This week I have three new decks to share with you, each built around a powerful white two-drop. The first is a White Devotion strategy that splashes for Dragonlord Ojutai and some counters, utilizing Knight of the White Orchid and Archangel of Tithes. The second is a Naya Legends deck that uses Relic Warder to find Warrior's Blade as well as Yisan, the Wanderer Bard to search out all the legends, including the new Origins planeswalkers. The third is a hyper aggressive white weenie deck with 28 one-drops backed by Day's Undoing to either refill the hand or to empty the opponent's hand, depending on whether we have a Spirit of the Labyrinth on the battlefield. All three decks do something new and powerful that wasn't possible prior to Magic Origins. Will one of them lead you to victory on opening day for Magic Origins?
Let's start with Knight of the White Orchid.
If happiness is measured by number of white mana symbols in your deck (which for me it basically is), then this deck makes me very happy!
The two big additions from Magic Origins that make this deck work are Knight of the White Orchid and Archangel of Tithes.
I decided against running any one-drops in the deck because none of them quite fit. The only one worth considering is Kytheon, Hero of Akros and mostly because of Raise the Alarm. Even then he is not especially easy to flip, nor are we able to capitalize on the flip as much as a more aggressive deck would. We would rather just start playing threats on the second turn and increase our devotion count with more mana intensive spells.
When on the play, our premier opening is Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit into Brimaz, King of Oreskos into Dragonlord Ojutai (off Nykthos, Shrine to Nix). A fourth turn 6/5 Ojutai is pretty hard to beat when preceded by a 4/5 Brimaz.
When on the draw we have an additional powerful opening. Instead of casting Brimaz on the third turn, we play Knight of the White Orchid, finding a Plains, and then play Mastery of the Unseen. Then we can start going crazy with our mana, pumping out Manifests each turn with Nykthos.
As powerful as Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is in this deck, I'm torn between running the full four copies and splitting two and two with Foundry of the Consul. Foundry is excellent with all our anthem effects (Spear of Heliod, Ajani Steadfast, and Dictate of Heliod) while Nykthos can give us an absurd amount of mana.
Elspeth, Sun's Champion pumping out tokens works great with our three anthem effects but also serves an important role of killing large creatures, particularly Stormbreath Dragon. We can cast her as early as turn four off double Nykthos or Knight of the White Orchid and a Nykthos on the draw.
Spear of Heliod and Dictate of Heliod provide double white devotion for Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx while Ajani Steadfast only adds single devotion. Ajani makes up for this though by providing vigilance to Dragonlord Ojutai and Archangel of Tithes, each of which gains a substantial advantage from vigilance.
I considered running one copy of Heliod, God of the Sun since we can turn him into a creature pretty frequently and his activated ability essentially acts as a Mastery of the Unseen. Ultimately I decided that was too many four-mana cards that don't always impact the board right away, especially against aggro decks, and that Ephara, God of the Polis was likely the more important god in the matchups where I want a god.
Valorous Stance can protect our creatures from removal spells and works especially well at protecting Dragonlord Ojutai since by the time we're tapping him to attack, we have the mana untapped to cast the stance. It's also a great removal spell against green decks and against dragons (other than Stormbreath).
Disdainful Stroke is excellent at stopping Crux of Fate, Dig Through Time, any planeswalker or giant monster, and of course Stormbreath Dragon.
Against Red Aggro decks we want to board out Valorous Stance, Disdainful Stroke, and Ephara, God of the Polis in favor of Raise the Alarm, Arashin Cleric, Celestial Flare, and Wingmate Roc. A Clash of Wills might also be better to bring in than the third Elspeth, Sun's Champion.
Against Abzan we want Wingmate Roc and Glare of Heresy and we don't want Raise the Alarm.
Against Esper Control we want all the Raise the Alarms because they protect us against Foul-Tongue Invocation. We also want the Clash of Wills and Disdainful Stroke. We can afford to take out Ajani Steadfast, Anafenza, and an Elspeth (since our plan is to hold up Counterspell mana in the midgame).
Against midrange green decks we bring in Wingmate Roc, Reprisal, Mass Calcify, and Disdainful Stroke. And if they have Stormbreath Dragon we bring in Celestial Flare. In those matchups we board out Raise the Alarm and shave in a few places. Mastery of the Unseen can sometimes be good and sometimes terrible, so those could get boarded out in that matchup.
This next deck is not quite as white focused, but it has a central theme based around a powerful white creature ( Relic Seeker) and a powerful green creature ( Yisan, the Wanderer Bard).
"I. Am. Legend." - Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
This deck is at heart a Hero's Blade deck. It packs 20 legends and three Hero's Blades to make each legend that much more potent. Hero's Blade is a powerful card. It was simply lacking a sufficient number of powerful legends to support it. Not only did Magic Origins deliver with some super powerful legends but it also gave us a powerful two-drop that further incentivizes us to play multiple copies of Hero's Blade – namely Relic Seeker!
Relic Seeker is a formidable blocker against aggro decks when all we need is time to set up. Against control decks it is a fast clock that immediately grants us card advantage in a very meaningful way (since Hero's Blade is already a good card against control decks). Legendary creatures are most effective when you run few copies of each in your deck since the second copy of each is so much worse to draw than the first copy. Fortunately now we have enough powerful legends that we can afford to run only one copy of most of them.
Another card that naturally fits into this Hero's Blade legend theme is Yisan, the Wanderer Bard. He is a legend, so if we play a second turn Hero's Blade, he can come down on the third turn as a 5/5. He is also easy to cast off Elvish Mystic on the second turn. Most importantly, however, his search ability allows us to find whichever creature is best for each board state despite only running one copy in the deck. Searching out planeswalkers with Yisan just seems so dirty!
I decided to run multiple copies of Zurgo Bellstriker because dash works so well with Warrior's Blade. So for instance, let's say we have the following draw:
Turn 1: Kytheon, Hero of AkrosTurn 2: Relic Seeker, attack with Kytheon for two.Turn 3: Dash Zurgo Bellstriker, attack with everyone for six.
This attack will cause Kytheon to flip into Gideon, Battle-Forged. It will also cause Relic Seeker to become renowned, which will allow us to search up a Hero's Blade. And then Zurgo Bellstriker will return to our hand since it was dashed. Then the following turn we can play the Hero's Blade we found with Relic Seeker the previous turn, dash Zurgo Bellstriker, equip blade to it as a 5/4, turn Gideon into a 4/4, and attack with both alongside our 3/3 renowned Relic Seeker. That's a 12 point attack on the fourth turn after attacking for six and two on the previous turns. I'm no math wizard, but that sounds like the full 20!
In the sideboard we have Wild Slash and Magma Spray for the aggro red decks. We have a third Dromoka's Command for stopping Anger of the Gods, enchantments, and burn spells. Two more copies of Valorous Stance are mostly against Green Midrange decks but also against Esper Dragons. Xenagos is great against control decks and green devotion. Plummets are for Stormbreath Dragon and Mardu Dragons in general.
The singleton legends package is full of powerful creatures to search out with Yisan or to just cast on their own. And given that we have three Hero's Blades and four Relic Seekers, we will have a Hero's Blade to pump them nearly every game. This deck has a ton of things going on with it. The mana can sometimes be a bit rough, but overall it is super fun to play and offers lots of decisions.
This last deck doesn't have as many white mana symbols as the first one, but it makes up for it in the amount of white creatures it can deploy to the board in rapid fashion. And the signature card that pulls everything together is Spirit of the Labyrinth.
This deck is as white weenie as it gets! It runs a total of 28 one-drop creatures, 24 of which have two power. The idea is to flood the board with as much power as possible as fast as possible and then to reload with Day's Undoing. Against many decks this will yield at least a three-for-one card advantage – even more so when on the play against an opposing hand that just wants to play tapped lands the first couple turns.
Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit and Spear of Heliod are two ways to make the weenies bigger while Kytheon, Hero of Akros and Herald of Anafenza can grow bigger on their own while also granting additional value.
The key combo in the deck, however, is Spirit of the Labyrinth + Day's Undoing. When we assemble this combo, everyone loses their hand but instead of drawing seven new cards, the opponent just gets one card (and we get zero, but who cares? We're already far ahead). So it essentially acts as a full Mind Twist as early as the third turn.
I considered replacing the two Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirits and four Herald of Anafenza with four Ornithopter and two Springleaf Drum. That would make the deck even more explosive and would allow for some super nutty draw. Considering the following opening hand:
Springleaf Drum, Kytheon, Hero of Akros, Day's Undoing, two Plains, three Ornithopter
Turn 1: Plains, Springleaf Drum, three Ornithopter, Kytheon, Hero of Akros.Opponent: Temple, scry to the topTurn 2: Plains, attack with two Ornithopters and Kytheon, flipping Kytheon, and then using the third Ornithopter to activate Springleaf Drum to cast Day's Undoing.
That's a pretty strong play when all the opponent has out is a tapped land. They have to shuffle away their seven cards for a new random seven cards while we get to draw seven cards from our empty or nearly empty hand and get to keep our board of three creatures, a drum, two lands, and a planeswalker. Seems fair, right?
I'm not sure which version is better, but each has merit. Post-board Valorous Stance comes in against Green midrange decks, Arashin Cleric against red decks, Vryn Wingmare against any deck aiming to cast Drown in Sorrow or Anger of the Gods (Esper, Mardu, Abzan), and Pacifism comes in against decks that plan on blocking.
Magic Origins has a lot of fun cards to work with. These three decks do powerful things. With a bit of tuning, whichever one you decide to battle with can be ready for you to pilot to victory at your first Standard tournament with Origins! Choose your weapon wisely and have fun crushing the competition.
Craig Wescoe@Nacatls4Life on twitter