Last updated on December 22, 2022
Reidane, God of the Worthy | Illustration art by Jason Rainville
Today in competitive decks: honor! Glory! We represent the light in this fantastic little Mono White list I’ve come across. It recently pulled off a ridiculous 60%+ win rates in BO3 and, even though I covered a mono white aggro deck in the weeks leading up to Kaldheim, we can’t let this one slip away into obscurity.
Is it represented in the meta? Not really, but it should be! Be that Mono White player that crushes the competition! What makes this deck different from my previous mono white deck? First of all, this isn't your typical Mono White Aggro list. We’re running a bunch of hate creatures like Drannith Magistrate and Reidane, God of the Worthy to shut down Snow- and token-reliant decks in the format.
On top of that, the deck is surprisingly good at lashing out damage early on. There’s a tiny lifegain engine here in the form of Speaker of the Heavens, but there aren’t realistically enough lifelink creatures in here for it to truly matter. I also can’t stop expressing my love for Skyclave Apparition.
It’s a card I run in pretty much all my mono white decks nowadays. It's such a neat removal engine. With that said, I’ve covered this deck in a video on my channel, which you can watch if you’re still deciding whether or not it fits your play style:
If you have no time for videos, then please scroll on down for a full, in-depth overview of all the cards in the deck, plus some really cool techs that you can build around instead.
Selfless Savior x3
Alseid of Life's Bounty x3
Giant Killer x3
Speaker of the Heavens x4
Drannith Magistrate x2
Luminarch Aspirant x4
Lurrus of the Dream-Den x3
Seasoned Hallowblade x3
Skyclave Apparition x4
Reidane, God of the Worthy x3
Fight as One x2
This list plays like the typical 1-2-3-type of curve, playing out as many 1- and 2-drops as possible to flood the board. The deck has some neat synergy between all the 1-drops that can either protect bigger creatures or give us a sweet way to pump out 4/4 angels relatively early.
Still, there is some sweet synergy between creatures like Speaker of the Heavens getting +1/+1 counters from Luminarch Aspirant. Another combo is Seasoned Hallowblade being equipped with Maul of the Skyclaves, which covers the very aggro-esque backbone of the deck. You’ve also got bombs like Drannith Magistrate, Reidane, God of the Worthy, and Skyclave Apparition that just straight out say nope to a lot of ridiculous strategies out there.
With the Magistrate, for example, we’re single-handedly shutting down foretold mechanics, “exile and cast” effects, graveyard shenanigans, and more. If your opponent has a deck based around Snow mechanics? Good luck to them, you’ve got Redaine. They’re going to be slowed down quite a bit.
Some people have told me that running the Magistrate in the mainboard is a trap, but I say it’s not. Even if the ability doesn’t do much, having a 1/3 body to receive +1/+1 counters from our unique Luminarch Aspirant will quickly turn this creature into a blocking machine. Slap a Maul of the Skyclaves onto it on turn 3 and we now have a 5/7 flier. That's Gruul territory power!
With that said, let's go through all the cards in-depth and see what this deck can do.
For our 1-drop slots, we have the typical Mono White line-up: Alseid of Life's Bounty, Selfless Savior, Giant Killer, and Speaker of the Heavens. Since this deck heavily relies on having creatures swing to the face with counters or equipment on them, it’s super important to make sure your opponent can’t just go, “Nope, that creature is dead.”
Having a creature equipped with Maul of the Skyclaves removed sets you back nearly two turns of build-up. Luckily, thanks to Alseid and our trusty Selfless dog, we can make sure our essential creatures survive. It sometimes requires some mana base maneuvering to get your threats down since Alseid costs one mana to trigger, which means you need to wait a turn before casting your things to make sure you can defend your creatures. In a way, playing Mono White has a high risk versus reward built into it.
You could take out more copies of Speaker of the Heavens and go all-in on the protection package, but there are some slower matchups where the Speaker can win you games with all the 4/4 angels it pushes out. These games are infrequent but, it feels fantastic when they do show up.
Giant Killer isn't a super great card in our 1-drop line-up and is mostly here for its removal effect. Being able to tap a blocker is a heaven-sent gift to force awkward blocks, though. The best kind of blocks.
Our 2-drops are where most of our win conditions are at. It almost feels like an old school MMORPG where we have the “tank,” “damage dealer,” and “support” in the forms of Drannith Magistrate, Seasoned Hallowblade, and Luminarch Aspirant.
Each of these synergize exceptionally well with all the shenanigans the rest of the deck pulls off. I already went into detail about what each of these tries to do in the deck, but I can't get over how great it is to have a semi-indestructible 3/1 to receive all the buffs and bonuses from our other cards.
These slots only have one actual win condition: Maul of the Skyclaves. The Maul is a reliable +2/+2 weapon that gives flying and first strike to a creature. The best part about the card is that it equips upon entering the battlefield. Not much else to be said about it, really. It's such a good piece of equipment I even have a copy in my modern mono white list, yet here it is in Standard of all places, ready to wreak havoc.
Not only does Redaine completely block Snow decks, of which there are quite a lot nowadays, it also stops all the Foretold shenanigans by making four and higher CMC cards cost an extra two mana. Any MTG player can tell you that hitting your sixth and seventh land is quite a feat to consistently pull off, so high-cost cards become nearly impossible to cast. Things like Elspeth Conquers Death come to mind.
Not only that, but it says CMC on the card. This means that any card that originally cost 4CMC before being Foretold will still have to pay that 2-mana tax, even if the casting cost is supposed to be lower.
Reidane’s other side is also pretty decent. I personally rarely cast it, but it sort of shuts down decks like mono red from bolting your creatures off the board but also makes it too mana-inefficient for your opponent to use targeted removal.
You’ll sometimes see that many players may not forget about the extra cost and find their spell being auto countered. Mono red must hate this card because their Shock now costs two mana and deals one damage. Even worse for Bonecrusher Giant‘s Stomp ability. Three mana for one damage? It makes me chuckle just thinking about it.
Sadly this backside has a high CMC so you'll rarely pull it off, but it'll be hell for your opponent to play around when you do.
Next, our angelic planeswalker makes an appearance. I play Basri as a three-off in a pure aggro list I have, so having it in just one slot feels kinda weird. Regardless, having Basri come down on-curve can significantly generate 1/1 tokens for us since we run so many low-curve creatures.
The +1 to grant a counter and indestructible is where it’s really at, though. It makes it possible for pretty much any creature to attack and sometimes force unfavorable chump blocks.
I'm calling it here: this is going to be a full set staple in every mono white deck for the next two years. This card does everything to keep the field clean of threats the first few turns. It’s perfect for removing nasty artifacts and enchantments but also works to get rid of your opponent's Lurrus of the Dream-Den, for example, which is coincidentally our final 3 CMC card in the list.
A graveyard recursion centerpiece of the deck. Not having Lurrus as a companion hurts a bit, but there are just so many good 3-drops that we need to make do.
Of course, we have to acknowledge the fact that this card paired with Selfless Savior or Alseid of Life's Bounty is a combo that’s very hard to undo. These 1-drops can give Lurrus protection from any colored removal, and then it can revive them. You can also pull combat shenanigans by blocking with Lurrus for the lifegain by sacrificing one of the 1-drops.
Instants and Sorceries
We don’t run many instants and sorceries, but Fight as One is an excellent card in this deck. It combos exceptionally well in combination with Alseid of Life's Bounty and any of our 2-mana humans, giving us a reliable way to protect both plus get a nice damage buff and lifegain hit in.
The “Chop Down” side of Giant Killer is one of our main ways to get rid of giant creatures that our other spells can’t deal with. This is extremely useful against Gruul and mono green, but can come in handy against a giant rogue in a pinch. You could destroy Zareth San, the Trickster.
Then there’s Emeria's Call. This is usually just another land, but it can be a surprise win-con against decks that play the long game.
You might have noticed the Snow land base. These are mainly here to go with Faceless Haven. Compared to regular aggro decks, Haven offers an option to close out the game after your opponent commits all their mana to a board wipe. Being a land most of the time, it can dodge most removal forms. It's an excellent card that should make its way into most mono-colored lists.
We also run a single copy of Bonders' Enclave. It's a bit of a trap card, but a combo I particularly like is putting Maul of the Skyclaves on Seasoned Hallowblade, pushing the card above five power. Then all it takes is activating your Enclave to draw into discard fodder and make your Hallowblade practically immortal. It's a game-winning combo having these three pieces on the board.
- Make sure you have at least two white mana sources. Since we have such a low curve, you can get away with a two-land hand for a while;
- Make sure you have at least two playable creatures in the first two to three turns;
- Have some form of protection, either built-in or external, through instants or creatures.
The deck's sideboard mostly consists of strengthening parts of the deck that do well and taking out parts that don’t. For example, Reidane, God of the Worthy is a card that’s only useful against Snow and non-creature decks, while Drannith Magistrate works against decks that abuse escape, foretell, and Showdown of the Skalds. Either one of these could be the right card to cut depending on the matchup. If neither is cuttable, you generally want to trim down your Speaker of the Heavens and Basri Ket copies.
Enchantment and Artifact Hate
Light of Hope is great as cheap enchantment removal. The best part is that it can serve as a combat trick when you’re in need. Bring this in against decks that run Elspeth Conquers Death and The Akroan War. It can swing games in your favor.
Heliod's Intervention adds even more enchantment hate with some artifact hate thrown in as well. Against some decks, you need as many as you can get.
Planeswalker and Activated Ability Decks
Sorcerous Spyglass is perfect against planeswalker decks or decks that abuse activated abilities. I like this card because it helps to scout out your opponent's hand to plan your aggro game.
Two extra copies of Drannith Magistrate to enhance your anti-counter plan.
Banishing Light and Glass Casket are great to remove threats or problematic cards. I side these in against Gruul, mono green, and mono red matchups since it disrupts their entire game plan if you pick away their winning pieces.
Finally, an extra Reidane for Snow decks specifically.
This deck has two “roads:” you either go taxing/hate as we’ve gone over in this guide so far, or you can go full-on aggro. I’ve found out that you'll have a higher win-rate with this particular deck, but only marginally higher.
Clarion Spirit and Usher of the Fallen should be considered instead of the hate creatures. These two in a word? Amazing. It may even be in your best interest to add these in Speaker of the Heavens’s slots. Usher lets you create a horde of 1/1s with the boast effect while the Spirit lets you create an extra creature whenever you cast your second spell for the turn. These have such cool synergy, especially if you plonk down Glorious Anthem. A solid buff spell for all your creatures that’s great in any mono white deck.
Halvar, God of Battle is a card I want but, being a 4-CMC card, it just never makes the cut. We also run too little equipment to take advantage of its second ability. Having four copies in a mono white deck is pretty cool, though, even if it's just for the Sword of the Realm side. It’s surprisingly strong!
Keep in mind that the deck I’ve covered is very much dependent on Snow and mechanics that Magistrate can tag being popular. If that changes at any point in time, make sure to include these cards instead of Reidane, God of the Worthy and Drannith Magistrate.
Alseid of Life's Bounty | Illustration by Magali Villeneuve
Mono White is a deck I’ve been hoping becomes competitive. Sadly Heliod, Sun-Crowned never really made it to the top tier, but I think this one has potential.
While it doesn’t have a great plan to get back into the game after multiple board wipes, creature-heavy decks are trending as the most popular. I guess people finally got bored of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon? I hardly see Ugin at all anymore despite it being so extremely powerful. With that said, even if Ugin is part of the meta, Reidane, God of the Worthy can single-handedly make it nearly impossible to cast. Pushing it to require ten mana is absolutely brutal.
I’d love to see a sub-theme of this type of deck featuring knights. With cards like Rally the Ranks, it may be worth looking into a knights-only list, or maybe even warrior-only. Let me know if that’s something you’d actually want to see, and maybe I’ll look into it.
Other than that, Mono White has dug its heels deep into the meta, and I think it’s here to stay this time around. If you’re a competitive player, give this deck a chance. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well it matches up with most of the things in today's meta. I’m also thrilled with the printing of Faceless Haven, giving us another pseudo-win-con when things go wrong.
Either way, thank you for taking the time to read this guide. If you made it to the end, make sure to leave a comment saying, “Mono White!” down there. It helps us know you enjoy our content and want more. You could also drop by our Discord to say hello in the general chat.
If you play on MTG Arena, then you've definitely got to check out our MTGA assistant, Arena Tutor, if you haven't yet!
See you all soon with what’s likely to be Boros aggro, a pet project deck that is shaping up rather nicely!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: