Hello everyone! Have you ever played Mono White and thought to yourself “This is just too many Plains.” Then do I have the deck for you! Jokes aside, Naya White has to be one of the stranger decks I’ve seen in a Standard metagame, but it’s definitely the real deal.
Originally created (or at least popularized) by Matthieu Avignon, Naya takes the shell of Mono White Aggro and adds Green for protection spells like Snakeskin Veil and Red to gain access to Halana and Alena, Partners. Now you may be thinking exactly what I was when I first saw this deck, “So we ruin our mana base to play a few cards?” It may seem like that on the surface, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
For starters, Halana and Alena, Partners is EXTREMELY powerful and perfect in a Mono White shell. Luminarch Aspirant is considered one of the best cards in Mono White and Partners are a much larger version of that. Giving at least 2 +1/+1 counters and Haste to a creature per turn is a really powerful rate and can scale any creature to an absolutely monstrous threat in the course of a few turns.
Second, the mana is actually very consistent despite being 3 colors. Before Faceless Haven was banned, it was much more contentious whether going Naya or not was reasonable, but with that gone, there’s very little reason to not splash. Regular Mono White only has Cave of the Frost Dragon and Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire as utility lands which we can play anyway.
Lastly, having access to more colors obviously gives us a wealth of sideboard options which can be invaluable in Bo3.
With all those factors, Naya actually plays out nearly identically to Mono White, but you just get more options to work with! Obviously, the main detractor from this take is you lose a good amount of velocity as we play fewer 1 drops and the mana can (obviously) be shakier, but we gain something that Mono White very rarely has: longevity.
An endemic issue with Mono White decks is that they’re absolute beats in the early and imd game, but if the game starts to drag on, their cards get outclassed extremely quickly. Furthermore, they have a huge susceptibility to removal and losing a few strong threats can stall them long enough to get ground into dust. With Naya, that is a much less likely scenario. Partners are the ultimate grinding tool since, as long as they survive, will continue to make any creature you draw into a threat. Second, having access to Green for Snakeskin Veil and Tamiyo's Safekeeping can help insulate your better threats. Finally, as I said before, we have significantly better sideboard options which will also lend to helping us against decks that want to 1 for 1 this to death. All in all, I wouldn’t say Naya is a strictly better version of Mono White as they do better in different metagames, but in this current heavy control metagame, I think it is a clear favorite out of the two.
Enough beating around the bush, let’s see those lists!
Pretty similar lists with the main difference being the Bo1 version is more streamlined by including fewer situational cards and more 1 drops. No matter which queue you decide to foray into with Naya, the deck should definitely serve you well as long as you treat it like a typical aggro deck!
NOTABLE EXCLUSIONS / POTENTIAL INCLUSIONS
Believe it or not, I have seen some lists with this scrappy common and I don’t think it’s particularly ridiculous. It does have pretty massive potential to scale with Luminarch Aspirant and Halana and Alena, Partners so having more fliers isn’t a bad idea. That said, I think the rate on it is just too low for inclusion.
By nature this deck doesn’t run that many 1 drops to begin with so it may seem weird to not run what’s considered to be the best of the bunch. Although 2 power for 1 mana is definitely a great rate, I’ve found through practice that this deck cares more about scaling than it does raw aggression. Both Chaplain of alms and Hopeful Initiate have much higher potential to be relevant in the mid game which is what this deck is shooting for rather than just trying to overrun the opponent as early as possible.
Most other lists I’ve seen play Sejiri Shelter, but I don’t really get why. We already have access to a bunch of protection spells so why add another one? I play Kabira Takedown instead as removal seems much harder to come by in this list.
Although it can be a little tough on the mana, Reckless Stormseeker is very powerful. If more Control decks enter the meta, this may be worth an inclusion in the 75 somewhere as the Day/Night cycle is really rough for most Control lists.
Similar to Reckless Stormseeker, this card could be a huge pain for any Control deck that can’t kill it immediately. It may be too niche overall for inclusion, but if you want to target Control, this seems like a good way to do it.
If this deck was a little less reliant on Green mana, I could see Blade Historian being a great choice. It’s been really underutilized since it’s release, but it is quite the powerful card.
I’ve seen a few lists with this as a 1 of, but without other Warriors or Samurai in this deck to capitalize on the powerful ability, I really don’t see the appeal.
This is castable, but it doesn’t seem any better than the other three drops, discounting that it’s also more difficult to cast.
MATCHUPS AND SIDEBOARD GUIDE
As a note before I dive into the sideboarding, you may notice that despite having aDivine Smite in the board, they don’t come in for any of these matchups. They are for the Lolth, Spider Queen / Edgar, Charmed Groom decks as it’s such a good answer for both, but they may be losing enough popularity that they’re no longer necessary If you want to replace it, I would probably play another Skyclave Apparition.
|+1 The Wandering Emperor||-1 Chaplain of Alms|
|+1 Brutal Cathar||-3 Elite Spellbinder|
|+2 Skyclave Apparition||-1 Reidane, God of the Worthy|
|+1 Valorous Stance|
This matchup is going to be a pretty mixed bag as it’s going to be all about what half of the deck Runes draws. Some of their draws are pure aggression, while some of their draws are much more reactive and controlling in the post board games. Your best bet either way is to keep the pressure on, remove their threats whenever possible so they can’t snowball advantage, and kill them before they can out-scale you. They have the inevitability in this matchup so don’t take too long going on the aggressive.
Mono White/ Mono Red Aggro
|+1 The Wandering Emperor||-3 Elite Spellbinder|
|+1 Brutal Cathar||-1 Reidane, God of the Worthy|
|+2 Skyclave Apparition|
Very similar sideboarding to Naya but a relatively different matchup. For both Mono White and Mono Red you will have the inevitability in the matchup as your cards scale better in the late game than theirs. With that, act defensively, but also remember that you are still an aggressive deck so you don’t want to play too passively.
One of the advantages of going Naya over Monowhite is you have a much more fleshed out plan against Control and it comes in full force here. We get to take out exclusively middling to bad cards and replace them with better threats and better interaction which is exactly what you want in a sideboard plan. This matchup can still be a bit tough as they have such a strong plan against aggro, but if you play around their many wraths when possible and chip away at their life, this matchup is very winnable.
|+1 Outland Liberator||-3 Hopeful Initiate|
|+1 Elite Spellbinder||-2 Intrepid Adversary|
|+2 Reidane, God of the Worthy||-3 Brutal Cathar|
|+2 Tamiyo's Safekeeping||-1 Ao, the Dawn Sky|
|+2 Wedding Announcement|
|+1 Showdown of the Skalds|
This deck plays out differently than a traditional Control, but it’s similar enough we want the Control boarding. They’re going to try and grind you out so you have to apply enough pressure to force a wrath and then add more. Esper is much more reliant on spot removal than other Control decks so try to keep a protection spell open when possible, doubly so if you have a high priority threat on board.
|+1 The Wandering Emperor||-2 Intrepid Adversary|
|+1 Outland Liberator||-3 Brutal Cathar|
|+1 Elite Spellbinder||-1 Ao, the Dawn Sky|
|+2 Tamiyo's Safekeeping||-1 Kabira Takedown|
|+1 Showdown of the Skalds|
|+1 Valorous Stance|
Despite looking an awful lot like a Control deck, Jeskai really isn’t. As the name suggests, they are a combo deck, but it plays out somewhat slowly due to the win conditions being 5 mana. With that, aggression is going to be key here as you can very reasonably kill them before they can assemble their win condition. Be careful of Smoldering Egg and Cinderclasm as those will be their best cards against you post board, but beyond those and some sparse interaction, they don’t have too much to stop a strong, aggressive curve.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Remember that Hopeful Initiate can take +1/+1 counters off of any of your creatures to activate it’s ability, not just itself. This is really important against matchups like Enchantments or Orzhov.
- Unlike Mono White Aggro, don’t put too much emphasis on trying to get the anthem ability with Intrepid Adversary. Although it’s nice if you can get it, there’s plenty to do with your mana in the mid game so Adversary is generally pretty low priority.
- Although not generally useful, don’t forget that Reidane, God of the Worthy has the Valkmira side as well. This could be a great roadblock for aggressive decks looking to race you.
- A common and powerful interaction in this deck is having a Luminarch Aspirant and Halana and Alena, Partners out. You target something with the Partner’s ability, target Partners with Luminarch, and you have a constantly scaling board as Partners gives counters based on their power!
- I know it’s on the card, but Halana and Alena, Partners grant a creature Haste and they also have Reach. For whatever reason, it’s pretty easy to forget about those two parts of the card.
- Unless you’re trying to sandbag threats against a Contorl deck, I generally like deploying my best threat over holding up Snakeskin Veil or another protection spell. This deck is an aggro deck after all!
- Be very careful sequencing your lands as you don’t want to get stuck not being able to cast a spell you draw. As a rule of thumb, you want 2 White and one green every game and only need Red when you draw Halana and Alena, Partners.
Thank you for reading!