Much Abrew: Mono-White Devotion (Modern)
by SaffronOlive // Jan 09, 2017
Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, it was an extremely unique Mono-White Devotion deck that came out at the top of the pile, which means that today we are heading to Modern to see if using Borderposts to power up Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is a legitimate plan! Featuring a legendary toolbox built around Thalia's Lancers, on paper, Mono-White Devotion looks expensive (especially considering the speed of Modern) and also high risk, since our Borderpost mana plan turns Ancient Grudge into Sinkhole with flashback. The good news is our deck is overloaded with raw power, featuring a bunch of huge fliers, Elspeth, Sun's Champion, and even Karn Liberated. Will this be enough to make up for any clunkiness? Let's find out!
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Mono-White Devotion Instant Deck Tech
Mono-White Devotion vs. Esper Spirits (Match 1)
Mono-White Devotion vs. UB Mill (Match 2)
Mono-White Devotion vs. Eldrazi Tron (Match 3)
Mono-White Devotion vs. UR Storm (Match 4)
Mono-White Devotion vs. Mardu Tokens (Match 5)
Mono-White Devotion (Wrap-Up)
- First off, we finished 3-2 in our matches (and 3-3 if you count a second match against Eldrazi Tron that didn't make it to video), which isn't a great record but isn't a bad record either.
- More importantly, our matches broke down in a really easy-to-digest way. We performed well against fair decks, with our more powerful creatures allowing us to go over the top of both Esper Spirits and Mardu, but struggled against unfair decks. Not only did we lose to Tron and UR Storm, but it didn't even feel like we were particularly close in either of those matches.
- Looking at our deck, this makes a lot of sense. Against decks that are looking to win with removal and creatures, our deck is great. While our opponent is playing Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Tarmogoyf, we're playing 5/7 fliers, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, and Elspeth, Sun's Champion. On the other hand, we are completely lacking in instant-speed interaction, which means I have no idea how we beat Infect, Death's Shadow, or UR Prowess, not to mention spell-based combo decks.
- As for individual cards, I was very impressed by the Borderpost / Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx plan. While it was pretty clear that the combo could make a lot of mana, my main worry was that we'd get blown out by Stony Silence, which is an extremely popular sideboard card. Surprisingly, we managed to win through Stony Silence in two different games. While a Turn 2 Stony Silence can be devastating, if it comes down a couple of turns later, all it really does it make it so our Borderposts produce one mana (with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx) rather than two, and making one mana is still good enough. This said, we also managed to avoid the nightmare scenario of Ancient Grudge, but I'm sure if we keep playing the deck, we'll end up losing some games to it sooner or later.
- Thalia's Lancers was also very impressive, offering a reasonable body and having a ton of important tutor targets. While we never actually used it to get a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, it's nice to have the option, and between our Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Skysovereign, Consul Flagship to kill creatures and Linvala, the Preserver and Gisela, the Broken Blade to gain some life, we had good tutor options for most situations.
- While I liked the legendary package in general, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Brimaz, King of Oreskos were a bit disappointing. The Eldrazi was simply too expensive and the Cat never really seemed to do enough to warrant tutoring them up.
- It's also a little bit weird to be playing planeswalkers, since we can't tutor them up. While both Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Karn Liberated are powerful cards, I can't help but wonder if these slots would be better spent on cards we could find with Thalia's Lancers. Two obvious options include Linvala, Keeper of Silence and Thalia, Heretic Cathar.
- Let's talk about fixing the deck. As I mentioned a few minutes ago, the deck feels strong against fair creature decks, so our main goal is to improve unfair matchups. Probably the easiest thing to do to fight unfair creature decks is to add Path to Exile to the main deck. While this would likely mean cutting back on some white mana symbols from Journey to Nowhere and Oblivion Ring, I'm pretty sure it's worth it because I have no idea how we can ever beat Infect or Death's Shadow without instant-speed removal. For unfair spell decks, maybe the best option is to move some copies of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben into the 75. I'd probably start with one or two in the main deck over Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and maybe a copy of Elspeth, Sun's Champion, and then move a couple of more into the sideboard. Another option would be to add in some copies of Rule of Law or Eidolon of Rhetoric, but they might just be worse than Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, since we can't tutor them up with Thalia's Lancers.
- So, should you play Mono-White Devotion? I think it really depends on your local meta. If you expect to play against Jund, Abzan, and other fair creature decks often, then Mono-White Devotion is a fine choice. On the other hand, if your meta is all combo, you'll definitely want to make the upgrades we've been talking about before sleeving up the deck.
- Finally, I've mentioned in the past that whenever I play a deck, my main goal is to learn one new thing that I can apply to building (and playing) other decks, and for Mono-White Devotion, the biggest takeaway was that Borderposts and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx are really powerful together. Because of this, I really want to try building other devotion lists (Mono-Blue, Mono-Black, and Mono-Red especially) that take advantage of the synergy!
Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! 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.