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Budget Magic: $99 Mono-White Tokens (Modern)


Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! It's been a minute since we've had a Modern Budget Magic but don't worry, we're heading back to Magic's best format today to play some Mono-White Tokens! Thanks to Dominaria United we now have another powerful two-drop token producer in Resolute Reinforcements which helps us flood the board with small bodies early. We can then pump them into real threats with the help of a bunch of anthems and beat our opponent down! Can Mono-White Tokens compete in Modern on a $100 budget? How big of a deal is Resolute Reinforcements? 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 Tokens

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The Deck

Mono-White Tokens, as its name suggests, is a token deck. The plan is to play token producers that put multiple bodies on the battlefield, pump them with various anthems and beat our opponent down with combat damage. Oh yeah, and we get to Mana Tithe some fools. No will expect it.

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The plan of our deck is pretty straight forward. Ideally we'll start on turn one with either Legion's Landing or Thraben Inspector. Thraben Inspector might not technically be a token (although it does make a Clue), but it is solid in our deck as our budget-friendly Esper Sentinel as a one-drop that can draw us a card. Meanwhile, Legion's Landing makes a 1/1 token, which is nice, but its real power is flipping into a token-making land, hopefully as early as turn three, which not only ramps us, but gives us repeatable token production in the late game to help finish our opponent off.

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In the two-drop slot we have Resolute Reinforcements, Raise the Alarm and Gather the Townsfolk. While there are small differences here and there, in reality all three are basically the same card, giving us two 1/1's for two mana. Getting two bodies on the battlefield on turn two is super important to the deck for a few reasons, with the biggest being that it allows us to flip Legion's Landing on turn three and makes sure we have bodies on the battlefield to benefit from our endless anthems.

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Rounding out our token producers we have Spectral Procession and a single Secure the Wastes. While not especially efficient Secure the Wastes is solid in the late game if we have a bunch of lands, letting us make a bunch of tokens on our opponent's end step and hopefully untap and kill our opponent with one attack. Meanwhile, Spectral Procession is one of the best cards in the deck. Since all of our lands make white mana it's always just three mana to make three 1/1 flying Spirits, which is a great rate. With an anthem or two on the battlefield the fliers are one of our best ways to finish the game quickly.

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Speaking of anthems, we have several different ways to grow our endless 1/1 tokens into real threats. Force of Virtue is probably the most powerful of the bunch since we can usually cast it for free by pitching a random white card. It occasionally allows for some absurd starts where we manage to make two or three tokens over the first two turns, exile the rest of our hand to play multiple copies and essentially get a free win. Backing up Force we have Honor of the Pure and Intangible Virtue, although in hindsight I'd probably just play three copies of Honor of the Pure rather than the current 2-1 split. While the vigilance of Intangible Virtue is nice, the problem is that it only pumps our tokens while Honor of the Pure also buffs Resolute Reinforcements, Thraben Inspector and friends. Outside of a couple of token producers these are the cards we want to see the most. It's hard to actually deal 20 damage with 1/1 tokens, but once we turn them into 2/2's or 3/3's it gets much easier. 

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Our last way to buff our tokens is Venerated Loxodon, which is super interesting. Thanks to our ability to flood the board with tokens we can often cast it for very little (or even no) mana thanks to convoke while also growing whatever creatures we use to convoke it into play. A free 4/4 sounds nice, so what's the problem? Well, it's sometimes super awkward to have to tap down our tokens to convoke Loxodon into play. We have to make a difficult choice between getting in immediate damage or potentially getting in even more damage the next turn with the help of Venerated Loxodon. When the Elephant is good its great (imagine turn two Raise the Alarm into turn three Spectral Procession, tap all five tokens to convoke Venerated Loxodon into play and put a +1/+1 counter on all the tokens), but when it's bad it ends up getting stuck in our hand, which makes it a two-of in the deck.

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As far as interaction March of Otherworldly Light offer an efficient way to answer pretty much anything. Mana Tithe - one of my all time favorite cards - is a great way to "get" unsuspecting opponents. No one plays around a counterspell from a Mono-White Token deck. But it's even better in our deck because thanks to cards like Resolute Reinforcements, Raise the Alarm and Secure the Wastes were surprisingly good at playing at instant speed. We can leave our mana up, if we need to counter something we use Mana Tithe, but if we don't get a chance to use the counter we can use our mana to cast one of our instant-speed token producers. Finally Aven Mindcensor is just a one-of, but it's good at flowing down fetchlands in general and it especially important against Primeval Titan decks.

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As far as our mana, it's great for a budget deck. Our MDFCs Emeria's Call and Kabira Takedown do triple duty in our deck. We often use them as lands, but the spell side of both is also relevant, with Kabira Takedown taking advantage of our ability to flood the board with creatures and Emeria's Call being a fine finisher if we flood out, however the big reason we're playing a full playset of Emeria's Call is that it's a land that we can exile to Force of Virtue to play it for free. Our MDFCs allow us to play just 15 "real" lands, with five of them being Shefet Dunes as an additional, one-shot way to pump our tokens and Castle Ardenvale as another late-game token producers.

Wrap Up

Well, that went shockingly well. We played a Modern league with Mono-White Tokens, ended up getting the perfect 5-0 and then proceeded to open Fury and Force of Negation in our Treasure Chests, which I think makes it a win-win-win. While we definitely ran hot in our league and I wouldn't expect to consistently 5-0 with the deck, we did play against many of the best decks in Modern (Izzet Murktide, Creativity, Burn, etc) and managed to pick up the win every round!

As far as changes to make to the budget build of the deck, I'm happy with where it ended up in general, although as I mentioned before I'd drop the Intangible Virtue for another Honor of the Pure, otherwise you should be good to go!

So should you play Mono-White Tokens in Modern? Based on our experience today, I think the answer is an easy yes. It's pretty rare that we managed to 5-0 a league with a budget deck, and Mono-White Tokens made it happen. Sure, the sample size is small and there's no way that the deck will win 100% of the time over the long haul, but it felt good and was able to keep up with a lot of tier decks, which is especially impressive considering the $100 budget! If you like tokens decks, going wide and attacking Mono-White Tokens just my be the perfect Modern budget deck for you!

Ultra-Budget Mono-White Tokens

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Getting Mono-White Tokens down near $50 is pretty easy. We cut the expensive cards from the sideboard (like Rest in Peace) and replace them with cheaper options (like Tormod's Crypt). In the main deck the one big loss is Emeria's Call, although in reality it's pretty rare that we cast it (although it does happen) losing a land that we can pitch to Force of Virtue will make our Force of Virtues a bit worse. Adding more copies of Kabira Takedown helps a bit, but overall we still have two less MDFCs than the original build. Otherwise the deck looks very much like the one we played in the video and should be almost as good (at least in most matchups).

Non-Budget Mono-White Tokens

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Honestly, I'm not sure there is that much to add to the deck even if budget isn't a concern (we did just go 5-0 after all), although one big addition would be Horizon Canopy, Silent Clearing or other horizon lands. While it didn't happen often in our league, flooding our is a concern with the deck since we don't really have card advantage or filtering. Lands that we can turn into extra cards if we happen to flood mostly help solve the problem. Oh yeah, and as much as I love Thraben Inspector, Esper Sentinel is probably just better in the deck, especially since our anthems will make it even hard for our opponent to pay its tax. So toss in whatever horizon lands you have access to in place of some Plains, swap Thraben Inspector for Esper Sentinel and you should be good to go!

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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