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Standard Mono-Blue Affinity Devotion

Anyone else watch Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir hoping to see Mono-Blue Devotion?

With the recent buffs from Dragons of Tarkir it seems like it has what it needs to crack into or at least compete with the top tier.

It wasn’t so long ago that Mono-Blue Devotion WON Pro Tour Theros… and much of the same core is still available for tournament play.

While staples like Cloudfin Raptor, Mutavault, and Nightveil Specter have rotated out, we gained some amazing upgrades to push this deck to a whole ‘nother level.

At the Pro Tour nobody thought this deck gave them the best chance to win the event… but that doesn’t mean the deck isn’t great. It just wasn’t anybody’s 1st choice. Which means we’ve got a sleeper on our hands.

Whether you are on a budget, just like mono-blue, or you like to win, this deck is going to be a great choice moving forward in Standard.

The deck plays like Affinity with crazy explosive draws and plays like Devotion with a powerful top end. Let’s break it down.

This Affinity package has made multiple Grand Prix Top 8 lists—in Modern. If it’s good enough for Modern it’s good enough for Standard.

Ensoul Artifact is a huge draw to this deck. A 5/5 with flying or indestructible for only 2 mana is a crazy rate. It can be risky and inconsistent, but the power level is off the charts. It wins games on its own, FAST.

Ornithopter plus Springleaf Drum is a great combo as well for really explosive starts.

Darksteel Citadel has its drawbacks as a colorless land, but the combo with Ensoul Artifact is too good to pass up.

Fast 1-drops with Gudul Lurker and Hypnotic Siren to power Military Intelligence can buff your devotion count from the get-go.

Yes, Military Intelligence nut draws will win the game. But Military Intelligence is totally fine on turn 4 or 5 to draw a couple cards and add devotion to the board. And sometimes it just runs away with the game.

Gudul Lurker and Hypnotic Siren are both awesome because of their flexible mana rate. They provide big powerful things to do in the late game. With cards like this in your deck it’s hard to be too flooded.

Triton Shorestalker is another nice option but not nearly as flexible. Some versions could benefit from playing all 3 though.

This is our high end. Thassa and Master of Waves are still insanely powerful and worth bending over backwards to make work. Thassa hits so hard with indestructibility and unblockability and Master of Waves takes over the field if they don’t kill it.

Shorecrasher Elemental is the new 3-drop meant to power up devotion. It has good stats and good abilities. It’s another card that has extremely flexible mana requirements if you have too much, or even not enough. The morph ability can make up for colorless mana and a 4/4 morphling is a solid body.

Omenspeaker draws a lot of questions but I think this card is vital as a 4-of in the 75. It grants stability against fast aggro draws. A 1/3 brickwalls 1-drops. It’s the blocker that the deck needs.

The scry ability is always good—it finds you what you need to always smooth out your draws. No 1-mana spell can kill Omenspeaker, so if you lose them to removal you won the interaction with the scry bonus. Great card in this deck!

On the other hand you have Frost Walker, which trades with every 1-drop, every 2-drop, every 3-drop, 1/3rd of a Hordeling Outburst, 1/2 of a Dragon Fodder or Raise the Alarm, trades with removal, does not have evasion and cannot gain evasion.

Frost Walker is not what you want at this spot in the curve in this deck. Omenspeaker offers sturdy devotion and consistency and is the better option here.

Several great new printings for this deck are Stratus Dancer and Silumgar Sorcerer. Stratus Dancer can give some protection against sweepers or be a reasonable beatdown body on 2.

Silumgar Sorcerer gives you something extra to do with those Ornithopter bodies and can be used to counter Siege Rhinos and otherwise backbreaking Dragons.

Silumgar Sorcerer isn’t great in every matchup, but is the perfect type of sideboard card for this deck.

More beef. These cards are always good. I’m on 1 of each but you could easily play more of them.

15 Islands and 4 Springleaf Drum give a good amount of blue mana to get started.

Nykthos is especially good in this version as you can use the extra mana for pump, megamorphs, or bestows. Some versions could do well with multiple copies.

Mono-Blue Affinity Devotion

StandardMonoBlueAffinityDevotion1

Plays Like Affinity

This deck is built on a sleek low curve to give it explosive draws. It can run away with the game with a quick Military Intelligence or Ensoul Artifact, or stick a turn-3 Thassa, Master of Waves.

Plays Like Devotion

This deck is built on a flexible high curve with tons of megamorph, creature mana abilities, bestow, and extra card draw. You have the beef to win longer games and you’re okay with drawing a lot of mana.

Sideboard Tricks

With a deck like this I choose to run an extremely proactive first game and save the interactive spells for the sideboard.

The main deck is all about speed and power, and the sideboard is about matching up better with specific answers, threats, and tricks.

Blue has a lot of options—counters, bounce, removal, and more.

StandardMonoBlueAffinityDevotion2

Stratus DancerNegate, and Stubborn Denial give you some more game against sweepers.

Silumgar Sorcerer, Encase in Ice, Singing Bell Strike, and Void Snare give you some options for removing problematic creatures.

Hall of Triumph and Bident of Thassa give you some more beef when that’s what you need.

Omenspeaker gives you an additional low-curve blocker to match aggressive decks.

Nykthos gives you some more mana in games where you really want to win with Hypnotic Siren bestow.

I like these tricks but there are many more available in Standard. The best bet is to season to personal preference and mix it up when necessary.

Standard Blue Affinity Devotion

I have been playing variations of this deck online for multiple set releases and found the deck to be a great competitive option that happens to be semi-budget.

With the new printings I think the deck is totally insane off-the-charts entertainment. Super fun, synergistic, powerful individual cards, explosive draws, and late-game trumps. Everything I would want in a deck.

If you’re looking for something different in Standard, this is a great way to go.

If you’ve been on the Mono-Blue train yourself I highly recommend trying out this version—you will have a lot of fun.

The core of Mono-Blue is rotating out soon, so let’s enjoy it while we can.

Discussion

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