I love Snubhorn Sentry!

Snubhorn Sentry

I absolutely adore this guy. Look at that face! Isn’t this the cutest teeny Dinosaur you ever saw? He’s my little Snubby, and he deserves all the love he can get. Just don’t give him too much, or he’ll grow to a 3/3 and stomp your face in. That’s a good boi!

 

The past of Snubhorn Sentry

A Limited overperformer

I must admit when I first saw Snubhorn SentrySnubhorn Sentry spoiled, I assumed it would just be an unplayable draft common. But after experimenting with it in Limited, we realised that you ascend most games. And when you do, you have a 3/3 pop out of nowhere because you snuck it into play whenever you had a mana available. And that advantage is such a big tempo swing that it can turn around a game.

At first sight our world champion, Javier Dominguez, thought the card image depicts a dog. This led to te nickname “Doggo” for Snubhorn SentrySnubhorn Sentry in our testing house. We did not expect that name to be relevant once we moved out of Rivals of Ixalan draft.

But I realised that even though it’s power is on a delay, a 1 mana 3/3 packs enough punch for Standard and the same theory about tempo still applies in constructed. Especially paired with the classic two permanents for 1 mana, Legion’s LandingLegion’s Landing. I dabbled around with multiple different Snubhorn Sentry decks during the last Standard, but once Goblin ChainwhirlerGoblin Chainwhirler got printed, the incentive to play small white decks plummeted to the ground for 6 months.

 

Getting Snubby in New Jersey

Into the Top16 with little Dino bois

Now we are back in the present, and white decks once again have more than their fair share of position in the metagame. Not only do we still have Legion’s LandingLegion’s Landing, we also have ascend enabler extraordinaire History of BenaliaHistory of Benalia, and even convoke permanents work well with Snubhorn Sentry as they both reward you for playing lots of cheap creatures as well as being very cheap permanents themselves.

I had these concepts in mind when I built my White Weenie deck for Grand Prix New Jersey. I wanted to make sure to have enough 1-drops to power up Snubhorn SentrySnubhorn Sentry and Venerated LoxodonVenerated Loxodon while still maintaining enough power that I could go over the top of the Golgari decks.
My solution was the full 4 copies of Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants in my 75, which made it quite easy to bring back the troublesome Tocatli Honor GuardTocatli Honor Guard or just quickly build a powerful board. I had an opponent feel good about his two Nullhide FeroxNullhide Ferox, until he had to trade them off for two Snubhorn Sentries!

This was the list I ran to a 12-3 finish and top 16:

White Weenie by Simon Nielsen

Creatures (28)
Skymarcher AspirantSkymarcher Aspirant
Adanto VanguardAdanto Vanguard
Dauntless BodyguardDauntless Bodyguard
Snubhorn SentrySnubhorn Sentry
Benalish MarshalBenalish Marshal
Venerated LoxodonVenerated Loxodon
Knight of GraceKnight of Grace
Hunted WitnessHunted Witness

Spells (12)
Legion’s LandingLegion’s Landing
History of BenaliaHistory of Benalia
Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants
Conclave TribunalConclave Tribunal
Lands (20)
20 PlainsPlains

Sideboard (15)
Baffling EndBaffling End
Tocatli Honor GuardTocatli Honor Guard
Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants
Pride of ConquerorsPride of Conquerors
Bounty AgentBounty Agent
Conclave TribunalConclave Tribunal

 

At the tournament I went 5-0 against Golgari, but 0-2 against control. The Ajanis and Snubbys really pulled their weight, but it was clear to me that this version was too underpowered to line up well against control.
Does this list seem familiar to you? No? What if we put in some red-white dual lands, and cut out Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants and Knight of GraceKnight of Grace for 2 Healer’s HawkHealer’s Hawk, 2 maindeck Pride of ConquerorsPride of Conquerors and 2 more maindeck Conclave TribunalConclave Tribunal? Do you see it then?

 

White Weenie by Andrew Elenbogen

Creatures (26)
Adanto VanguardAdanto Vanguard
Snubhorn SentrySnubhorn Sentry
Venerated LoxodonVenerated Loxodon
Benalish MarshalBenalish Marshal
Skymarcher AspirantSkymarcher Aspirant
Dauntless BodyguardDauntless Bodyguard
Healer’s HawkHealer’s Hawk

Spells (14)
Legion’s LandingLegion’s Landing
Pride of ConquerorsPride of Conquerors
Conclave TribunalConclave Tribunal
History of BenaliaHistory of Benalia
Lands (20)
14 PlainsPlains
Clifftop RetreatClifftop Retreat
Sacred FoundrySacred Foundry

Sideboard (15)
Clifftop RetreatClifftop Retreat
Tocatli Honor GuardTocatli Honor Guard
Experimental FrenzyExperimental Frenzy
ResponseResponse
Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants
BanefireBanefire

 

Going to the Pro Tour

Snubhorn Sentry in Atlanta

Max McVety messaged me after GP New Jersey and expressed interest in working on my deck for the Pro Tour. Sadly I couldn’t share all the info with him, because I was on a different testing team, but I did let him know my thoughts on the different match-ups and that Snubhorn Sentry was an MVP.
He made some really smart changes to the deck, especially with the Experimental FrenzyExperimental Frenzy sideboard plan. And his team seemed to have done incredibly well, with Andrew Elenbogen winning the tournament, Michael Bernat also in the top 8 and Matt Sikkink-Johnson in top 16, all with the same 75.

Watching the finals, loudly rooting for Snubhorn Sentry, felt special to me. Nothing against Andrew, but we all know who my real hero on that squad is. I felt indirectly involved in the fact that Snubhorn Sentry won the PT, and honestly, that is what dreams are made of.

As for myself, I was talked out of Mono White after losing repeatedly to Andrea Mengucci and his tuned Golgari list. Instead I took up the other white aggro I had been testing before the GP: Boros Tokens. Eschewing Benalish MarshallBenalish Marshall allowed me to run more red cards, like Goblin InstigatorGoblin Instigator, which powers up Pride of ConquerorsPride of Conquerors and Heroic ReinforcementsHeroic Reinforcements. The deck had been crushing for me and Zen Takahashi in the leagues, so we went to work playing the deck through the gauntlet. And we generally came out ahead.

The team spent a lot of time tuning the deck. We removed Legion WarbossLegion Warboss from the maindeck, but realised it was such a trump against Jeskai Control that we had the full 4 copies in the sideboard. Boros ChallengerBoros Challenger was added to the maindeck, as it’s such a powerful card when your deck is filled with 1/1s. And Aurelia, Exemplar of JusticeAurelia, Exemplar of Justice overperformed so much that we added a couple of them to the maindeck.

Sadly, we also realised that while this deck is very good at enabling ascend, it was not a good fit for Snubhorn SentrySnubhorn Sentry. If you plan to alpha strike with a bunch of small creatures through their blockers, it doesn’t matter much that one of your creatures is a 3/3 because they will just block that one anyway. On the other hand, Hunted WitnessHunted Witness proved great when things weren’t going according to plan.
As the rest of the team was scrambling to find something to play, Zen and I were locked on Tuesday before the Pro Tour. And by the next day, 7 other team members also jumped on board, including Jeremy Dezani who ended up in the top 4.

In the end I registered this list:

Boros Tokens by Simon Nielsen

Creatures (20)
Snubhorn SentrySnubhorn Sentry
Skymarcher AspirantSkymarcher Aspirant
Hunted WitnessHunted Witness
Adanto VanguardAdanto Vanguard
Goblin InstigatorGoblin Instigator
Boros ChallengerBoros Challenger
Aurelia, Exemplar of JusticeAurelia, Exemplar of Justice

Spells (17)
Heroic ReinforcementsHeroic Reinforcements
Pride of ConquerorsPride of Conquerors
Legion’s LandingLegion’s Landing
History of BenaliaHistory of Benalia
Conclave TribunalConclave Tribunal
Lands (23)
Sacred FoundrySacred Foundry
Clifftop RetreatClifftop Retreat
Boros GuildgateBoros Guildgate
10 PlainsPlains
MountainMountain

Sideboard (15)
Aurelia, Exemplar of JusticeAurelia, Exemplar of Justice
Tocatli Honor GuardTocatli Honor Guard
Legion WarbossLegion Warboss
Lava CoilLava Coil
Experimental FrenzyExperimental Frenzy
Ajani, Adversary of TyrantsAjani, Adversary of Tyrants

 

Okay, okay, I admit, I had to sneak a single Snubhorn Sentry into my deck. I warned people that I wouldn’t be able to cut Snubby entirely from my list. So I registered a single copy over a Skymarcher AspirantSkymarcher Aspirant in secrecy. Most of my teammates probably still don’t know I did that.
I ended up facing four Mono Red decks, so the little dinosaur did overperform. Justice!
This list might also ring a bell for you. At least if you’ve followed my other articles, because it’s very close to a list I included in my first article on Guilds of Ravnica Standard. Actually when the spoilers first came out, I built this deck as my first try.

Despite putting a team member in the top 8, I don’t think we actually had a positive winrate with the deck. We were pretty sure we were favored against the White-Red Weenie lists from the MOCS Open, because going wider and having Pride of ConquerorsPride of Conquerors was pretty big. Hunted WitnessHunted Witness and Goblin InstigatorGoblin Instigator were also just amazing at blanking 2/1’s from the opposing side.
But against the rest of the field, while we were still coming out ahead, I believe we would have been better off with more stock lists. We never did proper testing with those against the field, and also we didn’t prepare enough against opponents who were prepared themselves which was a big flaw. It’s the Pro Tour and everybody is so good now that we have to expect people to tune their decks against the known metagame.

 

The future of White Weenie

In Snub we trust (at least I do)

So going forward I would not recommend this list, but if you do play it, I’d add more Boros ChallengerBoros Challenger over Goblin InstigatorGoblin Instigator and maybe some more Snubhorn SentrySnubhorn Sentry over Skymarcher AspirantSkymarcher Aspirant for the Challenger to mentor onto.

It does seem like the metagame has transcended White Weenie variants. Going into GP Milwaukee this weekend, people knew that they could pick up Mono Red Aggro to beat up on the white decks, yet neither White Weenie nor Mono Red showed up much in the top 100 metagame after day 1 or the final top 32.
It’s the usual story where people can definitely beat this deck if they want. But on the weeks where people have reached the pinnacle of tuning their decks against Golgari and Jeskai, you’ll have an opening to sleeve up Adanto VanguardAdanto Vanguard again. And if you do, I’d advise starting your testing process with Magnus Lanttos 9-1 list. He is such a hard worker that whenever he puts his mind to figuring out a decklist, I’d trust him.

 

Red-White Weenie by Magnus Lantto

Creatures (25)
Healer’s HawkHealer’s Hawk
Hunted WitnessHunted Witness
Venerated LoxodonVenerated Loxodon
Rustwing FalconRustwing Falcon
Benalish MarshalBenalish Marshal
Dauntless BodyguardDauntless Bodyguard
Adanto VanguardAdanto Vanguard

Spells (13)
Heroic ReinforcementsHeroic Reinforcements
History of BenaliaHistory of Benalia
Legion’s LandingLegion’s Landing
Conclave TribunalConclave Tribunal
Lands (22)
Clifftop RetreatClifftop Retreat
Sacred FoundrySacred Foundry
14 PlainsPlains

Sideboard (15)
Conclave TribunalConclave Tribunal
Aurelia, Exemplar of JusticeAurelia, Exemplar of Justice
Justice StrikeJustice Strike
Make a StandMake a Stand
BanefireBanefire
MountainMountain
Experimental FrenzyExperimental Frenzy
Tocatli Honor GuardTocatli Honor Guard
Baffling EndBaffling End

 

And obviously add Snubhorn SentrySnubhorn Sentry over Dauntless BodyguardDauntless Bodyguard, but that goes without saying!

 

 

This article was written by Simon Nielsen in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com

Simon Nielsen

Author Simon Nielsen

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