Greetings, Gladiators! Are you sick of losing to Mono-White Aggro? Well, don’t worry! Now you can lose to Mono-White Midrange instead! In the Armory #7 I’ll be presenting a deck that aims to combine hate bears, evasive creatures, and protection spells to deliver constant pressure that is difficult for the opponent to disrupt. Should I have stuck to one drops, or are these powerful top-end threats worth it? Let’s find out!
About The List
I brewed this list because every time I tune my Mono-White Aggro deck, I have a lot of trouble cutting the top end. This time I just decided not to cut the top-end and to cut the early plays instead.
This deck can have the same early game plan as Mono-White Aggro, but executes it less consistently because it has a lower density of low mana value creatures. It makes up for this by using removal more often during early turns and playing Equipment or other noncreature permanents.
While the deck does have a high density of threats, some are much better than others, particularly in certain match ups. Thus, in order to make sure they stick around, I run some cards that blank removal and wraths. This variety of protection spells can serve as combat tricks or removal, and others even let us gain additional value from our creature ETB effects.
While many cards are strong enough to earn two-for-ones, more traditional card draw is important as well. Blinking creatures that draw or tutor on ETB is great, as well as getting rewarded for attacking with creatures. We don’t have access to many cards that say “draw a card” in white in Gladiator, but I run what I can so that I can keep up in the mid and late game.
Just in case I do run out of cards or start flooding, I’ve made sure to include cards that can take advantage of the situation. Dumping mana into these allows me to use all my mana each turn and to trade my mana for my opponent’s cards. Even though white does not ramp very often, it has plenty of ways to ensure it hits land drops every turn, so mana tends to be abundant in the mid and late game.
Another way to gain virtual card advantage is through my mana base; this deck has access to removal, card draw, and creatures in abundance all within the land slot. Turning lands into what are effectively spells is quite useful, and makes the deck much more dense in proactive plays. It ensures that the consequences of flooding are less severe and that I always have something to do with my mana.
I will probably never get to live this dream, but man do I want to pull this off. It ensures that without land destruction, your opponent cannot cause you to lose the game. Faceless Haven is a mono-colored staple, and the Book is a great card on its own due to the amount of incidental life gain I have access to, therefore neither combo piece is dead when drawn alone.
This deck is incredibly strong against other creature based strategies. Flying and first strike give me the edge in combat, and white has the best creature removal in the format. Additionally, lifelink makes it difficult for the opponent to race me, and the aforementioned protection spells stop the few removal spells those decks traditionally run.
While not necessarily weak against Control, this deck does not have the card advantage to keep up after a wrath. While it can protect a menacing board state sometimes, and even present a fast clock on occasion, this is a less likely scenario than losing in the late game to card draw spells. In order to beat Control, you’re going to want a faster hand that has some sort of protection and fewer answers than usual.
I ran one league with the deck, and our overall match win-loss record was 4-1. I was very impressed with this performance, and was glad (see what I did there?) that it could match the power of Mono-White Aggro at least in this small sample of matches.
My first match was against raaabr on Black Mold, which I won 2-1. A Thoughtseize destroyed my dreams of combining The Book of Exalted Deeds and Faceless Haven, and this was followed up by a Rotting Regisaur given trample by Garruk, Unleashed. Luckily Ranger-Captain of Eos and his good friend Giant Killer came to the rescue, and the card disadvantage from Regisaur gave me the win. Game two I died swiftly to a Sarulf, Realm Eater exiling my token Angel from Serra the Benevolent and a Lupine Harbingers coming in with haste. In game three an early Voice of the Blessed suited up with Shadowspear was impossible to race and by protecting it with Alseid of Life’s Bounty it was unstoppable. Eventually it was triple blocked, but by then I had gained too much life and gained a huge board advantage.
My second match was against FurthestChunk on Non-Green Artifacts, and I won 2-0. I was able to apply steady pressure early with Wedding Announcement and The Restoration of Eiganjo until I was wiped by The Meathook Massacre. Luckily the anthem stuck around and my Saga was saved by Sword of the Realms, and thus my opponent ran out of answers. In game two my Lion Sash shut off their Goblin Engineer. Then the pressure applied by Ao, the Dawn Sky and a 4/4 Stonecoil Serpent took them down to three. Once again The Meathook Massacre wiped my board, but this time Ao’s death trigger put The Wandering Emperor into play to make a Samurai token for lethal.
My third match was against theCaptianofwatch on Simic Ramp, which I won 2-1. Game one I got stuck on four lands which resulted in no removal for Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. I was able to take down Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate but the new March of Otherworldly Light did not hit planeswalkers. Thus I lost to the Jace emblem. Game two I could have sworn that I had accidentally switched to Mono White Aggro with how fast they died to my curve. Game three the combination of Memory Lapse and Field of Ruin defeated my Golos, Tireless Pilgrim. I developed some threats that were all answered by a River’s Rebuke, however that bounced my Brutal Cathar that had the opponent’s Mirrorhall Mimic exiled which prompted died on returning the battlefield. My opponent and I fought over a Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider three times and with haste it hit me three times, however I was able to race them with Resplendent Angel thanks to its activated ability granting lifelink to win the match.
My fourth match was against a Wolverine on Jund Sacrifice and I lost 0-2. In the first game we traded threats and answers and went to top decks, but I drew lands while they drew Ox of Agonas. In the second game I got stuck on four lands with Ao, the Dawn Sky and Angel of Sanctions stuck in my hand. The deck was performing, but small things went wrong and I lost to variance. This game made me feel that I should have stuck to one drops.
My fifth match was against AedynCash on Jeskai Midrange, and I won 2-0. In game one I was able to stop early aggression with Bishop of Wings. A God-Eternal Kefnet proved an obstacle until I killed it with the combination of Chop Down and Lion Sash after which I closed the game with Cemetery Protector and God-Eternal Oketra. Game two I deployed Archon of Sun’s Grace followed by Wedding Announcement, which Aedyn had no answers for. To finish them off I combined the anthem from Mikaeus, the Lunarch with the tokens from Adeline, Resplendent Cathar.
Unfortunately, I still have not drawn a conclusion on whether Midrange or Aggro is better, so I gotta go play some more matches! Thanks for the read, and I hope this gives you a cool deck to add to your Armory. If you have any questions about the article, or any suggestions for a future one, let me know by messaging me on Discord at WreckDeck#4901. Also, if you have a card for me to build around or an exciting deck idea to brew, mention me in the #brewers-corner channel on the official Gladiator Discord server and I’ll get to work!
I am an avid Gladiator player who wants to support the community! I’ve been playing Magic since 2007, and Gladiator since Season One of the AM League. My favorite Gladiator deck is Green Aggro.