Right now many players are aware that the Monogreen Devotion archetype received some new tools as a result of M15, but what is the best way of improving the deck? There are so many different cards to choose from, that finding the optimal build of the deck is difficult. Right now I am testing the deck in preparation for Pro Tour M15 this coming weekend. There are definitely some questions that still need to be answered. Is the deck best as purely combo based, or should it be more midrange and card advantage oriented? How many mana accelerants is the right number? Does the deck need ways to interact with opposing creatures?
So there are definitely options as far as splashing in the deck but for now l want to talk about straight up monogreen and go from there. Certainly the deck has enough power with a basic shell. Here is a list:
This list may not look too different from a typical Monogreen Devotion deck. There are 12 mana accelerants including Voyaging Satyr, Elvish Mystic, and Sylvan Caryatid. In my opinion Elvish Mystic and Sylvan Caryatid are the best mana accelerators in the format, and every Monogreen Devotion deck should be playing four copies of each. I could see going down on the number of Voyaging Satyrs as a lot of time your opponent will kill the Satyr with a removal spell. However Voyaging Satyr is a two mana creature that can be played off of Burning-Tree Emissary which is very important. A lot of the more explosive draws involve using Voyaging Satyr to untap Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and generate a ton of mana.
How does the deck use all of the mana? Well this version of the deck has a small constellation theme, as it plays Eidolon of Blossoms, to go along with Courser of Kruphix. Both of these cards provide card advantage, and of course go well together as Eidolon of Blossoms loves to play along other enchantments. The lifegain and four toughness on Courser of Kruphix fills a very important role. These are the midrange cards that can help set up an explosive finish. Both cards have double green in their casting cost which is very relevant for Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. The other enchantment creature here is Nylea, God of the Hunt, which fits perfectly in the deck. Nylea, God of the Hunt can be turned into a creature very easily, is a way to use up excess mana, and works well with Eidolon of Blossoms. While the enchantment creatures are nice, they aren't the primary way the deck actually goes about winning the game.
Some of the creatures in the deck are good in the mid-game but just get better as the game moves along. Scavenging Ooze and Polukranos, World Eater are two guys that many players are familiar with, and can be awesome with lots of mana available. Arbor Colossus is another card that is a huge creature on his own, and it is usually not that hard to monstrous him because of how well he works with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Perhaps the most important engine in the deck though are the planeswalkers. Once Garruk, Caller of Beasts starts ticking up and revealing a bunch of creatures the card advantage amassed becomes very difficult for the opponent to deal with.
The other planeswalker, Nissa, Worldwaker is one of the most hyped cards coming out of M15, and Monogreen Devotion seems to be the perfect home for the planeswalker. With that said some players still don't seem to be running Nissa, Worldwaker in their Monogreen Devotion decks. Why is that? One obvious reason is her price tag, which may have stopped players from investing in a card that will likely just go down in price. Another reason could be that Nissa, Worldwaker doesn't help that much if you play her in a game that you are behind on board. For a five mana planeswalker she does have trouble protecting herself.
With that said she can be very good in this type of deck. The ability to play both Nissa, Worldwaker and Garruk, Caller of Beasts in the same turn is pretty absurd. The Darksteel Citadels work nicely as 4/4 indestructible creatures. Nissa, Worldwaker is a card that I think works very well in a combo strategy, and I have been exploring versions of the deck that can abuse Nissa, Worldwaker even more.
Here is a version that I have been working on which splashes black and can abuse Nissa, Worldwaker a bit more.
This version can generate even more mana than the previous one! Both Verdant Haven and Market Festival combine with Voyaging Satyr and Nissa, Worldwaker to generate lots of mana very quickly, and this deck splashes for Garruk, Apex Predator, which is one of the best late game threats in the format.
All of the modes of Garruk, Apex Predator can be very relevant. This deck doesn't play Courser of Kruphix, which is somewhat controversial, but it is hard to fit in all the cards you want. As a result the only maindeck lifegain is from Garruk, Apex Predator destroying creatures. Having a way to deal with other planeswalkers comes up quite a bit, and can be a huge blowout. Garruk, Apex Predator is a card that many of the decks in the format simply don't have access to, and it hasn't really made its constructed debut. Without a maindeck removal spell like Setessan Tactics in the other version, you need enough answers to troublesome creatures like Master of Waves.
It is much easier for this deck to ramp out a quick planeswalker even if the early mana creatures die. Many times a turn three Nissa, Worldwaker or turn four Garruk, Apex Predator gets cast without needing to have a high devotion count, and often there is even extra mana leftover. There are a variety of different threats the deck plays. Hornet Queen is a card that can be absolutely nuts versus creature decks. The flying tokens are especially good versus Monoblue Devotion, as they usually try to kill you in the air.
Another one-of creature in the deck that is particular favorite of mine is Reclamation Sage. Being able to take out an opposing Detention Sphere or Underworld Connections is a big deal, and having a creature to add to the devotion count is a nice bonus. Okay, this list doesn't have Chord of Calling in it, which may perhaps seem a bit unusual, but Genesis Hydra is a card that can find a specific one-of when necessary. The reason why there aren't more copies of many of the late game threats is that Genesis Hydra plays the role of digging through your deck to find what is needed. For instance, in the late game a card like Pharika, God of Affliction can be great against a deck like Black Devotion, or it can be used as a tool to beat graveyard based strategies.
I have to admit that while Genesis Hydra can help find the singleton creatures, it does not have the same tutoring capabilities as Chord of Calling. Here is a list that takes advantage of Chord of Calling:
This deck certainly has a lot going on, which means that it fits what a Chord of Calling deck should be. The deck plays out in a similar way to that of the other green devotion decks, but has a bit more of a creature toolbox. Creatures that don't produce mana themselves have a bit more relevance because of convoke. This is why a guy like Satyr Wayfinder is better in those sort of build.
I have already mentioned most of the creatures in the deck, but there are some new fatties that are added here. Kalonian Twingrove is a big value creature that is undercosted, and sometimes you can only Chord of Calling for six, and he's the guy for the job. At seven Sylvan Primordial is an answer to any type of noncreature threat including planeswalkers, while also providing a large reach creature. The deck often clogs up the ground pretty quickly so having reach creatures like Sylvan Primordial and Arbor Colossus is necessary in order to be able to block opposing Nightveil Specters.
The largest creature in the deck is Worldspine Wurm. This card may seem unnecessary as it does cost 11 mana, but when it hits the table it can just beat a Monoblack Devotion player quite easily. Garruk, Caller of Beasts is another way to cheat Worldspine Wurm into play without needing to get to eleven mana. I like many of the concepts behind this deck, and this is just one of the ways to go about attacking Monogreen Devotion.Bonus Section: Impact of the new changes to Premier Play
I wanted to address the recently announced changes to organized play concerning Pro Tour Qualifiers, Grand Prix play, pro point levels, and the Pro Tour. Perhaps the biggest of the new change, is the "new path to the Pro Tour." While this change doesn't affect me as much because of my current Pro Level, it was very surprising to hear about.
Ever since I first started playing magic during Mirrodin Block, PTQs have been operated in the same fashion. PTQs as we know them have of course been one tournament, with the winner receiving an immediate qualification to the Pro Tour. I like how the new changes do allow there to be more Pro Tour Qualifier Level events held, and more stores can participate in them. The Regional PTQ change is something different and it's hard to predict exactly how it will affect the game moving forward.
Certainly now it will take more time and energy to earn a spot at the Pro Tour, but I won't miss those 400 player PTQs. Also, not needing to win the final event outright is kind of nice, and for those PTQ grinders out there, I expect many players who make the effort to qualify for a Regional PTQ will be more successful than you might think. Overall this is a new change to the game that many players weren't expecting, and I am one of those players.
I do like how Wizards has addressed the issue at Grand Prix and Pro Tours of having tiebreakers being a significant influence over a players end result in terms of Pro Points received. While tiebreakers do still help decide the players who make Top 8, outside the Top 8 all pro points received at Grand Prix and Pro points are solely based off of number of match wins. I expect for Grand Prix to continue to grow in popularity, as they remain one of the most effective ways to not only make money playing, but win a seat at a Pro Tour. I know that I'm ready to make some travel plans, as there will be plenty of Grand Prix to attend in the U.S.
Thanks for reading,