Cube Archetype – WG Tokens

The token deck in this cube tends to play quite differently each time. In the example decks below it’s happened to come out as a chunky midrange deck in one and an almost mono white in another. In person the last time I played it it started the draft looking like a modern Abzan deck and picked up the most valuable token makers (particularly spirits) as the draft went on (with plenty of soldiers going to the Boros player).

It’s also one of the simplest archetypes to get into as you don’t need a particular signal that the archetype exists (such as a tribal lord for vampires or zombies) nor do you need any particular combination of cards to come out with a deck which is at the minimum viable.

Token Makers

In the earliest version of the cube there was a tribal sub-theme to each colour. In white it was soldiers. That never really amounted to anything but the bulk of the soldier cards stayed in as they’re mostly good and play well with Selesnya and Boros.

There are two soldier lords in white, Field Marshal and Captain of the Watch. Mass first strike from Field Marshal gives you a defensive buff until you can sufficiently swarm the opponent on the attack (there’s often a period in the mid game where 1/1’s can’t profitably get through the enemies blockers).

Precinct Captain, Brimaz, King of Oreskos and Hero of Bladehold all churn out soldier tokens on the attack to pump up your body count.

Martial Coup is one of the best cards you can have in a limited deck as a board wipe which doesn’t leave you a turn behind in reestablishing board presence is massive (speaking as someone who was Duneblasted on average twice a week for the whole time triple-khans was the draft format….blegh). It’s a high pick for any white deck but gets some bonuses in the token deck from Intangible Virtue, Doubling Season and if you’re lucky Elspeth, Sun’s Champion or Gideon Jura.

Spirits don’t really have any specific tribal support in the cube but are a big part of the token deck. Those little 1/1 flyers can easily grind out an opponent as long as you can defend yourself on the ground.

The big three spirit token spells are all in here (Midnight Haunting, Lingering Souls and Spectral Procession) along with Geist-Honored Monk. Anecdotally I have a peculiar soft spot for Midnight Haunting as back during it’s time in standard I won a copy of FTV: Realms in a standard tournament after winning the final due to running a full set of hauntings in my Esper tokens standard deck. It turns out flashing in Midnight Haunting to block a swinging-for-lethal Thundermaw Hellkite after it’s attack trigger resolves is pretty good when everyones forgotten theres an instant speed version of Lingering Souls knocking around.

There are also plenty of “misc” token maker around, including most of greens token makers. There are a couple of saproling makers (Jade Mage and Mycoloth), beasts (Garruk, Primal Hunter and Thragtusk), Eldrazi Scions (From Beyond…go on, splash Ulamog…ok more realistically Breaker of Armies could be very reasonably included) and other minor ones.

Lastly in colourless there is Orochi Hatchery. That one might be slightly more suited to the ramp decks but isnt a bad late game card to churn out a handful of tokens every turn where you don’t need to cast something (and it’s always nice to have something to maintain the bluff/mystery of whether thats removal/a wrath in your hand).

Unrelated aside: Armada Wurm looks like a giant penis. A giant armoured penis. Many jokes were made about this. That is all.

Going Wide

Although every colour in the cube has tokens to some degree green-white has the ways to really take advantage of that. At the top of the list is Doubling Season which is probably my favourite “does nothing on it’s own” limited card (the first time I ever got to play with one was in a modern masters draft where I was full on in the GW Thallid deck splashing black a tiny bit for….actually I can’t for the life of me remember now. But I was already in a good version of the deck with plenty of the better thallids including Sporoloth Ancient and Sporesower Thallid. Games effectively boiled down to durdle…durdle…durdle…dude I’m out of dice again can I borrow some extras.

Theres also a couple of populate cards, Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice (the star and ultimate removal magnet of my Conjuror’s Closet standard flicker deck) and Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage (THE mythic uncommon).

One of the big benefit’s of running a lot of token maker cards is that you gain an oversized effect from anything you run which impacts all creatures you control.

The most obvious card here is Intangible Virtue which is hard to remove, effectively doubles the power level of anything which makes tokens and gives you the ability to swing all out every turn without ever letting your defences down. Spear of Heliod isn’t just for the token deck, as any heavy white deck will probably want it, but it is disproportionately good here and has the benefit of pumping your cards like Precinct Captain as well. Tolsimir Wolfblood is a favourite card of mine which I missed during the years I was out of the game and never got to play with before drafting him in one of our cube nights.

Some of our planeswalkers also work particularly well in a token deck (well again any deck, but the effects are SO MUCH better here). Nissa, Voice of Zendikar pumps all your creatures every few rounds and Garruk, Primal Hunter draws silly numbers of cards while spawning some of the larger tokens in the cube. Ajani, Mentor of Heroes is also good here, throwing counters around liberally or digging for your Hero of Bladehold or Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. Off colour there is Sorin, Lord of Innistrad giving you a choice between lifelink tokens (and again in a slower deck lifelink is a valuable way to stay alive) or creating unremovable emblems.

There are any cards with battalion or pseudo battalion effects (there is quite a bit of crossover here into the Boros deck). Odric, Master Tactician, when you can trigger him, varies in power from “all my creatures are unblockable” to a one sided boardwipe if the numbers stack up right.

A Sample Deck

My first attempt at using the draft sim to get a token deck ended up with this, which while theoretically a token deck, is very much the opposite of what I imagined effectively being a ramp deck with various big X cost token makers and planeswalkers for value.

WGb Tokens Ramp

Creatures (13)
Birds of Paradise
Llanowar Elves
Kitchen Finks
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Flickerwisp
Hero of Bladehold
Siege Rhino
Thrun, the Last Troll
Rampaging Baloths
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Karn Liberated
Wurmcoil Engine
Hangarback Walker

Non-Creature Permenants (5)
Sol Ring
Orochi Hatchery
From Beyond
Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
Garruk, Primal Hunter

Spells (6)
Path to Exile
Hero's Downfall
White Sun's Zenith
Rampant Growth
Cultivate
Martial Coup

Land (17)
Gavony Township
Plains
Swamp
Forest
Sideboard (20)
Blind Obedience
Bloodgift Demon
Chromatic Lantern
Clutch of Currents
Containment Priest
Deathbringer Regent
Hooting Mandrills
Hymn to Tourach
Impulse
Accorder Paladin
Mycoloth
Mycosynth Wellspring
Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper
Surrak Dragonclaw
Titanic Growth
Tundra
Unburial Rites
Varolz, the Scar-Striped
Viscera Seer
Witchstalker

Then I had another crack and got an almost mono white deck splashing black and green (you could play it as straight black white but mycoloth is basically a token deck on one card).

Wbg Tokens

Creatures (10)
Doomed Traveler
Nearheath Pilgrim
Brimaz, King of Oreskos
Fiendslayer Paladin
Archangel of Tithes
Sublime Archangel
Mycoloth
Sunscorch Regent
Captain of the Watch
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

Non-Creature Permenants (7)
Rancor
Bitterblossom
Intangible Virtue
Spear of Heliod
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
Umezawa's Jitte
Orochi Hatchery

Spells (6)
Swords to Plowshares
Raise the Alarm
White Sun's Zenith
Lingering Souls
Spectral Procession
Martial Coup

Land (17)
Savannah
Plains
Swamp
Forest
Sideboard (21)
Alabaster Mage
Containment Priest
Drana's Emissary
Ghoulraiser
Gideon's Avenger
Goblin Chieftain
Ichor Wellspring
Inferno Titan
Knight of Obligation
Nightveil Specter
Obzedat, Ghost Council
Odric, Master Tactician
Primeval Titan
Rampant Growth
Seeker of the Way
Silverchase Fox
Skyknight Legionnaire
Strangleroot Geist
Talrand, Sky Summoner
Unflinching Courage
Yasova Dragonclaw

Definitely a hint this deck likes to spread into black (Lingering Souls flashback is a big part, Sorin, Lord of Innistrad is also a major player in that). You can also spread into red for Assemble the Legion and some of the mass creature effects. Young Pyromancer and Monastery Mentor plus the spell based token makers such as Hordeling Outburst and Midnight Haunting is also pretty nice.

I think this might also be the deck that most wants Loxodon Warhammer…however if I’m in the draft it’s one of very few cards I never EVER pass so you’d better open it.

When I played a variation on this in one of our previous drafts I found myself in abzan, running Abzan Ascendancy, Mortify and Putrefy which was nice (there is very little main deckable artifact and enchantment removal in the cube and having some cards like these can bag some unexpected wins, as it did for me that night vs a red white deck running both Soldier lords and Assemble the Legion.