Pioneer Mono-white Ward Humans Deck & Sideboard Guide
22/05/2023 · 10 min read
What is New in Mono-white Humans?
Recently, we've seen the release of the "mini-expansion" March of Machines: Aftermath, a sort of DLC for March of Machines, which delves into the story of the characters and the aftermath of the war between Planeswalkers and Phyrexians. With a limited number of cards and the impact of MoM on various formats, it was hard to imagine that this expansion would be as influential as its predecessor. And indeed, it wasn't. However, the few cards that made their way into builds quickly found a permanent spot in multiple decks, with the prime examples being Nissa, Resurgent Animist, Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin, and Coppercoat Vanguard. This last card breathed new life into Monowhite Humans in Pioneer, and today we'll be discussing how this card had such a significant impact on the decklist, as well as providing a sideboard guide against the top decks in the format .
My Current Version of the Deck
|4 Thalia's Lieutenant||$1.49|
|3 Dauntless Bodyguard||$0.49|
|4 Luminarch Aspirant||$0.49|
|4 Brutal Cathar||$5.49|
|4 Coppercoat Vanguard||$0.59|
|4 Recruitment Officer||$0.69|
|1 Kytheon, Hero of Akros||$9.99|
|4 Hopeful Initiate||$7.49|
|4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben||$0.99|
|4 Adeline, Resplendent Cathar||$7.99|
|2 Brave the Elements||$1.49|
|2 Castle Ardenvale||$1.29|
|2 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire||$8.99|
|3 Rest in Peace||$9.49|
|4 Portable Hole||$1.99|
|4 Wedding Announcement||$15.99|
|1 Containment Priest||$0.59|
The list hasn't seen many changes compared to the one that made the top 8 in the previous Pro Tour, but it's fascinating to observe how the few alterations have been quite impactful for the deck's current standing in the metagame.
The inclusion of Vanguard in the decklist significantly increases the threat level of the other cards, essentially making it a top priority for removal. Its combination with Thalia further amplifies the taxing effect on spells, as it practically taxes two opposing spells per turn if both need to be removed. Additionally, Vanguard's presence grants Brutal Cathar an extra layer of protection in mirror matches, emphasizing the importance of the play/draw factor and who establishes Cathar first.
In other matchups, having 12 "lords" at the two-mana curve greatly enhances the deck's firepower. Not to mention, the increased relevance of producing Adeline tokens that attack more efficiently with an additional point of power. Having more than one Vanguard in play turns your creature-removal-loving opponent's game into a living nightmare.
BRAVE THE ELEMENTS
One of the exciting updates is the return of Brave the Elements to the decklist. I enjoyed using Skrelv as a replacement, but it functions more as a support card, unlike Brave, which truly serves as a kill condition for the deck.
The resurgence of decks like Monogreen, despite being a favorable matchup, reminds us of the importance of having that safety valve in games where the board is filled with numerous large creatures from the opponent. Furthermore, the presence of Coppercoat Vanguard encourages an even greater focus on including only humans in the deck.
This card is one that leaves me uncertain in the lineup. On one hand, it's great to have a surprise element in matches like Creativity and Angels, stopping Collected Company and Kayla's Reconstruction.
On the other hand, it doesn't have utility in other match-ups. It could easily be a 4th Ossification, a card that I've been enjoying a lot.
Playing the deck
With little secrecy, curved and aggressive hands are key. Ideally, keep at least two lands in your hand, as most of our creatures are one-drop and two-drop, with a three-drop curve to finish games with Adeline or remove something with Brutal Cathar. The deck is set up to be aggressive in Game 1, while in Game 2, you can keep slower hands when adding removal and Wedding Announcement.
EXAMPLE HAND #1
Though there are no one-drop creatures, this hand isn't too slow, but it's better to keep it on the draw since Thalia on turn 2 disrupts many decks. The combination of Adeline and Coppercoat Vanguard is excellent, and with Brave in hand, we have the chance to better protect our creatures and have a solid win condition. I believe it's worth mulling on the draw and keeping on the play.
EXAMPLE HAND #2
Even with four lands, this is a well-curved hand, and the fact that Recruitment Officer generates card advantage in the mid/late game which minimizes the problem of having 4 lands. There's a risk of drawing more lands and losing due to flooding, but I believe minimally keepable hands are enough to develop your game plan.
EXAMPLE HAND #3
Having two Thalias is almost like being down to six cards, but since she also works as a lightning rod for removals, it can make room for Wedding Announcement to shine. And since we're playing this enchantment, it's likely a slower match, so we have a chance to curve well in this game, drawing more cards or placing more creatures on the board.
Matchups & Sideboard guide
Aggressive mulligans and curved plays are the key to this matchup. Getting an early Old-Growth Troll can severely disrupt this plan, but if the board gets too locked up, try to put out as many bodies as possible for one or two lethal attacks. Thalia significantly slows down the combo, and Coppercoat Vanguard can be quite effective in both strengthening attacks and taxing removals like Skysovereign and Cityscape Leveler. If you have Brave, you may risk some kamikaze attacks, as the second one could be lethal with its help. Post-sideboard, we're not ideally set up for this match, but Portable Hole is good on the draw to remove Elves and Wolfwillow, though it's not as interesting on the play.
On the Play
On the Draw
The matchup isn't particularly favorable, as Rakdos has the potential for endless removal post-sideboard in combination with Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, who can single-handedly win the game. However, curving against them is highly effective, and it's crucial to try and play more than one creature per turn for a well-connected attack with Adeline. By the way, she's hands down the best creature, and remember that Coppercoat Vanguard provides her with an extra layer of protection. This also helps ensure that tokens attack over Bloodtithe Harvester and Fable of the Mirror Breaker's token. Post-sideboard, Wedding Announcement is the best card to counter Rakdos' removal-heavy strategy, and we'll need Ossification to better respond to Sheoldred.
Initially, I viewed this matchup to be somewhat unfavorable, but as I played more games, I realized that the deck's curve, especially with a turn 2 Thalia, can apply immense pressure and tax crucial cards such as Fable of the Mirror Breaker and Indomitable Creativity. Thalia and Adeline create a massive pressure that sometimes even an Atraxa can't handle. The sideboard isn't optimally configured against this match, but I think it's better to swap Brutal Cathar for Ossification, as the enchantment ultimately serves as a more effective answer against Atraxa.
It's a tad riskier, as Magma Opus can be cast straight from the hand with the aid of Treasure tokens, and a turn 3 Gearhulk play is a genuine threat - even more troublesome than if it were with Atraxa. However, our sideboard proves to be more effective, as Rest in Peace is strong against this strategy and Containment Priest ultimately exhibits the same level of effectiveness in stopping Creativity.
Once again, curving drop1 into Thalia is incredibly powerful, as it delays both Lay Down Arms and counters like Censor and Make Disappear. This play is even more effective on the play, as a turn 2 Thalia practically guarantees an Adeline on turn 3, which is a true nightmare for the opponent. The key here is to apply pressure every turn and play around Supreme Verdict whenever possible. Mutavault truly shines when attacking after the opponent has locked down in an attempt to clear the board. After sideboarding, Wedding Announcement does a great job as a post-wrath option, and we need some removal for threats like Lyra Dawnbringer and Baneslayer Angel.
Thalia truly shines here. Arboreal Grazer is a card that significantly disrupts the aggressive strategy. However, the main goal is to flood the board and apply as much pressure as possible. The inclusion of Coppercoat Vanguard helps to increase the number of creatures with power 3, not just forcing lazy chump blocks. After sideboarding, the deck typically has more creatures, so we keep the Brutal Cathar and add a few Ossifications to assist with removal. But remember, the deck has tutors for Boseiju and Otawara.
Without much secrecy, we need to flood the board, as they lack removal options and rely on the plan of enchanting a creature with Curious Obsession, which we can generally ignore when we have multiple creatures. The presence of Coppercoat Vanguard is highly relevant here, as it weakens Shacklegeist by taxing its ability and also potentially disrupts a turn 3 Skyclave Apparition. After sideboarding, Portable Hole and Ossification supplement the plan of removing creatures alongside Brutal Cathar, which excels in this matchup.
Being on the play or draw matters a great deal, and curving out with creatures every turn is crucial. Having Brave is a significant advantage for matches that get highly stalled. Coppercoat Vanguard once again excels in this situation, as it ensures that your Brutal Cathar doesn't fall to the opponent's Cathar as early as turn 3. After sideboarding, I prefer to have only removal spells in exchange for Thalias, which aren't effective here, and some one-drops. Wedding Announcement isn't a strong card in this matchup - it's slow and doesn't produce highly relevant bodies for combat.
Unlike decklists discussed in previous articler, this time we have graveyard hate in the sideboard, which is crucial for preventing the combo from going off in the early turns. Aside from that, apply pressure, hope the combo doesn't hit too soon, and save counters for the Hopeful Initiate and Brave to attempt a lethal strike.
Without the ability to interact with cards featuring Hexproof, we can still remove Light Paws and Skrelv using Brutal Cathar. Thalia significantly delays their strategy, especially since their deck operates on a curve and doesn't require many lands to execute its game plan. After sideboarding, Portable Hole interacts well with enchantments, but keep in mind that the opponent will also have access to this card.
Since the second-to-last Pro Tour, the deck has undergone some significant changes, with the most notable being the return of Brave the Elements and the inclusion of Coppercoat Vanguard. The deck remains resilient, aggressive, and resourceful, especially post-sideboard. These factors contribute to the deck standing out in the metagame and ranking among the top tiers of the format.
Until next time!