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Valuable Lessons – Willy Edel Was Right

Welcome back! Everyone’s focus has shifted to Standard with the Modern PTQ season reaching an end and a number of big Standard events like World Magic Cup Qualifiers coming up in the next few weeks. Here at Valuable Lessons, we love a nice Green Devotion deck. There’s a new version of Green Devotion that’s been doing well recently on Magic Online. We’re all familiar with the Black/Green enchantment deck, but adding a Green Devotion sub-theme really pushes the deck into an awesome place given the current metagame.

Willy Edel has been playing decks with Eidolon of Blossoms for quite awhile at this point. Most of us were skeptical of the deck’s true power level, but Edel insisted that it was a worthy choice. Green Devotion is really well positioned—The popularity of aggressive red decks and value-driven black decks has been on the rise, and Green Devotion variants tend to be very strong in those matchups. Making the deck into an enchantment strategy gives the deck a lot of game against the blue/white control strategies and allows the pilot to beat decks like Blue Devotion with better consistency.

To be honest, I don’t love any of the lists I’ve seen for Black/Green Blossom Devotion in MTGO events. They 4-0 Dailies, but that doesn’t mean they’re built correctly. I’m still underwhelmed by Chord of Calling. Sure it’s good in a deck like this, but I’d rather play additional copies of Nissa, Worldwaker or Garruk, Caller of Beasts if I want to cast a big spell like that.

Overgrown Tomb is a ridiculous Magic Card. I read Matt Sperling’s article about Top 8’ing the Pro Tour, but that doesn’t mean we need to misplace his reasoning for including lots of Battlefield Forges and not so many Sacred Foundries in every deck we play. Here, we’re trying to cast Burning-Tree Emissary. When playing four Llanowar Wastes, I sometimes found that I would draw two copies and basically lose the game against more aggressive decks as a result. I’m playing four Overgrown Tomb and one Llanowar Wastes. I feel like this is a good split with the cards I’m playing right now.

The deck plays very similarly to the Green Devotion decks we’re used to, but Eidolon of Blossoms gives the deck a lot of longevity when the grind becomes real. The Green Devotion deck can produce absurd amounts of mana and it’s often difficult to have the cards necessary to take full advantage of it. Playing Eidolon of Blossoms makes the deck a much smoother animal.

Doomwake Giant is nice as a one-of, I can imagine situations where having multiple copies of this card just makes the game unwinnable for the opponent. The first copy is usually the best and it’s hard to justify filling our deck with more 5-drops. Doomwake Giant is one of the biggest incentives to play with Chord of Calling, but I’d like to resist that notion for the time being. I’ve tried Chord quite a bit in various Green Devotion decks over the last two weeks, and I still confidently dislike the card’s place in the format.

Burning-Tree Emissary leads to the deck’s most unfair draws. It’s not going to happen often, but sometimes we’ll be able to do things like cast Garruk, Caller of Beasts on the the second or third turn of the game. This wouldn’t be possible if we weren’t able to combo our Burning-Tree Emissary and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx.

Courser of Kruphix is right around Thoughtseize in terms of card power level and, with cards like Sphinx’s Revelation, Pack Rat, and Supreme Verdict leaving Standard in less than two months, it looks like Courser of Kruphix may become the format-defining card of the new Standard. I would actually be very surprised if it wasn’t.

Elvish Mystic is exactly what a deck like this wants to be doing. We’re accelerating into some really big spells and effects. Elvish Mystic does double-duty, tapping for mana or fighting while still contributing to our Green Devotion. Turn two Courser of Kruphix is extremely strong against all opponents these days, especially red decks. Sylvan Caryatid plays a similar role, but also functions as a great blocking body against aggro.

Genesis Hydra is one of the new and improved mana sinks Green Devotion has access to. We can use our Genesis Hydra as a tutor effect that also gives us a giant body or a free planeswalker. When we’re looking to sink a juicy eight or ten mana into something, this is the ideal play. Try to cast it at least for four.

Nylea, God of the Hunt lets the deck overcome endless chump-blocking scenarios, and provides us with a nice mana sink in addition to a massive body for the cost.

Pharika, God of Affliction is a test subject at this point. I’m still not sure how much I love the card, but I think it may have potential and I wanted to give it a chance before assuming that it wasn’t good. I’ve only drawn it twice, and it quickly became a creature and did great work both times, but I’m worried about what might happen when it doesn’t become a creature immediately after I cast it.

Polukranos, World Eater is still the best four drop in the format. We should be saving the monstrous ability for Master of Waves against blue devotion, we should be using the ability very aggressively against other green midrange decks where killing a creature and making a 10/10 on the fourth turn is usually going to be enough to win the game. I’m in the market to cut a card to include the fourth copy of Polukranos, World Eater and currently Pharika, God of Affliction is on the chopping block.

Sylvan Primordial is awesome against controlling strategies. I really like having that option in the deck, especially given the current metagame. I was a big fan of Hornet Queen, but Sylvan Primordial is definitely the better seven drop when we’re playing the current Standard.

Nissa, Worldwaker is just insane. The card makes an endless stream of 4/4s and allows us to do absurd things like cast Garruk, Caller of Beasts and Sylvan Primordial on the same turn. I recommend just making 4/4s forever and always. Trust me, it works.

Garruk, Caller of Beasts comes down and instantly fills our hand with a bunch of exciting goodies. Sometimes, we get to untap with it and then we usually get to go billy bonkers with a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx.

Voyaging Satyr is another piece of mana acceleration that can often tap for well over five mana thanks to Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. This card leads to some of the most impressive combo draws the deck has to offer.

When we put it all together this is what the decks looks like:

Blossom Devotion
by Jacob Van Lunen

This deck is tier one. It’s the new hotness from the internet that all the cool kids will be talking about next weekend. Put it together, crush your FNM, win a trip to the World Magic Cup, get discovered by a talent agent while in a feature match, become a hand model, meet other hand models, build a house that looks like a hand on the top of a mountain that looks like an arm. The dream is real and the future is bright. Green Devotion is back and ready to kick some doors in.

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