What, Exactly, is Wrong with White, Currently?

General forum

Posted on Jan. 26, 2021, 10:36 p.m. by DemonDragonJ

Recently, players have been complaining that white is weaker than the other colors, but I wish to examine the issue more closely, to understand why the players believe that.

White is my favorite color in this game, so I naturally wish for it to have powerful cards, but I shall admit that there have been some white cards that could have been better. For example, I feel that Court of Grace, the white card in the court cycle in Commander Legends, is underwhelming compared to the others, and I also think that both Ravenform and Masked Vandal should have been white.

On the other hand, Akroma's Will is an amazing card, so, clearly, white is not always the worst color, either for single cards or in cycles.

What does everyone else say about this? What, exactly, is wrong with white, currently?

goodair says... #2

Outside of them printing cards that should of been in white's identity as you mentioned, I don't see the problem either. White is a defensive color, and is great at stax/removal and just stalling the game.

January 26, 2021 11:37 p.m.

JeanYass says... #3

i don't think Masked Vandal should have been in white. green is the primary color for artifact and enchantment removal anyway.

January 27, 2021 12:18 a.m.

Insane lack of Card Advantage, Ramp, or interesting cards...

January 27, 2021 12:30 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #5

What's white known for?

Lifegain? Green and black are as able as white at gaining life, while also progressing the game/board while doing so.

Removal? Black deals with specifically single target creature better than white can. Enchantments and artifacts are removed as easily, if not more so, by green. Oblivion Ring effects? Not a permanent solution, often suboptimal. Boardwipes? Damnation , Toxic Deluge , Blasphemous Act and Cyclonic Rift are more popular than Wrath of God . But Planar Cleansing is a purely white effect right...? Hello Boompile , Oblivion Stone and Nevinyrral's Disk , which are playable in every deck.

Tokens then? But Doubling Season and Parallel Lives are green cards. White has the best non-tribal anthems, like Glorious Anthem , but most commander decks that actually win by those effects, usually are tribal, and have plenty of lords that synergize better with the deck.

So what does a deck need to actually be functional? Most will say you'll need a decent amount of carddraw and ramp. White ramp is actually catching up lately, but almost all white ramp is dependent on artifacts or your opponents ( Knight of the Reliquary effects). Smothering Tithe helps though. White carddraw is either the Monarch, which every other color has cards for, or it's Mentor of the Meek and Bygone Bishop , which impose fairly heavy restrictions on your deck, to play low-impact creature cards in your 99. There is no white Rhystic Study , Outpost Siege , Guardian Project or Phyrexian Arena .

And finally, what else is white lacking? A (big mana) spell that can win the game on the spot. Like Torment of Hailfire , Craterhoof Behemoth , Insurrection or Thassa's Oracle . White splashy spells will create an imposing boardstate, but you'll need to actually untap to attack and win the game, giving your opponents a full turn to respond. The closest white has is Approach of the Second Sun which you can see coming 7 cards in advance.

So there's no real unique reason to play White in your deck. White only shines in being annoying, with Rule of Law , Drannith Magistrate , Ghostly Prison , Thalia, Guardian of Thraben , Blind Obedience and Armageddon , which not everyone (understatement) likes playing against. So if you'd ask me, the lack of carddraw, unique strategies & finishers, and the play-stax-or-lose image, are the main problems white is dealing with right now.

January 27, 2021 12:52 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #6

January 27, 2021 12:59 a.m.

MagicMarc says... #7

First, White is one of my favorite colors and a lot of my decks are mono white or White/Splash secondary color.

The big problem with white is it doesnt really have an identity that is strongly supported by cards. It doesnt have anything unique to white that isnt done better by other colors.

Generally speaking, White mechanically is not really the best at anything useful for winning games.

If it does have a good card, there isnt support for that card. If it does have a good card, other colors have a card that does the same thing but better. Then the only good things white has going for it, Stax or Prison, is hugely unpopular with the player community. Its too slow to win with in 60 card formats. In commander it quickly turns into 1v3 against the Stax/Prison player.

Add to that, poor/narrow card advantage, poor/narrow ramp and little/No specific cards that are win conditions then you end up with a very unpopular color. Smothering tithe is so good

WotC is to blame for this because of color pie creep from other colors gaining White's utility/answers. And for not printing strong cards for white in general.

If you look at the top 8 in any format the only white decks that appear are generally not high up the list and are either weenie/human aggro or hatebears. Both of those archetypes are heavily disadvantaged versus the rest of the field. If weenie doesnt dream hand/perfect start, it loses. Hatebears is slow, so generally, loses. Look at Standard 2021 for an example of what's wrong with White. What is the best card in White right now? Selfless Savior ? Glorious Anthem ? Speaker of the Heavens ? Outside of a couple very narrow archetypes all of these cards suck. The reason they see play is because of how bad all of the rest of White is. In what universe outside of a combo deck would any of those cards normally see play? The only reason Selfless Savior is in a deck is because it's format includes Embercleave .<--- Not White.

I won't list how many extremely good cards any other color has. But at least 2 of the other colors have cards so good they are either banned or in the process of warping the entire Magic meta.

January 27, 2021 1:15 a.m.

JeanYass says... #8

theres actually an episode of "dies to removal" that addresses this topic, and i think they did it perfectly. white is a good support color, but unfortunately its strengths don't seem to be well suited for the commander format. even the best white removal gives the opponent something in return, as shown in Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile. outside of those, white removal is usually "overcosted" (3+ mana) and can be "undone", such as with things like Oblivion Ring.

tokens is one thing white does better than any other color (i hard disagree that mono green can do tokens better than mono white) but that just leaves you at the mercy of the various board wipes common in commander.

January 27, 2021 1:27 a.m.

wallisface says... #9

Speaking from the perspective of Modern, I think white is perfectly fine.

Currently the second-most played deck is a white deck "Hammer Time". Outside of that, White also has "Death & Taxes" that sees decent play (at least in my local meta, but also elsewhere). White also sees a lot of play in conjunction with other colours, with WU Spirits, WG Heliod-Company, WR Burn. And has a strong presence in both Control and AdNaus.

I think white flavourfully is fine. It does a lot of great things, its just they're not as obvious, or "in your face" as some (all?) of the other colours.

While I can't talk too much for formats outside of Modern, my understanding is that white performs perfectly fine in Standard, Draft, Sealed etc. The whole "white sucks" mantra is, imo, stemming from Commander. My personal view on that standpoint, as someone who has no interest in Commander, is that I'm not a fan of it warping what gets released into sets aimed at Standard play. But it will be interesting to see how Wizards buckles to accommodate the current community outcry.

January 27, 2021 1:39 a.m.

JeanYass says... #10

wallisface: i'm not against white having powerful cards in standard that can keep up with other standard powerhouses. if they think a white card is too powerful for standard they can just add it to other supplementary product.

January 27, 2021 1:53 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #11

I didn't mean mono G does tokens better, I meant, if you have a token deck of any variety, seeking support cards, splashing green will probably benefit you more than splashing white.

My argument was made in that regard, not comparing mono colors, but comparing reasons to play white in your deck over the other available colors.

Fun fact: if you look at the commander ban list, all banned white cards are there because they're literally too annoying to play against:

Balance - dump your hand of free artifacts, make everyone discard their hand, sacrifice their creatures and their lands, and gloat.

Iona, Shield of Emeria - forbids magic from being played.

Karakas - every deck has at least one legend the deck was built around. Free bouncing that is as annoying as it gets.

Limited Resources - forbids magic from being played.

Shahrazad - I heard you like magic, so I've put some magic in your magic, so you can play magic while playing magic. Having fun yet?

On top of that, out of the seven cards banned for racist depiction, three are white. Maybe that's why the color gets a time out right now.

All I hear about this from Wizards, from random MaRo or Gavin conversations, or the Tolarian Community College videos dedicated to the topic, states that Wizards is aware of the problem, and is thinking about how to solve it. Seeing how they work about three years in advance, we might see some change in upcoming years.

January 27, 2021 1:59 a.m.

JeanYass says... #12

plakjekaas: i'm not subscribed to this forum and only saw your comment on the main page by pure chance. with tokens, one does not splash white. white would be the primary color, with green being the splash. red, black, and blue would not be the primary color for tokens. most of those white cards you mentioned though actually are legitimately powerful (at least in commander). Limited Resources doesn't actually forbid magic from being played though. 5 lands is a decent amount for most spells, and thats before taking into account mana dorks or mana rocks. its also plenty enough mana to cast some enchantment removal. i'm actually really surprised to find out it's banned.

January 27, 2021 2:23 a.m.

Mcat1999 says... #13

All five colors want to win the game in different ways.

Blue wants to acquire information (scry, draw, manipulation) and get this information out there. It doesn't care too much, generally, about creatures and the creatures that are staples are typically ones which progress blue's natural desire to control the flow of information. Control information, also in the way of counterspells.

Black wants to see the graveyard be used. It wants to see you use your life total and hand as an expendable resource. Black wants to live on the edge of the abyss and throw itself in. If you can kill yourself to win the game by taking out others, black will do it in a dead heartbeat. It's cruel, violent and destructive. This is why black has plenty of wraths and plenty of removal.

Red wants to explode, literally. It wants to throw as much as it can out as soon as possible. Red does not care if its a 1/1 or a 5/5. All red cares about is going faster than everyone else. Red will burn its own house down if it means burning down the entire neighborhood. Red wants to win by being faster than everyone else, no exceptions.

Green wants to win by calling upon the natural forces of nature. This is why green loves ramp / land tutors, why it loves enchantments, why it loves tokens and why it loves the biggest and beefiest of bois. It's why green's "removal" is fighting.

So what does white want? White represents society. It represents control. It represents unity. White doesn't want draw because it wants to stall everyone and control everyone. This is why white has heavy tax cards, prison effects, exile effects. White puts soldiers on the front line to die as it pushes it's corruption and agenda. White wins by slowly grinding your opponents down to their last few resources. White wants to set up prisons, set up taxes and thrive. This is why white has so many life-gaining spells, be it in lifelink or in spells that give 1 - 3 life whenever something happens.

So to answer the question, the reason white feels so weak is because the community keeps pushing to find faster and faster ways to win the game. White is designed to draw the game out as long as possible to be as difficult as possible. White draws the length of the game out by creating the divide between your opponent's life total and your own life total even greater. While it is true that having 30, 40 or 50 life when your opponent has 20 or 10 doesn't win you the game, it is equally true that it makes it that much more significantly for your opponent to win as they have a much steeper mountain to climb. White will see a threat on the field and exile it, imprison it, tax it, etc. White wins by playing the long-con. But in an ever-increasing competitive atmosphere, winning on turn 10 or turn 15 is pointless when you can win on turn 4 or sooner.

White isn't "bad", or "unbalanced". It isn't "weak" or "garbage."

White is designed actually really well. But the community doesn't want to play the game to have fun anymore, they want to play the game to win. So when all you have is a community looking to win on turn 3 or sooner, white arbitrarily feels weaker.

And so if you feel white is underpowered, it's probably because your group is playing hyper-aggressively.

And if white was truly underpowered, why is it in some of the strongest color spectrums that see consistent competitive play, such as Azorius, Mardu (in Kaladesh), Selesnya, Esper and Boros?

White wins by dragging the game out longer and using other colors to its own advantage.

January 27, 2021 2:40 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #14

Have you played Mardu in Kaladesh? That was not a drag-out-the-game deck. It used Thraben Inspector , Toolcraft Exemplar and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar along with vehicles to pressure your opponent really fast.

Your analysis left out the part where white is also the color of Savannah Lions and Isamaru, Hound of Konda . And those are strong enough cards in other formats, because it's 1v1 and because it's only 20 life. White weenie tactics don't translate that well to 40 life multiplayer, thàts why you can't win turn 4 in white in commander, with 120 life opposing you instead of just 20. When you use the stax way to compensate for that, drag everyone down to your level, you'll have three opponents annoyed that their playing pace have slowed down, with three times the answers to oppose your plan.

Don't get me wrong, I love playing mono white, but all the sighs from across the table whenever I do what white does best, tells me that white's probably the least enjoyable color to play against. People don't like getting their spells countered, an argument could be made for blue, but a counterspell is just once, move on and forget about it. A Deafening Silence is a constant reminder why I'm preventing you from executing your plan. A Day of Judgment is a conscious effort to destroy everything you've been playing for the last 5 turns.

White is full of powerful effects just as any other color, but where a red explosion turn can leave you impressed by everything that just happened, a green Craterhoof can make you scratch yourself behind your ear how you went from 36 to -152 life, black's race to finish you before accidentally finishing themselves keeps you on the edge of your seat, and blue's gigantic card advantage potential leaves you jealous, white's strongest avenues to victory will almost always upset all opponents. When you pay Real Life taxes, at least the community will benefit from it. Nobody likes to be put in prison. Which is a problem when you're gathered with a few others for a night of fun, and the white deck is trying its best to prevent the rest of the table from having their fun.

Suppressing others from having fun to have your own is a great competitive 1v1 tactic to annoy your opponent, make them prone to more mistakes, but it's terrible for social multiplayer formats if you want to get invited back. That's White's image issue. Combine that with the in-game inability to keep up with the other colors in both cards in hand and available resources to spend in a turn, and you've summed up pretty concise how white is typically bottom in most rankings.

January 27, 2021 10:19 a.m.

JeanYass says... #15

plakjekaas it might be beneficial to tag who you're talking to, for a couple of reasons. firstly it's difficult to know for sure who you're addressing, and secondly that person might not be subscribed to the thread, meaning its possible they won't even see your comment.

January 27, 2021 12:43 p.m.

TriusMalarky says... #16

Let's look at this from a cEDH perspective -- every color combo in cEDH has a viable strategy.

But then you look at white and the monowhite deck, Teshar, is . . . artifact.dec with a white splash. It's literally Modern KCI in EDH form.

Then, what does white do for the other decks it's in? Deafening Silence, Rest in Peace, Stony Silence, Aven Mindcensor, Leonin Arbiter, Thalia . . .

Yes, those cards are good. But they all do similar things, and in the end they can be boring. And white's only other pro in cEDH is that it has the best creature removal, possibly second only to . . . blue.

January 27, 2021 4:19 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #17

TriusMalarky, blue having better creature removal than does black is definitely very wrong, so I hope that WotC is aware of that and working to address that.

As for the main subject, I am of the opinion that, of the five iconic mythic rare creatures in Magic 2014, Archangel of Thune was easily the best, with the red and green creatures being close seconds, but the black and blue creatures being rather forgettable, although that was many years, ago, so may not be entirely relevant to the current situation.

January 27, 2021 5:08 p.m.

plakjekaas says... #18

Possibly a nice thing to add to the topic: the thing white does do well in commander right now, is equipment. White has tutors for them (Steelshaper's Gift, Stoneforge Mystic), creatures that synergize with them (Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist, Balan, Wandering Knight), even raw card draw (Sram, Senior Edificer, Puresteel Paladin).

A deck focused on equipment, that does not play white, is doing itself a disservice. It might be a little shallow for a unique identity, especially because it spills over into Boros a lot, but praise where it's due, equipment is what's right about white.

January 27, 2021 8 p.m.

JeanYass says... #19

TriusMalarky: blue is "the" worst color for creature removal.

January 27, 2021 11:24 p.m.

JeanYass between Pongify , Rapid Hybridization , Reality Shift , Ravenform , and various polymorph effects I think Blue is solidly ahead of Red in the creature-removal category, at least in Commander (because burn has a hard time killing the random huge things people play)

January 27, 2021 11:31 p.m.

JeanYass says... #21

Omniscience_is_life there are plenty of big red spells, like Banefire and Burn from Within. sure blue has a "couple" of things, but red has significantly more total burn spells than blue has ways of dealing with resolved creatures.

January 27, 2021 11:34 p.m.

JeanYass those cards you mentioned are not playable in non specifically burn-based strategies. It's true that Red has more ways to deal with creatures, but it's a quality over quantity situation--Blue has very efficient, clean answers, if only a few. Not to mention the hyperstaple Cyc Rift , or the fact that it can answer any card on the stack. Blue is solidly better at removal.

January 27, 2021 11:45 p.m.

JeanYass says... #23

Omniscience_is_life: they are absolutely playable outside of burn. red is solidly better at removal.

January 27, 2021 11:46 p.m.

I'm not going to continue this conversation with you on this forum, JeanYass, especially if it's going to devolve into a "yes it is/no it isn't" one. You may post on my wall if you want to have real dialogue about the efficacy of Red removal in EDH. Sorry to disrupt DemonDragonJ.

January 27, 2021 11:50 p.m.

JeanYass says... #25

Omniscience_is_life think what you want, its of no consequence to me. i dont plan on running mono blue and so wouldn't touch Pongify with a 10ft pole.

January 27, 2021 11:57 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #26

White doesn't excel at much of anything in comparison to other colors. Outside of a few key cards it's just bleh. I thought they'd push it a bit more but I'm not hopfully currently.

January 28, 2021 12:01 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #27

JeanYass Blue has all the bounce to deal with resolved creatures, not to mention all the auras that take away abilities or tap a creature forever. On top of that, in a singleton format where you spend 5-10 slots on average on removal, it doesn't matter how many answers your color has past those "couple" of things. If you can fill all your slots with 1-3 mana spells that permanently deal with the problem posed by a Elder Gargaroth , like Pongify , Rapid Hybridization , Reality Shift , Imprisoned in the Moon , Ravenform and Capsize , you're doing better than Red. Can you name 6 spells in red that cost less mana than an Elder Gargaroth that will deal with that creature? Because I'm having a hard time doing so. Blasphemous Act and Chaos Warp and maybe Transmogrify are the best things I can come up with. Red might have more removal, but it's not better removal.

January 28, 2021 12:08 a.m.

JeanYass says... #28

plakjekaas i'm not gonna count bounce spells, because it can just be recast. the spells that take away abilities or tap down a creature are typically permanents that can be removed, and the opponent just gets their creature again. blue is not doing better than red, especially when you're still leaving the opponent a creature. red is definitely better removal when the majority of it also has the option of targeting players and planeswalkers, and thats why it cost more mana.

Aftershock, Fall of the Hammer, Blitz of the Thunder-Raptor, Dogpile, Firecannon Blast, Firestorm.

January 28, 2021 12:19 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #29

JeanYass Yeah, apart from Aftershock , all your suggestions depend on other cards to actually suffice for the proposed goal.

To get back on track, the reason people say white is the color of removal is because Alpha had Swords to Plowshares and Wrath of God . Which are the best at what they do because they're cheap, and they're unconditional. They don't need you to have X instants and sorceries in your graveyard, they don't need you to have a big, or many small creatures in play, they don't need you to have 6 expendable cards in hand you have the luxury of being able to discard and don't miss. You just pay the mana cost and the threat is dealt with, with usually that spent mana being just a fraction of the mana cost of the threat(s) it removed. Leaving you with a great tempo advantage and the opportunity to rebuild firstto get ahead.

And I understand that inexperienced players fear the 3/3 they give away with a Pongify , because they started in Standard or 60 card casual kitchen table, where an opposing 3/3 can be a problem. But in Commander, where creatures are mainly played for their utility, not their power/toughness, and you have life to spare and are not in danger of bleeding out to a single small creature, especially when there's more opponents that can be attacked, Pongify is the most efficient single target creature removal spell in Temur colors, no matter how long the pole is you won't touch it with.

January 28, 2021 1:17 a.m.

JeanYass says... #30

plakjekaas: they still all met the criteria as you stated, and i didn't even look that hard. you can call Pongify "efficient" till you turn blue in the face (so much for getting back on track eh?) but that doesn't make it true. i'll run Beast Within over Pongify all day every day in temur colors. don't pretend to get back to the topic of white, only to continue your nonsensical argument that blue is somehow good at hard creature removal. calling me inexperienced? saying i fear a 3/3? no dude. i've been playing 15 years. miss me with those baseless assumptions.

January 28, 2021 2:07 a.m.

JeanYass says... #31

i think its rather sad and hilarious that i try to point out blue is simply not the "2nd best" at creature removal, and every blue player here just wants to rant and rave about how "good" blue creature removal is. and yet nobody has even once tried to disagree with me about blue not being 2nd best, instead you argue its better than red. so what if its 4th best? thats still not 2nd best.

January 28, 2021 2:11 a.m.

enpc says... #32

"What does everyone else say about this? What, exactly, is wrong with white, currently?"

This is a bad question, sorry DemonDragonJ. Not only does it assume that A) there definitely is a problm with white (as opposed to "do you think there is an issue with white?") but also B) you're not specifying a format, which makes all the difference in the world.

Have you ever heard the expression “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”? It's kind of what's going with this thread. You're primarily and EDH player and a lot of the comments here from you (and a lot of other people) are about how they think white is a weak colour in EDH.

However white is an absolute powerhouse in legacy and vintage with cards like Swords to Plowshares, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Monastery Mentor and Stoneforge Mystic being some pretty format defining cards. Hell, even mono white weenies is a proficient modern deck. So the implication that "white is bad in general because I don't think it's strong in the format I play" is a very shortsighted opinion to have.

If you're refering specifically to "white is bad in EDH", then this thread should not have been created in geneal discussion. And considering all of the cards you're talking about, it seems like this is more what you were referring to.

January 28, 2021 3:02 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #33

JeanYass That's because you were never trying to point out that blue is simply not the "2nd best" at creature removal. What you actually said was:

JeanYass says...#19

TriusMalarky: blue is "the" worst color for creature removal.


JeanYass says...#23 Omniscience_is_life: they are absolutely playable outside of burn. red is solidly better at removal.

And we went from that to you admitting:

JeanYass says...#31

so what if its 4th best? thats still not 2nd best.

I call that rhetorical progress on my part. Also, I never called you specifically inexperienced. However, I've had a very similar discussion with several inexperienced players who also had a hard time grasping why Pongify is actually good. If you're really playing 3 times as long as I am, I just don't understand why you think leaving a 3/3 behind after dealing with a threat for a single mana at instant speed is worse than taking a full turn off to cast a big enough Burn from Within 2 turns after the threat already started piling up value. Neither do I understand why you do advocate Beast Within while poopooing Pongify , when the similarities are so apparent.

I went back to White to explain why the best removal spells are the best removal spells, and because this thread is about White's (lack of) card quality. Because this is an open forum, anyone might read this, and I like to explain why I think what I think.

The most hilarious part is I'm not even a blue player. I just hate losing to blue, especially when my Ancient Greenwarden turns into a 3/3 green ape creature token, and my opponent still has Counterspell up for my Eternal Witness . How's that for baseless assumptions.

January 28, 2021 3:27 a.m.

ShaDoWz_6677 says... #34

White's issue is pretty apparent. It has no direction. And Black is kinda headed that way too. (Enchantment removal now prominent in Black)

White needs card draw, to strictly be the "Exile" color, or the land tutor to hand color. Something that can get it be serious. Everyone will think that White is the politics color, but it isn't. It's also not the Stax color either.

If they had made Contamination white instead of black, or Nether Void white instead of black, then it would have a focus.

Even if they put Chains of Mephistopheles. If they put Card draw HATE in white, then white would serve a purpose.

Nekusar detracts people front wanting to draw cards. In Grixis. You can easily make White be the bane of blue and be the anti-card draw color and it work. Alms Collector was a great way to start this but they needed to commit to the idea!

EVERYONE says that Opposition Agent should've been White. And I agree. Hell, make Hullbreacher a white card and I'm happy. This way white has something it can do. White has Leonin Arbiter to stop library searching? But theres a way around it. Opposition Agent is in black. There are things that white desperately needs and all of it i basically summed up in here.

White doesn't need big creatures, or white weenies. It doesn't need land destruction, or a way to be " Beast Within " for permanents. Although, Generous Gift was a good card to give to white but i believe that should've been red.

What White NEEDS to be useful, is card draw/exile effects/land tutor to hand/consistent protection/hate pieces to certain abilities (Even if its Anti-land tutor). If you gave white the ability to shut down land tutoring I wouldn't be opposed to that.

Anyway, I'm done posting an entire doctorate on the problem with white.

January 28, 2021 2:55 p.m. Edited.

TriusMalarky says... #35

JeanYass DemonDragonJ plakjekaas Pongify and Rapid Hybridization are second only to Swords to Plowshares. White then also gets Path to Exile, so white has the 1st and 3rd place creature removal while blue has both 2nd place creature removal spells. In EDH, of course. Outside EDH, Doom Blade variants are definitely better than blue's list of creature removal.

ShaDoWz_6677 Black getting one more bad enchantment removal spell is good for the game. I won't go in depth, but every color being able to most things badly and then a few things really well is necessary for balance. However, the quality of black's artifact and enchantment removal is currently as good as it ever needs to be.

enpc pulls a good point -- I thought this was in the EDH forum when I first posted, and white in EDH is pretty sad. But hatebears keep several formats in check, including Pioneer and Standard. White in 60-card has a good number of options. Yes, it's not as good as I'd like it to be(it could be ever so slightly better and maybe it could have some sort of non-weenie non-control non-stax strategy), but it's not as empty as it is in EDH.

January 28, 2021 4:32 p.m.

MagicMarc says... #36

Whenever you talk about a couple of good removal cards as a reason to say White does not suck. You are really saying White sucks.

Removal is not a format. Or color-defining. Or an Archetype. Or unique to White. Or a win condition.

And this is not specific to one format. White is dominant in only 1 format. Pauper. And it was not dominant in that format even 2 months ago. You can argue all you like, But using a card from Alpha printed nearly 30 years ago, Swords to Plowshares, to prove that White does not suck is the defining reason why White needs a lot of help.

January 29, 2021 12:31 a.m.

StopShot says... #37

White needs better ways to draw cards. I’m not saying it needs card draw like blue, but all the other colors, green, black and even red have better ways of drawing cards than white.

Furthermore how white draws cards sucks. Either you draw cards off equipment, which means you have to dedicate a bunch of card slots to equipment in your deck whether you need all that equipment or not to draw cards or you draw cards based on whenever your opponent is doing something like if they draw two cards or attack with two creatures. Drawing in other colors is much more streamlined. Green draws you cards whenever you do anything with creatures. Black lets you exchange life or creatures to draw cards. Red lets you discard cards to draw cards or gain temporary card advantage by exiling cards off the top of your deck. These draw plans are way more flexible than “play sagas to draw cards” or “draw cards whenever your opponent scrys” type of nonsense.

Mentor of the Meek is my favorite white draw spell simply because it’s a lot more flexible to get card advantage off of than a lot of other white draw spells, and it’s not like the Mentor generates insane value that breaks games or the color pie.

One way white could improve card draw is take preexisting white abilities and add that card draw to it. Like take exalt but you draw a card whenever you attack with a single creature. Or battalion but you draw when you swing with three or more creatures. Or revolt but you draw a card when you lose a permanent. Or renown but you draw a card once the creature becomes renowned. Again, it doesn’t need to be HUGE card advantage - it just needs to be flexible to work with.

January 29, 2021 1:11 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #38

ShaDoWz_6677 I'd like to mention a few cards that you might have overlooked in your doctorate, mainly Aven Mindcensor for search hate and Spirit of the Labyrinth for card draw hate.

Also, you mentioned consistent protection as a part of what white needs, but Teferi's Protection, Flawless Maneuver, Unbreakable Formation, Make a Stand and now also Akroma's Will makes me think white is going in the right direction for boardwipe protection.

White is also the color for storm hate. Rule of Law, Deafening Silence, Eidolon of Rhetoric, Archon of Emeria, Ethersworn Canonist Silence, Orim's Chant, Abeyance, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Spelltithe Enforcer, white has all the tools to slow down the table and hate on decks that plan to play big turns with lots of spells. Just wanted to mention that for the sake of completeness, there's at least a few things white does hate well on already that matter in commander. However, most of those effects are symmetrical, and require you to build your deck to be able to function under those effects, better than your opponents would, which is not the easiest. But it's sort of convoluted card draw hate if you think about it, it doesn't matter much how many cards the green player draws if he may only play one of them anyway.

I'm also very curious why you think Generous Gift should be red `^^

January 29, 2021 1:47 a.m.

ShaDoWz_6677 says... #39


Generous Gift in red:

Consider this. White is the ONLY COLOR that can destroy everything on the field. It has Planeswalker removal, Creature Removal, Enchantment/artifact removal, Land removal

Red: Creatures, Lands, Walkers, Artifacts. Generous Gift would give red the ability to deal with enchantments (The bane of red) and be balanced by giving something in return.

White was already so far behind when it came down to what advantages it gets. Want to draw cards? Pay 5 mana please per card. Want to tutor lands? Does your opponent have more lands than you? If so, tutor away. Otherwise, your restricted.

You brought up some good points as to what you said above. I did not forget about the stax pieces as I am a stax player myself. But I think that outside of that realm of play, White needed something more. I am perfectly fine with White being the "boardwipe protection" color and the "Exile" color. But i feel that white needs that card draw engine (outside of Mentor of the Meek and various other bullsh*t cards)

I want you to think about this. What if Smothering Tithe actually drew white cards? You draw I draw. Alms Collector is a perfect example of how balanced this can be.

It's the same reason I think Rhystic Study could've been white. (Although "Study" is typically a blue thing)

In my previous post i mentioned a few of the 4 horsemen cards getting color shifted to white. I honestly standby that as these are effects that white LIKES TO HAVE. Wizards could've made white so good in Legends honestly, outside of Moat but never pulled the trigger. If Chains and Neither Void were both White, we wouldn't have this problem. Granted, they are both reserve list. But it brings up the question of "If White got even one of these powerful cards back in 1994, how much would white of been changed today?"

I believe that white would've been much different today if they had given Nether Void to white and kept running with the white tax (They already have with Thalia, Wingmare, Suppression field and many more cards)

When you look at white on a broader scope, white can't be all about stax and tax. It isn't the "go wide" color. It isn't the "Direct damage" color, or "Card draw" or anything fancy.

White is just white at its core. While Wizards is trying to make white the "Boardwipe prevention service" I want you to think about this. What if... what if... white suddenly became the "you search, I search" color?

For example: Your casting Cultivate I respond by casting a card that allows me to grab a land while your searching. Black implemented this with Scheming Symmetry and I think white can really take advantage of this and get into the game.

Pro-dominantly, if we look into whites past, White has always been the "Protection" color (you can see my mono-white protection prison EDH Yojimbo's Sanctions ) if we get away from this troupe, then white really has nothing of value to it outside of "exile and benefit my opponent" or be the heavy "Life-gain" color. The problem with Life-Gain is that white has been replaced by its partner pairing with black; Orzhov. There are the few cheeky white cards that get by that are good for life gain tactics, and protection. I use Akroma's Will in two decks currently, but its not for the protection stipulation. Even cards such as Akroma's Memorial are not color identity so it is driven away from being able to give white that edge it needs.

Today in the EDH format (The only format I play) white is used for enchantment tutoring, exile effects or enchantress themes. And over the years, white has been kind of removed from the "Enchantress" archetype by green although, its paired with white for Mesa Enchantress and the stronger enchantments out there Indestructibility Spirit Mantle just to name a few. Both of which do two different things but have one solid theme to them. PROTECTION. If white gets away from protection, then white needs something different. Something better than the other colors.

January 29, 2021 10:21 a.m.

magwaaf says... #40

Well looks like you guys covered everything

January 29, 2021 5:37 p.m.

jamochawoke says... #41

Mono-White does 3 things well in Commander:

  • Alternate wincons, it has two lifegain wincons that are extremely easy to hit and one spell-based.
  • Pillow fort with angel or other flying beaters. Protect yourself, then hope the board has picked apart itself enough you can win with those big fliers.
  • Equipment. Currently white and red are kind of tied for best equipment based decks, but white does it slightly better.

What it doesn't do well in commander, ironically, is its token go-wide strategy that works in Modern and Standard decks usually. That's because the board is getting wrathed by red/black/and white itself constantly. If you're generating tokens in white commander you are for sure putting protection or indestructible on them through equipment or enchants or you're losing.

There is also one other thing that white does better in all formats than any other color, and that's flickering/blink. Yes blue has some of it and thus if you combine them into Azorius colorings you get access to all the blink tech but white just has way more. With Flickerwisp and Eldrazi Displacer for 3 mana you can disrupt so many people's combos and plans. That's not even including Restoration Angel , Cloudshift , Eerie Interlude , Otherworldly Journey , Sun Titan , Felidar Guardian , et cetera.

Block, blink. They don't have trample? Tough time for them. Especially tough if what you're blinking has a powerful ETB effect. If it does have trample? Just blink the offending creature instead of your own. With wisp you can blink lands and artifacts and enchantments and have them come into play untapped. There's a ton of stuff you can mess with using that tech. It's just unfortunate that even though white has the best blink tech out there, they don't print too much of it any more. Possibly because of how powerful ETB effects have become in the latest few sets... especially when you combine it with red.

March 15, 2021 1:57 a.m.

Mcat1999 says... #42


So anyway here's a list of over 80 instants and sorceries in mono-white that draw cards as cantrips.


It's like 86 but some won't work in mono-white due to Aftermath spells from Amonkhet and the like. Still. It's like 80 cards, bro.

A spell such as True Love's Kiss is invaluable in EDH.

Take out a Mana Crypt and draw a card? Yes, please.

Want some sneaky vigilance?


You see, mono-white is really good in limited. Spells such as Repel the Darkness , Revitalize and Reviving Dose where your life total is 20 and not 40, and you have 1 opponent and not 3, these cards make a huge difference. In EDH, that difference is lessened by quite a lot, but these are still viable uses if for nothing other than cantrips.

Go ahead. Build a mono-white deck with 10 cantrips and see how quickly you dig through your deck. 10 cantrips mean 20 cards. The 10 that are cast and the 10 you draw. That's 1/5th of your total deck at your fingertips.

But again, players don't want to play the game to have fun anymore. They want to play the game to win as quickly as possible. So casting cantrips and gaining life and locking down the board are not high priority when you can ramp into a wincon on T5.

This makes it a cultural issue, not a design issue. White is designed well. But we play hyper-aggressively, and this hyper-aggressiveness does not translate well with white.

The idea that white needs to be made hyper-aggressive should showcase the flaw in the community itself. Perhaps we all need to stop playing to win, take a step back, and start playing to have fun again.

It is often times far more fun to sit down and play a 3 and a half hour game with 4 or 5 players where everyone uses their decks to their full extent and the game becomes a teeth-gritting slugfest than 4 or 5 players who sit down and the game is over in 20 minutes because someone combo'd off and won early thanks to a T1 Island , Sol Ring , Mana Crypt , Thran Dynamo .

March 15, 2021 2:28 a.m.

jamochawoke says... #43

I definitely think I need to add a lot of those cantrips to my mono-white EDH decks now! And they don't even suffer from these problems everyone else complains about!

Pure Nahiri


March 15, 2021 2:33 a.m.

Mcat1999 says... #44

Let's look at draw, from a colored perspective.

Does white have the best draw? No, no it does not.

But to claim white "can't" draw is disingenuous and misleading. White isn't designed to explode full-force early in the game. It is designed to draw the game out and win over time.

But again. Nobody wants to sit down and play a 3 hour game with 20+ turns at the table. They want to win on T5 or sooner so they can pull out their next deck and do it all again.

Again, it's a cultural issue. Not a design one.

March 15, 2021 2:58 a.m.

Mcat1999 no one said White literally cannot draw cards (please stop "quoting" things that you only would like us to have said), just that said draw is really bad. Because it is. Drawing one card pales in the light of drawing Two , Three , or Four . And that's what it all boils down to--comparison. It doesn't matter if White looks like it can do a bit of digging in a vacuum, it's still going to be outpaced in that regard by everyone else.

And to your statement about culture/design? WotC needs to adapt their design to fit our culture, otherwise the game dies. If everyone breaks the game with Uro , Wizards doesn't just sit there laughing--they ban the fuck out of it.

March 15, 2021 12:35 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #46

In this article, today, Mark Rosewater stated that the white card in the pact cycle, Intervention Pact , was deemed unworthy of being reprinted in Time Spiral Remastered, despite the other four pacts being reprinted, and it greatly saddens me to hear an employee of WotC say that, since this seems to be them acknowledging that white is severely underpowered, compared to the other colors.

Why would Intervention Pact be unworthy, when Pact of the Titan is almost entirely worse, in my mind?

March 15, 2021 6:32 p.m.

TriusMalarky says... #47

Intervention Pact has the text box " : pay on your next upkeep or lose."

Lone Missionary is a far better card in Modern and Legacy, where it and aggro decks exist, and Arashin Cleric isn't too bad in Pioneer.

"But it's good in commander!!!!1!" Nope. It's probably hitting one token, or one of the creatures Hoofie buffed, or their commander one time. Let's see what does much, much better: Fog , Holy Day , Clinging Mists , Blinding Fog , Arachnogenesis and Teferi's Protection , most of which are unplayable and the best are, well, Teferi's Protection is pretty good because white doesn't get much else.

Compared to Pact of the Titan, which is Bonebreaker Giant except it has flash and you don't have to pay for it immediately.

It's like comparing a Frito to draft chaff. One shouldn't be in your deck, and other's life purpose is to be destroyed.

March 16, 2021 10:29 a.m.

Faux_Faux says... #48

So, after perusing through the thread so far, some key issues that I can see are best summarized to:

  1. White lacks "direction"; that is, a clear objective it seeks to enact during a game,

  2. An unclear identity as a color, as each color mimics it, or vis a vis,

  3. And finally, less utility to the game other than Stax / Tax vs. other colors.

Well, that sure is a few, to say the least. Personally, I feel that, yes, to a point, White is the weakest color out of the pie in EDH. That's not to say that it is useless, garbage, or not worth running; that is to say, in power level, White is lacking.

White has some bleeding edges into other colors, as through the artifact/enchantment removal, tokens, and tax effects, however it usually does so in its own way. As previously covered in both ShaDoWz_6677 and Mcat1999 posts above, White does have some distinct advantages other colors, just in their own methods.

White does lack card draw, it does lack mana fixing, and it does lack straight forward aggressive power, more often than not; However, what solidifies white as a solid color isn't what it can't do, but what it can do.

I prefer Black in EDH, as it does things MOST colors can do, however, at a cost. White tends to be the inverse of black, instead of being a selfish color, it likes to be fair and equal.

There are a few times I've played White, (to my dismay, it can work; thank you Eight-and-a-Half-Tails ), but I never felt that white did anything that led to me saying: "God, that was fun!", but that's my humble opinion.

March 16, 2021 11:15 a.m.

MagicMarc says... #49

I think it's funny that someone is defending WOTC not reprinting Intervention Pact with the reason being that it sucks in a thread about What is Wrong with White.

Design is What is Wrong with White.

When creating the Pact cycle, someone at their offices actually thought that Intervention Pact is good enough to share a cycle and design space with Pact of Negation . Or good enough to be in the same group with it. And then a whole group of people in design, R&D and the approval process also thought the same thing.

The sad part is that a card like Holy Day is probably a much better card overall and in more situations.

March 16, 2021 11:55 a.m.

jamochawoke says... #50

What makes Intervention Pact pretty ok is it stops damage from any source, including big spell finishers and artifacts like Aetherflux Reservoir , not just combat damage and it's upkeep cost for next turn isn't half bad compared to other Pacts. It's a nice "oh shit" spell to have around when facing any color other than red since red has so many spells that turn off damage prevention (and its most popular finisher spell is Banefire ). Now if it just flat out stopped you from losing the game from any one source it might be too powerful. Dunno really.

March 16, 2021 1:03 p.m.

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