Pioneer Monowhite Humans - In-Depth & Sideboard Guide Update
13/03/2023 · 14 min read
Pioneer After the Pro-Tour
Recently, we had the Pro Tour Phyrexia, crowning the great Reid Duke as champion with his UR Creativity. However, there were many surprises in this event, such as GW Auras taking an impressive second place in the hands of player Benton Madson and an interesting and different build of Mono-White Humans in the hands of player Takumi Matsuura (a.k.a ura_frst). Today, I'm going to talk a bit about this list and also provide a sideboard guide against some of the main decks in the format .
Updated Version of the Deck
|4 Luminarch Aspirant||$0.39|
|1 Kytheon, Hero of Akros||$8.99|
|4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben||$1.79|
|4 Thalia's Lieutenant||$1.99|
|4 Recruitment Officer||$0.49|
|4 Hopeful Initiate||$6.49|
|3 Skrelv, Defector Mite||$6.99|
|4 Brutal Cathar||$5.99|
|2 Dauntless Bodyguard||$0.35|
|4 Adeline, Resplendent Cathar||$13.99|
|2 Castle Ardenvale||$0.99|
|2 Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire||$9.99|
|4 Portable Hole||$1.99|
|2 Guardian of Faith||$3.99|
|4 Wedding Announcement||$10.99|
|3 Reidane, God of the Worthy||$0.99|
|2 Sword of Forge and Frontier||$20.99|
As previously mentioned, this list made it to the top 4 at Pro Tour Phyrexia, narrowly missing out on the finals against tournament sensation GW Auras piloted by Benton Madson. The deck features some peculiar choices, such as the omission of Brave the Elements, which has historically been a mainstay of the deck and one of the primary reasons to play it with only white cards. However, ONE brought some interesting cards to the deck's game plan.
New Card Choices
Chained to the Rocks has been a staple in White Standard decks, and Ossification fits into this deck perfectly, giving it the ability to deal with any creature for only two mana. Its versatility against Planeswalkers makes it even better. Ossification has a similar application in this deck as Chained to the Rocks does in decks with Mountains and Triomes; even if your opponent manages to deal with the enchantment at some point, it will have likely done its job by then, allowing your creatures to break through a stalled board.
SKRELV, DEFECTOR MITE
The presence of this card explains the absence of Brave the Elements, as both are creatures with a very interesting role in this list. It can save a key creature from removals, as well as make something unblockable against a certain color. It's an effect you can have multiple turns and really complicate the life of decks without plenty of removals, as it always has to be the first target or else the other removals become useless while it remains in play.
It may be a bit worse in terms of the deck losing that initial burst of power when the board is full of creatures, but this is offset by the ability to disrupt your opponent's actions, always leaving them in an awkward spot.
SWORD OF FORGE AND FRONTIER
Brave the Elements also made the match-up against decks like Monogreen much better, since it's a deck that doesn't interact much with our creatures, all it took was filling the board, attacking in favorable situations, and hoping that a Brave from the top would finish the game. Without it, we still have Skrelv to do this job. When it's not enough, the sword also plays an important role, being useful against other green and red decks like RG Midrange.
Playing the deck
This traditional aggro deck wants to curve out with Adeline at the top end, a creature that's hard to answer and gets bigger and scarier with every turn. Against slower decks, Thalia turn 2 does a great job and gets even better if you have Skrelv to protect it. Mulligan aggressively for hands that can attack early and often, this deck wants to pressure from turn one. After sideboarding, cards like Wedding Announcement can help you play a slower game, but be sure to not fall too far behind.
EXAMPLE HAND #1
I'm torn on whether to keep this opening hand. On the surface, it seems like it has a lot of lands, but one could be used for removal and the other for token generation if I'm flooded. Officer is one of the best cards when you have a lot of lands, since it generates card advantage by tutoring for creatures. Aggressive play is essential for this deck and I have the option with this initial hand. Ultimately, I'll keep it on the play and mulligan on the draw.
EXAMPLE HAND #2
This hand looks decent, if it weren't for the fact that it has a land coming in tapped on turn one. I believe an aggressive deck like this can't afford to keep so many drops without being able to make any on turn one. If it were a Plains, I think I would have kept it without much trouble, as depending on our next draws, we could flood the board and still have Brutal Cathar to take something out of the way and Skrelv to protect from removals. Without a Plains, this hand is too slow, and we can do better with 6 cards.
EXAMPLE HAND #3
One of the best hands to keep, but what I wanted to emphasize here is that if it were a Brave instead of a Skrelv, I probably would not have kept it, simply because it is too slow. With the ability to make creatures every turn, while still being able to protect them, it made the deck much more aggressive.
Matchups & Sideboard guide
Be as aggressive as possible and push aggressively too, looking for lines that put your opponent in a corner. We don't have Brave the Elements as a finisher anymore, so our general plan is to land lethal attacks with big creatures protected by Skrelv. Don't be afraid to flood the board, they won't have anything to handle it. To make up for the lack of Brave, the post-board sword helps a bit to push through creatures, but Karn can mess with those plans. Thalia ends up having a bit less importance, so we can cut some copies, especially because Ossification also helps to get rid of big creatures, and it also delays those cards.
Having Skredv instead of Brave the Elements in this list makes the match a lot more interesting, as it can protect key creatures every turn and, if the opponent doesn't remove it first, the removals become completely useless. Adeline is still excellent, even though some lists now use Power Word Kill. It's important to note that, with the presence of Ossification, we don't really care about some creatures like Sheoldred and Bonecrusher, since they have no access to enchantment removals. Post-sideboard, they can add different sweepers like Extinction Event and Ritual of Soot, so the plan to flood the board has become a little worse, but it is still the best we can do, especially with the help of Wedding Announcement.
A matchup that heavily depends on how well you can apply pressure to your opponent. Opening Skelv + Thalia puts them in a tough spot, as the deck is almost entirely spells and they need more than one removal spell to successfully deal with her, leaving room for you to flood the board. We don't have many ways of interacting with the combo, but we can still remove their Fable token, which is already very important. The deck usually doesn't play sweepers, so don't be afraid to play out all your creatures. Post-side Zidane slows down their higher-cost spells and she with Thalia is a powerful combination against this type of deck, but they have other ways of dealing with creatures, mainly with Rending Volley.
Once again, playing around sweepers is the best we can do. Lists no longer play Portable Hole, as Temporary Lockdown is a better and more dangerous card, even in some matchups. Thalia shines here, delaying Supreme Verdict and taxing counters, allowing us to board out. Post side, Reidane helps further in the plan to tax spells and guardian of faith saves our creatures from sweepers in crucial moments.
Playing against a lifegain deck can be one of the toughest matchups. With 8 copies of Collected Company, it's likely that our opponent will have a full board. Ossification and Brutal Cathar can be an interesting removal combo in case they don't play too fairly and just make one creature at a time. Otherwise, playing creatures and trying to pressure as quickly as possible is our best bet. After sideboarding, there's not much we can do but bring in Portable Hole to take out some of the small creatures like Giada and Bishop of Wings that help against their plan of gaining life and making even bigger creatures.
Once again, Thalia shines here. Arboreal Grazer is a card that really throws a wrench in an aggressive plan. Stock up the table and mulligan for aggressive hands. Skrelv helps to make sure you have the best creatures to attack with, getting past the laziness. Post-sideboard Reidane complements the plan to tax spells. Overall, there's not much we can do to interact with the combo; the best thing to do is try to curve out and don't give them too much time to think.
Setting up the board is great here, as they don't have a lot of removal and rely on making a creature with Curious Obsession which we can usually ignore when we have a lot of creatures. With this current setup, we can interact with the creatures more, making it less likely to die to a flying army. Post-sideboard Portable Hole is great for removing creatures along with the existing removal in the maindeck.
This matchup isn't the best, as our opponent's creatures are bigger than ours and their Vehicles are a real nightmare, with Esika's Chariot stalling our attacks and Skysovereign clearing the board. Thalia slows down the Vehicles a bit, but they have plenty of removals in the main deck and post-sideboard that number increases even more. Sword of Forge and Frontier helps us get through basically every creature and Reidane helps Thalia in her role of stalling the Vehicles. Portable Hole can be a bit useful for removing Elves and slowing down our opponent's game plan, but I don't think it's a very efficient plan. We have to capitalize on the fact that they don't have sweepers and make a huge board and protect some attacks with Skrelv, not giving the opponent time to develop their game plan.
Being on the play or on the draw really matters against them, and curving out with creatures every turn is key. The absence of Brave is felt once again, as we no longer have the alpha strike with multiple creatures on the board, and with more removal in the main deck, the match becomes more grindy. We use Skrelv to protect creatures from Ossification and Brutal Cathar in Game 1, but Game 2 is better served by adopting a more aggressive removal plan with Wedding Announcement, building a bigger board, buying time, and leaving our army bigger for the late game.
One of the factors that irks me most about this list is the lack of grave hate, which makes it quite difficult to match up against decks like Greasefang. Thalia once again gets in the way of making an Esika's Chariot from hand, but when it comes to the combo from the graveyard, there's not much we can do. One of the better plays the deck has is to take out vehicles with the help of Hopeful Initiate. Post-sideboard, I don't think any of the cards help much against this deck, so I prefer to not make any changes.
We don't have ways to interact with creatures with hexproof, but Thalia taxes enchantments, making it difficult to play multiple spells in one turn. We keep removal for Sram and Light Paws and post-side, Portable Hole can handle key enchantments such as All that Glitters and Ethereal Armor.
The deck has gone through some changes, becoming more aggressive and interactive in G1, and I believe in a format as diverse as Pioneer, this could be beneficial. These changes have proven to be correct, placing among the top 4 decks of the Pro Tour.
In the right meta, this deck could be a surprise and remain among the tiers.
Until next time!
If you liked this article maybe you will also find interesting on of the following ones Modern Goblin In-depth guide: sideboarding & tips vs the meta, A fresh take: Rakdos Scamless In-depth & sideboard guide, Pioneer Boros Heroic In-depth & Sideboard Guide, Pioneer Selesnya Angels Deck Breakdown & Sideboard Guide
Sign Up for MTGDecks newsletterYou'll receive a weekly email with more articles like this.
Hi, my name is Lucas de Almeida Hervás. I'm 31 years old, married, and I live in Indaiatuba/SP, Brazil. I've been playing Magic the Gathering since 2009, but I've been making a living off of it since 2019 through leagues and tournaments on Magic Online. For those who don't know me, I'm 2.17 meters tall, hence the nickname "the tallest Magic player in Brazil."
Published: 2023-03-13 00:00:00