Every month MTG Arena starts a new season. Each player drops down two Tiers at the beginning of a new season and has to battle through the ranks to get to Mythic status. So far, I have reached the Mythic Tier each season using a variety of decks from Mono-Red Aggro to Bant Midrange. I reached Mythic for War of the Spark Season 2 on June 8 and held a rank of #494 when I reached the Tier.

When the new season started, I tried the decks I had used to get to Mythic in previous seasons with no success. Mono-Red Aggro was terrible in best of three. I could win a game, but would lose badly after sideboarding. In my opinion, Mono-Red does not have what it takes to compete on the ladder even though many people play it.

My personal preference is playing Red based decks, so rejecting Mono-Red Aggro hurts, but it does not match up well against the best decks. You have to have the right matchups to success with the deck and not run out of steam post sideboarding. Bant Midrange and Mardu Aggro had similar problems because of the number of Esper, Four-Color Dreadhorde, Simic Nexis, and Grixis Control decks on the ladder.

Therefore, I turned back to the deck I have used the most in Tabletop play since the release of War of the Spark: Mono-White Aggro. I considered the Azorius Aggro version of the deck, but decided against it because it would require gutting many of the aggro parts of the deck. I explored using Teferi, Time Raveler, Dovin’s Veto, Deputy of Detention, and other counter spells as the basis for the deck, but I found the deck clunky to play and lacked the explosiveness of pure Mono-White Aggro. Being able to get early damage and one explosive swing from hitting Chapter three of History of Benalia, dropping a Benalish Marshall, or from Unbreakable Formation made the deck the one I chose to play.

I started my rise at the bottom of Platinum Tier 4 taking on the top decks in the format. Here the deck I used and kept track of all of my games after I got into Platinum Tier 3, so I will give you a breakdown of how the deck preformed against different decks you are likely to see on the ladder.

Mono-White Aggro, Scott Trepanier

Creatures (26)
Benalish Marshal
Snubhorn Sentry
Tithe Taker
Venerated Loxodon
Law-Rune Enforcer
Adanto Vanguard
Tomik, Distinguished Advokist
Skymarcher Aspirant

Planeswalkers (3)
Gideon Blackblade

Instants (2)
Unbreakable Formation

Enchantments (9)
Conclave Tribunal
Legion’s Landing
History of Benalia

Lands (20)
Karn’s Bastion
19 Plains
Sideboard (15)
Prison Realm
Baffling End
Conclave Tribunal
Demystify
Tocatli Honor Guard
God-Eternal Oketra
Settle the Wreckage

The Creature Package

War of the Spark provided the deck with several helpful pieces for the creature package. Law-Rune Enforcer provides help for dealing with large creatures. The ability to tap down an opponent’s best attacker slows down your opponent or takes a blocker out of action. On more than one occasion, this ability has ended a game.

The second new addition is Tomik, Distinguished Advokist. When I put the deck together, I wanted more flyers in the deck to create evasion. Of the two-mana cost options, Tomik was the best. With cards like Cry of the Carnarium prevalent in the format, I wanted a two power and three toughness flyer with upside. Tomik was the only choice.

To make room for Law-Rune Enforcer and Tomik, I removed Dauntless Bodyguard and a Snubhorn Sentry. Bodyguard’s ability to make a specific creature indestructible had limited to no value because I found myself casting him on turn one or two most of the time without something to protect.

The other addition to the deck is Gideon Blackblade. Having an additional creature on your turn and being able to give another creature vigilance, lifelink, or indestructible creates a decided advantage. In games where I am low on life, giving a Loxodon or other high power creature lifelink allowed me to survive for another turn or two. Most often, I give a creature indestructible, so it can attack without dying. Typically, this takes out one of my opponents creatures.

One key play point with Gideon, make sure you have one or more creatures to protect him with when your opponent has creatures on the board because an unprotected Gideon usually dies within two turns to opponents creatures. To get Gideon into the main deck and retain two copies of Unbreakable Formation, I removed a copy of Legion’s Landing and a History of Benalia.

Other Changes

The last addition to the deck is Karn’s Bastion. In most of my matches, I play either a Venerated Loxodon or an Unbreakable Formation. This gives counters to a few of my creatures or all of them. Then I can use Karn’s Bastion to add additional counters that should get these creatures out of the range of Cry of the Carnarium, Shock, Lightning Strike, or Lava Coil. This also gives you the ability to swing for large amounts of damage on a single turn that ends the game.

The deck changes significantly after sideboarding. Against creature decks, I bring in Baffling End, Prison Realm, and a fourth Conclave Tribunal. I usually remove one of the one drops that has limited value in the matchup plus one or two other cards. Prison Realm will come in against most decks because it can remove a planeswalker or a creature.

Normally, I play games two and three with sixty-two cards, so I do not have to remove as many creatures. Against aggro decks, I have two copies of Settle the Wreckage, but I have not seen many true aggro decks to deploy them against on Arena. Against Esper, Dreadhorde, and Grixis Control, I bring in just Prison Realm and a fourth Conclave Tribunal and takeout Law-Rune Enforcer or Adanto Vanguard. I included God-Eternal Oketra in the sideboard to use against Midrange decks as a way to get help in the late game. Once Oketra is on the board getting rid of her is difficult because she will go back into your deck when she leaves the board.

Game Plan

The deck’s game play is relatively straightforward. Ideally on turn one; I want to play Skymarcher Aspirant or Law-Rune Enforcer. Turn two has two potential plays. To use option one, you need two additional one drops and a Legion’s Landing or one additional one drop and a Legion’s Landing. Then on turn three, I will be able to flip Legion’s Landing by attacking with all three of my creatures.

Option 2 is to play Adanto Vanguard, Tithe Taker, or Tomik, Distinguished Advokist. In situations where you do not have a way to flip a Legion’s Landing on turn three, then I want to play History of Benalia, Venerated Loxodon, or a Benalish Marshall. Any of these options gives you a good board presence that you can start to swing in with on the following turn.

One drawback of the deck is the mana problem on MTG Arena. With only twenty lands in the deck, a high percentage of the games have a mana problem. In tabletop play, the problem occurs far less. When this happens, do not give up on the game because I still win about half of these games anyway.
Below is a table that has most of my game play results from Platinum to Mythic. I did not start recording game results during my play in Platinum Tier 4, so those matches are missing. Overall, with the deck, my match record was 26-13. My overall game record was 55-41.

Deck (Match Record/Game Record)

Bant Midrange 2-1/4-3
Esper Hero 5-0/10-2
Gruul Midrange 3-2/7-7
Grixis Control 7-2/15-8
Mono-Red 1-3/2-6
Orzhov Knights 1-1/2-2
Jund Midrange 1-0/2-1
Mardu Aggro 0-1/1-2
Four-Color Dreadhorde 1-1/2-2
Boros Feather 1-0/2-1
Selesnya Proliferate 1-0/2-0
Esper Control 0-2/0-4
Dimir 1-0/2-1
Izzet Phoenix 1-0/2-1
Over 1-0/2-0
Overall 26-13/55-41

The best matchups for the deck were Esper Hero and Grixis Control. Against these decks, I had a 12-2 record. Dealing with the planeswalkers they present is the key to my success against each deck. My goal is to limit each planeswalker to one activated ability use making my opponent’s use of resources very expensive.

The worst matchups for the deck were Mono-Red Aggro and Esper Control. Both decks have the ability to eliminate all the key pieces of my deck that makes defeating these decks difficult. The good news is that I only saw these decks six times in the thirty-nine matches recorded above. It will be interesting to see if they are more common in Mythic.

Until next time, good luck playing your, win condition.