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NOTE: Major deck description update coming soon.


Favourable Matchups: Zoo, Jund, Red Deck Wins, Gruul aggro, Goblins, Infect, UR Storm (using SB), Dredgevine (using SB), U Tron, Doran, Naya Beats, Zombies, Vampires, most tribal decks

Fair Matchups: Affinity, Bogle, Hatebears, Junk aggro, Twin Exarch, Faeries, Soul Sisters, Doran, WB Tokens, The Rock, Retrace-Loam (using SB), Living End, ETB Control.

Fair/Difficult Median: UWx midrange, Melira / Kiki Pod.

Difficult Matchups: All Suspend Decks, UW and UWR Control, Boom/Bust, Merfolk, Slivers, Delver, RG Tron, Scapeshift, UB Cruel Control, Mono-black control, Snapcaster Superfriends, Gifts Control, RUG and BUG control.

Problematic cards for knights: Lilianna of the Veil, Phyrexian Obliterator, Grey Merchant of Asphodel, Drown in Sorrow, Ajani Vengeant, Pyroclasm, Volcanic Fallout , Blood Moon, Lightning Helix, Wear / Tear, Scavenging Ooze, Cryptic Command, Mana Leak, Delver of Secrets  Flip, Iona, Shield of Emeria, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Restoration Angel, Restore Balance , Supreme Verdict, Steel Overseer, Engineered Explosives, Ratchet Bomb.

As you can see, the majority of difficult matches are those against control. Counterspells and sweepers are the biggest problems, next to an Emrakul/Iona/Mindslaver. To this end Cavern of Souls and Aether Vial work to mitigate the effects of counters, while Light from Within stops burn sweepers and Knight Exemplar stop destruction effects.

Generally this deck enjoys considerable success against other aggro decks, some combo decks and some midrange decks. With combo we can safely assume a high probability for losing the first round, but this can be dramatically reversed in rounds 2 and 3 after accessing the sideboard.


Versus Aggro: Stall until they run out of gas, and your firepower exceeds theirs. Press for an aggro win yourself if you have an obvious clear advantage, but otherwise keep them at bay and wait until you get an Exemplar, equipment or Sword online to command board presence. This deck transitions very nicely into midrange play against non-control decks (or anything using counterspells).

Versus Control: Difficult, but still winnable. Count on Cavern of Souls, and play conservatively. Take your time and be safe because this will be a longer game. Pay attention to their mana base. Don't expect a lot of hard counters; instead try and build up your mana base before casting major spells because you are likely to see soft/mana-intensive counters like Remand, Mana Leak, Syncopate, etc. The biggest obstacle will be getting your non-creature spells to the board, or keeping them there before they are bounced with Echoing Truth and your creatures are swept away with Pyroclasm, Anger of the Gods, or a host of other removal spells.

Versus Combo: The MB of this deck is geared for a combat focus rather than answering threats that you may or may not face (which also cannot be solved by your creature effectiveness) so don't expect to secure the first round. Knowing your meta and identifying which combo deck you are up against will make it easier. Every sideboard card has surgical precision against the right combo; choose wisely for rounds 2 and 3.

Versus Midrange: The focus here is to get Light from Within online as soon as you can and hope that it sticks, so as to put your creatures out of bolt range and increase their survivability. A horde of 4/4 first strikers will be challenging for your opponent to break. UWx midrange will likely have more burn/killspells than counters, so watch for Restoration Angel and Vendilion Clique to come swooping in. Try and determine how offensively or defensively your opponent plays; anticipate whether they will use more of a control or aggro approach from their SB in round 2. Knight Exemplar , Heliod, God of the Sun and Student of Warfare will help with board position.

It is easy to rack up incremental damage on your opponent from a few attacks + enemy fetchland/shockland effects. Never pass up an opportunity to unleash an alpha strike and finish them off!

Other Knight lists:

Modern Knights - Exalted

Modern Knights - Boros

Modern Knights - Azorius

Modern Knights - Selesnya

Modern Knights - Classic

Modern Knights - Puresteel

Brutal Vengeance

How Knights Work

The success of any knight tribal deck is dependent on the focus of its mana curve. Tempo should be synonymous with an aggro or midrange strategy. You want to end the game early, and anything drawn out past 8 or so turns is unlikely to be favourable. We simply just don't have the draw, recursion or firepower to overextend, albeit some cards like Squadron Hawk, Sun Titan and Gift of Estates can help with this.

As such, our cornerstones are numerous 1 and 2 cmc spells and even fewer 3 cmc spells (I wouldn't exceed 12, if you can help it). Your first five plays should be golden, transitioning nicely into one another and putting major pressure on your opponent. Cards like Aether Vial can help speed up your board presence, but you gamble here by drawing one late and having no other card advantage to negate tempo loss. We often see vial automatically dumped in weenie decks, but those that can't compensate with draw or attrition for dead vials are making a deal with the devil.

The deck shines in its combat effectiveness. The various tribal sub-themes in knights (first strike, double strike, colour protection, indestructibility, battle cry, tokens) give us an edge over the rabble of regular modern $$ creatures. There are various builds that take advantage of the aforementioned abilities. When I made my first pseduo-competitive knights deck, it used cards like Accorder Paladin , Hero of Bladehold and Honor of the Pure for tokens, mass damage, and alpha strikes with Brave the Elements. In modern, however, I think I have come to prefer independent, well-costed bodies with first strike than can be powered up by bigger spells once I have emptied my hand of creatures. Knights as a tribe are nowhere near Tier 1 in competitive with their linear combat approach and limited trick toolbox, so to win you must make the most out of what they specialize in: combat.

At its pinnacle, this deck can overpower opponents with double-striking, stat-boosted, indestructible badasses. Decks that produce a lot of blockers, such as UR Storm Empty the Warrens, B/W tokens and Retrace-Loam, can be problematic because of our lack of a trample mechanic. A common bane for this deck is Lilianna of the Veil, as creature sacrifice is also devastating for us. Iona, Shield of Emeria and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite can shut us right down if they hit the board, although you are likely to encounter Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Mindslaver and Academy Ruins before these.

There is a strong sideboard that will significantly increase our chances in round 2. Consider the impact that Rest in Peace has against the graveyard strategies of Melira Pod, Retrace-Loam, Zombies, Storm, Dredgevine, etc. If you use Leyline of Sanctity, consider how it shuts down storm, Murderous Redcap in Melira Pod, sacrifice, junk discard, etc., how Oblivion Ring and Pithing Needle are catch-all cards against specific threats, and how Wrath of God can clear a troublesome threat like Thrun, the Last Troll , or a battlefield wildly out of your control, as can happen with Pod, Tokens and Soul Sisters, to name a few.

It all comes down to your meta. Wizards hasn't provided enough cards for us to face down tier 1 lists without making some changes to hose the biggest threats we face. I may need to eventually do this myself with an inclusion of Aether Vial, despite its drawbacks. Adapt and adjust accordingly or your deck will only be suited for kitchen tables, instead of tournament tables.

Card Rationale

-- Knights

  • Student of Warfare , Leonin Skyhunter, Knight of Meadowgrain and Mirran Crusader are self-explanatory workhorses of the deck. Well-costed and efficient in combat, they constantly pressure our opponent.

  • Silverblade Paladin is a risk-reward card. Multiple double strike offers up a chance for huge damage, but the conditions of Soulbond can backfire - no inherent first strike means an opponent can trade a 2/1 or two 1/1's for him if the bond is broken. Usually wise not to attack with him, unless the way is clear.

  • Knight Exemplar is the crux of the knight tribe and considerably strengthens her fellow riders. Indestructible is a highly viable ability in Modern, providing stability in a sea of well-costed spot and sweeper removal. She is one of only two knight lords - the other being Kinsbaile Cavalier . Just remember, she is always entering the field with a giant bullseye painted smack on her forehead.

-- Utility / Removal

  • Brave the Elements and Path to Exile are versatile utility cards that capitalize on both synergy and speed, working as a glue for the deck in a multitude of offensive and defensive scenarios.

  • Knight of the White Orchid is considerable as a land tutor and a 2/2 first striking body, yet without further abilities he is the first to go in removal/sacrifice/chump blocking situations. He synergizes well with Path to Exile, allowing you to ramp as early as T2 and sort of negate the Path's tradeoff.

  • Leonin Relic-Warder is a recent and versatile addition. The likes of Vedalken Shackles, Seismic Assault, Ghostly Prison, Story Circle , enemy equipment, ETC. can break this aggro deck in half, and with the kitty we at least have an opportunity to halt their advance in Round 1. He provides an answer with his optional enchant/artifact removal, serves as a 2/2 body that gets a boost via Light from Within, and he contributes to Heliod's devotion cost.

  • Heliod, God of the Sun - Heliod fits nicely with the knight tribe as a 1-of. He is highly relevant in control matches, provides the much-needed vigilance ability and usually is ready as an indestructible 5/6 when you need him to be. Since he is a little slow, he is an easy SB swap in later rounds.

-- Support

  • Basilisk Collar - Deathtouch + First Strike allow me to one-shot anything. Essentially reduces the need for more spot removal spells. Lifelink is just icing on the cake.

  • Lightning Greaves - Because getting one of these on an Exemplar and letting your creatures relentlessly slam against your opponent's creature line without concern is extremely satisfying. Also allows you to race Pod, Rock and Jund with Mirran Crusader .

  • Light from Within provides excellent synergy with the knight tribe and simultaneously boosts creature survivability and combat effectiveness. It is an unexpected, fair, yet powerful card that creates a horde of 4/4 first strikers. This is something unanticipated in modern, providing psuedo pro-red to your creatures and letting them slaughter even the most resilient modern creatures like Restoration Angel and Loxodon Smiter. It can boost your midgame, ruin control or aggro decks, and is an easy finisher on T4 - T5.

  • Flagstones of Trokair - security against Smallpox , Death Cloud, Restore Balance , Boom/Bust, etc.

  • Cavern of Souls - a full set currently stands in for Aether Vial, ensuring knights can hit the field without being countered.

-- Sideboard Choices:

  • Disenchant - Artifacts and enchantments generally provide the most problems for the deck, next to sweepers, large creatures and planeswalkers. It is welcome firepower next to Relic-Warder versus Pod, Twin, Affinity, Tron, Bogle, Faeries, Enchant Control/Suspend, and others.

  • Kor Firewalker - The antichrist of everything red. An easy sub against RDW, UWR, Storm, Goblins, BR Vamps, and anything that uses more red than just Lightning Bolt. Combos with Heliod and Light, but unfortunately not with the knight creature subtype (i.e., Cavern of Souls).

  • Rest in Peace - The amazing, near OP white response to any graveyard-focused strategies. This shuts down the morbid trigger, Blood Artist trigger, undying trigger, zombie tribal, reanimator, flashback, Golgari guild abilities (Scavenge and Dredge), and anything non-reanimator that uses the graveyard. Extremely harmful against some combo shenanigans, including the likes of storm, retrace-loam, melira pod, dredgevine and living end.

  • Suppression Field - A unique and ruthless card that is effective against a majority of the T1 and T1.5 competitive deck archetypes in modern. It doesn't shut down activated abilities like Linvala, Keeper of Silence or Pithing Needle, but it does slow down just about EVERYTHING. This does conflict with Student of Warfare and any equipment, but it also hoses fetchlands, manlands, planeswalkers, and any enchantment, artifact or creature that uses an activated ability. This is substantial, almost enough so to warrant being mainboarded.

  • Wrath of God - Shock and Awe when used with Knight Exemplar . Wipes fields that grow out of control. It is a well-respected white card for a reason.

Noteworthy Considerations:

  • Aether Vial is one of the premier cards in modern and one of the only combat tricks available with the "fair" style of knight tribal play. It is, however, not without drawbacks: white lacks any sort of card draw, and thus we cannot offset lost tempo from drawing a vial too late or needlessly. There is only a 39.94% chance of drawing it in your opening hand, after this the odds drop dramatically and getting it after T5 is a dead draw most of the time. So using it in a list with no CA is about probability, essentially being a deal with the devil - thus running it is up to you.

  • Elspeth, Knight-Errant is a great, possible T4 finisher that puts the game on a clock. She is by far the best planeswalker for knights, but faces competition from Ajani, Caller of the Pride, Ajani Steadfast and Gideon Jura.

  • Paladin en-Vec and Fiendslayer Paladin are both little brothers to Mirran Crusader , but can have their uses against red sources. 'Vec is more defensive and probably better, but the Paladin offers lifelink and could potentially work with Light from Within.

  • Stillmoon Cavalier is great as a midrange mana sink and handles well against the commonality of white and black-based removal in Modern. His useful colour protection also chumps annoying threats. Unforuntaely, with only 1 toughness he can never be more than a singleton, and is a prime target for a host of burn spells or indiscriminate black sweeper spells.

  • Wilt-Leaf Liege is best in G/W Knights but has synergy in any aggro knights deck with its anthem. It works especially well against common junk discard like Liliana of the Veil, Raven's Crime and Blightning . Amazing with Light from Within.

  • Hero of Bladehold is a great finisher and perhaps puts the greatest pressure on your opponent next to the Exemplar. A must for any knights deck, unless a specific mana curve or strategy dictates otherwise.

  • Thalia, Guardian of Thraben isn't a knight, but does give that little extra bit of reach that we need for an aggro strategy. She is viable so long as your noncreature spells do not exceed 2cmc, and she combos with a Basilisk Collar for offensive/defensive one-shot KOs. Unfortunately, she does not work in the deck so long as Light from Within is there.

  • Brimaz, King of Oreskos, although not a knight, is a versatile beast that has his uses. He is great for stabilizing the board, and while doesn't combo with Knight Exemplar he is very durable and combat-effective, as is the knight custom.

  • Phyrexian Metamorph provides the 5th and 6th Knight Exemplar cards to make one-sided board wipes easier, but can obviously be used for artifact-cloning purposes as well. The artifact copying can be absolutely game-changing, depending on the situation.

  • Honor of the Pure is excellent with Hero of Bladehold, Brimaz and tokens, but not much else. Anger of the Gods is now the common choice over Pyroclasm, and 3/3 is not enough to escape bolt range, either.

  • Leyline of Sanctity - Instantly shuts down a number of strategies, including Storm, Seismic Assault, RDW, discard, sacrifice/suciide, Melira Pod's Muderous Redcap, recurring Mindslaver, etc. You either sub in 4 or none of these as you want one in your opening hand.

  • Faith's Shield is resourceful for targeting any of your permanents, but there are too many creatures for it to be used optimally here. Consider its defensive capacities - any deck worth its salt playing versus mono-white will sub in its enchantment hate in round 2.

  • Celestial Purge is a possible SB card that is the most efficient B/R removal out there. It stops Splinter Twin, Seismic Assault, Dark Confidant, Liliana of the Veil, Phyrexian Obliterator, and many other threats (including planeswalkers, creatures, enchantments, and animated lands).

  • Gods Willing - Prot with scry, a possible replacement for Brave the Elements.

Why is this deck named "The Western Way of War" and use an aggressive strategy that seeks a quick, decisive battle? See Clausewitz's view below:

West-East Military Strategy


Sun Tzu (Eastern way of war stereotype) argues that force should be used sparingly and as the last resort.

Carl von Clausewitz (Western way of war stereotype) argues that the use of force is often both necessary and the most effective (or preferred) method of achieving your goals. The maximum available force should be used from the outset to achieve decisive results in the shortest possible time.


Sun Tzu says that the greatest achievement is to win without fighting, to convince the enemy's forces to yield and if possible switch sides rather than be annihilated.

Clausewitz says the shortest way to achieve your objective is by the destruction of the enemy forces in a major battle. Other, non-military methods of winning are recognized but rarely effective.


Sun Tzu says extensive use of deception, including psychological war and non-violent methods. The center of gravity (pivotal weakness) is the enemy's will and alliance system.

Clausewitz says the maximum concentration of force should be used at the decisive point of engagement. The center of gravity is the enemy's army.

Michael I Handel, "Comparing Sun Tzu and Clausewitz," Masters of War: Classical Strategic Thought, 3rd ed., (London: Routledge Publishing, 2001), 22.




I created an account on MTGO and I am running this deck with the current build seen here. I am gonna try and run things slightly different in the sideboard, swapping Leyline of Sanctity for Kor Firewalker and Oblivion Ring for Journey to Nowhere. Time will tell if this work.

So far the deck has performed very well in the "tournament practice" category, winning about 50-60% of the time against other tournament level decks. Certainly not tier 1 play but good fun. :)

Comments View Archive

Oops, forgot this Make an Exemplar Out of You

May 23, 2014 5:56 p.m.

Hey man, I saw an earlier you comment you left about having a match on MTGO? It seems your comment is somehow no longer here. Anyways, I am up for one if you are! Always great to see another knight list :)

May 24, 2014 5:07 a.m.

Yeah that's weird. Maybe they delete "challenges" But add me on your friend list. Insomniacs hours.

May 24, 2014 5:26 a.m.

MindAblaze says... #5

I was wondering, could you give me an opinion on my deck Selesnyan Evenings?

May 26, 2014 1:59 p.m.

Sure thing

May 26, 2014 11:25 p.m.

tgcchallenger says... #7

I would strongly suggest putting in a play-set of Knight of the Holy Nimbus he is so deadly from the start and gives that double white for Light from Within .Who you take out is dependent on your opponent's deck but give him a chance.

May 26, 2014 11:48 p.m.

Leonin Relic-Warder out for 3x Knight of the Holy Nimbus is probably a good move.Previous comment is legit.

May 26, 2014 11:54 p.m.

Now now, I don't like Leonin Relic-Warder any more than the next guy (I would prefer to run only aggro cards if I could), however this deck NEEDS some sort of enchantment/artifact removal to stay in the game against some of the other decks out there. You have no idea how many times he has saved the day against WB Tokens, Affinity, Pod, Infect, RW Soul Sisters, Tron, even Bogle and Hatebears. He is just a bear versus jund, UWR/UWx, storm, RDW, etc, but that's what the sideboard is for. He can prevent auto-losses in the first game because an opponent plays an Oblivion Stone , Vedalken Shackles , Wurmcoil Engine , Ratchet Bomb , early Mindslaver , etc. Now I may be willing to go down to 2 in the MB but that would have to mean one is added to the side (or a Disenchant is added in his place).

I know how epic Knight of the Holy Nimbus is. I have actually been considering him for a while and I think he has some good connections here to warrant 4 slots. You guys forgot to mention how epic he is with Suppression Field added in. The hard part is, if I just take out Relic-Warder for him then the deck loses its edge against many, many decks out there. And I can't just dump all my answers into the SB. A Revoke Existence on legs is extremely useful and is the deck's only first-response answer to some of the shenanigans/$$ cards out there.

May 29, 2014 5:07 p.m.

Forgot to mention any of the ultra-common affinity cards in that list.

Brandon I also added you on MTGO.

May 29, 2014 5:11 p.m.


Knight of the Holy Nimbus is definitely my least favorite of the ** Knights. If having a creature vs running Disenchant suits your deck, then I would say that is the right move. Because Banisher Priest is kind of crummy.

May 29, 2014 5:15 p.m.

Yeah, Priest is great for standard but is probably outclassed by even Fiend Hunter for modern. Now, what we really need is a knight that does what clerics can do. Or a knight other than Puresteel that gives us a draw engine.

May 29, 2014 5:57 p.m.

Sveniac says... #13

I've been following your deck for a long time now (probably since the first version). I've realized something. Have ever noticed that while Clausewitz premise of concentrated force works great against itself, it works only marginally against decks which will use Sun Tzu's strategies?

If you consider your deck is effectively reacting to the meta and how we can evaluate strategies, you'll see that:

  • While the "force" of your aggro deck will break the lines of decks which are weaker in "force" (outnumbered and outgunned), the center of gravity is met; but control decks will still manipulate the "will" of your army, will still sway them from their objectives, simply because your deck will not meet it's center of gravity.

Reason being that while you are willing to put up a fight with your army, the control decks are willing to take that army away from you. You can still use your army, but... What army? Against what? It's control's objective to lure your army into the field and remove it, one by one. Deception.

Eh, just a reflection. By the way, thanks very much. I had already read Sun Tzu, but never heard about Clausewitz before this deck. This is MtG creating knowledge at the spot!

June 20, 2014 5:07 p.m.

Very good! I am certainly aware of the distinction that you have made, it is one of the perils of an aggressive approach to a controlled situation. It parallels your example of how control decks manipulate the "will" of the stronger army because it is failing to adapt and chasing an elusive objective that it will likely be unable to reach... a sort of easy real-life scenario for this west-east, attrition vs. psychological comparison was America's strategy during the Vietnam War.

As such, to combat both aggro AND control strategies the deck has had to continuously expand with versatility rather than specialization. MTG's Modern format preys upon anything that is too fragile, circumstantial or even "fair" in its approach. The requirement of maintaining a tempo to win also shuts down many decks that are too linear, i.e. are all combat but too few removal/counters. In many ways, knights are a deck that essentially DO play fair (vial does help), as creatures don't do extra things for free on their own and there is no draw to compensate 2 for 1 losses. This is why it's so satisfying to defeat your opponents with sheer numbers + combat efficiency (first strike and good P/T), something that is often overlooked. Thus this deck compensates against control situations with, namely:

  1. More creatures than they have removal (and a means to survive sweeps, such as Knight Exemplar for wrath effects and Light from Within for Pyroclasm /Anger of the Gods .
  2. A means to sidestep counterspells, i.e. Cavern of Souls (and vial)
  3. Versatile sideboard options - i.e. Kor Firewalker , Rest in Peace , Suppression Field . This is mainly a perk of using white.

Against blisteringly fast matches like Storm, RDW, Elves, Affinity, etc. I think Clausewitz would approve of the T4 kill this deck can execute with Silverblade Paladin , but it would fail without its sideboard options, or its "unconventional methods" of defeating the enemy (breaking their will/singular approach instead of directly engaging their armed forces). So in that way the deck deviates from the integrity of Clausewitz' beliefs a bit, however I think he would have seen the deviation as necessary - things just move too quickly sometimes.

The name "The Western Way of War" actually comes from Victor Davis Hanson, a renowned scholar who has made amazing contributions to military theory (ex., why the West has done so well on the battlefield). It essentially involves using scientific/rational inquiry, using the latest technology and tactics, adapting to your opponent (ex., Clausewitz says the best attack is counterattacking after deflecting a blow, as if warfare can be distilled to a physical duel between two entities), discipline and shared belief, etc. A lot of links in a very firm chain - but something this deck ultimately does stay true to.

And I am glad this deck was able to introduce you to Clausewitz! MTG FTW! His work "On War" is a great read, but a little dated today. If you were to try and directly transcribe his work to strategy without some adaptations we would have already faced total nuclear annihilation. If you look into him, just read about his theory and observations (it's a massive read) - he is famous for the assertion "war is politics continued by other means". Jomini and Machiavelli also are great reads for theory, and the book I referenced in the deck description is an amazing 10/10, it distills all major approaches quite nicely.

I am amazed you have followed this deck for so long, thanks for the support!! It has come a long way and has been doing pretty well in the ultra, hyper-competitive environment. It is very challenging running only one colour when the majority of tournament-level decks run 2 or more. I am thinking of splashing blue and pushing the deck to a firm midrange position, with a little more security but still maintaining of its creature numbers and combat effectiveness.

June 26, 2014 4:59 a.m.

Terrible joke alert !!!

Check out my new deck ((Ludwig Wittgenstein))

See? It isn't really there.I apologize in advance

June 26, 2014 2 p.m.

Waves a hot poker, demands an example of a moral rule.

"Don't threaten visiting speakers with pokers."

Is the threat real, or just a linguistic puzzle? So long as Wittgenstein doesn't storm out, we will never know.

July 4, 2014 3:10 p.m.

slovakattack says... #17

Hey, man. I've been experimenting with mono-white Knights for a bit recently, and I've found some things that may be helpful to you.

Firstly, I tried a 1-off of Heliod, God of the Sun and found that, while neat, he is substantially weaker than a 1-off of Hero of Bladehold . Simply put, Hero of Bladehold wins games. Heliod does not. "Win card" > "Win-more" card.

Secondly, have you considered the card Concerted Effort ?

While it does nothing on it's own, a knight deck can easily take advantage of what it has to offer to an almost ridiculous degree. (Mirran Crusader + Silver Knight = all knights have protection from every color save blue, and double strike.) With Leonin Skyhunter , they all have flying. With the right combination of knights, and a moderate presence on the field, dropping this enchantment can easily end the game a turn later.

The caveat, of course, being that this is something you would need to build around.

August 12, 2014 12:26 p.m.

slovakattack says... #18

Oh, I almost forgot the big one: My mono-white knight deck runs 2x of Mentor of the Meek . Dat draw, man. It keeps the aggro engine going. (although it's better with Aether Vials, as you do need mana open.)

August 12, 2014 12:42 p.m.

slovakattack - I experimented with Concerted Effort in my Modern Format White Knights Tribal Deck Make an Exemplar Out of You because I wanted to love the card - I REALLY wanted to have 5 Double Striking Indestructible Knights Flying Around with PRO Everything.

But, all it did was take away my Oblivion Ring and in addition, slow me down. Of course, this is only a personal opinion.

Good luck chaps!

August 12, 2014 3:01 p.m.

DH_Cell says... #20

I dont think Silverblade Paladin should have a place on the 75, think better about it. Btw, u have an excellent buid and Light from Within take them out of the bolt range. If u have time, take a look on my purestell knights build, I know u re building one so u can give me some tips or it can provide u some options Horse with no name (Knights)

October 29, 2014 9:05 a.m.

dahhahm says... #21

Silverblade Paladin is a pretty good "pseudo-target:" it's not what the enemy wants to use their target removable, but eventually will especially when it's linked to a knight of meadowgrain or 3/3 student on turn 3. It essentially becomes a vanguard to laying down an exemplar, because usually your opponent will always save one for the exemplar.

In my opinion, it's much better then what people give credit for just because it's a 3 drop knight. I ended up going to same ratio of 3 mirran: 2 Silverblade like this deck forgoing 4 mirran simply because of the redundancy in doublestrike. It's a good split when you run 4 meadowgrain. Doublestrike + Lifelink 2/2 = 8 damage split if it connects on turn 3... which happens on occasion.

Also, his 4 drop is not Kinsbaile Cavalier , but Light from Within which I agree is a better choice as a finisher, but since it's not a creature, the player has to start spamming monster advantage. Unfortunatley when you spam without a draw source you have to go efficient (which is overall a better plan for a fast paced game) so Silverblade can maximize that final push with whatever you have left.

October 29, 2014 9:41 a.m.

madgremlin says... #22

Here's your 150th upvote man, great deck! +1

Honestly I really like your deck. I am a fan of tribal, and have my own tribal vampire deck that I like to play aginst yours (gives me a good run for my money!).

Here's my deck if you wanna have as much fun playtesting with it as I have with yours:

Feast on their Flesh

October 30, 2014 2:34 p.m.

Thanks so much for all your comments guys! I willy try and respond to them all properly as soon as I can

Thanks for the upvote madgremlin! Since I have been using a different version on MTGO for a while I decided to update it to the most current iteration. The matches may play out differently now! Haha. And I will get back to you once I get a chance to playtest our decks! I love Vamp decks, they are tons of fun to play against.

November 3, 2014 1:17 a.m.

DH_Cell says... #24

Hey man, whenever possible take a read on ur prime again. A few things are already different from ur dek like

"As you can see, the majority of difficult matches are those against control. AEther Vial would help but I am reluctant to run it (and trade my Brave the Elements for it)."

November 24, 2014 1:23 p.m.

Yeah, i'm definitely going to give it a full update in December, DH_Cell. Probably mid-late December. It needs an overhaul and it will be much more of a primer per se than what it currently is. Hopefully with new pictures and a better breakdown of everything. I'll also see if I can include it in the modern primer database being made on this site.

If I didn't have so many exams coming in the next few days I would do it all right now, lol

November 26, 2014 10:12 a.m.

DH_Cell says... #26

I know the feeling bro hahaha

November 26, 2014 11:15 a.m.

tain says... #27

I love it, but every time I test this deck out, I feel like it needs more draw power. I always run out of steam.

January 14, 2015 12:36 a.m.

Thanks so much tain! I agree, draw power has been something that has plagued this list since day 1. I have tried literally every avenue available to me (from Infiltration Lens to grave recursion to scry), and my conclusion is using Sword of Fire and Ice and Horizon Canopy. Since canopies have gone up in price substantially, I haven't acquired any for this deck. I have been using 2x SoFaI for some time on my MTGO list, so I have updated this list to reflect some changes.

In my experience, the way to get around draw power is to capitalize on sheer card value. This involves using - primarily - bolt-proof creatures, spells that trade favorably against your opponent, and excellent support cards. This is all tied together with a great build synergy (i.e. a smooth 2-3-4 mana curve, cards that compliment one another, creatures that are resilient / will always kill the creatures they face). Pod did this well.

You want to mask as many cards in your opponent's hand as useless as possible. Then it's like they never had draw power to begin with. Against those common UR lists, Light from Within + Cavern of Souls / AEther Vial is perfect for this.

I have often found a knights list consistent in these principles strong enough to contend with top tier decks. If you can have answers for the most prominent threats in modern, you won't need draw power to win. And with Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time finally banned, the draw engines of our opponents are a little less potent.

February 9, 2015 10:22 p.m.

tain says... #29

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you, as usual. I tried adding Haakon, Stromgald Scourge to go the recursion route but it was just too slow. I'll need to set aside some time to try your updated list as I think you're right about the sword and canopy.

February 10, 2015 6:02 p.m.

Tyrannosary says... #30

I noticed you left out how good or bad burn is against this deck

March 19, 2015 9:08 p.m.

Xinofos says... #31

Knights do fairly well against burn. It doesn't lose life activating lands and others abilities (in mono white anyway) and can gain a small amounts of life through cards such as Knight of Meadowgrain forcing burn to do even more damage. On top of that siding against burn is easy.

March 20, 2015 10:41 p.m.

tain says... #32

There's a nice concentration of creatures at 2CMC. What about Immortal Servitude for 5CMC to bring them all back instead of draw power? Or also Return to the Ranks but not as good for this, I think.

September 8, 2015 8:51 p.m.

Atony1400 says... #33

It could use some tabs,

December 23, 2015 4:41 p.m.

car says... #34

hi. how are you finding knights vs just plain humans

February 11, 2016 12:49 a.m.

Trupianom says... #35

Did you consider swapping out Elspeth, Knight-Errant for Gideon, Ally of Zendikar since he produces knight tokens?

February 17, 2016 3:43 a.m.

Tyrannosary says... #36

I'd take a look at this deck and make some updates especially since twin is banned. In your maybe board the only card there worth staying in there is Brave the Elements.

March 1, 2016 10:45 p.m.

ninjaclevs13 says... #37

Splash green for Collected Company? Good SB cards in green too

March 23, 2016 1:58 p.m.

Blood13lade says... #38

nice deck hey if u like tribal check out my kor tribal! =)

May 22, 2016 2:30 a.m.

IZZETannoying says... #39

Don't know if you still care to update this deck, but Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, as he is not only a more flavorful addition, but he spawns knights, and can make his emblem immediately, plus he can do it repeatedly if you play smart.

May 30, 2016 9:22 p.m.

Thanks for your comments everyone! It's been a long absence from Tapped but i'm going to try to address everything tommorow. In the meantime I have modified the decklist to reflect the one I have been using in tournament play - this one is tried and tested against tons of T1/T1.5 decks and has a relatively strong win record

June 18, 2016 8:02 p.m.

Replies to comments from over a year ago - sorry if this is a surprise in your inbox!

@Tyrannosary: You're right, I didn't really discuss how to approach burn. I've since modified the deck from when you last saw it to match the MTGO version I have been using, which has had a VERY strong success rate in the competitive meta (I believe around a 60% winrate). When dealing with burn, as Xinofos mentioned, the incremental life from Knight of Meadowgrain and sideboard potential (mainly in the form of Kor Firewalker) gives you a strong edge over burn in rounds 2 and 3. Against Storm you pretty much HAVE to have a Kor Firewalker out or its GG. Rest in Peace is similarly very strong against Storm but you will ideally want some sort of lifegain before the combo starts. Against goblins and RDW, the emphasis is again on Meadowgrain/Firewalker. Against Zoo, it's a relatively even match, and it will come down to how reasonable your draws are. Also to Atony1400, I'm going to thoroughly update my deck description and formatting in about a week or so.

@ tain: The Immortal Servitude suggestion isn't a bad one. With my newly modified list, however, there are fewer knights in the 2cmc slot and I don't think it would be as relevant as it would be for 3 drop knights - although that is realistically asking for too much mana in most games. I've always been intrigued by Return to the Ranks to pick up some Student of Warfares and other 2 drops in a late game, but the sorcery speed is a little rough. I may yet give it a try, though!

@ car: Thanks for your comment - i've played a few pure human decks on MTGO's "Tournament Practice" mode (so I am assuming these are competent human tribal decks), and usually I don't have a problem with them. Dealing with a bunch of first strikers ganging up on a single large attacker and hitting first is crushing for them. Against B/W tokens decks, which usually use a lot of humans (and name "Human" via Cavern of Souls) can be challenging, but as long as I draw Knight of Meadowgrain and/or Leonin Skyhunter I can usually disrupt their tempo, turtle, and then overpower them.

@ Trupianom and IZZETannoying: I actually just left a rather large post of this topic on Nensou's Knight Tribal page. My belief with Gideon AoZ is that he is a little too slow and situational. The +0 for a knight token is some great value, but he doesn't bring himself any closer to using his ult while doing it. To use his ult right away is to suicide himself, and his +1 right away doesn't do anything (but does set him up to the Path'd). When he does swing as a 5/5 indestructible on turn 5, your opponent has had a turn to get ready for him and he will probably be chumped by a waiting token. I would probably prefer to have dorks get him out on T3 so that he has more impact on T4, but even then I would probably prefer Elpseth's +3/+3 and flying on a doublestriker instead. WITH that being said, however, I have yet to try him out in a real match. He may function well as a glorified Heliod, God of the Sun, although as a planeswalker he is unfortunately always open to being attacked directly on your opponents turn. I won't rule him out yet until he's had a chance to prove himself.

@ ninjaclevs13: Thanks for the comment! If I were to splash green, I would want to add more than just CoCo - probably also Knight of the Reliquary, Qasali Pridemage, Wilt-Leaf Liege, Rancor, etc. This would fundamentally change the essence of the deck, and the midrange power offered by Light from Within and Hero of Bladehold wouldn't have the same kind of support. If you're interested in seeing a knights deck like this, Nabbydian (from the MTG Salvation forums) runs a Knights Primer page and has a very well-tuned GW list. I made a copy of it here for playtesting purposes: Modern Knights - Selesnya. In the event that I did ONLY splash CoCo, it would be competing with my other 4 drop slots (likely Hero of Bladehold) and could probably work. My only issue, however, is personally not owning any fetchlands. Exclusively using 4 Temple Garden and 4 Sunpetal Grove may not be enough. The SB options may be a justifying factor: having access to Choke, Dromoka's Command, etc. would be very useful. I'll have to give it a try sometime!

June 25, 2016 1:51 a.m.

thundering1 says... #42

Hi there! Actually, it was the thread for Nensou's Knight Tribal that I came across your fantastic and thorough advice, which was oddly summarily dismissed. I'm looking for advice for one of my decks:

I've got no illusions that I would come out on top at a tournament - I would just like to have a good showing. Win some, lose the rest, have fun.

My overall goal is spend the first part of the game doing control as much as possible, then coming in when I think it is more clear for my creatures, try to keep them alive in the process, and overrun them while gaining life as well as making my opponents lose life.

ANY help you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

December 20, 2016 6:08 p.m.

@ thundering1: Thanks for the kind words! I am sorry this reply is four months late. I would be happy to take a look at your deck and give it an honest analysis. It would seem you are looking for a sort of defensive-aggro strategy, where you secure your position/lock down threats, and then strike hard when the time is right. Give me a few hours and i'll have a post made.

April 4, 2017 4:28 p.m.

Nightlight.-_ says... #44


August 29, 2017 7:19 p.m.

SynergyBuild says... #45

Switch the 3xDisenchant in the sideboard for 3xFragmentize my friend!

October 23, 2017 1:32 p.m.

SynergyBuild says... #46

Oh, and control is a surprisingly easy matchup in white, I just sideboard in Pithing Needle for Liliana of the Veil or Celestial Colonnade, Mana Tithe for the idiots that tap out to board wipe, and Luminarch Ascension as the preferred late game sideboard finisher.

I would change the sideboard up a bit, with Stony Silence being fun Affinity/Eldrazi Tron hate, and one of the only commonly used ones, I quite like a single copy of both Stony Silence and Kataki, War's Wage against artifacts, a Rest in Peace and a Tormod's Crypt, finishing the specific hate with a copy of Burrenton Forge-Tender and a Kor Firewalker. 3xPithing Needle is also fine. This leaves six open spaces, with what I would fill with 3x of Fragmentize and 2x of Luminarch Ascension and a single of Mana Tithe.

The finishing sideboard would be:

1xStony Silence

1xKataki, War's Wage

1xRest in Peace

1xTormod's Crypt

1xKor Firewalker

1xBurrenton Forge-Tender

3xPithing Needle

2xLuminarch Ascension


1xMana Tithe

October 23, 2017 2:43 p.m.

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Date added 6 years
Last updated 3 months

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.20
Tokens 2/1 Cleric, 2/2 Cat, 1/1 Soldier
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Top rank #36 on 2013-06-09
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Revision 67 See all

3 months ago)

-2 Cavern of Souls main
+2 Plains main