An In-Depth Guide to Historic Mono White Auras: From Draft Chaff to Rank #1
Jumpstart has arrived and jammed tons of new cards into Historic, and there are some real powerhouses among them. Goblins got three insanely strong rares, Temur Reclamation got a new board clear in Magmaquake, and various other decks got a kick in the pants. But for all the complaining you see about Muxus, I have done my very best to find the internet a new Jumpstart card to complain about. My name is Jonny “Ginky” Guttman, I am an eighteen-year-old competitive Magic: The Gathering player from Toronto, and I’m here to teach you all about my favourite Historic deck, MonoWhite Auras.
Kor Spiritdancer is the single best card to come out of Jumpstart, and I say that in full seriousness. This modern playable card has enabled this new deck, Mono White Auras to materialize out of thin air. I have played 85 matches with this deck, mostly in best of three but some in best of one; I have a 75% win rate and am around 80% against Goblins and Temur Reclamation, and have climbed from the deep dark percentages to top 50 mythic where I’ve remained for the past few days, and as of writing this article, I am #1 on the ladder.
What is Mono White Auras?
Mono White Auras is an aggressive deck that relies on piling a ton of enchantments onto one creature, while keeping it alive with protection spells. Kor Spritdancer is the ideal card to put our enchantments on, because it grows with each one while also drawing a card. This turns a card that gives +1/+1 into a +3/+3 cantrip. The power of Kor Spiritdancer is so high that it justifies running twenty auras in our deck, a usually maligned card type in Constructed. Some games, we sadly don’t draw our Spiritdancer, but we have a suite of stand-ins that wear enchantments quite well and can still present our opponents a formidable clock.
This deck exploits massive holes in the metagame, with the aggro decks having next to no removal, and the slower decks not having effective ways to answer our creatures. Temur Reclamation is a very good matchup for us because they use damage-based removal which doesn’t work against the massive creatures we’re capable of producing. The deck also fully dodges Aether Gust, a card I expect to be a common main-deck inclusion in many blue decks.
This deck is very strong in both best of one and best of three, so I have lists for both of those formats.
Best of One
Best of Three
Kor Spiritdancer: The card of the hour; you don’t lose many games when she sticks on the board for a turn.
Hushbringer: Insanely strong against goblins and various other decks, such as the cat decks. Flying and lifelink are the perfect ability combination for an excellent card to jam a bunch of enchantments onto. The only downside is that it’s actively horrible against Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and that is why it used to be in the sideboard in my original list. However, I’m seeing far fewer decks running Uro than I am seeing Goblins and other aggressive decks, where Hushbringer shines. If Temur becomes more popular then I could see moving this back to the sideboard and pulling Adanto Vanguard back into the main.
Adanto Vanguard: Already protects itself from removal spells and needs very few pump effects to generate a fast clock. Great against any deck with few creatures, because it lacks evasion by itself against the ones that have them.
Stonecoil Serpent: Fills holes in the curve, protects from Teferi, Time Raveler, and trample is a form of pseudo evasion that prevents it from being chump blocked. Better best of three options than Gingerbrute, because the games go longer and more decks are running Teferi in best of three.
Gingerbrute: Hasty and evasive. Best of one is much more of a race than best of three, so the ability to maximize damage is why the brute takes it over Stonecoil there.
Lurrus of the Dream-Den: It’s free to Companion and lets us recast almost every single card in our deck if we have the time to grab it in the late game; not much more to say.
All That Glitters: A key payoff for our deck; enables turn four kills and brings life to hands that would be mulligans otherwise. The other “best card” after Spiritdancer.
Glaring Aegis: Gives our creatures lots of toughness, and sometimes the tap effect is relevant for squeezing through some damage.
Sentinel’s Eyes: Vigilance is great for racing and it’s a recursive pump spell which is sweet.
Angelic Gift: We don’t have another way to grant evasion and it draws a card, which is very rare in white.
Despite the fact that most of the auras we play are really bad cards without synergy, the deck is still able to perform excellently, which shows that the printing of one more decent aura could push this deck even further.
Karametra’s Blessing: Hexproof and indestructible get around pretty much any way to answer our creatures; remember it only works on those that already have enchantments on them, or Alseid of Life’s Bounty.
Selfless Savior: Only protects against creatures getting destroyed, but the curve of Savior into Spiritdancer is our “nut draw”.
Alseid of Life’s Bounty: Costs mana to use its effect, but the ability has a wide range of uses. Protects creatures from removal, can protect enchantments if needed. Also gives unblockable if your opponent’s creatures are all the same colour, which can come in very handy.
My number one tip for playing this deck is to mulligan aggressively. I named the deck “Mulligan” on Arena to remind myself to mulligan hands that aren’t very good. A five-card with a Spiritdancer and a few lands is better than most seven-card hands; this deck gets so much power from the London Mulligan rule. If your hand doesn’t have a payoff (Kor Spiritdancer or All that Glitters), you should heavily consider sending it back. Turning a random one drop creature into a 4/4 is not a viable way to beat the high power of decks in Historic. This is especially true in game one situations and when playing best of one. After sideboarding, things are a bit different because the range of hands you keep generally expands to include sideboard cards.
This is a classic example of the kind of hand you will see a lot of. You may be tempted to keep these, but I can promise you that you don’t want “fair” hands. Spiritdancer offsets mulligans because it turns a third of your deck into cards that cycle, so you’ll have enough stuff to do anyway in your good hands; that is the defining feature of a deck that mulligans well.
When playing a deck like this, the best thing you can do is to know the best answers your opponent can have. Sometimes you can play around everything and that’s awesome but, in reality, you need to accept that some combination of cards beats you. You don’t want to slow yourself down enough to give your opponent more time to draw their answers or just execute their gameplan. Against the aggro decks, you need to just beat them faster then they beat you; it’s very rarely worth it to take a slower but safer line because you can get blown out by an explosive turn from them quite easily. If you are unsure, it’s generally better to go all-in then not.
Matchup + Sideboard Guide
This matchup is the most common and I think it is good, since they get completely stonewalled by Hushbringer. The only realistic way they can beat one generally involves Krenko + haste, which is our biggest concern in the match-up. Vigilance is very important, because we get to kill them without exposing ourselves to getting raced, which is entirely possible. Game one / in bo1, they pretty much have no removal, so jamming a Spiritdancer on two is almost always safe, which sets up the kill rapidly.
Favourable matchup. Hushbringer is horrible because playing it into an Uro turn is not great. High health creatures can dodge almost all of their removal besides Brazen Borrower, which is not played in massive numbers, so sometimes you just have to hope they don’t have it. Try not to let their bad removal spells (Flame Sweep, Magmaquake) be good against you; you should play accordingly.
I assumed these matchups would be abysmal, but I have a positive win rate against them, which could be partly due to low sample size and them not understanding our deck. They have a lot of very powerful tools against us – Claim the Firstborn, Priest of the Forgotten Gods, and Mayhem Devil being the most important. If they have it all they will beat us. We need to assume they are missing some piece of the puzzle and make our boards as awkward as possible for the pieces they do have to deal with. Having two creatures out to make Priest worse is very important. Hushbringer is also great against them and stops many cards in their deck; it does suffer against the Kroxa variants, but Uro is a lot more threatening even so.
This match-up is good but, the more copies of Teferi, Time Raveler they run, the worse it gets. If they don’t have it, the best way they have to remove our stuff is Shatter the Sky and we have many ways to beat that. The most important thing to be aware of is their Ugin, the Spirit Dragon turn. We cannot beat an Ugin, so you need to push the aggression to kill them before they reach enough mana for that card to hit the board. Hushbringer is a weird one, because it shuts down Elvish Rejuvenator and Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, while also leaving you exposed to getting Uro’d.
- Casting Karametra’s Blessing on your creature in response to Teferi, Time Raveler is often a good idea.
- If you need to, you can cast Angelic Gift on your opponent’s creatures to cycle.
- Alseid giving protection from white will cause all the enchantments to fall off the creature; this can be used to move Sentinel’s Eyes around and draw cards with Kor Spiritdancer. Below is a video of me doing this to set up lethal and show how it works:
- If you have a Hushbringer + Alseid or Selfless Savior on board, you are likely better off putting Angelic Gift on the Hushbringer, because it increases the enchantment count for All that Glitters and the other creatures are likely to be sacrificed at some point.
- Be aware of the Solid Footing + Adanto Vanguard nonbo; you may miss lethal due to shrinking your own creature.
- Don’t forget that Alseid of Life’s Bounty can protect enchantments.
- When Lurrusing late game, it is often a good idea to bring back a protection creature first, to increase the chances of your Lurrus sticking around.
- Karametra’s Blessing does not give hexproof and indestructible to creatures that don’t have an Aura on them besides Alseid, but the +2/+2 is sometimes all you need.
- You aren’t required to put enchantments on your Spiritdancer: Once it becomes big enough to force chump blocks and you don’t have a way to give it evasion, it will often be more beneficial to make another threat.
Conclusion + Shill
Thank you so much for everyone who has made it to the end of this article. I hope that you enjoyed reading it and that you all enjoy playing this deck as much as I do! I think it’s a great choice for the Arena Open and I will certainly be playing it there.
People who follow my stream and twitter already know about it and would have seen the entire learning and tuning process. If you like the decks I build and the content I produce, I stream frequently at Twitch and I post cool decks at Twitter.
Have an amazing day, good luck in all your future Magic endeavours, and have a blast making a 20-power creature turn four on a mull to five!