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Much Abrew: Modern Mono-White Devotion


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. A few years ago, there was a brief and glorious moment when Mastery of the Unseen was all the rage, leading to some absurd board states like this...

As a result, when a Mastery of the Unseen Mono-White Devotion list managed to 5-0 a Modern league on Magic Online, I just knew we had to give the deck a try. While we do have the combo of Heliod, Sun-Crowned and Walking Ballista backed by some lifegain synergies as a way to close out the game quickly, if needed, the main plan is to slowly grind out value with Mastery of the Unseen, with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx giving us enough mana to activate it multiple times each turn. Does Mastery of the Unseen have a place in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Mono-White Devotion

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Discussion

  • Record-wise, we finished our league 3-2, which is pretty reasonable, especially considering one of our losses game to Hall of Famer Willy Edel. 
  • Generally speaking, the deck seems to have some super-good and super-bad matchups. Aggro and burn decks are usually easy (unless you're up against a Hall of Famer) thanks to our ample lifegain, the protection of Auriok Champion, and our ability to flood the board with creatures. Control is reasonable as well, especially if we can stick a Mastery of the Unseen (see our matchup against Izzet Breach, when sneaking in a Mastery of the Unseen through counters pretty much won us the game all by itself). On the other hand, spell-based combo decks are really tough. We just don't have the tools to interact with the stack, and our sideboard is more geared toward graveyard decks and control than combo. While we did manage to beat Ad Nauseam during our league, that was more by pure luck (with our opponent killing themselves one game and then our last-ditch effort to redirect Lightning Storm actually working somehow) than our deck being competitive in the matchup.
  • Perhaps my biggest takeaway about the deck is that the Heliod, Sun-Crowned / Walking Ballista combo is more of a backup plan than the primary focus of our deck. While it is nice that we can get fast wins with a lucky draw, we rarely assembled the combo, instead mostly winning by building a big board of random creatures thanks to Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx allowing us to make a ton of mana and play out our hand quickly (or manifest a bunch with Mastery of the Unseen). 
  • Leyline of Sanctity might look strange in the main deck, but it felt strong. It was great protection against discard the two times when we played against Rakdos Kroxa, and even in matchups where it doesn't do much, it still adds two white mana symbols to the battlefield (often for free) to power up our Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
  • One card that might be worth considering in the deck is Dawn of Hope. We had some games where we'd quickly dump our hand but still not have a big enough board to win and mostly were stuck waiting to draw something impactful. Dawn of Hope would not only give us a backup Mastery of the Unseen (making 1/1s instead of 2/2 manifests) but also offer a ton of card advantage, thanks to Soul's Attendant, Auriok Champion, and Daxos, Blessed by the Sun
  • In general, I was pretty happy with the main deck of Mono-White Devotion, but the sideboard could probably be improved. We really could use more cards against spell-based combo decks. Deafening Silence might be the way to go. We have enough creatures that it shouldn't impact our game plan too much. It's free if we have Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and is great against decks like Storm or Ad Nauseam, which feel like our weakest matchups.
  • So, should you play Mono-White Devotion in Modern? I think the answer is yes, but with an asterisk. As we talked about a minute ago, the deck has really good matchups and really bad matchups. Thankfully, many of the top decks in the format fall into the "really good" category, but it's still very possible to hit a string of bad matchups and end up with a poor record in a league on Magic Online or in another small event. The good news is that it's also possible to hit a string of really good matchups and cruise to an easy 5-0. Most importantly, the deck is fun to play. Mastery of the Unseen is a really sweet card, and it was surprisingly strong in the deck! If you want to relive the glory days of Mastery of the Unseen in Standard, this is a great way to get a similar experience in Modern.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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