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Standard: Budget Mono-White Aggro and Upgrading it on Magic Arena

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In this article, I present a budget Mono-White decklist and how to upgrade it to the stock version.

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revised by Tabata Marques

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Mono White has been the most popular Standard deck for a few weeks now thanks to Crimson Vow additions, such as Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Hopeful Initiate. Today's article brings a budget version of the archetype and how to turn it into a stock list with the various rare and mythic rare cards.

Understanding the Mono-White Aggro

There is no secret to play Mono White, the plan is to make small creatures every turn and rush damage as fast as possible. Against aggro the strategy is a little different on the post-sideboard because we have many interactions to break the game across the board. In these matches, we tend to take some low impact one-drop and go up the curve with creatures like Skyclave Apparition and Brutal Cathar along with our removals. So post-side, we act almost as a midrange with impactful creatures in the mid/late game and various interactions. A card that isn't on the budget list but is essential on aggro mirrors is Intrepid Adversary, and crafting at least 2 copies greatly improves these matches.


Against control decks, Elite Spellbinder, Reidane, God of the Worthy and Thalia are the big stars. In addition to trying to deal as much damage as possible as quickly as possible, the disruption these 3 cards make to the opponent's game plan is huge, so it's always good to have these creatures on the board, but it's not advisable to keep a hand with lots of three-drops because this gives the control decks time to respond to our threats and stabilize the game more easily.

The big problem with the deck is against midrange with Storm the Festival and/or black decks because, despite the manlands, the deck hardly ever comes back after taking a sweeper like The Meathook Massacre, Shadows' Verdict, Doomskar and others. There is a solution called Guardian of Faith, but not all lists (including the two in the article) use it because the amount of disruption the rest of the deck has is usually enough. It's also tricky to get by with 3 mana open every turn when playing an aggro whose plan is to cast many low-cost creatures for at least 4 turns in a row.

The Decklists

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For the budget list, we have 8 rare cards and I changed the focus of the deck a bit because Mono White suffers from a chronic issue of a monocolor deck: having a shallow sideboard.

So, I chose to put Professor of Symbology with 4 lessons on the side to give depth to the sideboard and take out some rare cards.

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The Replacements

As for replacement, in place of Brutal Cathar and Skyclave Apparition, I added Borrowed Time which, despite getting worse on a deck with Thalia, is the best budget option for exiling permanents.

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Instead of 4 Faceless Haven, I left 1 copy and added 2 Kabira Takedown // Kabira Plateau which has the versatility of being a land/removal, but 3 copies might be too much for being a tapped land on an Aggro deck.

As the deck has many rare two and three drops, the curve has been shortened and now partly themed on playing two spells with Clarion Spirit and Monk of the Open Hand.

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Intrepid Adversary was replaced by Ambitious Farmhand which obviously doesn't have the same role, but grants land drop and lifelink when Coven is activated. As the Adversary is the only mythic card in the deck, it can be crafted at any time, and is essential on aggro mirrors.

As for the eight rares, Luminarch Aspirant is absurdly strong and can't be left out, I added 2 copies, but lacking wildcards, replacing 1 copy with another Farmhand is reasonable. Thalia is the main reason Mono White is so popular, so 2 copies are needed.

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Adeline, Resplendent Cathar is the best top-curver in the deck, so a single copy is pretty good and Elite Spellbinder was one of the cards that brought white back into the format, being excellent against Izzet.



To turn this budget version into the stock list, I prioritize Luminarch Aspirant and Brutal Cathar among the rare cards, which are the key to optimizing the deck's curve and generating a lot of advantage in aggro matchups. Skyclave Apparition comes right after, as it is perfect against Aggro and the format is basically made up of aggressive decks.

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Next, Adeline is the main curve-topper that unbalances games, and Hopeful Initiate which is the best one- drop available. Sungold Sentinel is a good main against control, but it's not as necessary as the other rares, so I prefer to leave it to the end. Reidane, God of the Worthy is more important for taxing the control's spells and being good against snow manabases (ie, monoG and monoW).

Curse of Silence on the sideboard is a metagame issue and honestly, I don't think it's very necessary for those who are short on wildcards. Despite not having a card with the same function, it is quite specific against some control decks.

Finally, I would craft the other copies of Faceless Haven, the 2 Thalia and the 2 remaining Elite Spellbinder, in that order, which are critical against controls and even sees play in Historic.

Here's a quick addendum about the deck: a good part of its base plays in Mono White or Selesnya Humans in Histoic, so you might be able to reuse the cards even after rotation.


That's it for today, I hope this budget list and the “guide” on how to evolve the deck will help new players in Magic Arena.

Any questions, comments or feedback I'm available in the comments below.