Artisan Brewery: I Want YOU!

Nick Lambert1711983600

Hello brewers, and welcome back into the Artisan Brewery! What's this? Two new decks this close together? That's right, folks, we're back once more with a brand new commander from a sparkly new set! Last time, we went undertook a challenge by building a mono-blue deck with exactly one creature spell; this time, we're undertaking a new challenge by building mono-white: a challenge all its own. We'll be using one of the brand-spanking new legendary creatures from the Fallout Universes Beyond set. Aradesh, the Founder is our general this time around, and while it may appear to be somewhat linear at first, you'd be surprised to learn that there is still some wiggle room for us. We've got ways to take advantage of limited attackers, cards to hold back our opponents while we build to a stronger position, and lots of things in between, so let's get this white weenie roast started. Though, upon further reflection, maybe it's going to be more of a white bratwurst roast.

Enlisting Aid

To begin, we will focus on two specific pathways. The first will be the cards besides our general with enlist, and the other will be cards that benefit from creatures tapping. Including our general, there are only 12 creatures that have the enlist mechanic, and less than half of those are playable in a mono-white deck. Of course, this means we'll play each and every one of them. Our first entry into the list is Argivian Cavalier, which brings in its own additional power upon entry. Next is our vigilant friend, Benalish Faithbonder, followed closely by the wonderful flying Coalition Skyknight. Our final enlisted card is likely the best one of the lot, with the possible competition of Aradesh: Guardian of New Benalia. This friend can become something of a powerhouse, with a built in scry trigger and indestructibility access, so having it have double strike while taking 5 or 6 extra power will be pretty swell. Now, we had very few options for the actual enlist mechanic, but thankfully, we have other options yet for benefits from creatures tapping. Samite Herbalist is a fun little boost to us with scrying and life gain, and Scaretiller has the potential to ramp us whenever we enlist it. Veteran of the Depths is a great recurring enlist card, as it gets stronger every time we use it.

Attacking Solo

With our commander being so focused on the enlist ability, there are almost certainly going to be times we attack with just one creature. This provides us with opportunities we wouldn't normally have, including the ability to bring back a (in this establishment's opinion) somewhat underutilized mechanic: exalted. Core set 2012 was the last time we saw it in any real volume, and that's something of a crime, considering it gave us some very powerful cards. Powerful cards like Battlegrace Angel, for example. Come on, look at it! It gives extra power and lifelink! Sublime Archangel is right behind it, letting all of our creatures have exalted together. And yes, reader, exalted is one of those keyword abilities that stack together. Angelic Benediction not only gives us another pip but helps lock down troublesome blockers. Cathedral of War is just a land with power, and Rammas Echor, Ancient Shield just poops out tokens that later gain exalted, all at the cost of casting two spells in one turn. We even get exalted as a reward for creatures we control dying with Merchant of Truth on board, which may help disincentivize our opponents from casting board wipes.

It's important that we note here that exalted isn't necessarily the only way to accomplish rewards for attacking with just one creature. After all, just because our last deck was an "eggs in one basket" build doesn't mean this one needs to be. A good example of one of these extra benefits is Angelic Exaltation, which acts as though every creature we have has exalted in all but name. Altar of the Goyf works in a similar fashion, but with card types in our graveyard instead of creatures on the battlefield. Yes, its second ability is a non-factor in this deck, but we're here for a good time, not a long time.

Attacking as a Team, or At All

As we discussed, this is not going to be an "eggs in one basket" deck. The easiest way to ensure that doesn't happen is by incentivizing us to attack in more than one way, and since we've seen "creatures attacking alone," that would lead us to "creatures attacking together." A great first example of this tactic is Case of the Gateway Express, which not only rewards us for having numerous creatures when we play it, but gives a nice boost when we attack with three or more creatures. Chivalric Alliance gives us some much-needed card draw in white, and an option to have some chump blockers when needed. We even have a land that benefits us when we attack as a group, with Minas Tirith, which gives us another solid draw outlet.

In addition to specifically numbered attack rewards, there are still a good swath of cards that incentivize us to attack with any number of creatures. Some of these give bonus abilities, like Angelic Guardian. Chivalric Alliance gives us easy access to card draw, with Heraldic Banner, and Crovax, Ascendant Hero letting us get some extra juice in our hits. Akroma's Memorial gives us a delightful bevy of keyword abilities, most of which make combat a treat and a half. Even temporary boosts, such as those granted by Boon-Bringer Valkyrie, add up and make our plan that much more solid.

Defending Ourselves

Now that we've figured out our base plan, we need to hammer out how to survive long enough to actually accomplish it. Combat in and of itself ideally won't be a huge issue for us, but it never hurts to have redundancy to ensure our safety. Something like Angelic Arbiter really forces our opponents to play at our pace, not theirs, and can be an intentional removal target if we need to bait out those spells. Archangel of Tithes, Ghostly Prison, and Sphere of Safety all occupy a similar space, causing our opponents to have to dedicate themselves to the task of lowering our life total. Interestingly enough, two cards serve with double duty in this respect. Crovax, Ascendant Hero gets to be in a position to weaken our opponents creatures here, helping us keep our own creatures alive when we need to block, and Crescendo of War gives us the bonus toughness to block and keep our creatures.

It's entirely possible we could use the political aspect of EDH to keep ourselves safe, with something like Search the Premises to incentivize our opponents to leave us the heck alone. After all, who wants to give their opponents access to extra card draw? Speaking of extra card draw for opponents, if there's one we're especially worried about doing massive combat shenanigans at us, we could enchant them with Tenuous Truce to give them a reason to do those shenanigans to someone else. Trouble in Pairs lets us benefit from the innate desire for value that all commander players (except us, as seen in several other decks we've done) possess, giving us extra draw and keeping those pesky extra turn players from doing that. Avacyn, Angel of Hope makes it even harder to remove our threats and board boosts, which will help us if we don't have Emeria Shepherd on board to get them back. In a slightly more niche vein, we have Sigarda's Splendor, giving us both card draw availability and life gain any time we cast a spell aside from the ten non-white artifacts.

Our final protection method is a very strange one for mono-white: counterspells! Dawn Charm gets to pull triple duty, keeping a creature alive, protecting us from uncomfortable targets, or saving us from high combat damage. Lapse of Certainty gives us a bonus turn to respond to problem spells, and Mana Tithe is always a phenomenal "gotcha!" when an opponent taps out for big spells. Last, but not least, Rebuff the Wicked keeps one of our big creatures from being exiled or nerfed by any targeted spells.

Man-a Feel Like a Rampin'

Through the journey of building this deck, we've seen ourselves overcome one of the two greatest challenges white decks historically face: card draw. This section is going to take us through the other of these challenges: ramping! White has come quite a long way in the last five years or so in regards to both of these problems, and we plan to take at least a bit of advantage from that fact. There are two ways we'll be combating the traditional mana issues in white, the first of which is running 38 lands to make our drops consistent. The second is in our artifact pool, with a smattering of mana rocks. We would be remiss if we didn't include some classic options like Sol Ring, Gilded Lotus, and Caged Sun, especially since they're not going to be too hard for us to use efficiently. Of course, we've already discussed Heraldic Banner in the context of its power boost, but mana generation is absolutely a slam dunk here. Archaeomancer's Map may not let us consistently fetch lands from our library, but it does give us a leg up with two added to our hand. Having a catch-up mechanic for us to consistently have a competitive land count is also quite handy. Last, but absolutely not least, we have Oketra's Monument. With a handy-dandy discount of one mana on all of our creatures, plus the rebate of a 1/1, it's a winner if we've ever seen one.

That's all for this edition, brewers. If you have any suggestions for this deck, or a different way to build the commander, feel free to put it in the comments! As always, the full list is below, and next time, we'll have something with a sillier gimmick. Possibly even mana value typal… or an art theme...

Aradesh, the Founder


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