The Top 25 White Cards Of All-Time: #5-1

Friday means it’s time to finish up the white cards for The Innovator! Check out the best two creatures in the color as well as the most ironically named Magic card ever printed!

Hermit Druid

Inferno Titan

Goblin Recruiter

It takes a very elite creature to crack a color’s top five, and today,
we’ll see two more join the party. But what about the top spot?

Channel and Wheel of Fortune set a high bar…

#5: Moat

Moat… well, it’s a little too efficient at literally ending all attacks from creatures ever made.

Island Sanctuary has some pretty hideous incentives, but at least there’s a
very real cost to trying to do this. If one player is just sitting behind
an Island Sanctuary not doing anything, the other has all the time in the
world to look for fliers, islandwalkers, enchantment removal, direct
damage, whatever.

Moat, on the other hand, Moat asks nothing of you. You just play it, and
that’s the way it is now. It’s not even an Enchant World (or World
Enchantment, as I guess they are technically labeled these days), removing
that possible axis of interaction.

Nope, with Moat you just put it down and the game grinds to a halt.

Can you imagine if you could just play a Moat the turn before Teferi? Talk
about warping! I mean, sure, you’ve got Rekindling Phoenix and Glorybringer
or whatever, but to just shut off the vast majority of creatures
indefinitely? Eek!

Moat is kind of like the white Counterbalance.

Some people want to watch the world burn, but others just want to watch
nothing happen…

#4: Stoneforge Mystic

Stoneforge Mystic, on the other hand, now that is a reliable way
to make things happen.

While we’ve already discussed a number of Stoneforge Mystic decks this
week, beginning with its very first Pro Tour, you knew we’d have to save
its greatest glory, Caw-Blade, for her:

Caw-Blade wasn’t just the deck of the tournament, it would go on to become
the most dominant deck of the Standard era over a sustained period.

You think there have been dominant decks lately?

Don’t get me wrong, there has been more broken stuff, but it’s always been
surrounded by other broken stuff and weird metagames evolved.

While Caw-Blade was merely historically good before the printing of
Batterskull, this was enough to elevate it to God-tier. It was just the
best, and by such a margin, it defied all rhyme or reason, eventually
resulting in the only two bans between March 2005 and January

Yeah, of course Jace was broken, here; but Jace has had a lot of
days in the sun.

#3: Monastery Mentor

That’s right, Monastery Mentor over Stoneforge Mystic.

Come at me.

From the moment
it was first previewed
, more than a few people sang its praises to degrees that might be
considered hyperbolic, if not for just how true they were.

You know how many creatures are on the Vintage restricted list?


Literally two.

Obviously Vintage is about some pretty unusual things, but Lodestone Golem
is really just a quarter of the price paid to keep Mishra’s Workshop

While Lodestone Golem is merely doing time for Mishra’s sins, Monastery
Mentor would be broken in Vintage even if you were to remove any four other
cards. It’s broken with Moxes, with cantrips, with Gush, with pitch spells,
the list goes on and on, and that’s to say nothing of how broken it is with
Time Walk.

For a little peek into why Monastery Mentor was restricted in Vintage, we
have only to examine the EU Vintage Championships before it was hammered.

What’s the gameplan? Well, just stop the other person from combo-ing off or
locking you out on the first turn, and then play a Monastery Mentor and so
many cheap or free cards that you kill in one or two hits, while also
having a resilient, wide array of threats, to ensure removal can’t stop

While Monastery Mentor is probably the slam dunk best creature in Vintage,
it was no slouch in lower powered formats either.

What’s it good with?

Cheap cards and cantrips.

#2: Swords to Plowshares

Like Lightning Bolt, some cards can end up near the top of the list by
doing that which you want most, but far more efficiently than any other
card in the game.

Magic debuted in 1993.

It wasn’t until deep into 1997 that we finally saw the first World Champion
to do it without Swords to Plowshares.

His secret?

It was the first time Swords to Plowshares wasn’t legal for the World

Tom Chanpheng’s white aggro deck was an unlikely dark horse in a sea of
Necropotence decks as far as the eye could see.

Fun fact: Order of Leitbur was so named because the designers thought it
was funny to be able to get an “Order of Light Beer.”

With twelve protection from black two-drops, Chanpheng was well suited for
attacking Necro-decks, while Phyrexian War Beast proved surprisingly
effective tech for blocking opposing Black Knights.

If it seems like there’s something not quite right about that list, you’re

That’s right. There’s a Sleight of Mind in the maindeck, with another in
the sideboard. But you know what there’s not?

Mark Hernandez famously finished second in the previous year’s World
Championship, with just a single copy of Sleight of Mind in his sideboard
(and just two Adarkar Wastes to “cast it”). In reality, Hernandez would
never sideboard it in. He would just open up his deckbox with Sleight of
Mind showing as the front card. The two Adarkar Wastes could help sell the
bluff if he needed to.

In reality, he never actually wanted to sideboard the Sleight of Mind in.

He just wanted people with Gloom to think he had four copies and that they
couldn’t risk casting Gloom against him.

His real anti-Gloom plan was sideboarding in Mountains and burn

This is the World Championship we’re talking about, though. Sure enough, he
eventually got inadvertently leveled by the man who would take home the
trophy, Alexander Blumke.

What kind of a maniac sideboards four Glooms in his deck that’s half white?

How about a man with both a Sleight of Mind and a Magical Hack
(for scaring away people considered dropping Karma on him)!?

The second Magic World Championship was won by a Royal Assassin,
Pestilence, Circle of Protection: Artifacts deck.

#1: Balance

Of course, Balance is on top of the white list. It’s arguably the most
undercosted card in the history of Magic.

Ancestral Recall is basically a four-mana undercosted Jace’s Ingenuity.
Targeting the opponent can be upside in some spots, but a liability in
others, and on the whole, I’d call it a wash. Four mana is still a lot,

While there is no direct analog, I’m confident that Black Lotus would be
safe to print at four mana.

Balance, on the other hand, I don’t think Balance would be okay to print at
six mana. It’s probably okay at seven, but might still be pretty scary.

Part of what’s so weird about Balance is just how long it took most of the
world to realize how broken the card was. The card was legal as a four-of
all the way up to April of 1995, when Standard was first invented.

And it’s not that people didn’t play it. It’s just that most people didn’t
understand what was winning the games or not, and sometimes, whoever took
the last shot would get the glory.

Yeah, Dingus Egg was literally restricted. It was on the actual first
restricted list ever.

Why? Because people like Adam Maysonet were playing all Moxes and Balances
and Armageddons, and killing people with Dingus Egg damage.

Of course, restricting the Moxes proved the more important move on that
front, and by the time Dingus Egg was unrestricted, Maysonet didn’t even
want it anymore.

Remember, Dingus Egg was restricted two months before the printing of Antiquities. Once Antiquities dropped, Maysonet found a
new kill condition.

The Rack was sort of like a Dingus Egg, except much cheaper!

Yeah, don’t let the Dredge players fool you. Bazaar of Baghdad has been
banging out the box since day 1.

Bazaar of Baghdad + Balance really is as intense of a combination as it
looks, and while there’s a lot of garbage here, you’ve gotta remember how
few cards even existed, when Antiquities came out. This was before even Mana Drain.

There were just so few playables in the entire game!

Now that’s a combo!

Honorable Mentions: