Monday, October 14

Gr Devotion

I first became interested in the Gr Devotion deck when I saw that it top4ed a SCG Open. I wasn't thrilled with the version I saw though, so I didn't pay it much attention until I saw Makihito Mihara playing the deck on Friday at PT Theros. That's when I went and bought the rest of the cards I needed and put something together. I didn't have Mihara's decklist but I figured I'd be able to wing it.

It turns out Mihara was one of few people playing the deck at the Pro Tour and he ended up top4ing. I've been tuning my version since then and I've arrived at this:

4 Elvish Mystic
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
2 Kalonian Tusker
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Voyaging Satyr
2 Nylea, God of the Hunt
4 Polukranos, World Eater
2 Arbor Colossus

4 Domri Rade
1 Xenagos, the Reveler
4 Garruk, Caller of Beasts

4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nix
4 Stomping Ground
4 Temple of Abandon
10 Forest
1 Mountain

2 Mistcutter Hydra
4 Mizzium Mortars
2 Nylea's Disciple
1 Scavenging Ooze
2 Skylasher
1 Stormbreath Dragon
2 Wasteland Viper
1 Xenagos, the Reveler

I started with 4 Kalonian Tusker because I thought it just made too much sense in a green devotion deck and therefore thought it was in Mihara's deck. It turns out he played 0 copies. I still like a few because it does some cool things some of the time and it's a good creature to Domri-fight with. They get boarded out about half the time.

The rest of the maindeck is very similar to Mihara's but that doesn't mean I haven't tried variations. This is what I've arrived at after a lot of trial and error.

In the sideboard Skylasher and Stormbreath Dragon are the only standouts. Skylasher is helpful against Mono Blue, especially when they don't see it coming. Taking a Tidebinder Mage out for free is really nice. Skylasher isn't a game ender, which is why there's only a few. It's definitely a sweet card to have early on against them to make sure they don't put too much pressure on you.

Stormbreath Dragon has been competing with/complementing Mistcutter Hydra for slots. They're really similar. Both are good against UW, Mistcutter is good against Mono Blue, and Dragon is okay against Wr Aggro. This is why I like having a split on them.

I've played with Xenagos a bit and I really can't figure out how good he is. I'm still playing him but it's been confusing. I much prefer Domri+Garruk but there are those times that Domri gets Needled that I don't like playing 4 copies. Normally Domri is great against matchups that have Needle so it's awkward. If there were an Acidic Slime type card I would surely be boarding 1 (Sylvan Primordial is too expensive for me, thanks).

Questions, comments? Let me know below or on twitter!

(Update 10/18/13)

To my surprise, after playing with the deck more I've come even closer to matching Mihara's original decklist. One thing that I've now learned is that cards like Stormbreath Dragon, while very good against control, don't do anything to help against Supreme Verdict which is the primary problem in those matchups. For that reason I've made a few changes to help against the card.

I've decided I don't much care for Xenagos except against wrath effects but it's still not a bad card (very similar to Garruk Wildspeaker) and I don't know what else I'd rather play MD anymore.

Bramblecrush serves as an answer to Pithing Needle and Detention Sphere but is also capable of destroying a land, a Jace, or an Elspeth. It's akin to Sylvan Primordial except it doesn't cost 7.

The lone Mutavault is also to help against wrath effects. I typically cut 2 ramp creatures to hedge and Mutavault makes up for those.

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