Almost There: Mono-White

Posted in How to Build on April 27, 2018

By Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

Paulo has been playing Magic since he was eight years old. At fifteen, he ventured outside of Brazil for his first international tournament, and he's been globetrotting as a professional player ever since.

One of the things that Dominaria has brought us is the introduction of Knights as a competitive tribe. There isn't a Knight lord like there are Merfolk or Vampire lords, but there is a lord who happens to be a Knight, and also a Saga that both creates and pumps Knights. Both those cards require heavy white commitment, so lists have been leaning toward mono-white or close to it.

Here are three almost-mono-white lists that recently went 5-0 in Standard Leagues:

AngledLuffa's Mono-White

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This is the most Knights-focused of the lists, playing the full four Dauntless Bodyguards, Benalish Marshals, and Knight of Graces. Let's take a look at the new cards.

History of Benalia is a powerhouse. It's a payoff for having Knights that also fuels itself, unlike cards such as Pride of Conquerors or Trial of Solidarity. Even if you have no other Knights, it creates two 2/2s and attacks for 8 on turn five. The best part is that it stacks well with itself, which has historically not been true for pump effects—a hand of two Radiant Destinys does nothing, but two History of Benalias can win the game on their own.

Benalish Marshal is a solid 3/3 for three with a good ability. It's a Knight, which means it gets bonuses from History of Benalia, but it will pump anything, which makes it pretty good with token-makers and Vehicles.

Dauntless Bodyguard is a good one-drop that has late-game applications. As a general rule, you should always play it on turn one if you have it and no other one-drop.

Knight of Grace is a 2/2 first striker for two with the subtype "Knight." It dodges Fatal Push and Vraska's Contempt, but the deck will have plenty of targets anyway, so it's not like you're blanking their removal spells. Still, it's a plus. If it's ever pumped by Benalish Marshal or History of Benalia, then it becomes very hard to block.

Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle is just a grindy card to get value in long matchups. That said, the deck has very few ways of triggering it, so it looks a bit out of place.

JeanClaude11's Mono-White

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This list has an artifact theme, and for that it gets to run Karn, Scion of Urza. Karn is usually seen as a card-advantage machine, but in this deck it's all about creating big artifact creatures. With this many Vehicles and artifact tokens, it shouldn't be hard to overwhelm your opponent with 4/4s or 5/5s.

This list also has Dauntless Bodyguard, but it doesn't have History of Benalia to power them up. Given that it's a tokens list that's likely to get the city's blessing, I think Skymarcher Aspirant would be a better one-drop.

Nathansteuer's Mono-White

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The third list is more token-based. It has an artifact subtheme but no Vehicles and no Karn, instead opting to go wider with Pride of Conquerors to abuse the token makers, including Legion's Landing, which is absent in the other two lists. It has four copies of History of Benalia, but no other Knights apart from Benalish Marshal.

So, which one of the lists should you play? In my opinion, the best list is one that's a hybrid between lists two and three. I think if you're playing the artifact token–makers, then you want Karn, and if you have Karn you want the Vehicles. But I also think that History of Benalia is too powerful not to play—it's an enabler and payoff in one card and it scales very well in multiples. (There are some lists with only two and I think that's weird; it's really a four-of kind of card.)

The ideal list to me is similar to JeanClaude11's, but with History of Benalia. Then, once you have History of Benalia, it actually makes sense to play Dauntless Bodyguard as your one-drop.

This is how I'd build a mono-white deck for Standard:

PVDDR's Mono-White

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