Midnight Hunt Standard: Mono White Counter Aggro

Innistrad Midnight Hunt has been out for a few weeks now, and already we are starting to see how the new Standard meta is shaping up. With decks like Izzit Dragons, Selesnya Midrange and Sulti Ramp leading the way, you might be wondering how aggro is positioned moving forward. With Mono Red losing most of its best cards thanks to rotation, a new deck has stepped into the ring to take its place. This deck has quickly proven to be a contender in both the traditional and best of one play, smash the slower decks side as it propels it players up the ladder. And that deck my friends, is Mono White Aggro.

Mixing the more traditional White Weenie play style with a solid +1/+1 counter strategy, Mono White Aggro is an explosive deck that can easily close out the game while midrange and control decks are still establishing their board states. With a ton of synergy and redundancies, it is not hard to see why this deck has been able to make a name for itself in Standard. I myself have been enjoying great success with this particular version of the deck, and so today I thought I would share with you what has quickly become my new favourite brew.

First up its important to know that a large reason for this deck’s success is the fact that it can play a lot of spells early on, and by chaining those spells together it can produce a very dominate board state. This is demonstrated quite handily by our first collection of one drop creatures Battlefield Raptor, Codespell ClericMonk of the Open Hand and Usher of the Fallen. While the Raptor and Usher are just solid one drop creatures, the Monk and Cleric show just how quickly you can build up some quite scary threats. Consider the following (very common) chain of events. First turn we play either Raptor and Usher, quickly followed up by a Monk of the Open Hand and then a Codespell Cleric. That gives you 5-6 power on the board on turn two, when most other decks have only just played a tapped land for mana fixing.

And things only get more out of control as we look at the creatures in the two drop slot. Clarion Spirit adds to our two spells in a single turn strategy, giving us even more (flying) bodies on the board, while Luminarch Aspirant helps dish out even more +1/+1 counter among our army of attackers. But things really start to get out of control when we play out a copy of Leonin Lightscribe. With this cat cleric’s Mage Craft trigger, we can pump up our (hopefully) sizeable team up for some scary alpha strike potential using only one or two instants or sorceries.

What instants or sorceries I hear you ask? Why, ones that give us even more +1/+1 counter of course. Guiding Voice and Homestead Courage not only permanently improve the damage output of our creatures, but they are also effective over multiple turns thanks to either Flashback for Homestead Courage or Learn for Guiding Voice. This also opens up our sideboard for addition versatility options (which I’ll cover later). And if that wasn’t enough +1/+1 counters for you, we even have a single copy of Sparring Regimen to give us repeated pump and an additional way to access our Lesson cards.

So, we have ways of dealing a ton of damage, but sometimes we will need to get a blocker out of the way to deal that lethal blow. For that, we are going to need some removal in the form of Portable Hole and Fateful Absence. Portable Hole is a surprisingly versatile removal spell, as it can be used to get rid of any low mana cost permanent, while Fateful Absence deals with anything bigger that can stop us getting in the damage. Finally, we round out the main deck with nineteen Plains and a single copy of Cave of the Frost Dragon.

Know initially I was running the Snow-Covered Plains and Faceless Haven combo for the mana base, but after some testing decided it was less than optimal. After all, this deck wants to play out a bunch of spells as quickly as it can, often having three one drops on board by turn two. This makes a land that only produces colourless mana less than great, as I discovered all too often during my play testing. If you would rather run the Snow mana base then you can, but just be warned it can become awkward if your draws are bad like mine.

Creature Spells (25)
Battlefield Raptor
Codespell Cleric
Monk of the Open Hand
Usher of the Fallen
Clarion Spirit
Leonin Lightscribe
Luminarch Aspirant

Non-Creature Spells (15)
Guiding Voice
Homestead Courage
Portable Hole
Fateful Absence
Sparring Regimen
Lands (20)
Cave of the Frost Dragon
19 Plains

Arena Sideboard (7)
Expanded Anatomy
Introduction to Annihilation
Academic Probation
Reduce to Memory
Inkling Summoning
Spirit Summoning

Best of Three Sideboard (8)
Portable Hole
Pithing Needle
Fateful Absence
Weathered Runestone

As we look at the sideboard, we have two different sections to consider. First up we have the Lesson cards, that are less sideboard tech and more additional tools for the deck as a whole. Expanded Anatomy gives us even more +1/+1 counters to play with, while Introduction to Annihilation and Reduce to Memory can give us removal in a pinch. Inkling Summoning and Spirit Summoning are useful if we ever find ourselves short on bodies, which is good against removal heavy decks. And lastly, Academic Probation has won me so many games by either preventing a wrath, or removing a blocker at just the right moment.

If you are playing traditional Standard, then for the remaining sideboard slots I would recommend an additional copy of both Portable Hole and Fateful Absence for a bit more targeted removal, as well as two copies of Doomskar for the rare corner case of been outnumbered by bigger threats. Weathered Runestone is a useful tool for dealing with most graveyard strategies, and last but certainly not least, Pithing Needle for shutting down Planeswalkers and the like.

And there you have it. Mono White Aggro for Innistrad Midnight Hunt Standard. This build of the deck has seen me climb rather quickly up the Arena ladder and is surprisingly cheap (only costing around $50 to put together in paper). But is this the kind of deck that you would like to play in Standard? Let us know in the comments below. Plus, while you are there don’t forget to like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here. Also if you want to contact me directly, you can find me over on twitter @TenguPlaysGames were i can often be found talking about all thing hobby. 

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