We’re really getting deep into the top white cards of all-time, revealing
some pretty ridiculous cards across a very wide spread of types of cards.
For instance, Replenish…
I mean, is this card a joke? I don’t think it’s crazy to assume that if
this card was made today, it might cost the same, but only get back one
enchantment. Even then, would it be safe at all?
I think even a single target Replenish would put serious constraints on the
format and the types of designs WotC could safely make. Actual Replenish,
however, plays each and every single one, which was particularly effective
when combined with Attunement and Opalescence.
Attunement is already a potent way to dig really hard, looking at a lot of
cards to try to find a Replenish. Its “downside” of needing you to discard
a ton of cards becomes upside once Replenish lets you play them all for
Opalescence is clearly an “enchantment deck build-around,” which let you
turn Replenish into not only a source of lots of virtual card advantage,
but also a massive battlefield position that could easily dominate and end
- 3 Counterspell
- 1 Wrath of God
- 4 Replenish
- 1 Mystical Tutor
- 3 Enlightened Tutor
- 3 Parallax Tide
- 1 Seal of Cleansing
- 4 Frantic Search
- 4 Opalescence
- 1 Energy Field
- 1 Sky Diamond
- 4 Attunement
- 1 Seal of Removal
- 4 Parallax Wave
Similar to Attunement, Frantic Search let Tom dig through his deck while
stocking the graveyard, and both Parallax Tide and Parallax Wave could have
a powerful impact on the table early before eventually contributing to a
Replenish being extremely disruptive.
At the end of the day, Replenish was just too frequently game-over for a
four-cost spell, even if it lead to exotic card choices in decks. I do
wonder if such a thing might be more palatable at a slightly more
#9: Mother of Runes
Mother of Runes is just out of this world compared to almost any other
one-drop in the game’s history. I think a reasonable comparison might be to
Deathrite Shaman, in terms of just how disproportionately impactful it is
for its cost, as well as in flexibility.
Mother of Runes was first printed smack dab in the middle of combo winter,
with cards like Tolarian Academy, Tinker, and Memory Jar stealing a lot of
the spotlight. Nevertheless, she put up a few big Standard finishes before
eventually going on to enjoy substantially more success in Legacy
(despite how much Legacy doesn’t naturally lend itself to the sorts of
things she is best at).
- 4 Mother of Runes
- 2 Mangara of Corondor
- 2 Aven Mindcensor
- 3 Flickerwisp
- 4 Stoneforge Mystic
- 3 Mirran Crusader
- 4 Phyrexian Revoker
- 1 Fiend Hunter
- 4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Decks like Ari Lax’s Death and Taxes could use Mother of Runes to pressure
opposing removal spells, protect one’s self from opposing attacks, or just
force through some damage. Every Lightning Bolt on a Mom was one less
Lightning Bolt for Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Mirran Crusader.
#8: Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Elspeth, Knight-Errant headlines what may be the best Planeswalker color in
Her combination of extremely resilient body combined with the dual threats
of tokens going wide or a single giant, flying threat killing you quickly,
has made her a top tier choice in basically every format since her
While she is often thought of as a part of control decks, superfriends
decks, or token decks, she’s also been a great addition to all sorts of
curve decks that just want to use her to turn basically any two-drop into a
super fast, evasive threat that threatens to kill people far faster than
they can actually successfully attack her.
She’s also extremely good for combining with other sweeper resistant
gameplans, giving you a reliable source of follow-up threats that are all
too happy to pick up a machete for the cause.
#7: Lingering Souls
Speaking of token-making, it’s hard to find much better than Lingering
Souls. This cross-format superstar has excelled at every level, basically
single-handedly justifying an ungodly number of splashes (both white into
black and black into white).
While Lingering Souls has played a crucial role in more decks than we could
count, it got its start in an unlikely place…
Taking advantage of the Spirit creature type, Jon Finkel, Jelger Wiegersma,
Gerry Thompson, and more put together something special for Pro Tour Dark Ascension. The only thing better than getting 4/4 worth of
fliers is getting 8/8 worth of fliers!
Of course, the real gimmick here is the use of Phantasmal Image for copying
Phantasmal Image’s “drawback” is no longer relevant when it’s used to copy
a Drogskol Captain. Both Captains give the other hexproof, and then you
could generally just race most people pretty quickly.
#6: Armageddon/Ravages of War
Destroy all lands.
Okay, no problem. Now what?
Oh, you have anything at all? I guess I’m dead…
We’ve already touched on a lot of Armageddon decks this week.
- Zak Dolan – Bant Denial
- Marc Hernandez – W/U Prison
- Bertrand Lestree – W/G Erhnamgeddon
Armageddon control, Armageddon lock, Armageddon aggro… where can’t you put
a well-timed Armageddon?
Pro Tour Chicago 2000 featured a lot of Rebels with Armageddon and a lot of
R/G Blastoderm decks.
Kibler decided he wanted to play both.
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 4 River Boa
- 4 Blastoderm
- 4 Ancient Hydra
- 2 Rith, the Awakener
- 3 Jade Leech
Kibler’s Red Zone decks was miles ahead of its time, going even bigger than
the Fires of Yavimaya decks that usually housed Blastoderm, thanks to Rith,
Where do you think Kibler got the “Dragonmaster” nickname from?
Of course, Kibler is also not afraid to mix it up on people, and this list
took a page out of the Eric Tam playbook, splashing a fourth color off of
City of Brass and Birds of Paradise.
Remember, Rebels were everywhere. Having a six-mana Plague Wind
that also Mind Twisted your opponent was backbreaking, especially when
played on turn four or five, thanks to mana creatures.
Okay, okay, fair is fair. While Brian’s list was the highest finishing deck
to maindeck Armageddons in Chicago 2000, we would be remiss if we did not
mention this list that Kai piloted to 14% of his Pro Tour victories (even
if it kept the Armageddons in the sideboard, for when you faced opponents
- 4 Ramosian Sergeant
- 3 Longbow Archer
- 1 Thermal Glider
- 3 Steadfast Guard
- 2 Ramosian Sky Marshal
- 4 Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero
- 2 Defiant Vanguard
- 2 Defiant Falcon
- 1 Rebel Informer
You might be wondering what’s so special about Wax that both Kibler and Kai
were going to great lengths to run the full playset.
Well, when the two biggest decks are built around Fires of
Yavimaya+Saproling Burst and Parallax Wave, one mana to kill an enchantment
at instant speed is meta-defining.
As for Ravages of War, it just hasn’t been legal in much, and where it is
legal, it’s generally right to split with Armageddon in order to hedge
against Cabal Therapy and Meddling Mage. A lot of people don’t bother to,
however, as the card generally costs about 50x as many dollars.
Okay, just five white cards remain!
What are they, and what order would you put them in?
Maybe four of them aren’t hard to guess, but what’s the fifth?!