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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
May 07 2007 8:58am
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 Timing the MODO Metagame with White Weenie 

I started this article less than a week after PT Yokohama. At the time, based on the results of Pro Tour Yokohama, people dismissed White Weenie as an archetype. Everyone started playing the PT top eight decks. What’s more, everyone started “tuning” those decks to beat each other.  Each other – not white weenie.
 
I decided it was finally time to get a white weenie deck. I bought two copies of the Time Spiral Precon (because I needed practically everything in the precons, aside from the land and some commons.)   I even needed the Avalanche Riders, albeit not in White Weenie. Then I hit the MTGOTradersBot for the rest of the cards, like Serra Avengers.
 
At the time I started writing this article, my White Weenie deck was kicking butt. I was 11-0 in matches, 22-5 in games. (12-0 in matches if you count the match where my opponent “lost the connection” with lethal damage on the stack game one, and never came back. I’ll count it as a win – that’s how the eight-man queues treat it – but it screws up the games count.)   White Weenie was also tearing up the tourney practice room. So I wrote this:
 
Pro Tour Yokohama has come and gone. White Weenie was hated out of the event completely: almost no white weenie decks made day two, much less top eight. Right now, there’s one clear best deck to play. It’s – are you ready for this? – White Weenie. 
 
O RLY?
 
YA RLY!
 
At the Pro Tour, RG Radha beats and mono-red was the new “tech.” Now everyone has seen the PT decklists. Everyone is testing out the RG beats and mono-red monsters. Those decks don’t really beat White Weenie. They beat the decks that beat white weenie. Those decks made it through a day one with a smaller-than-realistic amount of white weenie decks, and then to the top of a day two with almost no white weenie decks. The T8 decks were tuned to beat both white weenie and the rest of the expected metagame – in other words, they were WW killers that were tuned to be worse against WW than the true killers. Now everyone is tweaking those  decks still further, to playa against an expected metagame heavy with the PT decks.
 
It’s time to play white weenie again.
 
Just before the Pro Tour, I submitted an article on my RG Radha aggro deck. Since the article on Mystic Lancer’s deck was creating technical glitches, and was delayed, that article was also delayed. However, it was nice to see that I wasn’t completely off base on the RG archetype. A couple versions made T8. Those versions tended to run Disintegrate (which I don’t own) and Lotus Bloom, which is interesting.   However, those decks don’t have either the maindeck Sulfur Elemental or Blood Knight, which I both had and could fetch with Wild Pair. Even my deck found white weenie a challenge – and these versions seem to be even less powerful again White Weenie. 
 
In the last couple days, I have played white weenie against RG and mono-red decks that look almost identical to the T8 versions. I have not dropped a match. Individual games, yes, but no matches. It works in the 8-mans, and I think it would be fine for PEs, but I haven’t had time to play one for a long time.
 
So, white weenie?
 
YARRR RLY!
 
(Since I was in business meetings all day on "Talk Like a Pirate Day", I'm still trying to catch up.)
 
Here’s my current White Weenie list.  
 
19 Plains
Flagstones of Trokair

Icatian Javelineers
Knight of the Holy Nimbus
Serra Avenger
Shade of Trokair
Soltari Priest (all I own)
Stonecloaker
Calciderm
Cloudchaser Kestrel

Griffin Guide
Mana Tithe
Fortify
Sunlance

Sideboard
Opal Guardian
Honorable Passage
Disenchant
Sunlance
Temporal Isolation
 
Some notes on playing the deck.
 
Against RG Fatties:
 
Most RG decklists will now look like Paul Carvalho’s T8 version, with Lotus Bloom, Bogardan Hellkite, Spectral Force and – maybe- Stormbind. Stormbind is really good, but I don’t see that many people playing it. (At least, I never see it in play – maybe I’m just lucky.)   This deck is moderately scary, with lots of big, fat creatures, but you can generally race it fairly easily. Keep a Icatian Javelineer ready to kill Scryb Rangers, because they must die. Without them, Spectral Force only really beats for 4 a turn, and you can race that. Your biggest problem is if they resolve Mwonvuli Acid-Moss or two and you have creatures stranded in hand. At that point, they may get enough mana to cast the Hellkites and so forth – at which point you may be in trouble.   At that point, unless you have a Soltari Priest with a Griffin Guide, you will probably lose.
 
Carvalho’s sideboard contains Serrated Arrows, Sulfur Elemental and Fortune Thief.   That is a lot of hate. Take out the Soltari Priests and the Javelineers (and something else, I keep changing my mind on what), and bring in the Opal Guardians, the Temporal Isolations and the Sunlances.   Opal Guardian is nice flier that can block Hellkites all day, Temporal Isolation stops a Dragon or Spectral Force, and Sunlance kills all morphs – especially Fortune Thief. 
 
Against RGbu Fatties: 
 
Sebastian Thaler played a four color RG deck in the finals. His main changes were splashing black for Void and Strangling Soot, and blue for Aeon Chronicler from the sideboard. Void, frankly, hurts. This deck can be beat, but you will have a harder time. Personally, I suspend the Shades whenever I have spare mana, especially if I have a Calciderm or other good four drops in play or in hand, just to prevent a many-for-one from Void. Strangling Soot is a minor inconvenience, but Stonecloakers help here – unlike with Void.
 
The good news is that their sideboard does not have much – just another Soot, Voids and a singleton Serrated Arrows, plus four (Dead//Gone). Okay, that’s a lot, but it is not impossible. Bring in the Opal Guardians, because nothing but Void and the Arrows can hurt it, and Temporal Isolations. Take out the Griffin Guides (because the odds are your creature will be killed in response to you wasting it) and a two drop or so (you want a mix of casting costs, to mitigate the damage Void can cause.) I beat this deck, but I have to work to do so.  
 
Against Mono-Red:
 
Rapheal Levy played a mono-red beatdown machine to the T8. He had a ton of maindeck white weenie hate: Blood Knight, Sulfur Elemental, even (Wildfire Emissary.) He also had lots of burn spells, including (Browbeat.) He also has Serrated Arrows in the board. Raphael Levy won a lot of matches with this deck.   Raphael Levy also won back to back Grand Prix’s last month. He’s like Budde, Finkel and Maher were at their best: he can take random draft leavings* off a side table and beat your best Extended deck. However, all the pro-red monsters do not fly, so a Griffin Guide on a Soltari Priest or Angel means you probably win the race. 
 
Sideboarding involves taking out the cards that are wrecked by Sulfur Elemental and Serrated Arrows and replacing them with the Opal Guardians and Honorable Passages, and a Sunlance or so. Sunlance won’t hit the pro-red guys, but some versions run Fortune Thieves, and Sunlance can kill Sulfur Elementals.   If you can get a Griffin Guide on a Serra Avenger or Opal Guardian, this one is close to in the bag.  
 
Against Combo Slivers:
 
I have seen less and less of the Wild Pair Slivers builds, since they did so poorly at the PT. However, some players still love this deck. I have seen it more frequently in the Tournament Practice room than in the 8-mans, but it can show up anywhere. This deck is very slow, but very powerful once it gets running. Your solution is to just kill them quickly. Attack, attack, attack. Use the Javelineers to kill off Gemhide Slivers as quickly as possible – because you don’t want them to get mana acceleration, and because once Might Sliver hits the table, it isn’t possible.   Don’t play Griffin Guides until you have nothing else to do, because the Slivers decks generally run Riftwing Cloudskates, and getting the enchanted creature bounced sux.
 
Sideboarding: I take out the Griffin Guides for Opal Guardians and some of the Shades for a Sunlance and the Disenchants.   You need to Disenchant the Wild Pair as soon as it comes into play. Sunlance can kill some of the slivers – but watch out for Mystic Snake shenanigans. 
 
This matchup comes down to speed. They have a ton of cool combos. You have speed. Speed kills.   It’s like the punchline from an old skit, where the gunfighter says “I may not have been the fastest gun in the west, but I was the fanciest.” Then he dies.
 
Against Teferi Control:
 
Teferi Control comes in a lot of varieties. It has the “Pickles” variants, with Brine Elemental and so forth. It has the splash-for-Bogardan Hellkite versions. And it has the Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Tendrils of Corruption versions. The first two are beatable. The later is really tough: by mid-game, a single Tendrils can undo a couple turns worth of beating. Tendrils kills everything worth killing, Damnation sweeps the board and Snapback does a number of Griffin Guides and griffin tokens. The Teferi player will play all these cards, because they have a ton of card drawing, including the amazing (Aeon Chronicler.)   The only positive here is that the deck is not all that common.   It has some problems with the RG LD decks, and those decks are depressing the numbers.
 
That’s what I wrote a week ago. And it was true, then.
 
Last Saturday, I had a chance to take WW into the 8-man queues once again. I played in four events. Check this out.
 

<pack jpg>
 
That is a 16 TIX pack. That’s all I won. One match. I lost to the dread UWB Teferi control decks.   Not only was I seeing build like the one Guillaume Wafo-Tapa used to win the Pro Tour ( which had Snapback, two Sudden Deaths and two Tendrils), I was even facing versions with three or more Tendrils maindeck. 
 
The MODO metagame fluctuates rapidly. A week ago, the RG and mono-red decks were everywhere, Teferi was being beat out by RG LD, and White Weenie was a money machine. This week, RG and mono-red seems to have vanished, UBW Wafo-Tapo is everywhere, and White Weenie is a bad choice. I think I may dust off my RG deck for a couple days.
 
By next week, that may all have changed. RG decks may be eating Teferi’s lunch, the Teferi decks may be morphing back into versions that can handle RG, and White Weenie may well be unstoppable. In any case, it is a very powerful deck, and one that can win any matchup – and should win most.
 
It’s something to remember, and something that happens in the paper world over the two month qualifier seasons: early deck archetypes win heavily, then slump as everyone plays decks tuned to beat those archetypes.   Those early archetypes fail, and new archetypes win. Later one, everyone forgets those initial decks and changes their sideboard to beat the newer archetypes. At that point, the old archetypes often win again.
 
The same thing happens on MODO; it just happens faster. Every few weeks, an old, discarded archetype climbs back into contention. In Standard, that happened with Dragonstorm earlier, and it looks like that’s happening with Solar Flare now. In Time Spiral Constructed, White Weenie was dominant for a while – and probably will be again.
 
The lesson: don’t sell off you deck, just because the metagame shifts. Odds are good that you might be able to win with it again in the not too distant future. 
 
...
 
I just checked out a PE final. White Weenie beat mono-red in two straight games. So, maybe, White Weenie is back again. For now.
 
White Weenie: the Once and (occasionally, on and off) Future King.
 
Experiments:
 
I have been experimenting with some extra cards.  I don't kow whether these substitutions are worthwhile or not.  Testing continues.
 

The deck is mono-white, and could certainly play a colorless land.  Uraz's Factory would provide some additional late game power - but drawing it early is not good.  Soltari Priest, Shades anf Knights all want double white immediately.  It's probably not bad, but if I am sitting on seven lands and nothing else, I don't think a series of 2/2s is going to save me.

On the plus side, this is a better inclusion than Sacred Mesa.  I love Sacred Mesa, and I've played it in GPs, but if the game goes long, then your opponent will almost certainly have a Sulfur Elemental out - and that kills Pegasi dead.

Urza
 
Celestial Crusader

This is another option for use against control decks.  I can pop the card into play EoT. In other cases, it can protect against one Sulfur Elemental.   It's no good in the mirror, of course, but once in a while it works better than Fortify.

It's a threat, more so than Fortify, but I can't say that I'm really happy with it.  The more I play it, the more often it sits in my hand. 

 

 
 

The final experiment, and the card that I am actually most happy with, is Duskrider Peregrine.  It has three main advantages.  First, it is a decent Suspend creature that can, on occassion, dodge Damnation.  Second, it is a big flier that is not often wiped out by Void.  A Void for one, two, three or four usually hits something in hand, but it rarely hits the Crusader.  Third, and most importantly, it dodges both Sudden Death and Tendrils - and that is huge.

 

Duskrider Peregrine
 

Right now, I have three Duskriders in the deck, in place of the Mana Tithes, and two Crusaders.  No factories.

PRJ
 
pete {dot} jahn {at} Verizon {dot} net
 
“one million words” on MODO
 
* for all you online only players, experienced paper players often, once the draft is over, pull all the rares and decent common and uncommons out of their draft decks, and leave the rest of the cards on the table. The “draft leavings” are the trash cards no one wants, even for bookmarks or proxies**. 
 
** Proxies are another paper world thing. The online equivalent is called Apprentice.
 

0 Comments

Vesuva! by Isotope (Unregistered) 74.39.232.97 (not verified) at Tue, 05/08/2007 - 13:06
Isotope (Unregistered) 74.39.232.97's picture

Good call on the Vesuva. I might try that if I ever play WW. Then again, instead of worrying about it maybe the best plan is to try to fizzle the Tendrils.

What about Rebuff the wicked? That'd be great vs. all forms of targeted removal short of Sudden Death. It would also fizzle Acid-Moss and bounce spells.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 74.60.81.3 (not verified) at Tue, 05/08/2007 - 12:29
Anonymous (Unregistered) 74.60.81.3's picture

try using vesuva instead of urborg as your ld vs u/b otherwise the urborg gives your opp the black mana if you play it where vesuva can still be a plains or flagstones if you are running them

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 66.82.9.86 (not verified) at Mon, 05/07/2007 - 18:40
Anonymous (Unregistered) 66.82.9.86's picture

"Right now, I have three Duskriders in the deck, in place of the Mana Tithes, and two Crusaders. No factories"

Please Clarify this sentence.

by Tyler (Unregistered) 131.10.254.61 (not verified) at Tue, 05/08/2007 - 05:51
Tyler (Unregistered) 131.10.254.61's picture

The problem with WW is that a lot've the good players in 8mans and PEs will wanna play what the pros play (control), and so will run the cards that wreck WW. Void, hellkite, tendrils, damnation, maybe even combinations of all of these.

Thanks for the comments. by one million words at Tue, 05/08/2007 - 08:12
one million words's picture

Urborg:
I don't think so. You certainly don't want to play it first, and leaving a land stranded in your hand is a problem. Mana is tight. At best, you could hold it, wait for your opponent to drop one, then kill it on your turn. Maybe - but highly situational. Having a Stonecloaker or something that can actually win the game is almost always better.

I even considered Saltblast, to kill Urborgs, but it cost too much.

Clarifying: I took out four Mana Tithes and one other card for 3 Duskriders and two Celestial Crusaders. I do not currently have any Urza's Factories in the deck. I'm not sure what the other card I took out was.

White Weenie by McCombs at Tue, 05/08/2007 - 10:28
McCombs's picture

Great article! I've been running ww for a while now and I love it's consistency in the first game. A very fun aggro deck to play.

Another option by Isotope (Unregistered) 74.39.232.97 (not verified) at Mon, 05/07/2007 - 13:05
Isotope (Unregistered) 74.39.232.97's picture

Has anyone tried Urborg as anti-Tendrils tech? As you said with Factory, a mono-white deck should be able to spare a few land spots for non-White.

Also re: Celestial Crusader, I can see that being very good against the Teferi decks. In addition to being uncounterable and able to drop post-Damnation, it's untargeted pump. With people running more bounce, I might sub it in for the Griffin Guides, rather than the Fortifys.

Re: Urborg by Isotope (Unregistered) 74.39.232.97 (not verified) at Mon, 05/07/2007 - 13:06
Isotope (Unregistered) 74.39.232.97's picture

I guess I should clarify: Urborg should be used as a LD spell, not as a land for yourself. Obviously you wouldn't want to setup your opponents for a big Tendrils if they don't have their own Urborg in play. Also, has anyone ever tried running Ivory Giant?