Theros: Playing to your Weaknesses – White

(NOTE: “Playing to your Weaknesses” is a series of articles I have been doing on my own blog since Avacyn Restored that cover all of the uncommons and commons in a new expansion and which ones I would choose to use as one of the 23 cards in a 40 card limited deck. For those of you uninitiated to limited, it simply means sealed and booster draft, where you open packs and then proceed to make a deck out of them. I’ve purposely left out the rare cards because it is much more likely that you’ll see multiples of uncommon and commons in your packs/pools.)

There’s only two weeks until Innistrad block cards rotate out, but I feel like the standard format is still fresh. People were still brewing and new decks were still coming out, even though M14 cards had been out for almost 3 months. That’s how rich of a format standard is right now. However, time must go on, and there are probably quite a few people ready to see it do so. Today starts our journey into the land of Theros limited, with our first color being white. The set looks to be a lot more powerful than M14 was, and with cards using the monstrous and heroic mechanics, we’re looking at a format that can get out of hand really quick. The introduction of Enchantment Creatures, Enchantment Artifacts, and enchantment everything means that pretty much every card you get that deals with enchantments is going to be worth it’s weight in gold.

Let’s take a look at today’s colors, White.

Ray of Dissolution

Ray of Dissolution

Looking at the set overall, I think it’s pretty certain that all players will be playing with at least 3 or more enchantments in their decks. The whole theme behind Theros is supposed to be about enchantments that were given to the people by the gods. Therefore, I think it would be ludicrous to NOT have at least one form of enchantment removal in your main deck. It wouldn’t be a high draft pick in booster draft, but you definitely want some of these when playing Theros limited I think. I’ll definitely have one in my main deck of 23 cards in sealed. Worst cast scenario you kill one creature with it and gain 3 life, and that’s not bad.

Wingsteed Rider

Wingsteed Rider

Flying creatures are always good in sealed/draft, and if you can continue to pump it up with spells and enchantments, that’s even better. I should point out that the human typing is also important with this card. I think this card will be at least a 4/4 flyer when playing with it, so you should consider it as one. I’d have this in my top 12 sealed card choices, and I’d probably take it as one of my first few picks in draft too.

Vanquish the Foul

Vanquish the Foul

Yay! Removal in white! Who cares if it’s 6 mana. Your opponent won’t be growing their hydra or other titanic sized beast until about turn 5 or 6 anyways, which makes this the perfect card to shatter all of their hopes when they think they are going to win next turn. The ability to scry one is an added bonus. High pick in draft? Hell yes. one of the 23 in your sealed? Yes.

Setessan Griffin

Setessan Griffin

This card could really shine in a GW deck if it matches the colors you decide to use, but otherwise it’s still not bad as a 3/2 flyer for 5 mana in white. It’s not as good as the Wingsteed Rider, but it’s still playable. Anything flying and more than 2 power is worth playing, and with all the enchantments in the set, you won’t be sorry for the evasion. I wouldn’t take this as high as the Rider, maybe first 10 cards in draft, but I definitely would have it as on my top 20 cards in sealed.

Phalanx Leader

Phalanx Leader

This guy can be pretty good if you have the cards to support him. He’s like a human Gavony Township. Yes, a 1/1 for 2 mana sucks, but being able to give ALL your creatures when you target him is great. Even if you only accomplish this 2-3 times, that is a lot more blocking/attacking power you’re putting on the battlefield. I think if you have the cards to activate his ability, you should definitely play him in your deck, but otherwise he might be better left in the sideboard. Because you don’t know which cards you’ll have to support him, I’m guessing he’ll be a late 1st pack pick/early 2nd pack pick in draft, and probably the 20th card in sealed deck (again, IF you have the cards that can target him and activate his heroic).

Ordeal of Heliod

Ordeal of Heliod

I think all of the Ordeals are pretty good. Put this on a 1 drop and see it grow whenever it attacks, and afterwards you gain 10 life. White isn’t known for powerful creatures, so anything that can give your creature a possible +3/+3 boost is worth playing, especially for 2 mana. Put this on a flyer and you suddenly have a very dangerous threat. I think it would be a high pick in your first draft pack if you’re going with white, and I’d play it my sealed deck to round out my 23 cards if nothing better came out of my packs.

Lagonna-Band Elder

Lagonna-Band Elder

It’s aggressive with 3 power, and it will probably gain you 3 life if you’re playing with a few enchantments. Not a high draft choice, but worth taking at the end of the second pack or afterwards. I think it’s also a good card to round out a 23 card sealed deck as well, but don’t be afraid to cut it if you get something else.

Heliod's Emissary

Heliod’s Emissary

It’s a Master of Diversion on a stick! It really is! That bestow cost is kind high, but if you’re playing it later on in the game and stick on your big guy to make sure you tap their threat, it’s great. It’s also good by itself as a 3/3 for 4 mana. This set is definitely proof of a power creep in the set (after a toned down M14). I think I’d take this guy early in draft if you’re playing white, and it should definitely be in your top 15 cards in sealed as well. The ability to push through damage is incredibly important, and if you read the text on it, even if the original creature dies, this card will become a creature. Double value!

Favored Hoplite

Favored Hoplite

Not a bad 1 drop. It will stop most other 1 drop cards, and the added bonus of being able to make him larger later on PLUS preventing all damage done to him is great. I could see him almost always being a 2/3 early on, with some chances to grow to 3/4 if you’re playing with a 14/6 split of creatures and spells. He’s not the best target for heroic, but if you have nothing else I think he’s worth a try in the 23rd card slot in sealed. In Draft I don’t think he’ll be taken high, so don’t worry about taking him early. He should come back around to you a few times if you want to collect your other colors first.

Evangel of Heliod

Evangel of Heliod

I was kind on the fence about Evangel of Heliod. It’s a 1/3 creature for 6 mana, but you have to look at it this way. At it’s worse you put 2 soldier tokens and a 1/3 in play for 6 mana. If you have more white symbols in play, this becomes exponentially better. Sure you’ll have to fight against massive monsters, but if you have an army large enough, you can topple them. I think you’ll usually be casting this and getting 4+ soldier tokens, and 5 creatures from one card for 6 mana is pretty damn good. If you can beef them up with a Phalanx Leader, that’s even better. I’d take him as a top 10 draft choice if I was playing white/X, and If you’re running one or two colors in sealed, he should definitely be in your top 15 slots.

Divine Verdict

Divine Verdict

Removal, again, in any form, is good. If you’re opponent is blocking your 1/1 soldier with a 9/9 monstrous Hydra, this kills it. On the other hand, if you’re attacking with a creature that has trample and somebody blocks it, you can kill that blocker and push that damage through. High pick in draft, and it must be in your sealed deck.

Decorated Griffin

Decorated Griffin

A 2/3 flyer for 5 mana is pushing it, but this card gives you evasion as well as mana sink (a place to use your mana) later on in the game. You can attack with flying and not have to worry about the attackers on the ground if you have enough mana open. I think I’d have this in the 20th or 21st slot in my sealed deck, and it might be a good 4-5th pick in your draft as well if you’re going with white.

Cavalry Pegasus

Cavalry Pegasus

I considered this card kind of borderline too, but I think it also depends on how many humans you’re playing with. The blue Condor from M14 saw a decent amount of play because it gave another creature flying, but this does it to EACH attacking human. There’s a decent amount of humans in white, with a smattering of more in the other colors, so this might be worth having in your deck if you can draft a 2/3 color human deck. Otherwise, it’s not that good. If you don’t have the humans to give flight to, I’d keep him out of your deck.

Other Cards that might see play

  • Dauntless Onslaught – good in a heroic deck
  • Glare of Heresy – good if you’re playing against white, especially if they have an indestructible creature.
  • Scholar of Athreos – If you’re playing black and white, this is a great late game card. Siphon away your opponent’s life for 3 mana!

Wrap Up

That does it for the first installment of Play to your Weaknesses. What do you guys think of the set so far? The battles look like they’re going to be epic in scope with armies and Titans battling it out. Scry will give you better draws, but I don’t see people choosing to go with fast decks in this format. Look for playing around huge bombs and the monstrous ability to win. I should have some time to work on blue tomorrow, so be sure to bookmark TheJapanHobbyist.com and check back every day! As always, comments and suggestions on the color/set are welcome. See you tomorrow. 

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