Hello and welcome to another installment of Making It In Modern! Since spoilers for Dominaria started dropping, I have been looking at the cards to see which ones could see play as you saw in my last article. I’ve been brewing around some ideas that I think could have legs, I’m just not sold on them yet to share. Looking for more inspiration, I bounced some ideas off of my good friend, @RCVIP. He brought up the idea of Mono White Knights, and I sort of initially shot it down in my head. Thinking about it more, however, I began to see some potential, especially since Dominaria released. I decided to give it a shot.
Mono White Knights has never been seen as tiered in any way, but I have seen deck lists for it in the past. It never really seemed to have the most optimal creatures, but Dominaria gave the tribe some much needed utility. With some of the new cards printed, you can remove some of the more mediocre knights from before to give the deck a better shot at being competitive. So, does Mono White Knights have what it takes to make it in modern?
This Mono White Knights deck plays out very similar to any White Weenie deck, where you just play creatures up a curve and try to deal twenty to your opponent with your creatures. This list also packs main deck interaction that will come in handy dealing with your opponent’s bigger threats. Let’s jump into the list and break it down piece by piece.
There are eight total one drops in the deck, doubling what most lists I saw were playing. This is possible because of the new knight Dauntless Bodyguard. The ideal turn one play is casting Student of Warfare to get the beat down started. With the level up ability, if you do not have a play on turn two, you can level the student up to Level two to make it a 3/3 with first strike which you can attack with. Student of Warfare, unlike a lot of 1/1s for one mana is a decent draw in any stage of the game. The level up ability gives you a mana sink to pay into later in the game to make it bigger. Dauntless Bodyguard is a 2/1 for one mana which you can play early as a beater, or save it until you have a more important creature out. Being able to choose a creature to protect when it enters is pretty good insurance for the midgame and later.
In the two drop spot, We have two creatures taking up eight spots. The first creature is arguably the best utility knight creature in Knight of the White Orchid. This knight is a 2/2 first striker and If your opponent has more lands than you do when it enters, you get to grab a plains from your library and put it on the battlefield. Who said you couldn’t ramp in a non-green deck? The second two drop is another addition from Dominaria in Knight of Grace. Knight of Grace is only a 2/2 first strike creature, but be a 3/2 if your opponent is playing black and is hexproof from black, which is pretty important in a world full of Fatal Push and other premium black removal.
Top End and Payoff Creatures
Coming into the three drop creatures, we have two different lords now with Dominaria now legal. Knight Exemplar is the lord of old, a 2/2 with first strike that gives all other knights +1/+1 and indestructible. Being non-legendary, you can stack multiple Exemplars to give them Indestructibility and the buff. The second lord in the deck is the new creature Benalish Marshal. The Marshal gets a larger stat line than the Exemplar being a 3/3 and gives all of your other creatures +1/+1, not just knights, but does not have first strike like the Exemplar. Having eight lords will beef up your team very quickly. Finishing the three drop creatures, we have four Mirran Crusader as a 2/2 double strike with the upside of having protection from black and green. Moving on to the last two creatures, we have two copies of Hero of Bladehold, a 3/4. Hero has battle cry which will give each attacking creature attacking with it an extra point of power and also puts two 1/1 soldiers on the battlefield attacking when it attacks. Hero of Bladehold can get out of hand quickly.
Removal and Other Non-Creatures
As far as interaction goes, the deck runs a full playset of Path to Exile to take care of problematic creatures your opponent controls and also three copies of Brave the Elements as a cheap piece of protection that will protect your whole team since all of the creatures are white. The last four non land cards in the deck are two bombs. The first is the new saga from Dominaria, History of Benalia taking up two spots. Being able to make two knight tokens the first two turns it is down can provide you with extra power for attacking or chump blockers if they are needed for that instead. When the last lore counter is added to History of Benalia, it will effectively give every creature in the deck +2/+1 to hopefully give you a last alpha strike to close the game. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is the last card also taking two spots. Gideon creates Knight tokens for more synergy in the deck. He is also a great beater when needed and can ultimate to anthem your whole team, giving even more of a buff in this stacked deck. The mana base is very simple, just two Ghost Quarter to help with problematic lands and 17 Plains.
The sideboard is set up to deal with some possibly problematic matchups. There are two Rest In Peace to deal with graveyard based strategies, like Dredge, Storm, and Hollow One to an extent. For artifact based strategies, there are the go to white artifact hate cards in Kataki, War’s Wage and Stony Silence. Damping Sphere from Dominaria makes an appearance to battle the Tron and Storm matchups. The rest of the sideboard is dedicated to hating out Burn with two Kor Firewalker, one Blessed Alliance, and four Leyline of Sanctity, which also works in the Storm matchup.
This list looks like a lot of fun and I believe it does stand a chance to be relatively competitive. I’m not saying you should take this list to a Grand Prix or Open, but I think this could be a good choice to take to at least an FNM to try it out. I plan to test this list out a bunch and make adjustments to see if it can be considered a tier deck at some point.
Anyway, that’s what I have for you this week. Do you think that Mono White Knights could be competitive? Feel free to let me know what you think and let me know how it works if you play it anywhere. If you want to contact me, give me a follow on Twitter @T2TKS. Also, give a follow to @MTGDecktechs and don’t forget to like the Facebook page as well (https://www.facebook.com/MTGDeckTechs/)! Thank you all for giving this a read and I will see you all next week!