I really liked Demonic Pact the first time I saw it spoiled, but I had one big concern. I mean, the card says "you lose the game." Cards that have that text, historically, have a pretty high power level that is mitigated by one of the most severe consequences you can suffer in the game. Demonic Pact is no exception. I kept asking Melissa if the card was any good and she kept insisting that it was. Meanwhile I kept thinking there weren't enough reliable ways to get rid of the damned thing. (I'm not swearing there; the thing is literally damned!)
Turns out I was wrong.
I tried out the card after acquiring my playset on Magic Online and I never looked back. I even went so far as to tweet that I didn't want to play decks without the card for as long as it was legal in Standard. I'm even trying to find ways to play it in Modern and Legacy! The deck that first got me excited about it? The following Four Color Demonic Pact list that was posted in Ali's article last week...
Darryl Donaldson made Top 8 with the list at his local Regionals and that was good enough for me. I love the fact that the deck was basically of who's who of Origins all-stars including Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Nissa, Vastwood Seer, and Demonic Pact: all cards I was incredibly eager to try out.
The list I'm playing does have an extra Opulent Palace in place of the fourth Windswept Heath. With Jace being such a powerful card, I always wanted another blue source in the early game. Opulent Palace is one of the best there is, despite coming into play tapped.
The thing I found out after playing this list pretty frequently was that I couldn't actually lose with it. Even now my record is something like 9-1. While this doesn't mean it's perfect by any means, it does mean that it's a pretty good starting point to start exploring.
As with most four color decks in this format (or most formats actually) the order in which you play your lands is pretty crucial. More blue sources were definitely needed, hence adding the fourth Opulent Palace, but I think we may even want one more. There are definitely situations where I thought a blue painland might be better than a Mana Confluence or where another Temple of Deceit might be better than one of the Temple of Silence. The original list contained 16 white sources for ten white cards (two of which were double white) and eight blue sources for seven blue cards. That seems a bit off to me, especially when one of our blue cards is a two-drop. The Palace helped, but I'm not 100% on where additional changes should take place; I just know I would like a higher frequency of being able to cast Jace on turn two.
Another thing I strongly desired was the fourth Demonic Pact. I didn't even realized there were only three until I kept wishing I could draw one. Ultimately, I'm not sure the deck actually needs the fourth; it may just be my newfound obsession talking. One thing was for sure though: we definitely had plenty of ways to get rid of the Pact once we were through with it, and the full set of Den Protectors technically gave us even more. We were looking at two Dromoka's Command, three Sultai Charm, one Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, and one Silumgar's Command. That's seven ways to do it, which has always been enough for me. Fortunately I have yet to die to my own Demonic Pact. I'm sure it will happen eventually, but it hasn't happened yet!
While I loved it when I first saw it spoiled in Dragons of Tarkir, I boarded out the Silumgar's Command every single time. The card is simply too slow and doesn't do enough. Another card I didn't really care about and didn't really fit was the single Tasigur, the Golden Fang. I get it, he's an amazing card. He just doesn't do anything special in the deck aside from "be Tasigur," especially when we're trying to keep our graveyard filled for flipping Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. While we're at it we can probably Remove one Elspeth, Sun's Champion. She's one of the hardest cards on the mana (yet still not very), and we rarely want to draw two. We also have Den Protectors to get her back if she dies and we really need her.
Those cuts would definitely open us some space for us. One card I could definitely see adding instead would be something like Woodland Bellower along with a copy of Courser of Kruphix, Invasive Species, or Reclamation Sage. Invasive Species would also be able to bounce our own Den Protector for value, and adding the Bellower would give us two more ways to get rid of our own Demonic Pact.
As I said last time, Standard seems really sweet right now and despite everyone playing boring decks like Abzan and Monored, I still manage to keep winning with these new and obscure lists that are much cooler and much more fun. Anyway, I'll be back on Monday with some more Modern! In the meantime, be sure and check out my podcast, Freshly Brewed, with the aforementioned Ali Aintrazi and be sure to subscribe through iTunes. Thanks for reading and I'll see ya soon!
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