How to Beat Mono-Green Devotion in Pioneer – Strategy Bite

In the wake of the Expressive Iteration and Winota bannings in Pioneer, Mono-Green Devotion has cemented itself early as the format’s new deck to beat. The deck has become very powerful, resilient and consistent over the last couple of years as the engine of Cavalier of Thorns and Storm the Festival have been a big upgrade to the deck. The deck has also picked up a convoluted infinite combo that can close games out immediately before ever allowing their opponents to untap. You can read about that combo and more about the deck in this Deck Guide for the archetype that I wrote last month (a little out of date since it was written pre-ban, but it should be mostly relevant still).

However, with Mono-Green Devotion cementing itself as the deck to beat, many Pioneer players find themselves asking the question: how do we beat it? And while the devotion deck can be hard to beat for any deck when you lose the die roll, there are a couple of strategies that are great against it and a few metagame calls you can make in your midrange and control strategies to hedge against it. 



Header - Best Decks vs Devotion

Aggro decks that can create a single giant evasive threat that can fly or trample over Mono-Green’s blockers is a great formula versus a deck that plays no removal. Heroic and Auras are the best versions of these decks, and here are sample deck lists for both:



Pioneer Boros Heroic by zach_dubin




Pioneer BW Auras by Philip61978


Beyond these particular aggro decks, in my experience, the combination of efficient removal, big flyers and tutorable sweepers make Niv-Mizzet a favored deck versus Devotion. Here’s a sample deck list:



Pioneer Niv to Light by claudioh

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If you’re playing a black-based midrange deck like Rakdos or an Izzet deck like Delver, Control, Prowess or Phoenix, your Mono-Green matchup wont be as good as one of these others, but you can make some metagame decisions to help hedge your matchup and get it to be a little above 50 percent in your favor. 


Header - For Izzet Decks

The best thing you can do to hedge versus Devotion is playing Thing in the Ice, which is simply the best card the format has to offer for the matchup in your color combination. That being said, if you can present a combination of cheap flying creatures like Ledger Shredder, Sprite Dragon, Arclight Phoenix or Delver of Secrets backed up by cheap burn spells and cheap counterspells, I’ve found that to be a winning combination versus Mono-Green. Here’s an example Izzet Delver deck that I’ve been liking a lot versus Devotion:



Pioneer Izzet Delver by Evart Moughon


Header - For Rakdos Decks

In my experience, Rakdos decks have a harder time beating Mono-Green than Izzet, but playing more copies of Dreadbore, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Noxious Grasp in the sideboard are all good ways to hedge for the matchup. Here’s an example deck list:



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