View Full Version : Let's talk strategy: WHITE

Unhinged Manchild
September 18th, 2022, 04:53 PM
I really enjoy talking to myself, so I figured I'd post it here in public so everyone could see how I done the thing and talked to myself about AotP's white, and how I typically use (or sometimes not at all) their various spells and army cards. Personally, I think white is the weakest color in AotP; it just doesn't offer much other than healing spells and "I mAkE tHe DiCe NuMbErS bIgGeR" (especially when it heavily focuses on toughness.) Unfortunately, power and toughness aren't everything in AotP. Watch the video below for more on why I think this!

Youtube video containing my thoughts on white, as well as a bit on each of white's spell and army cards. Just watch the first ~7 minutes and you'll get a good idea of what I think of white!

Tier list for white's spell cards:

Best spell

Healing Salve (10, AoP) – 10 points to draw a card AND heal 2 from a friendly creature (your squad/hero creature, or ally’s squad/hero creature) makes this a very efficient and widely useful spell that belongs in EVERY SINGLE white deck. Oh, you know how red and green have a fantastic four? Well, white’s fantastic four spells are all healers (HS, Chaplain’s Blessing, Angel’s Mercy, Hope Against Hope) which make heroes an absolute pain in the ass to deal with (especially when heroes are often immune to the spells and abilities that straight up take dumps on squad creatures.)

High (7 spells)

Chaplain’s Blessing (20, SOI) – Approximately as useful as HS, except that CB is specifically for heroes only and it costs twice as much. It’s still quite good, white’s heroes and the Eldrazi Ruiner are quite threatening with a +1 power token, and allowing them to hold their position by extending their life will force your opponent’s hand.

Near Death Experience (10, AoP) - Good PW healing on the level of green’s Bountiful Harvest. Again, at 5 spell cost per damage healed, this is a nice card to prevent slow bleed attempts at your PW. Even better, this has no color requirement, so this can be played on any ally Planeswalker, if needed, in a 2v2.

Angel’s Mercy (15, SOI) - IMO one of white’s best builds includes nothing but heroes, so this card is a no-brainer in those hero armies. Take a turn with your hero, play AM, and heal up to 3 damage, what’s not to love?

Tenacity (10, SOI) - Again, with white’s hero builds, I will typically play this card simply as “enchanted hero gets +1 power when attacking a figure it is engaged with” and honestly if the card ended there, it’s still fantastic at 10 points. All heroes that white can use (Avacyn, Kor Captain, Mad Propet, Ghoul Vanguard, Eldrazi Ruiner) are all range 1 creatures and therefore are self-fulfilling for this card’s requirements. Bonus is that other creatures can also benefit from Tenacity if the battlefield conditions allow. I don’t think I would ever use this in a squad army build nor would I often enchant my PW with this, even though the option is available.

Swift Justice (5, AoP) - In case the fantastic four healers aren’t enough for you, how about we convert your hero’s attack into a heal spell? While this certainly relies on your hero getting engaged and then getting a decent roll of crossed swords, it is still very powerful on Kor Captian or Eldrazi Ruiner because of their 6 base power. I feel that it is rare to not inflict at least 1 damage when you roll 6 dice, so even 1 point of lifelink healing feels decent for this card, and anything beyond that is total gravy. It even allows your creature to heal off of smacking a PW, so book that hero straight for the enemy PW if they are the juiciest target. SJ can totally be used for one of your squaddies, but their lower life and lower power means that SJ is less likely to earn value, although at cost 5 it’s not a terrible loss if it doesn’t get value.

Hope Against Hope (20, SOI) - This hero healer is a bit lower compared to the other fantastic four healers because it is not an on-demand healer; it requires you to hide it on your hero, bait your opponent into attacking that hero, hope your hero survives, and then take a turn with that hero to actually execute on the healing. Still, oftentimes it is completely possible to pull that off, and it’s demoralizing to the opponent just like all of the other healing cards, lol.

Inspired Charge (20, AoP) - You remember green’s Overrun, right? Well, this is basically white Overrun, but without trample and with the requirement of your figures being within 8 clear sight spaces of your PW at the resolution of this card. This simultaneously works on heroes, unlike Overrun which is only for a specific squad, but I personally would primarily use this for a squad’s turn anyway. The major exception to that is if my PW was Sorin and I’m taking a turn with Ghoul Vanguard: GV gets a free move and attack with a zombie (who can benefit from IC,) and GV benefits more strongly with higher power for killing stuff and triggering Wake the Dead. Could you imagine a green/white PW using both IC and Overrun?!? A squad with +4 power for the turn is nuts, and we would have the option of a third spell in there still! But, IC isn’t quite as great as Overrun despite IC’s slightly cheaper price, mostly because white has a much harder time pressuring an enemy PW with this buff due to white’s higher density of range 1 figures as well as their lack of movement buffs & lack of disengage. Still, you can use IC to beat the snot out of whatever creature(s) might be in your way in a given turn, and I can’t think of any creatures that want to take multiple attacks buffed with +2 power...

Mid (16 spells)

Divine Favor (25, AoP) – Just how PoF gives +1 power for 20, this one appends +1 toughness for just 5 points more. Pretty good deal if you ask me. I like PoF more mostly because red/green squads generally have better move & range than white/black squads, so IMO PoF has a much easier time getting value. DF on red’s burny kitties is a flaming good time, pun intended (get it, flaming for red, good for white?)

Honor of the Pure (35, AoP) – Although I believe that one of white’s best builds is a heroes only one, HotP seems quite good even if we have to use a squad + hero, although this build would preclude the nonwhite Eldrazi Ruiner (sadge…) White’s healing will do especially well in keeping their white hero topped off for this bonus. You could try PW + two white heroes with this card in your deck, but you would 100% be relying on your opponents to have a squad. Feel free to enchant an opposing squad with this card and enjoy the buffs for your white heroes as long as those heroes are undamaged! In case it hasn’t been clear; I usually dislike having these expensive spells in my decks when they could be dead (in the cases where my opponent brings no squads,) so I strongly advise having your own squad if you slot this card in your 12 so you can be absolutely sure that this card is playable every game.

Skillful Lunge (5, SOI) – 5 points to give one of your melee squaddies +2 power and extend their range by 1 seems like a good deal to me, even with the stupid stipulation that we need to be attacking a same-level figure. In a Nahiri build, mix SL with TF and maybe stack StD in there for some insane damage potential out of one red squaddie.

Survive the Night (10, SOI) – You should already know that I have a pretty strong bias towards white hero builds. StN sincerely helps heroes hold ground for one turn so that they can lay the smackdown on the following. Basically, a slightly less powerful version of green’s fog, but for heroes.

Gideon’s Phalanx (10, AoP) – The Raelin to Stoke the Flames’ Taelord, GP is not restricted to enchanting only your own PW, but it only buffs your white creatures. If you are feeling quite aggressive, go ahead and toss it on a friendly PW or even on an opposing PW. While your white creatures are within 4 clear sight spaces of the enchanted Planeswalker, those creatures get the defense buff. Congratulations, you transformed your opponent’s PW into a pot of honey for your worker bees to swarm! All in all, GP seems like a decent buy for 10.

Battlewise Valor (10, AoP) – Similar to StN, but for your squad. Part of the problem with this versus fog is that this doesn’t prevent spell damage later in the turn, and white’s Achilles Heel is how they buff defense so high and yet it is easily bypassed by spell damage, especially with how many spells target squads yet do nothing to heroes. However, for 10 points versus fog’s 25 and considering fog’s remaining vulnerability to “destroy squad outright” spells, BV seems quite fairly priced.

Solemn Offering (25, AoP) – White’s only way to destroy an enchantment, other than killing the actual figures/army cards that the enchantments are attached to. At 25 points to murk just one enchantment, this feels expensive, and frankly might not stop an opponent’s enchantment from getting value before we destroy it, but SO offers unique utility that white totally lacks in all of the other cards.

Spare from Evil (20, SOI) – This card is pretty unique, and you can enchant ally squads with it (enemies as well… although I don’t think I can see competitive reasons for that?) SfE is a particularly good counter to prevent/impede an opponent’s Ghoul Vanguard from zombifying your squaddies in combat, but otherwise this card mostly feels like 2-3 points of healing for a squad. How do you get 3 damage prevented via SfE? Prevent 1 wound from your first instance of wounds, and then the next time enchanted squad receives 2 or more damage, place 2 of them on SfE. Boom SfE now has 3 markers on it and it is destroyed. Cool in theory but probably tough to do in-game.

Blessing (30, AoP) – While the buffs provided here look really good on paper, I knock this down a notch because it is a hidden enchantment, which requires your opponent to attack into enchanted squad before you can benefit from Blessing. I prefer Divine Favor for this reason; I can get the power boost on demand to place more pressure on my opponent on my own immediate turn.

Stone Will (20, SOI) – I’ve seen Sorin carry a nearly lost game into a win due to the combination of this spell and his vampire healing. This is definitely worth it for him. Reasonable on Nahiri with her higher base life, but still a card I wouldn’t gun for in her builds considering the array of red’s beastly spells available to her. I wouldn’t particularly recommend this for Gideon.

Marked by Honor (10, AoP) – One point toughness boost is meh. Only feels worthwhile if you want to try either a really annoying high defense Deck or if you want to attempt a bluff on your opponent in a white/black Sorin build by making them think that you have placed Strangling Soot or even Mental Agony on your squad.

Fell the Mighty (45, SOI) – Similar to black’s Killing Wave. Very powerful when we are dealing with enemy squads, but useless when the enemy only has heroes, or has no squads left. If you know that your opponent has squads, this card should make it quite easy for you to gimp that squad on demand. Slightly less useful for Nahiri or Sorin if they are using nonwhite squads; friendly fire is a thing, here. Also, this card beats green’s fog, in case you really hate fog.

Not Forgotten (15, SOI) – An interesting card that may be a sleeper in a white build with tons of creature summons. I’ve used NF to decent effect in a 600 point Nahiri build containing Flamewing Phoenixes, Avacyn Inquisitors, Kor Hookmasters, and Bloodline Nobles. That’s a lot of meat that can be destroyed to give Nahiri +1 power, and the Phoenixes can respawn next to her when you play a red sorcery. This is not a card I would try very hard to include in most of my games, though.

Seize the Initiative (10, BfZ) – Pretty ridiculous that we are required to roll more hits than the amount of total dice rolled by the defending figure. Honestly, against most creatures, if you roll 5 hits and that is higher than the defending creature’s toughness, you were likely going to kill them with that attack anyway, even if they did roll defense. IMO this card should only be used as a decent filler spell in a heroes only build, and StI is great with SJ’s lifelink as long as we get that lucky 4+ hit roll. Most of the heroes have high attack values and can successfully First Strike with higher consistency compared to squads.

Ghostly Possession (25, SOI) – Expensive, works only against a single squad figure for one turn, the power reduction is worthless AFAIK, and it still leaves them with 1 base toughness, which is a -1 or -2 modification for most squaddies. GP is particularly stronger against blue’s Leyline Phantoms and Lantern Geists due to how much defense it cuts from them, and the Geists do not like losing even one of their annoying duo. GP combos decently well with Swift Justice to maximize your potential for lifelink heals, and in the hero armies that white does so well, it makes this card a bit more valuable (only as long as the opponent has a squad, though!)

Sunlance (30, BfZ) – Kill a squad figure that you announced an attack against. Steep for 30 points, and card is dead against heroes. For those two reasons, I place it this low. It is a nice way to guarantee that you will remove a squaddie, though, and has some cool synergy with Nahiri and haste - if an opponent's squaddie gets too close, summon your haste creature, launch the attack, and use Sunlance as the delete button. This card also beats creatures under the protection of green’s Fog, for what that’s worth.

Low (2 spells)

Silverstrike (15, SOI) – Anti-squad shenanigans again. I feel as if the only reasonable way to use this card is to summon one of your own 3-man squads adjacent to an enemy squaddie, and then force its instant death with Silverstrike right after summoning with your PW. Honestly, rarely would I want to surround a single enemy squad creature with 3 of my own via an action 3 move taken with a squad themselves, because I’d likely just attack it and kill it with my action 4 attacks at that point.

Sanctified Charge (10, AoP) – I feel that this card is quite confused. If I had a full squad alive, I would definitely take a turn with that squad so that I could extract value out of them while the whole squad is alive, even if they had a few wounds on them. When 1-2 of the creatures die, maybe I’d use my PW, but throwing the PW into danger at any point except in late game is IMO a bad idea, and the white PWs must be quite close to the action in order to be slaying stuff. This card mostly seems good for healing a beat up squad toward the end of the game, but I’d only even consider using it with Sorin (multi-attacks = multi-heals) or in instances where my PW dying likely won’t cost me the game. Which is never.

Worst spell

Stasis Snare (20, BfZ) – Similar to black’s Demonic Appetite, but this 20 point card stops an opponent’s rampaging squad in their tracks for a turn only after they have killed one of your creatures. I don’t typically like these cards that await the death of your creatures before the spell triggers to do anything. You are still going to have to make up that creature deficit somehow, but IMO this card works slightly less well than DA because black can resurrect it’s squads where white has no ability to do that.

Tier list for white's army cards:

Sorin (350, SoI) – Rank 4 – Activation Frequency: Medium, ascending especially in ratio with the amount of damage on him and/or the number of weak figures remaining in his threat range. IMO 6 life is poor for a Planeswalker, and is a scary proposition for a melee-oriented one. Like the other black Planeswalkers, he is typically much better at slaying squads than heroes, especially because of his Blade Master – he likes fighting many weak figures instead of a single beefy one. Let's face it, black bends squads over with ease while folding in the face of strong heroes; this is basically black’s theme in AotP, lol. As long as he isn’t instantly bursted down in a single turn, Sorin is annoying to remove from the board because he has access to Corrupt, Near Death Experience, and Altar’s Reap for even more healing on top of his Vampiric Thirst. He can often carry the late game to a win when enemy squads and heroes are weakened and ripe to meet their demise at the end of his blade. For his mix of colors, I’m quite split - white and black actually feel way too at odds with one another. Black stuff is hilariously powerful in damaging or destroying squads (their own and their opponents’,) and black heavily prefers to be in close combat to really lay the smackdown. White generally likes homogeneous armies (read: total white domination,) healing (especially for their heroes,) but they also like being in close quarters, both with the enemy figures and with their own white clan. The overlap in preference for close quarters combat is about the only thing that makes sense for the unification of these colors, but you have conflicts between things like all non-white figures and Fell the Mighty + Honor of the Pure + Gideon’s Phalanx, or all non-zombie figures and Killing Wave... Anyway, without being able to come to a solid conclusion about if white/black is a good combination in general, I will say that Sorin + Avacyn + Ruiner is a savage all-hero army at 600 points with tons of white healing spells, even if black’s spells seem to have little use in that army due to black’s squad-oriented nature.

Nahiri (345, SoI) - Rank 4 – Activation Frequency: Medium-low, ascending. Nahiri is a Planeswalker that seemingly wins or loses based on her ability to maintain height advantage. Bulwark, 7 life, 4 toughness, and Near Death Experience all ensure that she is often one of the toughest Planeswalkers to destroy. Her low-ish range of 4 and poor power of 3 aren’t doing her many favors if she can’t maintain high ground. On a hilly map with tons of elevation changes, I feel that she may struggle to maneuver with her Pass Through Stone. Lithomancy can help reduce the chances that Nahiri experiences too much of either of those issues, though. I find red/white a very odd combination to use; red is about high-octane destruction, while white seems more content with slow rolling, buffing, and healing. Luckily, the slow and low range white creatures can appreciate the extra move provided by red spells like Adrenaline Rush, Sure Strike, and Goblin War Paint, while red ought to be excited for access to even higher destruction potential via spells like Inspired Charge, Divine Favor, and Skillful Lunge. I personally prefer to play Nahiri by being aggressive and leaning toward red’s strengths in murdering EVERYTHING with sheer power, with those destruction-enabling white spells tossed into the deck. If you think white supremacists are scary IRL, wait until you see my firebreathing, pro-human, white inquisitors. They’d probably cause a tear to fall from Donald Trump’s eye.

Gideon Jura (350, AoP) - Rank 2 – Activation Frequency: Low, ascending. Gideon wins the “Wannabe Planeswalker” award. I squarely place him below all other Planeswalkers due to his life of 6, his lack of range, white’s lack of range + lack of mobility in general, and white’s relative lack of ability to put great pressure on with their few aggressive spells. At least Gideon has the highest toughness of all Planeswalkers! If Gideon is on high ground, his Counterstrike is fearsome, and his increased toughness will hopefully help him to survive while his creatures deploy white supremacist terrorisms against his enemies. I’m not much a fan of playing slow and defensively in AotP. Blue is somewhat similar in the “slow” regard, but blue has range, plenty of spells for denial, also Jace’s base range, power, and abilities are quite impressive. White’s enchantments get totally demolished by unsummons, true damage, and outright creature destruction, one or more of which is available in spades to nearly every color. Luckily, Avacyn, Kor Aeronaut Captain, and Eldrazi Ruiner are all unsummonable and can’t be 1HKO’d by a spell, so burning through their life is very annoying, and that is exacerbated when white can prop them up with consistent healing. It’s a shame that there aren’t more hero specific enchantments, though.

Avacyn, on Bloodied Wings (100, SoI) - Rank 4 – Activation Frequency: High. Avacyn feels like a keystone piece for white, and I nearly gave her a 5 rating. Similar to red’s firecats, I’m nearly always looking to add her into my armies. She is adept in killing both heroes and squads especially due to Madness of Angels, but this makes her a bit less capable in earning her value when she is fighting an enemy Planeswalker solo, because Madness does nothing to Planeswalkers. However, value can still be found if the situation lines up where she can pound a Planeswalker with her attack and then Madness 1-2 wounds on surrounding enemy creatures. She earns tons of GUARANTEED value just by being adjacent to tons of enemy creatures so she can dole out auto-damage in a fashion similar to how the Biden administration doles out crack pipes. This requires her to be activated for multiple instances of turns, but she needs to survive enemy turns in order to do this! Her 6 life and 3 toughness cause her to be flimsier than nearly every other hero creature in AotP. It is, perhaps, a sort of delicate balance; figures embroiled in tons of engagements don’t tend to remain on the board for very long, but this applies to both her and the creatures she fights. Flying (height advantage,) Gideon’s Phalanx, Survive the Night, and Honor of the Pure can all increase her poor-ish survivability to help ensure that the opportunity to actually heal her will present itself. In my experience, Avacyn is a rock-solid MVP in games where she isn’t bursted down quickly.

Kor Hookmasters (60, AoP) - Rank 4 – Activation Frequency: Medium-high, descending. Hookers. I like to consider them for any white build that plans on using squads, if only because they offer extended threat range and a very unique ability in preventing an opponent’s squad from taking a turn, although unfortunately that is useless against heroes. I think Nahiri would typically prefer red squads over the hookers, though. Keep in mind that Detain does NOT prevent things such as red’s Seize the Day or blue’s Welcome to the Fold from operating correctly; those cards do not enable players to take a turn, they permit a move + attack, which is not the same as taking a turn (activating an army card in action 2.) I find the Hookers to be a little vanilla, yet they score this highly in white because of the flexibility offered in their range 3 combined with the generally poor quality of white army cards and spells.

Kor Aeronaut Captain (100, AoP) - Rank 3 – Activation Frequency: Medium-high. KAC is extremely similar to Avacyn, but he has +2 power in trade for not dealing an automatic wound to all adjacent creatures at the end of each of his moves. IMO this lessens his ability to fight masses of squads and puts him more in a role similar to that of the red Mad Prophet; tackling heroes and Planeswalkers. I think he is very close to being a rank 4, but I haven’t used him enough to feel confident in more than a 3. He has the same low survivability as Avacyn, but it is patched up in the same exact way - Flying (height advantage,) Gideon’s Phalanx (although this arguably may be less useful if using KAC as a Planeswalker assassin,) Survive the Night, and Honor of the Pure. 2-3 turns of rolling 6-8 attack dice might be enough to kill most Planeswalkers, but KAC has to deal with potential haste attacks and tons of engagement summons as he gets near enemy Planeswalkers, at least if you want to use him as a kamikaze sort of cruise missile in the early-mid game. Perhaps his better role is mid-late game cleanup? Hmm...

Rhox Veterans (90, AoP) - Rank 3 – Activation Frequency: Medium-low, descending. These guys seem tough to justify for Nahiri and/or Sorin. I feel as though red and black melee squads are just... better... and at similar enough cost. Rhox are not terrible, I think they are reasonable as meat shields and frontline fighters for a pure white build, but in builds where white homogony is not critical, they are overshadowed. I’m sure many people have already drawn the comparison to Pummelroots: The Rhox are 1 base power and 1 base toughness lower, are tribe to a ****tier color, and gain Battle Formation. Altogether, the Pummelroots are a rank 4 because IMO they are just better out of the... summoning portal(?) and green offers disengage + movement buffs where white has none of that mobility stuff. However, it is really fun to buff the Rhox with truckloads of enchantments and roll 7+ defense dice with them!

Avacynian Inquisitors (85, SoI) - Rank 3 – Activation Frequency: Medium-high, descending. Another squad that I find to be quite mediocre. To an extent, I like their 2 abilities; due to the low-ish number of human army cards in AotP, Avacynian Inquisitors’ Righteous Purge should be active quite often while they are initiating combat. IIRC the only human creatures are Avacynian Inquisitors, Necro-Alchemist, Mad Prophet, and Skirsdag Cultists? Their 2 life and 3 defense puts them on a frailty level equivalent to the Malakir Bloodchasers; it lies somewhere between poor and almost reliable. They certainly bring more offense to white, but at the cost of their own survivability, and the issue isn’t helped by their slow move 5 and range 1...

So, yes, I think white is terrible and needs tons of help; their toughness enchantments are too easily mitigated/played around, and their generally poor move and poor range are debilitating. However, white's primary saving grace is their rather powerful heroes-only builds; not only are white's heroes mobile, but they are credible threats in their own ways, especially with healing to back them up. It certainly helps to flip the matchups against blue and black on their head, and gives white a fighting chance against red and green, too. What do you think?