Mono White Riddle of Steel (65% win rate so far during 150 matches)
Overview of the Deck
What is steel compared to the hand that wields it, right? This deck runs 31 creatures that wield enough steel crush your opponents. And while they're crushing your opponents they also present them with a riddle. This fact, and being a big Conan fan, led me to the title for this primer. Hopefully it's catchy enough so that at least a few players will actually read it
I've played Jeskai Tempo for years and always created my own lists instead of using netdecks. About two months ago I started working on a mono white list and after a lot of changes and tuning I think that my deck is good enough to deserve it's own primer.
The deck keeps pressuring the opponent while making it difficult to remove the threats since they're very good at protecting each other. They also hinder the opponent in the execution of his own plan so that you'll have enough time to win.
Card Choices Champion of the Parish - Perfect T1 play. Pressures opponent or draws a Bolt/Push that doesn't hit SFM. Giver of Runes - Protects SFM and Hero of Bladehold or makes a big Champion of the Parish unblockable. Stoneforge Mystic - Searches up Sword or Batterskull and puts them into play... Thalia, Guardian of Thraben - Disrupts opponents that play more non-creature spells than you (almost all of them). Thalia's Lieutenant - Pumps all Humans in your team (22) and can do it again when Broodmoth brings him back. Knight of the Holy Nimbus - Perfect early blocker, hard to remove. Opponent's that don't read the card hate Flanking True Believer - Prevents hand disruption mainly, also Lily edict and burn to the face. Ranger-Captain of Eos - Pure value, tutoring for Giver mainly. Can also prevent unfair decks from going off and buy that one turn. Hero of Bladehold - Finisher! Attacks for 7 and for even more when you have other attackers in play. Luminous Broodmoth - Brings back your dead creatures, giving you additional enter-the-battlefield triggers!!!
Now I want to explain some of the other card choices. Sword of Light and Shadow is the best sword for this deck because it brings back all your fallen creatures. Soul-Guide Lantern is better than Rest in Peace in this deck because of Broodmoth which is also shut down by RiP.
The combination of Spirit of the Labyrinth, Sorcerous Spyglass, Eidolon of Rhetoric and Nevermore has proven to be very powerfull against combo/control decks. Soul-Guide Lantern, Celestial Purge and Mirran Crusader are very good against GBx decks. Kor Firewalker and Worship work well against aggressive red decks.
The deck has a good matchup (win rate above 65%) against Jund, Death's Shadow, Eldrazi Aggro, UW Control, Bant Control, Dredge, Gruul Utopia, Ad Nauseam, UR Storm.
The matchup is balanced (50-50) against Boros Burn, Humans, UrzaTron, Amulet Titan.
The deck doesn't win often against Infect, Bogles or creature-based combo decks like Toolbox, Goblins and Elementals, because it doesn't have enough removal. It also looses often against the new Hardened Scales deck because of Ballista.
Here are a few short vids that show the deck in action.
First I want to show how Ranger-Captain and Thalia can help you win against combo decks like Gyruda. In this game a Fragmentize from the SB and a lot of early pressure were enough to win (in the older version I was still running Fragmentize). In the next game Ranger-Captain bought me the time I needed and even came back thanks to Broodmoth. Here's another vid that shows how powerful the Moth is in my deck. I am able to beat hand disruption, removal, Batterskull and several planeswalkers! (Unfortunately I can only record 5 minutes but the next turn my opponent conceded in face of the second Giver of Runes.)
Last but not least I want to show a convincing 2-0 against Grixis Shadow. You can watch game 1 here and game 2 here.
I hope that some players have actually made it to this paragraph and that I have been able to spark their interest in my deck. Please give this a try and post your constructive feedback so that we can work together to make this deck even better. Thanks
Only change I can think to make that would be an immediate upgrade would be to put Resto in place of the 4 drop Champions. I know it doesn't work well with moth. But the evasion is better than making 2 dudes that just get blocked, and the blinking is better than crying. Flash is an added plus that shouldn't be ignored.
Hi megatog201, thanks for checking out the primer.
I think that if you'll playtest the deck you'll see how good Hero of Bladehold actually is. By the time she comes into play the opponent has used most of their removal already. With help of Giver, Broodmoth, Bodyguard, Selfless Spirit and equipment Hero can survive blocks and when Hero keeps attacking it will overpower almost every opponent's deck. Flash on the Angel is nice but the deck can vial in Hero which is basically like having Flash. Don't get me wrong, I love Resto Angel. I just think it's not necessarily better than Hero in the CMC4 slot. Too bad the deck can't run more than four CMC4 cards with 21 lands and 4 Vials. There are other interesting candidates as well, Odric, Master Tactician for example.
Here is another vid (please also watch the ones above in the primer) from a match I played yesterday. It's game 2 against Dredge after I already won the first game. I get hit by four Creeping Chills and can't find my GY hate until very late (when my opponent is already down to six cards in his library) but Broodmoth, Sword and Batterskull are too strong and I win anyways
(I had to fast forward a few turns so everything happens very fast at some points. Sorry for that.)
Today I played against the UW Counterbalance Control deck that is getting a lot of good tournament results lately.
I uploaded game 1 here and game 2 here. (unfortunately I forgot to open the preview window in game 1)
Maybe I was just lucky that my opponent couldn't find his one win con (Entreat the Angels) but with Aether Vial it felt like a pretty easy 2-0
Also won 2-1 against the crazy good Obosh deck that went 18-2 in four Modern leagues. I can upload the vids here too if someone wants to watch them.
Very cool deck and very skilled player. I have been lucky enough to talk to Stevomat for a long time and he has done a ton of work on this deck. I have seen it in action and it is a truly awesome deck and one you opponents won't see coming.
I haven't posted any new matches for a while but I've been playing a lot of Jeskai Lutri lately. I wonder what they're going to do with the Companion mechanic on Monday...
I am sad to see that not many other players are posting anything here. Has someone tried the deck?
Today I played a quick match against Merfolk and the match show again how explosive this deck can be. Here's game 1 and here's game 2.
The deck is still the same except for one card. Since Bogles are on the rise I added one Blessed Alliance to the SB and took out one Firewalker. If even more players start to play Bogles I might switch out the Nevermore in the SB for a Runed Halo.
I am very excited for the companion announcement on Monday. I was getting used to enjoying lutri so I'm not sure if that will continue, but if the announcement hurts companions too bad that just means you can play the mono white deck more! It's a win/win for you.
I love Blessed Alliance in your deck against boggles. Very cool Idea. For the jeskai deck I have always loved Deflecting Palm. It's just such a blow out that it's a ton of fun.
I am very excited for the companion announcement on Monday.
Maybe Monday's errata will look like this:
Companion — xxx (If this card is your chosen companion, you may cast it once from outside the game. Discard one card from your opening hand.)
I think that would be pretty fair and a better option than just removing the whole mechanic from the companion cards.
Here's another game I uploaded: Game 1 of a 2-0 against Sultai Uro Reclamation. Game 2 went pretty long and the replay is longer than 5 minutes so I can't upload it with the free TinyTake software. Can anyone recommend a better alternative that's also easy to use?
Still no comments on this deck (exept for CurdBros' comments)
Anyways, I am really excited about the white cards that have been spoiled so far.
This seems like a very good CMC4 drop, but I don't want to use more than four in this deck and the two Broodmoths are set. So is Mangara better than a Hero of Bladehold in this deck? Since the deck wants to be the aggressor I'd say no. Thoughts?
What about this card in the SB? It really hoses a lot of strategies but it also shuts down Aether Vial. Would it make sense to play 2 Priests SB and switch out 2 Vials for them during sideboarding?
During the last six matches with the deck I tested Angelic Destiny over one Hero of Bladehold since many games end up with board states where both I and the opponent have a considerable ground force and neither player can attack profitably, but one flyer could end the game.
I've won all six matches but I didn't cast Angelic Destiny even once. So much for testing...
In June I've played 29 matches so far with this deck. I won 20, lost 6, and 3 ended in a draw because either player had to leave. Not counting the draws the win percentage actually is at a pretty good 76%.
I've tried a lot of cards lately in the deck.
Compared to the deck I posted in the very first post I've changed three SB cards so far:
OUT: 1 Lantern, 1 Path, 1 Firewalker
IN: 1 Runed Halo, 1 Blessed Alliance, 1 Cast Out
In the main I tried Gideon Blackblade (he enters the battlefield as a Human for triggers) and Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis (unlike Elspeth, Knight-Errant she actually creates Human tokens) but both weren't good enough because of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. I love PWs but not in this deck
Compared the first version I am running the following changes atm:
OUT: 1 Bodyguard, 1 Hero of Bladehold
IN: 1 Brave the Elements, 1 Mangara of Corondor
The rest is still the same. Brave just seems like THE card for a mono white deck. I am testing Mangara as an answer for everything (Bridge, Worship, Tron lands, PWs whatever...). Vialing him in EOT makes him pretty good actually.
On the 25th I'll add 2 Basri's Lieutenant for sure and therefore go up to 4 Thalia's Lieutenant. But which three cards shall I cut???
Mangara is bad in anything except maybe standard. We'll have to see. And of course commander. That's kinda what it was made for.
Priest is a good SB card for decks with evolution, Coco, and it shuts down the gristlebrand decks if you survive to turn 2. If you can run the deck with no vials then I'd strongly suggest a straight swap maindeck, but from watching the videos you put up it looks like you need them. But some main deck hate cards would be nice.
@megatog201: Hi, I'm glad that you're still following and that you actually watched the vids. Have you also tried the deck?
The vials are indeed important. Against fast unfair decks like Neobrand a priest of course is worth much more than a vial but at least on MTGO I never run into Neobrand.
Mangara has been fun so far. Without vial he's slow af but I like the fact that he can even exile lands.
Regarding main deck hate, well there's Thalia and True Believer and they've been doing a great job so far. The other hate cards (Spirit of the Labyrinth and Eidolon of Rhetoric) come from the SB. If they were Humans I'd run them in the main deck for sure.
Good games. Except that was a very novice opponent. Like blocking the flanker with a 1/1 in game 2. Took way too much damage from your 1 drop game 1 also.
Do you have wins against good opponents or wins against tier decks that doesn't involve turn 1 Vail? Not being disrespectful or saying it doesn't happen. Just saying that showing wins against a 5 year old doesn't impress. You know what I mean.
Hi megatog201, I get what you're saying. I was actually disappointed when my opponent blocked the flanker but you wouldn't believe how often that happens. I am always wondering why people don't read cards that they don't know, especially when there's a lot of text on them.
I don't want to suggest that the opponent played well, I didn't always choose the optimal lines either, but I see a lot of players punting on MTGO, at FNMs and even on GPs. Some YouTube streamers who get quite a lot of views, like Corbin Hosler, are punting all the time, so bad that I can't even watch their matches. What I am trying to say is that it's hard to find a good opponent who plays a tier deck and then play an interesting interactive match worth showing, where neither player looses because of flooding or bad mulligans.
The uploaded match was literally the first match with the new Lieutenants. After that I actually lost 1-2 against Treefolk because the Treefolk player had Wrath of God and 2x Path in game 3 and I lost 1-2 against UW hard control (with several copies of Timely main and the new Teferi) because I didn't draw a single land in five turns during game 1 (kept a starting hand with two lands) and I had to mull to 5 in game 3. The match against Treefolk was fun but it's not worth uploading because the opponent's deck is even more fringe than mine...
Jon from MTG Nexus was kind enough to play two matches with the deck.
You can watch them here.
He used the original version and unfortunately he had to mulligan a lot but I really appreciate the feedback at the end. Thanks Jon!
I am REALLY happy with the changes!
Card draw in mono white? CHECK
Ramp in mono white? CHECK
Played five matches since I made the changes yesterday night and I won all five.
2-0 vs UW Stoneblade
1-0 vs UR Electrobalance (opponent quit the match after game 1)
2-0 vs Mono G Tron
2-0 vs Eldrazi Tron
2-0 vs Bant Yorion Control (Sword of Fire & Ice won both games)
So, once again, thanks Jon!
I love and hate this deck at the same time. I love it because I'm big fan of White Weenie decks and I haven't seen anything new and fresh in Modern lately that would at least look similar to typical WW - everything is either 5c Humans or DnT.
On the other hand I hate it because there are so many choices I don't understand in this list like 1 of Brave the Elements, Charming Prince & Mangara of Corondor are really random. Also True Believer is something I don't understand as this deck doesn't seem to be in real need of shroud/hexproof effect from discard and other stuff.
Playing some other strong 1-drops though makes more sense with Ranger-Captain of Eos already in the deck, e.g. Dauntless Bodyguard to protect stuff, Kytheon, Hero of Akros being strong and resilient threat later on and in SB Burrenton Forge-Tender instead of Kor Firewalker and even Martyr of Sands vs matchups where this life gain burst is godsend (burn, GDS, etc.)
Dunno if Basri's Lieutenant is even that good, or at least better than Hero of Bladehold.
Manabase-wise I think you could up the Canopy lands count to 3-4.
Nevertheless I will happily try it on next FNM and see how it rolls.
Hi Sliv3r, thanks a lot for your feedback
I am running 1x Kytheon in my most recent version and he's REALLY good. Dauntless Bodyguard however was in the original version and always felt lackluster.
Brave the Elements wasn't bad but I cut it again.
My newest addition is 1x Silverblade Paladin. He's so good with a big Champion of the Parish or combined with the Sword of Fire & Ice. I still have to test of two Paladins are too much but one is definitely good.
True Believer is my protection against hand disruption and edicts. It's pretty good but not stellar.
I was testing Mangara (now Silverblade Paladin) to have at least one answer against Bridge or similar hoser cards. In a deck with Vials and Thalias he's better than Oblivion Ring I think. What would you suggest instead?
As finishers/top end I am running 1x Broodmoth and 1x Basri's Lieutenant atm. They are equally good and I think it doesn't matter if you run one of them twice or mix them up. My third CMC4 card atm is Angelic Destiny and this card wins games! Flying can be really important late game and there are several deadly combinations possible with this card.
Please let me know how your FNM went. Good luck!
During future matches I'll check if I wish that I would have drawn a True Believer or Knight of the Holy Nimbus every time I draw a Charming Prince or a Knight of the White Orchid. I like all these cards but I can only play two pairs.
Regarding the mana base:
I think a second Cavern of Souls could definitely replace 1 Plains.
How about going down to 3 Vials and instead add 1 more Sunbaked Canyon as land no. 22... does that make sense? Drawing multiple Vials is always bad and the Canyon is a redraw when I already have enough lands.
Right after my last post I tweaked the deck again because of the resurgence of URx control decks with Blood Moon.
1 Paladin, 1 Vial and 2 Charming Princes had to go, 2 True Believers came back and 2x Grand Abolisher became the newest addition.
So far I've played ten matches with the new version and I am 9-1 now. It works very well