U/W Devotion In Standard

Prepare to play Standard this weekend at SCG Open Series: Seattle by watching Sam try out U/W Devotion on Magic Online to see how it is compared to his beloved Mono-Blue Devotion.

Now that Pro Tour Born of the Gods and Grand Prix Richmond are over, it’s finally time for me to take a serious look at Standard with Born of the Gods, which I’ll be playing in Grand Prix Cincinnati. For me, the first step is to figure out how things have changed for my favorite deck, Mono-Blue Devotion. The first question is whether it’s worth splashing white, which offers Detention Sphere and Ephara, God of the Polis.

After looking at the way some other people have built this deck and playing around with it a bit, I’ve concluded that Ephara seems only okay at first, and I’ve decided that I’d prefer a diverse mix of four-drops. I also don’t want too many reactive cards since this deck can struggle with control decks, so I’ve gone down from my starting point of four copies of Detention Sphere. My current list looks like this:

The first game was a typical ideal draw for Mono-Red Devotion. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the deck lose to anything when they have all the pieces like that. In game 2, my answers happened to line up perfectly with what he was doing. The third game was the closest and most interesting and interactive. I thought I had it, but I couldn’t beat Fanatic of Mogis. Looking back, I think if I had played differently and been as aggressive as possible, I would have come up one point short. As is often the case with decks that aren’t great at interacting like these, this game felt like it came down to being on the play.

I made a few small errors and narrowly avoided a few more, but both games played out pretty similarly. We traded cards early, and then Jace, Architect of Thought pulled me ahead and helped me find Thassa, God of the Sea, which won the game. The reason I’m not sold on Ephara, God of the Polis over Jace is that it doesn’t play as well with that play pattern—I curve out my early threats, and then I have a four-drop left.

If it’s Jace, I reload right away. With Ephara, if they Detention Sphere it, I get nothing, and if they don’t, I still have to follow it up with threats to get anywhere. The fact that I don’t like Ephara much and don’t want Glare of Heresy because it’s a narrow reactive card against control decks and there doesn’t seem to be enough white aggro to justify it means I’m pretty skeptical about the white splash.

Well, my play kind of derailed at the end there, but at that point it didn’t matter. Overall, that match was really good fun Magic. I narrowly stabilized and won long interactive games where lots of sweet mythic cards got to shine. Also, it’s interesting that the game ended with my opponent blocking in such a way that they were dead rather than chumping Thassa, God of the Sea to get another turn, but the difference likely wouldn’t have been significant.

I didn’t feel like my opponent really understood the matchup. Bringing in Erebos, God of the Dead makes no sense since Underworld Connections is already bad, and they weren’t really being aggressive or committing to Pack Rat in ways that made sense. That said, the white splash seemed very good here, and the random Godless Shrine was pretty sweet. I don’t think Mono-Black Devotion is often going to beat either of those draws.

Overall the deck felt very good, but for the most part only the way that Mono-Blue Devotion feels good. That said, despite my low number there were a few of games where Ephara, God of the Polis was kinda sweet, but it was just never amazing. The mana worked out well, meaning the splash didn’t hurt me much, but I think I slightly prefer the mono-blue version for the moment unless you expect a lot of Mono-Black Devotion.