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Budget Magic: $88 (30 tix) Mono-White Leyline Tokens (Modern)


Dia is muire dhuit, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! As we wait for Dominaria to officially release so we can start exploring the new Standard format, we are heading to Modern this week to play a deck that's looking to go super wide, super fast: Mono-White Leyline Tokens! Unlike some token decks that are hoping to get the job done with 1/1s, our deck is built to not only play a ton of tokens in the early game but as many token anthems as possible, with not just the traditional Intangible Virtue but the potentially free Leyline of the Meek as well! Can a mono-white build of tokens compete in Modern with the help of a ton of powerful anthems and the new Rivals of Ixalan addition Legion's Landing? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck! 

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Budget Magic: Mono-White Leyline Tokens

The Deck

Mono-White Leyline Tokens is pretty simple: we play a ton of efficient token producers and a ton of anthems to pump our tokens, and look to kill our opponent quickly before they have a chance to draw a sweeper and ruin our plans! Let's start our breakdown by discussing the anthems before moving on to the token makers and other cards.

Anthems

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Apart from being mono-white, one of the cards that makes our token deck different from others in Modern is Leyline of the Meek. We can start the game with the enchantment on the battlefield if we have it in our opening hand, which leads to some pretty explosive draws. With just a single Leyline of the Meek, all of our random token producers become extremely powerful, with Legion's Landing giving us a 2/2 for one, Raise the Alarm two 2/2s for two, and Spectral Procession three 2/2 fliers for three. This curve is really hard for a lot of decks to beat while also making sure we don't get blown out by things like Izzet Staticaster. Having this value for free from the start of the game is a huge boon for our deck, and it doesn't even include the games where we have multiple anthems on the battlefield, which turns any of our token producers into the best cards in Modern.

The upside of Leyline of the Meek coming down for free does come with a drawback: if we don't have it in our opening hand, it's a bit expensive compared to other similar cards, but we can always cast it for four mana if needed. The other important aspect of Leyline of the Meek is that it gives us redundancy with our anthem effects thanks to our deck also having four copies of Intangible Virtue. Our deck is at its most powerful when it has not just one but two or three anthems on the battlefield.

As for Intangible Virtue itself, it's extremely powerful, since it doesn't just pump our tokens but also gives them vigilance. One of the benefits of being a token deck is that pretty much all of our cards make multiple creatures, which means we have lots of chump blockers to stay alive against random creature decks. Vigilance means we can safely swing with our team but still have blockers to make sure we survive our opponent's crack-back attack.

One-Drops

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We have two options in our one-drop slot. Sacred Cat is sort of filler, and it's slightly annoying because it doesn't make a token right away, which means if we get a bunch of anthems on the battlefield, our opponents often treat it like a 1/1 unblockable and try to keep it on the battlefield. This being said, it does block twice, and lifelink is a nice upside against aggro decks along with things like Burn. Meanwhile, Legion's Landing is amazing in our deck. While making a 1/1 lifelink token when it enters the battlefield is fine, the true power of Legion's Landing is how quickly we can flip it into land form. Thanks to Gather the Townsfolk and Raise the Alarm, it's pretty easy to play a Legion's Landing on Turn 1, one of our two-drops on Turn 2, and then flip Legion's Landing on Turn 3, which means Legion's Landing is often a white Rampant Growth. The extra mana helps us explode out of the gate and play as many token makers as possible, and then if things go wrong and we flood out, making a token every turn with Adanto, the First Fort is a good way to use our mana or slowly rebuild after a wrath. 

Two-Drops

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Gather the Townsfolk and Raise the Alarm are pretty close to the same card in our deck, both giving us two 1/1 tokens for two mana. In theory, both have an upside. With Gather the Townsfolk, we get five tokens instead of two if we are at five or less life when we resolve it, but this doesn't come up all that often. Meanwhile, the fact that Raise the Alarm is instant speed allows us to Ambush Viper in the tokens to block, sometimes catching opponents by surprise. This being said, both cards are in the deck to give us two tokens for two mana, which helps us flip our Legion's Landing quickly and makes sure we have as many tokens as possible on the battlefield to support our Leyline of the Meek and Intangible Virtue

Three-Drops

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Lingering Souls and Spectral Procession are basically our finishers, giving us a bunch of flying tokens to kill our opponent. With both are good on their own, they are insanely powerful with Leyline of the Meek and Intangible Virtue pumping our tokens. If we can get just two anthems on the battlefield, Spectral Procession gives us nine flying power for three mana, while Lingering Souls gives us 12 for five mana, sometimes split across two turns. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

It's worth mentioning that even though we are a mono-white deck, our mana base is designed to make both Lingering Souls and Spectral Procession as good as possible. For Lingering Souls, this mean running a playset of Caves of Koilos and a Temple of Silence to flash it back, even though we don't have any black cards in our deck. For Spectral Procession, we limit the number of non-white lands in our deck. For example, Westvale Abbey is very powerful in our deck, but we only have a single copy because we really need to have three white-producing lands over the first three turns of the game to make Spectral Procession cost only three mana. Thankfully, the power level of Lingering Souls and Spectral Procession is off the charts, which makes building around them a little bit more than worth the cost.

???-Drop

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Our last token maker is a strange one: Triplicate Spirits. On its face, Triplicate Spirits is way too expensive to be Modern playable, offering three 1/1 fliers for six mana. However, thanks to convoke, it's more common that we cast Triplicate Spirits for a small amount of real mana, instead paying for it by tapping our tokens. There are two tricks that make Triplicate Spirits very powerful in our deck. First, Triplicate Spirits is absurd when we have Intangible Virtue to give our creatures vigilance, often giving us the equivalent of a Spectral Procession for free, since we can attack with all of our creatures and then tap the creatures to convoke out Triplicate Spirits during our second main phase. Second, a lot of our other token producers are essentially free on the turn that we are going to cast Triplicate Spirits. Take Spectral Procession, for example. We can cast it for three mana, but we get three white creatures that we can immediately tap to get a three-mana discount on our Triplicate Spirits! The end result is that while it's risky, since it can get stuck in our hand when things go wrong, Triplicate Spirits gives us some very explosive nut draws.

Speaking of nut draws, the most powerful start our deck can have is something like Leyline of the Meek on Turn 0, Legion's Landing on Turn 1, Gather the Townsfolk / Raise the Alarm on Turn 2 into Spectral Procession, and convoke out Triplicate Spirits for free on Turn 3. The end result is that we finish our third turn with three 2/2 ground creatures and six 2/2 fliers. If we can follow this up on Turn 4 with another Leyline of the Meek or an Intangible Virtue, it's pretty likely that we just win the game on the spot by hitting for a massive 18 damage in the air—and that's not even taking into account our three ground tokens!

Other Stuff

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

For removal, we have just three copies of Path to Exile. While playing a less expensive option would help the budget, having Path to Exile is especially important for Mono-White Leyline Tokens because we really want to be spending all of our mana every turn. Taking off Turn 2 to play something like Declaration in Stone is a huge cost in the deck—the one-mana Path to Exile is a lot easier to sneak in while playing something else in the same turn.

While most of our mana base is straightforward, with a bunch of Plains and some WB dual lands to flash back Lingering Souls, I did want to briefly mention Shefet Dunes and Westvale Abbey. These lands work like backup finishers, with Shefet Dunes being a one-shot anthem effect that is pretty much a free roll, since it comes attached to a land that makes white mana. Meanwhile, while Westvale Abbey is only a one-of since we can't afford too many colorless lands thanks to Spectral Procession, it gives us another way of making tokens if the game goes long, and for some decks, a flipped Westvale Abbey is almost unbeatable. 

Wrap-Up

All in all, we played five matches and won four, which is a pretty great record for a budget deck. Even more impressive is the fact that a lot of the decks we managed to beat (like Bogles, Storm, and Burn) seemed like really bad matchups for our deck, at least on paper. Generally, the weakness of mono-white budget decks is that they really struggle with fast combo, but with Mono-White Leyline Tokens, our clock was fast enough that we were able to kill our opponent before they could combo off and kill us. Oddly, the only deck that we lost to was Humans, which seems like it should be one of our better matchups, since we have tons of blockers and their clock isn't all that fast, but Izzet Staticaster is a blowout if we don't have an anthem on the battlefield.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

As for improvements I'd make to the budget build of the deck after playing some matches, I was pretty happy with the main deck. In hindsight, it might not be worth playing Ghost Quarter in the mana base. The upside of having some slight chance to kill a Tron land probably isn't worth the downside of making Spectral Procession more expensive in other matchups. Otherwise, I'm interested in testing Shrine of Loyal Legions and maybe Monastery Mentor as well, but while both offer a lot of power for the late game, they are probably too slow for a deck that is looking to kill opponents on Turn 4 or 5.

All in all, Mono-White Leyline Tokens felt great. Not only did we win our good matchups but we won most of our bad matchups as well, which is a testament to the power of the deck. It was both consistent and extremely explosive, which is a deadly combination. It certainly felt like a deck that could pick up a lot of wins, and it gets even better with some upgrades to the sideboard. Plus, a lot of the best and most expensive cards in the deck can be used for WB Tokens as well, so along with a solid budget deck, you get a clear upgrade path to a competitive Modern deck. If you like going wide and being aggressive, or just slamming Leylines into play for free on Turn 0, give Mono-White Leyline a shot! I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Getting Mono-White Leyline Tokens down under $50 is pretty simple. First, we cut Path to Exile for one Declaration in Stone and some Doomed Travelers. While having less removal is weird, we have so many creatures in the deck that we should be able to stay alive by chump blocking if necessary, especially with Doomed Traveler giving us another one-drop that can block twice. Otherwise, we have to cut two copies of Legion's Landing, which is oddly expensive thanks to Standard. While having it less often will hurt, mostly because the Rampant Growth aspect of the card was helpful in exploding out of the gate, the deck should function just fine without it. This leaves us with a deck that is slightly less powerful than the one we played for the videos but really doesn't lose much at all.

If you're looking to upgrade Mono-White Leyline Tokens into the closest tournament deck, dropping Leyline and adding some planeswalkers and black mana to play WB Tokens is probably the best option. However, for our non-budget build this week, we are sticking to the mono-white plan. In fact, the non-land cards in the main deck don't really change at all. Instead, we simply improve the mana with Marsh Flats and Godless Shrine and then add some powerful cards to the sideboard, including Leyline of Sanctity for combo and Burn, Rule of Law for Storm and other big-turn decks, and Stony Silence for Affinity and Tron. All in all, these upgrades represent an improvement, but apart from the better mana, you'll only see the benefit of these cards in specific matchups. If you are going to spend the money to upgrade, you might as well just build toward the most tested WB Tokens list. You'll get most of the cards you need for the upgraded Mono-White list as well and almost end up with two decks for the price of one upgrade.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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