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Budget Magic: Human White Weenie (15 Rares) | Standard


Yassou, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! This week, we're heading back to Kaldheim Standard for what might be one of the most competitive budget decks in the format: Human White Weenie! A couple of days ago, I threw together a non-budget Halvar White deck inspired by one Gabe Nassif was playing on his stream, and the list absolutely crushed the field. So far, I'm 17-2, after going all of the way through platinum and most of the way through diamond on Magic Arena (with one of the two losses being a white-weenie mirror). While the deck is a bit too expensive for Budget Magic (you'll find the Halvar list at the end of the article in the non-budget section), the power of white aggro made me think that we could probably make the deck work in budget form. After a bit of brewing and the addition of a Human subtheme, the end result is the 15-rare deck we're playing today! How good is Human White Weenie in Standard on a budget? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Human White Weenie

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The Deck

Human White Weenie is a semi-tribal white aggro deck. The goal is to smash the opponent quickly with small white creatures and hopefully close out the game quickly, before our opponent can recover or assemble the mana for their powerful late-game finishers!

The One-Drops

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Human White Weenie is overloaded with one-drops. Our best starts involve playing a one-drop on Turn 1, two more on Turn 2, and then one of our payoffs on Turn 3 to force through even more damage. While some of our one-drops are better than others and each has different benefits and drawbacks, in practice, we don't usually care too much which one-drops we have in hand, just that we have a bunch of them to flood the board quickly. 

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Rather than trying to write about each of the one-drops individually, which seems excessive considering they are mostly interchangeable, let's instead do a quick breakdown of the upsides and drawbacks of each of our one-drops. All in all, we have 22 one-mana creatures split between six cards. The following list is in alphabetical order since which one-drop is best depends on the matchup and the board state.

  • Beloved Princess is just a 1/1, but the combo of lifelink and pseudo-unblockability makes it a good option to pump with our payoffs in some matchups. Still, because of its small starting stats and limited upside, it's the only one-drop in our deck that is a two-of rather than a four-of.
  • Codespell Cleric is great in a deck with a bunch of one-drops since we should be able to trigger its enters-the-battlefield ability consistently on Turn 2, which either gives us a one-mana 2/2 (which is solid) or allows us to put a +1/+1 counter on the one-drop we played on Turn 1 to force through more immediate damage.
  • Giant Killer is a one-drop that we often don't play on Turn 1; instead, we hold onto it to kill something like Lovestruck Beast on Turn 3. After it is on the battlefield, Giant Killer's tap ability offers a way to clear out a blocker and force through additional damage. The downside is that Giant Killer is one of our weakest attackers since it only has one power.
  • Selfless Savior has one huge drawback: it's not a Human, so it doesn't get pumped by Sanctuary Lockdown. That said, we're not playing Selfless Savior because it's a great attacker but because it's a cheap way to save our more powerful creatures from removal. Being able to sac Selfless Savior to keep something like Luminarch Aspirant or Usher of the Fallen on the battlefield through a wrath or targeted removal spell is really important and powerful.
  • Usher of the Fallen is weird. Technically, it isn't a Human itself, which is awkward at times (see: match three in the video), although it can make a steady stream of Human tokens. Plus, its Savannah Lions starting stats are exactly what we're looking for in a White Weenie aggro shell.
  • Venerable Knight is just a Human Savannah Lions. We don't have any other Knights in our deck, so unless we happen to have multiple Venerable Knights on the battlefield, its death trigger doesn't do anything. But we'll play all of the one-mana two-power Humans possible in our deck.

Two-Drops

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In the two-drop slot are two Humans that both are powerful but for very different reasons. Luminarch Aspirant is solid because it adds an additional power every turn it sticks on the battlefield, either to itself or one of our other creatures. Apart from helping us force through more damage, the +1/+1 counter also offers protection from Heartless Act, which is surprisingly important in some matchups. Meanwhile, Seasoned Hallowblade is great because it is super hard to kill. While exile-based removal does get the job done, Seasoned Hallowblade dodges most targeted removal and can attack into bigger blockers, thanks to its ability to become indestructible by discarding a card. It's also a two-mana 3/1, which is an aggressive enough stat line that even though Seasoned Hallowblade is at its best against removal-heavy midrange and control decks, it's more than good enough against aggro as well.

The Payoffs

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While flooding the board with Savannah Lions is great, we often need a bit more power to close out the game. Thankfully, we have two options in the three-drop slot to get the job done in Heraldic Banner and Sanctuary Lockdown, both of which give all of our creatures +1 power while also having additional upsides. Sanctuary Lockdown is actually the primary reason we're playing a bunch of Humans. Glorious Anthem is a key card in many non-budget builds of White Weenie, but it's a rare. By focusing on Humans, we can get an upgraded Glorious Anthem (thanks to Sanctuary Lockdown's ability to tap opposing creatures) without needing more rare wildcards to complete the deck!

While Sanctuary Lockdown is the best of our payoffs, much like our one-drops, in practice, we don't really care which one we have on Turn 3, just that we have one. Either of these cards offers a massive boost of power and helps us close out the game quickly. Picture a common curve for Human White Weenie. On Turn 1, we play a Venerable Knight. On Turn 2, we attack for two and play two more Savannah Lions–style one-drops. On Turn 3, we follow up with either Sanctuary Lockdown or Heraldic Banner and attack for nine! This start leaves our opponent dead on board on Turn 4, which is exactly the position our deck is trying to put our opponent in. We know that we'll lose the late game to pretty much every deck in the format, but there's no late game to worry about if we can kill our opponent early!

The Mana

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I wanted to mention the mana base of Human White Weenie for one big reason: Faceless Haven. While it might be tempting to cut the creatureland to save a few rare wildcards, don't. It is one of the best and most important cards in our entire deck. While being a Human is a nice upside, the main reason why Faceless Haven is so important is that it allows us to beat sweepers. Many midrange and control decks have cards like Extinction Event, Shadow's Verdict, or Shatter the Sky. Faceless Haven is the main reason why we can beat these cards. What usually happens is that we flood the board with cheap creatures and push through a bunch of early damage. On Turn 4 or 5, our opponent manages to sweep the board, which would normally be devastating, leaving us a few points of damage short of closing out the game. This is where Faceless Haven comes in, swinging in for the last bit of damage to pick up the win! All this is to say that Faceless Haven is one of the main reasons why Human White Weenie is competitive, especially against control and midrange. Cutting it to save a few wildcards will make the deck much, much worse.

Playing the Deck

In some games, playing Human White Weenie is pretty easy: you just dump your hand, attack a bunch, and win. However, some little things are worth keeping in mind that will help you to up your win percentage with the deck.

Probably the most challenging card in the deck is Luminarch Aspirant. Putting a +1/+1 counter on something might sound like an easy, meaningless decision, but what you put the counter on really matters a lot! For one thing, the +1/+1 counter offers protection from Heartless Act, so against black decks, it's sometimes better to put the counter on the creature that we need to live the most, rather than the one that offers the most immediate damage. Meanwhile, against decks with sweepers, it's often helpful to add counters to Faceless Haven or, after sideboarding, to Funeral Longboat, to try to prepare the best we can for after our opponent wraths away the rest of our board. 

Speaking of the sideboard, the cards that come in most often are Glass Casket and Skyclave Apparition (against aggro and aggressive midrange decks like Adventures) as well as Funeral Longboat (which comes in exclusively against decks with sweepers, to give us another threat that survives a wrath). The easiest cut in most matchups is Beloved Princess, which often is our worst one-drop, although, depending on the matchup, cards like Giant Killer (not great against other aggro decks or decks with very few creatures) or Heraldic Banner (against decks with a ton of artifact / enchantment removal like Mono-Green) can come out as well. 

It's also important to be aware that Seasoned Hallowblade likes us to have extra cards in hand to discard for protection. Keep that in mind when you're deciding whether you should run out your fifth land or something like Beloved Princess later in the game. Sometimes, those extra cards are worth more as discard fodder than they are on the battlefield.

Wrap-Up

All in all, we went 4-1 with Human White Weenie, with our one loss coming to Mono-Red Aggro. Meanwhile, we took down Yorion piles twice, along with Izzet Dragon Tempo and a Jund Ramp deck. While the deck might look a bit janky, it's plays great and matchups up well against a lot of the most popular decks in the current meta. If you're looking for a budget-friendly deck that can actually compete and possibly rank up at the higher ranks of Magic Arena, I think Human White Weenie is one of the best current options in Kaldheim Standard.

As far as changes to make to the budget build, there really isn't a whole lot we can do without expanding the budget a bit. That said, I wasn't impressed with Dauntless Unity in the sideboard. I'm not sure what would make better use of the slot, but there probably is something.

So, should you play Human White Weenie in Kaldheim Standard? I think the answer is yes for two big reasons. First, I really do think it is one of the best 15-rare (or less) decks you can play in the format. Going wide and fast with little white creatures seems like a solid way to beat all of the ramp, midrange, Yorion, and control decks floating around at the moment. Second, every rare in the deck is very playable. In fact, when we look at our non-budget Halvar White deck in a minute, you'll see that all 15 of the rares are in that deck as well, so you can spend your wildcards on the budget build, hopefully have some success with it, and eventually upgrade to an even more powerful build of White Weenie without any wildcards going to waste!

Ultra-Budget Human White Weenie

In all honesty, I don't think Human White Weenie can be successful with much less than 15 rares. I view Faceless Haven as uncuttable and as one of the most important cards in the deck. Cutting it would turn a lot of wins against Yorion piles and control into losses since we'd get blown out by a single sweeper. Giant Killer is our primary removal spell and an on-tribe one-drop. In theory, you could replace it with more Beloved Princesses and Kabira Takedowns, but the deck would be much worse as a result. Meanwhile, while some builds of Mono-White can play without Luminarch Aspirant, we really need it in the two-drop slot because of the Human subtheme. This leaves the three Skyclave Apparitions in the sideboard, which is the one rare I might consider cutting. I think that Skyclave Apparition is great in the deck, but in a pinch, you can get by with more copies of Banishing Light in its place. While this change would represent a meaningful downgrade (Skyclave Apparition is better than Banishing Light for a bunch of reasons, but a big one for our deck specifically is that it's a creature, and we want as many random dorks that can force through damage as possible), the deck would still be functional. 

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For our non-budget build this week, we have Halvar White, a somewhat bigger build of White Weenie with a heavy equipment subtheme to take advantage of the power of Halvar, God of Battle. Rather than overloading with one-drops, Halvar White wants to push through early damage but ideally stick a Maul of the Skyclaves onto something on Turn 3 and then follow it up with Halvar, God of Battle to give our equipped creatures double strike and hopefully close out the game with a big attack on Turn 4. As I mentioned before, every rare we played in the budget Human White Weenie deck is also in Halvar White. So, the idea is that you can play the budget build, earn rewards, and slowly upgrade to the Halvar version as your collection allows. So far, I've taken the Halvar build through all of platinum and much of diamond, with a stunning 89% win percentage across 19 matches. The deck is great, and I would definitely recommend taking it out for a spin if you have enough wildcards to put it together!

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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