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, [mtg_card]Field Marshal[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Captain of the Watch[/mtg_card]. Mass first strike from [mtg_card]Field Marshal[/mtg_card] 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).

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

[mtg_card]Martial Coup[/mtg_card] 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 [mtg_card]Duneblast[/mtg_card]ed 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 [mtg_card]Intangible Virtue[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Doubling Season[/mtg_card] and if you’re lucky [mtg_card]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Gideon Jura[/mtg_card].

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 ([mtg_card]Midnight Haunting[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Lingering Souls[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Spectral Procession[/mtg_card]) along with [mtg_card]Geist-Honored Monk[/mtg_card]. Anecdotally I have a peculiar soft spot for [mtg_card]Midnight Haunting[/mtg_card] 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 [mtg_card]Midnight Haunting[/mtg_card] to block a swinging-for-lethal [mtg_card]Thundermaw Hellkite[/mtg_card] after it’s attack trigger resolves is pretty good when everyones forgotten theres an instant speed version of [mtg_card]Lingering Souls[/mtg_card] knocking around.

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

Lastly in colourless there is [mtg_card]Orochi Hatchery[/mtg_card]. 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: [mtg_card]Armada Wurm[/mtg_card] 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 [mtg_card]Doubling Season[/mtg_card] 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 [mtg_card]Sporoloth Ancient[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Sporesower Thallid[/mtg_card]. 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, [mtg_card]Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice[/mtg_card] (the star and ultimate removal magnet of my [mtg_card]Conjuror’s Closet[/mtg_card] standard flicker deck) and [mtg_card]Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage[/mtg_card] (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 [mtg_card]Intangible Virtue[/mtg_card] 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. [mtg_card]Spear of Heliod[/mtg_card] 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. [mtg_card]Tolsimir Wolfblood[/mtg_card] 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). [mtg_card]Nissa, Voice of Zendikar[/mtg_card] pumps all your creatures every few rounds and [mtg_card]Garruk, Primal Hunter[/mtg_card] draws silly numbers of cards while spawning some of the larger tokens in the cube. [mtg_card]Ajani, Mentor of Heroes[/mtg_card] is also good here, throwing counters around liberally or digging for your [mtg_card]Hero of Bladehold[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/mtg_card]. 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). [mtg_card]Odric, Master Tactician[/mtg_card], 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.

[d title="WGb Tokens Ramp"]
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Flickerwisp
1 Hero of Bladehold
1 Siege Rhino
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
1 Rampaging Baloths
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Karn Liberated
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Hangarback Walker

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

1 Path to Exile
1 Hero's Downfall
1 White Sun's Zenith
1 Rampant Growth
1 Cultivate
1 Martial Coup

1 Gavony Township
5 Plains
4 Swamp
7 Forest

1 Blind Obedience
1 Bloodgift Demon
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Clutch of Currents
1 Containment Priest
1 Deathbringer Regent
1 Hooting Mandrills
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Impulse
1 Accorder Paladin
1 Mycoloth
1 Mycosynth Wellspring
1 Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper
1 Surrak Dragonclaw
1 Titanic Growth
1 Tundra
1 Unburial Rites
1 Varolz, the Scar-Striped
1 Viscera Seer
1 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 [mtg_card]mycoloth[/mtg_card] is basically a token deck on one card).

[d title="Wbg Tokens"]
1 Doomed Traveler
1 Nearheath Pilgrim
1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Fiendslayer Paladin
1 Archangel of Tithes
1 Sublime Archangel
1 Mycoloth
1 Sunscorch Regent
1 Captain of the Watch
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

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

1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Raise the Alarm
1 White Sun's Zenith
1 Lingering Souls
1 Spectral Procession
1 Martial Coup

1 Savannah
8 Plains
4 Swamp
4 Forest

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

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

I think this might also be the deck that most wants [mtg_card]Loxodon Warhammer[/mtg_card]…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 [mtg_card]Abzan Ascendancy[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Mortify[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Putrefy[/mtg_card] 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 [mtg_card]Assemble the Legion[/mtg_card].