Last updated on December 22, 2022
Usher of the Fallen | Illustration by Anastasia Ovchinnikova
This week I’m looking into the mono white decks that have recently jumped onto the scene. It all started when Dominik Prosek won the MTGO Standard Challenge on October 2, foreshadowing Yoshihiko Ikawa and Rei Sato playing similar decks in the World Championships.
Mono white is a classic archetype. It packs a swarm of cheap creatures and builds a powerful snowballing battlefield, running taxing effects to freeze out your opponent and kill them before they can cast their more expensive cards.
So let’s take a look at mono white aggro for Standard, shall we?
Sungold Sentinel | Illustration by Marta Nael
I played this Worlds decklist against the popular decks in Standard to get a feel for its place in the metagame. It’s consistent, it’s powerful, and it’s built to attack the current popular strategies. Small-ball aggro decks often run out of gas and power, but you have ways to finish off your opponent if they’re capable of wiping your battlefield clean with creature lands like Faceless Haven and Cave of the Frost Dragon.
Stonebinder's Familiar is an interesting piece of tech that truly represents this deck’s overall plan. It’s a 1/1 that doesn’t have a lot of ways to grow. This shows how important it is to always be deploying bodies into play. Your plan is to quickly chip away at your opponent’s life total, and you need to start on turn 1.
Sungold Sentinel does so much. It’s easy to start every white deck with a full playset because it attacks on so many angles. 3 power for , evasion, protection, and incidental graveyard hate; Sentinel is a versatile card for most situations.
Luminarch Aspirant is critical for snowballing big advantages. Scaling your creatures to keep attacking is the name of the game when you play mono white and putting counters on your creatures does exactly that.
Intrepid Adversary is a powerful tool to boost your wide boards. It pumps itself and your team for every you spend after it resolves which gives you relevant ways to spend your mana on any turn. Lifelink is a wonderful additional keyword when you’re racing.
Elite Spellbinder is a one-two punch. Getting 3/1 flier for is solid pressure and peeking at your opponent’s hand to tax a spell buys time to kill them before they can deploy their bigger threats and interaction.
Reidane, God of the Worthy plays a similar role as Spellbinder. The flying threats add up fast when they’re attacking every turn and taxing your opponent’s expensive spells and snow lands. Reidane helps slow them down enough to keep your path clear.
Adeline, Resplendent Cathar is a great way to recover from sweepers and apply fast pressure. Generating additional 1/1s is great for Intrepid Adversary. 4 toughness with vigilance makes for good combat against mono green.
Maul of the Skyclaves is the white Embercleave. It can be difficult to keep attacking if your opponent is playing big creatures but flying and first strike ensures you’ll be able to punch them every turn.
Tips and Interactions
- Your greatest enemies are Cinderclasm and Burn Down the House. Try to budget your cards so that you can recover if your opponent casts one of their sweepers. This can mean boasting with Usher of the Fallen or attacking with a creature land instead of playing another card from your hand.
- Stonebinder's Familiar pairs perfectly with Sungold Sentinel’s exile ability to get a +1/+1 counter every attack.
- It’s perfectly reasonable to use Fateful Absence on your own creatures to get a Clue in response to their removal If your opponent is playing a creature-less Alrund's Epiphany deck.
Adeline, Resplendent Cathar | Illustration by Bryan Sola
With any aggro deck you want to keep hands that have a clear plan of action. You need to get on board fast with mono white in particular.
This means you should mulligan hands that don’t have a good curve of creatures if you’re against control decks. You want to spend all your mana for the first several turns so send back slower starts to look for 1-drops.
When you’re facing a midrange strategy like mono green, it’s more important that your cards line up favorably. This means looking for fliers, removal, and sizing like Maul of the Skyclaves or Luminarch Aspirant instead of faster starts. Green does too good a job of blocking your cheap creatures to worry about having them every game.
Some of the Alrund's Epiphany decks play a grip of creatures in their sideboards like Mind Flayer or Smoldering Egg. You want to keep some of your Fateful Absences instead of bringing in You're Ambushed on the Road so that you have answers to their threats in those cases.
The plan here is to replace low-impact creatures with tempo and removal.
You want to play all your interaction spells in this matchup and taxing mono white’s cheap threats doesn’t slow them down. It’s okay to remove a land post-board.
It can be difficult to get ahead on the battlefield with tempo in mirror matches because the same cards tend to trade with each other. Both players will find plenty of mana if the game stalls with nobody being particularly ahead and, trust me, you’d rather have the extra spell in your deck.
Fateful Absence | Illustration by Eric Deschamps
Mono white attacks a metagame of Izzet control versus mono green by going under their defenses with cheap threats and strong interaction. It takes advantage of the red decks cutting Cinderclasm for the more expensive Burn Down the House by swarming the battlefield with creatures and taxing the more expensive sweepers with Reidane, God of the Worthy and Elite Spellbinder, buying time to race your opponent to zero.
You have powerful tempo spells in Portable Hole and Fateful Absence for mono green’s more expensive threats and Maul of the Skyclaves to fly over their bigger creatures. As long as Izzet and mono green keep up their arms race, mono white will be a good third option.
If you're going to try your hand at piloting this deck on the MTGA ladder, make sure you've got Arena Tutor to keep you company. It tracks your matches, offers Draftsim's signature AI, and can help you improve your games. Good luck!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: