Question: What would it take to make white a stronger color in Constructed right now?
Answers (From Ask the Pros – January 16, 2003):
NICOLAS LABARRE: Bringing back Armageddon would be a huge step towards that goal. I feel white could be good again if it could get a few good mass control spells, along the line of Cataclysm, Aura of Silence, or Mageta and not just weenies.
KAI BUDDE: Quite a bit would have to happen to make it good enough in Extended. For Standard, a really good weenie might put it over the edge.
VICTOR VAN DEN BROEK: Either good creature removal, something to gain card advantage with or a good counterspell that only costs .
ERIC TAYLOR: White needs to have a new mechanic all to itself (just like blue for the most part owned threshold mechanics in Odyssey block).
DIRK BABEROWSKI: Removal for blockers and/or evasion creatures. How can it be the weenie color if it can’t get past any blockers?
MIKE PUSTILNIK: Better instant-speed creature removal.
Early last year, Randy Buehler published some articles on MagicTheGathering.com describing the upcoming shift of what themes and abilities should be assigned to each color. One of the main concerns of competitive Magic players lately has been the dramatic weakness of white as a base color, and Randy explained that White would be getting the best weenies from now on; Suntail Hawk was an example of this trend.
Basically, each color needs to have a strong theme that’s a good reason to base a deck in that color. Black has great creature removal and hand destruction. Blue has card drawing and counterspells. Green has huge cheap efficient creatures. Red has burn and land destruction. And White?
White has weenies, and good weenies alone aren’t a good enough reason to want to play white.
The problem is that weenie strategies have only historically worked when backed with disruption or some form of board control. White’s primary weapons in this regard are gone, and I suspect we won’t see the likes of Armageddon and Swords to Plowshares in white ever again. So when people ponder what would make white a stronger Constructed color, I think it’s pretty useless to lament the loss of those cards.
There is a solution out there, though, that makes great sense thematically and would be an excellent boost in power for a color that features some of the games best weenies– the search mechanic, a la Rebels.
Now, I’m not suggesting a return to the insanity that was Rebels, where you cast a lowly 1/1 and never had to cast another creature from your hand again. And I’m certainly not suggesting anything remotely touching the power of Lin Sivvi. But I do think that some sort of limited search ability on weenies could be just what white needs to put it back on the level of the other colors. And it would really only require 1-2 cards per block specifically with a search ability, though they’d want to pay attention to what would be worth searching out.
For instance, in Onslaught wouldn’t it have been great to have a 1/1 Soldier for W that had the ability to tap for three mana and search out a soldier with a converted casting cost of two or less? I don’t think it would have been insanely broken, yet it could have gone a long way towards energizing the tribal focus of Soldiers and given fans of base white decks a powerful option. It would certainly give you a great reason to build a base-white deck.
Keep the search ability a white mechanic and it would certainly spice up white’s slice of the ability pie!
My goal with this opinion piece is to get some debate and momentum going on this issue. After a nice start with some great white cards in Judgement, Onslaught and Legions feels like we’re straying from the goal of rejuvenating white. What do you think?
(Um, black had this and disruption in the form of Mercenaries, and it never worked for them – The Ferrett, encouraging you to disagree with him in the forums)