Monday, February 16, 2015

Modern Monday: Mono White Soldiers

I've had a long couple of weeks, and all my deck ideas recently have been Modern recently. I have a different kind of Affinity deck running around in my head, some really insane adjustments to my Bogles deck, and I've got a really long list of Modern decks to use for the new Primer Series.

As a tribute to the original purpose of the decks on this site, I want to return to the basics: budget decks that have synergy and have the capability of doing well and that utilize a cheap price tag.

Please join me while I walk you through a Modern Mono White Soldiers deck.



Mono White Soldiers

Creatures

x4 Champion of the Parish
x2 Gideon's Lawkeeper
x4 Infantry Veteran
x4 Veteran Armorsmith
x4 Veteran Swordsmith
x4 Field Marshal

Land

x16 Plains

Planeswalkers

x2 Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Other Spells

x4 Brave the Elements
x4 Gods Willing
x4 Path to Exile
x4 Honor of the Pure
x4 Raise the Alarm

The main point of this deck is to play Soldier creatures that boost each other or help each other out. I was actually playing Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015 (something I haven't done for a while) and I encountered a similar deck which inspired this deck.

I'm also going to incorporate prices from StarCityGames.com into this article. I'll be using the cheapest Near Mint card meaning that if there is a card found in three different sets, I'll look at the cheapest version, whether or not it is in stock.

Champion of the Parish  Gideon's Lawkeeper  Infantry Veteran

Champion of the Parish x 4: $10.46
Gideon's Lawkeeper x 2: $0.30
Infantry Veteran x 4: $0.60

As far as creatures for turn one go, Champion of the Parish is the first card you want to play. All of the actual creatures are Humans, so they will trigger its ability. Since it is also a Soldier, it will gain abilities from some of the others down the line.

Gideon's Lawkeeper was a bit of an afterthought. I needed two more creatures, and I chose this card because it helps stop some big threats. I don't want to consistently see it, which is why there are only two. It's really not something I want to have three or four in my opening hand or all on the battlefield at the same time. I'd rather have other one drops.

Infantry Veteran is a great card. Sure it's only a 1/1, but it does boost another attacking creature, which if you have a 4/4 Champion of the Parish, you just made it that much better.

Veteran Armorsmith  Veteran Swordsmith  Field Marshal

Veteran Armorsmith x4: $0.60
Veteran Swordsmith x4: $0.60
Field Marshal x4: $22.60

Veteran Armorsmith is much better than Veteran Armorer, solely because it's a 2/3 instead of a 2/2. It doesn't mean much, but if you have two on the field, they pass the Bolt test (in case you don't know, the Bolt Test is whether or not it can survive a single Lightning Bolt).

Veteran Swordsmith boosts the power of all your other soldiers. Pretty important...

Field Marshal may be somewhat pricey, but it gives you a nice bonus to your soldier creatures. First strike could be very important to your creatures.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant  Brave the Elements  Gods Willing

Elspeth, Knight-Errant x2: $26.38
Brave the Elements x4: $1.56
Gods Willing x4: $1.40

Elspeth is here because she makes tokens or boosts creatures, and can then make everything indestructible. She's arguably the best white Planeswalker in Modern, so use her. If you don't want to pay almost $27, you could always include something different, but I like having at least one around.

Brave the Elements is the best protection spell for this deck. You can easily protect all your creatures for one mana.

Gods Willing is a localized Brave the Elements, but it also has scry. It's not card draw, but you can change what you'll draw next.

Path to Exile  Honor of the Pure  Raise the Alarm

Path to Exile x4: $22.76
Honor of the Pure x4: $5.16
Raise the Alarm x4: $0.60

Path to Exile is your white removal spell. This deck is creature dependent, so board wipes are kind of out of the question...

Honor of the Pure is a global boost to all your creatures. Really, there's nothing else I can say about how useful this is.

Raise the Alarm gives you two blockers any time you want. Or it makes two guys to attack with. Whatever you want, you get two soldiers what absorb the boosts from the other creatures and Honor of the Pure.


Oh, and I forgot... Sixteen (16) Plains are required. When most cards in your deck cost three or less, you don't need to have 18 or 20. You'll typically have all three lands you need by turn three or four, so I see no point to run more. If you feel this deck is too cheap, go buy some Zendikar full art lands, so that'll be something like $24 to $40 for the lands since some are $1.49 a piece, others are $2.49. But if you want to make it as cheap as possible, you either have sixteen Plains, or a player at your local shop will probably happily give you sixteen basic lands. Or your shop will give them to you (or maybe just charge $1 or $2 for 16 of them).


So for this deck without a sideboard (and ignoring any price for the lands...), we have... $93.02. That price could go up or down from when this was written, but that's really not bad for a Modern deck. I've heard that most Standard decks will be around $60 to $150 depending on the lands and cards, but for a simple idea like this for Modern, less than $100 really isn't bad. The only thing I'd suggest if you REALLY want to pay less is to ignore the Elspeths. Without her, you're down to $66.64 and you could put any other white soldier into your deck.


To make it even more competitive, I might recommend some Exalted creatures, maybe Cathedral of War, Palace Guard, Dawn Charm, and for the sideboard, a couple Leyline of Sanctity (yeah, those will set you back!).

Akrasan Squire  Aven Squire  Cathedral of War
Palace Guard  Dawn Charm  Leyline of Sanctity

So that's a basic idea of how to make it better, or spend more on it if you want to. So, what would you do differently for this deck? Post it in the comments below. Got a different budget tribal deck you'd recommend? Post that too!

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