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White (and Black) Weenie

Tuesday, January 18th – Reid Duke, MTGO ringer, has a new best friend in Zealous Persecution. White can’t handle Faeries alone, so black steps in to give this classic deck a hand in preparation for GP Atlanta.

In last week’s article, I suggested a Faeries decklist with only two Thoughtseize as maindeck discard spells. It bothered me when consensus in the forums was
that Faeries should be playing many, many more than that. I was downright upset when I tried the deck that way and realized that I was glad
to have six discard spells against every popular deck in the format. Something was missing if people could afford to put so much effort
into destroying the opponent’s hand and so little into dealing with resolved threats. I immediately started my search for a redundant
beatdown deck that could take advantage of this trend.

The first place I looked was the deck I played at Worlds, White Weenie. Faeries vs. White Weenie is the greatest rivalry in sports.
I’ve been playing both sides of the matchup ever since Lorwyn Block. It’s very close, with Faeries typically having a slight
edge. However, small changes in the Faeries decklist—such as a few too many discard spells—can mean life or death, so I knew
that if I found a good list of White Weenie, I could feel confident about the matchup.

Unfortunately, I was down in the dumps about White Weenie for reasons other than the Faeries matchup. I lost twice at Worlds to Four-Color
Control decks with Wall of Omens and twice to Noble Hierarch/Knight of the Reliquary decks. Lately, I haven’t seen much Four-Color
Control because it and the even more-feared W/U Control are held in check by Faeries. Still, there was the problem of having no way to stop
the fast mana of Noble Hierarch decks.  

I came up with this build in the hopes of improving the matchups discussed above:



Zealous Persecution is a brutal card for this format. Aside from its obvious applications against Faeries, it cleans up mana creatures, Cunning
Sparkmages, Ball Lightnings, and Spectral Procession tokens. Nearly every deck plays creatures right now. Even decks that don’t have
one-toughness guys often find themselves with the short end of the stick in combat exchanges when Persecution gets involved. Even in the
matchups where they get sideboarded out, they aren’t dead, allowing for some big finishes from a deck that otherwise lacks reach cards.

Tidehollow Sculler is one of the best cards not seeing play at the moment, and it’s at its absolute best in this deck. White Weenie puts
pressure on the opponent to have the right answer at the right time or to die in short order. The mono-white version, however, is generally
defenseless when the opponent does have that perfect answer. Sculler, even when it gets killed, forces the opponent to miss a beat, which is
typically all this deck needs to finish the job. Thoughtseize is good for the same reason, though not as good as Sculler because there’s
no body, and the mana base doesn’t allow turn 1 Thoughtseize anyway.

Aside from the black cards, this is a very typical White Weenie deck. It’s the fastest deck in the format but also has a strong late game
because of Spectral Procession, Figure of Destiny, and Student of Warfare. One of the great things about the deck is that it can operate just
fine on two lands but can also make use of any extra mana because of the level creatures. Brave the Elements and Honor of the Pure are both
powerhouse cards and are very good reasons to fill a deck with white creatures.

The Matchups

Faeries

I love playing this matchup. They Thoughtseize my Figure of Destiny, and I cast Student of Warfare instead. Generally, I mulligan until I find
a hand with a nice mana curve. Often, that’s enough to beat them on its own, but throwing one wrench into the gears like a hand
disruption spell or a Zealous Persecution during combat will make all of their plans fall apart. W/b Weenie is a square favorite but a small
one. Things can certainly go either way.

SB on the play:

-4 Brave the Elements -4 Knight of the White Orchid

+4 War Priest of Thune +2 Thoughtseize +2 Lapse of Certainty

SB on the draw:

-1 Plains -4 Brave the Elements -1 Thoughtseize

+4 War Priest of Thune +2 Lapse of Certainty

Knight of the White Orchid makes sideboarding with White Weenie slightly more complicated than usual. This is my usual: cut the Knights of the
play; keep the Knights and cut one land on the draw.

Lapse of Certainty is great against any deck with Cryptic Command because I don’t have to worry about when to leave mana up for it.
Faeries will usually cast a spell on my turn and die on the spot when I counter it.

Naya

This matchup is very close, but I prefer to be on the White Weenie side. White Weenie is better in the early game and better in the late game
because of Spectral Procession and the level-up creatures. However, it’s very possible to get overwhelmed when Bloodbraid Elves start
coming down. I’m very glad to have Zealous Persecution in this matchup as an answer to Cunning Sparkmage. Aside from that, it often ruins
a combat step for the Naya player while taking out a Noble Hierarch or two in collateral.

SB on the play:

-4 Knight of the White Orchid -1 Thoughtseize -1 Figure of Destiny

+4 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender +2 Path to Exile

SB on the draw:

-1 Plains -1 Thoughtseize -4 Figure of Destiny

+4 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender +2 Path to Exile

Jund

While preparing for Worlds, the Jund matchup was one of the biggest reasons why I liked White Weenie. Just like Naya, I felt that I had an edge
if the game was either very short or very long. However, Jund is much slower than Naya. Unfortunately, now that Fauna Shaman is a staple card,
White Weenie has a much harder time in the late game. This is the one popular deck that I’ve struggled against.

SB on the play:

-4 Zealous Persecution -3 Tidehollow Sculler

+4 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender +1 Ranger of Eos +2 Thoughtseize

SB on the draw:

-1 Plains -4 Zealous Persecution -2 Tidehollow Sculler

+4 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender +1 Ranger of Eos +2 Thoughtseize

I keep the Knights in on the play because card advantage is very important, and it works out nicely to hold lands for Blightning and then get
value out of the Knight. They simply have so much removal after sideboard that Scullers can’t be expected to live more than one turn.

Statistically, this matchup isn’t as bad as I made it sound above because White Weenie can present so many threats so fast that Jund is forced
to have the perfect answer every turn. That’s why I’ve been surprisingly happy having a few Thoughtseizes in the deck.

Four-Color Control

This is another matchup that’s bad on paper but that White Weenie will win a fair amount of the time. Most games, the Four-Color Control
player will only get to play a spell or two before White Weenie goldfishes twenty damage. Therefore, Thoughtseize and Tidehollow Sculler make
the matchup a lot better than it is for mono-white.

SB on the play:

-4 Zealous Persecution -4 Knight of the White Orchid -1 Student of Warfare

+4 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender +1 Ranger of Eos +2 Lapse of Certainty +2 Thoughtseize

SB on the draw:

-1 Plains -4 Zealous Persecution -4 Student of Warfare

+4 Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender +1 Ranger of Eos +2 Lapse of Certainty +2 Thoughtseize

I bring in Path to Exile if I suspect that they have a fair number of creatures such as Kitchen Finks or Baneslayer Angel.

W/U Control

This one is bad. Thankfully, it won’t be a top deck as long as Faeries stays this popular.

SB on the play:

-4 Zealous Persecution -3 Knight of the White Orchid

+1 Ranger of Eos +2 Lapse of Certainty +2 Thoughtseize +2 Path to Exile

SB on the draw:

-1 Plains -4 Zealous Persecution -2 Brave the Elements

+1 Ranger of Eos +2 Lapse of Certainty +2 Thoughtseize +2 Path to Exile

Wargate

Another matchup I like a lot. Wargate is slower than White Weenie and has very few interactive spells.

SB on the play:

-4 Zealous Persecution -4 Brave the Elements

+4 War Priest of Thune +2 Lapse of Certainty +2 Thoughtseize

SB on the draw:

-1 Plains -4 Zealous Persecution -4 Brave the Elements

+4 War Priest of Thune +2 Lapse of Certainty +2 Thoughtseize +1 Path to Exile.

I leave in Knight of the White Orchid on the play because of their land ramp spells.

Mythic and G/W Trap

These are terrifying matchups for mono-white, but I like them with W/b Weenie. They usually have to either play into Zealous Persecution or
risk being too slow. The hand disruption is very good also because their cards tend to be fairly irreplaceable.

SB on the play and the draw:

-4 Knight of the White Orchid

+2 Thoughtseize +2 Path to Exile

Card advantage and the risk of mana flood aren’t important because the games go so fast that both players usually still have spells in
their hands when it’s all over.

White Weenie

Zealous Persecution gives the black version a big edge.

SB on the play:

-1 Thoughtseize -3 Knight of the White Orchid

+4 War Priest of Thune

SB on the draw:

-1 Plains -1 Thoughtseize -2 Figure of Destiny

+4 War Priest of Thune

These games are very simple: mass up enough power to kill them with Brave the Elements for white. I don’t mess around with Path to Exile
or Thoughtseize. Ranger of Eos is too slow.

This article wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t discuss mono-white White Weenie also. The deck is good, despite the naysayers out
there. It won Pro Tour Amsterdam and performed great there overall. Since then, it’s lost virtually nothing, and other decks have lost
Tarmogoyf, Grove of the Burnwillows, and Ancestral Vision. If there’s any criticism possible, it’s that White Weenie is bad for
certain metagames. It was bad for the Worlds metagame. In my opinion, it will be good sometime soon because the decks that prey on White Weenie
such as Mythic and Blue Control are bad against Faeries, and the results will continue to show it.

There are certainly pros for both the mono-white version and the W/b version. The black splash comes at a cost to the consistency of the
deck’s mana. Zealous Persecution, while never a liability, eats up slots that could be used for something else. If the metagame were
filled with Jund and red decks, it would be best to stick to mono-white. However, from my experience, the W/b version is slightly more powerful
than the mono-white version in a vacuum, and it’s also the only build I can recommend for the current metagame. If you like to beat down,
if you’re tired of getting your only two-drop Thoughtseized, or if you’re sick of playing a slow deck that plays rights into the
hands of the Faeries players, then this deck might be for you.

After playing with this deck, I’m in love with Zealous Persecution. In the next few days, I’ll be trying out a more traditional B/W
Tokens deck. If I find out that it can hold its own, that’s what I’ll write about next week. I’m curious to see how it
compares to W/b Weenie on the one hand and to Faeries on the other.