Standard Spotlight: U/W Monument

Oketra’s Monument.

This is a weird card. It was excellent in Amonkhet Limited, but I don’t think many players saw it as a Constructed caliber card. Boy, was that wrong. Oketra’s Monument ended up being the centerpiece of a mostly mono-white deck that looked to swarm the board and go wide with cards like Westvale Abbey, Bygone Bishop, and Hanweir Militia Captain. These cards all rotated with the Shadows over Innistrad block, however, and the deck hasn’t really been seen since.

Until recently.

While the deck we’re looking at today was taken to a Top 4 finish in a Standard IQ by Andrew Batinitch, the archetype has shown up in other places recently as well, such as 5-0’ing a Magic Online League and going 7-2 in a Magic Online PTQ.

U/W Monument

The strategy is basically the same: Play a bunch of creatures that trigger Oketra’s Monument and go wide enough to win. You have a lot of additions from the most recent sets since the last iteration of the deck. The most notable cards are Shefet Dunes, Kinjalli’s Sunwing, and Legion’s Landing. The Sunwing in particular seems like a great addition to the deck, and is really well-positioned right now. Not only does the entire Ramunap Red deck enter the battlefield tapped, but so do things like Torrential Gearhulks, Glorybringers, and Thopter tokens.

The deck also has a number of ways to gain life, so I imagine that the Ramunap Red matchup should be reasonable. I’m looking forward to finding out, and I hope this deck can find a home in the meta.

Well, I seem to have decent game against the red decks. The life gain coupled with the creatures entering the battlefield tapped was about the most perfect combination ever. This is good, because Ramunap Red is one of the more popular decks. The match against Temur was unfortunate, though. I don’t think it’s unwinnable—I just think the game didn’t really go my way. Also, that Vizier of Many Faces was pretty brutal.

Unfortunately, I do think that the deck has a bad control matchup if you fall behind. Despite the U/B decks not having any legitimate sweepers, it’s hard to claw back into a losing game. You don’t have aggressive 1-drops, and not many aggressive 2-drops, so if they’re able to counter your spells on 2, 3, and 4, they’re usually miles ahead. You don’t have a ton of haymakers in this deck—things like Cloudgoat Ranger or Elspeth, Sun’s Champion—you only really have Angel of Invention that puts a reasonable number of threats on the board with a single card. So it’s hard to see them play The Scarab God, only for you to follow up with Cloudblazer. God forbid they manage to eternalize your own Cloudblazer or Angel of Invention! You can see how they can become liabilities in this matchup.

Just like in the G/W Cats decks, I hated drawing Oketra the True nearly every single time. The difference between Oketra and Hazoret, is that Hazoret is amazing when you’re behind. No cards in hand? Here’s an indestructible 5/5! Oketra is the exact opposite where you need three other creatures before she can even attack or block. Any time before that and she’s a blank draw! Try topdecking Oketra with no creatures and only 5 lands. It’s miserable. And there are 2 copies! Some of the other versions of the deck have a number of Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun, and I would be totally willing to exchange one for the other.

While the deck struggled with certain matchups, it did just great against others—most notably the aggressive decks, and that’s pretty good. There’s a lot of power here, specifically against one of the best decks in the format, and that’s a good sign. If you have any suggestions for the deck, be sure to leave them in the comments!

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