Looking for a new deck to break open the early Core Set 2020 metagame? Let me make a… token suggestion. G/W Tokens is a powerful, consistent aggro deck with room to adapt to shifts in a new Standard! Best of all, it has picked up some powerful options in M20 for us to look at.
Get In – We’re Going Wide!
G/W Tokens is an aggressive deck which can match the raw speed of other base-white creature decks. What it adds to the mix is the ability to shrug off targeted removal, and inevitability against decks that don’t play sweepers. Left unchecked, the token horde grows wider and taller, then crushes the opponent in one or two attacks.
In a metagame where even Esper players forgo sweepers to play Hero of Precinct One, G/W Tokens is a deck people aren’t respecting enough.
3 Legion’s Landing
4 Thorn Lieutenant
4 Unbreakable Formation
4 Venerated Loxodon
4 Saproling Migration
3 March of the Multitudes
3 Flower // Flourish
2 Conclave Tribunal
2 Ajani, the Greathearted
2 Law-Rune Enforcer
4 Raise the Alarm
2 Ironroot Warlord
1 Hanged Executioner
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Temple Garden
2 Karn’s Bastion
Strength IS Numbers
The first big difference between G/W Tokens and Mono-White builds is the lack of one-drops. This deck is not obsessed on always attacking turn two, or even turn three or four!
Our most important resource is “number of creatures in play,” and any early attack where we trade 1/1s for a few damage is bad in the long run. We also spend many first turns casting Flower.
The Iron Rule of Two-Drops
Any two-drop in G/W Tokens must be able to survive a spot removal spell.
Current Standard features creatures like Wildgrowth Walker and Runaway Steam-Kin, which force decks to have removal on turn two. G/W Tokens cannot afford to untap with no creatures on turn three, because our midgame convoke and pump spells demand a pre-existing army.
Luckily, we have quite a few resilient two-mana options. Saproling Migration and Raise the Alarm trade two-for-one with removal. Thorn Lieutenant replaces itself when targeted, and is a great wall against aggro decks. Adanto Vanguard shrugs off most removal, attacks without trading and helps us survive Kaya’s Wrath.
A Winning Formation
The hands-down best card in our deck is Unbreakable Formation. If you love the famous Magic proverb “Math is for blockers,” then this is the card for you! It allows us to convert our numbers advantage into a damaging attack, without losing creatures to blocks. Occasionally, you will be ahead enough to just hold it up to “counter” a sweeper!
When the Formation isn’t available, we also pack Ajani, the Greathearted and Venerated Loxodon. Ajani gives us a leg-up in board stalls and lets us convoke after attacking – a huge advantage. The Loxodon adds nine power and toughness to the board for zero mana, and it survives Ritual of Soot and Cry of the Carnarium.
New Growth – G/W Tokens in M20
Now that we understand the framework of the deck as it is, we can look at how it might be improved by cards from Core Set 2020. The new set features several cards which clearly play into the archetype:
Seeing another “two mana, two bodies” spell spoiled for M20 made me giddy! Raise the Alarm is great alongside Saproling Migration, but if you’re in a sweeper-heavy metagame, it’s a strict upgrade. This allows us to try Benalish Marshal in the deck and helps convoke, while the instant speed has already stolen games. A slam dunk.
This two-drop is clearly aimed at G/W Tokens, but it directly violates the Iron Rule (it dies to just about every removal spell around). However, there are still matchups where speed and power takes priority. Simic Nexus won the recent Mythic Championship III, and the new Flood of Tears combo deck is likely to present a similar challenge. Woodland Champion in the sideboard could be a way to speed up our clock in game two!
Another Core Set 2020 card which screams to be considered for G/W Tokens. The issue here, as with Woodland Champion, is its low floor for value. Compared to current three-drop History of Benalia, it seemed tough to recommend the Warlord.
But sometimes a creature this tough is harder to answer than two knights over two turns. And if the base stats of 1/5 seems unremarkable, it is the perfect size to start buffing up with +1/+1 counters! I’m always worried to board out copies of History since it’s best when drawn in multiples, but the Warlord is just fine as a main deck two-of.
This card is going to be very meta-dependent, and perhaps a decent one-of or sideboard option. Because G/W Tokens is so dependent on having a mass of bodies, I’m always looking for removal and sideboard effects attached to creatures. We’ll see if the activation cost is efficient enough for Standard.
This is exactly the kind of sideboard card you want for G/W Tokens – a narrow effect on an aggressive creature! Protection from black is at least a form of resilience, and Standard is edging towards a point where graveyard hate is needed. If that’s the case, we might prefer this to Remorseful Cleric, which can’t attack after we use it.
G/W Tokens was already in a decent position before Core Set 2020, and with people moving back toward creature-heavy midrange and tribal lists, we have plenty of targets to run over with Unbreakable Formation!
The cards from the new set are all at least good enough to add options in how you want to tackle your metagame, and point to strong future support for this archetype even after rotation. So why not invest in a few Temple Gardens, and be one of the first to try out one of Standard’s best decks!
Tom’s fate was sealed in 7th grade when his friend lent him a pile of commons to play Magic. He quickly picked up Boros and Orzhov decks in Ravnica block and has remained a staunch white magician ever since. A fan of all Constructed formats, he enjoys studying the history of the tournament meta. He specializes in midrange decks, especially Death & Taxes and Martyr Proc. One day, he swears he will win an MCQ with Evershrike. Ask him how at @AWanderingBard, or watch him stream Magic at twitch.tv/TheWanderingBard.