Food For Thought: Mono-White UrzaTron

I’ve just had one of those moments. This happens to me often. Particularly when a new set arrives. I wonder just exactly what the emotion is – euphoria? Elation? Wonderment? There’s an intangible something that goes off in my head, and it just exploded.

I have seen the next big thing.

Okay, okay. I’m here. I’m breathing. I’m a living, breathing Magic player.

What’s wrong? I’ve just had one of those moments. This happens to me often. Particularly when a new set arrives. I wonder just exactly what the emotion is – euphoria? Elation? Wonderment? There’s an intangible something that goes off in my head, and it just exploded.

I have seen the next big thing.

I had the exact same feeling the first time I saw Owling Mine in its original, clunky form. Just like then, I could see what a great deck it could be, what a great deck it would be. Before the Top 8 of Honolulu in March, I brought you the tech and that deck back in early February.

Well my Magic-playing friends, I have brought you another. I have brought you The Next Big Thing. A deck that will test your will, your might, and your win percentages. This is my new pet project, and I can’t stop gushing.

Allow me to present: Mono-White Urzatron


Like most creations, I didn’t build it and I’m not going to claim Supreme Deck Ownership. I found it like I find most of the Next Big Things: I play random people on Magic Workstation. You would be surprised the number of good, interesting ideas (such as an Izzet-fueled Gelectrode/Izzet Guildmage/Lava Spike Combo deck) are floating around in space, just waiting to be plucked from thin air. The difference is recognizing the spectacular new ideas from the rehashes or the Johnny fun decks.

In a format like the one we have today, a fresh new idea that turns everything around was bound to turn up.

It turned up.

Now if this sounds like I’m all hype and no substance, I’ll be delving into the contents soon enough. I’m currently a little bit frustrated in the fact that I’ve been having amazing results with this deck – both pre and post-sideboard – and my friends do nothing but dismiss it.

“Too slow,” they say. “Too easily overwhelmed,” they say.

“Weathered Suckfarer?” They say.

Bah, I say. Bah humbug. This is the real deal. Just like the first time you read about Ravager Affinity or the first time you saw the Ghazi-Glare list. Some things just make sense when they’re in action. This one? It made perfect sense to me.

Let’s get started.

The Creatures Time Forgot

Let’s be honest: Tatsumasa hasn’t seen much play since Kamigawa Block season. Myojin of Cleansing Fire is absolutely ridiculous… and remains so as they pick up the card to read it and remind themselves just what a Divinity Counter is and how my creature cannot be destroyed by all of the removal in their deck.

Yosei the Morning Star is, of course, amazing, but I don’t have to tell you that.

Genju of the Fields kicks aggro decks in the junk. Consistently. Hard. And then you stack the Spirit Link ability with your infinite ‘Tron mana and then they realize they’re screwed.

Weathered Wayfarer, dusty and creaky from use, literally screams in pain from his arthritis when I tap him.

That’s not the best part. One of the best things about this deck is that most creatures perform dual uses:

Weathered Wayfarer – Chump Blocker and UrzaTron Finder Extraordinaire

Tatsumasa, the Dragon’s Fang – Ridiculously huge equipment or Ridiculously Hard To Kill Creature

Yosei, the Morning StarTime Walk On A Stick

Myojin of Cleansing Fire – Just Plain Ridiculous. Nothing gets by this guy, not even Kodama of the North Tree. The Myojin always lives to tell the tale. Did I mention he can’t be killed by anything? He also adds the fifth, sixth and seventh copies of Wrath of God to your deck.

Playing The Gruul and Orzhov Aggro Wars

Make no mistake – this is a long-game deck. This is a control deck. It’s a deck that can only safely live in a world that successfully hated Owling Mine out of the metagame. With that said, it is one of the most resilient control decks I have ever played.

In a matchup like Gruul and Orzhov Aggro, you want Early Game Answers. This deck is practically all answers. It’s just the early ones that hurt them the most. Let’s see what we’re looking at:

Early Game Answer Squad: Genju of the Fields, Faith’s Fetters, Devouring Light, Wrath of God, Honden of Cleansing Fire

Luckily you run plenty of cheap, early-game answers to a lot of problems. The “techiest” of these (i.e. the card which is the least expected) is of course Honden of Cleansing Fire. This lets you truly excel at The Long Game, and through that Long Game you find the strength of the Urzatron to cast your mammoth spells. You should see the poor Zoo players who watch me go fourth-turn-Honden-firth-turn-Wrath. It’s like their testicles literally just shriveled inside their bodies.


Oh, and did I mention Honden’s obvious synergy with the unmitigated bomb that is Storm Herd? We’ll get to that soon.

What you need to know against decks that love first turn 2/3 guys are that they will happily walk into a Wrath of God followed up by a Devouring Light. That they have no game at all versus Genju of the Fields (which Flores rightly pointed out is ridiculously underused) and the ability to stack the Genju’s Spirit Link ability (with ‘Tron mana!) breaks aggro and burn decks in half.

Let me repeat: In half. They have no game against gaining six or eight life per turn when your Wrath of God doesn’t actually kill any of your creatures.

You also have maindeck answers to Umezawa’s Jitte (Terashi’s Grasp, Faith’s Fetters) and the long game, of course, belongs solely to yourself.

A Word On Wayfinder

He needs a single activation to pay for his inclusion.

Allow me to repeat: One. Single. Use. That’s it. That’s all, thank you, ‘preciate you stopping by. Once that one use is done, you should have two-thirds of your UrzaTron.

Explanation: On average, you will have one ‘Tron piece in your opening hand or first few draws. Sensei’s Divining Top should lead you to piece number two. Wayfarer allows you to draw when choosing your role in the latter games or the match and actually makes your deck better because of it. If you don’t find piece number two via the Top, then Wayfarer is there to nudge you along.

The only unfortunate drawback to Weathered Wayfarer in the control matchup is the popularity of Karoo lands. This will in no way keep me from running a full set, nor should it yourself. The guy is fantastic in this deck for obvious reasons, and in the late game (there’s that term again…) he keeps powering ‘em out.

This Ain’t No Toof N’ Stank

What you know as Tooth and Nail is called Toof N’ Stank around these parts. It was (and still is in Extended) a great interesting combo deck. However, remember this above all else: This deck is not a combo deck. This is a control deck that has long-game minded bombs, such as Storm Herd, and huge, expensive creatures, such as Myojin of Cleansing Fire, which take advantage of your mana base to maximum effect.

Man, what I wouldn’t give for a Staff of Domination. Why? Because I want something to sink mana into.

Oh, wait, I have that: It’s called Genju of the Fields. This guy alone takes any deck with Char or Flames of the Blood Hand and makes them sour right up. Flames stops life gain, right? Sure, for a single turn. While my Honden of Cleansing Fire is firing off turn after turn and my Genju is coming back no matter what happens.

Genju of the Fields is an unmitigated bomb that makes Loxodon Hierarch (which it blocks to perfection) look downright silly. Why gain four life in one shot when I can gain thirty over a half dozen turns?

No, the key to this deck is realizing that you’re going to answer whatever early game threats they devise, and that the late game belongs to you. This is achieved with the following spells:

Tatsumasa the Dragon’s Fang
Myojin of Cleansing Fire
Yosei, the Morning Star
Storm Herd
Debtors’ Knell

Have you ever cast Wrath of God when you have a Myojin of Cleansing Fire (complete with Divinity Counter) out? Boy, that is fun. You lose your dignity and I swing for four. Fun times.

Storm Herd is, of course, a bomb. A silly bomb. A scoffed-at bomb. A dollar-rare bomb. But a bomb nonetheless. This gives them one turn to live. Period. I hope you have Savage Twister. I hope you have Wrath of God. Or Pyroclasm. Or, hell, Rain of Embers or something. Because if you don’t, you’re dead. This seems obvious, but it never stops to illicit giggles from my opponents… as they’re shuffling up for Game 2.

Is this what the Tooth players had to endure before they began their rise to the top?

Mindet and Priorities

I love doing this section. It tells you how you should “feel” about the deck. How you should play it depending on the matchup. There’s a simple formula for this deck: You’re playing against Aggro or you’re playing against Control.

Against Aggro: Play your lands ASAP. Your Weathered Wayfarer, if he’s lucky, may get to block a huge monster (read: Rumbling Slum) at best. At worst he can’t do anything because of Frenzied Goblin. You are not worried about tutoring the Urza lands here. You’re worried about getting two-white-and-two-colorless for the Wrath of Your Father to hit the board and you to scoop up all those annoying creatures.

You also live for the turn 4 Honden of Cleansing Fire play, because this means every piece of removal is twice as good – you’re removing not only a consistent source of damage with, say, Devouring Light, you’re replacing that damage with two life per turn. There ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Against Control: Feel free to draw when you win the roll. Why? Because a first turn Weathered Wayfarer is a nightmare for control decks.

The control game quickly morphs into what many control games are: games of attrition. Whoever has the most spells and the most mana wins. This is how Weathered Wayfarer brings such power to those games: you get to win the mana war and you win the spell war – you thin your deck with Wayfarer and consequently always have land drops and have less lands you could pluck from your deck.

Now, they’re probably playing Karoo lands and that’s okay. Beyond Last Gasp, everyone is using three mana spells like Mortify or Putrefy to destroy Weathered Wayfarer. This means that if you have a single Plains on the board when they do so, you’ll get to tutor a key piece of UrzaTron before he dies (and, as I said, a single use is enough to justify his inclusion).

As for the later turns, rest assured they will (if they’re smart) use removal to destroy the Wayfarer, so use those opportunities to resolve some important spells (such as Honden) or to Wrath of God important creatures (Ghost Council of Orzhova)

Matchups and Sideboarding

Okay, no new deck is not without its plans and backup plans. How do you plan on winning and what do you plan on answering?

Gruul and Zoo

As Craig Jones so eloquently stated, Wrath of God is not enough to stop Zoo.

You know what is? Wrath of God and Honden of Cleansing Fire. Oh, and Devouring Light. Oh, and Faith’s Fetters. Oh, and Genju of the Ruins Your Day (hey, I’m just reading off the card here).

Gruul and Zoo have only the Rush Factor to rely on for winning against this deck. If your draws are nothing but expensive monsters and Weathered Wayfarers, they can win, sure. If your draw is mediocre (meaning you draw only two or three pieces of quality answers/removal) then they are screwed.

If you get the nut high of turn three Devouring Light, turn 4 Honden, turn 5 Wrath… well, then they can just pack it up for Game 2.


-1 Debtors’ Knell
-1 Tatsumasa the Dragon’s Fang
+1 Genju of the Fields
+1 Terashi’s Grasp

You bring in an additional early game blocker and utility, creature and also bring in another card that stops Umezawa’s Jitte. Between the main deck answers and the two new ones from the sideboard, you should have no problem filling out the match slip in your favor.

Orzhova Aggro (Hand to Hand) or Ghost Dad

Ooh, this is my favorite part because I get to reveal some more tech for you guys. First of all, game 1 is tough because there is a lot of hand disruption. However, there is also not a lot they can do about life gain (Honden pretty much remains unchecked) and Genju of the Fields is just enough to drive any Ghost Council of Orzhova insane with its ever-important five toughness.

While it looks like a bad matchup on paper, resolving basically any late-game bomb against them (such as Myojin of Cleansing Fire) should be game right there. Debtors’ Knell alone is unstoppable against them.

Sideboarding Tech!

-4 Devouring Light
-1 Tatsumasa the Dragon’s Fang
+3 Bottled Cloister
+2 Terashi’s Grasp

Oh yes my friends, that is some serious Bottled Cloister action going on right there. Why do I put it in the deck?

They have no answers to it (maybe post-sideboard…if they put em in).

It makes Ravenous Rats and Shrieking Grotesques really, really inefficient creatures

This is enough to warrant putting in there, but better yet has the irony of being a Phyrexian Arena that doesn’t take any life while theirs sucks away turn after turn. I have literally killed B/W Aggro players by simply answering everything they play and killing them with their own Arenas. It’s not pretty, but it’s a match win, and that’s all that matters.

The most important reason I have this tech in the sideboard is because all of my removal is sorcery speed with the exception of Devouring Light. Once that is out of the way, all of my regular answers such as Honden or Genju of the Fields or Wrath of God or Terashi’s Grasp are played during my turn and can safely be tucked away during their turn.

Oh how sweet it is to watch them pay 1B for a 1/1 that does absolutely nothing but (hopefully) carry a Jitte.

The secret is out boys: Bottled Cloister is ridiculous for all sorts of decks in all kinds of situations. Read more about its incredible use in this B/W control deck from Honolulu.

U/R Eminent Domain/Wildfire/Magnivore

You have a few problems with this matchup: If you don’t get a Weathered Wayfarer or Sensei’s Divining Top to stick, you could be shuffling up for game 2 quickly. Luckily, however, you still have cheap threats (Genju of the Fields) that can slip under countermagic and you have cheap removal (Devouring Light, Wrath of God) to take care of their monsters.

Remember: everyone forgets that Devouring Light has Convoke, so feel free to remove that Magnivore by tapping your Weathered Wayfarer for the “third mana” all the live-long day.

As with any control matchup, as I said, just keep laying threats and aggressively use your Sensei’s Divining Top (and subsequent copies) to keep the pressure on. Eventually something will stick and they will suffer for it.


-4 Devouring Light
-2 Genju of the Fields
-2 Honden of Cleansing Fire
-1 Debtors’ Knell

+1 Terashi’s Grasp
+2 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
+3 Sacred Ground
+3 Bottled Cloister

Oh yes, the Cloister is back! This is another control meta breaker. The decks that can’t answer this card (such as U/R with no Demolish) simply must give you a slightly more expensive Howling Mine. This is a card that should not be sideboarded in against the Magnivore deck because of said Demolish, but otherwise should come down on turn 4 and either get countered or provide you with the win.

Remember, in attrition wars, he who has more wins. They have card drawing, so this just evens up the score. Beware of bounce, however, as a bounced Bottled Cloister can give you nothing but pain. All it needs is a turn or two of work to forge you ahead so far they may never catch up.

Since your Genjus will become a liability when staring down Annex, we switch these out for some sheltering lands that (hopefully) give us some breathing room to resolve Terashi’s Grasp on their Annexes and Icy Manipulators.

Sacred Ground negates the ability to use Wildfire at all, so putting one of these down second turn is enough to make them wince. Be sure to lay down multiple copies with no shame – many Wildfire players will happily let one resolve just so they can Boomerang it and then play Wildfire. With multiple copies out they will have to wait longer and longer to make their important spells matter while you grow your mana to overwhelming levels.

Heartbeat Combo

Oh man, what a fun matchup this is game 1. Why? Because you can use the mana they provide as much as they can! As soon as a Heartbeat of Spring is in play they better win quick because if you give me five lands I will drop a huge Storm Herd on your ass and you will be praying that your Weird Harvests and Transmuted Drift of Phantasms are on your side.

As for the sideboard, well, you’re looking for a little disruption in the form of a mask…


-2 Honden of Cleansing Fire
-3 Faith’s Fetters
+2 Terashi’s Grasp
+3 Jester’s Cap

Of course you’ll want to pop a ‘Cap in their ass as soon as humanly possible to rid them of Early Harvest (feel free to let them keep Heartbeat of Spring) and subsequent caps can rid them of win conditions and answers such as Savage Twister (that destroys your Storm Herd tokens) and Maga, Traitor of Mortals.

Greater Good/Greater Gifts

Simply put, your answers wreck them pretty badly. They can’t use Greater Good while it has Faith’s Fetters. They can’t swing with Yosei because of Devouring Light. They can’t do a lot of things they normally do with prudence because you do nothing but answer what tries to stick or you Wrath of God what is sticking around.

Otherwise, control matchups and their attrition wars are at it again. Your sideboard is here to simply remove them of Cranial Extractions and the rest is elementary my dear Magic player.


-2 Honden of Cleansing Fire
-1 Tatsumasa the Dragon’s Fang
+3 Jester’s Cap

Feel free to get funky and pull out some more cards for more Terashi’s Grasp (such as Genju of the Fields) or go crazy and pull in Bottled Cloister – remember, if they Cranial Extraction while your hand is removed from the game via Cloister, they can’t hit what’s in your hand with the Extraction. Just something to be aware of.

Otherwise, you got the answers and all they have are spinning wheels. If you see multiple Debtors’ Knells game 1, go ahead and pull the Genjus for the Terashi’s Grasps as suggested.

Wrapping Up

I hope you guys enjoyed this one, because I still love it after 3,500 or so words about it. I love playing with it and I love surprising players. I love, most of all, seeing all of these pieces and parts of power coming together into a cohesive unit. That’s the real pleasure in these exercises – finding what’s next before the next arrives by recognizing raw synergy and power.

While I’m not Flores, I know a good deck when I see it. This is a really good one. Whether it’s the best or whether it needs further tweaking and work, that’s to be seen. I’m sure some guy will do something “brilliant” like remove an Urza’s Power Plant and add another Plains to increase its Devouring Light consistency (which, admittedly, probably does need to happen but I’m too stubborn to change it), but the fact remains that this is a great deck for the environment.

I just hope when I see another incredible idea and build, I’ll be here to share it with you.

Good luck, cardslingers!

Evan “misterorange” Erwin
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com
Dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com