Welcome back to Owen’s Pick of the Week. This week, I’d play Tannon Grace’s build of Standard Red/Green Devotion.
The first thing that jumps out at me is that Tanner went with 0 Sylvan Caryatid and 4 Rattleclaw Mystic and that’s no accident, it was clearly a calculated decision. You don’t just forget about Sylvan Caryatid, the card that’s been a staple of successful green decks in Standard for as long as it has existed.
So why would be do that? Simple, this deck wants to attack. You can’t deal 2 damage with a Sylvan Caryatid. Attacking with Rattleclaw Mystic does two neat things: it allows you to make a bigger and better Rattleclaw Mystic with the triggered ability on Shaman of the Great Hunt and it also lets you lower your opponent’s life total, making a lethal Crater’s Claws that much more likely. I also like the cute synergy between Whisperwood Elemental and the possibility of manifesting a Rattleclaw Mystic.
I wrote about Whisperwood Elemental in green devotion decks when it was first spoiled, and I’m not surprised at all that it has been adopted this quickly.
I will admit I am perplexed by the inclusion of one of both Mana Confluence and Rugged Highlands. I can see playing one or the other as a 1-of but putting both in the same deck is confusing. I would think that either your deck is concerned about its life total and would play Rugged Highlands or you’re more concerned with speed and thus would prefer Mana Confluence. I guess I can see not wanting to draw two of either in a game and drawing one of each of these cards is acceptable, but it looks fishy regardless. I’d recommend playing two of one or the other or just playing neither.
Take a look at those Briber’s Purses in the sideboard, you’ve got to love that piece of tech against UW Heroic. They’re artifacts and thus can’t be stopped by Gods Willing, and while the total mana investment is too great for some decks, half of this deck consists of cards that produce mana, so getting a Briber’s Purse out there for 4 or 5 is well within the realm of possibility and locking down a giant threat they make for that long should be enough to stall until you’re in an advantageous board position. If you’re worried about the Heroic matchup this is a totally reasonable plan.
I’m also impressed with the synergy between Whisperwood Elemental and Courser of Kruphix. It’s a bit lame that all the mystery is taken out of the card you manifest as both players can see it, but it does allow you to do some cool tricks. If you ever end your turn with a land on top Whisperwood Elemental will effectively mill it so you have a shot to get to a better spell for the following turn. You can use the fetchlands in the deck to shuffle away bad cards or leave good creatures on top which can be put into play manifested for free.
Or, if you ever want to stop it, you can simply say “Jane get me off this crazy thing” and sacrifice the Whisperwood Elemental at any time so you don’t manifest that lethal Crater’s Claws on top and instead draw it to ensure victory.
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