DECK TECH - ORZHOV WHITE WEENIE WITH PATRICK COX

Posted in NEWS on March 24, 2014

By Blake Rasmussen

Blake is the content manager for DailyMTG.com, making him the one you should email if you have thoughts on the website, good or less good (or not good). He's a longtime coverage reporter and hasn't turned down a game of Magic in any format ever.

It wasn't all that long ago that No. 4 Ben Stark made the Top 4 of Grand Prix Dallas/Ft. Worth with a mostly white Orzhov Aggro deck.

Just four months, actually. And since then the deck has even received the gift of Brimaz, King of Oreskos as well as Spirit of the Labyrinth, if it wants yet. Yet despite Stark's success, despite Brimaz, absolutely no one is playing it.

No one except Pat Cox.


Pat Cox has steadfastly stayed true to his White Weenie build and found success nearly every step of the way.

 

And it's not like Cox is doing poorly with it. He narrowly missed a Top 8 in Albuquerque—splashing red instead of black and finishing 9th for his trouble—and sits at 9-2 after 11 rounds this weekend, well on pace for Top 8 contention.

 

Still, crickets.

So let's do some learning on the latest incarnation of White Weenie.

The deck starts with its slate of imposing one-drops. With Dryad Militant, Soldier of the Pantheon, and Boros Elite, white has access to more quality one-drops than any other color, and two of them even actually do a thing besides attack and block. Militant's ability is rarely relevant, but Cox said Soldier of the Pantheon randomly hoses some decks, especially those relying on Detention Sphere.

The quality of its two and three drops are pretty much unmatched as well. Daring Skyjek is the weak link, but the deck actively wants to attack with as many creatures as possible, so it's often just a 3/1 flier for two mana. Just as important is its ability to attack through Sylvan Caryatid even when grounded.

That third point of power is also why Spirit of the Labyrinth made the cut. Cox said the ability rarely matters, but the extra power is important for getting in damage and getting through Sylvan Caryatid. Since multiple Imposing Sovereigns are redundant, Cox simply replaced one with the newest addition to the white weenie pantheon.

Beyond that, Cox filled out the deck with Brimaz and Banisher Priest. Cox hasn't been as impressed with Brimaz as he was originally, and actually claims it's about on power level with Banisher Priest. Plus, he added, casting Brimaz on turn three against a Supreme Verdict deck is just asking to get wiped out.

Additionally, the split between Spear of Heliod and Ajani, Caller of the Pride is mostly a function of the fact that Cox thinks Ajani is just better. The ultimate doesn't come into play often, but the first two abilities have been aces for the Channelfireball player.

But the real key to the deck, and the reason to play a White Weenie strategy instead of Black or Red aggro, is Brave the Elements.

 

"Brave does a lot of work," Cox said. "It's a Falter, it's a counterspell, it's a combat trick. It does everything."

 

You might have noticed that, so far, we haven't mentioned any black cards. First, be patient. Second, good eye!

You see, Cox has played the core of the deck splashing other colors—notably red—before, but came back to black for the sideboard cards. Doom Blade helps against Monsters, Thoughtseize helps against things Thoughtseize helps against, and Dark Betrayal makes the Black Devotion deck slightly more palatable.

But the real star in Cox's mind is Xathrid Necromancer, which is virtually impossible to beat for decks that have to kill things naturally. It's really only weak to Anger of the Gods, a card no one is playing in Standard.

Speaking of cards no one is playing, Cox only feels comfortable playing the deck because Black Devotion decks have left Shrivel and Drown in Sorrow at home. Were they to come back, or were Anger of the Gods to become a thing, he'd have to change his tune.

But for now, Cox is pretty happy to play against pretty much anything except Mono Black Devotion, and even that match can be close with Dark Betrayal.

So with another strong finish in sight for Cox, only one question remains:

Why aren't you playing it?