How to Build with White

Posted in How to Build on December 6, 2016

By Kenji Egashira

Better known as NumotTheNummy, Kenji is a lover of all things Magic. A "legendary streamer," you can almost always find him playing Magic Online over at his Twitch channel. When he's not playing Magic, Kenji enjoys long walks on the beach, romantic comedies, and devouring the hopes and dreams of the innocent.

Hello, friends! Welcome to the last portion of the How to Build Standard series. If you've been paying attention and following along, you'll know that it's time to talk about white! If you are not caught up to date with the other articles, go back and do so! White pairs nicely with any of the other colors; blue, black, red, or green. That being said, let's get to the good stuff.

In Magic, the color white is often tied under the banner of harmony, purity, peace, and law. With regard to Kaladesh, white doesn't just embody these qualities—it exemplifies them. Many of white's best cards work when they can find harmony with other cards. Take, for example, Toolcraft Exemplar. A seemingly innocuous one-drop, the Exemplar becomes much more powerful when you have an artifact to synergize with it. That example leads us with a few expectations when playing with white in your decks.

Control—With the presence of law comes control. White's control elements look to detain or otherwise completely neuter opposing threats. Cards such as Stasis Snare and Quarantine Field look to debilitate the opponent and lock them down. Consider it a prison of sorts, and if your opponent cannot destroy it, their permanents remain useless.

Aggro—Not all is calm under the color white; you don't always have to play defensively. One of the most tried and true strategies is what is known as "white weenie." A strategy that employs powerful and cheap creatures to quickly overrun the opponent, white weenie is one of the most aggressive decks available. It's also a highly synergistic strategy that can employ other colors known for their aggression, such as red, to bolster its speed. Start with the aforementioned Toolcraft Exemplar, add in Veteran Motorist, and a few Vehicles to crew...well, you've got yourself a nice start to an aggro deck.

Fabricate—White has a multitude of ways to produce more than one creature on any single card. In Kaladesh, fabricate is that method, and cards such as Angel of Invention do a very nice job of that. Throw in some Marionette Master synergy and you might just be able to Servo­ up a delicious victory.

Top Cards

White has some of the most powerful cards in the current Standard scene. Here's a list of some you might expect to find in competitive play and why they are proven contenders.

One of the best white creatures to have ever been printed, Archangel Avacyn does everything and more. It is effectively an auto-include in heavy white decks because of the versatility and power the Angel provides. As a creature with flash, Archangel Avacyn is a removal spell, protection spell, and a game-ending threat. She can flash in mid-combat to destroy an attacking creature, be used in response to a removal spell to give your creatures indestructible, or simply be cast at the end of your opponents turn to potentially hit for 4 in the air! And that's all without even talking about when she transforms...

Archangel Avacyn is simply one of the most powerful white cards available in Standard.


Not frequently does a 1/2 creature make the big kids' table at dinner. Thraben Inspector does. It's cheap, efficient, replaces itself, and does a darn good job of just being annoying. Thraben Inspector is also just a great curve filler because of its mana cost and the fact that it produces a Clue. Frequently you'll be happy to just cast this on turn one and then sacrifice the Clue to draw a card on turn two. Or perhaps you have something better to do on turn two. Well, then you have a "free" card to draw at some other point in the game.

Don't knock it until you try it. Thraben Inspector will simply impress, and it's a one-mana creature!


I would be doing a disservice to you, the reader, if I didn't include Gideon, Ally of Zendikar in this list of top white cards in Standard. I'll keep it short and simple. Gideon is an amazing planeswalker that starts at a moderately high loyalty, protects himself, and can be used offensively in multiple ways. Ever since Battle for Zendikar was released, Gideon has been there to further cement white as a Standard powerhouse. Value and power combined in one.

Cards to Try

These aren't necessarily cards that have proved themselves in today's Standard environment, but the potential is there. If you've got a little brewer in you, I would suggest giving a few of these a try.


On the surface, Angel of Invention does not appear amazing. Five mana is a lot to invest in, at face-value, a 2/1 flier, even with as many stats as it has. Upon closer inspection, it certainly has some merit. Whether you decide to make it a 4/3 or produce a few tokens with its fabricate ability, Angel of Invention immediately provides a large board presence. Angel of Invention has made a few appearances, but does not have a completely solidified home in Standard, mainly being relegated to a few token strategies. If it weren't already competing at the same mana slot as Archangel Avacyn, I believe we'd be seeing much more of this card.


I know this isn't solely a white card, but it has white in it! Unlike its friend Reflector Mage, Cloudblazer has seen almost no sort of competitive Standard play. While five mana is certainly quite a bit, and again it is fighting for that slot with Archangel Avacyn, I believe Cloudblazer to be good enough to find a home somewhere. It draws cards, gains life, and provides an evasive body to boot. I've personally tried it in conjunction with a sweet little Panharmonicon brew, but hopefully you're able to dream up something better.

Deck Concepts

White-Blue Flash

Joey Manner used a White-Blue Flash deck to help him make Top 8 at Pro Tour Kaladesh. Using almost exclusively white creatures that are aggressive and provide value upon entering the battlefield, this deck can quickly out-tempo and beat down. White-Blue Flash is probably the current boogeyman of the format, serving as a great litmus test for whether your deck is viable in Standard play.

Joey Manner's White-Blue Flash

Download Arena Decklist

Red-White Vehicles

Another powerful strategy is Red-White Vehicles. Looking to quickly flood the board with low-cost creatures and powerful Vehicles, this deck can kill in the blink of an eye. Turn-one Toolcraft Exemplars can hit for 3 on your second turn or can help crew one of the many artifacts such as Smuggler's Copter and Fleetwheel Cruiser. Here's an example from Ben Hull's Top 8 performance at Pro Tour Kaladesh.

Ben Hull's Red-White Vehicles

Download Arena Decklist

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