This week I went back to an old comfort zone for me, Mono Green Devotion. I did not start from someone else’s list nor did I actually change the deck much after jamming it through 5 dailies. The list I ended up with was this:

Mono Green Devotion

Creatures: (33)
Elvish Mystic
Sylvan Caryatid
Voyaging Satyr
Burning-Tree Emissary
Courser of Kruphix
Eidolon of Blossoms
Polukranos, World Eater
Nylea, God of the Hunt
Nylea’s Disciple
Soul of New Phyrexia
Hornet Queen
Genesis Hydra

Spells (5)
Garruk, Caller of Beasts
Chord of Calling

Land (22)
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
18 Forest
Sideboard: (15)
Arbor Colossus
Nylea’s Disciple
Reclamation Sage
Polukranos, World Eater
Mistcutter Hydra
Phytotitan
Peregrination
Hunter’s Prowess

As I brought up last week, one should always ask, “Why play X deck?” The answer to the question cannot just be, “Well Polukranos, World Eater is good.” In this case, Mono Green Devotion has a number of strengths:

  • *The most powerful deck in Standard: The deck plays out like a combo deck trying to draw 6+ cards a turn and making giant monsters all the way
  • *The deck has some of the most powerful top decks: In a field full of Thoughtseizes you want the top of your deck to have powerful cards (however you also have many duds, mana dorks, land, etc.)
  • *Powerful card advantage engines versus control: Eidolon of Blossoms and Garruk, Caller of Beasts both provide incredible amounts of card advantage allowing you to commit to the board while still continuing to draw cards
  • *Soul of New Phyrexia: UW Planar Cleansing, Ivan Floch’s deck, cannot beat a resolved copy of this card if you can keep 5 mana up, 10 mana ideally.
  • *Deceptively solid sideboard cards: Nylea’s Disciple gains a solid chunk of life versus burn, Mistcutter Hydra stomps Mono Blue devotion, in addition to one-of bullets and a Pereigrination plan versus Bx decks.

These are good answers to the questions of why, and should be what you are looking for when not playing a tier one deck.

WALKTHROUGH

The deck’s plan is deceptively simple.

Step One: Cast mana dorks. (Elvish Mystic, Sylvan Caryatid and Voyaging Satyr)

Step Two: Cast a card advantage generator using either normal mana or Nykthos mana (Courser of Kruphix, Eidolon of Blossoms, Garruk Caller of Beasts)
*A note on Courser, in general wait until you can actually play a land off of courser. In other words don’t play a land drop then cast Courser that defeats the purpose of generating advantage*

Step Three: Slam a threat. (Polukranos, Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt, Hornet Queen, Soul of New Phyrexia, or Large Genesis Hydras)

Step Four: Win.

However Magic is rarely that simple and the skill and fun of the deck is winning from situations which are not the easy four step game-plan.

Take for instance a situation which came up in a daily where I won on a mull to 5 and got 3 for 1ed on turn 4:

It is game two of the MGD (Mono Green Devotion) mirror. I am on the draw, and my 7 card hand was 2 Garruk, 2 Genesis Hydra, and 3 land. A hand obviously too slow to keep. My 6 card hand was 4 forests, Poly-K, and an Eidolon. The mirror is defined by speed and turn 4 poly-k isn’t going to cut it. My 5 card hand was forest, 2 Elvish Mysics, Garruk, and an Eidolon of Blossoms. I snap kept this hand and was happy with it considering it was a mull to five.

I will now go through the game log essentially:

Op-T1: Forest, Elvish Mystic

My-T1: Forest, Elvish Mystic (Draw step Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt)

Op-T2: Forest, Courser of Kruphix (Reveals a forest)

My-T2: Forest, Elvish Mystic x 2 (Draw step forest)

Op-T3: Forest, Voyaging Satyr, Attack for 2 (Reveals Setessan Tactics)

It is at this point I am clearly in trouble. I drew for the turn an Elvish Mystic. I resign myself to the three for one and think how best can I recover from this. I determine I need to hit my land drop and that if I play Eidolon he will fight it, effectively gaining me a land because a Mystic will live.

My-T3: Eidolon of Blossoms, Forest, Elvish Mystic

Op-T4: Draw Tactics, play forest off the drop reveal another land, cast tactics for 3, fight my Eidolon and two mystics.

My-T4: Draw Courser of Kruphix, Cast Courser, Reveal Nykthos, play Nykthos, cast caryatid.

Op-T5: Draw land reveal Genesis Hydra on top, cast two more satyrs

My-T5: Draw a land off the top reveal a Poly-K, cast Garruk, Hit 3 creatures.

I am going to stop here because after this Garruk draws about 10 cards and hit Genesis Hydra only hits another Courser. Now obviously I got a little lucky and my opponent unlucky, but it shows the importance of knowing what is important to your decks gameplan. MGD does not work without mana, period. Value developing your mana above all else in most games. Another note about Garruk, his minus three is a trap. Don’t do it. Unless it is the only way to survive the coming turn; the draw will be worth far more in the long run than cheating some mana here or there.

Sideboarding Guide:
UW Planar Control
-1 Sylvan Caryatid
-4 Burning Tree Emmissary
-1 Nylea’s Disciple
+4 Mistcutter Hydra
+1 Phytotitan
+1 Hunter’s Prowess

Explanation:
Burning-tree is just a 2/2 devotion bear that forces us into over committing to the board. We want a tad less mana so we Caryatid. We cut the Caryatid because UW lacks spot removal so Voyaging Satyr does the same thing while being able to attack and untap Nykthos, and keeping forests allows us to be more wrath resilient. Mistcutter’s are green fireballs that are uncounterable and can attack twice, Phytotitan provides constant pressure when they lack D-Sphere or Elspeth, and Hunter’s Prowess is a one time shot in the arm.

UW Dsphere-Control
-1 Sylvan Caryatid
-4 Burning Tree Emmissary
-1 Nylea’s Disciple
+4 Mistcutter
+2 Reclamation Sage

Explanation:
Same as above except we optimize versus sphere by having the two sages.

Mono Black
+2 Peregrination
+1 Arbor Collosus
+1 Hunter’s Prowess
+1 Poly-K
-1 Soul of New Phyrexia
-2 Chord of Calling
-1 Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt
-1 Forest

B/W Midrange
+2 Peregrination
+1 Arbor Collosus
+1 Hunter’s Prowess
+1 Poly-K
-1 Soul of New Phyrexia
-2 Chord of Calling
-1 Nylea’s Disciple
-1 Forest

Explanation:
Gerry T designed the Peregrination plan which basically hopes to be able to cast it and ramp to a fatty in one spell through the two lands and the scry. We cut Soul and Chord for being too clunky. Poly-K, Arbor Colossus and Hunter’s Prowess come in to increase threat density. We keep in Nylea’s Disciple vs Mono Black because of Grey Merchant and we leave in Nylea Goddess of the Hunt vs BW because of Elspeth’s tokens.

Rabblered
-3 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
-1 Soul of New Phyrexia
-1 Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt
+3 Nylea’s Disciple
+1 Polukranos
+1 Reclemation Sage

Explanation:
We need a lower curve. Hence cutting big things and bringing in small things. We leave Hornet Queen because it was one of our few top end cards that can actually win the game.

Burn
-3 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
-1 Soul of New Phyrexia
-1 Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt
-1 Hornet Queen
-1 Eidolon of Blossoms
+1 Arbor Colossus
+3 Nylea’s Disciple
+1 Polukranos
+2 Reclamation Sage

Explanation:
Garruk, Soul, and Hornet Queen are too slow. Nylea’s Goddess of the Hunts abilities are irrelevant. Arbor Colossus and Poly-K are hard to kill and big, Nylea’s Disciple gains life, and Reclamation Sage hits Satyr Firedancer, Eidolon of the Burning Revel, Chain to the Rocks and Banishing Light.

Mono Blue Devotion
-3 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
-1 Soul of New Phyrexia
-1 Nylea, Goddess of the hunt
-2 Voyaging Satyr
+4 Mistcutter Hydra
+1 Poly-K
+2 Reclamation Sage

Explanation:
Garruk and Soul are too slow, Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt doesn’t do much, and Voyaging Satyr can’t trade with Tidebinder Mage and gets tapped by Tidebinger. Mistcutter Hydra is pro their deck, Reclamation Sage hits Domestication, trades well, and hits Bident of Thasa.

Jund Walkers
-2 Chord of Calling
-1 Nylea’s Disciple
+1 Poly-K
+1 Hunter’s Prowess/Arbor Colossus
+1 Reclamation Sage

Explanation:
We cut awkward cards like Disciple and Chord for more singly powerful cards like Poly-K, Hunter’s Prowess/Arbor Colossus and Reclamation Sage.

Mirror
-1 Nylea’s Disciple
-1 Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt
-1 Soul of New Phyrexia
+1 Poly-K
+2 Reclamation Sage

Explanation:
Disciple does nothing relevant, Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt is also irrelevant, and Soul of New Phyrexia is irrelevant. We swap them for Poly-K and Reclamation Sage which interact with dorks and Courser/Eidolon respectively.

The deck still lacks consistency, but finally has reliable win conditions. The deck folds to itself more often than to its opponents deck, however with all this in mind if you want to win, look elsewhere. I try to avoid being one of those people who just say “Standard sucks, don’t play it,” but honestly when decks that aren’t UWx Control, Bx devotion, Jund Midrange, W/R/U aggro or Burn win or do well it is a fluke. Those four or five decks are absurdly powerful, consistent enough, and attack from so many different angles that anything that is not those decks will simply be annihilated by one, two or all of those decks. While it is great that these archetypes are distinct unique and separate there is very little room for tuning them due to Pro Tour M15 they have reached their refined point. The tuning is one or two cards and meta predictions. Due to this it is not economical right now for me to play Standard. While I know this is only the second week of the article, I need a break from Standard. You can hear it in my voice round after round as my excitement to play Magic decreases.

Standard is an oppressive environment that is just diverse enough to appear healthy, but you are often doing little more than rolling dice to see what your match up is. I may pick a deck that is very well positioned versus 75% of the field and play the 25% of the field I am terrible against. The terribleness though does not feel like Modern or other formats where you are at least playing Magic still but you simply get annihilated with very little interaction. You could play a sweet aggro deck but run in to UWx Control with 8+ wraths, or maybe you have a cool green-based blue well good luck versus 2/2s that kill one of your guys for 2/2 mana which curves into a 5/5 that makes their team unblockable ruining the point of running your own creatures. In essence I need a break from Standard. I have been grinding the format since GP Chicago in the early summer and the format has changed little since then. Occasionally I have had fun playing Standard, but this season and last is simply not worth my time and effort. Due to this until set rotation in Fall expect some awesome Modern, Pauper and other format decks from me! /end rant

For a hint of what is to come and because I am excited about the return of Pauper I will share a couple of the decks I have been working on.

BG Deaddog

Creatures (35)
Satyr Wayfinder
Grave Scrabbler
Stinkweed Imp
Golgari Brownscale
Pit Keeper
Tilling Treefolk
Battlefield Scrounger
Krosan Tusker
Werebear
Crypt Rats
Tortured Existence
Commune with the Gods
Raven’s Crime
Gnaw to the Bone

Land (24)
Haunted Fengraf
Evolving Wilds
Terramorphic Expanse
Tranquil Thicket
Barren Moor
Swamp
Forest
Sideboard (15)
Spore Frog
Augur of Skulls
Festercreep
Battlefield Scrounger
Sylvok Replica
Brindle Boar
Gnaw to the Bone

UB

Creatures (3)
Prescient Chimera
Trapjaw Kelpie

Spells (33)
Mystical Teachings
Counterspell
Logic Knot
Exclude
Crypt Incursion
Diabolic Edict
Doom Blade
Accumulated Knowledge
Capsize
Repeal
Recoil
Wail of the Nim
Miscalculation
Agony Warp
Trapjaw Kelpie
Memory Lapse
Disrupt

Land (24)
Lonely Sandbar
Barren Moor
Swamp
Island
Dimir Aqueduct
Dimir Guildgate
Sideboard (15)
Wail of the Nim
Oona’s Grace
Think Twice
Dispel
Hydroblast
Curse of the Bloody Tome
Disrupt

BUG

Creatures (26)
Pit Keeper
Crypt Rats
Mulldrifter
Krosan Tusker
Street Wraith
Architects of Will
Stinkweed Imp
Golgari Brownscale
Brindle Boar
Battlefield Scrounger

Spells (16)
Strategic Planning
Gnaw to the Bone
Tortured Existence
Commune with the Gods
Careful Study

Land (18)
Golgari Guildgate
Dimir Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Swamp
Island
Forest
Sideboard (15)
Gnaw to the Bone
Brindle Boar
Crypt Rats
Augur of Skulls
Battlefield Scrounger
Stealer of Secrets
Fume Spitter

Play Magic and Have Fun.
-Zach Raph aka ZTRMAN

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