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Ferret's Retro Corner #5: Alpha/Beta/Unl White
By David McKenzie
Well, here we are again to look at the last of Magic’s basic colours, White. White gave us tons of weenie creatures and lots of ways to enhance them. They also had ways of dealing with their “enemies” Red & Black. In the way pure of land destruction they only had one card that did that, but it was a good one. But, the one place White really shined was in the way of damage prevention. No other colour could do it better – and still can’t really to this day…

Now, on with the cards!

Card Title: Animate Wall
Color: White
Card Type: Enchant Wall
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target wall can now attack. Target wall's power and
toughness are unchanged, even if its power is 0.

A handy card for animating those Walls of Fire and Water, or even better, Wall of Swords.

Card Title: Armageddon
Color: White
Card Type: Sorcery
Cost: 3W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: All lands in play are destroyed.

The text says it all. All lands go bye-bye.

Card Title: Balance
Color: White
Card Type: Sorcery
Cost: 1W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Whichever player has more lands in play must discard
enough lands of his or her choice to equalize the number
of lands both players have in play. Cards in hand and
creatures in play must be equalized the same way.
Creatures lost in this manner may not be regenerated.

I guess this could also fall under land destruction, but it also does so much more. It’s creature removal and discard all wrapped up in one card. Real fun in multiplayer.

Card Title: Benalish Hero
Color: White
Card Type: Summon Hero
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Card Text: Bands

Albino Timber Wolves.

Card Title: Black Ward
Color: White
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target creature gains protection from black.

One of White’s Wards. A handy way to deal w/ things like Pestilence or other Black annoyances.

Card Title: Blaze of Glory
Color: White
Card Type: Instant
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target defending creature can and must block all attacking
creatures it can legally block. For example, a normal
non-flying target defender can and must block all normal
non-flying attackers at once, but it cannot block any flying
creatures. Controller of target defender may distribute
damage among attackers as desired. Play before defense is
chosen.

Great way to deal w/ that attack that would otherwise destroy you.

Card Title: Blessing
Color: White
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: WW
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: W: Target creature gains +1/+1 until end of turn.

Now, here’s a handy way to deal w/ all that extra White mana you could have lying around. Throw it on your Serra Angel to really hurt people or throw it on your Wall of Swords for the ultimate defender.

Card Title: Blue Ward
Color: White
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a

Well, it can prevent cards like Control Magic from stealing them and prevents Cloning.

Card Title: Castle
Color: White
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: 3W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Your untapped creatures gain +0/+2. Attacking creatures
lose this bonus.

Make that White weenie horde into a blocking machine.

Card Title: Circle of Protection: Black
Color: White
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: 1W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: 1: Prevents all damage against you from one black source.
If a source does damage to you more than once in a turn, you
must pay 1 mana each time you want to prevent the damage.

The second most useful CoP. Handy card to use in conjunction with Pestilence and also good when facing a Black weenie horde. Just make sure you keep plenty of mana untapped.

Card Title: Circle of Protection: Blue
Color: White
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: 1W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: 1: Prevents all damage against you from one blue source.
If a source does damage to you more than once in a turn,
you must pay 1 mana each time you want to prevent the
damage.

The fourth most useful of the CoP’s. Good if you don’t have any defense against all of their flyers.

Card Title: Circle of Protection: Green
Color: White
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: 1W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: 1: Prevents all damage against you from one green source.
If a source does damage to you more than once in a turn,
you must pay 1 mana each time you want to prevent the
damage.

The third most useful CoP. Just the thing to keep that Force of Nature from killing you.

Card Title: Circle of Protection: Red
Color: White
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: 1W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: 1: Prevents all damage against you from one red source. If a
source does damage to you more than once in a turn, you
must pay 1 mana each time you want to prevent the
damage.

The best of the CoP’s. Red is notorious for causing your damage, so this is the one you might even want to maindeck.

Card Title: Circle of Protection: White
Color: White
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: 1W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: 1: Prevents all damage against you from one white source.
If a source does damage to you more than once in a turn, you
must pay 1 mana each time you want to prevent the damage.

Ummmm…well, someone has to come in fifth. I guess this could be handy if someone else casts Serra Angel.

Card Title: Consecrate Land
Color: White
Card Type: Enchant Land
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: All enchantments on target land are destoyed. Land cannot
be destroyed or further enchanted until Consecrate Land
has been destroyed.

Handy to cast just before you cast Armageddon. Also works well to get rid of all those Wild Growths that Green players stack onto their Forests. Otherwise, not even worth bothering with.

Card Title: Conversion
Color: White
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: 2WW
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: All mountains are considered plains while Conversion is
in play. Pay WW during upkeep or Conversion is discarded.

Want to make a Red player mad? Cast this.

Card Title: Crusade
Color: White
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: WW
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: All white creatures gain +1/+1.

Make all those weenies a little bigger when this comes out. Cast two or three and they become quite beefy.

Card Title: Death Ward
Color: White
Card Type: Instant
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Regenerates target creature.

This card is ultra-nifty. You can regenerate ANY critter (unless, they have Protection from White) with this handy card.

Card Title: Disenchant
Color: White
Card Type: Instant
Cost: 1W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target enchantment or artifact must be discarded.

A White staple before the card was finally given to Green. Extremely handy for dealing with those enchantments that are slowing you down or those Artifacts that you think that your opponent doesn’t really need…

Card Title: Farmstead
Color: White
Card Type: Enchant Land
Cost: WWW
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target land's controller gains 1 life if WW is spent during
controller's upkeep. You cannot gain more than 1 life each
turn through this enchantment.

Ummm….yeah. Moving right along…

Card Title: Green Ward
Color: White
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target creature gains protection from green.

Not the handiest of wards since most of Green’s good creatures have Trample, but it can save your Serra Angel from dying due to a Hurricane.

Card Title: Guardian Angel
Color: White
Card Type: Instant
Cost: XW
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Prevents X damage from being dealt to any one target. Any
further damage to the same target this turn can be canceled
by spending 1 mana per point of damage to be canceled.

Once you figure out how this card works it’s ultra nifty when playing against colours that dish out loads of damage (Red?)

Card Title: Healing Salve
Color: White
Card Type: Instant
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Gain 3 life, or prevent up to 3 damage from being dealt to a
single target.

Handy for damage prevention or just when you feel like gaining that extra life.

Card Title: Holy Armor
Color: White
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target creature gains +0/+2.
W: Target creature gets extra +0/+1 until end of turn.

Nice way to turn your creature into an uber-defender. However, if you’re more interested in offense might I suggest:

Card Title: Holy Strength
Color: White
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target creature gains +1/+2.

Perfect way to enhance that first turn Savannah Lions.

Card Title: Island Sanctuary
Color: White
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: 1W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: (Beta/Unlimited) You may decline to draw a card from
your library during draw phase. In exchange, until start of
your next turn the only creatures that may attack you are
those that fly or have islandwalk.
(Alpha) You may decline to draw a card from your library
during draw phase. In exchange, until start of your next turn
the only creatures that may damage you are those that fly or
have islandwalk.

If you’re not facing a flying horde, you can use this to keep your defenses up while you continue to attack with your horde.

Card Title: Karma
Color: White
Card Type: Enchantment
Cost: 2WW
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: (Beta/Unlimited) For each swamp in play, Karma does 1
damage to the swamp owner's upkeep.
(Alpha) Karma does 1 damage to player for each swamp
player has in play. Damage occurs during player's upkeep.
Affects both players.

Want to really annoy that Black player? Use this. Since black has no enchantment removal, they’ll be dead in no time (unless they destroy their own lands).

Card Title: Lance
Color: White
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target creature gains first strike.

Handy enough. Any creature looks good w/ first strike.

Card Title: Mesa Pegasus
Color: White
Card Type: Summon Pegasus
Cost: 1W
Pow/Tgh: 1/1

It Flies! It Bands! It takes up an otherwise useful slot in your deck!

Card Title: Northern Paladin
Color: White
Card Type: Summon Paladin
Cost: 2WW
Pow/Tgh: 3/3
Card Text: WW and tap: Destroys a black card in play. Cannot be used
to cancel a black spell as it is being cast.

Another way to annoy Black players – too bad he doesn’t have protection from Black as well…

Card Title: Pearled Unicorn
Color: White
Card Type: Summon Unicorn
Cost: 2W
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Card Text: n/a

Vanilla – right colour for it, at least.

Card Title: Personal Incarnation
Color: White
Card Type: Summon Avatar
Cost: 3WWW
Pow/Tgh: 6/6
Card Text: Caster can redirect any or all damage done to Personal
Incarnation to self instead. The source of the damage is
unchanged. If Personal Incarnation is destroyed, caster
loses half his or her remaining life points, rounding up the
loss.

White’s only beefy creature from this set. Interesting abilities, but I would rather not put it into my deck.

Card Title: Purelace
Color: White
Card Type: Interrupt
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Changes the color of one card either being played or already
in play to white. Cost to cast, tap, maintain, or use a special
ability of target card remains entirely unchanged.

Ummmm…yeah. It’s another stupid lace. I guess they ran out of ideas for Rares in this set and they thought “Hey, let’s find a way to annoy people when they open their boosters!”

Card Title: Resurrection
Color: White
Card Type: Card Type: Sorcery
Cost: 2WW
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Take a creature from your graveyard and put it directly
into play. Treat this creature as though it were just
summoned.

Four mana to bring any creature back to life? Well, for white creatures (except Serra Angel) this is about useless. But, if you’re working w/ colours that have expensive beefy critters this card is real handy – you could even throw in cards that aren’t White into your monowhite deck – all you have to do is figure out a way to get them into your graveyard.

Card Title: Righteousness
Color: White
Card Type: Instant
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target defending creature gains +7/+7 until end of turn.

Now this card can really cause your opponent’s head to spin. “Okay, I block your Force of Nature with my Pearled Unicorn – it’s 9/9 now.”

Card Title: Samite Healer
Color: White
Card Type: Summon Cleric
Cost: 1W
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Card Text: Tap to prevent 1 damage to any target.

Nice damage prevention. He was kind of like an “anti-Tim”

Card Title: Savannah Lions
Color: White
Card Type: Summon Lions
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: 2/1
Card Text: n/a

Nice first turn card. Perfect for enchanting on turn two.

Card Title: Serra Angel
Color: White
Card Type: Summon Angel
Cost: 3WW
Pow/Tgh: 4/4
Card Text: Flying
Does not tap when attacking.

Everyone’s favourite White card of this era. Only five mana for a creature that can attack AND block on the next turn.

Card Title: Swords to Plowshares
Color: White
Card Type: Instant
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target creature is removed from game entirely; return to
owner's deck only when game is over. Creature's controller
gains life points equal to creature's power.

Now, here’s good creature removal. So, your opponent got out his Hypnotic Specter on turn one? Good for him. Make it go bye-bye forever (and give him two life) and the problem is solved – also, handy to use on your own blockers after you cast Righteousness.

Card Title: Veteran Bodyguard
Color: White
Card Type: Summon Bodyguard
Cost: 3WW
Pow/Tgh: 2/5
Card Text: Unless Bodyguard is tapped, any damage done to you by
unblocked creatures is done instead to Bodyguard. You may
not take this damage yourself, though you can prevent it if
possible.

My play group called this guy “Lou” (I think it was because he looked kinda’ like Lou Farigno) He’s a nice way to deal w/ small attackers and if you use a few Wards on him, he can soak up about anything.

Card Title: Wall of Swords
Color: White
Card Type: Summon Wall
Cost: 3W
Pow/Tgh: 3/5
Card Text: Flying

Here’s a fun card. It can deal w/ Blue’s annoyances and if you throw enchantments on it like Holy Strength, Blessing, or, even better, Animate Wall, it can handle just about anything in the air.

Card Title: White Knight
Color: White
Card Type: Summon Knight
Cost: WW
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Card Text: Protection fromblack, first strike

White’s answer to Black Knight – although, the two cards will never block each other.

Card Title: White Ward
Color: White
Card Type: Enchant Creature
Cost: W
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: Target creature gains protection from white.

Oh good. Now, my Serra Angel doesn’t have to worry about being blocked by other Serra Angels – of course, now I can’t enchant it any more…

Card Title: Wrath of God
Color: White
Card Type: Card Sorcery
Cost: 2WW
Pow/Tgh: n/a
Card Text: All creatures in play are destroyed and cannot regenerate.

This is the last word in creature removal. Everything goes to the graveyard. Period.


So as you can see, White had its share of nice small creatures, good enhancements, powerful removal, and a lot of cards that should have never been printed. It wasn’t as powerful as the other four colours, but still could hold its own in a toe to toe fight.


Rounding out the series we’ll be covering Artifacts and Lands in the final installment.
See you next time. Same Bat Time. Same Bat Website.

Read More Articles by David McKenzie!

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