Green Devotion has been a part of Standard for quite a while now and the archetype never really seems to go away. However, there are times when it makes sense to choose to play Green Devotion for a big event, and then there are other times when it just doesn't seem right for the metagame. There is no question that the power level is there but certain strategies and cards simply matchup well versus a deck which contains almost all land and creatures. For example combo decks like say when Jeskai Ascendancy Tokens was a big deck was very difficult for a Green Devotion deck to handle.

Green Devotion is one of those "fair" strategies that wins by gaining card advantage and just having huge creatures and tons of mana. It doesn't win absurdly quickly most of the time, but it is the most effective ramp deck. A cheap evasive threat like Mantis Rider say, is going to be tough for a Green Devotion deck to handle, because of the lack of ways to deal with flyers. When the Jeskai Tempo deck was big a Mantis Rider generally got in for a few hits and even if the Green Devotion player found an Arbor Colossus the damage generally had already been done by the Mantis Rider, and a few burn spells would end the game. However now those Jeskai decks aren't being played as much. While it is true that the Jeskai Tokens deck with Jeskai Ascendancy in it is still popular, that deck is manageable.

Green decks remain very popular in Standard right now and Monogreen Devotion is the deck that has the ability to capitalize on a grindy sort of a game. Let's take a look at what Makihito Mihara was able to do with the list he made Top 4 with at Grand Prix Manila:


This version opts to splash black for Doomwake Giant, and in this way strongly resembles the Green/Black Constellation decks. While both decks are strikingly similar they are still completely separate archetypes. One part of Green Devotion that none of the other decks in Standard can compete with (and a small exception for Jeskai Ascendancy Combo) is the amount of mana creatures it plays. Since the deck has so many untapped green sources it is able to curve out much more easily than a deck with more colors, and thus more tap lands. Since this version has black in it there are a couple copies of Whip of Erebos to go along with four Hornet Queens, which gives it a lot of late game power, while also being able to take advantage of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx.

There is also additional synergies that Green Devotion has access to once getting the mana ramp online. Unlike a different sort of Whip of Erebos strategy looking to slowly fill up the graveyard with cards like Commune with the Gods and Satyr Wayfinder, Green Devotion can do this by simply casting a See the Unwritten, and it isn't that difficult to trigger ferocious and hit two creatures off See the Unwritten. Even when two creatures aren't hit with a See the Unwritten, a six mana Hornet Queen is still pretty good! Perhaps the largest reason to play Green Devotion though is having access to Polukranos, World Eater. This is the card that truly lets the deck abuse all the mana used from Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and in many spots this also means wrathing the opponents born. Many times when fighting, Polukranos, World Eater will die after fighting with a bunch of deathtouch insects but that is a reasonable tradeoff.

So there are differences between Green/Black Constellation and Green Devotion but it can't be denied that, especially with the addition of Fate Reforged, the decks can look strikingly similar. Frontier Siege is the card that the Constellation decks are now playing which helps compete with the amount of mana ramp in the Green Devotion decks. Here is the list of Brian Braun-Duin from SCG DC:


While this deck isn't a Green Devotion deck it is certainly a deck to consider when choosing to play Green Devotion. Part of this is that so many of the cards do overlap which leads to players having access to the cards for either deck. While this deck takes advantage of more Fate Reforged cards than Green Devotion, that doesn't necessarily make it a better choice and there are pros and cons to both choices. Personally what I like about Green Devotion is, since the deck plays a full playset of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, the mana ramp is built into a card rather than a four-drop like Frontier Sage. That being said Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is a good addition to this archetype and moving forward I expect it to be a mainstay in both Green Devotion and Constellation.

So these are both green-based decks with a black splash (though the Constellation deck plays more black than Devotion) but there are of course other splash colors for Green Devotion. Perhaps the most popular version of Green Devotion right now does opt to splash red, which has been the traditional color of choice and doesn't play Eidolon of Blossoms so there isn't a constellation element. Here is William McMurtrie's list from the SCG in Indianapolis:


Xenagos, the Reveler is severely underplayed at the moment and this is a deck that can take full advantage of that card. In these green creature fights it is extremely difficult to actually kill a Xenagos, the Reveler especially when players are skimping on Hero's Downfalls in favor of Murderous Cut. Planeswalkers in general are well positioned and William is playing Nissa Worldwaker and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon as well. These cards can be very effective, especially since Green Devotion can get them into play quite quickly. Nissa Worldwaker was good before Fate Reforged but it is even better now. The reason being is that control decks are playing Crux of Fate and a variety of archetypes are now running Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. This leads to having an indestructible 4/4 being that much better, and they also trigger ferocious.

There is a certain four power creature from Fate Reforged that is being played in this deck and it is Shaman of the Great Hunt. This guy is both a threat and a perfect source of card drawing later in the game. He is similar to Polukranos, World Eater in that early he puts pressure on your opponent and his activated ability has a lot of utility. This deck has plenty of creatures with four power and generally you want to cast your Genesis Hydra with X being at least four to hit either Shaman of the Great Hunt or Polukranos, World Eater.

Some of the Green Devotion decks have been moving away from Genesis Hydra, but with Blue/Black Control seeing more play recently it seems like a good idea to play Genesis Hydra, but unfortunately it is hard to find room for both See the Unwritten and Genesis Hydra as they have similar applications. When choosing which one to play I would consider the current metagame and the contents of your deck. Being able to put a planewalker into play off of Genesis Hydra is another reason to play it in a more Planeswalker-heavy build. The more planeswalkers, the less high impact cards you can hit off of See the Unwritten. The main reason that Genesis Hydra is better versus Blue/Black is that even if they counter the Genesis Hydra the spell hit off of the Genesis Hydra trigger will still hit play.

A lot of the draw to red in this deck is Crater's Claws. As already established making a lot of mana in many matchups is extremely easy, so a large portion of the time the Crater's Claws are meant to go straight to the opponents face. Many lists actually have four Crater's Claws but there is a world where you are playing too many of this card. The reason is not that Crater's Claws is bad but it is an impact card that can't be hit off of Genesis Hydra.

Currently Green/Red Devotion and Green/Black Devotion seem to be well positioned, and provide more power than just straight up Monogreen Devotion. There is also another option that revolves around Temur Ascendancy; here is the deck Michael Medley played to a successful finish in Indy:


While this deck is called Temur Ascendancy Combo it can also be considered a variant of Green Devotion, though the difference is that it does revolve around a three color card. The reason why I do think it still a Green Devotion deck is that it contains four Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx but this is open to interpretation. The Green Devotion decks previously mentioned do contain some synergies with ferocious, but this deck takes that to the next level.

Temur Sabertooth is a card that many highlighted as an overpowered uncommon for Limited play, but it has rarely been mentioned in terms of its applicability to Constructed. However, here there are a four full copies. Temur Sabertooth not only triggers Temur Ascendancy when it comes into play, but it can also return a creature to get another trigger from the Temur Ascendancy. Even with a Temur Ascendancy a lot of the time it is possible to return Eidolon of Blossoms to gain some card advantage. Even when not drawing cards having a Temur Sabertooth in play is very problematic for control decks. Not only is it very difficult to kill, but if a control deck attempts to play something like Crux of Fate you can activate the Temur Sabertooth to return your creatures.

Since this Temur Ascendancy deck is relatively new it is hard to say whether it is actually better than the other Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx decks, or if the deck can be improved. There are definitely some powerful synergies in the deck though, which are worth looking out for. It is nice to see the card Temur Ascendancy seeing more play as it has the potential to provide a pretty impressive card draw engine, not to mention giving all your creatures haste. The haste effect is more relevant here than in an actual Temur deck that is already playing creatures like Stormbreath Dragon which already have haste. Oftentimes your creatures having haste speeds up the clock a full turn, which can be very important in racing situations.

Overall I recommend Green Devotion as a deck choice right now, and while there are subtle differences between the different variants, each one still has a similar gameplan. In a format full of creatures attacking on the ground and long drawn out games, Green Devotion has an inherent advantage. The built in mana acceleration from Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is hard for the Whip of Erebos green deck to interact with. Elvish Mystic is so good and this is the deck that really is able to take advantage of Elvish Mystic, as being able to curve out can be a very important part of what makes a deck good in Standard.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield