White Weenie

white weenie

by Steve ‘DDT’ Giannopoulos

The current metagame in Theros Standard is comprised of several UW/x control decks or as we refer to them ‘ Sphinx’s Revelation decks’ and Devotion decks. All colors are represented in the devotion shell, but one: White. There have been a few lists here and there with Angel of Serenity and Boros Reckoners, but nothing really solid. At one point when Theros was just released there was even a certain ‘Sphere of Safetydeck. There are a few good white noncreature permanents to try a controlish build but not enough to really glue it all together into a consistent deck. The other devotion decks are aggro to midrange, with monoblack devotion being a sort of control deck at times. The white deck has to go to its roots and play the weenie role. While it’s not immensely popular right now, it does win its fair share of games and may get much better when Born of the Gods is spoiled.

White Weenie

Standard Format

Creatures: 28

Boros Elite
Dryad Militant
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
Precinct Captain
4 Imposing Sovereign
4 Daring Skyjek
4 Banisher Priest

Enchantments: 2

Spear of Heliod

Instants: 4

Brave the Elements

Planeswalkers: 4

Ajani, Caller of the Pride


Lands: 24

4 Mutavault
18 Plains


2 Keening Apparition
3 Last Breath
3 Fiendslayer Paladin
2 Glare of Heresy
Celestial Flare
1 Gideon, Champion of Justice
2 Rootborn Defenses


The creatures in this deck are referred to as weenies, but don’t confuse this term in meaning they are not tough. A lot of them pack quite a punch. Of course you have your ‘stats matter’ creatures, such as Dryad Militant. Let’s face it: with Snapcaster Mage gone, this card is basically a vanilla 2/1 that can be played in either Green or White decks. That’s just fine with us – we weren’t really looking to utilize its ability against the dire Spellheart Chimera. We also have a 3/1 for two mana in Daring Skyjek. Reminiscent of Future Sight’s Blade of the Sixth Pride with an actual ability. Having this be a 3/1 flier is very nice as the rest of this deck’s creatures don’t exactly have great forms of evasion (read : none). Pounding down your opponent’s life total early on with him is good too and even maybe having it trade with a more mana-intensive creature can be fine later one (but we aim to avoid trades in this deck).

soldier of the pantheonMake sure not to miss the lifegain triggers

Soldier of the Pantheon is our other 2/1 for a mere 1 white mana and his ability can be extremely relevant. Just to list a few creatures he can attack past: Boros Reckoner, Nightveil Specter, Burning-Tree Emissary, Loxodon Smiter, Fleecemane Lion, Voice of Resurgence, etc. You get the point I suppose. It’s more or less ‘evasive’. While you may be focused on bringing the beatdown, you’ll want to remember that you can gain quite a bit of life with his other ability as well. It might not seem like a ton, but it can really give you the edge when you’re racing against another aggressive deck like Monored Devotion.

The 2CMC+ Drops

While our one drops are all about bringing the aggro, the majority of 2-drops are there to give us some board presence. Whether you’re making extra 1/1 tokens with Precinct Captain, exiling an opposing creature with Banisher Priest or slowing your opponent down by a turn with Imposing Sovereign, you are advancing your board state.

imposing sovereignFinally seeing some play

There is an interesting point on having both Banisher Priest and Imposing Sovereign in play. While in most normal situations your opponent can simply use a removal spell such as ‘Doom Blade‘ on your Banisher Priest in order to retrieve his exiled creature, he cannot during your attack step and then hope to be able to block with it. The creature he will get back will returned tapped and thus unable to block. It’s rather obvious, yes, but it’s extremely relevant to be aware of too. Of course I don’t need to explain that it’s somewhat risky to attack in a similar scenario without having Imposing Sovereign in play on your end. In this case, we probably want to make sure we keep a single white mana up for the eventual Brave the Elements we will need to counteract this nasty surprise.

Banisher Priest is pretty sweet but you shouldn’t just play it whenever you can either. If you would lose one of your creatures in combat but then still manage to inflict a lot of damage to your opponent, you probably want to keep it in hand if you anticipate a larger blocker, board wipe or even an opposing Banisher Priest in the future. I have seen many players moan about how their opponent just drew the right card to recover and now they lost a chunk of their board presence. Truth is: their opponent was probably waiting for the right time to play his card as well. If you used your Banisher Priest on Monoblue’s 0/1 Cloudfin Raptor just because your really wanted to get in for the extra 2 damage, then don’t go complaining when you hit a brick wall in his following play of Frostburn Weird, Nightveil Specter or game-changing Master of Waves.

banisher priestYou don’t run 8 of them, so don’t play as if you did

Just because this is a white aggro deck does not give you the excuse to play sloppily. You need to make sure you make optimal plays, good attacks and pressure your opponent whenever possible. Throwing in an extra attacker which is going to get freely killed is terrible. I’ve seen this often and it makes me wonder if people understand combat. If your opponent is going to take the same amount of damage because X number of creatures will most likely go unblocked then what is the point of also attacking with an extra creature that will get blocked and just die. Note that this is different than actually trying to push through extra damage.

I had come up with these example scenarios, but it’s like 3 AM, so I’ll keep it simple. But basically doing something like attacking with an extra Dryad Militant which you know will get blocked, die and not trade is usually bad if the creature your opponent used to block it was not originally going to be blocking anyhow.

Finally, Precinct Captain makes life very difficult for those decks that choose to not play any mass removal . Granted that monoblack devotion can’t really do that right now, not without a support color (green for Golgari Charm or White for Merciless Eviction). Once you start churning out those tokens with Precinct Captain you should be really making life difficult for those decks. You can also just flat out ignore Desecration Demon as well. He’s probably on of the best WW costed weenies of all time. Sure cards like Ratchet Bomb can hurt, but no one is really playing that right now. Also, it’s probably going to just take out a small wave of tokens, once. I even started to run Illness in the Ranks sideboard in my own monoblack deck against White Weenie (and Orzhov Weenie) and so far it’s been hit or miss.

precinct captain


While a lot of decks play tons of creatures they still sometimes need the odd support cards for removal, pump spells and other utility. Spear of Heliod does its best Glorious Anthem impersonation here,only it can’t stack (since it’s Legendary). This is also the reason the deck packs two; we never ever want to draw more than one per game but we do want to at least draw one. I realize that it also has another ability, but the odds that you will be utilizing it are slim. If you find yourself needing it, it may be because

A) it’s a really grindy and tight game.

B) you are on the defensive (not where you want to be with this deck)

C) you randomly killed a Guttersnipe after it resolved its triggered ability. Congrats!

ajani caller of the prideWhat? and aggressive planeswalker?

Ajani, Caller of the Pride has not seen much play recently but he is truly at his best in this deck. He boosts your little guys so they can become more battle ready against your opponents slightly bigger threats. He also allows you to go in for the killing blow with his flying/double-strike ability. If you find yourself needing his ultimate, well… good luck!

Spear of Heliod

spear of heliod art

“Spear! Spear! Spear! ” – some random wrestling announcer, somewhere

While Heliod does not make an appearance in this deck, his legendary weapon sure does. It’s still a Glorious Anthem with a random upside. You probably won’t be activating it often, but it’s there. The downside? Legendary! Yeah …

brave the elementsDoes quite a few things rather well

This little beast of a card is back in force to make white weenie a more legitimate contender. Whether it’s protecting one of your guys from a removal, making profitable blocks or making sure your dudes go in unblocked – it’s pretty damn good. Remember to leave that lone white mana up in order to make many opponents think twice before casting something they may regret. You often only need to lower your opponent’s life total to just under 10 life so that you can cast Brave the Elements and win in one big swing. Nowadays decks are very mono-colored that you probably only need protection from a single color to let your whole team through. Remember however: it doesn’t do anything for your Mutavaults.

Sideboard Plan

While the sideboard may seem all over the place, that’s because well … it is. It’s a bit of a mess but the cards do serve their purpose well. Keening Apparition is not something we are accustomed to seeing in most 60-card decks at all. It deals with: Detention Spheres, Bident of Thassa and Underworld Connections.That’s just a few things I came up with right off the top of my head, but there’s more. You definitely want to side these in against Esper and UW Control variants. They can be brought in to answer a Detention Sphere that’s already in play or simply played pre-emptively. I prefer to just hold them in hand and cast them as pseudo-Disenchants. However, if it’s Detention Sphere that you fear … there’s always : Glare of Heresy.

glare of heresySo much hate !

Glare of Heresy also doubles as removal for cards like Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, Voice of Resurgence and Boros Reckoner (just to name a few). It’s a really good card in the mirror (duh!) as well as versus Esper. You might even get to hit some more random stuff with it (Loxodon Smiter ?) as well.

Fiendslayer Paladin is no stranger to White Weenie deck sideboards. He basically gives you a good edge against Red Devotion decks as well as doing a good job at dodging Monoblack Devotion removal spells (just watch out for Devour Flesh). Don’t forget that he only can’t be targeted by red/black spells, so don’t have him randomly die to a Boros Reckoner damage redirection effect or commit him to a board that would still end up dead to Anger of the Gods.

The presence of Last Breath in Standard sideboards sure has been increasing as of late. This can be attributed to creatures like Nightveil Specter, Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Pack Rats and a few other devotion enablers. In a format where cards like Doom Blade, Ultimate Price and co. have a somewhat tough time of hitting their mark, you might have an easier time sniping things with Last Breath (or Orzhov Charm if you splash Black).

last breath shadowmoorI much prefer the Shadowmoor artwork to the Theros one and the Mercadian Masques one

Celestial Flare is also no stranger to the White deck sideboard party. It does pretty well against things with Hexproof and protection from white. Of course the catch is that they more or less have to be the only creature attacking/blocking. It’s not the best solution against Blood Baron of Vizkopa, but we’ll take it. Don’t forget to keep your Imposing Sovereigns in the deck though, as they slow down the Bloodbaron quite well ( a turn is still a turn).

At the other end of the spectrum, we run Rootborn Defenses. Yes, it’s obviously to save our army from something like a Supreme Verdict. We will rarely get the Populate benefit from it, unless we already have Precinct Captain soldier tokens in play. It’s not as awesome as Brave the Elements is, but even Brave the Elements does not save us from a total board wipe such as Supreme Verdict.

Gideon ?

gideon championYou were expecting someone else?

I think this is more of a wildcard versus control decks that anything else. You at least get a 5/5 that can keep attacking them every turn on an empty board and is fairly safe from removal (not counting Detention Sphere). It’s probably better off as a third Keening Apparition or something, but it’s always fun to give more play time to the underused planeswalkers, no?

If anything, the White Weenie deck will over time teach you how to play a tight game of aggro. When to attack, trade, block and protect your creatures. It’s all going to be combat damage, so no lucky top-decked burn spell or Gray Merchant of Asphodel here! Try it out at your local FNM or whatever other day of the week your store holds Standard constructed events. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Magic 2014: More Spoilers!


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We’ll start off with one of the ones we were really anticipating:


Chandra, Pyromaster

chandra pyromasterUm…I guess it’s better than the last one

I honestly don’t think the anticipation was worth it. She’s kind of underwhelming overall. Definitely not a reason to crack M14 boosters, boxes or cases. I hate the fact that she can’t even burn anything relevant like the original Chandra Nalaar used to be able to.

I don’t think it would have been a stretch if she had a Pyroclasm ability as a -4 or something as well. Her artwork is by far the worst looking Chandra art ever and quite possibly worst overall planeswalker art ever (maybe tied with the new Garruk art which is pretty bad).

Let’s examine her abilities:

chandra pyromaster 1

So at best you can hit a player and redirect to an opposing planeswalker plus hit one of their 1 toughness guys for ‘value’. I use this term loosely because it’s a rather unlikely scenario. You then probably get attacked by one of their bigger creatures and die. I’m guessing this would have been ok if you had something like a Cyclops Gladiator in this set. In that case you could hit their biggest dude so they cannot block the Cyclops and then have the Cyclops ‘fight’ with one of their smaller guys and possibly deal them 4 damage. Even in that scenario, she’s not really defending herself at all. Maybe with vigilance creatures? How many of those exist in red? Yeah, not many…

chandra pyromaster 2

Not gonna lie. This is pretty damn cool!

So Wizards of the Coast decided to innovate a bit on red planeswalker abilities and I think that’s a step in the right direction. Basically, you’re going to either use this late game or start using it the turn after she came in to play on curve (since on turn 4, barring acceleration you cannot have mana to actually pay for the card. Or, in the case of it being a land, you cannot play an additional land in the turn.)

Knowing what the top card is kind of helps, in case of a format like Commander. In Legacy formats you can have ‘fun’ with this Chandra and a very frustrating Enchantment:


Probably one of the most hated cards, ever!

Yeah, kind of like Ral Zarek and Stasis. When their dudes are just 1/1’s it’s easy to constantly Chandra-snipe them. Also with a Sensei’s Divining Top in there you can actually play extra cards when you’re done trouncing their creatures. Not terribly exciting, but this is the kind of deck she would be most effective in all while being able to defend herself and possibly finish the opponent off with her ultimate.

Speaking of which:

chandra pyromaster 3

Yay! Time to burninate our opponents!

So at -7 we ‘might’ get something in our top 10 cards that we can ‘triple cast’ and can potentially lead us to victory. *Sigh* I guess… If it’s a Searing Spear, it’s just 9 damage. Kind of makes us miss Chandra, the Firebrand’s 6 damage to up to 6 targets ultimate. In more casual formats you can do stuff like Triple Wheel of Fortune or something along those lines.

Final Verdict

This is not going to have been worth the wait. Whatever hype it has, it will not live up to it. We can only hope that the ‘black foil’ version they sell at Gencon looks amazing (which it probably will). Like most real-life Red planeswalkers , Chandra still has a lot to learn before she can achieve greatness.



So this thing is back

and so is this:

Shivan Dragon


Oh joy!

I know that personally I will dread opening these up in boosters and you probably will as well. Do future generations of Magic: the Gathering players a favor and either:

A) tear these up

B) give them to new players who are just beginning to discover the wonderful world that is Magic. It might brighten some youngster’s day.

Kalonian Hydra

Kalonian Hydra

A ‘fixed’ Primordial Hydra for one mana less

Here we have a nice green fatty that is sure to be played in the upcoming Standard format since it’s slightly ahead of the curve on its abilities. If it gets to actually attack the following turn it becomes a legitimate threat as an 8/8 Trampler. This obviously gets scarier if it has been granted haste (Fervor, for example).

If you’re into attacking with big bad creatures, then this is for you. Of course, in the tradition of big green beast you’ll probably need some little mana dorks/acceleration to get them out a turn or two earlier.

Elite Arcanist

elite arcanist

Isochron Scepter , but vulnerable as a creature. Yet no mana cost limitation on what it can copy.

Strionic Resonator

stronic resonator

Mmmm…double dipping!

Strionic Resonator (not the most obvious two words in the English language) is going to be one of the coolest cards ever. Think of anything that had a ‘when’ ‘whenever’ or ‘at’ clause that you thought was awesome and double it.

Snapcaster Mage x 2 . While you don’t get the creature twice, you get to effectively ‘flashback’ 2 spells.

Acidic Slime x 2. This is just disgusting and we can prboably be glad that Acidic Slime won’t come back in M14.

Angel of Serenity x 2. If you’re on the receiving end of this, good luck!

Also comboes decently with this new card from M14:

Dark Prophecy

dark prophecy


Most people are pretty excited that black gets another Phyrexian Arena style card after Underworld Connections (which was and still is not too bad). This one has both an upside and downside.


You get to sort of control it by sacrificing creatures and chump blocking.

You get to potentially draw multiple cards a a turn.


You can’t fully control it, so your opponent can technically finish you off by killing your creatures.

You need creatures on your side of the battlefield to utilize it.

Triple black mana cost.


So it’s not clearly better than Underwold Connections which is currently in Standard. Dark Prophecy (cool card name) will surely see lots of constructed play early one (we won’t even mention the countless Commander decks it is going to be played in). It’s just a really well designed card from top to bottom. Great job Wizards!

Syphon Sliver

Syphon Sliver


So the sliver lifelink ability gets discounted by one and becomes black. Interesting!

Galerider Sliver

Galerider Sliver


Winged Sliver strict upgrade!

Banisher Priest

Banisher PriestA ‘fixed’ Fiend Hunter

Fiendslayer Paladin

Fiendslayer Paladin


Bringing ‘White Weenie’ back

Xathrid Necromancer

Xathrid Necromancer

We now have enough cards that begin with ‘X’ to make a deck with

This card is more or less a functional reprint of Rotlung Reanimator. Of course the ‘Human’ clause is a lot more relevant than the ‘Cleric’ one. You also get double your value with things like Doomed Traveller and Loyal Cathar. The only downside to the original is that the Zombie token comes into play tapped, but I think that’s acceptable.

The card kind of allows decks like the Aristocrats to stick around in some form past the November Standard rotation. Of course they will have to adapt and try out some new cards (Dark Prophecy perhaps?).

Pyromancer’s Gauntlet

pyromancer gauntletIt’s a trap!

For all the coolness this card posesses, it has one very glaring drawback: it does nothing and I mean absolutely nothing on its own. Once you get past that, you can examine the obvious cool things it can enable. Chandra, Pyromaster becomes less of a slouch with this thing in play (she needs all the help she can get). Your Searing Spear and Warleader’s Helix s become that much more devastating.

But at what cost?

I mean, there are so many other things you would much rather be doing on turn 5 than tapping out for this thing, no?

More to come

With just over 70 cards left to spoil this set is looking fairly fun and exciting. What’s to come? Maybe more lands? Some older Modern reprints? Who know?

Stay tuned!



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