Monday, 9 January 2017

White Weenie Archetype Breakdown

Soldier of the PantheonWhite weenie is the other quintessential aggro archetype in cube along with RDW. It is direct, linear, consistent and has been a force for as long as cube history. Fundamentally RDW is the better archetype as it has burn for removal and reach. The white weenie player has to play dedicated removal cards and this lowers the aggression and consistency of the deck somewhat. White does make up for this rather well by having not only the most powerful selection of cheap tempo creatures but also the most redundant by a long long way. In RDW you have to pick all the good one drop dorks you see because you pretty much want all of them in your deck. For the white weenie player there are more than enough playable cheap threats to be able to pick the more powerful and niche stuff with higher priority.

As you don't have the same kind of burst or reach as a RDW player when you are a white weenie player you expect games to go on a bit longer. As such curves tend to be a little higher. I will aim for something like 9x one drops, 7x two drops, 5x three drops and 3x four drops in a white weenie deck. This makes it about 25% more average CMC than an ideal RDW. As white weenie is less able to go directly to face and bypass a lot stuff compared to RDW the white weenie player will have to rely somewhat on the quality of its cards going toe to toe with the opponents. To do this you need powerful things and to get powerful things you do need to spend more mana on them.

Thalia, Heretic CatharOne drops are still amazing, like RDW they are the core of your plan. Not only is making a good one drop on turn one really important your ideal follow up to that is usually another pair of one drops on turn two. That almost always represents more reach and tempo than the good two drops you can make instead. I would happily go well above 9 one drops so as to have better odds on this good follow up on turn two. The issue the white player has with one drops is that they typically scale poorly into the late game. The solution to this is buff effects. Almost every good white weenie deck has a selection of ways to empower cheap dorks that have past their best. Typically such cards are not threats them selves and so you have to get the balance spot on between your various threats and ways to improve them. The more one drops you have the better your start will be however the more vulnerable you will be to things like Kitchen Finks or just a 2/3 and the more rapidly your power will decline into the mid and late game. To offset this fall off in power from having a good number of one drops you need more of the buff and reach style cards. This however comes with its own consistency issues. By playing slightly heavier threats in the 2-5 mana region you are able to greatly increase the power of your cards and perform better in the mid and late game without having to rely loads on non-threat cards. Getting the ratio of one drops, more stand alone expensive threats and support cards is tricky and the main skill in doing well with the archetype. A RDW player can run as few as 50% threats and as much as as 50% removal because the removal is burn and so finishes the job your threats start. In white weenie I always want at the very least 2/3rds threats. Less than that and you die to bad draws and removal heavy opponents way too much. This gives you a lot less wiggle room to fit in the tools you need.

Hate bears and tribal themes are all things white can do. A mild human tribal theme seems to be a free good thing you can fit into white weenie builds but you can go more extreme. Cube rebels, Kithkin, and Soldiers are all options. I have done equipment themed white weenie and some horrendous affinity/white weenie mash up. It is a surprisingly versatile archetype. To cover all the niche, silly and frankly worse ways to go about doing the deck would be a fools errand. As such I am just going to assume access to more conventional cards and that we are aiming to build a somewhat conventional white weenie deck. Hate bears is almost a distinct archetype, that or it is what the archetype tends to becomes as you move towards more powerful formats. When non-interactive decks can kill you in two or three turns you have to be the one to play interactive cards. The only way to do this and keep your 2/3rds threat count is to play threats with disruption. There are a lot of different tools white has to tackle a lot of the more broken effects in magic. Which are best for what is likely worth an article on its own but for drafting midrange cubes most of them are not close to worth it. I will not be covering the narrower hate bears here.

Savannah Lions
One Drop Threats

Savannah Lions 6

The baseline for one drop beaters. This golden oldie still cuts it but it is not exciting nor offering anything extra. It has no human synergy which is the main reason for the Lions fall off in play. Although this is somewhat better than a Jackal Pup the sheer volume of viable one drops white has compared to red means the Pup sees significantly more play and is a much higher pick than the Lions.

Elite VanguardElite Vanguard 6.5

A whole extra 0.5 rating on Lions just for being a human! Soldier is mildly relevant too on occasion but human is the big one.

Expedition Envoy 6.5

Ally feels like it should be relevant but again, this is really just a 2/1 human for one and that is what the archetype wants most of.

Dryad Militant 6

The wrong types has this back at Lions level. The disruption effect seems like it should be better than it is. It feels like it should really hamper Snapcaster Mage and the like but I am never really seen that happen and so to me this is just another Lions.

Kytheon, Hero of Akros
Soldier of the Pantheon 7

Here we start to see rather more useful things dumped onto our Lions baseline beyond just a human tag. Protection from gold is a very significant effect and a bit of mild lifegain thrown in doesn't hurt either. This can swing past loads of great dorks or it can hold off one far greater in power while you fly in for damage with other dorks. One of your best all round one drops.

Kytheon, Hero of Akros 7.5

Often this is just an Elite Vanguard. Sometimes it is even worse as you fool yourself into thinking you want value from it and don't attack when you should. Until quite late game this is pretty much a 2/1 body. It is too much of a tempo hit to use the ability unless you have nothing else going on or it makes you a planeswalker. Even in the latter case you are not always gaining tempo out of the play. Gideon is good but he is not as good as a typical cube four drop planeswalker. Kytheon is your most powerful and versatile one drop but he is in the deck to be a one drop. If you don't use him as one so to speak it is not great for you. You can utterly win games with him when they have no answer and you freely flip him without having to pay an extra 3 mana. He is also one of the best late game top deck one drops as a 2/1 indestructible can do some good work.

Mardu Woe-ReaperMardu Woe Reaper 6.7

Far more useful effect and types than Dryad Militant. The lifegain is super minor but getting to exile dorks from the bin is rather handy. More dorks bounce back than spells on the whole and more colours have those kinds of things for dorks than they do for spells. Often you have to forgo this utility because you just need to cast the Reaper asap and use it as a 2/1.

Dragon Hunter 6.6

Another human Savannah Lion with a minor perk. Flavour wise this is one of my favourites but practically it comes up least. I have seen a single game go in favour of the white weenie player as a result of this having protection from and the ability to block dragons. At least when it comes up it is pretty significant while some of the other perks are minor and not as likely to swing the game.

Isamaru, Hound of Konda
Isamaru, Hound of Konda 6.5

You gain a toughness with Isamaru over most other two power white dorks but you lose any utility and the nice human tag. Isamaru gets quite a bit better when you have Karakas as it gets very hard to deal with.

Town Gossipmonger / Incited Rabble 6-7

Shockingly this is very much appearing to be one of the best aggressive one drops in the cube. We already knew a 2/3 was great but on face value it really didn't seem like a must attack clause and a turn to flip the card would come close to being worth the firebreathing effect. In practice this card can attack safely into most stuff and tends to at least represent a trade when doing so. The extra damage, threat and durability of this card makes it very very good indeed. White weenie decks always have enough dorks to be consistently flipping this and so few of them do anything of much the turn you make them that it doesn't harm your curve at all. The one annoying thing about this is that it turns red and as such has poor synergy with Crusade and Honour the Pure and that is when it is a 6 rather than a 7.

Student of WarfareStudent of Warfare 7.5

While white doesn't need as many mana sinks as RDW it is also not as important to have every one drop hit for two and not require any further mana investment. Just having bodies can be the thing in white weenie due to your buff cards. Student can be plenty enough as a one mana 1/1 which you will not find in RDW lists. Student is nice for offering mana efficiency and curve efficiency. As all of the things can be done in increments of one you just don't waste any mana when you have this card. Paying 3 for a 3/3 first strike (with psuedo haste a lot of the time) is much more on curve and decent than most other level creatures offer in the early stages and as mentioned white weenie is also pretty happy with the ability to just increase its dork count with a one mana 1/1. Student can be a powerful and scary part of a three one drop opener in the first two turns or she can be the only thing you do on the first two turns and either is decent enough.

Mother of RunesFigure of Destiny 7

Figure is a little weaker than Student in white weenie. Early on you get far less tempo for you mana investment and it is far more awkward to be improving the Figure. Figures ultimate mode is quite a lot more game ending than Students but to get there you have to have six lands that produce white (or red) mana and this is super late game, rare even than and puts stricter limits on your viable lands. Still a great card, a nice cheap threat you can power up with early yet one of the best things you can be doing late. Lack of human synergy is a shame but when you can be an 8/8 flier you don't really need synergies to carry you.

Mother of Runes 8

Basically no tempo at all from mother. Whenever you see her you feel obliged to make her immediately and that is usually at the cost of making a beater. The thing is that she is just worth it. There are only a couple of good responses to a Mother, a mass removal effect or a spot removal effect before she loses summoning sickness. After that she will either get a two for one on top of a big tempo swing or she will simply end the game. Loads of utility and loads of reach. She makes combat a nightmare, she can protect anything juicy you might be winning with, she can force through damage with dorks otherwise verging on the dead. Great card. When your one mana 1/1 draws almost any removal spell on sight you know you have an over powered card.

Gideon's LawkeeperGideon's Lawkeeper 6

Not an exciting card but it does get the job done. Occasionally this nibbles in and acts like a gribbly. Mostly this negates their best dork and helps force through damage. Lawkeper actually allows for way more forced through damage on the whole than Mother does as you get to attack with everything not just the protected stuff. The big difference between the cards is of course the mana to activate. Lawkeeper is useless for your tempo as you try and curve out and is a much more late game effect than Mother all because of the cost to use him.

Thraben Inspector 6.5

Super good filler. Obviously one of the weakest early aggressive dorks you can make but still much better than not making things. Two good tempo one drops plus Inspector is still going to be scarier than one drop two drop. Thraben Inspector is the perfect inclusion for any white weenie deck on the heavier side with buff effects. A good value on theme card that will help flip Kytheon and that will make all your Crusade effects better. Some artifact synergies too should that be relevant to you.

Champion of the Parish
Champion of the Parish 8

This is your best possible turn one play for threat level and tempo. It is far more consistent than a Delver of Secrets and a much bigger threat than a Goblin Guide or Swiftspear. Calling it the white Stromkirk Noble is rather unfair on Champion. They have similarities for sure and scale in similar ways but the Champion is all round far far better in the right archetype. Late game Champion can grow without having to attack, it grows much faster in general which makes it a better card. This is one of the main reasons you want a high human count in your deck. It is a card that needs support but it exactly the sorts of cards you want to be running anyway.

Boros Elite 5

Solid enough card but is good in ways you don't need to improve while being weak in ways you would prefer to improve on. Turn one Champion of the Parish into turn two Boros Elite and Thraben Inspector is like a dream opener however that is unlikely to come up and easily shut down. Kytheon is the card this wants to be. Kytheon is relevant all on his own and does the things you need and Kytheon has an upside that is actually significant and useful rather than just a bit more. A simple Crusade will make most of your one drops better than Boros Elite at his best.

Doomed TravelerDoomed Traveler 3

Useful when you have things that sacrifice dorks but without them this is too hard to get value from. Mostly people just ignore it and then it doesn't do very much.

Icatian Javelineers 3.5

Super low powered and pretty slow. The white Mogg Fanatic in many ways. This works very well with buff and pump cards and it is a great counter to some of your tougher matchups. White removal is very powerful but it is also hard to get and thin on the ground. You are ecstatic when you get both Path and Plow yet it still really hurts to have to use one on a Birds of Paradise or a Grim Lavamancer. You want your Path and Plow to hit things like Wurmcoil but you have little else and so you are forced into using them on low value targets way more than you would like. The simple Javelineers cover you really well in that area and let you reserve one of your good removal spells for something far more serious.

Loam LionLoam Lion 2

There is very little you want from green. Mayor of Avabruck is OK for pushing a human theme. Gavony Township is a pretty decent late game value inclusion and a Stirring Wildwood is also fine in that respect. The latter two don't need you to have green mana before they do something. Loam Lion isn't a human and does require you to have that forest asap. It is one of the more onerous cards to be splashing from green that look like they might fit in the deck. The thing is in white weenie and extra toughness isn't such a massive deal nor is another playable one drop. For RDW you hunger for all that is Kird Ape while the same card colour shifted into white hold very little appeal.

Steppe Lynx 5

Brutally hard hitting dork that works well with Land Tax, Path to Exile, sac lands, Knight of the White Orchid and I am sure some others that I am missing. While the upside on this is large and the downside is greatly mitigated by your buff effects it is still much like a Boros Elite. A one drop with a range from weak to strong rather than a more consistent 2/1 that is just good. You don't need a slightly harder dork, utility and versatility are more valuable to the white mage.

Two Drop Threats

Precinct CaptainPrecinct Captain 6.5

Great little value dork. Hard to block due to the first strike yet important to stop due to the token generation. You don't really expect to get much value out of your 1/1s as you won't expect to get many. The average per game is certainly below one. The reason this is good is that a 2/2 first strike dork is OK and one that baits all the blocks and removal is great. The Captain scales really well with buff effects not just for having first strike but because they can then also buff any tokens produced too! One of my preferred two drops for decks with multiple Crusade effects.

Loyal Cathar 5.5

Sticky dorks are great and white has fewer of these than you might think. Selesnya has a bunch but white not so much. A 2/2 vigilance is pretty weak but not unplayable. Having it turn into a 2/1 on death is lovely. Especially as it is not a token and so you still very much have a card to work with. Cathar is pretty low impact and a bit awkward. Crusade won't buff the flipped side, a WW cost is painful for such a low impact body etc. Generally however I am happy to be able to extend using this card and be assured no Wrath is going to stop me equipping and smacking next turn. It is a relevant threat that is a bugger to deal with. Using good removal or two lots of lesser removal never feels like good value and so the card sticks about putting in work.

Daring SkyjekDaring Skyjek 6.5

Three power, convenient 1R costing and the capacity to be an evasive threat. This is everything white wants in a card. It isn't the most flashy of cards but it is doing exactly what you want. It has enough more power and impact as a threat to be something you do want to pay two mana for. You will find in the midgame you effectively feed it 2/1s so you can get in for 3 with it but that is all well and good.

Stoneforge Mystic 8?

Kind of hard to say with this as it all depends on your other equipment. This is a first pickable card but it only becomes playable when you have at least one equipment. Two is my preferred number to play with Mystic but that will affect how many crusades you can then run and so it is an awkward card to build with. Any equipment in the cube is going to be good enough to make Stoneforge good. It is a body, it is value, often it is tempo with the bigger equips and it is doing two things at the same time that your archetype actively wants to do; making bodies and buffing them up! Batterskull is the ultimate combo with this but the card as a standalone is very weak in white weenie. You never want to make a 5 mana 4/4 without evasion and a pile of other perks.

Selfless SpiritSelfless Spirit 8

One of your very best cards. Not quite on the same power level as Stoneforge Mystic however the Selfless Spirit is always good. It is good on its own, with dorks, with equips, without them. Always good. It does three things your deck wants to do. It is a cheap threat. It is an evasive reach tool. It is protection against Wraths or other removal. Other cards are played in the deck for being one or two of these things yet spirit does all three and it does them well.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben 6.5

A nice little card and probably one of your most important in a powered cube. In the midrange cubes however this is far more symmetrical and as such rather the Elvish Archer. Not being able to make a followup Glorious Anthem, Spectral Procession or planeswalker is a royal pain with Thalia. Her body is acceptable but it isn't worth it for the mana alone. You want value from the effect and that will only occur in some matchups. Fine filler, decent hedge card, great sideboard card but more painful to play than one might assume and as such not really a mainstay in unpowered cube white weenie decks.

Thalia's LieutenantThalia's Lieutenant 8

The other reason to be playing humans. This is pretty much the most powerful card in the deck. Huge tempo when you make it, good value and all on top of what is essentially a pretty dangerous threat itself. This is bonkers when you have 75% or more dorks that are human, it is playable with less, and most white weenie decks these days seem to manage 75% without trying.

Knight of the White Orchid 6.5

Solid enough card and great if you are splashing and have a good dual to find as a way to fix. The issue with Knight is that he is more of a 3 drop than a 2 drop should you want the effect. He is also so much weaker on the play than on the draw. Mox make him better, as does Path to Exile. Having a deck that looks to hit five mana also makes him better. Playing with this sensibly you would expect to actually get a free land perhaps 25% of the time. Looks better than he is but also still a solid card.

Anafenza, Kin-Tree SpiritSoulfire Grandmaster 2

A generic 2/2 for 2 is weak. The lifelink is off theme and doesn't help Grandmaster in combat. Being able to ever pay for the ability is wildly unlikely, not worth putting effort into doing and even then has very few targets you can recur. Repeated Paths or some burn spell you splashed is nice but it isn't a thing until turn five at the quickest and is just not what the deck is about.

Anafenza, Kin Tree Spirit 6

Although a little bit weaker herself it does not take long before you can bolster her up and send in if you need to. The more you need to the easier it is to do. Compared to Precinct Captain you will get a lot more value with Anafenza. The difference is that Precinct Captain tends to scale a bit better with your stuff. Neither are super quick impact nor super tempo plays but they are better tempo than most value two drops. Anafenza is the less greedy option of the two.

J├Âtun GruntPorcelain Legionnaire 5.5

Hard hitting and quite able to get in due to the complimentary first strike. Not as good in white as in red as you have other comparable beaters, less use for artifact synergy (although not none) and you are more afraid of ping effects. Two drops that can die to the soft side of an Arc Trail are a thing you don't want to overload on and this is not the best of the one toughness two drops.

Jotun Grunt 2

In a midrange cube this is barely playable. It won't live long enough to make it worth it, not because it is killed but because people are not filling up yards fast enough. In a refined powered cube this gets a lot more done as it is generally disruption on top of being a 2 mana 4/4. Now I class this entirely as a sideboard card. It is the white weenie players best graveyard hate tool. Play it only to do that and then be really pleased when it also smashes your opponents face in.

Kor SkyfisherKor Skyfisher 3

This rather depends on what you have to go with it as to how good it is. Pearl Mox and  you have one of the best dorks for white weenie. Perhaps another Knight of the White Orchid Trigger and you have tempo dork that hurts your tempo more than it aids it. The body is great but unless you can get it out in a way that aids you it is not even close to worth it.

Gather the Townsfolk 7

The best of the various token generating two drop cards. Instant and artifact are not very important in white weenie while being humans really is. The fateful hour is also very powerful. It only comes up once in a while but when it does it has a whole load of impact. It might just be +5/+5 on your human synergy dork but that is because you win right there and then and more bodies doesn't matter! You play this if you have either of the human cards, you play this if you are going in the crusade direction. You are perfectly happy playing this just to make up the numbers in your two slot but then that may be said for all the cards like this.

Raise the Alarm
Raise the Alarm 6

Great with Crusade effects and global buffs but without a fairly strong theme in that direction this isn't worth playing. Instant is very minor in the archetype and 4 total worth of stats is below par for 2 mana.

Servo Exhibition 5.5

The weakest of the 3 options as this doesn't make white things. Sometimes having some non-white stuff is handy but it makes Crusade and Honour the Pure much weaker and they are some of the main things you pair with your token cards.

Soltari PriestSoltari Priest / Monk 6.5

Both very good evasive threats. Not only will these reliably beat for two each turn but they are also immune to the most likely removal spells out there. I mildly prefer the prot red as it covers the low toughness weakness better. Red is also better than black, either way the better one is the one that is the right colour for your matchup. While these might only beat as hard as a Grizzly Bear for the same cost they will likely get buffed with something and as such the evasion and protection will go a lot further. Of all the dorks with protection in the cube these are some of the best designed and well balanced.

Spectral Lynx 5 (assuming access to black)

Only a great card against green and with black. You don't run this without access to black mana in the deck although it is totally one of those cards you can "splash" for with only a couple of ways to fix and not risk having a dud. Against green having something that can both attack and block fairly well is nice, it can hold the ground a bit while your fliers do the work or it can join in the offensive and speed up the clock. White weenie can't hope to get to much damage in on the ground past turns three or so against the green player. The performance and value of this is so varied from matchup to matchup I don't think it is a great inclusion in a deck nor even in a cube.

Accorder PaladinSeeker of the Way 3

Fine enough filler. The threat of this getting a pump allows you to get through where another dork often can't. The issue is that you have very few ways to pump this in a white weenie deck. The few things you do have are not the sort of thing you want to fire of willy nilly just to buff this up. Not a card you want to run but certainly not the worst. At its best in the token heavy decks as those have the most prowess triggers.

Accorder Paladin 5

Pretty feeble body and often killed as a priority in combat. The theory is that his hits pretty hard on an open board for the mana and will scale very well with a flooded board. He is one of the few cheaper dorks that you can use to scale up the potency of token generatnig effects and he is an acceptable stand alone card. I tend to prefer the more stand alone options for my 3/1 and 2/1 two drops but this certainly has a place.

Consul's LieutenantConsul's Lieutenant 4

Seems like it should be better than it is. It is like an Accorder Paladin and a Precinct Captain except it has the weakest bits of both. It is fine enough but I have never been blown away by the cards performance.

Eight and a Half Tails 5

Great late game card but pretty limp when you still have things to be casting. Overall this is too much mana to be the eternally active Mother of Runes it wishes it was. Some reach but not enough of it soon enough to really count as reach.

Imposing Soveriegn 4

While very good against creature decks like Zoo this is even more polar in its performance than Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. As a mere 2/1 with no combat abilities the Sovereign relies hard on getting value from its effect and it doesn't do this consistently or reliably enough to offset its weak body. Great sideboard tool but not something I want to main.

Kami of Ancient LawKami of Ancient Law 5

Just a Grizzly Bear with a removal option on enchantments. A fine filler dork and a good maindeck out. If you fear an Oath of Druids, an Opposition or something of that gamebreaking nature then Kami, Ronom Unicorn and the other one? Some kind of Fox? I would look it up but I really don't need to... Anyway, these are fine. They solve some rare but serious problems and have some other mild utility while also being a fine proactive body. The introduction of the enchantment creatures made these quite a bit more likely to have targets.

Warpriest of Thune 2

Although the best case for Warpreist is better than that for Kami of Ancient Law the latter is still the better card overall. Kami is proactive and can get on with your plan without forfitting its main utility. You can only usefully play Warpriest when they have an enchantment you want to kill. As such he is either awful as a play or a do nothing in hand. This is a solid sideboard card against decks where you will reliably have targets. With there being so few of those you might as well stick to Kami and Disenchant.

Smuggler's CopterSmuggler's Copter 8.5?

Pretty perfect fit for the deck overall. It does a lot of the things you want efficiently and covers a lot of the weaker areas of the archetype well. It isn't great with much in the way of other buff cards but I imagine it is still plenty good enough to be worth playing whenever you have it. With no shortage of crew, no real haste dorks to waste using as crew and an otherwise void in the card quality department this card seems like it might be at its best in white weenie. Given how bonkers the card is everywhere else that is quite a frightening thought.

Mikeaus the Lunarch 3

Versatile but super slow. Although this might look like the Steel Overseer of the white weenie deck is slower and offers far less in the way of synergy. Mikeaus doesn't scale with loads of mana as well as you might think. X+1 mana = an X/X dork with no evasion is poor at all points on the curve. The later you get it out the less it can help your other dorks as well. Mostly this is a two drop that then does nothing to affect the game till turn four. Pretty useless when you need it to perform and often too late when it can.

White Shield CrusaderKnight of Meadowgrain 4

There are a lot of WW 2/2 first strike dudes on offer. As a general rule all of them are fine. Some have protection, some have other mild perks. A bunch trade first strike for flanking or other block combat mechanics. Arguably Silver Knight is the best as white fears red for its cheap burn more than most colours although by that logic just go full hate and play Kor Firewalker. I avoid uninteresting protection cards if possible as I have found them to make the cube less fun. Knight of Meadowgrain is the most rounded of various Knight cards you can find. It has good scaling, decent combat potential and is a bugger to race. I think it is rather outclassed these days. Lifelink is a little off theme and so you are paying for something you don't need.

White Shield Crusader 5

These and the original pump knight still compete reasonably with the dorks of today. The option on flying is far more exciting than that to get first strike. These might be weaker in combat but you are more interested in reach than getting favourable trades. Not super high power unless against a black player but so on theme and rounded that they are some of the strongest filler cards on offer.

Containment PriestLeonin Relic Warder 5

A pretty gross card but if you need to cram in some extra answer cards and cannot cut on your threat count then this is the solution. This is a poor threat and a poor removal card but it does both well enough at the same time that it is fine. You are a little nervous of getting into much combat with this as you typically have to avoid letting them have their thing back. Combat tricks and protection effects make this better. Fortunately a lot of decks with key artifacts and enchantments are not the sorts of decks abundant with removal.

Containment Priest 6

While very much a hate bear card this one tends to have application in midrange cubes where reanimate is still a strategy. This frequently has utility against whatever deck you are up against and can be combined with your own stuff to exile things. A poor tempo play but a suitably powerful effect to be worth it a lot of the time.

Three Drop Threats

Brimaz, King of OreskosBrimaz, King of Oreskos 6

Supremely powerful card packaged in such a way that he isn't all that for the archetype. While Brimaz trumps most of the cheaper dorks and utility dorks he doesn't trump any of the real meaty dorks. It is pretty easy to shut off Brimaz attacks with a generic 4/4 or bigger. He is also a sucker for 1 for 1 spot removal being a card that nets no value until combat. Even when Brimaz can attack it is rare for him to generate value. The 1/1 is almost always blocked and killed. Precinct Captain typically gets more value than Brimaz. In a race Brimaz is a beating. He is far superior as a blocker than on the offence. Brimax is also pretty unfair when you have a global pump effect in play. At that point he starts to feel a bit closer to Grave Titan. Brimaz is a touch slow, a touch risky and a touch reliant on support cards. I prefer him in midrange decks and Opposition decks to white weenie decks but he is still a solid card in the archetype. Unanswered he will still steal plenty of games. Not perhaps as quickly as a Rabblemaster but a lot more safely at least.

Silverblade PaladinSilverblade Paladin 6

A great proactive threat. In combination with anything slightly fat in play already and ready to attack this is one of the best tempo plays you can make in white. It is almost always a must kill threat. It can do a lot of damage and safely sit back while this is done so as to preserve the effect for later use. Equally he can get in for an extra four himself. Not too shabby. Weak to cheap instant removal as a 2/2 is taken out by almost everything.

Blade Splicer 5

Good solid filler but in the three slot you are not looking for filler cards. When playing this you either have a low powered deck, an over cost deck or you shouldn't really be playing it. Flicker mechanics do make this far better but there are not many good ones you want for the deck.

FlickerwispEldrazi Displacer 4.5

Speaking of Flicker effects this is one of the better ones. It is somewhat like Eight and a Half Tails, able to lock down a game when you have excess mana but prior to then a pretty weak tempo card. This can tap down blockers, save your guys and trigger EtB effects but at three mana a go and a colourless it is not exactly convenient.

Flickerwisp 6

By far and away the best Flicker effect for this archetype. A three power evasive body is good for three mana and the EtB effect does a lot. It can reset a planeswalker, remove a blocker, trigger another EtB effect, kill a token, even give you a mana or deny them a mana should your timings and need of it work with it. Great utility on top of an otherwise useful card.

Spectral ProcessionLingering Souls 8

This is the main reason you want to be black. Lingering Souls is nuts without any synergy. It is super unfair with things like Crusade. It is so potent you often just throw in all your various BW duals and hope you can flash the Souls back when you want. The card is so good that it isn't the end of the world if you can't. If I have two or more black fixing cards I will play this in any white weenie deck.

Spectral Procession 8

Arguably better than Lingering Souls. Spectral Procession is certainly more tempo and more reliable. It does however offer less value, less security and imposes more restrictions than Lingering Souls. You cannot play 2 colourless lands with Spectral and still consider it a three drop. You have to move it to the four slot and then you might as well play Battle Screech! Not heard of it? I wonder if that hints at how good a four mana Procession is? (for those still wondering it is worse than the weak half of Lingering Souls although still actually playable!). Any game where you make this turn three, a global buff effect the following turn and attack with the fliers is usually a win in your favour.

Bygone BishopBygone Bishop 7.5

An impressive newcomer. Not great tempo but loads of value and a bit of reach to boot. The body is fine, generally pretty annoying in fact. Reserving you a free card for 60% or more of your cards at a stage where you have the spare mana but lack the gas or the appropriate answer is pretty much what you wish your Skullclamp did. You don't have to lose your threats or any further tempo to gain value with Bishop, it just happens the more it sits in play. It doesn't cost you mana at the time to do and the Bishop can put in work while he gains you this value.

Hallowed Spiritkeeper 7.5

You best Wrath prevention tool. The body isn't brilliant but it is one of those fer cards that is generally a lot scarier when you kill it than it is prior to that. Often this means this has evasion as well as being an Ensnaring Bridge for your opponent! You can really really over extend with this. Facing an army of 1/1 or bigger fliers after you just killed everything isn't fair or fun. This card is at its weakest on curve simply because that is when you stand to gain least value from it. Other than exile effects the best way to deal with this is as soon as possible else it will just give too much value and close the game.
Hallowed Spiritkeeper

Thalia, Heretic Cathar 7

Solid enough body plus a powerful array of disruption effects. In my super dual land heavy cube this is not far off a three mana Kismet with some good legs. The only deck this doesn't do strong work against is like a mono blue control thing. Very much the best Thalia for the midrange cube white weenie decks. Having their lands coming in tapped is similar to having all their spells cost one more mana. Not quite as good as that but still typically a lot more effective than non-creature spells for both players costing 1 more. It his more of their stuff and none of yours. Dorks coming in tapped is great for the aggro player. It shuts down haste dorks being good in a race and it makes creatures have a kind of summoning sickness for blocking as well as attacks. Heretic Cathar offers a lot of things and most of them are on theme and useful to the archetype.

Monastery Mentor 4.5
Mirror Entity
Often killed just in case it is going to yield a whole bunch of value but when it isn't it doesn't generally do that much. Prowess is most effective in Izzet colours. Mentor is a great Jeskai cards but in mono white it is super hard to reliably get monks. Even in the perfect draw it is turn five before any monks you could have made can do anything. As Mentor has super synergy with prowess it is most effective when you can follow it with two spell heavy turns, first to make dorks and then to pump them.

Mirror Entity 3

A white Overrun style card on legs. This can be a great finisher card but it is a poor on curve play. It does nothing worth doing without significant mana investment. Although the pump is nice it doesn't give any evasion and as such is only good when you reliably have a creature overlap. Fine in tokens decks as a backup for lacking better pump effects but not a great card.

Mirran CrusaderMirran Crusader 6

A pretty solid and beastly threat. Quite a lot of decks fold to this. It is one of the best things to stick equipment on and it scales very well with other buffs. It hits hard, is hard to block, has mild removal protection and some mild evasion when playing the right colours too. I don't much love the design of the card nor the incorporation of the protection effects but there is no denying the card is strong.

Frontline Medic 2

This looked like it would be better. This does three things all of which look useful. The body is decently sized, the combat effect allows you to push through damage very safely and then you get a random bonus counter option. Sadly a Trained Armadon isn't the body you really want, it means you very much need the abilities to perform well. The counter never does anything, very few X spells in cube and it is easy enough to play around. Holding an X spell for longer is typically not the worst thing! The indestructible effect does come online more often but it isn't that useful either. It only really effects trades. Sure, your small dorks might live and turn trades into chumps in your favour. The thing is that boards are rarely so equal that the ongoing indestructible attacks do that much. Either their bigger guys just repeatedly bock your stuff, or they attack you back and win the race or you were winning anyway. Frontline Medic never seems to make the difference between a win and a loss.

Eidolon of Countless Battles 4

A bit slow and dependent on your board to be a great card but it does have a few perks. As an enchantment it pairs fairly well with Cataclysm and a small selection of other things. It is a threat and a buff that is also good protection against removal.

Four Plus Drop Threats
Hero of Bladehold
Hero of Bladehold 4

One of those overrated cards. Sure, you land this and get to smack with it you get to kill them very quickly while netting some value. When you kill someone in a couple of hits at most you don't need value. Value is what you need if you are going to get killed by spot removal and Hero offers nothing like that. This offers no evasion, no immediate impact  and it has to put itself at risk in combat to gain any of the benefits it comes with. A 3/4 is OK but it isn't getting past any proper dorks. It isn't even able to survive most double blocks. For four mana this is risky, slow and not offering enough. All this is is a fast clock and you can do way better in that area. Brimaz is certainly a lot better than this.

Gideon, Ally of ZendikarSublime Archangel 8

This is the card Hero of Bladehold wants to be. This almost always has a significant impact on combat the turn you make it. You can safely sit back with it and gain advantage slowly or you can send in the fat evasive Archangel and win more quickly and reliably than Hero manages. One of the best and most rounded finishers the archetype has on offer.

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar 7.5

I have it on very good authority that this card is basically as good as Knight Errant. I am yet to see this. Certainly this card is very powerful and very appropriate for the archetype but never has it come that close to the original Elspeth in game ending or stabilizing capacity. Gideon is a token generator, a Glorious Anthem as and when you need and a sorcery proof 5/5 beater. All these things are great but they are all a little slow. Global pump should be a 2 or 3 mana effect, with Gideon it is either a terrible turn four or five Anthem or a painfully slow turn five or six one. A 2/2 every turn sounds nice but again, by turn four the impact that will have is relatively low and will take a lot of turns before you can sensibly start going wide. Hitting as a 5/5 is nice but you can't do it right away which is lame for progressing the loyalty count on Gideon. It also lacks the reach you really want from your top end stuff. Great card, easily the second best walker for the deck but not something I am desperate to pick up.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Elspeth, Knight Errant 8.5

Elspeth ends games and she does it reliably and fast. She grows in loyalty every turn while applying a good amount of pressure. +3/+3 and flying is almost always enough to force through damage and represent a rapid clock. This forces people to try and kill the high loyalty walker through your heavy defenses and while under pressure themselves. Very hard to do. Making tokens allows you to go wide, play super safe, give you +3/+3 and flying targets and so on. It is a solid ability that supports the deck well. Gaining a loyalty to make a 1/1 is generally better than getting a 2/2 for no loyalty change. The walker is the threat, the dorks just power up your stuff. When you have some buff cards the difference between a 1/1 and a 2/2 token is all rather minor, total count of them is more important. Elspeth is less versatile than Gideon but does all the things you actually want a lot better. Elspeth has a pretty poor ultimate but it is scary and as everything else is loyalty gain it does always threaten.

Sorin, Solemn VisitorSorin, Solemn Visitor 8

After Lingering Souls this is probably one of the next best reasons to go black. As a four drop you don't need quite as much black support as you do for a two drop like Dark Confidant. This means I am often happy enough playing this Sorin with only a little more fixing than I want for Lingering Souls to be playable. This Sorin is incredibly good in this archetype and once in play performs a lot better than Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Not only can you pump your whole team right away the added lifelink makes any sort of race impossible. Sorin also offers reach in his ability to make 2/2 fliers. It is a lot slower than Elspeth to close a game that way but the +1/+0 and lifelink is typically a lot quicker. The token generation is more of a value play with Sorin. He offers burst, reach, value, stability and pretty much all the things you want in white weenie. Sorin is my go to Elspeth replacement.

Emeria AngelRestoration Angel 4.5

Not a bad card ever really but white weenie is not the ideal home for this. Flash is pretty minor, leaving up four is a total broadcast in white weenie. You don't have much in the way of EtB things to abuse and so the flicker is not commonly good value. A 3/4 flier will always do some work but you can get way more bang for your buck for white weenie than Resto can offer.

Emeria Angel 4.5

Speaking of better four drop Angels here is a good example! This can generate bonus value and it can do some of it right away. It is a 3 power evasive threat that produces evasive tokens. Great scaling with Crusade effects and Land Tax. Great inevitability but fairly weak initial impact.

Linvala, Keeper of SilenceLinvala, Keeper of Silence 5.5

Another one of those cards that boarders on the hate. This is the total bane of green decks. It shuts down most of their mana, most of their utility and then just kills them by flying over the top off all their do nothing dorks. Against a lot of decks this is just a 3/4 flier, even those which have some stuff she shuts down, most will have easy ways to deal with her before she causes any problems. A fine card to but too random in effect and too low initial impact to be a great card in the deck.

Ranger of Eos  4

Good value and utility. Lots of actually quite good late game one drops in white you can find with this. The issue is not with the effect but with the 3/2 body. As with so many of the four drops this card is severely held back by having really poor initial impact on the board and for being generally pretty slow.

Celestial CrusaderCelestial Crusader 4

Crusade on legs, all be it rather small ones. This seems like it should be better than it is. It is a combat trick, an evasive body and an annoying flier to give you some reach. It is a bit too much of a win more card. When you can curve out to four and maintain a board presence then this is superb and totally on theme. In normal games this won't be something you can play til turn six or it will just be a 2/2 flier and have nothing to pump etc. White wants rounded support cards in the lower regions of its curve. It wants to reserve the four slot for cards that have a really good chance of ending the game. This is the former and not the latter and so it struggles to perform as needed.

Hikori Dustdrinker 3

More on legs cards and more cards that border on the hate sideboard tools. The body is awful here, really if you want this effect you should be running Winter Orb. Being a four drop this comes out too slowly a lot of the time and hurts you a bunch to do so. Enjoy two mana next turn at best. Something cheaper than you like a RDW or anything with non-land mana sources will laugh at this card. It only hurts the slow decks and as such is not something I would ever want main.

Fleetwheel CruiserFleetwheel Cruiser 6

Here we have a surprisingly good card. White has very little in the way of haste or burst and so while this is not the most powerful of the four drop threats it is on theme and offers something you otherwise can't easily get. Great tempo and a reasonable finisher. On turn four this is fantastic but much later down the line and it starts to fall off in power compared to most of the other four drop options.

Gisela, the Broken Blade 5

The big Knight of Meadowgrain (or the little Baneslayer)! Flying makes this a viable 4 drop as it is reach on top of a fine combat dork. This is very hard to race and is the sort of thing most decks need to kill. She is let down by allowing for that fairly well with 3 toughness and no initial impact.

Archangel AvacynBaneslayer Angel 3

Really not the sort of thing you want to pack. You can play five drops in white weenie but it is best to avoid it if possible. Those that you might play you ideally want to have more impact or roundedness to them. This is the kind of card you will be able to win off the back off sometimes, it will bail you when all else is lost but it is not an on theme card. You will get hugely blown out against removal with this. It will come to late a lot of times and then there will be those times you make it turn five but it doesn't matter as they made an Emrakul the previous turn...

Archangel Avacyn 5.5

Mostly let down by the five mana price tag. Avacyn is so nuts you can play her anywhere it would seem. Apparently Wrathing your own team has no impact on how good this card is... She is hard to remove, hits like a truck, has great tempo and can offer a selection of forms of value. Usually what she giveth she then taketh away but just a couple of turns of that value is a huge swing.

Angel of InventionAngel of Invention 5.5?

Not had quite enough experience yet with this to know if it is actively something I want to be able to include in my white weenie decks. It is all sorts of on theme and has none of the issues that Celestial Crusader has. Global buffs, evasive threat and a little army to support you should all else have been dealt with. Like Sublime this card is a great play post Wrath to recover with all on its own or it is a great supplement to a full board that can break a stalemate effectively.

Cloudgoat Ranger 4.5

This was pretty good until Angel of Invention went and ruined it. It was the five drop you were most happy to play in the deck for a very long time. A good amount of stats, good scaling with buff effects and the ability to go to the skies and push for a win that way all make this good. It is just a victim of power creep that no longer looks like more than on theme filler.

Removal and Disruption

Swords to PlowsharesSwords to Plowshares 9

While the premium removal spell in Magic this is probably just the second best in white weenie. Great at clearing out smaller dorks but the lifegain is annoying as an aggressive player. The strength of Swords is that it takes out anything, when you are reluctant to use it on big stuff the card is more limited and its strengths are mitigated. One mana instant usually makes up for the tempo loss from the lifegain when compared to other removal options and there is so little removal in white that you just always play this if you have it.

Path to Exile 9.5

Basically this just scales a little better with your game plan. It takes out something big in a way you don't care about. Your small stuff is almost always better than comparable small stuff in other colours and so you don't need to be wasting hard removal on it as much which is normally the downfall of Path. It also has nice synergy with Land Tax and Knight of the White Orchid.

Declaration in StoneDecalration in Stone 7

Removal is just pretty premium, you shouldn't expect to always get a Path and a Plow and you generally want about two reliable removal spells. This is one of the best on offer. It is proactive, hits most stuff and can take out an array of tokens too.

Valorous Stance 6.5

Reasonable instant removal that can also be used to counter a removal effect. Versatile and appropriate but a little lacking in punch. While the weakest of the good removal spells it is still something I am always happy to play.

Unexpectedly AbsentUnexpectedly Absent 7

Pretty underrated card. This is one for one spot removal that can hit any non-land target. Non-land is only annoying on spot removal against man lands which are in turn only really a problem for slower decks. As such, this hits all the things you care about that a spot removal spell can hit. It is instant, two mana and does not send stuff to the graveyard. It is usually a better answer to a Wurmcoil Engine than a Sword to Plowshares. I think the turn off for this card is that it is not the most permanent of removal solutions. Even if used in response to a shuffle effect the card in question can still be drawn and replayed. This is great tempo removal, it is super good against anything that has been cheated into play or ramped into with one off burst mana. Equally it is very good against any curve play. Bouncing their one drop elf is great as they no longer have a ramp card and they will draw a dud next turn. You can sink extra mana into this and keep something at bay for long enough to end the game should you need. The card has no real downsides and does basically all the things you want your removal to do. It is the Remand of spot removal. It efficiently and reliably does what you want your removal to do and it works in perfect concert with a tempo driven deck. It greatly increases your feeling of safety should you be up against something unreasonable like a Sulphuric Vortex, Opposition etc that your creature removal won't help with.

Council's JudgmentCouncil's Judgement 7

Super clunky removal but also super reliable. This kills all the things and it kills them super dead. This deals with all the hexproof nonsense, gives no care for protection from white, denies when they die triggers and is all round the answer card. Unless you are a land you are not safe from this. A catch all like this is a worthy inclusion in most cube decks and despite being a poor tempo card the fact that one card can solve so many problems more than makes up for it. Disenchant used to be quiet a common card to have in white weenie but since Judgement and Absent have been printed there is really very little need.

Disenchant 4

Great removal card but only something you can maindeck if you know it has either several targets or key targets in every matchup you have. You cannot afford dead cards and it is rare to know if you will always have things to Disenchant. As such people tend to play this kind effect on a dork or on a more rounded removal spell. Very good card but edged into the realms of the narrow.

Journey to NowhereJourney to Nowhere 4

I hate this card and all cards like it. If I am playing an inherently narrow removal spell I don't want the damn thing to be game changingly unreliable. Two mana to kill anything dead is a bargain. Having that thing rock up again at an inopportune moment is crippling and too many things in cube can make that happen. Most of the time this is hard removal but the few times it isn't you typically lose as a result. Give me situational hard removal I can work around rather than this unreliable partial removal. When good this is up there with Path and Plow but there isn't a comparison for it when its bad because it is such a disaster. Comes into play effect dorks are the worst. I once had to use this to deal with a Snapcaster Mage in a really tight game. Suffice it to say that came back to really hurt me.

Oblivion Ring 3

If unreliable removal wasn't enough you can add poor tempo into the mix and play this and other cards like it! Sometimes a necessary evil but make no mistake, evil is what this is. You play Council's Judgement as a safety card and Oblivion Ring looks like the natural replacement card when you don't get it. The problem is you are trying to play an incredibly unsafe card in your safety slot.

ArmageddonArmageddon / Ravages of War 9.5

The main threat of the white weenie deck is that it gets a tiny bit ahead on the board and then blows up all the land. These cards and the threat of them being played is what pushes the archetype from average to good. Very few decks can operate as powerfully as white weenie on as low an economy. Even a RDW list which is cheaper than your average white weenie deck will be less able to cope with one or two land. The strength of the red deck is doing multiple things at once. If you can't make a dork and kill a dork then you are not getting ahead. All the white dorks beat the red dorks heads up. The red is only better as it can more easily and cheaply clear out a bunch of the white dorks. Post Armageddon the red mage typically falls behind a loses. There are a lot of cube decks that simply can't beat an Armageddon. A lot of those that can will find themselves in positions where it would be crippling in most games. You have to respect the card and you have to play around it. Against most blue decks this means that you get a free double Rishadan Port from four mana onwards as they will perpetually keep countermagic up. Geddon is a big factor in how white weenie has shaped and evolved. My dislike of 5 drops in the deck primarily stems from how bad they are with Geddon. Even when I don't have it I want to build my deck such that I can play it if I do get it. Geddon is part of the reason mana sink cards are less important in white weenie than they are in a lot of other aggressive decks. In practice Geddon doesn't live upto the expectation. Either you are ahead enough that you win regardless of the Geddon or you can't cast it on cue or you are actually behind when you could cast it. It is the threat of the Geddon that gets you the value and is what makes it so good. The actual Geddon is just a fine card.

CataclysmCataclysm 2-8

The awkward Geddon. This thing is potent in a deck highly tuned around casting it. When you have a good balance of all the things and are able to keep 2 dorks and 2 mana sources post Cataclysm it is more powerful and has more scope than the Geddon. Setting that up however is a very tricky thing to do. Super narrow but worth it if you can do it well. If you don't build your deck around this it is a at best a partial Geddon that also has the downside of mostly Wrathing you.

Abeyance 2

Filler card at best. Good hedge or hosing against some matchups but you can do that far better with proactive dorks.

Mana TitheMana Tithe 7

Great disruption tool. Keeps people honest, scales well with any mana denial you might have and serves as a good answer impressively often. As you push the tempo so hard you force a tight response from your opponents. This usually means tapping out which makes the white Force Spike very effective in this archetype. If it were not for being so tight on space as you need to be 2/3rds threats this would be much more commonly played.

Winter Orb 4

Only in decks where I have been able to design around having the Orb do I find it to perform well enough to be classed as good. You rely too much on being cheaper or being ahead if you are playing the Orb and that isn't always the case. With no real exploits of a symmetrical card you can just lose to artifact mana  or mana dorks. Orb doesn't lock people out of the game or their top end like Geddon, it just slows down the game. Without good reach or other inevitability cards that don't cost mana you can struggle to finish a game even when you have someone well oppressed under the Orb.
Winter Orb

Tanglewire 3

Solid card and a great disruption tool against the less interactive decks that can outpace you. Versus most combo decks I would look to bring in cards like this. In a normal midrange cube however this isn't doing enough. It isn't a threat and its effect doesn't last all that long. Being quite a fair deck yourself the playing of the Tanglewire is enough of a tempo set back that you are unlikely to finish the game while it still has your opponent under any significant lockdown.

Cursed Scroll 5

Likely one of the best homes now for Cursed Scroll. Scroll offers some reach and some value but it also does something white decks suck at usually and that is dealing with pesky small dorks. The Grim Lavamancer is a must kill card however you really don't want to use a Path or Council's Judgement on it if you can avoid it. Scroll is pretty slow and late game but when two weenie decks go at it you tend to get quite a long grindy game.

Rishadan PortRishadan Port 7

Less good in white weenie than in RDW typically as you want to curve out more, often have a higher W to colourless mana ratio and don't have ongoing effects that benefit from an overall slowing of the game. That all said, targetted mana disruption on a land is still great. It is great when you have cheap threats and are proactive as the archetype is. It has somewhat better synergy with Armageddon than Wastelands as well.

Wastelands 8 (Stripmine 9.5)

White weenie is the deck to best exploit the one drop into one drop Wasteland play. On the play that is hard to beat, on the draw your possible outs are going to be few in number in pathetic in probability of occurring. Ideally you want to play this as spell rather than a land as it makes even curving to four trickier. The issue with that is is neither a threat nor an answer nor something to buff a threat. It is hard to find room for this as a spell unless you get  a very low to the ground deck. Playing these more like utility lands means you have to slightly lower your curve and reduce your W mana requirement at the same time.

KarakasKarakas 9.5

This land is a joke. It is actually free, no colourless, no pain, no coming in tapped. Just a plains plus an overpowered effect. There are so many good legends now that this generally has targets in your opponents deck. Being able to repeatedly remove something from play for a single mana is too good. It makes expensive legends without super good EtB triggers unplayable. Poor poor Tasigur... It beats the hell out of opposing legends but it also makes your pretty immortal as well. I recall when Blinking Spirit was a top rate control threat, shockingly blinking Isamru is somewhat better! Always play this if you can. It gives a lot of free wins.

Buffs and Tricks

Brave the ElementsBrave the Elements 7

Counter a red mass removal spell, counter any spot removal spell or just make most of their guys unable to block and alpha strike them. You can even use this reactively in combat to turn what your opponent thought were trades into chumps. This is highly versatile, nice and cheap. It provides safety and reach and looks like the sort of thing you would always play. The reason you don't always play this is because it is not a proactive card on its own and white already has more than it would like in that area. You play this when you have room for it rather than anything else and that is usually the result of not getting things like Armageddon. Another issue for this is the increasing number of non-white dorks in white weenie that simply gain nothing from this.

Harm's WayHarms Way 7

Another incredibly versatile trick that can gain huge tempo swings in combat, act as the best kind of counterspell against burn and generally puts in some good efficient work. It is easier to gain good tempo with Harm's Way early than with Brave the Elements but it scales less well into the late game. Fundamentally they sit in the same sort of slot and both suffer from not being proactive threats. Great if you have the room spare.

Shining Shoal 3

If harms way is Lightning Bolt then this is the Fireblast. There are two issues with Shining Shoal in white weenie. The first is that card disadvantage is pretty painful. You cannot ditch lands to this and so it always costs you two active cards to use. The second issue is your low CMC. Either you do half a Harm's Way and ditch a low power card or you lose your top end game winners only to do twice a Harm's Way. The higher CMC, clunkier and worse your deck is the better Shoal becomes. If you can toss a five drop you had no hope of actually casting then you are going to get a lot of tempo from your card. Tricks are situational and this being something you cannot expect to hard cast often at all makes it too narrow for my liking. Powerful but costly on several fronts.

CrusadeHonor the Pure 7.5

Efficient and clean global pump. As with Brave the Elements this is suffering a little lately from increasing numbers of white weenie dorks not actually being white. These effects in general are quite the cornerstone of white weenie decks. They are what make token generators good and they are also a big part of enabling you to compete in the mid and late game with other decks vying for board control. You do generally want at least one card like this in a white weenie deck and you can want a couple more than that as well if they are your only source of buff. This is the best of the options if all your dorks and tokens or all bar one are white.

Crusade 7

Doubly weaker than Honour the Pure as it is WW not 1W and will buff their white dorks as well as yours. Still very cheap and efficient. Still something you want to be doing and as such a very playable card.

Glorious Anthem
Glorious Anthem 7.5

For one extra mana on Honour the Pure you get to buff all your dorks regardless of creed or colour. Increasingly this is worth it in white weenie. A turn two Crusade is not really what you want to do anyway unless you are against a red deck. The freedom to play whatever dorks are best for your deck makes these cards better to have in a drafting cube. As to which Crusade effect is best for your deck obviously depends on the specifics of that list.

Spear of Heliod 7.5

Glorious Anthem plus a bit. The ability is worth having even in an aggressive deck. It is not super frequently relevant but enough to make the card something you want in play more than Anthem. The issue with Spear is that it is slightly easier to remove from play being both an artifact and an enchantment.

Dictate of HeliodDictate of Heliod 4

Incredibly powerful card. Sometimes an Overrun, sometimes a one sided Wrath of God and the rest of the time just a pair of Glorious Anthems. While this is everything a white weenie deck wants it is problematic on two fronts both relating to being five mana. Anything that expensive in a deck aiming to be tempo driven, quick and consistent will lower those aspects of the deck. This can be worth it, when you need a heavy card to push through or recover some brutal hand/board wipe you just ate. Angel of Invention is a card you can win with. Heavy cards in decks like this really want to be stand alone cards. Dictate might help you push through if you have a board but if you don't then it is a do nothing. Cards with that potential are a big issue in archetypes aiming for redundancy even when they are cheap so a five drop one is a bit of a no no.

Always Watching 4

The Bonus perk of vigilance can be game breaking on its own. If white weenie wasn't so setup to abuse tokens then this would likely be the best global pump effect. As it is this is just a card that lowers your options. Spectral Procession is one of the best things to pair with pump yet this does nothing for it. In specific builds of white weenie this is great but for the most part it is too narrow. Much like Intangible Virtue, these effects are the best if you build around them but with little redundancy and narrowing your pool of playables to do so makes them not worth the effort.

Sword of War and Peace
Sword of Fire and Ice 6

Very powerful but pretty clunky. I am very happy to include this as a target for Stoneforge. I would rather a Jitte or Batterskull for that but SoFI is a fine replacement. The SoFI is something I will play without a Stoneforge which cannot be said for Batterskull but it is not an auto include card in the archetype as many seem to think. SoFI is a fine card, it scales very well with evasive dorks, dorks with protection, Mother of Runes specifically! As well as doublestrike stuff. The issue with it is reliability. For something you have to spend at least four mana on, usually five or seven before it does anything you want a card that is reliable such as an Elspeth. SoFI does not threaten to end games nearly as often as the other top end cards you can play in the deck. Other Swords from the cycle are also fine but all worse than the SoFI.

Umezawa's JitteJitte 8.5

Much as I hate it I think this just is an auto include in the deck. That consistent one mana less to get online than a Sword combined with the trigger on any combat damage rather than just to a player makes Jitte do work. White weenie is starved of ways to clear out small dorks. Jitte solves this very nicely. A supply of cheap dorks to put the Jitte on is really all you need for Jitte and white weenie does that better than most. Jitte is good for white weenie and it in turn it is good for Jitte. This is value when and where you need it or it is just a lot of punch to close a game.

Ajani Goldmane 3.5

The original Ajani is rather the one trick pony. He was never a great walker because the abilities had so little synergy. Despite being so linear and so seemingly weak Ajani is a very good finisher card specifically in white weenie. If you have any sort of a board and can lay Ajani and immediately -1 on three or more things then you are looking good. The game is almost always over in your favour before you can spend all three loyalty on +1/+1 counters. I have won games with just Goldmane and Spectral Procession before. Being so weak otherwise and needing to have a board to be good is why Ajani is not a go to card but he is a reasonable stand in when you need it.

Ajani, Caller of the Pride
Ajani Steadfast 2

Despite having a relevant +1 the fact that the global pump is so much weaker than Goldmanes makes him worse in the role you most want him for. A mild creature pump from the +1 isn't very game breaking most of the time and still needs some board to do much of anything. Avoid playing this.

Ajani, Caller of the Pride 4.5

This Ajani actually offers something you want in a white weenie deck and that is reach. The -3 is expensive and hard to pull of more than once but it can well just end a game. The +1 is OK, it works towards getting a fatal -3 off. You get some Anafenza style value ongoing and you get a scary threat. While quite a narrow walker it is on theme for white weenie and nicely cheap.

Value and Card Draw

Land TaxTithe 4

A good way to fiddle your land ratios a little and fix a splash colour. The two for one is rarely that significant as it is just lands. It is not often that having the second one actually matters or does anything and the extra thinning is minor. It can still be a one mana two for one and that is pretty great on top of the fixing but it is at a tempo cost in a tempo deck. Being as this is very weak late game yet a more significant tempo cost the earlier you play it I find it has too small of a window for my liking.

Land Tax 9

Now Land Tax is a card worth taking a tempo hit for. Land Tax is a card your opponents will sometimes forgo their own land drop just so as to negate the effect. I might have claimed that the card advantage from Tithe wasn't that relevant as it was only lands. When you are getting ALL the lands that rather changes the dynamic. One hit from Land Tax and all your land worries are done for that game. Three hits and you have turned your deck into nothing but pure gas. You don't need mana sinks, discard outlets or anything at all to pair with Land Tax to make it abusive, it does that all by itself. All those things do make it better though, as does Path to Exile. Land Tax makes a Smugglers Copter draw a card rather than loot. It lets your opponent's know that the Student of Warefare will be a 4/4 doublestrike this game unless they get to dealing with it. Land Tax makes Mox Diamond actually worth including. It lets you stockpile so that you can curve out again post Armageddon. It makes you happier to lose the coin flip and go second.

SkullclampSkullclamp 7.5

Skullclamp is one of the more awkward cards to rate on this list as it highly depends on your deck makeup. Being able to protect a >1 toughness dork from death is a fine mana sink and good midgame effect. Being able to convert 1 toughness dorks into more gas is a great late game tool. The main problem is the counter synergy between Clamp and global pump effects. You cannot turn anything into gas once you have a Glorious Anthem in play and that massively reduces the utility of the card. In Crusade heavy decks I avoid equipment in general. Being heavy on either global pump or equipment is a bit dodgy and it is easier picking up a balance of the things. You will find yourself running Clamp and pump in the same lists when playing white weenie fairly often and it is fine to do. It is just something you have to be very aware of when building and when playing. One of the best things about Skullclamp is as the value second equipment. When I have a Stoneforge I like two equipment as the card is so limp when it doesn't find you a thing. All the other good equipment is pretty heavy, Jitte is the cheapest overall at 4 mana to bring online. Clamp is generally the best equipment to pair with any other cube equipment because it doesn't bloat your deck with multiple heavy equipment. It gives you some nice alternate options for your Stoneforge too, expensive power or cheap value. This has a fairly high chance of being the most complicated card white weenie is likely to play. Two is about as many equipment as you would ever want in a normal 40 card deck, their diminishing returns is a lot larger than that of Crusade effects.

Windbrisk HeightsWindbrisk Heights 7

I was going to liken this to Shelldock Isle and then remembered they were a cycle and so obviously they compare well. Attacking with 3 things is absolutely something you can and should do most games. You can do it with one card enough of the time! You usually don't get a tempo boost from the Heights, even if you do get a 4+ drop the fact that you had to prepay one of the three total mana it costs to redeem that card at an earlier stage in the game likely means you lost more tempo than you gained back. Due to choosing from 4 cards you can usually get a 3+ drop at least and wind up mana neutral on the card which is good enough. White lacks value and getting a free card you get to find like an Impulse on a land that doesn't cost you very much is super worth it. Being able to play something at instant speed can be useful too although pretty rarely as it is only in your turn. In the deck it is pretty much a plains that comes into play tapped and says draw a card. Sounds like a card you would play in most decks if you could.

Mutavault / Mishra's Factory / Blinkmoth Nexus 6

These are all pretty comparable in white weenie. Fine inclusions if you have the ability to comfortably play colourless land yet have nothing better to fill the slot. They are almost the reverse of their ranking for RDW. Mutavault is better than Mishras Factory as some minor tribal perks crop up in white weenie. Blinkmoth is greatly improved as your various pump effects scale that much better with flying.

Westvale Abbey 7

This might even be a 7.5 but being one of those cards that takes a very long time to properly assess I am not totally sure as yet. I will say that white weenie is one of the best archetypes for the Abbey. White weenie is one of the most able decks to have 5 dorks in play. It is also one which can greatly benefit from the production of 1/1 tokens should a game go that long and grindy. It is the reach and burst that Westvale brings that makes it so good. White typically has neither so the ability to attack with an uncounterable, indestructible, 9 power flying lifelinking haste dork is quite the delight. Being such a powerful effect it is commonly your only out to a situation. Versatile and powerful card that is far better than the colourless man lands. Better in white weenie than Kessig Wolf Run is in RDW too even disregarding the need to splash.


Mox DiamondMox Diamond 5

While white weenie cannot easily afford card disadvantage with effects like Tithe and Land Tax you can do so much more easily with lands. Mox Diamond is one of the few tools you can use to give you some actual burst starts. It is good with Armageddon and Catacylsm and Winter Orb. It is a little awkward to fit into the deck and isn't quite as consistent as we might like but it is a lovely option to have even if you don't always go for it.

Aether Vial 2

Super inconsistent and annoying when it doesn't work with all your threats (Elspeth, vehicles, Spectral Procession etc). Lay this on turn one and it is usually pretty good. Assuming most of your threats are dorks then your creature density and curve suit the Vial well. The thing is it doesn't speed you up right away, it speed you up in the midgame. As it cost you a card itself and lets you dump more into play you are much more liable to run out of steam before the job is done. Your dorks also get outclassed eventually and getting some down sooner is usually more damage then getting them all down asap. The card is nice for the flash and the counterproofing but ultimately does not bring enough for the card disadvantage and inconsistency inherent to the card to make it worth including.

Two example lists

Town GossipmongerGeneral Good Stuff

24 Spells

Path to Exile
Mother of Runes
Land Tax

Kytheon, Hero of Akros
Soldier of the Pantheon
Incited Rabble
Mardu Woe Reaper

Champion of the Parish
Student of Warfare

Stoneforge MysticUnexpectedly Absent
Umezawa's Jitte
Daring Skyjek
Stoneforge Mystic

Selfless Spirit
Thalia's Leuitenant
Gather the Townsfolk

Spectral Procession
Spear of Heliod
Sword of Fire and Ice
Thalia, Heretic Cathar
Bygone Bishop

Sublime ArchangelElspeth, Knight Errant
Sublime Archanel

14 Plains
Windbrisk Heights
Rishadan Port


25 Spells

Thraben Inspector
Brave the Elements
Isamru, Hound of Konda
Gideon's Lawkeeper

Champion of the Parish
Icatian JavelineersStudent of Warfare
Elite Vanguard
Expedition Envoy

Dragon Hunter
Ication Javelineers
Mardu Woe Reaper

Gather the Townsfolk
Raise the Alarm
Honour the Pure

Precinct Captain
Selfless Spirit
Declaration in Stone
Accorder Paladin

Westvale AbbeySpectral Procession
Glorious Anthem
Brimaz, King of Oreskos
Council's Judgement
Hallowed Spiritkeeper

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

14 Plains
Westvale Abbey

So here we have two example lists. One good example of a rounded version of the deck with a lot of the best cards for the archetype. The second is a slightly more synergy driven tokens list. This second list has weaker cards in it overall but will likely perform as well or better than the first list. In part because it is lower to the ground but mostly because it is more refined and more fit for purpose. The latter list has a higher threat count and can deploy them more rapidly. As it is not trying to accommodate specific powerful cards it is able to play entirely suitable ones throughout. It should get more value from its core cards and not rely so much on individual ones.

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