When you look at mono-white, you’ve really only got a few top-tier options for a general.  Iona, Shield of Emeria is the best way to make a few color-specific players cry, Avacyn, Angel of Hope is Wrath.dec, and Eight-and-a-Half-Tails is a Voltron player’s moist fantasy.

But, as you know, we’re not looking at top-tier generals in this series.  No, we’re looking for the oddballs – the weak kids, the nerds who get shoved into lockers until their eventual uprising in an overly-complex and ultimately trite takeover of the school.  Fortunately, in mono-white, we have a lot of options that fit this bill…so much so that I had a hard time trimming this to just one.  I looked at the following:

[Deck title=White Weenies]
Kiyomaro, First to Stand
Mageta the Lion
Rashka the Slayer
Soraya the Falconer
[/deck]

I’ve actually built all of these (Mageta was my first ever EDH deck), and Kiyomaro is one of my favourite decks to play.  But I’ve passed on these in favour of another mono-white legendary creature that is very niche, very underplayed, and surprisingly fun to build around.

Yomiji

Objectively, this card is pretty terrible.  It costs seven mana in a colour that does not encourage ramp.  It’s a 4/4, so it’s getting run over by a fair margin of EDH-playable creatures.  It’s ability puts the cards in hand, rather than in play, and it does it for everyone.  There are any number of cards out there with similar effects that do them all better.  But I love this guy anyway, and I hope that by the end of this read you will too.

Let’s break this down.

The problems with Yomiji are obvious.  He’s expensive to cast, likely to die in combat, and is a symmetrical ability that puts cards in hand, meaning you have to cast them again.  This deck will be mana-hungry, and white does not fill that void very well.  We’re going to focus on that, first.

We’re going to be leaning pretty heavily on artifacts for acceleration.  Straight mana acceleration is obvious in the form of Sol Ring and Mana Vault, but also Caged Sun and Gauntlet of Power.  Journeyer’s Kite allows you to not miss land drops, which is important, and a turn-one Land Tax is amazing here – mulligan for it, if you can, especially if you’re not playing first.  Tithe is a great little instant that a lot of people forget about, and it has a home in most white decks I build.  Burnished Hart is an absolute staple in every deck, and if you’re not running it you’re doing something wrong.  Finally, Ashnod’s Altar should be seriously considered, with how the rest of the deck should come together.

This acceleration solves two of the main problems with Yomiji – his cost, and the fact that you have to cast the things he recurs.  That leads us to the other problem – his size.  This is partially offset by the fact that he helps your opponents as well – their own legendary permanents will also be saved by Yomiji, so he is unlikely to be targeted.  This symmetrical ability is, in true monowhite fashion, not all that symmetrical once we start building around it.

That means, essentially, Legendary Tribal.  When I ran this deck, I had the following creatures in my list:
[Deck title=White Legends]
Avacyn, Angel of Hope
Cho-Manno, Revolutionary
Eight-and-a-Half-Tails
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Heliod, God of the Sun
Hokori, Dust Drinker
Kongming, “Sleeping Dragon”
Mageta the Lion
Masako the Humorless
Mikaeus, the Lunarch
Myojin of Cleansing Fire
Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Yosei, the Morning Star
[/Deck]

Some of these are decent cards anyway, and would be considered for most white lists (Avacyn, 8.5 Tails, Heliod, and Yosei are all amazing in the 99), and others fill niche roles in other decks.  Here, their abilities are put to use, but they also earn a slot by merit of their typeline.  Being able to Mageta-wrath for two cards and keep all of your creatures to cast again later is huge.  Even recasting them, you’re gaining advantage over the table.  Hokori is part of a lock you can put on everyone by sacrificing it at the end of the turn right before your turn, then returning it to hand and recasting it at the end of your main phase to keep everyone tapped down.

But not just creatures can be legendary.  You can slide in a few other legendary permanent types to really push Yomiji’s ability.  Cards like Akroma’s Memorial are often targets for removal, but now you can just easily recur and re-cast it later.  Mindslaver is mean, but sometimes you need to do it, and this deck allows you to do it a lot; if you do it right, you can take all of the turns.

(I don’t recommend doing that, though.  Keep the Mindslaver as a last resort.)

Predator, Flagship is amazing removal with the right amount of mana.  With all of the acceleration we have to include in the deck, we should be able to reliably take out one or two problems per round with it.

But where this ability really shines, for me, is when you look at legendary lands.

[Deck title=Huge Tracts of Land]
Boseiju, Who Shelters All
Flagstones of Trokair
Gods’ Eye, Gate to the Reikai
Kor Haven
Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
Miren, the Moaning Well
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
[/Deck]

All of these are legendary, and all of these have decent effects that are ripe for abuse.  Some of them even need to die to work, and we need a sac outlet for lands.  Thankfully, we have that – Zuran Orb and Reaping the Rewards.  The Orb lets you sac land for life straight up.  Reaping the Rewards nets you the same result, just with the land sacrifice effectively as the Buyback cost to a 1-CMC spell.  I know lifegain is a trap, and not something you should focus on, but in this deck we’re just looking for the sacrifice effect of these two cards; the life is just gravy on top. Sacrificing Gate to the Reikai every turn is a 1/1 factory, and sacrificing Flagstones is a decent way to ramp up your Plains count.  If you’re so inclined, Copper-Leaf Angel is another outlet to sacrifice your lands to.

This is probably the narrowest general of this series, and the deck sort of builds itself.  White has excellent spot removal and wrath effects, so you can fill in the rest of the slots pretty easily.  While the narrowest, this is also the deck that you probably have to focus on the most to pilot it well.  There are a lot of moving pieces to this, and a lot of interactions to focus on.  You want to time things properly so your opponents get as little out of Yomiji as possible, while maximizing your own benefit.  The deck can ramp out to some incredible mana output, but that generally comes later in the game.  To start, you’re playing slow and conservative, and you’re unlikely to have much of a board presence for the first six to eight trips around the table.  This deck is not ideal in a competitive game, as you’re likely to be outpaced.  But if you want to sit in on a slower, more casual game, I’d recommend sleeving up Yomiji.

-James