Food for Thought: Two More Mono-Colored Decks

Joshua continues his unconventional look at mono-colored strategies in the current Standard metagame. We’ve had Green and Black… today’s offerings are White and Red. Is the mono-colored strategy a real contender in this multicolored Magical age?

I started my second semester on Monday, I have a test in my Communications class on Friday, and a research paper for my Computer class next week. That sounds like a lot of fun. Of course, I’m not going to let scholastic obligations knock off Magic for this week. I’m caught up on all the homework I need to do, and most of the research is already done for the paper, so I should continue on with the series of Mono-Colored decks.

It’s not like, you know, that this is all in vain. Planar Chaos is starting to get leaked, and the touching preview card on Monday was an excellent surprise to start the day off. It was nice seeing Jamie write an article again. I’m a huge fan of his work, and he’s a great guy. One of my most prized possessions is a copy of his book that he autographed for me.

I think Wakefield is partially to blame for my love of Mono-Green decks. Secret Force was my favorite deck to play when Force of Will and Swords to Plowshares were legal. Joshie Green was a fun deck too. Sigh. Planar Chaos looks like it is going to add a lot to the Mono-Green Aggro deck. Ball Lightning is back, and maybe, just maybe, research and development let slip a green Fireblast.

Laughs out loud.

So I now know that Mono-Green is going to improve a lot, as is the Mono-Black deck, but the Mono-White deck I am going to present now may not have a lot of room for improvement. This is the deck that I sadly played to a 0-2 record this past weekend at the City Championships at Louisville. I should have done better, and I mean much better than 0-2, as the field was ripe for this deck, but consecutive games where I went five to seven turns without a second land in play was too much to cope with.

Mono-White Martyr was the deck I choose to play. I guess it choose to play me, and after loaning cards out to my teammates, I was at a loss for a deck myself. (I leant a copy of Dralnu to current Champion Andrew Nelms, and a copy of Dark Firemane to William Lutes.)

This deck was designed by one of my close friends, Brad Taylor, after States. It looks to compete against the Dragonstorm deck by gaining massive amounts of life, and does the same thing against aggressive decks. When you look at the list you’ll see a lot of similarities to Snakes on a Plane (You remember… the guy on MTGO that made the deck as a joke budget deck, and watched it skyrocket in popularity) and his Snow White list.

Turbo Martyr

So you can pretty much figure out what the point of this deck is. Play a Martyr, gain a lot of life, keep the board clean of monsters, win the game via decking. The Scepters help out here in this aspect. The deck has a hard time coping with Persecute, but I was lucky enough to suck this weekend, so it was never an issue.

I’ll take you through what I played well quick.

Match 1, versus Dragonstorm

Game 1 I blaze out with a Martyr, then a Howling Mine. My opponent goes off, I gain 21, cast Wrath, and another Martyr, which he packs to.

Game 2 I mulligan to five with a hand that features a Child and a Plains. Also it had Circle of Protection: Red.

I have to tap out on turn 6 to actually cast the Circle, and lose to his Dragonstorm for six.

Game 3 I again hiccup on mana, and although I am able to gain fifteen life, I am not able to rip the land I need to cast the gamebreaking Wrath of God.

That was humbling. Losing to what may have been the best matchup possible in round 1.

Match 2 versus Blink Riders

Game 1 goes long, and I have turn 2 Mine followed up with Scepters on turns 3 and 4, which grab a lot of really good spells from my land-screwed opponent. Anyway, the game comes to an end when my opponent taps out, and I get to slam Enduring Renewal into play with a Martyr already on the board. My opponent packed it up when I showed that I can count to eighteen five times a turn.

Game 2 I get land-screwed and get rolled quickly.

Game 3 I drew two lands, lost them to land destruction and then packed it in to multiple Lightning Angels.

I think this version of Mono-White can be competitive, and have been assured that the performance that the deck gave me is nothing more than an abomination, but I will not be playing again.

And now for something completely different. (You can call this a bonus decklist – I’m not going to say much about it at all.)

The most glaring omission is Sacred Foundry. I, of course, have none of them. Forge stood up and filled in rather nicely. Peace of Mind was a last minute addition, when Will complained about there being no way to put Angel in the yard, and it’s nice to have it in against the aggressive decks in the field. I do want this to be a better deck, so if anyone has any ideas how to help it, please do so.

And now back to Gene Krupa’s syncopated styles…

As promised, here is a Mono-Red deck. It looks to take advantage of the multitude of Storm spells (I guess… I mean, this one does not have Dragonstorm in it).

This deck is more theory than it is actually tournament proven. This deck can do insane things on turn 2, with the right hands, right after a Rift Bolt has been played off suspension. The deck tries very hard to have to different really big turns. Turn 2 is the really big Empty the Warrens turn, and turn 4 is the really big Ignite Memories turn.

This deck does look very similar to most other storm-based decks. I mean, all the storm decks play the same. All set up a fantastically huge lethal turn. Dragonstorm adds a Blue splash for countermagic and card draw, dramatically making their hands better. The B/R Ignite deck that has been making a splash on MTGO at least runs Dark Confidant to improve its hand.

The Mono-Red deck has a way to draw cards, but it is situational at best. Browbeat would be great if it could always net you three cards. Sadly, it does not. In the best situations, you can Browbeat on turn 3 after you attack with your team of goblins to set up for the next big turn. It is ideal to cast it then, because of two reasons. The first being the aforementioned need to sandbag the cards in hand to actually have a second big turn via Memories. The second reason is pretty obvious as well, because the card does deal five to the facehole.

The deck is built on the theory of giving you multiple big turns. Bauble will replace itself, hopefully gaining a useful card. Thopter blocks as well as it ups the storm count. Rift Bolt and Seal of Fire are cheap sources of damage that can take out a quarter of your opponent’s life total.

Yes, I know this deck is shoddy at best, and there are better, more proven alternatives out there. Storm is a very powerful mechanic, and the decks that can best take advantage of it are typically dealing twenty to the face on turn 4. However, this deck has the same appeal that the other storm decks have. You can randomly blow opponents out of the game with stupid turns early on.

Sadly, because of the school commitments, I am not going to be able to play this in any games. Based on nothing more than theory, it looks like you can outrace the creature decks because of the really big turns. It also morphs into a weak Dragonstorm deck if needed.

My next article is going to cover a Mono-Blue deck, along with my final thoughts on mono-colored decks. There will also be a bonus decklist – the winning City Championship deck from last Saturday.

Thanks for reading.