion are Black and White. Black will play the Horror which can't be blocked by White. So against 4 of 5 colors, Shadow creatures only represent an offensive threat and they will likely be blockable by 2 of the 5 colors. On the other hand, the only color that fully represents Flying creatures is White. Black may splash a few Hippies or Skittering Skirge but that is about it. Blue has access to more Flyers but tends to prefer creatureless builds. This means that Flying creatures are also only likely to be blocked by 2, maybe even just 1, of the 5 colors. Flyers can block all non-shadow creatures so they represent both a offensive and defensive threat against every deck in the field. Finally, there is one additional consideration: mass removal. Black's mass removal tends to be universal. Red has two popular mass removal options, Bloodfire Dawrf and Krark-Clan Shaman, both of which leave Flyers untouched. So, in the final analysis, Flying and Shadow are both blockable by about the same number of decks but Shadow creatures only represent a single type of threat against most of the field and Flyers are less vulnerable to removal. I don't know about you but I am going to give preference to Flyers over Shadow creatures.
Finally, before we move onto the decks, artifacts have begun to give me pause. In the past, Prismatic Strands was a powerhouse - in all ways a broken card. In fact, I have long advocated for the inclusion of Tireless Tribes for the sole purpose of being able to cast Prismatic Strands for free in the early game or when tapped out. Think of that, Prismatic Strands was so good it justified 4 slots to an otherwise slightly sub-optimal pick. Now Prismatic Strands, and other cards like Cho-manno's Blessing, are less powerful because of all the new artifacts. I don't believe that this change is pervasive enough to relegate Prismatic Strands to the sideboard but it is something that should be considered. There is nothing worse than a dead card. If players do determine that the risk of Prismatic Strands being dead is greater than the reward gained then expect players to revert back to life gain with cards like Congregate and Renewed Faith.
Well, changes in the environment have changed my thinking about how to build White Weenie. I had preferred a less aggressive and more flexible build filled with answers to everything and lots of tricks. That type of build is much less attractive in an environment that holds three decks with Turn 4 win potential: FrozenTides, Affinity, and ElfClamp. Therefore, I made the decision to pursue a much more aggressive build of White Weenie.
Overall, this build is pretty standard. As was indicated above, there are more Flyers than Shadow creatures. Also, I have dropped Prismatic Strands not so much because I believe it should be left out of this build but because I wanted to highlight a deck without it to serve as an example. I picked the Spellbomb to fill in since you can search for it and an early Spellbomb can pump up Empyrial Armor. Also, this build is well rounded providing some protection versus Red, Black, and Artifact. Really, this decision is not optimal and a good player will read the metagame and skew the build against one of those three areas. This build also leaves open one of the Uncommon slots which could be maindeck or sideboard. Since only one slot remains for Uncommons I would seriously consider looking for an Enchantment, like Aura of Silence, or Artifact that you feel would be useful.
The other deck that people are talking about is Life Machine, the White variant of Fog Machine. The deck is still searching for a real solid win condition, in this build I opted to remain Mono White and use larger late game Flyers. It is also possible to splash Blue for Vision Charm or Red for some Burn. Regardless, the basic premise is to simply stall out the game until you can fit the needed answers onto Scepters and draw into your win condition.
The problem with the deck is that it can take a long time to generate a win. It also has a problem with decks that generate both a creature and spell threat. Finally, artifact removal is a death sentence although Razor Barrier helps a lot but you will need to bring in all 4 plus additional support. On the plus side, drawing the Scepter and an appropriate answer absolutely shuts down some decks and makes the game a simple of question of not screwing up before you win.
Well there you have it, these are really the only two White deck types that have really taken off and gotten anywhere. Even so, White Weenie provides a lot of alternate card choices and the builds can and will differ a lot. Some people are talking about bringing Equipment to White Weenie builds I just don't think those builds are as solid as the classic Empyrial Armor. Even so it may be worth some experimentation.
Jason Chapman - Chaps_man@hotmail.com
Jason Chapman -
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