Mono-Green Devotion has been on my radar for awhile. After all, who doesn't want to cast giant monsters on turn three? It's actually pretty nuts how much mana you can make with the Arbor Elf – Utopia Sprawl engine, and nothing pushes it over the top like Garruk Wildspeaker.
But the deck hadn't made a Mining Modern appearance because, while fun, it was fairly straightforward – make mana, cast big thing. Not necessarily the best gameplay to be found there.
Then this build came along. No more Xenagos, God of Revels and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. We're trading that in for the the Promised End and Gifts Ungiven. And with the change came more flexibly and versatility, while still delivering on just as much fun as advertised.
Before, the deck needed to get a million mana to entwine Tooth and Nail to really win on the spot, but it turns out that reanimating Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite does a pretty good job at winning on the spot, and this version of the deck is much less of a glass cannon. While it retains busted started (see Match No. 1), it doesn't just fold to a Lightning Bolt or a stumbling start. Gifts Ungiven does a ton of work in the deck, from providing the "obvious" combo with Unburial Rites (since you can search for "up to" four cards, you just search for Rites and your creature of choice, and both go into your graveyard for easy reanimation).
Three Primal Command help it all come together, meaning you can find the Emrakul, the Promised End when you just want to hardcast it, or find the Eternal Witness, Thragtusk or Acidic Slime when you need it. With Gifts Ungiven, the "value" package is also a very real threat, even in the face of graveyard hate.
There's a world of difference between a nine-mana "one-card combo" in Tooth and Nail and the eight-mana-over-two-turns "combo" of Gifts Ungiven into Elesh Norn and Unburial Rites. Vitally, the end result is almost always the same: a game won on the spot. For matchups where you need a different fatty, Empyrial Archangel, Sigarda Host of Herons (for Eldrazi Tron) and Terastodon are ready to come out of the board.
The other thing that sets this deck apart is how well it plays the "fair" game. For a deck dedicated to ramping, seven mana to cast Elesh Norn isn't all that difficult if you can't Reanimate for whatever reason. Garruk Wildspeaker, Eternal Witness and Thragtusk are all high-value cards on their own, and when opponents may overvalue hands with graveyard hate you can simply run them over with some powered-out monsters.
This deck was a blast to play, and while I doubt it will be winning a Grand Prix anytime soon, it is most certainly a deck that can and will perform well at Friday Night Magic, and outside of the mana base (which could be adjusted), it's actually a fairly budget-friendly deck. Making mana has never been so fun!
Thanks for reading,