M13 Pre-release: Play to your Weaknesses – White

Phew. We did it! We’ve reached the final color. I probably won’t have a chance to do the rares tonight, but do you even need me to? Most of the other websites on the net have posted their favorite rares and you’re probably sick of reading about them. That’s why I thought it would be better to do these articles about Commons and Uncommons, cause realistically, you’ll be playing with these and not that awesome 5/5 red dragon for 5 mana that has haste and deals 1 damage to all flying creatures when it comes into play, tapping them as well . . . *drools*. I mean, if you actually PULL a Thundermaw Hellkite, that’s friggin sweet, but in all likeliness you’ll be using 95% uncommons and commons.

I will, however, be posting about my pre-release experience here in Nagoya, Japan and give you some pointers on what worked and what didn’t work, and what kinda builds I saw people using over the course of the day, etc. I made the mistake of misreading Avacyn Restored, thinking that a WR Human aggro deck would be great, and after going 2-0 I thought I was right, but as the tournament went on the format changed. Those heavy cards like Archangel started popping up and I had nothing I could use against a 5/5 flyer with Vigilance in a WR  deck. I won’t do the same thing again with M13. When you’re putting together a deck, it’s okay to start off with a certain theme like aggro, or control, but don’t be afraid to change your style of play in response to your opponents deck. During your downtime between rounds, think of possible strategies you could use against the various deck types (beatdown, control, discard, etc) and prepare a sideboard or even a second deck (if possible) to combat it.

I was 2-2 during Avacyn Restored’s prerelease before I took my friend’s advice and used a splash of green in my deck to utilize my killer green cards. That change netted me a 3rd win for a 3-2 record. Don’t be afraid to adapt and change your deck!

*cough* Anyways, lets get this show on the road. Here are my picks for white, what I think will be strong/useful. You may disagree or know a better combo than the one I mentioned, so please don’t hesitate to comment! Out of all of the colors, I think that white is the most versatile. You can run various strategies with it such as aggro/white weenie, control, Exalted, and more. I guarantee that you’ll see white the most, followed by blue, and a very close 3rd will be black. Green and Red will be be more support colors I think, but then again it all depends on what cards these players pull. Let’s start off with Tundra Wolves— I mean Warclamp Mastiff.

Warclamp Mastiff

For those of you who have played for a long time, you know about Tundra Wolves. It was a 1 mana, 1/1 First Striker. Would have been cool to see a reprint of that, but this is fine too. This guy is better than 90% of the 1 drops out there. It’s automatic advantage and some quick damage against your opponent since they probably don’t want to block it and leave themselves wide open so early in the game. If you can keep the exalted cards coming out each turn, this guy will be quite the soldier for you. He also makes a great blocker early on and if you throw some enchantments on him he’ll be a tough ass wall.

Show of Valor

2 mana for +2/+4? That’s kind nice actually. Let your opponent team up on your creature, then throw this on it and take them out while living to fight another day. Red really is going to have a hard time killing anything with all these instants and enchantments that boost defense. And if you have something like Deathtouch on your creature, this is even better! I definitely think you can get some good value out of this card.

Pacifism

I really wish I had had more Defangs during Avacyn Restored, but this card is far superior since the creature can’t block either (you could still attack with Defang, but the creature didn’t do any damage). As I said in previous posts, you’ll most likely be seeing a lot of creatures, and with Exalted being played, you probably want to throw this on the biggest threat they got. You can splash this card pretty easily in a semi-3 color deck too I think. Also don’t be afraid to use it to take out a blocker and clear the path for your attackers. This card will be pretty useful in limited I think.

Oblivion Ring

This card is a mainstay in almost every standard deck running white. You can’t beat the value of taking out any non-land permanent from the game. This card is going to save your butt so many times you’d be silly not to run it in any white based deck. If you get the cards for UW Control, this card will definitely come in handy.

Knight of Glory

Just like the Knight of Infamy in Black, this guy is pretty pimp. 2/1 pro. black for 2 mana is very nice. I believe that you’ll find it easier to use the black exalted creatures than the white ones, but if you can put together a BW Exalted deck with the Knights as your attackers that would be pretty sweet. With black and white most likely being the two most popular colors on pre-release day, you’d be able to pick and choose which one you want to attack with (the one that can’t be blocked of course). Watch out for players using red and you should be alright.

Griffin Protector

Griffin’s form past sets have kinda sucked, but this guy is decent. A 2/3 flyer for 4 mana is doable, but what I like about him the most is his ability. In a white weenie/token deck he’d be pretty amazing. Consider comboing this card with Talrand’s Invocation (or Talrand himself), Attended Knight, Captain’s Call, Captain of the Watch, or any other card that puts more than 1 creature onto the battlefield and suddenly you have a pretty beefy bird ready to divebomb into your opponent (Captain of the Watch would make him a 6/7 flyer! With exalted it could be even more!).

Divine Verdict

Like I said before, red just isn’t going to have the stopping power it’s had in past sets. Black is going to be able to do a lot of nasty things to your creatures, but with white you can at least destroy something blocking or attacking. The cost is higher than Rebuke from Innistrad, but that’s because you can kill a blocking creature too. White and Black Exalted could be pretty potent if you team this card up with Murder and a few other cards that take your opponents creatures out of the game. I’d probably run this main in that type of deck.

Divine Favor

In a sealed tourney, this card will be pretty useful. The added defense will keep you safe from most red spells, and the 3 life you get when it enters the battlefield could prove crucial as well. Slap this on a lifelinker like Ajani’s Sunstriker and watch your life total rise! This will definitely be useful during the pre-release.

Crusader of Odric

Please PLEASE put me in a token creature deck! This would just be an amazing creature when you combo it with token producers. Just like above, a UW Tapout/Token creature with Talrand, Sky Summoner could quickly make this human a brute, and with it’s typing it would be awesome with Captain of the Watch. Here’s a good curve using this card: T1 Warclamp Mastiff – T2 Knight of Glory, T3 Crusader of Odric, T4 Captain’s Call (attack with a 7/7 Crusader), T5 Captain of the Watch (attack with a 12/12 Crusader) . . . just wow. That’s pretty amazing, plus the card would have Vigilance, leaving you a 12/12 blocker as well. If you can pull something off like this with the cards you pull, do it!

Captain’s Call

1 card. 3 Creatures. Awesome value. Like I said before, this card would combo great with the Captain, the Crusader of Odric, and lots of other cards that like it when lots of creatures come into play. It’s too bad that Timely Reinforcements won’t be back, but this isn’t that bad since you can put the Soldiers into play regardless of whether your opponent has less creatures than you. You could probably splash this into a creature light deck as well if you need to save space for other cards.

Attended Knight

White has so much crazy card advantage it isn’t even funny. You can bury your opponent under legions of creatures relatively quickly. I mean, just look at this card. 2/2 first striker for 3 that puts a soldier token into play. First strike will be relevant against Green creatures and creatures with deathtouch, and being able to leave the token back as a blocker is great too. Combo this with Captain’s call and by turn 4 you’ll have 7 creatures in play (if you played 2 on the first turn).

Ajani’s Sunstriker

The last card I’d like to recommend is Ajani’s Sunstriker. It’s nothing special, just a 2/2 for 2 mana and has lifelink. It never hurts to have a little extra life, especially if you’re in a race with your opponent to see who can get out the most creatures. When you’re trading punches back and forth, the person that can keep their head above water the longest will win. By throwing on an enchantment like Divine Favor, you can let this guy sit back and absorb the hits and keep gaining life. At two white mana he might be difficult to splash in to a 3 color deck, but you should be fine with two colors.

And that’s it. Hopefully you’ll get some good ideas from my suggestions and use them during the pre-release. The deck types I think will be the strongest this weekend will be Mono-white aggro, UW Token Control, UB control, WB Exalted, Mono blue mill (or UB-UW Mill), and maybe a green/X elf deck (for mana acceleration). I think those decks will also be the strongest, but it will depend on the player. I also want to remind any of the players who live in Nagoya of the gaming schedule this weekend.

  1. Card Brunch Kanayama – Saturday and Sunday at 11am, 2200 yen
  2. Amenity Dream – Saturday and Sunday, 11am and 3pm, 2500 yen
  3. Big Magic – Sunday, 11am and 4pm, 11am needs a reservation 2500 yen
  4. Hobby Station Osu – Sunday, 2:30 pm start time, 2500 yen

Thanks for reading and I wish you the best of luck this weekend at the pre-release. I hope my suggestions gave you some ideas and help you out! See you after the weekend with a summary of this weekend’s results.