Note: primer still in progress. Current playtest list is here.

The deck ideally plays as low curve hatebear deck that stops people from doing broken things until it can assemble a combo finish, playing to white's strength in tutors for equipment, creatures, and lands. Think of it like Death and Taxes meets Metalworker MUD meets Kai Budde's Pro Tour Chicago 2000 deck.

Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero enables this game plan in a way that makes her much better than traditional hate bear commanders like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Gaddock Teeg . Just as a preview, Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero can help you draw cards (sometimes infinite cards), ramp your mana (sometimes infinite mana), and bring in a game-ending alpha strike (sometimes with infinite/infinite creatures). She can also gain you infinite life, a feature that makes this deck a huge problem for any decks that plan on turning creatures sideways (a style of deck that often preys on hate bear decks).

The Win Conditions

I find it useful to start with win conditions. This deck uses a small redundant win condition package based in artifacts, creatures, and lands.

The three kill spells are:

Walking Ballista

Aetherflux Reservoir

Mirror Entity

All of these are tutorable in mono-white, and Mirror Entity is specifically tutorable with Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero . Mirror Entity really takes advantage of the fact that this a hate bear deck the often has many creatures on the board - you're bound to break through any blockers.

The deck has a compact package to generate the infinite mana or life needed to win. The first is the famous rebel infinite life combo.

The Infinite Life Combo

If you play Rebels, you need to play the infinite life combo. Infinite life isn't great against Commander damage or combo decks, but it does shut down many decks completely and enables wins with Aetherflux Reservoir . There are a few ways to pull off the infinite life combo with Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero using the Life.dec combo:

Group A:

Task Force

Group B:

Outrider en-Kor

Umbral Mantle

Infinite mana + Basilisk Collar / Skullclamp

Group C:

Miren, the Moaning Well

All of the pieces are toolbox-tutorable. You can also gain infinite life a few other ways:

Infinite Mana + Staff of Domination

Infinite Mana + Mirror Entity + Miren, the Moaning Well

Infinite Mana + Children of Korlis + Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero + Umbral Mantle + Ancient Tomb / Shefet Dunes /Fetchland

So how do we make infinite mana?

The Infinite Mana Combos

The two cards at the center of this package are Metalworker and Rings of Brighthearth . They are good spells independent of their combo potential, and both are tutorable in mono-white.

First, a combo that involves them both:

Metalworker + Rings of Brighthearth + Staff of Domination (requires 2 artifacts in hand)

The two Metalworker -specific infinite mana combos are:

Metalworker + Staff of Domination (requires 3 artifacts in hand)

Metalworker + Umbral Mantle (requires 2 artifacts in hand)

Comboing with Staff of Domination will win the game on the spot, with either Walking Ballista or Aetherflux Reservoir . Umbral Mantle can also pump the whole team under certain circumstances ( Paradise Mantle or Smuggler's Copter in play), but usually needs an addition way to find a pay-off. It's often fun to use this combo:

Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero + Skullclamp + Umbral Mantle

Just keep Rebel tutoring for a X/1 rebel, clamping, and bottoming to draw your whole deck.

The two Rings of Brighthearth -specific combos:

Basalt Monolith + Rings of Brighthearth

Deserted Temple + Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx + Rings of Brighthearth (requires devotion to white of 6+)

The land based combo is nice as it doesn't take up more non-land card slots. And of course, with either of the Rings-based infinite mana combos, you can throw in Sensei's Divining Top to draw your deck.

The Hatebears

In order to combo off, you need to survive until you have the right cards. This deck uses hatebears to stop your opponents from running wild too early on.

We like to slow the game down. We use a tax package of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben , Glowrider , Vryn Wingmare and Thorn of Amethyst (I know, not a bear) to slow down people looking to ramp, cantrip, or tutor.

We need to hate on combo decks, or we'll lose because they're faster than us. We pack Aven Mindcensor because they're bound to need tutor, Spirit of the Labyrinth because they're bound to need to draw extra cards, and Ethersworn Canonist because most combo decks prefer to cast multiple spells a turn. Sanctum Prelate also just says no to a lot of combo decks. When in doubt, set to two - we don't have a lot of non-creature spells at 2 CMC and most other decks will. Hope of Ghirapur can shut someone down for a turn when you know they might be ready to go off.

We can hate on graveyard-based combo decks with Remorseful Cleric and Samurai of the Pale Curtain . It's important that Protean Hulk doesn't hit the graveyard, so we also include a Rest in Peace . Even if it does, we have a Scavenger Grounds to stop any nonsense afterwards.

We can hate on Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker combo decks with Thalia, Heretic Cathar and Linvala, Keeper of Silence . Blind Obedience also helps here, in addition to slowing down fast mana.

We can hate on creature-based decks with our heavy package of removal, but nothing feels spicier than depriving people attack triggers with Whipcorder . Zealot il-Vec also kills mana dorks and can wear a Basilisk Collar to clear out problems ( Walking Ballista likes the Collar too). You also can grab Bound in Silence with the rebel tutors, which gets around hexproof and shroud to shut down the likes of Narset, Enlightened Master .

It's good to play at instant speed, and also good when your hatebears aren't countered. Aether Vial is great with our curve.

Protecting and Enabling Going off

The game goes best no one can stop you. To ensure this, the deck includes some low cost protection.

Grand Abolisher and Hope of Ghirapur can protect you on the turn you go off. Cavern of Souls and Aether Vial can protect you from counters to some extent as well.

Mother of Runes and Eiganjo Castle specifically protect Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero when you're using her as an outlet, but Mother of Runes can also protect your hate bears and Metalwoker (and Eiganjo Castle hits a few other bears).

The Tutors

The deck runs several toolboxes in the forms off Rebels, Artifacts/Equipments, Enchantments/Auras, Weenies, and Lands.

The Rebel toolbox can be accessed with Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero , Defiant Falcon , and Ramosian Sergeant .

The Artifact and Equipment toolboxes can be accessed used Enlightened Tutor and Inventors' Fair , and the Equipment toolbox can be additionally accessed with Open the Armory , Stoneforge Mystic , and Steelshaper's Gift .

The Enchantment and Aura toolboxes can be accessed using Enlightened Tutor . The aura toolbox can also be accessed using Open the Armory .

The weenie toolbox accessible by Recruiter of the Guard .

The land toolbox is accessible using Expedition Map and Weathered Wayfarer .

Grinding Out Card Advantage

The deck has some ways to grind out card advantage/quality. Of course, Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero can net you a card each activation, which is helpful for building devotion or putting enough creatures into play for a lethal Mirror Entity . In addition to that you have the following engines:

Land Tax + Scroll Rack

Mask of Memory

Palace Jailer

Smuggler's Copter

Skullclamp

Card advantage is the deck's major weakness, so if you have time to setup one of these engines, do so ASAP. Smuggler's Copter and Mask of Memory are great for making use of your creatures while filtering though lands you've pulled from Land Tax , Tithe , or Weathered Wayfarer , as well hatebears that aren't relevant to the match or Rebels you probably don't want to waste time casting.

Suggestions

Updates Add

I haven't update in a while, but here's the results of two years of tightening up!

My goal was to tighten up the win-con to the smallest package possible, add some tax and anti-combo effects, and add combo protection. The deck's ultimate goal is:

  1. Slow down the game and stop broken plays.
  2. Put together a win condition that is protected in some way.
  3. Win.

First, what was added:

The tax package:

+1 Glowrider +1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben +1 Vryn Wingmare +1 Thorn of Amethyst

The deck now leans more into Thalia effects on hate bears. I've found have a tax effect on the board to slow the game down just enough to let me get to a safe combo position.

The stax bears:

+1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence +1 Sanctum Prelate +1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar

These girls shut down lots of strategies. Big Thalia punishes greedy mana bases and kills Splinter Twin / Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker combos, while Linvala shuts down most creature-based combos and value engines. Sanctum Prelate is normally on 2 - we have very little in the slot and it stops plenty of ramp, draw, removal (sorry Cyclonic Rift , and combo pieces. You can also put on 5+ without it interfering with anything you do. 4 is an option if you're willing to forgo the Aetherflux Reservoir win to stop Wrath effects. Pretty much never put it on 3.

We have new, improved graveyard hate bears:

+1 Remorseful Cleric +1 Samurai of the Pale Curtain

Remorseful Cleric is a great new addition, while the fox is new spice. Samurai shuts down death triggers, which means no Protean Hulk triggers, Animate Dead loops, or Karmic Guide loops. It also makes Meren of Clan Nel Toth and The Gitrog Monster a lot less annoying.

Then the combo protections bears:

+1 Grand Abolisher +1 Tithe Taker

These, combined with Hope of Ghirapur and the other tax effects, really help to protect me the turn I go off. Tithe Taker is also fun with Skullclamp .

New removal:

+1 Conclave Tribunal

This card is almost always a better Oblivion Ring in this deck. I cast it for free all the time, and my tax bears can be tapped to cast it, negating their effect on it.

New engines:

+1 Smothering Tithe +1 Smuggler's Copter

With the print of the Smothering Tithe , we have a new mana engine. Our draw isn't great, but now their draw accelerates us. It turns on Metalcraft easily and a few turns of Smothering Tithe can make a lethal non-infinite Mirror Entity .

Smuggler's Copter is a nice way to filter through rebels that end up in hand, or turn lands from Land Tax into something more useful. It also lets you tap your creatures whenever, which means if you go off with Metalworker + Umbral Mantle but don't have a non-summoning sick Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero to get Mirror Entity , you can still pump the team.

+1 Darksteel Citadel

I've felt I sometimes just miss winning with Metalworker . Now Weathered Wayfarer can get two artifact lands, which is enough to win with Umbral Mantle .

+1 Wasteland

I love killing lands. The extra Strip Mine effect has been helpful.

Now, what I removed. From my win conditions, I removed:

-1 Serra Ascendant -1 Teferi's Puzzle Box -1 Helm of Obedience

Serra Ascendent is a powerful card, but the best it did was get me to Aetherflux Reservoir life naturally. This doesn't seem like a good goal and I'd rather replace it with a real hate bear.

Teferi's Puzzle Box was a good draw engine with the Land Tax effects and fun with Smothering Tithe , but slow at 4 mana. The lock with Spirit of the Labyrinth was also good and usually did win me the game, but it uses parts completely independent of all my other win conditions. I decided to remove the lock.

Rest in Peace + Helm is a great combo in 1v1, but not as great in 4 player. Also, Helm does very little on it's own. The rebels are already bad enough in my hands, nevermind a 4 mana artifact that does almost nothing to advance my general strategy. I decided to remove this win con (keeping RIP, because RIP is good on it's own).

With the removal of these three, I was able to trim my tutor package:

-1 Ranger of Eos -1 Idyllic Tutor

Ranger of Eas is a weird card. It can grab Walking Ballista when I'm going off or Weathered Wayfarer to tutor combo pieces, but it costs 4 mana to do so. With Serra Ascendent leaving, I'm not sure I want a second Walking Ballista that costs 4 more but can sometimes also do other stuff.

If I'm not trying to win with Spirt of the Labyrinth or Rest in Peace , I'm not willing to pay 3 mana for an Enchantment tutor. It feels bad to tap 6 so that I can kill a permanent.

I then removed two cards that never felt like they did much.

-1 Sword of Feast and Famine -1 Sword of Fire and Ice

While I have a lot of equipment tutors and creatures to hold swords, they cost a lot of mana to play and the pump isn't worth it. Sword of Fire and Ice is a nice draw engine, but I'd always rather grab Skullclamp for that. Sword of Feast and Famine would be great if I planned to have more than 3-4 lands out.

I also removed some of the bad hate bears:

-1 Heap Doll -1 Lightbringer -1 Stonecloaker

I found Heap Doll and Stonecloaker to be outclassed by two other graveyard hatebears, especially now that I removed the Ranger of Eas to tutor for Heap Doll . Lightbringer is good if you have a lot of black in your meta, but I let it go for now in exchange for the new hate bears.

Changes to removal:

-1 Oblivion Ring -1 Parallax Wave -1 Mouth of Ronom -1 Seal of Cleansing

Parallax Wave is slow for what it does, and I don't have Opalescence in the list. Oblivion Ring just got outclassed, and Mouth of Ronom sadly needed to go so that my mana base can support WW and still have enough artifacts for Metalworker , Mox Opal , and Inventors' Fair . Seal of Cleansing got cut because I don't play Idyllic Tutor anymore so the enchantment package isn't quite as important, and with the new tax package spells need to be more impactful.

Then the miscellaneous:

-1 Tragic Poet -1 Jeweled Amulet -1 High Market -1 Gift of Estates

Tragic Poet was always clunky because it taps to activate. Jeweled Amulet is sadly too slow, as much as I love the poor man's Mox. High Market was good when I played Academy Rector , but now it's just there to kill things with Skullclamp and that's not good enough. Gift of Estates is a pet favorite of mine, but without Teferi's Puzzlebox it's less powerful and in the presence of a tax package it's far too clunky.

The deck now feels really tight, and I ever card seems like it could never be removed. If new hatebears come out next set, I might explode trying to fit them in.

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