I turned to the dark side this past weekend in Costa Rica and sleeved up W/G Tokens. I have been asked many times why I didn't play the W/B Control deck from New York. W/B Control is good, but it isn't the best deck in the format. People are gunning for control by playing more Reality Smashers and cards of that nature, and there wouldn't have been a big surprise factor. There is real value in keeping your opponents guessing what you are playing. Multiple times in Costa Rica during game one my opponent made a mulligan decision based on the fact they assumed I was playing W/B Control. The field was strong in Costa Rica, and it felt like playing W/G Tokens would be best given the field even though it is one of the most popular decks in Shadows over Innistrad Standard.

Before Costa Rica I hadn't gotten in a ton of reps with the W/G Tokens deck, so I have updated my list. This is what I am currently running:

DECKID=1266843

I haven't been impressed with maindeck Evolutionary Leap, though it is better alongside Hangarback Walker. There are two main uses for Hangarback Walker: an annoying threat for control decks to deal with when Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet isn't in play, and a good way to flip Archangel Avacyn. Currently there are two maindeck and two in the sideboard. Hangarback Walker isn't a card I want versus opposing Reflector Mages or Eldrazi Displacer, but it is worth having four in the 75 for control matchups.

Much like Hangarback Walker, Lambholt Pacifist has its good and bad matchups. Luckily, the two are good against different strategies, so after sideboard you can simply choose which one is the best for the given matchup. This is worth the sideboard space.

The one two-drop that should never leave the deck is Sylvan Advocate. There is one other early-drop creature here that some lists aren't playing: Den Protector. This card has been impressive in a number of matchups. Outside of generating an advantage with Planeswalkers, Den Protector is the best form of actual card advantage; I like two maindeck and one sideboard. It is true that Den Protector isn't meant to be played on turn two, so playing four would make the deck a bit clunkier.

There are a few singletons in the maindeck, and they are all big mana spells. My list from the Grand Prix had two Secure the Wastes, but now there is only one in exchange for Chandra, Flamecaller. The main reason for this is to have another sweeper, and to not get blown out by Hallowed Moonlight. However, there will be situations, as we saw in the videos, where you won't be able to cast Chandra, Flamecaller. I wouldn't want to play two Chandra, Flamecaller, as you don't ever really need to draw two. The other sweeper in the maindeck is one Tragic Arrogance. This card blew out opponents all day. Many lists have cut Tragic Arrogance from the maindeck because of the decline of Four-Color Rites, but it is also great against other creature decks and the mirror.

As far as how the matches played out, I wasn't too surprised by the results. W/G Tokens can punish a lot of strategies that can't present a fast enough clock, and this was the case against Jeskai Dragons. Anytime I brew up a deck that isn't a mainstream strategy I play it against W/G Tokens, and if it can't compete, I will scrap the idea.

For the most part, the aggressive Humans decks aren't great against W/G Tokens. Our draw in game one wasn't impressive but in the other two games it didn't take much to pull ahead.

Getting mana-screwed against Grixis Control wasn't particularly fun, but that's a close matchup that can go either way.

Sideboard Guide

The Mirror

On the play:

-2 Hangarback Walker
-1 Chandra, Flamecaller

+2 Lambholt Pacifist
+1 Declaration in Stone

On the draw:

-2 Hangarback Walker
-1 Chandra, Flamecaller
-2 Dromoka's Command
-1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
-1 Archangel Avacyn

+2 Lambholt Pacifist
+1 Declaration in Stone
+1 Tragic Arrogance
+1 Linvala, the Preserver
+1 Clip Wings
+1 Den Protector

The gameplan here is to keep the core components of the deck intact on the play. The player on the play has a significant advantage, as the player who curves out first has a high likelihood of winning. On the draw, you are forced to board in more answers and play a longer game, which is why more cards come in when you're on the draw. I'll bring in Hallowed Moonlight if I know my opponent has Secure the Wastes, but otherwise it's not worth it.

Bant Company

On the play:

-2 Hangarback Walker
-1 Tragic Arrogance

+2 Lambholt Pacifist
+1 Hallowed Moonlight

On the draw:

-2 Hangarback Walker
-1 Secure the Wastes
-1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

+1 Planar Outburst
+2 Lambholt Pacifist
+1 Hallowed Moonlight

This matchup is pretty good for W/G Tokens. Most players automatically board in all their board sweepers regardless of whether they're on the play or on the draw, but in my experience you don't really want sweepers on the play — curving out should be good enough.

W/B Control

-2 Lambholt Pacifist
-1 Tragic Arrogance
-2 Archangel Avacyn
-3 Dromoka's Command

+2 Hangarback Walker
+1 Den Protector
+1 Declaration in Stone
+1 Evolutionary Leap
+2 Stasis Snare
+1 Hallowed Moonlight

This matchup can go either way, but this sideboard plan has been effective for me. The key is to keep their threats off the table. They can't answer all of your threats, so as long as cards like Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet don't go unanswered, I like W/G Tokens in this matchup.

Humans

On the play:

-2 Den Protector
-1 Secure the Wastes
-2 Lambholt Pacifist
-1 Archangel Avacyn

+2 Hangarback Walker
+1 Tragic Arrogance
+1 Silkwrap
+1 Planar Outburst
+1 Linvala, the Preserver

On the draw:

-2 Den Protector
-1 Secure the Wastes
-2 Hangarback Walker
-1 Archangel Avacyn
-2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

+2 Lambholt Pacifist
+1 Declaration in Stone
+1 Tragic Arrogance
+1 Silkwrap
+1 Planar Outburst
+1 Linvala, the Preserver
+1 Stasis Snare

This matchup is all about surviving the early turns. Against Bant Human Company, I also like boarding in a Hallowed Moonlight over a Hangarback Walker. What makes Hangarback Walker so great on the play is that on the play, you'll have time to level it and it's great with Dromoka's Command. It's also great to have in play when you're casting a sweeper, but on the draw it's just too slow.

Four-Color Rites

-2 Hangarback Walker
-2 Den Protector
-2 Archangel Avacyn
-1 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
-1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

+1 Silkwrap
+1 Tragic Arrogance
+1 Planar Outburst
+1 Declaration in Stone
+2 Lambholt Pacifist
+1 Linvala, the Preserver
+1 Hallowed Moonlight

This is a tough matchup, especially in game one. Hangarback Walker plus Archangel Avacyn is great here, but the cards are weak individually. I like boarding them out. Sideboarded games come down to sweepers and spot removal; it is a lot easier to win when Eldrazi Displacer is kept off the battlefield

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield