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Budget Magic: $98 (40 tix) Standard Mono-White Angels


ನಮಸ್ತೆ, Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. This week, I was looking over the Standard metagame and realized that GW Tokens, Humans, and Bant Company decks make up about half of the Standard meta, so I figured that what we needed for Budget Magic this week was a deck that could beat those decks. Trying to solve this problem took us to a strange place—a mono-White control deck full of expensive but powerful Angels! The basic idea is that we get to play a ton of cards that are good against the "big three" decks of Standard to disrupt our opponent; then, we use our big Angels to fly over our opponent's ground forces and win the game!

Let's get to the videos; then, I'll talk more about Mono-White Angels. A quick reminder: if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Mono-White Angels: Deck Tech

Mono-White Angels vs. GW Aristocrats

Mono-White Angels vs. GW Tokens

Mono-White Angels vs. Sultai Midrange

Mono-White Angels vs. GR Eldrazi Ramp

Mono-White Angels vs. RW Goggles

The Deck

If you think about GW Tokens, RW Humans, and Bant Company, the decks have a few things in common. First, and most importantly, nearly all of their creatures battle on the ground. Second, all three are looking to go wide with relatively small creatures, and look to win by outnumbering the opponent, rather than out-powering them with a couple of huge threats. Third, at least GW Tokens and Bant Company rely on generating two-for-ones by getting creatures without casting them, either by producing tokens with planeswalkers like Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar or with Collected Company. Our Mono-White Angels deck is looking to attack all three of these areas. 

Winning in the Air

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As I mentioned a moment ago, all three of the most-played decks in Standard are looking to battle with ground creatures, which makes big Flying threats especially good at the moment. Plus, GW Tokens, Bant Company, and Humans are all fairly light on true removal, which means a huge Angel is pretty hard for these decks to deal with. 

Archangel of Tithes is a reasonable blocker. Having five toughness means it survives Languish and Chandra, Flamecaller, and forcing opponents to pay a mana for each attacking creature is actually very powerful. Cards like Secure the Wastes and Thraben Inspector become questionable on offense when you're going to have to skip your turn to attack with a bunch of low-power creatures. 

Linvala, the Preserver also dodges a lot of removal and has great synergy with Eldrazi Displacer; plus, it's one of the best stabilization cards in all of Standard. When we are behind in life and on board, which is pretty common for our deck, it's pretty much a Flying Thragtusk, making a couple of blockers and buying us time to draw some more powerful threats or sweepers to claw back into the game. 

Emeria Shepherd is likely the strangest card in the list, but it does an amazing job of closing out games. As a 4/4 flier for seven, it's underpowered, but when we play it as an 8-drop and immediately play a Plains to get back a Linvala, the Preserver or Archangel of Tithes, it usually wins the game. Plus, as I mentioned, many of the top decks in Standard are skimping on removal, and when Emeria Shepherd sits on the battlefield for a few turns, the amount of value it generates is almost always game winning. 

Ramp

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Our Angels are a bit on the expensive side, and since we really need to make sure we cast them in a timely manner, we have a handful of ramp cards in the deck. Knight of the White Orchid is high variance; on the draw, it almost always gets us a land on Turn 3, while on the play, it's much more hit or miss. The good news is that the body itself is fine and helps to slow down the opponent while we wait to get our expensive mid and late game online. Remember, too, that it can search out a Plains, so in the late game, we can often construct situations where we get double Emeria Shepherd activations with the help of Knight of the White Orchid (if we are behind on lands, we can play a Plains, return Knight of the White Orchid to the battlefield, get another Plains, trigger Emeria Shepherd again, and return something else). 

Mage-Ring Network is our most consistent piece of ramp, since we often have time in the early part of the game to start storing up counters. As a result, Mage-Ring Network occasionally lets us cast Linvala, the Preserver or Emeria Shepherd a turn or two early, and in the worst case, it allows us to have really explosive turns in the late game, where we can play Tragic Arrogance and follow up the wrath by casting multiple creatures, thanks to the storage counter mana. 

Hedron Crawler is pretty much filler. In the first build of the deck, I had a fourth copy of Knight of the White Orchid but ended up cutting it because the variance was annoying; plus, it freed up some space in the budget. Hedron Archive, on the other hand, is pretty good. While the ramp is occasionally relevant, it gives our mono-White deck a way to draw some extra cards, and the lack of card advantage is one of the biggest problems with playing a mono-White control deck. It can also do a fun trick with Emeria Shepherd, which can reanimate any permanent, and not just creatures; in the late game, we can loop Hedron Archive every turn and draw two extra cards for just 2 mana by reanimating it repeatedly (which also should draw us into more Plains so we can keep triggering Emeria Shepherd). 

Card Advantage

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Mono-White decks simply do not get good sources of card advantage, so we had to go pretty deep to figure out a way to draw cards. The best I could come up with was blinking Thraben Inspector with Eldrazi Displacer, which ends up being "pay five, draw a card"—one of the least-efficient sources of card advantage imaginable. 

On the other hand, I wanted both of these cards in the deck anyway. Thraben Inspector is essentially a free chump blocker, since it's only 1 mana to cast and doesn't cost a card. In a deck that's looking to win by casting seven-drop Angels, a free chump block is extremely relevant.

Eldrazi Displacer does it all. It saves our Angels from removal, blinks Knight of the White Orchid to get more lands (and potentially trigger Emeria Shepherd), blinks Thraben Inspector to generate more Clues, gains us life by blinking Linvala, the Preserver, helps us stay alive by blinking opposing attackers, and probably a million other things I'm forgetting about at the moment. Oh, and did I mention we can turn it into one of the jankiest wraths of all time?

Hating the Top Decks

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The idea of jamming four copies of Hallowed Moonlight in a main deck has been rattling around in my head for a few weeks. It seems so good against any Collected Company deck, any Secure the Wastes deck, and even just Gideon, Ally of Zendikar or Nissa, Voice of Zendikar activations, which means it does something against nearly all of the top decks in Standard. Plus, the floor on the card is high. Even when it's doing nothing, it's "pay 2 mana, draw a new card," which means it can never truly be bad. 

Against GW Tokens and Bant Company, main deck Hallowed Moonlight is awesome—often game winning—because no one expects main deck Hallowed Moonlight. Against decks where Hallowed Moonlight is less good, we can make it good with the help of Eldrazi Displacer. Basically, once we resolve a Hallowed Moonlight, for the rest of the turn, whenever we blink a creature with Eldrazi Displacer, it gets exiled and never returns. With the help of Mage-Ring Network and Hedron Archive mana, we have the potential to turn Hallowed Moonlight / Eldrazi Displacer into our very own Plague Wind! That said, when we aren't living in magic Christmas land, just getting rid of a World Breaker or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger with the combo is pretty big game. 

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Tragic Arrogance is another card that doesn't usually show up in main decks, and almost never as a four of, but it's really good against all of the go-wide creature decks that are dominating Standard at the moment. The fact that we are playing so many big, powerful Angels makes it easy to break the symmetry—we let our opponent keep a 0/1 Plant token while we get to keep a 5/5 flier. It also lets us get rid of multiple planeswalkers against GW Tokens, which is a pretty big deal. We make our opponent sac down to one bad creature and one planeswalker, and then use our leftover Angel to attack the remaining Gideon, Ally of Zendikar or Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

Pacifism may look weird in the deck, and honestly it looks weird to me as well. When I was building the deck, I instinctively jammed Silkwrap in the slot, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Pacifism is way, way better than Silkwrap in a deck running four main deck Tragic Arrogance. The reason our deck would play either Silkwrap or Pacifism would be as early game removal to slow down out opponent's threats while we wait to get our wraths and Angels online. The problem with Silkwrap is that if we have more than one on the battlefield, we'd have to sacrifice one (or more) to our own Tragic Arrogance, giving our opponent back the creature underneath. While the same thing happens with Pacifism, it doesn't really matter because the creature that we pacified dies anyway. Plus, we can choose a creature wearing Pacifism as the one creature our opponent gets to keep when we cast Tragic Arrogance, which essentially turns Tragic Arrogance into a real wrath that lets us keep our best creature as a bonus. 

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Quarantine Field and Stasis Snare are only one-ofs, because they don't work especially well with Tragic Arrogance (for the same reason we're playing Pacifism over Silkwrap). That said, they do help solve specific problems for the deck. Quarantine Field gives us another way to answer planeswalkers and sometimes even multiple planeswalkers, if we have enough mana, while Stasis Snare answers an animated Gideon, Ally of Zendikar or Haste creatures. Apart from Tragic Arrogance, the other risky part about playing these cards right now is that a lot of the big decks in Standard are running four copies of Dromoka's Command, which can lead to some huge blowouts. In these situations, remember that Pacifism makes for good sacrifice fodder in a pinch. 

Ultra-Budget Mono-White Angels

I almost didn't include an ultra-budget version this week, because it's nearly impossible to make the deck play the same while also cutting the price, since Archangel of Tithes, Eldrazi Displacer, and Knight of the White Orchid are among the most expensive cards in the deck and are also essential to the plan. After a bit of finagling, I figured out a way around the problem, but be warned: the deck is a lot different from the one in the videos. Instead of playing as many big Angels, the deck is looking to make Angel tokens with the help of Sigil of the Empty Throne and Starfield of Nyx. In this build, Linvala, the Preserver is a way to gain some life and help stabilize, while Emeria Shepherd works a bit like a second copy of Starfield of Nyx, letting us reanimate an enchantment every turn. If you want a fun, Angel-flavored deck, give this a try, but I wouldn't expect it to have nearly as much game against the most-played decks in Standard. 

Non-Budget Mono-White Angels

The main deck of the non-budget version of Mono-White Angels doesn't change all that much; we just cut some of the least-powerful cards from the budget build and replace them with Archangel Avacyn—the best Angel in Standard—and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. However, there is one thing I really, really like about this build, and it's the transformational sideboard plan. As I've talked about throughout the article, the main idea of Mono-White Angels is to have good matchups against GW Tokens, Humans, and Bant Company. While I think the budget deck is fairly successful in this goal, it can struggle in other matchups. Well, in the non-budget build, we get four copies of Reality Smasher and four copies of Thought-Knot Seer, which go a long way toward improving the control and ramp matchups. While Tragic Arrogance and Hallowed Moonlight are great against 50% of the field, they are somewhere between okay and horrible against the other 50%. In these matchups, we can swap them out for some big, resilient, hard-to-interact-with threats. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Overall, we went 3-2 with the deck, performing well against the decks we were designed to beat but struggling in some fringe matchups like RW Goggles, where our answers simply did not line up very well with their threats. If you are looking for a fun and budget-friendly way to compete with GW Tokens, Bant Comany, and Humans, give Mono-White Angels a try! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, and at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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