Thursday 25 October 2012

Top 10 White Cards

White is a colour rather like red in the cube, it has some extremely powerful cards then a sharp fall off into lots of fair redundancy, either in mass removal, big threats or efficient little critters. I find white the dullest colour and although it probably has more scope than red I find its style of cards to be less interesting and fun.  Along with red and gold white is in the minority of groups that have no cards too powerful for cube play however my list does go to 11 as Lingering Souls is more of a gold card than a white card and so I leave up to the readers discretion where they chose to place it.


11. Gideon Jura
10. Cataclysm
9.   Baneslayer Angel
8.   Armageddon/Ravages of War
7.   (Lingering Souls - as its kind of a gold card)
6.   Path to Exile
5.   Stoneforge Mystic
4.   Elspeth, Knight-Errant
3.   Land Tax
2.   Swords to Plowshares
1.   Balance

Land TaxBalance is one of the most powerful cards in magic, its total effect on the game is comparable only to spells like Upheaval, Jokulhaups and Death Cloud, all of which cost significantly more mana. It is a card than may be abused and set up so as to be horrendously unfair. It is not played as often as the other top 6 or so in this list because it tends to require more building your deck around. Also without Black Lotus starts you no longer need a two mana Wrath of God against a lot of decks and if you really do you are probably safer with Terminus than Balance. While the amount of play Balance is seeing is on the decline it is still getting the love and winning unwinnable games frequently which few other cards can claim to do. Swords to Plowshares is the best removal spell and removal as we all know, is very good. With creatures getting better and more durable all the time Swords continues to grow in strength and sees play in any white deck than can get its mits on one.

Swords to PlowsharesLand Tax is the most powerful card advantage spell in magic, usually outdoing both Library of Alexandria and Ancestral Recall in both total cards gained and least mana spent per card. There are a number of reasons it avoided the ban including your opponents having some choices to affect the Tax and a requirement to build your deck around it to some extent, not to mention it only gets lands not action spells. This latter thing is barely a drawback however, I can think of many occasions I have lost because my Ancestral Recall failed to hit me a land. Not always playable but always included when it is! Elspeth of the four mana is still in my opinion the best walker in the cube despite it being very close, great in both agro and control with a lot of wins under her belt for both.

Stoneforge Mystic is made strong by the stupidly powerful equipment available to it in the cube. This gives it versatility to be played in combo, control and beatdown although the latter is the most common. It is card advantage and tutoring in a colour that lacks the former and has great synergy for the latter. Decks do need building with Stoneforge in mind but not to the extent of cards like Goblin Welder or even Land Tax. Path is the poor mans Swords to Plowshares, it can be better rather like Hierarch to Birds, when they have no basics or you want to trigger you Tax, but in general it is far worse. It is still the second best removal spell in the game despite this and is probably the second most played white card, although I would argue this is due to a shortfall of similar cards in white and not due to it being more powerful than Balance etc.
Ravages of War
Lingering Souls has been performing incredibly well and has frequently cause decks to splash the appropriate 2nd colour for it alone. As a card this is where I rate it relative to the other white spells but I do see it as a gold card. Armageddon is functionally indentical to Ravages of War and so I am going to give them only one slot total unlike Path and Plow or Birds and Hierarch. Armageddon ends games, lots of decks can't cope without lands and white is great at getting a powerful board presence down early. A very scary spell that will force you to play around as soon as you know it is a possibility. Baneslayer Angel was the first in a new age of really powerful monsters, when it arrived the cube and the meta was not at all ready and it dominated most games. Other creatures, cube inclusions and the meta has now calmed this somewhat but Baneslayer still remains one of the best pure threats you can make for the mana and will tend to win any game where it is not dealt with right away. Trying to beat a Baneslyer always feels like trying to beat a dork equipped with a Jitte, your just better off killing it.

Cataclysm is an awkward mix of Balance and Armageddon. It is harder to set up and generally a bit less game ending but does still have a very powerful effect on the board for a very cheap price and has the added bonus, unlike most other white mass removal, of dealing with planeswalkers. Good old Gideon gets my final spot. He is a bit of a fall off in power from the other cards in the list but is none the less very good. An all round walker that is very robust, a bane to agro decks and a solid threat against control.

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