The Guide To W/B Aggro

Collins Mullen wants to talk about the big deck of the moment! Can this archetype stay alive throughout the meta? And how did it prey on U/W Control this week?

After the Team Constructed Open in Atlanta, Standard had a clear deck to
beat in U/W Control. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria was the talk of the town as
one of the strongest planeswalkers printed recently, and it did an
excellent job making U/W Control have a lot of success in the first week of Dominaria Standard. U/W Control had a lot of things going for it,
mainly the fact that no one in week one was really prepared to try and beat
a bunch of Fumigates and Settle the Wreckages.

When testing for the Team Constructed Open in Baltimore, my testing team
quickly realized that U/W Control leaning so heavily on these sweeper
effects would make it an easy target for players who knew how to prepare
for it. There are a ton of good options out there for cards that creature
decks can play to counteract the effect of these sweepers.

One angle to take would be playing cards that would make it difficult for
your opponent to resolve a sweeper. Playing either counterspells or discard
spells in your creature deck could make things very difficult for a control
deck to keep up, since they would be less likely to rely on being able to
resolve a sweeper.

Another angle to take would be playing cards that would make your
opponents’ sweepers less effective. Both planeswalkers and vehicles fit the
bill for this, as they represented threats that Fumigate couldn’t really
touch and could even naturally play around Settle the Wreckage.

Because we could see so many answers to the U/W Control decks, we
anticipated that these control decks would not have a very good weekend in
Baltimore. But because of the success of these U/W Control decks in
Atlanta, we also anticipated that it would be heavily represented in
Baltimore, at least on the first day. So, we decided to look for a powerful
deck that was a good counter to U/W Control:

W/B Aggro felt like the perfect answer. So many of the cards in this deck
lined up well against what U/W Control was trying to do.

Both Knight of Malice and Heart of Kiran proved to be very resilient
threats against U/W Control. U/W Control’s removal spell of choice was Seal
Away, and both threats can’t be targeted by Seal Away. In fact, the only
answers that the control decks had to a Heart of Kiran was either a Cast
Out, which would be very strained in this matchup and they only played two,
or Settle the Wreckage. Being able to force your opponent to cast their
Settle the Wreckage by only attacking with one creature is a big game and
Heart of Kiran definitely did that at times.

W/B Aggro even had easy access to discard effects that would make things
very difficult for U/W Control. Doomfall was easily one of the best cards
to play against U/W Control, because not only could you use it to take away
a sweeper that they were leaning heavily on, but you could also use it to
remove a Lyra Dawnbringer that they might have brought in after sideboard.

W/B Aggro also had a ton of game against the other decks that we expected
to see. We had an excellent sideboard plan of transforming into a more
controlling deck to fight against the bigger creature decks we might face,
like Mono-Green Aggro or G/B Constrictor. These were decks that our
proactive beatdown plan would definitely struggle with because they were
just playing bigger and better creatures than we were faster than we could.
But after sideboard we had access to Fumigate and Settle the Wreckage,
cards that were excellent against these big creature decks.

The card that really tied everything together for W/B Aggro was Karn, Scion
of Urza. Karn allowed you to have access to a ton of card advantage, while
also being able to present reasonable threats with the construct tokens he
can make. Karn fits in very well with any deck that has incidental
artifacts, in this case Heart of Kiran and Scrapheap Scrounger.


VS U/W Control



Our threats line up very well against their answers, so it’s important to
lean on that in this matchup. Generally, you don’t want to expose more than
one resilient threat at a time to a Settle the Wreckage (Knight of Malice,
Heart of Kiran, or Scrapheap Scrounger).

You also want to hold your discard spells for very particular spots against
U/W Control. It’s almost never correct to just fire off your Duress on turn
1, because the Duress will be much more effective on a turn where you
expect your opponent to want to cast Settle the Wreckage, or right before
you know they’re going to need to cast Fumigate.

VS Mono-Green Aggro



Small creature beatdown just isn’t going to cut it against Mono-Green
Aggro, so all the Scrapheap Scroungers and Toolcraft Exemplars need to go.
Game 1 is usually rough for this reason. Sometimes you can get under them
with a fast draw that includes a Heart of Kiran, but that typically isn’t
going to work, and they can usually race you pretty effectively. After
sideboard we’re leaning pretty heavily on having some kind of sweeper
effect to get an advantage here.

Doomfall and Treasure Map aren’t the greatest cards to have here, but
they’re better than either Scrapheap Srounger or Toolcraft Exemplar, which
usually do close to nothing.

You typically want to mulligan towards a hand that has early interaction or
a sweeper effect, otherwise it’s easy to get run over in this matchup.

VS G/B Constrictor



The plan for this matchup is very similar to the plan against Mono-Green
Aggro, but you’re even more incentivized to look for a Fatal Push in your
opening hand because this deck has so many powerful two-drop creatures in
Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Winding Constrictor.

VS Mono-Red Aggro



It’s important to distinguish between Mono-Red Aggro and R/B Aggro, because
these two decks are going to have very different plans against us after
sideboard. With that in mind, make sure you keep an eye out for black lands
or Scrapheap Scrounger in game one to tell you which deck you’re playing
against. Generally, Mono-Red Aggro is going to stay aggressive after
sideboard, while R/B Aggro has more of a grindy control plan after

Against Mono-Red Aggro, you’re going to want all your sweepers and that’s
part of why I like Scrapheap Scrounger in the matchup more than Toolcraft
Exemplar. Another reason is that Toolcraft Exemplar dies to Goblin
Chainwhirler, where otherwise none of our threats will normally die to it.

VS R/B Aggro



Be prepared for your R/B Aggro opponent to transform into a more grindy
deck with planeswalkers and more removal spells after sideboard. I
typically sideboard with the assumption that they’re going to do this, but
it’s also very important to adjust to what you see in Game 2. If you see
that they stayed aggressive, it can be right to bring in more sweeper
effects and take out the slower cards like Treasure Map. Always look to
adapt to your opponent between games 2 and 3.

VS W/B Aggro



We found that the small creatures in this matchup typically didn’t end up
getting there, and it was much easier to be able to stabilize and move on
to the midrangey mid to late game without them. This matchup often comes
down to a big threat going unanswered for a long enough time, and that
threat is usually Karn, Scion of Urza.

Moving Forward in Standard

The decks that had the most success in Baltimore were aggressively slanted,
with the ability to have a bigger plan after sideboard. We saw this recipe
in W/B Aggro, R/B Aggro, and even G/B Constrictor. Everyone has their own
plan to try and trump everyone else after sideboarding. I think that moving
forward, the deck that ends up on top will be the deck with the best
sideboard plan.

That’s why Karn, Scion of Urza is so strong right now. He fits in the
aggressive decks very well, while still being one of the most important
cards for going bigger in the sideboarded games.

I’ve been really impressed with the G/B Constrictor decks that have a
bigger plan after sideboard with cards like Vraska, Relic Seeker and
Lifecrafter’s Bestiary. These are cards that give this deck resiliency
against sweeper effects and excellent card advantage. James Lu’s deck was
set up very well to compete with both U/W Control decks and other midrange
decks that were leaning on sweepers to compete against his powerful

For W/B Aggro to compete against the green decks, it’s leaning heavily on
Fumigate and Settle the Wreckage. If these green decks end up getting more
popular, the W/B Aggro decks will be forced to adapt by including more of
these sweeper effects.

We’ll see which of these decks ends up on top for the next Standard event.
But one thing is for sure, it’s Karn’s world out there and we’re just
living in it.