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The Forest Is Calling


Looking back on the last few decks I’ve created since Journey into Nyx came out, I’ve noticed a sense of complexity that comes with them.

Archangel of Thune
There was a Dega deck that worked around Athreos, God of Passage and Tymaret, the Murder King.

Another one was a Bant Hexproof deck using the new card from Journey into Nyx Bassara Tower Archer alongside some bestow creatures.

My latest creation is a Junk enchantment deck focusing on the massive amount of counters that can be obtained through Archangel of Thune and life-gain triggers thanks to Courser of Kruphix, Nyx-Fleece Ram, and Underworld Coinsmith. It actually is much more effective than it appears.

I’m a deck-builder first and foremost, so I enjoy interesting interactions between cards, and my decks tend to be full of them. At times, they’re even the core of the deck. Not only this, but my past few decks have all been tri-colored, which definitely adds to the complexity factor of my decks.

So now I feel it’s time to go back—

Back to simplicity.

Back to one color.

Back to bashing faces in with big creatures.

Any idea what color I’m talking about?

Green was the first color I fell in love with when I started Magic. Many players start out as Timmy’s when they first become hooked on Magic, and I wasn’t any different. I wanted to play the largest creatures out there. Life was simple back then. I didn’t know enough about the game to care about removal, Wraths, or counters. I just played creatures and turned them sideways, and I had a blast doing it.

Since then, I’d like to think I’ve grown a bit as a Magic player, and now Garruk’s calling out to me, wanting me to give the devoted green giant another chance. Now that Journey into Nyx is coming out, there isn’t a better time for Mono-Green Devotion to receive an overdue upgrade.

Here’s the new and improved Mono-Green Devotion I came up with:

You might be wondering why I didn’t include Burning-Tree Emissary. I understand how explosive it can be, but I wanted the deck to be full of threats that can stand on their own. Kalonian Tusker still gives us the gg but is a solid 3/3 for 2 mana on its own. My experience with Burning-Tree Emissary is that it is either extremely successful or it fails miserably. There isn’t much of a middle ground with the card since it relies so much on other things to combo into—or Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx.

Kalonian Tusker
I’m sure I’m not the only one who hates looking at a sad and lonely Burning-Tree Emissary staring back at you in your opening hand. The presence of Thoughtseize, Lifebane Zombie, and now Brain Maggot makes synergistic hands terrible to keep. I wanted the deck to be more consistent by playing effective threats at each stage of the game, and Kalonian Tusker helps fulfill that goal.

You may also see we have no ways of defending ourselves from Supreme Verdicts or other removal. I think the best way for mono-green decks to handle things isn’t by playing reactive cards. It’s just a matter of pumping out threat after threat, and thanks to Eidolon of Blossoms, we have an additional way to do that alongside Garruk, Caller of Beasts. It’s possible we can experiment with cards such as Mending Touch or Mortal's Resolve to give us some blowout potential, but it’ll depend on what everyone else is playing.

While most of you may recognize a lot of the cards in the deck from old Mono-Green Devotion decks, let me go over the new additions and my rationales for putting them in the deck.

Setessan Tactics
Setessan Tactics is just what the doctor ordered to combat any other deck with creatures thinking they can stand toe-to-toe with the big boys. Because Mono-Green Devotion is full of ramp with dorks and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, we can make very good use of the new strive mechanic, potentially board-wiping our opponent, untapping, and then crashing in with our own creatures.

Setessan Tactics is also one of, if not the, lowest-costing strive cards in the set, and that means it won’t be difficult getting full use out of it. The +1/+1 is going to be icing on the cake since our creatures are naturally going to be larger than our opponent’s anyway, but I’m still glad it’s there. The fact it is an instant is also a nice bonus since it allows us to play it as a trick—being able to block and then activate it, if not just playing it during our opponent’s end step.

One major thing this card does is help us in two of our worst matchups: Mono-Blue Devotion and Mono-Black Devotion. Against Mono-Blue Devotion, we now have a way to kill either Tidebinder Mage or Master of Waves, which are two of our most problematic cards to go up against. Not to mention we can shoot the opponent’s flyers out of the air as well.

Against Mono-Black Devotion, we’re able to stop Lifebane Zombie from trying to race us, but more importantly, we now have a very quick answer to Pack Rat. Even on turn two on the draw, we can use an Elvish Mystic with Setessan Tactics to snipe a lowly 1/1 Pack Rat. Every advantage we can gain in this matchup is important since we’ll be racing against opposing removal a lot of the time.

Eidolon of Blossoms
When I saw the Eidolon of Blossoms spoiler, I immediately felt myself being pulled back toward Mono-Green Devotion. If you don’t know, drawing cards is one of my favorite things to do in Magic, which makes Eidolon of Blossoms right up my alley, and I think it’s a perfect fit in a Mono-Green deck. We have the ramp to bring it out early and start drawing cards; we have ways to pump it so it’s a bit more resilient; and we have large threats we want to be drawing into. Also, it adds two more devotion, which is always nice. Without the Eidolon, Garruk, Caller of Beasts is the best way of being able to draw cards with Mono-Green Devotion, but if you run out of gas without drawing him, all the other decks tend to leave you in the dust since every other major deck has some form of card-draw. What Eidolon does seems small at first, but when you think about it, in a deck that thrives on drawing threat after threat, having another method of drawing cards is pretty huge. It also has the benefit of being able to come out sooner than Garruk.

In addition, Eidolon of Blossoms influences new versions of Mono-Green Devotion to be developed since it comes with the new constellation mechanic, meaning it requires at least a decent number of enchantments to take advantage of it. This is why my deck brings back some Mono-Green Devotion veterans and also updates the deck with some tasty Born of the Gods and Journey into Nyx cards.

Here are the cards that Eidolon of Blossoms will be playing nicely with:

Boon Satyr comes with a bit of everything. It has bestow, flash, and two devotion, and it can hit hard. Since he’s an enchantment creature, including Boon Satyr with Eidolon of Blossoms is a no-brainer. It also can play on curve easily—you can play Eidolon and then bestow it the turn after with Boon Satyr, creating a 6/4 while drawing a card. Bestow is a mechanic I’m a big advocate of, and it is a great way to increase pressure while providing some insurance against removal. The flash is always a nice bonus as well.

Boon Satyr
Nylea, God of the Hunt

Nylea, God of the Hunt gives us the power to trample over puny opposition since we prefer dealing damage through creatures rather than being chump-blocked all day. Because of our devotion to green, she will be fighting alongside our fatties more often than not, and thanks to Eidolon, she is also able to not only draw her bow and fight, but also draw us a card. The pump is nice in control matchups during which we can just commit one or two threats to the board and then pump them to keep pressure up without overextending.

A card that already sees a ton of play, I see no reason why Courser of Kruphix shouldn’t be in a Mono-Green Devotion list. It gives us long-term advantage, adds two devotion, blocks early aggression, and is an enchantment that triggers Eidolon of Blossoms. Need I say more?

Courser of Kruphix
Fated Intervention

By itself, Fated Intervention isn’t a terrible card by any means. In a mono-colored deck with ramp, the 2ggg cost isn’t bad, and the card adds 6 power to the board at instant speed with the potential to scry 2. What puts this card over the top is the interaction it has with Eidolon of Blossoms. If Eidolon is on the field when we play this Intervention, it essentially turns says “Put two 3/3 green Centaur enchantment tokens onto the battlefield. If it’s your turn, scry 2 and then draw two cards.”

Giving us more board presence, targets to bestow Boon Satyr onto, and a Read the Bones with no downside is pretty good, even if it is for 5 mana.

Regarding the rest of the main deck, it’s pretty straightforward. We want a nice range of threats that all do something else in addition to being efficient bodies.

Polukranos, World Eater
Polukranos, World Eater is a 5/5 for 2gg that gives us a great place to dump devotion mana into.

Arbor Colossus is a 6/6 for 2ggg that can block, kills all the major flyers, and adds three devotion, with monstrosity to boot.

Sylvan Primordial is a 6/8 for 5gg that is able to kill off Detention Spheres, lands tied to Underworld Connections, Planeswalkers, and other pesky noncreature permanents.

In terms of the sideboard, everything is pretty run-of-the-mill, but there’s a decent amount of room for flexibility:

  • Mistcutter Hydras for Mono-Blue Devotion and W/U/x control
  • An extra Sylvan Primordial for W/U/x control
  • Bow of Nylea for burn matchups
  • Scavenging Ooze for Reanimator strategies
  • An extra Setessan Tactics for R/GR Monsters or any other creature matchup in which we want it
  • Unravel the Aether is a nice addition for Mono-Green Devotion thanks to Born of the Gods. It gives us a way to interact with Gods. With enchantments on the rise, there might even be an argument to run one in the main deck.

However, there is one card from Journey into Nyx that waddled into the sideboard, and it may seem a bit out of the ordinary . . . 

Swarmborn Giant

Swarmborn Giant is going to be brought in for control matchups when there are few to zero creatures that can take advantage of his downside. In W/U/x control matches, we can view Swarmborn Giant as a 6/6 for 2gg for the majority of the game. It’s an extremely efficient threat that easily forces removal on its own. He’s like a green Desecration Demon we can bring out on turn three.

Thanks to a couple new tools from Journey into Nyx and some upgrades from Born of the Gods, Mono-Green Devotion is shaping up to have a lot of potential make a comeback, and I feel my list is a good place to start. Beating down with large creatures is never dull, and this deck aims to do that like the good ol' days.

The forest is calling.

Will you answer?

- Michael Y.

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