Why Play Tokens?

You have a clear combo consisting of noncreature permanents that, given enough time, will win any against any non-Approach deck in the format. This is nice to have in a board presence deck, instead of just hoping to duck removal*. Your single combo pieces work well on their own and in multiples, allowing you to avoid the issue of drawing exactly one of each relevant piece.

*Abrade on Torrential Gearhulk is the only reason I still have The Scarab God in my U/B Control decks. Otherwise, I’ve found it to be superior in almost all matches.

This is the closest thing to a Rock deck in the format. You have almost no terrible matchups, and you have good enough sideboard options to at least try and make it a game against Approach post-board. You are favored against any other type of board presence strategy and most aggro decks, assuming you draw your early removal or a Hidden Stockpile in a timely manner.

Between Treasure Map, Arguel Blood Fast, Profane Procession, Hidden Stockpile, and flipped Legion’s Landing, you have a ton of ways to grind out decks even if your Stockpile/Procession setup is disrupted. This becomes very important post-board, where decks will often be able to interact along a relevant axis.

Speaking of interaction, there’s no one card in the format you happen to be soft to. White and black overlap well when dealing with creatures and covering each color’s weaknesses. Cheap answers such as Duress and Fragmentize with catch-alls like Ixalan’s Binding give your opponents a difficult time.

Why You Shouldn’t Play Tokens

The deck is slow and technically demanding. You have to remember a ton of triggers and you have to streamline your play. You absolutely cannot tank on every scry or fiddle around with grabbing new tokens every turn. Try goldfishing a common board scenario of Anointer Priest, Hidden Stockpile, and Anointed Procession for a few turns. Resolve every trigger, look at your scry, make all the relevant life total changes, and move everything where it needs to go. If you can’t consistently get through your turns in less than a minute without any responses or thinking, you aren’t going to finish matches besides 1-0-1 or 1-1-1.

Sometimes your deck will simply not allow you to win. Unlike other control decks with cycling and card draw, your draws are limited to one card at a time. You will often reset your scrys because of Evolving Wilds and Renegade Map. Sometimes even being able to set up your top card every turn isn’t enough—you just won’t have the resources to control the board and convert that into a winning board state.

Aggro decks are actually weak game 1 if you don’t have Fatal Push. Part of the reason I added a Baffling End to my build of the deck was simply to have another removal spell on turn 2. Without Fatal Push, you lean hard on Legion’s Landing and Anointer Priest to fill in the gaps until Fumigate cleans up. When one of the biggest threats in the format is Hazoret, this is often not a winning strategy. Being able to bring in Authority of the Consuls and additional life gain means more games where you have time to establish Anointer Priest and Hidden Stockpile.

Here’s the most common build on Magic Online:

W/B Tokens

Here’s my list:

W/B Tokens

Ixalan’s Binding versus Cast Out has typically come down in favor of Cast Out, but with the omnipresence of Gods I prefer Ixalan’s Binding now. Turning off a Hazoret and shutting out any future ones makes a huge difference over the small wins that accumulate when you cycle Cast Out when hunting for land or a cheap answer. I think a 2/2 or 3/1 split is reasonable, but there’s no way I’d just jam the playset of Cast Out over Binding in this metagame.

For sweepers, the newer builds have a Settle the Wreckage as a 1-of and I think that’s fine, though on average Fumigate is just going to do more in a Hidden Stockpile deck. I think Sunscourge Champion main deck is pretty bad and a concession to how much red is online. It’s possible that I’ve had bad experiences with it, because I do like it in U/W Eternalize and it’s fine with Procession, but your deck has enough air in it already that I’m not a fan. I’d rather just run more cheap removal because between Cast Out/Binding, Stockpile, and the natural life gain in the deck, red isn’t beating you in longer games.

One of the big differences between my deck and the newer builds is that I still run Renegade Map. I want to trigger Stockpile the turn I play it, and I want to ensure that I get to 5 mana with consistency. I think 23 lands is low and the ability to “hold” Map for an untapped land drop or Stockpile trigger shouldn’t be underestimated in a deck with 8 lands that can throw you off-curve. The other reason I like having more mana sources is because sacrificing Deserts to Scavenger Grounds or Dunes is less of an all-in type of decision.

The sideboard is pretty much the bog standard for B/W Control style decks. Blood Fast and discard are still the go-to weapons against control decks, along with Profane Procession, which is ridiculously strong against Grixis, G/B, and U/B decks. It’s still legendary and  mana hungry though, so 2 is about the max you’d want in the deck. Lost Legacy is one of the only ways you can beat Approach of the Second Sun decks.

Most decks cut Authority of the Consuls for general answers and rely on Sunscourge Champion, but I still like having it in the 75. Playing one on turn 1 gives you all the time you need to setup and often forces them to overextend into Fumigate. I find that Sunscourge saves less damage unless you have Procession out, in which case Sunscourge is the best card in the deck. Of course, that was true for Anointer Priest as well. It turns out that making duplicates of your life gain is pretty unreal against red decks.

You’ll notice a distinct lack of green in the above lists and that’s because it really isn’t needed anymore. Vraska doesn’t serve an important role in the deck and no other cards have been deemed worth splashing. If you cut Renegade Map, you have even less reason to want to fit in another color into the deck. The card I’d most strongly consider splashing for is something to end the game sooner, which I’ve yet to see. Though Huatli, Radiant Champion comes close, since you can emblem her after two turns and draw all the Stockpiles and Processions you’ll ever need.

Matchups

Unlike the Mardu deck, there’s not a ton to say about matchups. More of the deck’s strategy comes from the turn-to-turn plays and proper sequencing rather than redesigning your game plan. Essentially every matchup is about playing to survive until you assemble an overload of Hidden Stockpile along with Anointed Procession. The alternative route is to generate 6-8 tokens and then activate Shefet Dunes two turns in a row. This is typically what happens when you find Processions but no Stockpiles.

One of the most important things to remember is that you have to be the aggressor against U/W Approach decks. You cannot cut threats, and if you can’t clock them effectively, throwing away 1/1s to scry deeper for Duress/Lost Legacy is often a better play than trying to set up Shefet Dunes. Unless they’ve sided out all of their mass removal, the odds that you can kill them (besides pelting them with discard first) before their first Approach are pretty low.

Hidden Stockpile is the best card against U/x Control builds and far more important than Procession. Thankfully, most opponents fear the power of Procession far more and I’ve won many games where my opponents have prioritized dealing with it over the Stockpile, letting me set up my draws or slowly build up a board. Lost Legacy removing countermagic isn’t unreasonable either—the matchup becomes much more difficult for them without Negate.

Against aggro, Legion’s Landing is actually pretty bad without Procession. Obviously you’ll still play it early to buy time, but I find that people overrate it. It only really shines when you generate two 1/1 lifelinkers a turn, and by then it’s probably clear whether you can win or not. Part of the reason I added a Baffling End was because my win percentages were just so skewed against red whenever I had removal or active Hidden Stockpile on turn 2.

General Tips

Treasure Map is often a turn-3 play against aggressive decks as you want to play tapped lands/Map first and still hold up Fatal Push. Playing Start on three doesn’t get a whole lot of mileage, so it’s reasonable to save it for later.

Speaking of Start // Finish, you can cast it on the end-step to try and set up a kill on a creature.

If your game plan revolves around going off with Anointed Procession and Anointer Priest, don’t block early against Grixis or Red. Many of them have Magma Spray and cannot deal with that 3rd point of toughness otherwise.

Remember that while you often want to sacrifice a token on upkeep for the scry and to ensure Hidden Stockpile triggers, if you have a lot of wasted mana and are looking for a specific card, sacrificing on end step isn’t a mistake.

If you have Scavenger Grounds, stalling until you can Fumigate and then activate Grounds on the same turn is often game over against Gift and eternalize decks.

Game 1 you almost never need more than a single black mana, so you almost never want to search up a 2nd Swamp. Post-board there are many more sequences that could require BB and so fetching the 2nd Swamp early is a higher priority.

Consider removing all of your Anointer Priests against any slow deck, as the life gain won’t matter and most opponents leave in Vraska’s Contempt. Sure, they can still hit a Caracal with it, but that’s a pretty terrible use of resources on their end and you still get the best part of the card.

Tokens is in a good position in the metagame right now. There’s no overwhelming number of Approach decks to make your life awful, and you have a lot of options to tweak the deck for whatever local metagame you expect. Meanwhile, you have respectable game against all the common popular decks such as Mardu, Red, Grixis Energy, and so on. The biggest detriment to the deck is how long the games take and how mentally draining a succession of long matches can be. If you’re up to the challenge of not drawing every round, though, I would recommend giving W/B Tokens a spin.