While everyone else is trying to play broken Simic decks in Magic: The Gathering, I’ve been having fun playing Mono-White Lifegain. In this guide, I’ll be going over how to play Mono-White Lifegain, and explain the importance of each card.
The overall goal of the deck is to create early board presence, buff up your creatures with +1/+1 counters, and swing for lethal damage before your opponent can do anything. The deck includes highly synergistic low-cost creatures that become stronger through life gain. In general, you want to try to always have a 1-2-3 curve with your creatures, since they complement one-another extremely well.
To emphasize the amount of synergy present in this deck, let’s imagine you have Healer’s Hawk, Ajani’s Pridemate, and Linden, the Steadfast Queen in your starting hand. On turn one, you cast Healer’s Hawk. On turn two, you cast Ajani’s Pridemate. Healer’s Hawk attacks, buffing Ajani’s Pridemate into a 3/3. Finally, on turn three, you cast Linden, the Steadfast Queen. When Healer’s Hawk and Ajani’s Pridemate both attack this turn, you trigger Linden’s ability twice, turning Ajani’s Pridemate into a 5/5 before damage! If that wasn’t crazy enough, Ajani’s Pridemate gets ANOTHER counter after combat because of Healer’s Hawk!
That’s just one example of what this deck can do. Other cards in the deck – such as Speaker of the Heavens, Lurrus of the Dream-Den, and Ajani, Strength of the Pride – can set up powerful combos themselves. I’ll be going over them as well.
Why you should play Mono-White Lifegain
- It is a highly synergistic deck that can snowball to victory.
- Lifegain is extremely effective against aggro decks.
- This deck is great for going under Simic-based strategies. Cards in those decks – such as Aether Gust and Mystical Dispute – don’t do anything against this deck.
- Mono-White Lifegain is just a fun, straightforward strategy!
Now that you have a good understanding of what we’re trying to do, let’s look at the individual cards in the deck.
Healer’s Hawk / Speaker of the Heavens
I am always happy to these Lifelink creatures in my opening hand since they both enable Ajani’s Pridemate. Healer’s Hawk is usually better, since most top tier decks won’t have fliers to block this card. However, Speaker of the Heavens can be a great keep against slower control decks. You can get a 4/4 Angel from this card as early as turn 4, making it extremely threatening if your opponent can’t find an answer in time.
Alseid of Life’s Bounty / Selfless Savior
These two creatures are in the deck to help protect our creatures from removal spells and sweepers. Alseid of Life’s Bounty is particularly useful since Protection can provide a lot more utility than you think. For example, Protection can help you finish off your opponent by making one of your creatures unblockable from a specific color.
Light of Hope
I know what you are thinking. Should we really be maindecking Light of Hope? The answer is yes. Light of Hope is incredibly good in our deck. In fact, it can be one of the best cards here depending on the match-up. This is because Light of Hope helps us enable our lifegain synergies, but also can destroy meta-defining enchantments like Wilderness Reclamation, Shark Typhoon, and Elspeth Conquers Death.
Ajani’s Pridemate / Daxos, Blessed by the Sun
Ajani’s Pridemate and Daxos help us develop board presence. Most of the time, you’re going to want Ajani’s Pridemate as your two-drop. Ajani’s Pridemate is an efficient unit that can easily turn into a 6/6 in no time.
We want to be using Glass Casket to slow down our opponent and to remove blockers.
Heliod, Sun-Crowned is our best attacker. Indestructible makes him resistant against removal spells, allowing him to freely swing in for damage. Plus, he can quickly make our creatures stronger by putting +1/+1 counters on them whenever we attack. This is particularly useful if we have a Daxos, Blessed by the Sun or Linden, the Steadfast Queen on the board. The only “downside” to Heliod is that he requires 5 devotion to become a creature. However, this shouldn’t be a problem since we are mono-white.
Linden, the Steadfast Queen
Linden is great because she triggers her passive ability for each creature attacking. To clarify, if we attack with 3 creatures, we gain 1 life 3 times. This means that she’s best when combined with Ajani’s Pridemate and Heliod since they benefit from multiple lifegain triggers.
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Although Lurrus’s stat line isn’t anything to be particularly excited about, this creature is amazing at recovering our board from a sweeper.
Ajani, Strength of the Pride
Ajani is great at building back our board, and synergizes with himself. You’ll most likely be using his first two loyalty abilities throughout the game since his third loyalty ability is only useful if games go really long. Plus, if you’re at 35 life, you’re probably already ahead of your opponent and better off keeping Ajani on the board.
Castle Ardenvale is a small addition to the deck that helps us build our board by creating 1/1 tokens. This ability is particularly useful as a late-game mana sink. Plus, we have enough Plains in our deck to never worry about it coming in tapped.
The gameplan of our deck is pretty straightforward, so we usually never have to sideboard too much unless we have to. With that said, I’ve included cards in our sideboard to help us hard-counter some popular deck strategies.
Fight as One
Put this card in your deck if you’re playing against a control deck that has a lot of board wipes. Also, we have 7 humans in our deck, so there are going to be times where we’re going to be able to target two creatures.
Giant Killer is a must-have against midrange decks. Since most midrange decks are going to have creatures bigger than ours, we want to be using this card to remove our opponent’s defenders.
Apostle of Purifying Light
A great card against graveyard-based decks or Mono-Black Aggro.
A strong removal spell against Red/Black decks that negates death effects due to exile.
This card completely destroys Escape cards, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath in particular.
Anyways, that’s it for my Mono-White Lifegain guide for Magic: The Gathering! I hope you have fun with the deck and if you have any suggestions, feel free to give me a shout.