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Devoted Devastation in Modern


Hey everyone!

I took a break from Stoneforge Mystic this last week to bring you the scoop on another great two-mana creature: Devoted Druid. I go way back with Devoted Druid which makes my recommendation to try out Devoted Devastation not much of a stretch.

A few weeks ago I expressed an interest in playing an updated version of a Devoted Druid combo because it got some new toys in Eladamri's Call, Finale of Devastation, and Giver of Runes. I wasn't in love with the gw versions because they didn't have enough powerful cards. Dipping into Blue gives us Teferi, Time Raveler and Oko, Thief of Crowns. Stoneforge Mystic didn't seem like a good fit even though the addition was initially exciting. Don't tell her I said that.

As I was watching the SCG Atlanta coverage I came across a cool Bant Druid deck piloted by Matt Clutter who ultimately finished in the Top 8. It looks like it has the tools to keep up with Amulet Titan and Urza. That's a good place to be.

I played a very similar version of this deck at a local Modern event and finished 3-0-1. As is the case with any toolbox decks there are plenty of small card choices to fix to account for the changing metagame.

Once Upon a Time was very impressive. I felt like any opening hand with a copy was more powerful. For this reason I would like to add a fourth copy. If you hit a Devoted Druid it's like casting a free Eladamri's Call because that's the primary search target. In the later turns it's more unwieldy, but still focused.

Would you play this card?:

1g Instant

Search your library for the land or creature you deserve.

I would still play it as my combo requires three creatures. Think Eladamri's Call meets Charizard. He never listens.

There are only twenty lands and two of them are Horizon lands. The deck is taking advantage of the extra consistency from Once Upon a Time. I felt the Gilded Goose and second Birds of Paradise weren't needed because Once Upon a Time could find the remaining five mana dorks or Giver of Runes if I failed to hit Devoted Druid.

Collected Company doesn't make the cut because Eladamri's Call and Finale of Devastation are cheap ways to guarantee finding Devoted Druid. Teferi, Time Raveler and Oko, Thief of Crowns were added in place of 3-drop creatures to make the random creature reveal effects even worse. I used to be happy playing three Duskwatch Recruiter, but there aren't as many creatures.

Finale of Devastation is worded strangely. When I initially started brewing the deck I thought I could return a creature from the graveyard and also put a creature from my library into play which is not the case. If it put both into play it would be insane and likely need to be banned.

The reason I play Finale over Chord of Calling is because it costs one mana less. It can be cast at instant-speed with Teferi which can end the game quickly. Remember +X/+X and haste can be achieved in drawn out games the fair way.

Ranger-Captain of Eos has been awesome for me. It's able to tutor up a Walking Ballista because the creature can cost one or less, which is part of the combo. In a fair matchup it's powerful to search for Noble Hierarch or Giver of Runes. The ability to stop the opponent from casting non-creature spells for a turn is very powerful with Teferi in play as it acts effectively as a Time Walk in certain matchups.

I prefer two Horizon Canopy over a split with Waterlogged Grove is because Ranger-Captain requires three White mana if I want to find Giver of Runes. White mana can also be a bottleneck on combo turns if I need to cast Eladamri's Call to find Vizier of Remedies. It's not unrealistic to cast two Eladamri's Call on the combo turn.

I tried a maindeck planeswalker split of two Oko and two Teferi. Oko is such a strong card and I wanted a higher chance of drawing him. I was not disappointed as he helped me pivot to a fair game against Bant Blade; I wanted to draw it against Jund, too. Teferi can simply cycle in some matchups, but I need more payoffs and Oko is just that.

My last change was cutting Phyrexian Revoker for Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. This was a close call as Revoker is even able to shut down Urza's mana ability. I have played Jace in Devoted Druid decks in the past and he overperformed. Cards named Jace are good. Who would have thought?

Here's my current list:

I'm trying out Eternal Witness as a flex card advantage creature. This is because she's part of the combo if I use Devoted Druid to cast a tutor for Vizier of Remedies. When I get trillions of Green mana I can cast Eternal Witness to rebuy the tutor and find Duskwatch Recruiter. She can also be profitably bounced with Teferi.

Karn, the Great Creator can be annoying because he shuts off Walking Ballista dealing lethal damage. This could be even more awkward as a likely candidate for the -2 is Ensnaring Bridge. The Eternal Witness can re-buy a Finale of Devastation to search for Deputy of Detention once you have begun to combo. This is relevant if all of your White and Blue mana has already been spent.

Remember when you are activating Duskwatch Recruiter it's legal to not find a creature. When I'm comboing I find some mana dorks, Eternal Witness, Walking Ballista, and some redundant combo pieces. There's no point in drawing every creature in the deck. Another case for leaving yourself with as much White mana as possible.

Remember that Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch can attack through Ensnaring Bridge and then exalted triggers go on the stack. Jace's +1 on the back side can target any creature; -2-0 can help get under a bridge as well.

Exalted also got a boost thanks to Oko. If the opponent turns your creature into an elk it can attack into opposing elks as a 4/4. This alone can change the dynamic of interacting with Oko.

It's possible I want to sideboard a Geist of Saint Traft to find off Eladamri's Call to fight Oko. Elspeth, Knight Errant also lines up well against Oko, but she can't be tutored. How about my elk becomes a 6/6 flyer? Gotcha.

I tried cutting Shalai because four mana creatures get turned into elks. I left her in is because of the combo with Giver of Runes. If Shalai has protection from removal and is the only one to be targeted the game will end quickly. She's also a mana sink for Devoted Druid. Burn might be a challenging matchup without her as well.

Gaddock Teeg has impressed me so far. He stops Karns and Ugin out of Tron which just leaves Oblivion Stone as annoying cards to fight. Engineered Explosives cannot be cast which is important against Urza. Cryptic Command in Urza decks is also picking up steam. I can turn Gaddock Teeg into an elk or bounce with Teferi when I'm ready to combo with Finale of Devastation.

The last time I played Devoted Druid decks Veil of Summer wasn't yet printed. This is a big upgrade as it's possible to protect Devoted Druid more reliably against decks full of removal. Last week was the first time I cast Veil of Summer with Teferi in play; it's nice. You and all of your permanents have hexproof without a response which is basically another time walk effect. In this deck a turn is all it takes.

The die roll can be important for a deck like this as your main goal is to win with Walking Ballista on the third turn. This can be the difference between Devoted Druid dying on the draw and winning on the play.

Although the deck isn't very mana hungry an accelerant enables searching and casting Devoted Druid on turn three. This can enable a turn four kill in a variety of ways just in case your hand isn't optimal.

In Game 1 I won't mulligan to Devoted Druid, but I will send back hands that don't have a chance of comboing quickly. On the draw my criteria for keepable hands get more stringent. Eladamri's Call for Devoted Druid is a keepable hand if I can combo on turn four.

When I'm fetching for lands I usually begin with Temple Garden. This is because it casts all of my 1-drops and also sets up for Ranger-Captain of Eos for Giver of Runes. Hallowed Fountain is better than normal because the planeswalkers are easy to cast in the mid game with most dual lands.

I don't yet have a sideboard guide, but I've been thinking about some general principles.

Birds of Paradise can be cut frequently as Path to Exile and Veil of Summer cover many Modern decks and offer cheap interaction in the early game. Interacting is like ramping.

Shaving a Once Upon a Time is also reasonable for the same logic.

Since Veil of Summer does such a great job protecting Devoted Druid I rarely want to completely cut the combo. A Vizier of Remedies comes out frequently, but keep in two. If you cut the Viziers you run the risk of drawing too many useless Devoted Druid; the opponent isn't obligated to kill your 0/2 until you threaten a kill. Don't make them wait.

Oko comes in most of the time. This is because he either turns a pesky hate card into an artifact or grinds through removal decks. He just does it all. How does he find the time to get to the gym, too?

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is weak against combo decks because I want to be playing a hate bear or Devoted Druid on the second turn. He gets better post board if you board in Path to Exile as flashing back a removal spell is very strong.

Giver of Runes can be cut against combo decks that don't interact. They will likely bring in removal which makes them play out better after sideboard so don't overdo it.

Unified Will comes in against big mana and combo decks. Don't cut this card from the board, it's great.

Meddling Mage names Primeval Titan, Oblivion Stone, Engineered Explosives, Ad Nauseum, Grapeshot, and Conflagrate. There are other matchups for him, but the point is he comes in for dedicated spells. Since removal is diversified post board it's not great against control and midrange decks. If you bring in the Mage make sure he has a purpose.

You get flavor points if Meddling Mage is targeted with Liquimetal Coating. If it becomes Metaling Mage, Chris Pikula will be summoned to the battlefield.

Simic Urza decks side into removal which makes Veil of Summer good. It stops counters, Fatal Push, and Thoughtseize.

Scavenging Ooze is not only good at eating cards in the graveyard, but can be a solid threat against midrange and Burn.

Burrenton Forge-Tender is there to stop sideboard Anger of the Gods, Searing Blaze, Conflagrate. It's one mana which makes it a prime target for Ranger-Captain of Eos.

Aven Mindcensor hinders Gifts Ungiven, Stoneforge Mystic, Primeval Titan, fetch lands, Neoform, and most spells out of Titan Shift. With five mana I can find it at instant-speed with Eladamri's Call and flash onto the battlefield.

That's all I have for today. I think this deck is very fun to play and happens to be doing something powerful. I look forward to testing further as there are so many ways to play. Hopefully the only 0-2s I encounter are Devoted Druid or Jace.

Thanks for reading.


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