Saturday 4 May 2013

BW Tokens

Doomed Traveler
I often speak of "mid-range" decks yet have posted very few lists of such decks. Much of this is because it is an archetype more predisposed to draft while the deck lists I tend to give are the more constructed style. This is very much a mid-range deck easily able to take on the role of the aggressor or control player as needed. It applies pressure yet has a solid late game with various card advantage effects and high power cards. You can go mono white tokens, BW, WG, BGW and with Return to Ravnica block perhaps now even builds involving red. This is a BW build but they are all fairly similar styles of deck. The premise if to use effects that scale well with multiple creatures so you can always make a decent board presence with just one card. You do not frequently over extend into mass removal as there is no need. The decks only making white tokens have the advantage of being able to use Honor the Pure and Crusade but as you do not need to be so quick about things you can afford more expensive options that cover everything.

This list is very heavy on planeswalkers as so many make tokens or pump them or both. You have good disposable blockers to keep the walkers safe against pressure and apply sufficient pressure yourself that control decks are not always afforded the luxury of killing or countering them. It does make the deck very top heavy which in turn requires a sturdy mana base. Mid range decks are often the most ruined by missing the 3rd or 4th lands as they need the weight of their top end to kick in on time to keep up any pressure they might have going on. Against agro decks they jsut need to keep casting things, the inherent card power and advantage you have over the more pure agro decks will mean you should always live if you can always be casting stuff as long as they are. This rule obviously applies fairly well across the board but is most noticeable I find with the mid-range decks.
Gather the Townsfolk

24 Spells

Mox Diamond

Land Tax
Doomed Traveller
Mother of Runes
Path to Exile

Swords to Plowshares

Gather the Townsfolk
Knight of the White Orchid
BitterblossomStoneforge Mystic

Precinct Captain
Raise the Alaram

Lingering Souls
Spectral Procession
Sword of Feast and Famine

Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Ajani Goldmane
Hero of Bladehold
Sublime Archangel

Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Elspeth Tirrel

Mikeaus the Lunarch

16 Lands

Marsh Flats
Caves of Koilos
Isolated Chapel

Godless Shrine
Windbrisk Heights

8 Plains

Sublime ArchangelSo, as with all mid-range decks it has lots of familiar high powered spells that for the most part are just dandy without any real support. The only cards from the B and C cube in this list are the early token effects including Doomed Traveller, Gather the Townsfolk and Raise the Alarm. These are fine early game but far from exciting, if you are lucky you will trade with stuff or perhaps get in a bit of damage. Sometimes you are even just chumping to keep your life total reasonable. They might even be better as higher quality defensive dorks like Loyal Cathar even if they didn't scale as well once you start to get going with your four drops. Even so it is always nice to air some different cards when the deck suits them. Typically they are at their best in the mono white tokens build as they can get pumped earlier and be of much more use.

This list is fairly light on things that boost tokens as tokens decks go however those effects are supplemented by equipment and are all reusable allowing things to get very powerful very quickly. There are also a couple of generic powerful cards that work well with tokens like Hero of Bladehold for the battlecry and Sublime Archangel for the super-exhalted. This means that all the pump effects are threats in their own right and never dead cards which is a great help in a mid range deck.
Spectral Procession
Black is the lightest of splashes mostly so I could run Spectral Procession without much risk. I have only one land in the whole deck which doesn't produce white and I nearly didn't bother doing that. I figured being able to fix black with Land Tax or Path to Exile was more significant overall than having that extra reliability on having the Procession online from three mana. I even nearly threw in a Fetid Heath in a wishful way of offsetting the Swamp. Spectral Procession is one of the very best cards in the deck, it gives you a good pile of dorks with the highly valuable flying attribute. Lingering Souls is better but Procession has better tempo and curves better into something brutal like Ajani Goldmane. There are only four black mana symbols in the deck but without going heavy black there is not much else you want in black. The deck can support Dark Confidant but it is not needed and could be a risk now and again.

Elspeth TirelIt is rare for me to run two of the same named planeswalker in a constructed style cube deck however both Elspeth incarnations are outstanding in this deck. Tirrel in particular is a complete beating being able to easily ultimate the turn after she comes down and gain a pack of life in the process. Tirrel is at her absolute best in this list, for agro decks she costs a little too much and life isn't an exciting thing to be getting for the plus loyalty while for control decks which don't have a strong board position making some defensive tokens leaves her vulnerable on two loyalty and the lifegain scales poorly. In this list both her first two abilities are very useful and work well with the other cards in the deck. Her ultimate is even more effective as you should always have more tokens about than your opponent. On the other hand Elspeth Knight-Errant makes tokens, acts as a finisher and is highly robust despite being overly cheap. She is the best planeswalker when not housed in a highly suitable deck. My logic for including both is simply that they are both so strong, noth as cards and within this archetype, they should comfortably win almost all games in which they are not dealt with reasonably promptly making a potential dead card in hand far less of an issue.

The rest of the list somewhat speaks for itself. They are all just the most powerful and suitable cards to fill out the curve that could be found. The Sword could have been one of the better ones however I find winning with equipment to be dull so wanted to make things more interesting. You have to mulligan more than most with a deck like this as you cannot keep hands with too much top end nor can you keep one that is land light (assuming no Land Tax to bail you out). Mikeaus helps with this a little as it is not terrible chucking him down on turn two. In an agro deck doing this would be very poor tempo play but in this mid range list you are just happy to be getting things on the board and spending your mana. The god draw for this deck oddly involves following a Spectral Procession with an Ajani giving you a fast growing aerial armada. Anything useful you do before this only makes it more brutal. So long as you can identify when you should be the control player and when the agro player you will do very well with a deck like this. It is solid across all non-combo matches and even has some game against combo. With combo at an all time low in cube at presenet (more so with an un-powered cube) the mid range decks are having a resurgence and this is a fine example of one of the best.

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