Saturday, August 3, 2013

Zero to Sixty: W/B Tokens

   Hi! Today I have something we haven't seen a lot of around here at the Command Zone - a 60-card deck! Obviously I usually tend to focus on EDH stuff, but I like to build a casual 60-card deck every now and then. Since I actually have quite a few 60-card decklists to share, I decided to make this an official series by giving it a title: Zero to Sixty. I'm pretty sure this is nowhere near as original a title as I thought it was when I came up with it - but I promise you I didn't KNOWINGLY rip it off from anywhere. But to whoever out there has used it before me, kudos.

   So today's deck is going to be a W/B Tokens build - obvious, if you read the title of the post. This is an archetype I've long admired ever since Spectral Procession was printed way back in Shadowmoor. Back then W/B Tokens was a legitimate competative deck in Standard, and I played my own slightly homebrewed version of it for quite a while. It was a fun and powerful deck, and I've been a fan ever since. Recent blocks have seen a number of very compelling cards printed that fit right into this archetype - Lingering Souls, Intangible Virtue, Hero of Bladehold - all of these are cards I'd have killed to have in my old Standard deck.


   Originally, this was going to be a meeting of the Old and the New. But I found in many cases, straight up replacing old cards was actually the best way to go. Hero of Bladehold replaced Cloudgoat Ranger, Intangible Virtue replaced Glorious Anthem, and while I initially ran 4x each of Lingering Souls and Spectral Procession, I eventually found that Lingering Souls was just straight up better, and cut the SPs for the cheaper Raise the Alarms to help the deck curve out better.
   After much goldfishing, playing and tweaking, there isn't much left of my original Standard deck, but the deck isn't entirely new cards either. There are a few goodies that predated my deck that fit quite well - Skullclamp, Teysa and Barter in Blood were all cards I'd have killed to play back then. And I added a few concessions to multiplayer play, such as a singleton Congregate for when things aren't running optimally. And perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of this deck, for me at least, is that I finally have a use for my Entreat the Angels! I've been dying for a reason to use this card forever, and here it is:

W/B Tokens

3x Hero of Bladehold
4x Blood Artist
2x Skirsdag High Priest
1x Sadistic Hypnotist
2x Teysa, Orzhov Scion

4x Intangible Virtue
3x Raise the Alarm
4x Lingering Souls
2x Bitterblossom
1x Congregate
2x Entreat the Angels
2x Barter in Blood
3x Zealous Persecution
2x Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
1x Skullclamp

3x Godless Shrine
2x Marsh Flats
2x Caves of Koilos
1x Vault of the Archangel
2x Isolated Chapel
1x Fetid Heath
7x Plains
6x Swamp

   Originally this list was a lot more diverse, with more 1x and 2x of random things, as I wanted to try lots of things to see what actually worked, rather than try to theorycraft the optimal list. Many 1-ofs got a second copy, and many 2-ofs went to either 3x or 4x. I originally didn't have any Bitterblossoms anymore, so I've slowly been acquiring them as opportunity presents. But I think for a casual deck, 2x is enough copies. I'd happily run more, but I don't feel the need to have it out consistently on Turn 2 in a casual environment. Plus, it's actually not quite as broken when you have more than one opponent, so again, two copies have been fine.

   Skullclamp could easily see a bump to 2x or maybe 3x but again, this is casual so I'm not pushing for brokenness here. The 1x Clamp is really more to bail me out of bad draws than anything. Congregate, Entreat the Angels, Blood Artist, Sadistic Hypnotist, and Barter in Blood are all there mainly to give the deck more Multiplayer functionality, but they work just fine in 1v1 too.

   Zealous Persecution is one of the few hold-overs from my old Standard list, but it's kind of hit-and-miss now. It's kind of a pet card, though, so I keep 'em around anyway. They can really lead to Overrun-style blowouts once in a while. I could definitely see cutting them for, say, Path to Exile or just bumping up the numbers on a few key cards. Skirsdag High Priest is an absolute house, for example. Skullclamp, Bitterblossom and Sorin also could absolutely stand an extra copy or two if you prefer those.

   Everything else should be self-explanatory - the list is highly synergistic and has potentially explosive opening hands. It typically wants to play the aggressor, but has plenty of mid-range and reach potential, so if a direct assualt isn't working out you can sit back and just win off your Blood Artists and Teysa or wait for a giant Miracle to come along. It's very easy to back an opponent into a stand-off situation where they know they need to have a Sweeper to win, but your Blood Artists make even that play a fatal mistake.

   One thing this deck could definitely use is more sac-outlets to really capitalize on those Blood Artists, plus drawing Skullclamp while you have an Intangible Virtue on the board is a bit awkward. A pair of Bloodthrone Vampires or Cartel Aristocrats might be solid additions.


1 comment:

  1. Great to see you posting again! I don't do a lot of 60-4 decks myself because no one plays 60 card casual near me, but I've always loved B/W tokens in any format. Thought it was cool in Standard (even borrowed my friend's deck for a few FNMs), wanted it to be top tier in Modern, and if I hadn't built Ghave so early in my EDH career I probably would've tried B/W Teysa tokens in EDH (I still built a kind of B/W tokens deck it was just more of an attrition deck that used tokens as easy fodder lol). Nice to see the archetype getting some love.

    Keep up the posting =)