This entry is part 19 of 26 in the series Staple Remover

Posted by Chris-B
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Twitter – @0hn0s3

If you have been following along with Staple Remover this season you probably know that I have been doing a series of mono colored decks. So far I have covered:


MMmmmm Paste! Exciting!


That leaves white and red. This week I am trying to make a compelling mono white deck, my least favorite color.  Mono white and I just don’t see eye to eye. Was I able to actually pull something together or will I just go on a rant about the shortcomings of mono white in commander? Read on to find out!

Everyone has their personal favorite colors that they always seem to gravitate to or shy away from. I actually don’t dislike white at all when it is paired with almost any other color combination. However I cannot stand mono white. There is nothing in mono white that lures me in. The last mono white list I ever owned was a 60 card banding deck circa 1995 that included such gems as Prismatic Ward and Kjeldoran Skyknight. Mercifully, a pen exploded all over it in my backpack and I never built another white deck.

Now, 18 years later I embark on a quest to make mono white work in commander. As always I gave myself some guidelines so I didn’t simply create a mono white list you could see anywhere. My main criteria were:

1. No lifegain theme: I didn’t want the deck to just gain dump truck loads of life. It isn’t particularly original or even that effective in commander. As I mentioned in my Oloro article, you can still get blasted by 21 general damage or 10 poison no matter how much life you have.
2. No stax: I didn’t want to create a lock-down resource denial deck with cards like Thalia and Armageddon. This deck should be fun to play and relatively fun to play against.
3. No voltron: This is another common way to build mono white, so I decided to increase the challenge level and try to avoid going the equipped monster route.

I initially thought this would eliminate the strategies everyone has seen before and allow me to craft something a bit more unique. I fired up and started to search for cards to create something the like of which no one had ever witnessed.

First off, I wanted to narrow down the general choices hoping one of them would be worthwhile to build around or at least inspire me. Right away I noticed a couple of things:

a. If a mono white general is cheap to cast it either violates one of my three ground rules above, or it’s a Kamikawa creature with bushido (woohoo).
b. If a mono white general is expensive to cast it usually isn’t worth it.

I struggled so much with this one I’ll start off by sharing soem of the failed routes I went down:

Heliod: My reasoning was that since none of the existing generals jumped out at me, I’d wait for Theros to be spoiled (all of the decks except white were basically designed during the CommanderCast offseason) since it was known there would be a god for each color. Having tokens that are also enchantments seems like a great way to take advantage of cards like Serra’s Sanctum and Sphere of Safety. My list even had some cards that benefitted from Cleric tribal. However, 4 mana is still quite a price to pay for a 2/1 even in commander and the whole thing felt a bit lackluster to me. Scrapped.







Celestial Kirin: I finally had a flash of inspiration. A Celestial Kirin deck that ran a bunch of spirit and arcane spells that had CMC either less than or greater than 4. Anything could be a removal spell! The decks main threats could be 4 CMC so it dodges your Kirin removal trigger. Yes, this seemed like a winner, but then a couple days later the mothership posted this:
Not much use in posting a deck that would probably be an 80% match to this one. Scrapped.







Mono White Eggs: Ok at this point I was growing frustrated with the lack of Johnny cards in mono white so I started crafting a monstrosity of a deck that featured spellbombs, baubles and spheres that could all be quickly cast and then brought back with something like Second Sun or Open the Vaults. You could build your storm count up and get lots of triggers of some sort and finish off your opponent with…hmmm… Scrapped.








Yomiji, Who Bars the Way: What a great build around me general. You could run Krark-Clan Ironworks and Mox Opal for infinite mana with this guy! Mindslaver goes right back to your hand! All for the bargain cost of seven!? mana. Scrapped.









Finally after nearly giving up I found a general that gave me a glimmer of hope that I could craft something unique.  My rule of thumb for building commander decks is that a general should not cost more than 5 mana unless it is part of your plan for winning the game outright.  If the commander is only there for utility it becomes difficult to afford any additional commander tax to get a marginally neat effect.  This was the problem with Yomiji.  If he died you were looking at 9 mana for his unique, but not immensely powerful ability.  The commander I found slotted it right below 6 mana, which I think is reasonable.  I decided to play to one of whites primary strengths.  Card draw.

OK, I lied.  White is the weakest color when it comes to card draw.  However out of the massive pool of cards available we should be able to find another 99 that can support such a strategy right?  RIGHT?  This deck isn’t quite as polished as I usually like them to be, but it certainly illustrates the concept of what might be possible for a mono white card draw / hand filling deck.  Mechanics like Sweep, Buyback and assorted cantrips help keep your hand full.  There are some light combos in here like running Well of Lost Dreams and Ivory Tower to accelerate your card draw.  Here is what I finally came up with:


1 Reliquary Tower
36 Plains
1 Emeria, the Sky Ruin

38 Lands


1 Psychosis Crawler
1 Wall of Omens
1 Kiyomaro, First to Stand
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Sun Titan
1 Kor Cartographer
1 Knight of the White Orchid
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Karmic Guide
1 Eternal Dragon
1 Steelshaper Apprentice
1 Stonehewer Giant
1 Weathered Wayfarer
1 Evangel of Heliod
1 Heliod, God of the Sun
1 Dust Elemental
1 Angel of Serenity
1 Crovax, Ascendant Hero
1 Twilight Shepherd
1 Argivian Archaeologist

20 Creatures

Other Spells:

1 Abeyance
1 Armistice
1 Aura Blast
1 Cease-Fire
1 Entreat the Angels
1 Terminus
1 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Ivory Tower
1 Library of Leng
1 Island Sanctuary
1 Martyr’s Cry
1 Oblation
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Pursuit of Knowledge
1 Second Thoughts
1 Land Tax
1 Mind’s Eye
1 Shelter
1 Solitary Confinement
1 Unquestioned Authority
1 Venser’s Journal
1 Batterskull
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Sword of War and Peace
1 Rebuff the Wicked
1 Illuminated Folio
1 Infiltration Lens
1 Mind Stone
1 Staff of Nin
1 Teferi’s Puzzle Box
1 Well of Lost Dreams
1 Endless Horizons
1 Sol Ring
1 Tithe
1 Allay
1 Change of Heart
1 Angelic Destiny
1 Charge Across the Araba
1 Plow Through Reito
1 Sigil of the New Dawn
1 Tower of Fortunes

Be sure to sound off in the comments if you have crafted a unique mono white list.  I would love to hear about it.  Until next week, make sure your pen doesn’t explode on your banding deck.

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