Even with the addition of Born of the Gods Monoblue Devotion and Monoblack Devotion are two of the most popular strategies. There is something about the consistency of a monocolored deck which makes them such an attractive option right now. There are enough powerful and synergistic devotion cards that it is easy to argue that the benefits of adding additional colors to your deck aren't there right now.

While I consider Monoblue Devotion and Monoblack Devotion to be midrange decks, there are some aggressive monocolored strategies that can be further explored. I think that the best aggressive options in standard are base one color, with the possibility of a splash. It is true that aggressive decks have been having difficulty succeeding, but perhaps the aggro decks have the tools to change this.

I would like to start with a monowhite deck that has a lot of potential. In fact, I have been playing this deck for a while now, and have been putting up good results. I decided that the deck does not want to splash. Putting scry lands into your deck, and then adding one or two cards in a splash color doesn't seem worth it to me, unless those cards are absolutely necessary.

Here is my list:


This deck is pretty straightforward, the plan is to Overload the board with small creatures as quickly as possible. Don't be fooled though, while the game plan is simple, the deck has plenty of power. Most of the decisions will be which two drop to play first, or when to activate Mutavault, and in a deck like this these small decisions make all the difference, as each point of damage matters.

21 lands may seem like too few, but after playing with the deck I would not want to play more. Don't be afraid to keep one land hands that contain multiple one-drops. I would much rather have one land than say a hand with four Plains. Basically any land beyond the fourth is pretty much useless, so another reason for the low land count is to avoid flooding.

There are currently 16 one-drops in the deck, and they are what make the deck so explosive. A simple draw of one-drop, into two more one-drops, is actually usually good enough to beat most decks in the format. My general rule is, when given the choice between which one drop to play: first is Soldier of the Pantheon, followed by Dryad Militant, Boros Elite, and Loyal Pegasus. Boros Elite and Loyal Pegasus are at their best with other creatures in play, which make them not the best on turn one. If you are worried about removal from Monoblack Devotion for instance, there are situations where you want to play the creature you want killed first.

For two-drops, generally it is correct to play a two-drop, only if you can't play two one-drops. Precinct Captain is at its best on turn two, especially if you have a Spear of Heliod or Ajani, Caller of the Pride to back him up. My general rule with Imposing Sovereign is make sure to play Imposing Sovereign before the threat you are most worried about could be played. For instance, play Imposing Sovereign before Master of Waves, Desecration Demon, or Stormbreath Dragon could be played by your opponent. Daring Skyjek is like Boros Elite, in that the best time to play it is when you think you can attack with three creatures next turn. Remember that Mutavault is important when thinking about Battalion.

So if it isn't obvious by now, this deck does not want the game to last very long, which is why it is so important to use each turn as effectively as possible. The three-drops in the deck are your late game cards. Banisher Priest is very powerful right now.

If you think Brimaz, King of Oreskos is better than Banisher Priest, I would argue that while Brimaz, King of Oreskos is more powerful, Banisher Priest is better in this deck. Often there will be one large creature attempting to hold off all of your small creatures, which is why having a way to remove a card like Polukranos, World Eater or Master of Waves is so important. Banisher Priest provides an effect which immediately helps you remove a blocker and get damage through with the guys you have in play.

Ajani, Caller of the Pride and Spear of Heliod are cards that help you get in the last few points of damage, and are threats themselves. These are cards that will stay in play even if your opponent plays a wrath effect, which are why Ajani, Caller of the Pride or Spear of Heliod are so good against control decks.

I have heard some of the best players in the world talking about how people shouldn't be playing Brave the Elements, but let me say that they are wrong. Brave the Elements is one mana for about ten damage, it saves your best creature, or you can use it defensively. My favorite use of Brave the Elements is against Monored when you can use it defensively to block all of their attackers.

I am happy with the way the sideboard is constructed. Glare of Heresy is very good right now, with all of the Ephara, God of the Polis and Brimaz, King of Oreskos seeing play. Gods Willing is good versus removal heavy decks, and more importantly can protect Mutavault, where Brave the Elements cannot. The Fiendslayer Paladins and Acolyte's Reward are mostly for red damage based decks. Pithing Needle is mainly here for an answer to Jace, Architect of Thought and Domri Rade.

Pacifism is good versus creature based decks, and some of the devotion decks. It is important to know what cards your opponent could be bringing in. For instance I like taking out Banisher Priest in exchange for Pacifism versus Monoblack Devotion, because I don't want Banisher Priest taken by Lifebane Zombie.

Generally game one I won't play around sweepers other than Supreme Verdict, but for games two and three it is important to be aware of cards like Golgari Charm, Anger of the Gods, and Drown in Sorrow. Sometimes the plan needs to be committing all your creatures to the board and hope your opponent doesn't have it. It depends on how many creatures you draw and what threats your opponent has played.

While Monowhite Aggro is a deck I have put a lot of work into, I also think that there is a good Monogreen Aggro deck. It is a similar idea to Monowhite Aggro, in that the deck hopes to have an explosive draw, which prevents the opponent from establishing their gameplan.

Here is the list:


This deck has all the tools to succeed in Standard. I realize that the deck does have some vulnerabilities to cards like Supreme Verdict and Anger of the Gods, so this deck is a bit more of a metagame call. Honestly though imagine a simple draw of: turn one Elvish Mystic, turn two Burning-Tree Emissary into Reverent Hunter. That is a pretty explosive draw, and it is just the second turn of the game. I miss the times when Burning-Tree Emissary was the face of aggressive decks in standard, right now it sees some play in Monored, but it is mostly used as a devotion card.

The deck plays a bunch of cards that, on their own, are pretty unexciting but they are very synergistic. Aspect of Hydra and Reverent Hunter will usually be very good thanks to all the green mana symbols in the deck. Experiment One is actually quite good in Modern, and this deck has a similar game plan to the Little Zoo deck in Modern.

I definitely think that this a good concept for a green aggressive deck. It is certainly possible to splash red for Domri Rade, Xenagos, the Reveler, Ghor-Clan Rampager, and possibly Xenagos, God of Revels. This would make the deck more powerful, though it would be a bit slower and less consistent I think. Overall I think this deck is almost where it needs to be, but perhaps there is something I am overlooking to push it to the next level.

Okay so Monoblack Devotion is a deck that anyone following standard should be aware of by now, so I want to take black in a little bit of a different direction. Monoblack Aggro has seen some recent success at Pro Tour Qualifiers, and I still am waiting for Pain Seer to break into Standard, in the way that many believe it will.

Here is my take on Monoblack Aggro:


In a metagame full of Red/Green Monsters and Green/White decks, this is just the deck you are looking for. I actually played a similar style deck to this at Pro Tour Theros, though the deck had red in it as well. While, I had mixed results then, I do think that this is an improved version.

Lifebane Zombie is extremely good right now, and I think this deck is better versus control that Monoblack Devotion. The reason is that the deck substitutes wasted removal spells for small and troublesome creatures. It is true this deck does rely somewhat on intimidate, which would seemingly make Monoblack Devotion a bad matchup. While I am not saying Monoblack Devotion is a good matchup for this deck, there are not that many creatures in the Monoblack Devotion deck, which means there are not many blockers. The deck also has the same capability of just winning with Pack Rat, which gives it another game plan.

This may not be the perfect Pain Seer deck, but having cards like Mogis's Marauder help get Pain Seer through to make sure that you will untap with it. This is also a deck full of low costing spells, so the life loss from Pain Seer is usually not particularly relevant. The other two-drop from Born of the Gods is Spiteful Returned, and let me say this card is an actual nightmare for control decks. There are not many bestow cards that have found their way to constructed but this card will drain the opponent's life very quickly.

There is more than one way to build a monoblack deck, and while I am not saying this deck is better than Monoblack Devotion, I do think the deck is worth exploring some more.

Okay the last deck I want to talk about is monored. Monored Aggro has already been seeing success, though there are a variety of ways to build it. I am going to be talking about a new take on the archetype. This is not a pure aggro deck like the other decks, it is more like Monored Burn.

Here is the decklist:


This is basically an old school style burn deck, with the deck split into thirds in terms of the ratio of lands, spells, and creatures. I am personally excited to see if Satyr Firedancer is the real deal. I have been seeing a lot of Boros Burn decks popping up, but I think the monored version is viable as well.

All of the creatures in the deck work very well with burn spells. Whether it is dealing extra damage as a result of playing a burn spell, making a token, returning from your graveyard, or casting a burn spell for free. Most burn lists play fewer creatures than this one, but I think you need this many. The primary reason is that it can be difficult to deal 20 damage from just the burn spells alone, though it is certainly possible. The creatures provide efficient ways of using your mana, and can speed up the clock.

Searing Blood is very good in general, and is even better in this deck. I actually think that it is the best burn spell in the deck. Being able to kill your opponent's creature and deal your opponent a bunch of damage is too powerful an effect to pass up. For those players who are running Searing Blood in the board, I recommend switching it to the main. Even against control you can sometimes get Mutavault, Elspeth tokens, or other random stuff.

To Wrap Up:

The Monowhite Aggro deck is the deck I have put the most work into, and I feel like it is ready for the current Standard environment. The other decks certainly have a lot of things going on that I want to continue to look into, as I am sure there are ways of improving them. I also want to say that I specifically wanted to focus on monocolored aggro decks, and I am not claiming that the monocolored decks couldn't have a color added to them. I also didn't go into Monoblue as I think Monoblue Devotion is pretty well known, and it is simply the best monoblue deck by a large margin.

Thanks for reading!

Seth Manfield