War of the Spark Constructed Set Review: White

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White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Azorius | Gruul | Orzhov | Simic | Rakdos

Constructed:

White & Azorius | Blue & Simic | Black & Orzhov | Red & Gruul | Green & Jund

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Ratings Scale

5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind SculptorTarmogoyfSnapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s ProdigyCollected CompanyRemand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace BelerenRadiant FlamesShambling Vent.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of ThoughtZulaport CutthroatExplosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory AdeptAnticipateTransgress the Mind.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living GuildpactNaturalizeDuress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing). (I believe it was tech vs. Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)

Ajani’s Pridemate

Ajani's Pridemate

Constructed: 2.5

Pridemate was a powerful part of the WW deck I played to a second-place finish at PT RNA, even if it wasn’t quite good enough to overcome a mull to four. This was already in the format, so all it adds is a spiffy new piece of art.

Finale of Glory

Finale of Glory

Constructed: 2.5

There are a lot of powerful ways to spend your mana in this format, so even something as flexible as this has a ton of competition. I like Finale as a finisher that can play early defense, and there are some decks that won’t be able to beat it if you can cast it for 4 or 5. Plus, in the super late game it summons a horde of Angels, which is pretty sweet.

Gideon Blackblade

Gideon Blackblade

Constructed: 3.0

Gideon serves a few purposes. He’s an additional threat for WW decks, though they still seem to favor Benalish Marshal and History of Benalia. He may gain some traction out of the board as he gets around sweepers nicely, and does quite a bit of damage in the process.

His second function is as an anti-control tool, and I wouldn’t be surprised if decks like Esper Midrange or even Esper Control turned to Gideon to fight opposing planeswalkers. He does a great job at that, and is cheap enough to slip under the radar. He’s especially good against little Teferi, which is fast becoming a dominant card in Standard.

Gideon’s Triumph

Gideon's Triumph

Constructed: 2.0

If Blessed Alliance can see play, a narrower version with some highly specific upside may also make its way into a few lists. Plus, if you have Gideon, this does turn into a very swingy card.

God-Eternal Oketra

God-Eternal Oketra

Constructed: 3.5

God-Eternal Oketra is really sweet. She’s doing a ton of work in green-based creature decks, and if you can play her then immediately play a Llanowar Elves, you end up getting insane value. At that point, you’re ahead against a removal spell, which conveniently gives you the time to redraw Oketra even if she does manage to die (which is hard, given that she’s a 3/6 double strike). Oketra wins stalled games, helps you catch up when behind, and is a powerful recursive threat if the game goes long. You can’t ask for much more than that, and she is the real deal. Here’s a sample deck list for her, just for inspiration:

JPellman’s 5-0 MTGO list

3 Forest
4 Breeding Pool
2 Glacial Fortress
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Hinterland Harbor
3 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
2 Deputy of Detention
4 Frilled Mystic
4 Growth-Chamber Guardian
2 Shalai, Voice of Plenty
1 Lyra Dawnbringer
2 Knight of Autumn
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Incubation Druid
2 God-Eternal Oketra
4 Hydroid Krasis
3 Teferi, Time Raveler
1 Vivien Reid
3 Vivien, Champion of the Wilds

Sideboard
1 Deputy of Detention
1 Knight of Autumn
2 Lyra Dawnbringer
2 Vivien Reid
3 Baffling End
2 Disdainful Stroke
2 Dovin's Veto
2 River's Rebuke

Ignite the Beacon

Ignite the Beacon

Constructed: 2.0

Even the superfriends decks aren’t playing this, which makes me pretty sure that the beacon will stay unlit. Paying 5 mana to draw two cards, even if those two cards are powerful, is just not a good deal in Constructed.

Law-Rune Enforcer

Law-Rune Enforcer

Constructed: 3.0

I actually love how much play this is seeing. WW played some pretty rancid 1-drops, and having this one be great later in the game is sweet. This attacks and flips Legion’s Landing just about as well as all the random 2/1s, but once the board develops this has much higher value. It can lock down Rekindling Phoenix, Kefnet, or even just a Merfolk Branchwalker, and is a cool way to make the WW deck interact more in the late game.

Prison Realm

Prison Realm

Constructed: 3.5

A lot of planeswalkers are being sent to the Prison Realm these days—that place must be getting full. This is flexible removal that usually trades even or up on mana and scrys 1, which is a great deal. It doesn’t hit artifacts or enchantments, and because it lets you play it without targets, leads to some awkward situations, so don’t be that person. Do keep in mind that Teferi, Time Raveler, is super popular, and your Prison Realm could be bounced at any time, so doing something like Realming a Jadelight Ranger is dangerous.

Ravnica at War

Ravnica at War

Constructed: 2.0

There just aren’t enough multicolored permanents floating around to make this good, even in the Hero of Precinct One decks.

Single Combat

Single Combat

Constructed: 2.5

I don’t know if I’m allowed to give this such a low grade after what Matt and I said about it during our weekly video, but the truth is that Single Combat hasn’t really found a home yet. It is appealing to think of casting this with Teferi in play (either Teferi, honestly), and then bouncing their last permanent, but decks right now don’t go wide enough for this to do as much as you need it to. That said, it is a powerful effect, and I could definitely see it making some waves, much like Tragic Arrogance did.

Teyo, the Shieldmage

Teyo, the Shieldmage

Constructed: 2.5

Teyo is a very effective sideboard card against Mono-Red, as he throws up so many shields. His 0/3s block their ground idiots while his passive blocks burn, which forces the opponent to use a spell on him. That accumulates a lot of value, and I suspect Teyo will see a lot of action off the bench.

Tomik, Distinguished Advokist

Tomik, Distinguished Advokist

Constructed: 2.0

The only things guaranteed in life are death, taxes, and people wanting to add new hatebears to Death and Taxes. I don’t think Tomik ultimately makes the cut, but he does shut down Life from the Loam and opposing Wastelands, which isn’t nothing.

Topple the Statue

Topple the Statue

Constructed: 2.0

In best-of-one, this is a cute way to main deck artifact hate. In a world with sideboards, you can do better, and artifacts aren’t even a must-kill in Standard right now.

Top 3 White Cards

3. Law-Run Enforcer
2. Prison Realm
1. God-Eternal Oketra

White got some goodies in this set. Oketra fuels entire archetypes, Prison Realm is good, flexible removal, and Enforcer upgrades WW’s suite of options. That’s a good haul, and white has plenty of other hits as well.

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