“Pilgrim's Eye? That's terrible!”
This is the sentence I heard the most at Grand Prix Barcelona. They tended to change their mind after playing against me though.
Hi my name is Sergio Garcia and I'm a 21-year-old student from Oviedo and am known as Ch0b1 on Magic Online. My nickname may sound familiar from my several Magic Online PTQ Top 8 appearances through the last Extended PTQ season.
A week before GP Barcelona and after finishing all of my work I started to think about what to play in the event. I was sure I didn't want to play Caw-Blade as it pretty much promised a Squadron Hawk and Jace the Mind Sculptor crash every round.
After talking to Joel Calafell I started testing R/G Valakut which looked like the best non-Jace deck in the format. However I chose to put it down because I found the mirror matches to be very random and had no real way to fix the problem not even with cards like Mark of Mutiny or Memoricide.
After this I started thinking about what to play outside of the existing archetypes and after finding the following decklist I thought…Why don't we try something like this for Standard?
- 4 Pilgrim's Eye
- 4 Flickerwisp
- 2 Glimmerpoint Stag
- 2 Kor Skyfisher
- 2 Lone Missionary
- 4 Sun Titan
- 4 Wall of Omens
After some testing with Antonio Martos this is the list we ended up playing at the GP
Maindeck Cards Breakdown
First off I knew I needed to play the Squadron Hawk-Stoneforge Mystic package in my deck. The reasons behind this are that you need to play the aggressor's role in the matchups against Jace the Mind Sculptor decks and R/G Valakut and the card advantage they provide.
Pilgrim's Eye was a crucial element against all of the decks where you need to drop a land every turn in order to activate Emeria the Sky Ruin. Apart from this a flying body that's able to carry equipment and isn't hit by Go for the Throat doesn't hurt.
Four copies of Day of Judgment also made it into the deck as it is simply the most solid removal spell available for Mono White.
Another mandatory inclusion was Sun Titan as it's able to bring most of the cards in this deck back to play going a long way to activate Emeria the Sky Ruin. Speaking of which Sun Titan is the card that actually combos out with it as not many decks can handle a Titan every turn.
Bonehoard came in next. It looked like a very good choice as we are running 21 creature spells and the four Day of Judgments would definitely help us by filling the graveyard with our opponent's guys. Having the ability to search for a huge creature with Stoneforge Mystic was also a big upside.
Mortarpod came in a bit later but it turned out to be the best card in the deck. It simply does practically everything you want to be doing with this deck. It serves as removal for Lotus Cobra Steppe Lynx Plated Geopede and multiple Vampires in the early game while being able to close games or simply control your opponent's swords and planeswalkers.
Sylvok Lifestaff became much better than Lone Missionary after including Mortarpod so Missionary got the axe. The combination of Sylvok Lifestaff plus Mortarpod turned every guy into a walking Lightning Helix!
Following the inclusion of Mortarpod Gideon Jura got the axe in order to fit Elspeth Tirel in the deck. Elspeth turned out to be the perfect answer to Jace the Mind Sculptor against control decks but it could also gain some life against aggressive opponents while also helping you turn on aggro mode if needed by just making six Soldier tokens.
The last card in the maindeck is Kor Sanctifiers. We thought this card would be helpful to destroy some swords. After having played the GP it seems completely unnecessary as you normally control their swords with Mortarpod by killing their Squadron Hawks. They really shine in the Boros matchup though.
About the land selection Tectonic Edge is a card you need to be very careful with as it's the only way you have to kill manlands. It's also very good at destroying Valakut the Molten Pinnacle obviously. Marsh Flats and Terramorphic Expanse were needed to find the sideboard Swamp and served as an additional Sun Titan target.
Sideboard Cards Breakdown
I tried to fix all of the deck's soft spots with the sideboard the first of which was looking for a plan to beat R/G Valakut.
I started by trying Luminarch Ascension plus Leyline of Sanctity but it wasn't as good as I thought it would be. I also tried Leonin Arbiter and a plethora of cards like Flashfreeze but the mana requirements made it impossible.
The next thing I came up with was to splash Memoricide which resulted in a very positive experience giving me around 90% of the games in which it resolved.
As a side note the Swamp is not only sideboarded when you bring in Memoricide. It also serves as an extra land in the slow matchups where you really want to make land drops every turn to hit Elspeth Tirel on turn 5.
Kor Firewalker was a very important sideboard card – against not only Mono Red and Boros where it was a win condition but it happened to be very good against Valakut and R/U/G as it couldn't be removed while it was wielding a sword.
White Sun's Zenith was the most amazing card in the sideboard and it was awesome all the time. It killed countless planeswalkers and countless Primeval Titan decks by making a bunch of tokens with Sword of Feast and Famine's ability on the stack. It's just devastating.
Day of Judgment-Less Caw-Blade:
Main deck: 60%-40% Post Sideboard: 65%-35%
Caw-Blade decks with no Day of Judgment among their 75 are an easy matchup because without the ability to reset the board they don't have enough spot removal for all of your creatures while Mortarpod will end up eating them alive
Don't name Jace the Mind Sculptor unless they haven't yet played any or the board state makes you unable to deal with him. Gideon Jura is the one you should normally name with Memoricide. Take into account they'll probably be sideboarding Baneslayer Angel and/or Sun Titan when before using your Journey to Nowhere.
Caw-Blade with Day of Judgment:
Main Deck: 50%-50%. Post Sideboard: 50%-50%
This version of the Caw becomes way more difficult because you can't beat a sequence of Jace Gideon and Day of Judgment. Name Day of Judgment against this version of the deck with your Memoricide; next up on the list are Gideon and Jace depending on the board state.
Main Deck 35%-65%. Post Sideboard: 45%-55%.
This is the deck's worst matchup. The die roll is crucial here as your chances revolve around getting an aggressive start with Stoneforge Mystic.
Main Deck 55%-45%. Post Sideboard: 60%-40%
R/U/G is a reasonable matchup for Mono White because of the number of mass removal spells available and the number of removal spells that deal with Lotus Cobra which is their best card.
Kor Firewalker makes post-board games much better for us. This guy creates huge problems for R/U/G as it allows you to take a more aggressive role. The most important things to do in this matchup are protecting your swords and resolving a Sun Titan.
Main Deck 65%-35%. Post Sideboard: 70%-30%
Boros is one of the deck's best matchups as are all of the aggressive decks. The number of blockers removal and the combination of Mortarpod and Sylvok Lifestaff tend to be too much to handle for them.
As shocking as it may seem Squadron Hawk becomes your worst creature after sideboarding as their pingers will make it worthless. Swords get axed too as you'll always fetch Bonehoard Mortarpod and Lifestaff over them with Stoneforge Mystic.
Main Deck 60%-40%. Post Sideboard: 70%-30%
A little more dangerous than Boros because of their burn spells this matchup is still pretty good for us. The post-sideboard games are defined by the devastating presence of Kor Firewalker on your side of the table as he will singlehandedly beat them most of the time.
Main Deck 70%-30%. Post Sideboard: 70%-30%
This is hands down your best matchup as all of your cards are very good against them. They may draw all of their Bloodghasts and still lose.
Main Deck 55%-45%. Post Sideboard: 50%-50%
This is a very complex matchup and it becomes even more so if your opponent knows your deck as he will use his Spreading Seas accordingly. Elspeth Tirel is your MVP here. Tectonic Edge becomes very important and you should save it for Creeping Tar Pit.
After sideboarding you barely improve your deck and they add significantly more with their Memoricides. Try to resolve Sun Titan and Elspeth Tirel. An active Emeria the Sky Ruin is normally a win in this matchup.
G/W Fauna Shaman:
This deck barely existed in the metagame when I built the Mono White deck so I would probably change the contents of the sideboard in order to fight it. Journey to Nowhere and Oust seem to be the best cards against this deck as an unanswered Fauna Shaman will very possibly beat you.
In conclusion Mono-White Control is an unexpected deck that does very good work if R/G Valakut doesn't stand in your way. Being a rogue deck you gain additional value out of your cards as your opponents won't know what you're up to and will be surprised. Most opponents will probably scream when you play White Sun's Zenith.
Hope you enjoyed reading.
Sergio Garcia Ch0b1 on MTGO