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By: SpikeBoyM, Alex Ullman
Dec 07 2015 1:00pm
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When Pauper Leagues hit I was at a loss with what I was going to play for my first runs. I went with Esper Combo, which exposed my lack of practice with the deck or patience to click my way to victory. Next came a winless run with Jund which was the product of too little sleep and too many misclicks. After an inauspicious start I decided to take the information I had gleaned from my own games and combine it with the data I was seeing from the published lists. In an effort to not simply try Delver or Mono-Black Control, I went with a fringe strategy which was not unknown to me: White Weenie Tokens.

White Weenie Tokens is an evolution of White Weenie. The original deck was a midrange aggressive strategy that would eke out advantage with cards like Squadron Hawk and Kor Skyfisher picking up a transformed Loyal Cathar. The plodding deck was highly resistant to spot removal and could use its flyers in conjunction with Bonesplitter to defend against Delver decks and their air force. The deck was also strong against Mono-Black Control as it could sidestep removal with resilient creatures or run sideboard snipers like Obsidian Acolyte to completely blank certain kill spells.
So what happened? Gray Merchant of Asphodel. Gary represented a change in the way MBC operated. It stopped being a deck that tried to leverage removal to help enable wins through Chittering Rats and its ilk. Instead MBC became a deck that was about keeping permanents on the board long enough to chain Gray Merchants together for victory. White Weenie was able to run Journey to Nowhere and Sunlance, but that was not nearly enough to allow the deck to take its normal plodding route to victory in the new world.
The answer came with Vintage Masters and the rarity shifted card of Battle Screech. Battle Screech represented a backup to Squadron Hawk as a way to flood the air with bodies. The sheer number of tokens allowed Guardian’s Pledge to turn itself from a fringe player to an archetype staple. In a similar moment, Triplicate Spirits was released, giving White Weenie a top end token producer and a reason to build towards one shot anthems. Suddenly the deck was no longer a midrange beater. Now White Weenie Tokens, the deck is far closer to a Burn deck on the Philosophy of Fire scale but still allows for some flexibility so that not every card has to be a Lightning Bolt.

 

 

This is my latest build of the deck and it varies from the norm in some meaningful ways. I’ll get to those in the core card discussion.

White Weenie Tokens is a “go wide” aggressive deck with some combo deck elements. The goal is to assemble enough tokens to deal lethal damage aided by the deck’s anthem effects. Because many of the cards in the deck are capable of producing more than one threat, the deck does not fear pinpoint removal taking out a key creature on the anthem turn. White Weenie Tokens is a deck that can win on turn four regularly and turn five consistently.
One of the bigger challenges with the deck is knowing when to develop the board as opposed to applying pressure. Battle Screech and Triplicate Spirits both ask for offensive resources to be invested in creating more creatures. Often it is correct to take a turn off from attacking to add more threats to the board because it will mean a lethal attack on the following turn. Tokens can also come back from a failed attack simply by rebuilding with more tokens.
In my opinion, these are the key cards to any White Weenie Tokens deck in the current metagame.


4 Doomed Traveler: The best one drop for the deck. Doomed Traveler can attack with abandon in the early game and leaves behind an evasive threat. Traveler allows the deck to apply pressure and crash into blockers without fear of losing potential power. The Traveler also matches up well with Chainer’s Edict, Lightning Bolt, and other commonly played removal.

4 Squadron Hawk: One of white’s best cards, this is probably your best turn two play. Why? Because it draws you more Hawks. The cast is one of the better cards against Delver as they can team up to take down an Insectile Aberration while a single one can take down a faerie. Squadron Hawk is a card that can win a game on its own against a slower opponent as it provides a steady stream of threats.

4 Raise the Alarm: One of the least appreciated white cards in Pauper. The ability to put two threats on the board at instant speed cannot be understated as it can represent extra damage that an opponent was not expecting. Raise the Alarm is at its strongest against Delver decks as it can be cast on their upkeep and forces the blue deck to spend mana at an inopportune time. Forcing their hand can set up a turn where you then deploy additional threats.

4 Battle Screech: Four creatures for a single spell, the rate on Battle Screech is hard to beat. The fact that it can be split over multiple turns gives Tokens another element of reach. The ability to store two creatures in the graveyard for later can help reload after an especially violent attack phase. Battle Screech is an ideal top end for the deck as it can both be the final nail in the coffin or the first brick in a new foundation.

 

4 Journey to Nowhere: I started with none of these main and then two in the sideboard. Eventually I kept adding the cards to both my maindeck and sideboard until I finally realized that they were better than copies of Gather the Townsfolk I was running. The ability to take out a blocker or an offending utility creature is too valuable to pass up.

 

3 Guardians’ Pledge: One of the best cards in the deck, but unlike inclusions the Pledge is not ideal in an opening hand. Instead you want to ensure that you draw one during the course of the game and three is the ideal number in my experience. That being said, I could easily see versions where I would want a fourth.


No Veteran Armorer: I understand that many decks include this natural toughness buff but I prefer Ramosian Rally. Here’s why: Veteran Armorer sticks on the board and can be handled by just about every removal spell in the format. Ramosian Rally, being an instant, can catch an opponent off guard if they’ve invested in an Electrickery.

Some notes on other cards:

Suture Priest: A card that helps to slow down Esper Combo until they can find an answer, Suture Priest also allows you to pad your life total and survive until an anthem is found.

Cenn’s Enlistment: Retrace lets the deck trade later land drops for more tokens. When facing down an Envicar’s Justice this is not great, but in many other matchups Cenn’s Enlistment gives Tokens an out to exhaust an opponent’s resources and answers.


Cliffside Lookout: The newest card in the deck, Lookout acts as another mana sink. Lookout has the advantage of coming down on turn one to peck for damage and then site back. Once five lands are on the board Cliffside Lookout now has threat of activation, meaning any turn provides the option for more damage. I found Lookout to be a great inclusion in that it provided an Anthem I actively wanted on the first turn of the game.

Sandsteppe Outcast: Without many great options for a three drop, I turned to Sandsteppe Outcast due to its ability to generate a flying token. Alternatively it can be a 3/2 creature that can survive a one toughness sweeper.

The goal with White Weenie Tokens is to have the same game every time. Sticking a one drop into a two drop and then playing more threats until an anthem resolved. Keeping this in mind, many plays become obvious. When in doubt, develop your board unless a lethal attack is present.

It is also important to be able to leave tokens back to block when needed. Tokens is a deck that will often trade blows back and forth and get into damage races. In these situations you can be at an advantage since you are able to generate more defense as well as offense. The key is to be sure to leave behind enough blockers to survive any potential removal as well.

So why should you run Tokens? It has a rather good Delver matchup. The ability to operate at instant speed in certain aspects in addition to cards like Cenn’s Enlistment and Battle Screech makes it very hard for Delver to stop all of Tokens’ threats. Delver itself is not an offensive powerhouse so the goal becomes trading off tokens until you are at an advantage, then turning the corner to attack for victory. Similarly you can race MBC and can often fight through the first Gray Merchant of Asphodel hitting the board.

Conversely, Esper Combo is a nightmare matchup. Holy Light and Beckon Apparition can slow them down but if timed incorrectly they are useless. Izzet Blitz is also a tough matchup if they can draw Flaring Pain post-board. If not, your sideboard will often trump theirs.

White Weenie Tokens is an interesting deck that has game against Pauper’s top dog. If you’re looking for something a little different, why not take this deck out for a spin.

Keep slingin’ commons-

-Alex


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