A while back I played a five color list that featured the one and only Chromanticore. The deck was fun, but it was definitely missing something. It was spread pretty thin and tried too hard to be a legit five color deck in my opinion, and that made the deck a little hit or miss.
So as usual, I'm entering decklists into the site, and I come across this beauty…
I was immediately taken by the deck based on the fact that it was basically a traditional UG Devotion with some added ways to play Chromanticore, which was awesome! We had all of our Standard green creatures to Nykthos into, such as Polukranos, World Eater, Arbor Colossus, and Garruk, Caller of Beasts. But instead of simply being satisfied with that, we also added Axebane Guardian and Chromatic Lantern to cast or bestow Chromanticore with!
Let's see if the changes were worth it.
Chromanticore Devotion vs. UW Devotion
Chromanticore Devotion vs. BG Dredge
So not bad. As I mentioned, the deck is basically the traditional UG Devotion list, only with more "fixing" to play crazy Chromanticore, which isn't that hard to cast. My main problem with this build is that you're actually adding about eight more mana accelerators to a deck that already contained about 12. Otherwise, however, just like UG Devotion (or RG Devotion for that matter) it all comes down to making sure you draw your big spells. If you do, you're often fine. If not, well...
While Melissa and I were streaming the deck on Sunday night, the creator of the deck, Surfkatt (otherwise known as Nick Hyler), was actually watching and saw us play the deck.
He messaged me and told me that it was his list and that he had made some changes to it. Check it out!
Right off the bat I realized this version of the deck had some changes I didn't really agree with, but we'll get into that after we see the deck in action. I think I like the first version better than the second, as it feels much more like a traditional devotion list, but we'll see.
Chromanticore Devotion Update vs. Monoblack...Draft...Deck?
Chromanticore Devotion Update vs. Naya Auras
Yeah, no idea what that first deck was, but he put up a great fight. Kudos to you good sir! This version was definitely a little clunkier in my opinion. For one thing, I used to love Burning-Tree Emissary in old green-based devotion lists, but those lists all had Voyaging Satyr to maximize the effectiveness of the Emissary and allow you to cast the Satyr. This list chooses Kiora's Follower which not only can't be played off of a Burning-Tree Emissary, but we also need to draw one of our eight blue lands. And if it's a Temple of Mystery, we needed to have drawn it on turn one. This is too complicated for dedicated ramping, in my opinion, which makes the Kiora's Follower infinitely less useful.
My second issue is with the Transguild Promenade. We actually lost a game we might have won if we have access to a land that we could play untapped, instead of the Promenade. We never wanted to play it ever and perhaps we should have changed it from the start. (The one Temple of Plenty in the first list was also super awkward; we have blue cards in the main deck, and black and red cards in the sideboard. White is the only color that has no card in the deck and yet we have one white scry land.)
Again, in this version we're playing five more accelerants than normal, not including Burning-Tree Emissary (which also counts as an accelerant for the sake of activating Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx). This means that a massive 21 cards in our deck are solely dedicated to ramping us.
Come to think of it, without Prophet of Kruphix, or Kiora, the Crashing Wave, or Prime Speaker Zegana we don't even really need to be base blue. I mean, why do we have Breeding Pools over a land like Stomping Ground or Overgrown Tomb? Literally the only blue card in the maindeck of the first list is Progenitor Mimic. Sure, we add Kiora's Follower in the second list, but we remove the Mimic and the Follower is actually better suited as a Voyaging Satyr. This makes me think the deck might even be better served with, instead of Breeding Pools, focusing on something like red instead for Domri Rade, or simply just added two of every green/x shockland instead; why focus on Breeding Pool when you're not utilizing the blue for anything?
Polukranos, World Eater and Arbor Colossus are two of the best cards in the deck, and definite reasons to play devotion. Surfkatt said that Axebane Guardian was unimpressive due to being too slow; for me the card worked fine, but as I mentioned, I think we can do without all 19 forms of ramp. If I had to make any changes to the first list, it would be the following:
-3 Breeding Pool-4 Chromatic Lantern-1 Chromanticore-1 Forest-1 Progenitor Mimic-1 Sylvan Primordial-4 Temple of Mystery-1 Temple of Plenty
+1 Arbor Colossus+4 Domri Rade+1 Overgrown Tomb+1 Polukranos, World Eater+4 Stomping Ground+4 Temple of Abandon+1 Temple Garden
This makes the manabase a little more friendly to actually casting Chromanticore, and even if you only draw one of the extra non-red shocklands, you should be one color closer to playing the 4/4 Manticore. It also maxes out on our best creatures. I chose to keep Axebane Guardian over Chromatic Lantern because it can ramp us for two of any color if we have a Sylvan Primordial in play and it plays wonderfully with both Domri Rade and Garruk, Caller of Beasts. Domri Rade also gives us some much needed removal. I cut one Chromanticore, just like Nick did in his second version, as the card should be an added bonus to the deck and not really a main goal; the deck is powerful enough as it is, and casting a Chromanticore should outright win when it happens.
As for the sideboard, I would probably cut the Archetype of Endurance for something like two Unravel the AEther. We want to have more answers for cards like Thassa, God of the Sea as well as having some solid answers for things like Detention Sphere and Supreme Verdict. I'm not really sure how we do against the burn decks, but I would also consider cutting the AEtherling and the three Mistcutter Hydra for four Nylea's Disciple. I did like the Mistcutter Hydra and how big he could get against Monoblue Devotion, but I'm not positive he was necessary. Just my opinion though. That would leave us with the following 75:
Well, that's about all I have for today. Thanks to Nick for the awesome inspiration and for trying to do cool things and keep Standard fresh. I think you've succeeded in that regard! I hope you guys liked the deck and the changes, and be sure to let me know in the comments. I'll be back on Monday so I'll see ya next week. Thanks for reading.
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV