Wheeling And Dealing 2: Lawful, Caring, Pacifistic, Vengeful; White
White is known as the color of justice and law, and it will uphold this law. Its cards show this. Its soldiers and knights of justice defend all that is good and just… Its multitude of soldiers and clerics are powerful in number. White’s pie is rather large, including: Attack/Block Punishment, Lifegain, damage redirection/Prevention, tons of efficient Weenies, Regeneration, Protection, Mass Destruction, Revival, and a few oddball effects like Life Redistribution and the best land destruction spell ever. White also has incredible removal. Just ask my good friend Swords to plowshares!
White can do things no other color can do. It has some of the fastest creatures, and the best removal of any color. But it has one fatal flaw. It lacks two things that almost every color has without splashing into artifact/land range: Card Draw and Acceleration. And that kills on white. Let’s look at it, shall we? Green has acceleration in the form of things like harrow and card draw, mostly in the form of creatures like Masked Admirers. Red has no card draw, but it has ritual acceleration and is at the speed where more efficient card draw would push it over the edge. Also, it is fast enough not to care. Blue has close to no acceleration, but has in exchange card draw up the wazoo!!! Black has acceleration in the form of rituals and color-based lands (okay, granted, cabal coffers is a land. You got me there), and lots of card draw. White has none of these things, and that is crippling.
Okay… let’s talk history. White was a very, very powerful color in the early days. Serra Angel was a very popular finisher, and was used in old-style stasis decks along with Kismet and the like. It was also a potential finisher in Prison decks, and at a time even ‘the deck’, keeper. Also, White has its own deck in White Weenie. To quote Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar,
White Weenie (WW) is arguably the oldest and most consistent deck archetype in Magic’s history. The idea is to take little white dudes and beat your opponent with them. Usually the dudes get some help from a Crusade-like effect, first strike and protection from opposing colors. WW is the most obvious place to look for white deck ideas.
True. White Weenie is very often attempted, be it the alpha WW, the Kamigawa Samurai WW, The Soltari WW, or the standard Kithkin WW.
Wrath Of God is and has been used by a multitude of control decks from the beginning of the game on. Armageddon was used as a very powerful finisher against decks that needed lots of mana, and Savanna Lions is still considered one of the best one-drops out there. Also, Balance is, under correct circumstances, an Armageddon, Wrath of God, and Wit's End in one, and was used as so.
Although white may get worse and worse as you scale back (see a vintage deck anywhere where white isn't just a splash? Didn't think so.), there is a rather large number of decks in standard that run white. W/U Merfolk, although not tier one, has white for efficient removal like O-ring. Both namesakes of Lark Blink are white, as well as the card that it used to combo out with (mirror entity). And Kithkin WW is also very good in tribal and lorwyn block.
Let's talk flavor. White has always been for peace. It doesn't really matter how this peace is enforced though... Sometimes, white can be very harsh, as seen in cards such as prison term. In fact, there is an incredibly long discussion of the 'anti-white crusade' on 'max... Trust me, you don't want to know. In any case, white is seen as the most protective color, and the flavor text of cards like Sandskin, Mother of Runes, and remedy. It protects the weak and rebuffs the strong, shown by cards like reprisal, Radiant's Judgement, and the weak man's wrath. Also, it will reward the warrior who gives up his sword and goes the path of peace. Its repressive side can also come to light, either in the form of imprisonment effects, humility effects, or, well... this guy. White protects, serves, and is good with friends. It is for the people, from the people, and has nukes. Welcome to america[/necessary joke].
So... no article about a color would be complete without a decklist, so without further ado, courtesy of George Stephanis, a good, standard white weenie build:
4x Amrou Scout
4x Knight of the Holy Nimbus
4x Blade of the Sixth Pride
3x Serra Avenger
4x Dawn Charm
4x Mana Tithe
4x Temporal Isolation
4x Bound in Silence
So, that's white. A decent look at a classic color. Next week: Green.
The author of Wheeling and Dealing is Jonah Swersey, AKA Budget Player Cadet. Jonah is a writer for MTGDarkness, RealMTG, and MTGUniverse, and the owner of MTGDarkness.