I first looked more broadly, and considered going to pick up Hanweir Garrison, Hellrider, Emmara, Soul of the Accord, and Glare of Subdual type options, and considered Marisi, Breaker of the Coil, and Gahiji, Honored One as potential Commanders or includes - an idea that is still appealing.
However, I did notice that the vast majority of the cards I was picking up were in white, and that most cards had multiple colored mana symbols: Double white, double red, green+white... This would make any kind of manabase rather difficult in 3 color (though not impossible, especially with green). I also ran into Linden - again, a high color intensive cost, but another legendary which cared about mass quantities of creatures attacking, though the payoff was much shallower. Since I already had Dawn of Hope slated for the deck, I decided to look into this approach more. With Theros on the horizon, and a potential return to devotion as a mechanic, I opted to lean into the mono-white theme, and see where it goes. As Heliod got spoiled, I figured this might make an amusing experiment.
Why not Heliod as the Commander? Or Daxos?
While building the deck, Daxos stood out as a potential Commander as well, as he frontloads the value, instead of depending on attacks. He'd still trigger on attacks though, with all the on-attack token generation, though it would be a lesser amount. At this point, I'm commited to Linden though.
After my first game, an opponent mentioned Jazal Goldmane could be promoted to the Command Zone slot as well. I think that requires more mana, but it could definitely work in this shell as well.
How the deck works
While piloting this deck, you typically want to be in the seat that's dictating the pace of the game. Sometimes you'll need to pace yourself or slow down a bit, but you seek to put your opponents on the back foot, and force them to develop defenses, rather than being able to develop the board the way they want. To that end, your first target should be whichever green deck is ramping the most. Late game magic is a game of who can do the most stuff, and we don't want to let the early mana-explosion decks get comfortable enough to get their set up uninterrupted. Force them to use some of their early plays defensively so that they can't build up such a huge lead over everyone else.
Ramp - 9
Removal - 10
Draw and Tutors - 9
Recovery - 7
Threats - Tokens - 14
Threats - Buffs - 7
Lands - 39
- Land Tax - Land Tax will provide consistent land drops equal to anyone else's land total. It won't do anything if we're ahead... but if we're ahead we won't care. Otherwise, it's consistent value, for 'free.' Even the initial cost can repay itself in devotion.
- Legion's Landing - 1 mana rampant growth. This also increases threat density in the deck.
- Weathered Wayfarer - Weathered Wayfarer can get non-basics, which can help fetch our powerful lands like Emeria the Sky Ruin or Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx.
- Sword of the Animist - Fetchable with the equipment tutors.
- Oath of Lieges - One card anti-ramp tech.
- Heraldic Banner - This doubles as a minor threat, and helps increase threat density. I have been consistently surprised by it's effectiveness in my Knights deck.
- Burnished Hart, Boreas Charger, Solemn Simulacrum - These creature based ramp effects pair well with the recovery section of the card list, in order to have multiple use effects.
- Soul-Guide Lantern - GY hate, that's also a cheap cantrip.
- Stonecloaker - Repeatable GY hate, that's also a creature save, a flying creature, or can trigger effects like Oketra's Monument.
- Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares - cheap creature interaction
- Heliod's Intervention - Instant speed, hit all the stuff. If I need exile, may change to True love's kiss or Return to dust.
- Aura of Silence - Slows down opponents, potential removal, and counts for devotion on the board. If I need exile instead, I may change to Act of Authority.
- Generous Gift - General catch-all removal.
- Tragic Arrogance - Currently one of my Favorite wraths, it hits all types, and can be fairly one sided.
- Elspeth, Sun's Champion - Big creature wrath, token production, and potential creature buff. I wanted one token based wrath in the line up, and I feel Elspeth hits the needs for this deck more than Martial Coup, or Hour of Reckoning.
- Hour of Revelation - This is a wrath that hits everything, and can usually be cast at the 3 mana mark. A useful reset button if needed.
- Skullclamp - Almost a must for token decks, this can help turn our abundance of creatures into cards.
- Idol of Oblivion - While this card can be a bit daunting in that it can brick up if our token production disappears, the free activation is very powerful.
- Dawn of Hope - Linden triggers very frequently, and this can draw cards at a rate of per card.
- Well of Lost Dreams - Linden triggers very frequently, and this can draw cards at a rate of per card.
- Mentor of the Meek - Triggering off of tokens is what sets Mentor above Bygone Bishop, who simply doesn't have enough targets. While Mentor can brick up with too many Anthem effect, most of our anthems are temporary, or trigger after the creature enters to put +1 counters, which makes Mentor a good value engine.
- Mind's Eye - Expensive to drop out, but a powerful effect once it sticks.
- The Immortal Sun - Part buff with the +1/+1, part ramp with the cost reductions, part draw with the draw trigger, all good.
- Spirit Bonds - This slot fought for it's place against Together Forever, as the latter can help reuse certain ETB effects. However, the flying tokens are more powerful in this deck, and there aren't enough +1 counters to make Together work for us reliably. If the deck were led by Heliod, Sun-Crowned, this could be different.
- Angelic Renewal, Gift of Immortality - These were initially added in to combo with the Land ramp and Draw creatures to gain added value. They also pair well with Sun Titan, but do gain added value the more sac outlets the deck runs.
- Sword of Light and Shadow - An equipment fetchable with our two tutor creatures, SoLaS has excellent protections and helps recur our valuable creatures and rebuild our board state in the late game.
- Marshal's Anthem - An anthem that also helps mass resurrect, this can singlehandedly rebuild a lost board state after a wrath effect.
- Sun Titan - A white staple, Sun Titan has a myriad of uses from helping you ramp (with sac/fetch lands), to rebuilding a board, to abusing sacrifice/etb effects.
- Emeria Shepherd - Another powerful card, especially in Mono-W where you can chain effects from the graveyard to reestablish a large board presence post-wrath.
- Shrine of Loyal Legions - While the tokens won't trigger Linden, this can charge up quickly for a large on-demand army when needed.
- Oketra's Monument - This doubles as a type of mana rock with the mana reduction, while also providing free tokens with every creature.
- Monastery Mentor, Emeria Angel - Like the monument, these two provide free tokens just for doing other things we'd be doing normally.
- Brimaz, King of Oreskos, Hero of Bladehold, Leonin Warleader - The meat of the deck's ideas. These self contained armies constantly churn out free tokens for us.
- Resplendent Angel, Crested Sunmare - These two provide free tokens off the life gain we get from Linden. the 5 life for the Angel is a bit trickier to pull off, but the rewards are worthwhile.
- Mobilization - Mobilization has some small synergy with the soldier tokens we have,
- Hallowed Spiritkeeper - A good card to maintain an army post-wrath, or to sacrifice aggressively for a quick army.
- Springjack Shepherd, Reverent Hoplite, Evangel of Heliod - These three are in for the massive boardstate shifts thanks to our high devotion.
- Heliod, Sun-Crowned - Heliod is like a mini Archangel of Thune, able to turn every attack either into 1 counter on each token attacking, or to supercharge key attackers.
- Crescendo of War - Crescendo is a card that gets scary very quickly, since it charges up every attack. Since it boosts your blockers as well, you can start making very efficient trades, but you want to make sure you don't lose too much of your army, otherwise attacking gets difficult as well. I usually pair this card with Vigilance and First Strike in my token decks for even added value, but it's fine as just a buff here.
- Jazal Goldmane - Jazal is like having your own personal Overrun in white. Being able to activate multiple times makes even a small number of attackers a terrifying threat.
- Valor in Akros - Valor is like a second copy of Cathars' Crusade. While the buffs aren't temporary - simply getting a +4-5 a turn is perfectly fine and will close out the game quick enough on its own.
- Archangel of Thune - A seriously capable threat that combos with Linden, who creates individual lifegain triggers.
- Divine Visitation - This powers up every token we create. Curving Hero of Bladehold or Leonine Warleader into this is an amazing feeling.
- Cathars' Crusade - A classic threat for token decks, the only annoyance is the ever increasing amounts of dice you'll need.
- Reconnaissance - An overly powerful card in white that can protect our attackers from unfavorable blocks, as well as giving a pseudo-vigilance state to our attackers, thanks to rules loopholes.
- Daxos, Blessed by the Sun - The other source of lifegain in the deck, Daxos can really up the life we gain with all the tokens that enter, and as a bonus, he'll trigger when we lose tokens as well.
- Crackdown - We're playing white, and we're playing small creatures. This will keep opponents' creatures tapped, and shut down even more blockers, while also making it more difficult/risky for them to counter attack. I'm very tempted to add more effects of this nature, such as Marble Titan or Meekstone to furthur lock down opponents.
- Fanatical Devotion - A great card for token decks, this helps keep our consistent token makers alive, as well as making us able to keep half of our board in most board wipe situations.
- Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse, Myriad Landscape, Flooded Strand, Windswept Heath, Marsh Flats
- Thawing Glaciers - Glaciers helps us make sure we hit our land drops consistently. Alone it guarantees a land drop every other turn, but with Deserted Temple it can actually turn into ramp.
- Deserted Temple - Combos with several lands to get added value.
- Scavenger Grounds - Graveyard removal.
- High Market - Sac outlet for emergencies, and can also trigger life gain events.
- Emeria, the Sky Ruin - A powerful effect for any deck running white, this card is a true strength to any mono-white deck.
- Castle Ardenvale - Makes tokens if needed. Comes in untapped almost always.
- Windbrisk Heights - Card 'draw' and potential mana reduction. Easy to satisfy its activation conditions with our tokens.
- Mirrorpool - Always a powerful land, but gains bonus value with our Devotion token producers, Crested Sunmare or Sun Titan.
- Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx - A powerful effect for large mana production in most mono color decks, we take further advantage simply with the presence of Linden.
- Field of the Dead - Free tokens. They won't trigger Linden's lifegain, but free army supply is always welcome.
- Tectonic Edge, Ghost Quarter - Pinpoint land destruction.
- Buried Ruin - Artifact Recursion. Good for retrieving card advantage engines should the game stall out.
- Arch of Orazca - Emergency card draw outlet.
- Opal Palace - Can keep Linden relevant in the late game, especially with her Vigilance.
- Idyllic Grange - Can be fetch by some non-basic plains effects, and is a free +1 counter, while also acting as a plains for Emeria, the Sky Ruin, and another name for Field of the Dead
- Desert of the True - Cycling land for late game, while being Desert support for Scavenger Grounds or Shefet Dunes.
- Shefet Dunes - Emergency field pump, that adds to Desert support.
- 7 Plains, 7 Snow-Covered Plains - Snow lands are included for additional names for Field of the Dead split is currently unimportant. Split can be made different to support other cards like Mouth of Ronom, Extraplanar Lens, and Endless Atlas.
- 1 Wastes - A copy of Wastes is included to support Field of the Dead. It could also be used to fuel colorless activation costs of cards such as Eldrazi Displacer and Endbringer, which sometimes can be nice additions to mono-W.
Cards that want to come in:
Meekstone, Opal Guardian.
Glory - protection. Alpha strike possibilities.
Knight-Captain of Eos - tokens -- Currently eyeing Springjack Shepherd's slot.
Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle - tokens
Precinct Captian - tokens
God-favored general - tokens
Sacred Mesa - tokens
Land Tax - Because of Scaretiller and Suntitan, and because it's good. May potentially replace Wayfarer's Bauble or Oath of Lieges.
Odric, Master Tactition - combat control
Catapult Squad - A lot of the token support is soldiers - however, a lot of other soldier support and vigilance (Heliod, god of the sun) didn't make the cut.
Martial Law, Citadel Siege - Combat control.
Together Forever - Recursion - much +1 counter support was cut, but would be nice to recur some of the card draw/ramp.
Amusing interactions in white: