Green White Knights in Modern
As time goes on, it seems like Wizards keeps pushing tribal decks harder and harder, with Humans and Spirits both getting new toys fairly recently (sorry Merfolk lovers). But maybe there’s another tribe we should be paying attention to as well: Knights. The tribe has been getting a decent bit of love lately, and while it may not be able to beat out the top dogs yet, it definitely has some power behind it.
The deck has some potent starts, potentially fast kills, and if everything falls properly, can be incredibly resilient. Of course, with the three spot being so packed full of action, sometimes the deck just feels a bit too slow if you can’t stick a dork turn 1. And that’s where Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch come in. They give us a bit of mana acceleration, letting us play ahead of the curve to try and compete with the faster decks in the format.
Student of Warfare gives us another one mana creature that grows over time, eventually turning into a very potent threat. Knight of Autumn is incredibly flexible, gaining us life, blowing up an artifact or enchantment, or just giving us a nice 4/3 body. Benalish Marshal is where things start getting really spicy, giving us a lord for all of our creatures, while also being a knight himself. Knight Exemplar is the first major pull towards knight tribal, giving all of our other knights indestructible to help us win just about every combat. And of course, things just get even more fun with two of them down. Finally, Mirran Crusader, turns those +1/+1 effects into effective +2/+2s, and protection from black and green can protect it against all sorts of things running around in the format.
For our spells, we have Path to Exile to act as removal, giving us a nice one-mana answer to nearly anything the opponent could throw at us, and Collected Company, helping us dig for more creatures at instant speed, potentially saving us from board wipes, or even just throwing down some surprise blockers. Our third noncreature, History of Benalia, does some serious work, and is the other major draw to the tribe. It pumps out a couple tokens, then gives the entire team a +2/+1 bonus, which can be very difficult for the opponent to deal with once we have a few other creatures down.
In the land slot, we have some fetches, shocks, and basics to help keep our life total up, and so that we have something to tutor up off of opposing Path to Exiles. Horizon Canopy is a fantastic way to smooth our draws, letting us cycle it after it’s been played, and Gavony Township is a nice little utility land to help buff our team, and can be fetched off of Knight of the Reliquary.
In the sideboard, we have Thalia to help fend off the more spell-based decks, and Gaddock Teeg to deal with big mana like Tron. Two more copies of Knight of Autumn gives us extra help against Blood Moon, Hardened Scales, and burn, while Eidolon of Rhetoric gives us a shot against combo decks. Stony Silence is a good answer to artifact decks, with Wheel of Sun and Moon giving us an answer to graveyard decks. Worship is hilarious against decks that can’t deal with our swarm of creatures, and Wrath of God and Settle the Wreckage are good ways to help fend off decks faster than our own.
- Worship works especially well if you can land two copies of Knight Exemplar, making it very difficult for the opponent to actually kill you.
- Wrath of God is phenomenal with even a single copy of Knight Exemplar, since it will only kill him, and nothing else on your side of the board, while taking out everything the opponent has. With two copies, your board is untouched by God’s wrath.
- If your opponent plays a wrath, you can play Collected Company and hope to hit a Knight Exemplar. You could just end up wasting a card that way, of course, but if the board wipe is going to put you too far behind, it’s an option.
- If you’re desperate for fresh cards in hand, you can use Knight of the Reliquary to tutor for a Horizon Canopy, and then crack the canopy to draw.
- Hero of Bladehold is a nice way to buff your creatures up while also giving you tokens. This card represents a lot of potential power, as long as you can untap with it.
- Wilt-Leaf Liege is an unconventional lord that buffs all of your creatures, some up to +2/+2, and works its way around discard effects.
- Silverblade Paladin is a great way to keep smaller creatures alive in combat, and push through extra damage with your larger ones.
- Knight of the Holy Nimbus has a very weird design, but is a very interesting card. It can’t be destroyed unless the opponent pays two mana, and it has flanking.
- Conclave Cavalier gives us a fine body for the cost, and leaves behind extra knights when it dies, making this a very nice value play.
GW Knights may not be the strongest deck around, but there’s some real power behind it, and it plays really well. The synergy makes it a lot of fun, and 5/5 Mirran Crusaders just straight-up feel good. Give it a shot, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how powerful the deck can feel.
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