So this WAS the Metagame

Flores takes another look at White Weenie today, including testing one of the decks forum-goers touted as considerably better than Mike’s Weenie lists from last week. He also throws the Weenie variations against a testing gauntlet from the French Regionals results that are slowly trickling in. If you are playing Standard any time soon, this article is not to be missed.

Part II – The Beatdown

When I started the White Weenie article last week, we only had the Paris results… Now we have three more Regionals to test. But for part two of the White Weenie set, I just wanted to go over the alleged beatdown decks from Paris and see if either of my White Weenie decks improved.

To recap from last week, I built two White Weenie decks, one designed to slow down the board with Hokori, Dust-Drinker and control the long game with Kami of False Hope and the other a fast deck with Lions, Tigers, and Bears. Well, there is only one bear (but he’s pretty good) and no Tigers… but there is a Hound of Konda.

The decks:

Slowdown White Weenie

4 Aether Vial

4 Chrome Mox

1 Lightning Greaves

2 Sword of Fire and Ice

1 Sword of Light and Shadow

2 Umezawa’s Jitte

4 Hokori, Dust-Drinker

4 Kami of False Hope

4 Lantern Kami

4 Leonin Skyhunter

4 Skyhunter Skirmisher

4 Steelshaper’s Gift

4 Suntail Hawk

1 Eiganjo Castle

17 Plains

Fast White Weenie

4 Aether Vial

4 Bonesplitter

4 Chrome Mox

1 Lightning Greaves

1 Sword of Fire and Ice

1 Sword of Light and Shadow

2 Umezawa’s Jitte

1 Isamaru, Hound of Konda

4 Lantern Kami

4 Leonin Skyhunter

4 Savannah Lions

4 Skyhunter Skirmisher

4 Steelshaper’s Gift

4 Suntail Hawk

1 Eiganjo Castle

17 Plains

Last week’s article called up some controversy in the forums. Apparently I had overlooked some of the cards that my fellow Star City denizens find impressive, namely Glorious Anthem and Shining Shoal. According to some players, Aether Vial isn’t mana acceleration and the Tooth and Nail matchup is like 90%.

So for whatever reason, I actually dug up the posted list from one of these players and tossed around some games:

Forums White Weenie

2 Bonesplitter

3 Chrome Mox

4 Glorious Anthem

3 Hokori, Dust-Drinker

3 Isamaru, Hound of Konda

2 Kami of the Ancient Law

4 Lantern Kami

4 Leonin Skyhunter

4 Otherworldly Journey

4 Raise the Alarm

4 Samura of the Pale Curtain

4 Shining Shoal

4 Suntail Hawk

1 Eiganjo Castle

18 Plains

I’m not sure why this deck is supposed to beat Tooth and Nail the vast majority of the time. It can get tricky with Otherworldly Journey but its power level isn’t stronger than the decks that I posted; I guess Hokori is good, but the curve isn’t better than the slowdown White Weenie deck that I posted either.

I ran the Forums deck against my Hokori deck and quit after four games. My deck won them all the same way. Sword of Light and Shadow and Kami of False Hope own this deck, and even though the matchup never came down to it, I found in the overall testing this week that between creature decks, Jitte advantage tends to be key; this deck doesn’t have any Jittes.

To be fair, Samurai of the Pale Curtain was annoying for the Sword recursion, but one Kami was enough most of the time.

Anyway, on to real matchups…

The first one was a doozy. Here is the G/R deck that made Top 8 of the same Regionals as reigning Player of the Year Gabriel Nassif:

2 Sensei’s Divining Top

4 Solemn Simulacrum

4 Birds of Paradise

4 Eternal Witness

4 Kodama’s Reach

4 Plow Under

2 Rude Awakening

4 Sakura-Tribe Elder

3 Viridian Shaman

1 Arc-Sloger

2 Grab the Reins

3 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

2 Kumano, Master Yamabushi

11 Forest

8 Mountain

1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers

1 Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep


2 Naturalize

2 Boil

3 Pyroclasm

2 Sowing Salt

1 Grab the Reins

4 Circle of Protection: Red

1 Plains

The first matchup went Slowdown White Weenie 10, over G/R, 0.

That’s right, friends, 10-0.

The main reason in my opinion is one card: Magma Jet. That is, this G/R deck doesn’t have it. Magma Jet is the nut high two-mana burn spell; it is so good people play it in Extended RDW and splash it into their U/W Scepter decks… but it’s not in this G/R deck.

The Red creature card that impressed me most in States testing was Arc-Slogger; this deck has one.

In one of the games, it looked like G/R was going to pull out of a Hokori with five mana for a Rude Awakening, ready with that untap for the next Rude Awakening… but White Weenie had the False Hope.

One game, G/R had Kiki-Jiki going for insane card advantage, but it couldn’t contain the flyers.

Of course the White Weenie had some nuts draws that just bashed the G/R. Hokori, Skyhunter, and Jitte off of Aether Vial is hard to beat, but the best draw was this one:

Turn 1: Aether Vial (which is not mana acceleration)

Turn 2: Steelshaper’s Gift for Lightning Greaves (eot make but not accelerate out a 1/1)

Turn 3: Sword of Fire and Ice, smash (eot make but not accelerate out Leonin Skyhunter)

Turn 4: Vial out Skyhunter Skirmisher, lay Greaves, double equip, smash Smash SMASH.

After I believe the only 10-0 run I’ve ever seen when testing for Star City Games, I was pretty surprised at the drastic change in numbers when I changed to the fast White Weenie deck, a 5-5 draw.

The G/R sacked out of some clearly dominated positions with Rude Awakening for the kill, something that never happened against the Aether Vial + Kami of False Hope of the Slowdown White Weenie.

I mean it’s not hard to see how swapping Dust-Drinker for Savannah Lions helps the deck playing with Sakura-Tribe Elder, but the percentage change was still considerable.

All that said, this G/R has some serious problems with flyers. Its only real “answer” to flyers is putting Birds of Paradise in front of one. I just don’t see how it doesn’t have Magma Jet. Honestly, there were several games where Kiki-Jiki + Eternal Witness should have been picking off Suntail Hawks, but instead, the best the deck could muster was Solemn Simulacrum + Grab the Reins, i.e. the world’s slowest Shock.

Both White Weenie decks performed well against the Mono-Green deck from Paris.

4 Sword of Fire and Ice

4 Umezawa’s Jitte

4 Beacon of Creation

4 Birds of Paradise

1 Dosan the Falling Leaf

3 Eternal Witness

1 Fangren Firstborn

2 Iwamori of the Open Fist

1 Naturalize

4 Sakura-Tribe Elder

4 Troll Ascetic

4 Viridian Shaman

2 Wear Away

1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers

20 Forest

1 Swamp


2 Aether Vial

3 Engineered Explosives

2 Sword of Light and Shadow

4 Cranial Extraction

4 Creeping Mold

Some of the card choices in this deck didn’t make any sense to me. For some reason I love Hearth Kami but can’t stand Viridian Zealot; at least once, the deck drew its Swamp and couldn’t operate the Zealot, so maybe that’s why.

That Swamp was really annoying. The only reason the deck plays it is for sideboarded Cranial Extractions, but it doesn’t have any Plow Unders. As far as I can tell, those Extractions are the main reason that the deck has Wear Away instead of more Naturalizes; I can see Wear Away as being a good choice in some decks, but given the expected metagame, I’m pretty sure Tel-Jilad Justice will be better. And why Aether Vial in the board? And why two? This deck is really close to being a good version, but I think it’s got a way to go.

Those Engineered Explosives will sure put a dent in White Weenie after boards, though.


Slowdown White Weenie, 6 over Mono-Green, 4.

In the first several games, the Green deck only lost games where it stalled on mana. If you plan to have manascrewed opponents, the White Weenie decks are really good at punishing them.

One game, which I thought was pretty cool, featured Birds of Paradise flapping across the Red Zone with a Sword of Fire and Ice in its beak, hitting for all 20 damage.

In the dumbest game Green drew all its Jittes and had a couple in hand even late in the game. Unfortunately, the Jitte in play didn’t do anything because all the men involved were X/1s and a pair of Skirmishers held them off until, believe it or not, Dosan the Falling Leaf showed up to trade and clear the board. Nope… there’s that fourth Jitte. Stupid Aether Vial.


Fast White Weenie, 6 over Mono-Green, 4.

White Weenie was beating up the Green deck in most of the early games, but Green came back late. The thing I learned in these violent first few was that There Is No Late Game. The White Weenie deck is too fast for a late game to ever occur between these two creature decks.

Umezawa’s Jitte is the all star in this matchup. Over the past 100 or so games, I tended to see Sword of Fire and Ice as the Cadillac equipment, but in this matchup, whichever deck had the unopposed Jitte always won. The reason is that it is hard to break through with Sword, but any combat with Jitte can start picking off Birds, Hawks, Zealots, uppity Lanterns, and even otherwise dangerous Skirmishers. This tended to be bad for the White Weenie because the Green deck has artifact removal; unfortunately for the Green deck, its artifact removal includes Viridian Zealot, i.e. a four-mana Naturalize.

The other thing is that White Weenie wins all the close games. Green can’t use its Jitte for life because it has to snipe so many of the little 1/1 beaters. Going for Bonesplitter with Steelshaper’s Gift was usually the right choice because it could translate into instant damage rather than dragging over one or even two turns.

The Hokori version seemed to do better than the fast deck; neither was impressive last week, both decks had the same record against Mono-Green, but the Slowdown deck posted that awesome 10-0 v. the non-awesome G/R deck. The slow version may get to the point where it is even if not heavily favored across the metagame, and because of that, I think it will be a contender at Regionals. We’ll have to make sure we revisit this archetype in coming weeks.

Up next, because you Knut requested it, Tooth and Nail.