We've all seen traditional white aggro decks, but this one is a little different. Once I started digesting some of the creatures in Born of the Gods - specifically Vanguard of Brimaz and Eidolon of Countless Battles - I immediately started exploring a monowhite strategy revolving around them and the auras we could attach to them. Well imagine my surprise when I was entering decklists from some MaxPoint events today and I stumbled across this gem.
Paul Buck took this beautiful brew to the Top 8 of MaxPoint Platinum event at AlterealityGames. Now I don't often like making changes to a deck before I ever play with it, but I did take the liberty of changing one thing today, and that was as follows:
-4 Dryad Militant+4 Favored Hoplite
With cards like Dauntless Onslaught and Hidden Strings in the main deck, it would only take one trigger for the Hoplite to be a much more relevant threat than the Militant. In addition, the ability for the Hoplite to prevent all damage as a part of his heroic trigger is also pretty useful.
The other card I questioned was Brave the Elements over Gods Willing. I asked Melissa what she thought and she told me that Brave the Elements had the bonus of alpha striking, which I agreed with. When I told her that it didn't trigger heroic she responded, "well, do you want to do cool things or do you want to win?"
I mean, of course I want to do cool things! That's nearly the entire premise of my article! But her point was more than valid. So we'll be keeping the Brave the Elements in the deck for now. Let's see how Paul's creation holds up.
UW Heroic vs. Orzhov Control
UW Heroic vs. Monoblack Devotion
UW Heroic vs. Monoblack Devotion, Match 2
UW Heroic vs. Esper Control
Geeeeeeeez. I'm not sure the Favored Hoplite was any better than the Dryad Militant would have been. I was only able to trigger heroic once on the Hoplite which leads me to believe the deck isn't as heroic-centric as I initially thought, and that it's more of a white weenie deck that is able to trigger heroic a few times out of nowhere. The Hidden Strings were pretty cute, and sometimes even backbreaking, but they did feel a little clumsy. Of course, as I mentioned a few times in the games, this could easily be attributed to my lack of experience with the deck. Paul was able to manage a Top 8 with it after all.
One of the problems I did manage to have, in a deck with so many cards that cost double white, was not having enough white mana, or drawing an Island when I didn't need or want one. In the future I would probably cut one more Island in favor of a Plains, or if we're still running blue, perhaps we could add Temple of Enlightenment. The problem with that is by having so many one-drops, we really don't want that many lands to come into play tapped. In fact this was something I initially wondered about when I saw the Azorius Guildgates as there was no point on the curve that I saw where I would want a land to come into play tapped.
It's hard to talk about a deck like this so soon to the release of Born to the Gods and not talk about the cards that would make it better.
Clearly Brimaz, King of Oreskos could fit into any white deck out there, but he's kind of a one man army in the same way Hero of Bladehold was. Explosive as Fabled Hero can sometimes be, I think the King does a little bit better of a job at topping our curve in the future, especially when we now have to dodge things like Bile Blight and Drown in Sorrow which he conveniently survives
The version of the deck I was initially working on contained cards like Ethereal Armor and Hopeful Eidolon and if we found ourselves going in that direction I could definitely see playing some number of this guy…
Eidolon of Countless Battles could get real big real fast or simply make some of our heroic guys real big before becoming big himself upon their death. Considering he's an enchantment himself I really love the interaction between him and cards like Ethereal Armor.
The last card I think would make a difference in a deck like this, maybe even replacing the Battlewise Hoplite to make us monowhite, is Vanguard of Brimaz.
Making 1/1s for each time we trigger this guy is pretty solid. Again, we should be playing enough cards that target our creatures to make it matter. This is where I would say things like Hopeful Eidolon and Eidolon of Countless Battles would shine, but if we were going with Paul's original list, things like Dauntless Onslaught and Hidden Stringer are also able to get the job done.
I think a strategy like this could really break out once Born of the Gods enters the picture. As a bonus, this is what the initial decklist I was working on looked like.
It could be too cute or it could be just strong enough. I'm not sure. We have a lot of powerful creatures, a low curve, and a lot of solid spells like Gods Willing to protect our guys. While gaining ten life from Ordeal of Heliod isn't the best in an aggro deck it does give three +1/+1 counters, it triggers heroic, and it helps us race against other aggressive decks. We also have a ton of other options for the deck like Brave the Elements, more Pacifisms, Ajani, Caller of the Pride, or Dauntless Onslaught. We could even go back to blue and play cards like Ephara's Enlightenment which I'm actually quite fond of.
Either way, the sky seems to be the limit and I have faith that some kind of enchantment based deck might emerge from the latest offerings. That's all I have for this week! Melissa gets here this weekend so she might be guest starring in my article on Monday. Be sure not to miss it if that's something that interests you! Thanks for reading and I'll catch you guys then!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTVPS...Dog LePaw