The Conquistadors of Ixalan

With the Pro Tour behind us, I’m going to spend the next few weeks playing with different decks (non-Energy decks) from the Pro Tour, offer my thoughts on them, and move back into playing some other formats (Modern, maybe Pauper and Legacy) before Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan.

At the Pro Tour, I played Temur Energy along with nearly all of the Pantheon and Team Ultimate Guard Pro Team members. Our Constructed record was mediocre among the larger teams, with our Temur deck focused mostly on Ramunap Red and the Temur mirrors. I ended up losing to two control decks and to Gift while beating both of my Energy opponents, leaving me dead at the end of Day 1 having played badly overall.

But this week and in the few subsequent weeks, we’ll focus more on some of the cooler decks from Ixalan! This week, I wanted to take a look at the Mono-White Vampires deck that Hunter Wilson put up an 8-2 record with. Here’s his list from the Pro Tour, for reference:

Mono-White Vampires

This list sets up many effective board states that go wide around the opponent. If you look at the Energy decks in the field, almost none of them play Sweltering Suns, Hour of Devastation, or Yahenni’s Expertise. The lack of this means that going around your opponent can be really effective. Why don’t these other decks play sweepers, you might ask? The reason for this is that the other “go wide” decks in the format can quickly recover from a wrath effect, and some of them (Abzan/Esper Tokens) have at least 2 copies of Fumigate in their main deck. Thus, the next closest to a go-wide deck existing in the field, taxing their opponent’s sideboard space, or main decks for respect in that nature is a very aggressive Ramunap Red build with cards like Rigging Runner in it, which are also falling out of popularity.

Therefore, there’s room in the metagame for a go-wide beatdown deck. When looking for threats, you want something resilient. Adanto Vanguard, among the top uncommons in Ixalan Draft, is going to be a white aggro mainstay for some time. It’s a 3-power attacker with the ability to protect itself from most removal. Other cards this deck will want to consider are Scrapheap Scrounger if you were to branch into black and Bomat Courier if you were to branch into red. The white card pool is really looking for a form of card advantage. You currently get that in Angel and Monument, but you need another way to generate cards.

This deck functions similarly to U/W Monument from previous Standard formats. You want to have the early pressure on the opponent, but you also have the ability to play a ton of threats come turns 4-6. Looking at Oketra’s Monument, Aviary Mechanic is the among the most important cards in the main deck for building out a wide board. Aviary Mechanic’s main purpose here in this combo is to pick itself up repeatedly to make a horde of vigilance tokens. Using these tokens usually comes down to leveraging the power of Shefet Dunes.

Without many anthem effects in Standard, you really need to build out the board the turn before you want to attack, and then use Shefet Dunes to weaken your opponent’s blocks and leverage your wide array of creatures. For this reason, and the ability of the deck to go wide so frequently, I’ve been liking the 4th copy of Angel of Sanctions in the main deck. This plays the role of the 8th Anthem effect and is a way to make three creatures. If Dusk // Dawn were more easily put into the graveyard, I’d look to fit that card into the main deck just for the ability to buy back all of your fallen creatures. But without such an ability, the anthems do a good enough job.

Here’s the list I’ll be playing this week:

Mono-White Vampires

It’s similar to Hunter’s version from the Pro Tour. I’m not trying any crazy ideas out or branching into further colors for more powerful spells. I think his overall strategy is sound, and if people are not adapting to the go-wide strategy, we can continue to see Vampires put up some solid results.

For the next few weeks, I want to listen to the readers/watchers and get your feedback. Are there decks from the Pro Tour/Grand Prix you want me to try out? If there are, please list them off in the comment section below. Linking to the list is fine—you don’t need to type it out. I’ll check them out there!


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