How To Move Forward With White Aggro In Ravnica Allegiance Standard

Tom “The Boss” Ross played Mono-White Aggro to a Top 16 finish at SCG Dallas! Today he shares how he might move forward with white-based aggro in Standard. Hint: the future doesn’t look Azorius…

Last weekend at SCG Dallas, I continued playing Mono-White Aggro, finishing in tenth place. I still dislike the blue splash that the Azorius builds play. For that matter I’m not a fan of any splash in white-based aggro because I prefer to always have the mana I need to cast my spells.

Sure, blue is cool, but have you ever cast your spells on time?

The dealbreaker was how difficult Sultai Midrange can be for Mono-White Aggro. The combination of spot removal, the threat of Wildgrowth Walker getting out of control, and Finality puts Mono-White Aggro in a tough spot, needing removal and a quick clock, yet not overextending into a sweeper. Two of my three losses on the weekend were to Sultai Midrange.

Last week, I wrote about Unbreakable Formation and its untapped potential to create a huge battlefield presence while trying to maximize the vigilance aspect as much as possible. As good as Unbreakable Formation is, it doesn’t stop the -4/-4 of Finality or a creature getting stolen by Hostage Taker.

I needed to look for another angle of attack.

Suncleanser VS Tocatli Honor Guard

We all know what Tocatli Honor Guard does in Standard. It’s good against Sultai Midrange when it lives, stopping the explore creatures like Jadelight Ranger and Merfolk Branchwalker and thus stopping Wildgrowth Walker from growing. Ravenous Chupacabra and Hostage Taker too. In Mono-Red Aggro, Viashino Pyromancer and Goblin Chainwhirler get nerfed. Other cases like Crackling Drake and Basilica Bell-Haunt exist too.

But Suncleanser? The card is nothing more than a late care package that showed up after the energy mechanic burned Standard to the ground, right?

Let’s take a look at what Suncleanser does.

Deputy of Detention and Hostage Taker “kill” Hydroid Krasis, since a 0/0 returning does nothing. Suncleanser does the same for less mana and a better body.

Tocatli Honor Guard stops these cards from functioning while it’s on the battlefield. Suncleanser cleans up the mess after things go down. Shrinking a 4/3 to a 2/1 before or after combat is a real effect from a 1/4 for 1W. Likewise, a large Wildgrowth Walker is apt to block an Adanto Vanguard or big Snubhorn Sentry and then die post-combat when you remove counters.

Suncleanser can be used preemptively too. Simply targeting a Wildgrowth Walker is reasonable to keep it small. And remember, whatever you target with Suncleanser can’t get counters from Finality either.

Pteramander and Runaway Steam-Kin are two more popular cards that get hosed by Suncleanser. The list is long, and maybe not at long as that of Tocatli Honor Guard, but Suncleanser comes with that extra toughness, which combines with Venerated Loxodon or Unbreakable Formation to get it out of Finality range immediately.

You also don’t have to worry about drawing the non-bo of Tocatli Honor Guard plus Venerated Loxodon when it’s Suncleanser instead. Maybe Militia Bugler can finally get some sideboard love too.

Tribal with Radiant Destiny

I fooled around with Radiant Destiny a little after the release of Guilds of Ravnica but couldn’t really piece together enough of a creature type I wanted that ended up with a complete-looking deck.

Radiant Destiny is a whole lot like a couple of other cards I’m quite fond of in Always Watching and Unbreakable Formation. The right shell is elusive, especially since it’s a call-out to creature types when there hasn’t been a non-Vampire white creature type supported recently.

With White Aggro on my mind lately, I thought it time to revisit Radiant Destiny to see if a Crusade effect is the answer I’m looking for to hedge against sweeper effects.

There are plenty of good Soldiers to choose from. A big draw to Boros Soldiers for me is Tajic, Legion’s Edge. A surprise haste attacker is great to get Legion’s Landing to transform, and beating down quickly is important against the Nexus of Fate decks looking to combo you out as soon as Turn 4. The damage prevention of Tajic comes up the most against Gates Ablaze from the dedicated Gates decks but also come up against Deafening Clarion and Goblin Chainwhirler.

Instead of Venerated Loxodon and Benalish Marshal for go-wide payoffs, we have Heroic Reinforcements and Radiant Destiny. Benalish Marshal always had the flaw of dying in combat and getting you to overextend into a sweeper like Kaya’s Wrath or Finality. Of course, Radiant Destiny doesn’t attack on its own, but in exchange you get a more reliable pump effect that’s easier to cast when you have basic Mountains in the deck.

Maybe the loss of Benalish Marshal is too much of a ding to the aggressive white archetype. Perhaps Humans is a better choice than Soldiers.

Hero of Precinct One is pretty scary to sit across from. For this deck, it’s a Human that creates more Humans. The key is finding enough reasonable Boros (or otherwise multicolored) cards to fit in the shell.

Swiftblade Vindicator, Boros Challenger, and Tajic, Legion’s Edge all fit the bill as multicolored Human cards. Skyknight Legionnaire comes up a little short in the strength department.

Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice is the sort of “rate monster” card that Boros wants anyway, so another reason to play her is easily welcome. Her trigger on Swiftblade Vindicator hits really hard, really quickly. Integrity // Intervention serves many roles, including fast kills with Swiftblade Vindicator. Integrity helps you win combat and survive damage-based removal spells. Intervention closes out the game or helps you win a race. I’m surprised it hasn’t seen much play, given how easy it is to cast and how generally impactful the halves are.

I believe the white aggressive decks still have room to explore and innovate. Azorius Aggro lists all look the same, really only hemming and hawing whether they want three Adanto Vanguards and one Tithe Taker or two of each.

Mono-Blue Aggro won #SCGDFW and White Aggro is good against Mono-Blue. I expect many people to pick up Azorius and decks aimed to beat Azorius. Now could be a good time to pick an archetype that’s well-positioned, but in a slightly different vein from what’s expected.

That’s what I’ve been doing with Mono-White Aggro so far, and it’s been working decently for me.