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Pojo's Book Reviews



12.17.02 - The Hidden Potential of White Weenie

By John Hornberg

(Authorís Note Ė This is my first article in six months about Magic.  Iíve done a few for Pokemon in that span, and have worked hard to refine my writing style, and as a result was not writing anything about Magic.  A general disinterest in writing about Magic has attributed to my lack of writing.  I took a look at some of the cookie cutter writers for the subject a while back, and thought long and hard, trying to figure out if I wanted to be considered as mundane and uninteresting as them.  It got me to look at my style, and my presentation, and I decided to overhaul my style as a result.

I have also been put under enormous amounts of pressure on the La Bandera Staff (the High School Newspaper that I write and edit for.)  Issues in the class have had me in a funk for a while because the class has been such a lose-lose situation in a lot of cases.  Iím hoping that things will get better second semester.  This has effected my writing outside of school because on top of the essay writing I already do for English, I write 1 to 3 articles an issue, spending too much time on them.

Basically, when it all boils down,  what Iím getting at is that this is 6 months of repressed Magic Editorializing on paper all rolled into 4 hours of straight typing, resulting in a 4-page epic on a single deck type.  So, sit back and enjoy the article, and hope you donít fall asleep.)

Traditional white weenie has always been incredibly fast, generating or playing fast and effective creatures to run an opponent over in what seems like a set amount of turns.  Older White Weenie decks featured the White Knights and Kjedoran Outposts of yesterday, and the shadow creatures of the Rath Cycle Block for as a means of evasion.

The white weenie decks of todayís type II format take on a much different look.  Many of them arenít completely white in the first place, choosing to splash blue for a touch of removal or card drawing.  Some of them are incredibly fast, having a game secured on a great draw by turn 5.  A great deal of white weenie archetypes rely on tricks and overwhelming amounts of creatures over a span of 15 turns to achieve victory.

One of the fastest of the white weenie archetypes right now is splashes blue, and is heavily reliant on flying for the win.  The Quiet Speculation-Battle Screech deck does rely a lot on flying to win, putting as many tokens into play to help provide for a win condition.  When a horde of flying birds isnít enough, ample removal in the form of creature abilities can help thin out your opponents mob. 

Glory is there when more than flying is needed, or you are put on the defensive by an opponentís oncoming swarm.

The deck looks something like this:

Spec-Screech, V.3.0

4 Sprunmage Advocate
4 Tireless Tribe
3 Weathered Wayfarer
4 Whipcorder
3 Patrol Hound
3 Phantom Nomad
3 Glory

3 Quiet Speculation
3 Battle Screech
2 Prismatic Strands
2 Deep Analysis
4 Divine Sacrament

4 Secluded Steppe
3 Flooded Strand
5 Islands
10 Plains

This is currently what I am playing in Type II, and it has play tested incredibly well. 

It has a possibility against numerous decks, and Iíve found that is has a 50/50 chance on outracing Tog.  Tog is good, but on an average draw has a tough time with this deck.  If your opponent never sees an Upheaval, they could be in a lot of trouble.

Mobilization, while I have not play tested against it, would probably have issues outracing this deck, and controlling it for that matter.  Mobilization in general is just a slow enchantment that has a ton of problems with any deck that is suppose to play ANYTHING in the first six turns, especially if they are creatures.

Astral Glide didnít fair much better.  The R/W/G version needed a good draw to at least do well, and while over time beat this deck into submission, has a lot of problems at the beginning.  Astral Glide against this deck needs to draw either Astral Slide or Lightning Rift to stop the horde of creatures from running it through, or at the very least get Exalted Angel into a position where it can attack and offset the loss of life being imposed each turn.  I consider Starstorm a null factor in this, because your opponent is rarely running more than one or two, and unless he or she is desperate, will save them for later on when it could secure a victory.

Mono Black Control can do well against this deck should it be able to hold off enough of the early game creature horde long enough to establish control.  It either needs to draw exorbitant amounts of removal or an Engineered Plague calling the right creature type early enough to fend it off.  More often than not, Mono Black Control has issues early in the game, but like Tog, has a 50/50 chance of surviving long enough to use Corrupt or hit a Haunting Echoes or Mutilate to win.  It all boils down to who draws better between the two decks.

Sligh can present a problem.  Here you have two decks, both displaying enormous amounts of speed and consistency.  Sligh actually has the advantage here, because Sligh plays an added factor to just the plain old speed Ė burn.  Burn can single handedly make a short game shorter, clearing the path for a really beefy Goblin Piledriver to plow right through you for the victory in a few short turns.  Sligh will win 9 times out of 10 on both decks best draws, but there is no guarantee on either side, do the odds, while in favor if Goblin Sligh, are still not completely unreasonable.

U/G Madness is perhaps the only deck right now that will consistently beat Spec-Screech, and in which the odds of beating it might be out of reach.  U/G Madness surprisingly is too many large creatures (or too many that can get large), such as Arrogant Wurm and Wild Mongrel, too fast on many occasions.  Circular Logic is an amazing counter against white weenie of any type, and by some mere coincidence your opponent will always pull one out of a hat to counter your most crucial card.

A few of the integral parts of the deck are the utility creatures, specifically Spurnmage Advocate, Whipcorder, and Weathered Wayfarer.

Spurnmage Advocate and Whipcorder are lumped under the same category of removal for this deck.  Despite this generalization, the do serve two different purposes when it comes to eliminating threats.  Whipcorder serves a universal position for taking out threats and such, and clearing a path for your creatures to attack through.  Whipcorders purposes are both defensive as he can be used to attack possible attackers, as well as offensive as he can be used to tap potential blockers and make way for the final push to victory.

Spurnmage Advocate, however, serves a more specialized job in this deck, but could possibly be a much more crucial part.  Spurnmage Advocate has the potential of keeping your opponents creatures in the two places where they belong Ėsitting on your opponents side gathering dust, or dead.  It also has a hidden help against cards like Genesis and flashback stuff such as Roar of the Wurm.  The ability that was originally meant to be a sort of drawback can actually present possibilities where it could be helpful, by doing away with a possibly threat for a turn or two.

Weathered Wayfarer served the purpose of being a safeguard against being land screwed.  With only 22 land, you can afford to drop your land count, but that could be a problem when you donít draw any.  When you donít need the land, however, he is a 1cc 1/1, and he can search for the cycle lands in the deck in order to be cycled.

White Weenie has other versions, one of them being a bleach mish-mash of white creatures looking similar to the Quiet Speculation-Battle Screech, but minus the inclusion of blue.

Bleach Weenie, V.5.0

4 Suntail Hawk
3 Tireless Tribe
2 Weathered Wayfarer
4 Benevolent Bodyguard
3 Whipcorder
4 Phantom Nomad
3 Lieutenant Kirtar
3 Gustcloak Harrier
2 Glory

3 Battle Screech
3 Divine Sacrament
3 Shelter
2 Prismatic Strands
1 Vengeful Dreams

4 Secluded Steppe
16 Plains

This deck has the same possibilities of winning that the Spec-Screech version does, except for one major difference.  Against Sligh of any form, the possibilities of winning go significantly up, because unlike the version above, this deck plays color protection instead of removal.  Cards such as Shelter and Benevolent Bodyguard help this version withstand a lot more of the punches that Sligh is able to deal out.  Burn becomes less of a factor, and it forces more of a stand off situation where your horde of creatures are facing your opponents until one of you is able to break open the game, be it through flying creatures in your case, or in his case him forcing enough creatures on you with enough burn.

Unfortunately, this deck meets with the same problems against U/G Madness as the U/W counterpart does, and this deck has even more problems with it because of a lack of removal.

There are also theme decks for white that are actually interesting to play.  Type-Themes, like the one below, can be fun to play, and bring to the fun back into semi-competitive or casual play.

Soldier Weenie, Untested

4 Gustcloak Runner
4 Eager Cadet
3 Whipcorder
3 Catapult Squad
2 Lieutenant Kirtar
3 Gustcloak Harrier
2 Catapult Master

4 Unified Theory
2 Mobilization
2 Disenchant
4 Shared Truimph
2 Akromaís Blessing
4 Shelter

2 Daru Encampment
18 Plains

* - This can also be done with Clerics for a more controllish, more inept deck if one wants to.

These kinds of decks can be incredibly fun, despite the fact that they present little to no challenge for a lot of the tournament caliber decks.  This deck is probably too slow to get Tog.  The same occurrence would probably appear in a match up against any of the main decks in the format.

Unfortunately, white weenie gets the cold shoulder from a lot of the high players when it comes to taking the deck to tournaments.  To them, the deck just isnít competitive enough, and isnít completely solid.  A good draw only comes around 90% of the time, which to many pro players, is not good enough to them.  Consistency is something that is going to give them the same kind of victory every time, and unfortunately, White Weenie in all of its forms is not going to do that.  You may need to pull tricks to win; or you may just pound them with Battle Screech and a Divine Sacrament.

Also, the pro tour tends to lean towards the control decks; hence why Tog, Mono Black Control, and Astral Glide (a combo that uses tricks to control your actions, hence why I put it on here) are so popular for major tournaments.  Control has always been the sure fire way to win matches day in and day out, and has proven itself in such a way to where nothing else short of some reincarnation of some deck using Counterspell and 3 other counterspells in addition, or some funky combo that keeps your opponent permanently sitting on there side sleeping while you take turn after turn of complicated moves leading up to a final big finish.

Speed decks have been left out of this loop, and while some of them are still played, a major mono-colored/two colored speed deck that was consistently good has not appeared in Type II since Fires two years ago.  Granted Frog in a Blender was there, and R/G Anger saw a lot of play, but one of the biggest concerns that swirled about those decks was the fact that they were so inconsistent, and ran out of gas if your opponent could drag the game out.

White has also received a bad shake as being a bad draft color, and having that in a way translate over to constructed as well.  Ever since the situation with Rebels during Masques block, white has failed to get a truly fair shake in draft or sealed deck, getting a score of awful cards that were used as little more than keeping life in draft.  Much of this dislike has translated to constructed, where many of the cards again perform on a less than stellar way than many of the cards in other colors.  Unfortunately, the bad cards cloud over what few playable cards white actually did get during Invasion block and Odyssey block.  White weenie went unnoticed for a large part, and due to two full years of being left out of the loop, white is getting many of the same shakes that is was in the past two years now, even with many incredibly powerful cards in the format.

White weenie has a lot of potential for this Type II format, but as of right now has met with a lot of opposition from the players.  The cards are there, and the format screams for something to beat it to a bloody pulp in the first 6 turns, especially the control decks right now.  Despite this, white weenie in all of its incarnations will not be recognized as a tier one deck until it gets a bomb that makes the completely, 100% consistent.  White weenie has lacked tricks of the past, the evasion and the multiplication tricks of Rebels and Shadow creatures, and that has hurt the decks popularity in later formats.

Time will tell on whether or not a form can wrestle itís way onto the already crowded upper tier of decks.



Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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