If you asked many Magic: the Gathering players what the most powerful mana colors in the game are, we’d be willing to bet the vast majority of them wouldn’t say white. You’d probably hear blue, black, and green as the top responses.
But is that totally justified? Has white been consistently weak throughout MTG’s history?
In this post, we’re going to be discussing the best MTG sets for white – the sets in which this unfortunate color has been strongest or notable. We’re going to take a step further than that, though, by taking a little dive into the overall profile of white and discussing a few of its most memorable cards.
An Introduction to White Mana
When we set out to start making this post, there was a consensus in our group about white in general: it’s, well, not the best. Most knowledgeable players will tell you that it is, without a doubt, the weakest color in the game.
Its weakness comes down to two big issues: it has trouble keeping up with the other colors in terms of card advantage and ramp. There just aren’t many white cards that allow you to draw enough cards to put you ahead of the competition or to help you ramp up to large amounts of mana.
Want to make a mono-white Commander deck? Well, you can just about forget about it, because building a solid mono-white mana base is a challenge…unless you’re willing to invest a lot of money into mana rock artifacts.
But this doesn’t mean white is completely and utterly useless. There are many strategies it excels at, including building armies of small creatures, regaining life, protecting your permanents, and controlling the battlefield.
It also has some powerful and notable creature tribes, including angels, cats, and knights. So combining white with other colors isn’t a bad idea because it does still have useful cards.
Read Next: Best MTG Sets for Angels
Best MTG Sets for White
Commander Legends was a unique idea for a set: it was specifically designed to be drafted for a Commander/EDH game. Until the release of Commander Legends, there were no official products for drafting Commander. Instead, the process of pulling together a Commander draft was laborious, tedious, costly, and time-consuming – a labor of love carried out entirely by fans of the format.
This set also helped repair some of the issues that white has when it comes to Commander. As we mentioned earlier, mana bases are difficult to build for mono-white decks, and Commander Legends provided a small band-aid for that problem with a few additional land tutor cards, which allow you to search your library for a land.
- To date, the only set designed for drafting in Commander.
- Improved some minor problems with white in Commander, such as providing land tutors.
- Includes 165 new cards specifically created for Commander.
- You can potentially have multiple rares in a booster pack.
- Major shipping and supply issues caused the price for this set to be wacky with tons of sellers overcharging for it.
- Values for cards in the set have risen and fallen dramatically.
Most Notable White Card: Archon of Coronation
Like Commander Legends, Battlebond had a unique theme: it was designed for two-headed giant games. In other words, it supports teams of players rather than rather than the free-for-all that most games tend to be.
Besides the fun theme, this was a set that also had numerous Commander staple cards, which makes it an excellent option for fans of the format. You might potentially draw crucial cards like Doubling Season or dual color lands that will help you build a reliable mana base.
- Filled with many great cards for Commander, like Doubling Season.
- Fun theme that supports two-headed giant games specifically.
- Held its value well.
- It can be expensive.
- The team themes means it has some mechanics that won’t be as useful in other types of games.
Most Notable White Card: Land Tax
Theros Beyond Death
Theros Beyond Death brought many popular themes to the table with its focus on Greek mythology. For one thing, it features an abundance of powerful god cards that both look bad ass and perform useful functions.
Additionally, all the lands in the set are full art. They look gorgeous and were a hit with many players who like to build decks that are both beautiful and functional.
- Because of its heavy focus on enchantments, the enchantress archetype got a lot of support.
- Had many beautiful cards, including full art lands and constellation cards.
- It had a fun Greek theme with gods cards and the escape mechanic.
- Offered a few legendary creatures that expanded the pool of potential commanders.
- Outside of the block Theros Beyond Death is in, many of the enchantments are underpowered.
- Many of the cards are better for slower paced games, so it may not be good for fast-moving games.
Most Notable White Card: Heliod, Sun-Crowned
This is a core set, the likes of which we included frequently on our list of the best MTG sets for new players. What makes core sets like M11 so wonderful is how beginner-friendly they are.
They contain a sampling of MTG mechanics from around the time of release, and they also tend to have reminder text. Reminder text, as you might have guessed, is text on the card that reminds you of what a certain keyword does.
We like M11 especially because it was a surprisingly powerful core set, including things like the strong Titans for each color.
- An overall strong core set with many useful cards, like the Titans and Leylines.
- Good set to consider for beginning players.
- Had some solid rare slots for white, such as Baneslayer Angel.
- It has some strong cards in it, but it still may not be as powerful as other sets – this is a common weakness for many core sets.
Most Notable White Card: Baneslayer Angel
Despite its somewhat lackluster reputation these days, white still has a number of strong cards that are great additions to any collection. Because there are a bunch of those cards that aren’t necessarily in the aforementioned sets, we wanted to highlight some of the most prominent white cards below.
One of white’s greatest weaknesses is that it doesn’t have many ramp cards. Thus, if you have a mono-white deck, you’ll probably find yourself consistently failing to have enough mana to cast what you need when you need it.
Land Tax helps resolve that issue by allowing you to put three basic lands in your hand if one of your opponents has more lands than you – and for one piddly mana. And let’s face it – if you’re playing a white deck, chances are, someone controls more lands than you. There’s a reason why this card is almost consistently pricey.
Got a crazy combo that could hurt you or worried about your opponents wiping you out on a particular turn? Throw down Teferi’s Protection and watch your enemies go white in the face.
This card basically makes you immune for a whole turn. Additionally, since your own permanents phase out for the turn, it’s the perfect time to drop a board wipe to get rid of everything your opponents have while preserving your own things.
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
If you’re playing against any kind of token deck, chances are, Elesh Norn would shut almost all of them down. Anyone using masses of small creatures will fall to her oppressive nature.
Elesh Norn demonstrates white’s ability to control the battlefield at its finest. In addition to giving all your opponents’ creatures -2/-2, she gives all of yours +2/+2. Her only drawback is her high casting cost.
Undoubtedly, Serra’s Sanctum is the best land for white that has ever been printed. Furthermore, it will likely never be printed again because of how ridiculously powerful it is.
White tends to have a lot of enchantments. With Serra’s Sanctum, you can take advantage of that tendency towards enchantment by giving yourself one white mana for every enchantment you control. This land makes white’s ramp problem negligible.
Path of Exile
White’s great at removal, and Path of Exile is one of the best removal cards in the game. For just a single white mana, you can exile any target creature. At instant-speed, this card is remarkably effective and it’s not as crazily priced as some of the other ones we’ve included in our Honorable Mentions section.
We’ve said time and time again throughout this article that white has, well, a mana problem. It’s not uncommon to lag far behind your opponents when you’re playing a white deck.
Smothering Tithe is yet another solution – if you can afford paying the money for it. It forces your opponents to deplete their mana, and if they don’t, you get extra mana in the form of Treasure tokens. It’s like the white version of Rhystic Study, with the difference being Rhystic Study draws you cards and Smothering Tithe gives you mana.
Avacyn, Angel of Hope
The best thing about Avacyn, Angel of Hope is that she makes all board wipes that have the word “destroy” in their text ineffective against your permanents. Feel free to play as many of those as you like, then, knowing your armies will be perfectly safe while you have her out.
This is also obviously beneficial for combat. You’ll be able to swing into pretty much anything with the knowledge that your creatures will likely survive it.
Think of Balance as the OG strong white card. There’s a reason it’s banned or illegal in almost every MTG format today.
Like its name, it basically levels the playing field. Remember, white tends to be a little behind the other colors, so this card could be a much-needed slap to everyone else at the table…if you’re playing Vintage, anyway, where it’s restricted rather than banned or illegal at the time of this post.
This card is so powerful, it has an entire archetype build around it called Caw-Blade. To sum up Caw-Blade, you basically play one of four Squadron Hawks (a bird creature card) in your deck, get the rest of them, and then play Stoneforge Mystic to search your library for a Sword of Feast and Famine to equip to your birds. Then it’s attack of the birds.
Even if you’re not playing her in a Caw-Blade style deck, Stoneforge Mystic is powerful in any deck that hinges on equipping your creatures.
For awhile now, white has been considered the weakest color in Magic: the Gathering. This wasn’t always the case, though, and there are sets where this typically underwhelming color was quite strong. We think M11 and even Theros Beyond Death were great examples of this.
Looking for more information on the Magic colors? We’ve also got an article on the best MTG sets for black that you can check out.