Devotion has kind of taken a back seat to the reanimator decks and the midrange decks in the format, despite being absolutely backbreaking when Ravnica was in Standard. It makes sense, what with the hybrid cards rotating out, but it's still weird to see zero copies of cards like Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Master of Waves, and Fanatic of Mogis anywhere.
Luckily however green devotion basically just entails playing huge creatures that are often good on their own, supplemented by multiple copies of things like Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Today's deck is basically that, only with one very cool centerpiece: Yisan, the Wanderer Bard.
Yes, I've been dying to see the Birthing Pod-esque M15 legend find a home, and this is as cool a one as any if you ask me. Take a look.
Magic Online user Cornswallow decided to take four of the legendary green creature and jam it into what amounts to a Green/Blue Devotion deck. He ended up going 4-0 with it, so it couldn't have been a terrible idea.
We have all of the all-stars here such as Arbor Colossus, Polukranos, World Eater, and even Genesis Hydra. The beauty of the list is that blue gives us access to things like Kiora's Follower (to use Yisan twice in a turn) and Prophet of Kruphix (to use Yisan again on their turn). You have to actually watch the videos to see how good Prophet is in this list; it's ridiculous. Let's do that now, shall we?
UG Yisan vs. GB Constellation
UG Yisan vs. Heroic Red
UG Yisan vs. UW Heroic
UG Yisan vs. Abzan Reanimator
If I remember correctly, Reid Duke played a list with a similar game plan way back when the format was brand new. I'm not sure why it never caught on or how close the lists were, but I'm definitely a fan of this version. Actually, that might have been pre Khans of Tarkir, which would have prevented us from using things like Clever Impersonator or Disdainful Stroke (which is an amazingly useful splash, by the way).
I also think the fact that Reid's deck still had to compete with all of the Ravnica cards in the format was a huge hindrance. Putting up a fight against two more sets along with cards like Sphinx's Revelation and the aforementioned Gray Merchant of Asphodel might have taken away some of the deck's potency. Either way, I think this version is definitely an improvement.
I'm a huge fan of one-ofs, so in addition to the Reclamation Sage, the Nylea, God of the Hunt, the Nylea's Disciple, and the Hornet Queen, I would also probably add a six-drop or a few more options at the lower slots. Here is a list of creatures, in order of casting cost, that I could see finding room for in order to search up with either Yisan, Wanderer Bard or Chord of Calling:
Sedge ScorpionHeir of the WildsQuicklingChasm SkulkerHornet NestIllusory AngelHydra BroodmasterSagu Mauler
Illusory Angel has been a card I have loved since it was first printed in the Commander decks. It is not only awesome with Yisan and Chord of Calling, but it's also awesome with Genesis Hydra and in a deck with Elvish Mystic (to enable it if you're simply casting her). Sedge Scorpion and Heir of the Wilds give us something with deathtouch to get with the early Yisan activations, which can be really strong against things like Siege Rhinos or opposing Polukranos, World Eaters. Quickling is another option in our two-drop slot that allows us to rebuy a Genesis Hydra , Clever Impersonator, or Hornet Queen.
Chasm Skulker is a little iffy, as we're not a deck that actually "draws" a ton of cards, but being able to search for this guy at the end of the turn and immediately have him become a 2/2 is okay. Hornet Nest is just a solid option against the aggressive decks that are attacking, and being able to search if out at instant speed is pretty huge.
I think we're pretty much set at the four and five-drop slots, but we don't have any actual six drops. I've always liked Hydra Broodmaster and I think it could actually fit perfectly in this deck with the amount of mana we can generate. I can even imagine activating a Yisan at the end of the opponent's turn, then activating Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx a couple times, then boom, untap with a million guys. I'll also mention Sagu Mauler, as he's a pretty solid six drop if I ever saw one. While it may be a little overzealous to assume we'll get Yisan to six or seven counters, it doesn't hurt to be prepared and there was only one time in my four matches where Yisan was actually killed. Aside from that, all of these creatures are good on their own and work well with the single Chord of Calling in the deck.
This deck was super sweet and I was surprised how powerful it was; I shouldn't have been, as it's basically Monogreen Devotion with some very powerful blue options added. I actually wouldn't be surprised to see this deck be more popular if more people knew about it, especially since it can run the full suite of Disdainful Stroke in the sideboard. Hopefully you guys will get the chance to try it out!
Frank Lepore@FrankLepore on TwitterFrankLepore on TwitchTV