Historic Mono White Aggro Deck Guide: Can Aggro be Tier 1?

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben Art by Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben Art by Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to go over a deck that has definitely felt like a diamond in the rough: Monowhite Aggro. With the meta being functionally overtaken by Izzet base decks, I was struggling to figure out what new decks I could try to combat that. I remembered that I was tinkering with a Monowhite Aggro deck a few months ago, but didn’t like it at the time because it felt poorly positioned. I exhumed the deck from the archives and decided to give it another shot in Mythic. Let’s take a look at the initial list.

(H) Monowhite Aggro v1 

Creatures (36)
4
Dauntless Bodyguard
4
Skymarcher Aspirant
4
Thraben Inspector
4
Adanto Vanguard
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Skyclave Apparition
4
Venerated Loxodon
Enchantments (2)
2
Legion's Landing
Lands (22)
4
Faceless Haven
18
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Reidane, God of the Worthy
4
Giant Killer
4
Baffling End
4
Containment Priest

I ran it as is for a little bit to get my bearings straight with it, and ended up with a pretty quick 8-0. I was surprised to say the least, but knew the deck still had room to grow. Before I even needed to do a deep dive on the deck, I saw that CG Smoak had a very similar idea right around the same time. His list propelled him into top 100 and looked really clean, let’s take a quick peek.

 

Creatures (31)
2
Dauntless Bodyguard
2
Giant Killer
4
Selfless Savior
4
Adanto Vanguard
4
Luminarch Aspirant
3
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4
Archon of Emeria
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Skyclave Apparition
Spells (4)
2
Mana Tithe
2
Declaration in Stone
Enchantments (4)
4
Legion's Landing
Lands (21)
4
Faceless Haven
17
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
1
Reidane, God of the Worthy
2
Deafening Silence
1
Mana Tithe
2
Apostle of Purifying Light
2
Baffling End
2
Declaration in Stone
2
Ratchet Bomb
2
Rest in Peace
1
Sigrid, God-Favored

So with the ideas I had from the base list combined with the ideas that Smoak gave me, I created a fusion of the two that I think exhibits the best qualities of both. Here’s the list that I’m going to be using moving forward.

(H) Monowhite Aggro 

Creatures (36)
4
Dauntless Bodyguard
2
Giant Killer
4
Selfless Savior
2
Skymarcher Aspirant
4
Adanto Vanguard
4
Luminarch Aspirant
4
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4
Archon of Emeria
4
Elite Spellbinder
4
Skyclave Apparition
Enchantments (2)
2
Legion's Landing
Lands (22)
4
Faceless Haven
18
Snow-Covered Plains
Cards (60)
Sideboard (15)
3
Reidane, God of the Worthy
1
Deafening Silence
2
Giant Killer
1
Apostle of Purifying Light
4
Baffling End
4
Containment Priest

So it’s a very similar main deck to Smoak’s with a sideboard that’s super similar to my initial design, a good marriage of the two. After making this list, I had another solid streak with a 3-2 record that should’ve been a 4-1 had I not misclicked in one of my game 3s (accidentally skipped through giving a lethal Adanto Vanguard indestructible, it was very painful).

What makes this deck really viable right now? It’s a similar idea to Monoblack Aggro, but executed differently. Monoblack is seeing a lot of play right now because it’s a fast deck that has disruption with cards like Thoughtseize and removal like Heartless Act. Monowhite doesn’t really utilize non-creature interaction, but instead uses creatures that double as disruption!

If you need to kill creatures, you have Giant Killer to hit large creatures and Skyclave Apparition to hit the small ones (and any other permanent!). If you’re looking to tax your opponent, then you have Thalia, Guardian of Thraben to make spells cost more, Archon of Emeria to slow down their mana and spell development, and Elite Spellbinder to disrupt their hand. Lastly, we have our annoying duo of Selfless Savior and Dauntless Bodyguard to protect these annoying creatures from removal. Lastly, gaining access to Faceless Haven is just great in any deck that can afford it.

With the main deck dedicated to aggression and interaction, the sideboard is all just highly specific and excellent answers to the formats most popular decks. Reidane, God of the Worthy is excellent against any deck looking to cast expensive non-creature spells like Jeskai Control or Temur Koma. Deafening Silence is great against both Phoenix and Auras. Giant Killer seems to be good in a million matchups so including it is no issue. Apostle of Purifying Light was the final board slot and this can realistically be anything, but there’s a lot of Monoblack Aggro running around right now. Baffling End is a solid removal spell and I believe is better than Declaration in Stone as giving the opponent a Clue token can definitely be relevant.

Finally, my by far favorite sideboard card is the 4 Containment Priest. This card is super narrow, but somehow is excellent against most of the best decks right now. This exiles Arclight Phoenix, anything off of Indomitable Creativity, anything off of Collected Company, and Cauldron Familiar coming back from a Food. I owe a lot of the deck’s success to the Containment Priests as it’s won me half of my matches alone, the card is just nuts.

To summarize, this deck does an excellent job at applying pressure to the board while also disrupting the opponent, something that even Monoblack can do simultaneously. You’re definitely a bit more all in comparatively and slower than the other aggro decks for the most part, but disruptive aggro decks are extremely well positioned right now which lets Monowhite shine.

MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARDING

Archon of Emeria Art by Ryan Pancoast
Archon of Emeria Art by Ryan Pancoast

IZZET PHOENIX

INOUT
+1 Deafening Silence-2 Skymarcher Aspirant
+2 Giant Killer-4 Luminarch Aspirant
+4 Containment Priest-1 Legion’s Landing

Admittedly I haven’t faced this matchup yet somehow, but I’m assuming it’s pretty reasonable considering how many cards we have (Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Archon of Emeria, Skyclave Apparition) that are huge headaches for the opponent. Beating Phoenix was one of the objectives of this deck as well so you should have a reasonable chance to do so, especially since most Phoenix lists don’t have an excess of small creature removal due to how few decks it’s good against. Keep the pressure on, play out your hand as much as possible, and protect your Thalias and Archons.

TEMUR KOMA

INOUT
+3 Reidane, God of the Worthy-2 Skymarcher Aspirant
+2 Giant Killer-3 Luminarch Aspirant
+4 Containment Priest-4 Skyclave Apparition

Funny enough, the main reason I built Monowhite was to beat Temur Koma, an objective I think I succeeded in doing. With all the disruptive creatures and the Bodyguard and Doggo to protect them, this matchup seems really rough from the Koma side. It’s certainly not impossible to lose as a hand of all interaction into combo can definitely still win, but Monowhite looks to make that as difficult as possible for them.

JESKAI CONTROL

INOUT
+3 Reidane, God of the Worthy-4 Skyclave Apparition
+1 Giant Killer

The last of the Izzet/x crew. Jeskai is a very interesting matchup as some of their draws are going to feel unbeatable and some are going to feel laughable. They don’t have an excess of interaction, but what they do have is really high impact like Lightning Helix, Wrath of God, and Magma Opus.

I believe this matchup is in your favor, but if they have a really strong draw you functionally can never win which is disheartening. That being said, if you curve Selfless Savior into Thalia, Jeskai is going to monumentally struggle to do anything relevant as well, so it’s more about what you draw more than anything here.

SELESNYA COMPANY

INOUT
+2 Giant Killer-2 Dauntless Bodyguard
+4 Baffling End-4 Adanto Vanguard
+4 Containment Priest-4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Here’s a classic example of we have more cards we want to take out than cards we have to board in. This matchup is not great as Selesnya is really good at gumming up the ground, but far from impossible as we have loads of interaction to help put them off balance. There’s not much to say about this matchup except try to keep hands that are more top heavy as the aggressive hands can just be completely nullified by a single Lovestruck Beast or Collected Company.

A small note for the sideboard plan, if you’re on the play and saw The Great Henge from the opponent, you could consider keeping in some Thalia and boarding out more Dauntless Bodyguard.

MONOBLACK AGGRO

INOUT
+2 Giant Killer-2 Skymarcher Aspirant
+1 Apostle of Purifying Light-4 Adanto Vanguard
+4 Baffling End-1 Elite Spellbinder

I don’t want to be preemptive, but Monoblack Aggro has felt extremely easy for Monowhite so far. I haven’t dropped a game to it in 6 matches and only came close once when I flooded out really badly. We just have so many disruptive elements and strong creatures that they have a hard time getting a foothold and even something like Spawn of Mayhem which is traditionally their best card against aggro decks isn’t even that good here. Keep their board as clean as possible, and just beat them to death with your strong creatures.

AURAS

INOUT
+1 Deafening Silence-3 Selfless Savior
+2 Giant Killer-4 Adanto Vanguard
+4 Baffling End

Auras is another great reason to consider playing Monowhite because holy moly you have so many cards that are nightmares for them. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is a huge pain for them and really limits their plays. Archon of Emeria completely stops them from going nuts on a creature until they kill it. Skyclave Apparition can eat a creature as can Baffling End.

You can still definitely lose if they land a creature or two and pop off with them before you can interact, but you just have to mulligan any hand without interaction and take it from there. Considering how much interaction we have, you shouldn’t be mulliganing that often.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Dauntless Bodyguard Art by Manuel Castañón
Dauntless Bodyguard Art by Manuel Castañón
  • It’s niche, but Dauntless Bodyguard can be sacrificed at any time, not just if it has a creature it’s protecting. The most common use of this is to fizzle a Bonecrusher Giant’s Stomp half. Another niche thing about Bodyguard is that if you choose an animated Faceless Haven, you can protect it at any point in the future, including if it’s not animated as a creature.
  • Don’t be afraid to play out Giant Killer if it fits in your curve well and you don’t believe you’ll definitely need it soon.
  • This may be obvious, but avoid putting +1/+1 counters from Luminarch Aspirant onto creatures you’re looking to sacrifice.
  • Archon of Emeria makes it that each player can only cast one spell per turn, not just the opponent. With that, if you want to double spell the turn you’re looking to play Archon, make sure to cast the other spell first.
  • Don’t be afraid to throw away a crappy creature to trigger Legion's Landing as that’ll let you double spell most turns.
  • Although Reidane is mostly for the Control decks, don’t discount the ability to bring it in against aggro decks or Sacrifice for the Valkmira side. Valkmira is the perfect answer to Mayhem Devil!
  • Deafening Silence is unilateral but only affects non-creature spells instead of all spells, so that should very rarely matter. However, it’s the same deal as Archon, if you want to say play this and Baffling End, make sure you sequence them correctly.
  • Although I like holding onto Containment Priest as long as possible for the surprise value, if it’s your only two drop, you can definitely just play it out to maintain your curve

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is a streamer and high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, GW Company in Historic, and Temur Koma in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.

11 Responses

  1. muribundi says:

    I know this is not the final list… but you have 7 Reidane, God of the Worthy in it lol…

    • DoggertQBones says:

      I’m just a huge Reidane fan! Thanks for the catch, that was supposed to be Elite Spellbinder, unsure how that got messed up!

      • muribundi says:

        One thing I often see people is underestimate the artifact side… against aggro deck it can put them to a stop were the creature side would have done nothing

        I would not play 7 but I’m never disapointed to have 1 main

        • DoggertQBones says:

          Valkmira is really good for sure but its not as strong as it was when Cat/Oven was more prevalent. That being said you could definitely play 1 main but I wouldn’t know what to cut.

          • muribundi says:

            I’ve cut the two Skymarcher Aspirants. I don’t try to be that fast and I changed for a Lurrus and a Teferi’s Protection. I really like the Teferi’s Protection because it go around every removal. Even Extinction Event and Settle the Wreckage. Or mass -X/-X

            I play one main, one side and it saved me so many time against control.

            The lurrus, I switch between Reidane… depending how I feel.

            Right now the deck got me from Diamond to Mythic with nearly no loss. It is surprisingly good, it help that the meta is slow deck with so many big spell.

  2. Pearbear says:

    I have a 14-3 (82%) record with the deck so far. It should be 16-1 if not for my punts early on in learning the deck. Deck is insane and everyone should try it.

  3. Bob Saget says:

    Declaration in stone in some quantity needs to be in the 75 vs Phoenix. It makes the matchup near guaranteed victory.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      The Baffling Ends could definitely be Dec in Sontes. My contention with the card is that the Clues can be relevant but they are particularly good against Phoenix

  4. Leonidas Vosios says:

    can you suggest me a bo1 version of your upgraded mono white list excluding thalia cause i dont have it and dont want to craft it atm?thank you in advance

    • DoggertQBones says:

      No problem! So if you don’t have Thalia, I’d use that spot to fill out the 1 drops so you’d have 4 Skymarcher and Giant Killer. Additionally, if you have some copies of Venerable Loxodon, you can put in two of those and 2 Skymarcher

  5. Leonidas Vosios says:

    Yeah,I have 3 loxodons so I will go with 2 additional giant killer and 2 loxodons I guess.thank you for your reply mate and keep up the good work

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *