Il Neige en Mai – Mono-White Control for Regionals

I’ll make my introduction short here. I have a 1900 rating that is steadily climbing. I’ve played in three JSS tournaments this season, making two second-place finishes and a third-place finish. Don’t worry – I’m not about to present another awful”rogue” deck, but rather a guide to playing the best deck in Standard, for your Regionals encounter.

“I want to show you just how unimportant they really are.”

I’ll make my introduction short here. I have a 1900 rating that is steadily climbing. I wrote an article last year about Psychatog, which went over some points about why you shouldn’t play rogue unless you have testing to warrant it. I’ve played in three JSS tournaments this season, making two second-place finishes and a third-place finish. I also faced seven R/W Maher mirror matches on my way to a PTQ top 8 finish. Don’t worry – I’m not about to present another awful”rogue” deck, but rather a guide to playing the best deck in Standard, for your Regionals encounter.

Ever since I started playing with this deck, my opponents just seem to keep making really silly mistakes. People constantly mana burn themselves to near-death. Some guy even cast a Fireball on himself! Coincidence? I think not!


4 Decree of Justice (Kahn’s Ultimate Demise)

3 Mindslaver (Mind Controlling Bugs)

4 Eternal Dragon (“Scotty, I need warp speed in three minutes or we’re all dead!”)

3 Solemn Simulacrum (“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…or the one.”)

3 Renewed Faith (“He lied.”)

3 Pulse of the Fields (“Live long and prosper….”)

3 Wing Shards (“Lock Phasers.”)

4 Oblivion Stone (Genesis Machine)

4 Wrath of God (Wrath of Kahn)

3 Akroma’s Vengeance (Kahn’s Revenge)

4 Urza’s Tower (The Enterprise)

4 Urza’s Power Plant (“Scotty, I need warp speed in three minutes or we’re all dead!”)

4 Urza’s Mine (“This took us one day”)

4 Secluded Steppe (“Marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet.”)

10 Plains (“Project genesis can turn a wasteland into paradise.”)


2 Darksteel Colossus (“I wanted you to know who had beaten you.”)

3 Duplicant (“To the last I will grapple with thee.”)

4 Silver Knight (“His tactics suggest two-dimensional thinking.”)

1 Mindslaver (“using our console… to order”Reliant”…to lower her shields.”)

3 Scrabbling Claws (“..for hates’ sake, I spit my last breath… at thee”)

2 Gilded Light (“I don’t like to lose.”)

Believe it or not, I was inspired to write this article when I was watching the greatest Star Trek movie ever. Ricardo Montalban is better than you. About the article title, I happen to live in Colorado, and yes, it did snow here.


Ravager Affinity: (No changes)

This matchup is one of the best reasons to play this deck. You should have little trouble winning this match, winning eight out of ten games. They may have some tricks in their sideboard. Flashfires is fairly popular, although quite poor and often uncastable. If they play two colors, you might see Phyrexian Arena, which isn’t a big problem – even if it causes your Pulse to lose some power. If you see Thoughtcast or Seat of the Synod, you should probably watch out for Mana Leak, although don’t worry too much about it – all you have to remember is that it may be there to stop your flashy play. Some people believe that Purge is a necessary card to have against them, but don’t be swayed to take out those two Sacred Ground – you’ll miss them when you play against land destruction and have already swept Affinity without even using Purge.

Cast your Renewed Faiths whenever you can, and don’t be too worried about not having a Pulse return, as a simple removal spell should send them packing. The fourth Mindslaver is a card that I have thought about sideboarding in, but it is often excessive, as you won’t ever rely on it to win. Remember that you are almost guaranteed to see main deck artifact removal. Do not play an Oblivion Stone or Mindslaver without activation mana when your opponent has been holding on to one card the whole game, or has been using Skullclamp. Solemn Simulacrum is not a reliable blocker.

As is often the case with this deck, you should not tap out unless you are holding absolutely nothing else and/or your opponent is without any threats. Your opponent can always throw out a Ravager with Disciple on the table, and whoops, you’re dead, which is the greatest incentive to hold back until you must.

There is another thing to keep in mind:”If the ninja is in the vault, then God becomes more pissed off than a drunk dude.” In other words, cast Wrath of God even if it only kills a Disciple of the Vault. You do not want to lose the game because your lucksac opponent rips another Disciple and a Ravager. Mindslaver is one of the best ways around this. Once you have stalled the game and accumulated your mana, a Mindslaver followed up with a threat should be your way out of worry. However, if your life total is high, of course, you shouldn’t even think twice about casting a Decree for three or more angels.

Cast your Akroma’s Vengeance aggressively. Oblivion Stone does not kill an activated Blinkmoth Nexus, no matter how much it may look like a non-land. Remember that your opponent can not let a Vengeance resolve, then activate a Nexus and”target” it with modular – the ability triggers and immediately requires a target. Also remember that Disciple of the Vault’s trigger says”may.” Keeping these rules in mind may hold up to be an important factor for your results at a high level tournament such as Regionals.

Goblin Bidding:

Sideboarding: (+1 Mindslaver, +4 Silver Knight;

-2 Akroma’s Vengeance, -3 Wing Shards.)

I began my testing with Circles and Claws sideboarded in, but then after testing the game one matchup and rarely losing at all, I decided to make my sideboard better against the other matchups, as well making it so I don’t fear Patriarch’s Bidding anymore. The game one results are nine to one in your favor. After sideboard, Flashfires isn’t a big issue to worry about. Just play out your non-basics first until you run out of them, but you should still play enough Plains to play your spells. Two Plains is the right number for the first few turns.

Dwarven Blastminer is a real disaster for you if they drop it on turn 2. The odds that they are able to and are willing to play with both Flashfires and the Blastminer are very low, so if they drop a Blastminer, you shouldn’t be afraid to drop every Plains you can, even after you get rid of the Blastminer. Mindslaver is easy to time. During the game, take careful note as to what your opponent is doing. Is he being aggressive or is he equipping all of his creatures with Skullclamp? If he is drawing an enormous amount of cards, then you should use the Mindslaver as soon as you can, otherwise you should hold back until you see a good opening to”Time Walk” into a large threat.

Sulfuric Vortex should not be a problem for you, as you will still have five ways to deal with it, as well as a cheap threat of your own in Silver Knight. Blood Moon is a poor sideboard card against you, as all it does is stop your Urza lands from producing the extra mana – yet you do have five ways to deal with it if you get the UrzaTron up and need the extra mana.

Tooth and Nail: (Mono-Green)

Sideboarding: (+1 Mindslaver, +2 Darksteel Colossus, +2 Duplicant;

-3 Renewed Faith, -1 Pulse of the Fields, -1 Wing Shards.)

Provided they do not get two Colossuses* into play, you are the heavy favorite in this matchup. Wrath of God disrupts everything they have except for the Darksteel Colossus. Unfortunately, they have four ways to put two Colossuses into play, and two ways to put one into play. They will almost always go for the double Colossus plan as fast as they can, although they do not always draw Tooth and Nail. A stormed Wing Shards, barring a second Tooth and Nail or a freshly peeled Colossus, will slow them down to a halt.

After sideboarding, you will have many more ways to deal with their Colossuses, including two Colossuses of your own. Removing the lifegain may be questionable, although against any non-Red build, your two Pulses will be plenty. They will possibly leave their Duplicant in for the second and third games, as they may drool about imprinting your Dragon, but if they have a slow draw that contains Duplicant and anything other than Tooth and Nail or Colossus, your Dragon will be imprinted most of the time. This should leave you free to play your own Colossus without worry, but there is always a chance that they run multiple Duplicants and actually wanted to use them all against you. Some builds will also play Molder Slug, which is another way to deal with you Colossus, but those will often be sideboarded out for their Mindslavers. An opposite strategy is to keep your board free of Dragons. Then, you will possibly be able to Mindslaver them and use their own Duplicant against them, removing their Colossus.

Mindslaver/Decree will win the game about sixty percent of the time, Colossus will win twenty percent, and Eternal Dragon will win the other twenty percent of the time. This is an obvious reason to play for the Slaver or even just play for the Decree. Against the mono-Green build, you are the heavy favorite, almost dominantly so. Their only hope is to get two Colossuses into play and hope you don’t have anything to stop it. This goes for both games, although you have a much better chance of stopping a Colossus after boarding. You will win seven out of ten games for the first game. After sideboard the matchup will become a bit more even as they will have more Mindslavers, but the results still hold at seven to three.

(With Red) Sideboarding: (+2 Darksteel Colossus, +2 Duplicant, +1 Mindslaver;

-3 Wing Shards, -1 Wrath of God, -1 Akroma’s Vengeance.)

The Fireballs will be another obvious threat to add to their Colossuses, which basically means that you should attempt to Slaver/Decree them out of the game as fast as you can, not waiting for full control to win. You need to watch out for their Mindslavers, which are in many builds (Eric Froelich’s being one of them). One thing to remember for this matchup is that Duplicant says”nontoken creature,” which stops them from killing one of your Angels. Overall, you are a slight underdog against the Red builds, regardless of their use of either Urzatron or Cloudpost.

The results of the pre-sideboarded games for this matchup were entirely one-sided – either the Mono-White deck drew amazingly well, or the Tooth deck would squeak out a win by getting a Fireball off to backup a failed double Colossus plan. The most memorable game was the following:

The Tooth and Nail player built up to eleven mana and played a Colossus (turn 7), and saw an end of turn Decree of Justice that cycled for six. That Decree drew into the Urza’s Tower, which was the last piece left for the Tron, as the first Tower was previously destroyed. I dropped a Mindslaver and blew it, using all of the mana I had, then attacked for six, with one guy getting blocked.

The Tooth and Nail player drew Oxidize. That Oxidize destroyed his Duplicant – err, I’m getting ahead of myself. I made him play Duplicant on his Colossus, then Oxidized the Duplicant, and cast Fireball on the T&N player for 3. Two turns later, the five soldiers dealt the final blow (along with a returned Dragon).

Don’t take this the wrong way, though, as your matchup is less than favorable at a four out of ten win percentage. After sideboard, your chances grow a little bit, but they may still have an amazing double or triple Fireball hand, so don’t be too upset if you lose against them, as it should happen a majority of the time.


Sideboarding: (+2 Darksteel Colossus, +1 Mindslaver, +2 Gilded Light, +3 Duplicant;

-3 Pulse of the Fields, -1 Oblivion Stone, -1 Renewed Faith, -3 Wing Shards.)

The reason you should not sideboard in the Scrabbling Claws here is due to the way the mirror works. If you are playing a vulnerable permanent, then it better be immensely powerful, or fast at what you need it to do. Removing their Eternal Dragon and drawing a card is just not as good as what Duplicant provides.

It is likely that you will not see an opposing Colossus, however I hear they are growing in popularity for Mono-White Control. Duplicant is in there to stop Eternal Dragons. Pulse of the Fields is a decent way to slow an opposing Colossus, assuming they get theirs out and you don’t. Pulse of the Fields also stops the Dragon war from mattering much at all.

Games two and (if you play quickly) three are similar to the first game in that the winner will usually draw their Mindslaver and a win condition, however, a Colossus is an additional way to win before anything ridiculous starts to happen. Gilded Light prevents a devastating Mindslaver, which is why you should hold on to one instead of cycling. There is that off chance that one of you might deck, and the Colossus works nicely in that situation, of course. One thing you may want to remember is that Mindslaver is a legend. Keep it in play until either your opponent tries to destroy it, or you see an opening on his end step to use it, then on your turn, cast Decree of Justice for an army of Angels.

Death Cloud/Cemetery:

Sideboarding: (+3 Scrabbling Claws, +2 Darksteel Colossus, +1 Mindslaver;

-3 Wing Shards, -3 Renewed Faith)

This matchup is a breeze. Your opponent will attempt to put pressure on you early, which your Pulse of the Fields will stop. They will try to get recursion going with Oversold Cemetery, which you can stop using seven different cards in the main deck. Mindslaver absolutely ruins them. Their deck is built to have flashy powerful plays and Mindslaver loves to take advantage of those types of cards. However, you should be highly aware that they most likely are playing with Death Cloud. Don’t allow yourself to be within”Fireball” range via the Death Cloud.

An important problem is the Cemetery/Death Cloud play that they may pull off. You should destroy Skullclamp whenever you get a good chance, and continuously clear the board of anything that is a potential threat. Hard cast your Decrees of Justice, being aware of their potential to use a Bane of the Living, as they have no other way to get around them (besides Death Cloud for a bunch).

The potential turn 3 Simulacrum, turn 4 Mindslaver/Activate, turn 5 cast Decree of Justice is fun. While it has allowed me to beat an opponent in a game that started with four minutes on the clock, it is not the best play I have ever seen. Try turn 4 Darksteel Colossus, turn 5 Mindslaver (or the reverse). Turn 3 Tron up, Simulacrum. Turn 4 play the second Urza’s Tower and cast Colossus (or play any Urza land and use a Mindslaver), then follow that up with a turn 5 Mindslaver (or Colossus, depending on your draw). That poor Death Cloud player didn’t know what hit him. You are an amusingly high favorite against this Death Cloud deck, so sit back and relax, you’ve got an eight to two win ratio.


Sideboarding: (+2 Darksteel Colossus, +1 Mindslaver; -3 Wing Shards.)

First might I suggest the following idea to you. Your opponent is playing a deck that was named after a body lubricant. Alright, get that nasty image out of your head. Do you honestly believe something like that could stand up against the umm.. Colossus err.. (grabs thesaurus) brobdingnagian force that is MWC? Didn’t think so. Ahem.

The sideboard plan is similar to the mirror match, however it is for a different reason. Pulse of the Fields does the same job it did in game one: stop Exalted Angel and/or Lightning Rift. Even if your opponent sideboards out the Exalted Angel (as they should), the Pulse is still going to slow the Dragon wars to a winning position for you.

The easiest way to win this is to draw Mindslaver, and use it as a Mind Twist/Hatred, when backed up with a Decree of Justice. You will likely want to have them tapped out before you use the Decree, so it may be wise to just Slaver them as soon as it hits play, tap them out and use their removal, then cast a Decree for as many Angels as possible (depending on what you left them with).

Darksteel Colossus is a threat that they can not deal with. Astral Slide will be destroyed by either your own removal, or by theirs. Mindslaver/Colossus is another way around Astral Slide.

I would expect to see Decree of Annihilation from them in the second game, especially if it was there game one, so you should play accordingly. You should leave mana open for a cycled Decree of Justice if they have a creature in play, otherwise you may want to destroy that creature as soon as possible. Pulse of the Fields should race their Lightning Rifts as well as mostly their entire deck. Decree of Annihilation is essentially their only out against your Pulse.

Cast your Dragons aggressively, even if they are likely to be killed. This will put pressure on the opponent, causing them to hold back their Decree of Annihilation, tap out for removal, and even tap out for a matching Dragon. If your opponent attempts to win the Dragon war, you will be free to Mindslaver him. Your Eternal Dragons are not here to kill your opponent (although they may), but rather they are here to pose a continuous threat that will keep your opponent on the defensive, which will allow you to Mindslaver them for the game. If they play with Fireball (as my playtest partner did), you should have a harder time, but, as always, Mindslaver means the game. Speaking of Mindslaver, they may have Gilded Light for it, expect only two of them. The sideboarding changes a little bit if they have Fireball – adding two Gilded Light and removing a Wrath of God and one Renewed Faith.

Play this matchup as the more controlling deck, and you will win. Do not aggressively cycle a Decree of Justice. They have too much removal for you to waste your Decrees on a simple two-for-one trade of their removal (which is often useless against you) for your Decree and the card you drew from it.

This matchup is so much easier than it ever was before, all because of that one card: Pulse of the Fields (betcha thought I was going to say Mindslaver again). The old”strategy” of turn 2 Lightning Rift has become nullified by the Pulse. Either they spend all of their mana to mana burn in addition to using Rift, in which case they will surely lose to any threat you could possibly play with, or they play the slow game with Eternal Dragons and Decrees. As I have noted above, you are like the farmer with a shotgun – the longer the wolf stays around idly, the more likely you are to put lead into his skull. **


Sideboarding: (+1 Mindslaver, +2 Darksteel Colossus, +2 Gilded Light

-3 Wing Shards, -1 Renewed Faith, -1 Wrath of God.)

Mindslaver is your bomb here (surprise!) You will always win the Dragon war, and Mana Leak is useless. Pulse of the Fields will either entirely win you the game if they attack with Exalted Angel a few times, or it will be countered. If they counter it, that simply means that they have one less counter and probably can’t win without their Angel. Mindslaver is a potential nightmare, so don’t fret if a few of your spells get countered. Stifle is their only way to stop your monstrous Decree cycling, and lucky you, our deck has four of those Justice inducing piles of soldiers. As a long time U/W player, I know the disaster that large Decrees are, as well as just how much a resolved Mindslaver hurts.

Their deck will likely be a steaming pile of dung in the control matchup. You should fear a Damping Matrix, as that will stop your Mindslavers and your Oblivion Stones. They can simply counter your Vengeance and suddenly you have seven useless cards. If this situation arises, you should attempt to force them to use their own mass removal and get rid of the Matrix. After sideboard, Gilded Light comes in to stop Mindslaver, however if you do not see any Mindslavers, and especially if your opponent doesn’t play with four each of Cloudpost and Temple of the False God, then you should instead take out another Wrath of God and add in three Scrabbling Claws. Depending on their build of the deck, you either have a great chance (7-3), or you have a rough time (4-6).

Land Destruction:

While I do not believe that this will be a large presence at Regionals, I will still leave you with the best advice I can give you for your games.

(Mono Red) (Sideboarding: +4 Silver Knight; -3 Wing Shards, -1 Oblivion Stone.)

(Red/Green) (Sideboarding: No changes.)

You should attempt to hold off their threats with Wing Shards, Wrath, and Pulse as long as you can, then try to get any creature into play. If you can keep two White mana and another land in play for a very long time and slowly build up mana, you will win. Just remember that even if you face this deck and get crushed, you should still win just about every single other game. Keep your hopes up and don’t concede just because your lands aren’t in play for very long – they may not draw a threat that will kill you before you can answer. This matchup is all about surviving until you can make seven mana and play Eternal Dragon(s), or even getting to ten mana and using Mindslavers. After sideboard, Silver Knight will be amazingly good against the Mono-Red deck.

As for that winner’s attitude that is oh-so-important, here are the top songs for getting just that right mood at Regionals:

Top 5 Songs for MWC at Regionals:

5. Blink 182 – I Miss You

4. Cutting Crew – (I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight

3. The Strokes – Last Night

2. The Darkness – I Believe in a Thing Called Love

1. War – Low Rider

These are, of course, merely what I suggest. However, if you plan on taking this Regionals’ soundtrack into your own hands, might I suggest you turn that Jay-Z or Korn CD the other way. I just find it hard to imagine someone making any complex plays when they’re being screamed at with”Aaaaah!” and other such colorful lyrics. These types of songs will give you more of a headache than a day full of playing the control mirror.

Good luck at Regionals, and may you find something to do while you intentionally draw into the top eight and your stomach is growling. Don’t forget to bring the aspirin.

Happy White Spring,

Ryan Cimera

Kakkaroto7 at hotmail dot com

* This is for all of you non-believers.

** I do not condone the use of weaponry at your Regionals event. Mostly.