If you’re looking to play the latest in white aggro decks, look no further than Craig Wescoe. When your range begins and ends at white creature strategies, you can be sure that whatever he sleeves up is going to be one of the best lists you could possibly play.
Thalia’s Lieutenant has made waves ever since being introduced to Standard. A 2 mana 1/1 creature isn’t passing any vanilla tests, but the abilities are remarkable. Not only will the Lieutenant grow to enormous sizes in any dedicated Human deck, it’ll pump your entire team permanently when entering the battlefield. That power alone is worth building around. The G/W Humans shell has all the tools to fight through midrange decks and continue to pull ahead in the late game. The Lieutenant is a big part of the reason for that.
By skewing more midrange, a creature that can swing the damage race by 20 or more is appealing. Heron’s Grace Champion is a 4 mana 3/3 flash lifelink Human. That’s a pretty reasonable rate, especially if you’re ever able to ambush a creature and gain some life. The synergy with Thalia’s Lieutenant is clear, as you can both pump your Champions already in play or pump your Lieutenants at instant speed with a Champion. Giving your entire team this temporary bonus should completely warp the game. In a board stall, this could represent enough life gained that your opponent can never really recover. An instant-speed trick means your opponent can’t make the best blocks that they can see on the surface. Your open mana suddenly represents a ton of potential damage and life gained. When trying to fight through Ishkanah, Grafwidow and all of the little Spiders, Heron’s Grace Champion will completely blow a game up.
Heron’s Grace Champion plays especially well with larger creatures that may have otherwise been chump blocked. Lieutenant is one of these possibilities, but Tireless Tracker is in a similar boat. Trackers can continue to churn out Clues and grow. It might be easy against many decks to chump block with Spider tokens while using Ishkanah, Grafwidow to try to burn the opponent out (returning Ishkanah to keep making more Spiders), but Heron’s Grace Champion should effectively put an end to that. Gaining double-digit life points is just going to crush any hopes of racing, and the cards you’ll draw off Clues make sure that you have a Champion when you need one.
Duskwatch Recruiter is another way to make sure your lifelink is online. Recruiter is the same powerful card it was before the rotation, but it hasn’t seen as much play since. Both Recruiter and Tracker are Humans that can come down early and dominate later in the game, and having Recruiter means you want to play more creatures and fewer removal spells and/or Vehicles, but that was already the case with a card like Thalia’s Lieutenant in your deck. Both Recruiter and Tracker mitigate flood by turning even your late land drops into value. Recruiter lets you also find your impactful creatures far more consistently. Digging to find more Lieutenants and more Heron’s Grace Champions means that you’ll maximize the value of the other creatures you have in play. Recruiter flipping into a 3/3 in the early stages of the game will make it easier to cast your spells, and is a huge problem for a deck like U/W Flash. They might want to hold up their mana to cast something like Spell Queller, but Recruiter will really punish that. If they Reflector Mage after you’ve flipped, you can still cast the Recruiter immediately on the following turn. A 3/3 creature is also a nice size to get in good chunks of damage against their deck full of 1/2, 2/1, and 2/3 creatures.
Thraben Inspector remains the valuable little Human that could. A no brainer 4 of in every white deck with creatures as it both produces an artifact, replaces itself, and has Human synergies. Getting the extra point of toughness means that Inspector can survive a Liliana activation, so you’re basically just looking at the high end of Elvish Visionaries here. Thalia, Heretic Cathar is a bit slower, but also a huge tempo shift against decks with flash creatures or those that can create a bunch of Spiders. The potential blowout to completely mess with somebody’s mana and land sequencing is there, but the baseline of 3 power, first strike, and stopping blockers for a turn is already strong. This is another creature that can get a bit out of control with a few pumps. A 3 power creature with first strike already does work on the battlefield, and Thalia, Heretic Cathar is one of the best blockers you could imagine against aggressive decks trying to get through with Exemplars and Scroungers.
Expedition Envoy is the weakest card in the deck, and it isn’t particularly close. A 2/1 creature for 1 mana used to be worthy of the rare slot in the good old days of Savannah Lions. That’s no longer the case. Trading off with a Thraben Inspector is not a great place to be, and immediately dying to an activation from Liliana is a huge drawback. This thing does hit reasonably hard with the aid of anything else. An Envoy into a Lieutenant is already a really good start (a.k.a. Exemplar into any artifact), and Heron’s Grace Champions means you’ll be gaining lots of life thanks to the extra power. Still, it probably isn’t good enough.
Smuggler’s Copter wants to be activated early and often. Playing a 3 drop and activating Copter is fine, so you don’t need to have 1 drops, there are real downsides. First off, you would love to loot before playing your land and your 3 drop, to see if you can find anything better. Second, you may not actually have the 3rd land, let alone one that can enter the battlefield untapped, so being able to loot before your 2nd main phase to try to find it can be a huge boon. Third, your 3 mana creature is probably going to be a better blocker—relevant in games where you’re racing. Smuggler’s Copter is a great card, but it’s a little awkward in this deck. It can help dig to what you need when you need it, but this is the rare deck in which drawing a bunch of lands can be very beneficial (Recruiter and Tracker to start with). You also want every creature you can get your hands on—even the mediocre ones (Lieutenant and Grace Champion). It’s great to make sure you can continue hitting your curve and discarding excess removal or Copters, but it’s not the insane card it is in many other decks.
The one card that does give you a payoff for looting is Sigarda, Heron’s Grace. This thing does a ton, starting with the baseline stats. A 4/5 flying creature is a pretty good blocker. Sigarda gives you hexproof, meaning that you can’t be hit by the random targeted discard spell, but more importantly nobody will be taking your next turn with an Emrakul, the Promised End, nor will they be targeting you with Ishkanah. Next, she creates an army single handedly. This allows you to go around Ishkanah tokens and really take over any sort of long game. With a Lieutenant or a Champion, all the tokens will be large enough to get into battle with opposing Spider babies. Granting your Humans hexproof is a nice bonus, but it’s not insane. Sigarda, Heron’s Grace herself is vulnerable to removal, although the 5 toughness is a great entry point a single Grasp of Darkness won’t be enough. The fact that Sigarda has to be targeted before other creatures may end up being more important, such as alongside a huge Tireless Tracker or Lieutenant.
The removal spells are simple and elegant. Stasis Snare and Declaration in Stone are both 3 ofs. Both can take care of an Emrakul, although Declaration in Stone being in your hand when Emrakul comes down is more of a liability than anything else. They also both exile, meaning Lilianas and Grapples won’t be returning any of the creatures you target.
Here’s the full list:
4 Duskwatch Recruiter/Krallenhorde Howler
2 Expedition Envoy
4 Heron’s Grace Champion
4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
4 Thraben Inspector
3 Tireless Tracker
2 Sigarda, Heron’s Grace
2 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
4 Smuggler’s Copter
3 Declaration in Stone
3 Stasis Snare
4 Canopy Vista
4 Fortified Village
1 Westvale Abbey/Ormendahl, Profane Prince
3 Selfless Spirit
3 Servant of the Conduit
1 Tireless Tracker
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Stasis Snare
G/W Humans is a strong deck with some solid matchups against both B/G Delirium and U/W Flash. Marvel is always going to be a tough matchup, but luckily it’s still winnable, and the deck is inconsistent. I can definitely advocate G/W Humans moving forward.
Thanks Everybody for reading,