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The Love Bellow: A Standard Combo Deck

It’s tough to say what exactly the Standard format might look like between now and rotation; however, it’s very reasonable to expect that green-based devotion strategies will continue to play a role in shaping the metagame. There are a ton of unique tools in Magic Origins that help make the green machine run. Here’s the new card I’m most excited about:

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Woodland Bellower is surprisingly powerful in a green-based devotion deck. He’s one of the best rewards for ramping up to six mana, offering a bit more play than Genesis Hydra and having a slightly bigger board presence in the early to mid stages of the game. Maindecking a couple copies of this guy means that you can play a more decision-intensive toolbox strategy alongside your Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Reasonable targets in mono green include Deathmist Raptor, Courser of Kruphix, Elvish Visionary, Reclamation Sage, Voyaging Satyr, and Shaman of the Forgotten Ways among others. All of those are fine and good, giving value when needed, but what exactly is the big payoff for playing Woodland Bellower over Hornet Queen, or Dragonlord Atarka?

The versatility of Woodland Bellower is really what pushes it over the top. It's essentially a split card that allows you to do anything as long as there's a card in your deck that can do the thing you want.

Similar to how excellent Primeval Titan is at gaining value, Woodland Bellower is great at bridging the gap between six mana and ten mana or more. If you use the Bellower's tutor effect to fetch a Voyaging Satyr, you now have access to way more mana on the following turn, extending your mana advantage as well as card advantage while directly affecting the board — and that's just one of the modes you can get from casting the 6/5 beast.

The Combo Pieces

Perhaps the most exciting boon of having a tutor effect on a stick is the ability to set up creature-based combos. While there aren’t any backbreaking combos available to mono green, there is one powerful interaction that's easily splashable.


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This combo functions very similarly to the Temur Ascendancy combo which saw some success prior to Dragons of Tarkir’s release. With Voyaging Satyr, Temur Sabertooth, and Bounding Krasis, you can generate near-infinite mana to use as you best see fit. To get the combo rolling, you need at least a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, a Voyaging Satyr (non-summoning sick), a Temur Sabertooth, and a blue-producing land. First, you get the Voyaging Satyr + Nykthos engine to float a lot of green mana. Next you activate the ability on Temur Sabertooth to return Bounding Krasis to your hand. You can then recast Bounding Krasis and use the trigger to untap Voyaging Satyr for a net gain of several mana depending on the number of green pips you have.

The reason the combo I just described isn't infinite is that you're limited by the amount of blue mana you can produce to recast Bounding Krasis. If you have enough devotion to Blue (about 3), the combo does become infinite. You can float enough blue mana from Nykthos to profit off of recasting Bounding Krasis several times and activating Nykthos for green two or three times before needing to activate it for blue. This also works with Shaman of Forgotten Ways.

Ending the Game

Once you’ve demonstrated that you have infinite mana, you can use Temur Sabertooth with Woodland Bellower and Elvish Visionary to draw your deck and put every creature card in your library onto the battlefield. After doing that, you can activate Polukranos, World Eater for an arbitrary amount to wipe your opponent's entire board. The last step is to swing for lethal on the following turn. An alternative instant win is available if you have a non-summoning sick Shaman of the Forgotten Ways.

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This combo is fragile and requires four specific pieces in order to function as stated previously. While that's not the best selling point for a deck, it's not a difficult as it sounds. This is largely due to Woodland Bellower and a couple cards I'll talk about in a second. Being able to find a Bounding Krasis or Voyaging Satyr is really not that hard with Woodland Bellower, and those are the two most crucial parts of the combo. It's also not much of an opportunity cost to play a couple Bounding Krasis in your deck as casting a turn 4 Woodland Bellower off Voyaging Satyr means you can take this line on turn 4: Play Woodland Bellower getting Bounding Krasis, untap Voyaging Satyr, play Hornet Queen or Whisperwood Elemental. That interaction is so powerful when it works, that it's going to be nearly impossible for your opponent to come back from.

Building for Resiliency

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To help provide additional redundancy and midgame umph, Evolutionary Leap and Den Protector are a necessity for this deck and function ridiculously well together.

Evolutionary Leap is the real deal. It's both an engine to sink mana into and a threat that blanks your opponent's removal when they're playing small-ball. This card gives you a ton of control over how the deck plays out by providing a tutor-like effect early on. Most importantly, it can help you set up the combo by helping you find a Temur Sabertooth.

Den Protector is also crucial for similar reasons. It helps you recycle cards from your graveyard and has already demonstrated its worth as a strong value creature when playing the small game. With a Den Protector in hand, you can sacrifice a Deathmist Raptor and another creature to Evolutionary Leap before getting both of those cards back with Den Protector. That's a net exchange of four cards, rewarding you for playing some of the cards you already want to be playing.

To further facilitate the combo, two Kiora's Followers should be included. The card is functionally the same as Voyaging Satyr in terms of untapping Nykthos, but has some additional bonuses and drawbacks. It's important to have access to an extra couple of combo pieces for redundancy as well as enough blue permanents in the deck to go infinite.

The Decklist

I'm so excited about this deck that it's difficult to stop saying things about it. It's extremely powerful, consistent, and fun. I encourage everybody to try it out. This is the most optimal 75 card configuration I could come up with.

Bonus Round

If you want to get really crazy, you can include this sweet combo.

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While this "combo" is much jankier and probably not competitive, having a Prophet of Kruphix in play when you resolve a Day's Undoing essentially removes all of the drawback that comes with passing the turn. Maybe this is a good sideboard option, but it just seems too cute to be worth including in the 75.

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