Why I Played GW Tokens

This is what I’ve become. “That guy.” The guy you hate that is going to be playing the “best deck” in the format.

I posed a very basic question on my Twitter this week, “Why am I not playing Green White Tokens in Orlando?” The very first reply I got was from fellow SCG Tour grinder Emma Handy. Her response was extremely straight forward, “Because you want to put yourself at a disadvantage?” I have been pounding my head against a wall since the Pro Tour results trying to find a way to beat the Green White menace. Green White Tokens is the model of consistency, and that’s something that you crave in Standard.

I’ve played multiple decks since then. Week one I played Mono Red Eldrazi to an Open Top 16. I played the Red White Goggles deck from the Pro Tour to a Classic Top 16 finish. I played Atarka Rites last week, and while I feel like that deck is poised for a comeback this week, I just can’t do it anymore. I’ve been middling on the SCG Tour Points Leaderboard for the last couple of months. I missed a couple of events which didn’t exactly help propel me to the top, but playing average or below average decks is doing nothing for me. Time to look myself in the mirror, suck it up, and play a deck I might not like but that I know is efficient. I have to quit hemorrhaging points.

I wrote an article a few months ago about willingness to play the de facto “best deck” even when you have a distaste for it like I did for Rally. It’s hard for me to be playing a deck like Green White Tokens, but I need to remind myself often that I am most certainly trying to give myself the best chance to win a tournament rather than play cute decks that are great against a quarter of the field.

Green White Tokens has been written about by every major Magic content outlet to the point of exhaustion. I’m not going to write you a strategy guide. I’m not going to hand feed you how I would sideboard against deck X, Y, or Z. I’m not even going to tell you to play this deck, because honestly, my mindset isn’t for everyone. I just know that for me, I need to be giving myself the best chance to win every tournament I play in for the rest of the year. The only thing I haven’t seen written extensively regarding the deck is the flexible slots the deck has available for each given week.

Eric Froehlich wrote an article last week declaring that a mere 7-8 main deck slots are flexible within the deck, and I mostly agree with him. That leads us to the next question. What am I playing in those slots, and why?

I think a lot of people will still be playing Black White Control. I deem it to be the second best deck in the format based on its fair Bant Company matchup. Secure is a solid “oops I win” card with a Gideon Emblem and an active Nissa. It is also a decent blocking outlet for something like Monowhite Humans which I expect to be out in force also. This leads us to the next flex slot.

This card is incredible. It’s much better in my opinion than the 4th Hangarback Walker, and just generally good at turtling up, which is what the GW deck is usually doing. I claimed that the winning decklist from Atlanta would be in force, and Pacifist allows us to trade early, or outgrow humans, and fight while bridging us to sweeper or more powerful cards such as Gideon and Avacyn.

Card advantage, card advantage, card advantage. In grind fests like the mirror match and against BW Tokens, we are losing threats or battling threats early and often. Getting the card back that you lost or used to clear the way while having a 3/2 “evasion” creature is a big deal in almost every matchup.

The Sideboard

The sideboard of this deck is fairly customizable as well. Being prepared for each and every deck in any format is basically impossible; however, you can play cards that are good in multiple matchups to help bridge gaps you may have.

Playing 4 sweeper effects is no joke. Watching Gerry Thompson destroy the field last week with 3 Planar Outburst was pretty eye-opening. Against close matchups like the mirror and Bant variants (CoCo, Humans, Rites) sweepers are your godsend. I’m favoring more Planar Outburst over Tragic Arrogance due to these decks, and it’s fair against Monowhite Humans.

I don’t think you’re allowed to leave home without the 3rd/4th Declaration in Stone, 2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer, 2 Linvala and at least one Evolutionary Leap. My second Evolutionary Leap became a Hallowed Moonlight for, you guessed it, Collected Company again. Having one-ofs in your deck gives your opponents something to think about, so I’m in favor of this card this week. I’ve also included 2 Stasis Snare as a general catch-all, which I think are huge upside cards.

The 3rd Den Protector is to buy back all the listed cards above. As we board out Oath of Nissa and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar in almost every matchup, we just want to have virtual access to more of our KO cards in whatever matchup we are boarding for.

You can beat whatever specific deck you want to beat on a given weekend if you are packing the right cards and enough of them. I have diagnosed what I don’t want to be losing to this weekend, and hopefully this board configuration will serve me well.

Wrap Up

As someone who generally despises green decks, I can tell you that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill green deck. Your strategy varies matchup to matchup and even from game to game. The consistency this deck offers is incredible, and the results it has put up obviously speak for themselves. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Mat Bimonte

Mat Bimonte

Mat Bimonte

Mat Bimonte began his Magic playing career midway through the release of Theros. Despite his short time playing the game, he has a Modern 5K championship title along with a handful of smaller Standard tournament wins. Mat spends most of his time on the Star City Circuit with aspirations of qualifying for the Pro Tour in the coming years.
Mat Bimonte

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Published:June 23, 2016

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