[Primer] B/x Devotion

  • #1
    BLACK DEVOTION
    Introduction:

    Black Devotion is a deck that focuses on the new mechanic introduced in Theros: Devotion. Specifically, devotion to black. Devotion can allow for a lot of interesting, fun, and competitive decks. Devotion to black is, in my opinion, not only the most versatile devotion deck, but also unparalleled in power among all devotion decks. This deck is capable of splashing any other color, as long as the shell stays the same. The shell features absolute must plays if you want to play a Black Devotion deck:

    Monoblack Devotion ShellMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    Creatures
    4 Desecration Demon
    4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
    4 Lifebane Zombie
    3 Pack Rat

    Lands
    18 Swamp
    4 Mutavault
    3 Temple of Deceit
    1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

    Spells
    4 Underworld Connections
    4 Hero's Downfall
    4 Thoughtseize




    Creatures:

    Pack Rat: Not quite the powerhouse it used to be, this rat still does work. These days it feels more like a finisher once you’re both basically out of resources. Play 2-4

    Lifebane Zombie/Nightveil Specter: Some black decks have begun running 4 Lifebane Zombies instead of the usual 4 Specters. Some players swear by the Zombie, others say Specter’s still good. It mostly comes down to preference (though I’m personally a strong believer in Lifebanes mainboard). Play 3-4 Zombies in your 75, play 0-4 Nightveil Specters in the main deck.

    Desecration Demon: This guy’s huge. He beats for 6, he eats their creatures. He’s pretty bad against token generators (for example he does nothing against a Brimaz/Precinct Captain that’s already pooped out a guy) but some creature decks just can’t deal with him. Play 4.

    Erebos, God of the Dead: Some decks play 1 Erebos in the main. It’s a meta/preference call. It acts as Underworld Connections #5 and can also beat down/block for days. Play 2-3 in your 75, 0-1 in the main.

    Gray Merchant of Asphodel: Play 4.

    Other spells:

    Thoughtseize: Thoughtseize is a very strong hand disruption spell. It lets you know what you’re up against and lets you take any spell. Play 4.

    Hero’s Downfall: A catchall removal spell. The only creatures it doesn’t kill have Hexproof/Protection from black. Outside of that, it gets anything off the board. Play 4.

    Devour Flesh: It’s not the most elegant removal spell, but it always hits a creature, it can kill a resolved Blood Baron/turn 2 Caryatid. I think it’s risky to go without any Devours in your deck, but I don’t think it’s strong enough to be a 4-of. Play 1-3.

    Bile Blight: An upgraded version of Pharika’s cure. It kills Pack Rats, Reckoner, Specter, Mutavault, Master of Waves, etc… It’s not great against green creatures though. This card absolutely hoses White Weenie and RDW. Play 2-4, depending on how much aggro you expect.

    Doom Blade: The best of the 2 mana removal spells unless you expect to face a lot of black. Running too many in the main can be a liability, but when it’s good, it’s GREAT. Play 3-4 in your 75, 0-2 in the main.

    Underworld Connections: The draw engine of the deck. Most other decks can’t keep up with the card advantage generated by Connections, so landing a Connections while you aren’t under much pressure can simply win the game against a lot of decks. It’s one of the few cards that lets you keep up with Sphinx’s Revelation decks. A lot of the time they get cut to bring in more removal, but I still think it’s correct to run them in the main. Play 4.

    Lands:

    Mutavault: Mutavault does a little of everything. It attacks for 2, it chumps(or double blocks a Blood Baron), it pumps Pack Rat, you can sacrifice it to Devour Flesh/Away, it’s immune to Verdict/Dsphere... Play 4.

    Scry lands: These are the real deal in standard right now. Play at least 4, I’m currently trying out 6. Them coming in tapped is a pretty small cost for free scrying (and you can throw them off with the turn 1 land. Turn 1 temple of silence could be mono b, u/w, esper, or b/w). I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself playing 8 soon.

    Play 25-26 lands.


    Splashing:
    There are benefits from splashing for any color, (though a worse manabase is a real cost to consider) these are cards I would consider splashing for:

    White: Blood Baron of Vizkopa, Revoke Existence.

    Blue: Negate (Notion Thief is too cute and doesn’t do anything against non-Revelation spells. I don’t think it’s close to playable)

    Green: Abrupt Decay, Reaper of the Wilds, Golgari Charm

    Red: Mizzium Mortars (mainly for Blood Baron, its nice that it also kills anything small), Rakdos’ Return, Slaughter Games (I don’t think it’s worth splashing for Dreadbore when black already has great tools for dealing with creatures and planeswalkers)

    Right now green is the hardest splash because there’s no B/G scryland yet. Other than that it depends what matchups you want to improve.
    ______________________________________

    This deck has grown so much from just a small-time brew that me and my friends worked on back when Theros started up to a format-defining powerhouse. I've moved on from Mono-Black Devotion, and with it, I've stopped contributing on the post. Luckily for me, there's a great community here at MTGSalvation that keeps this thread alive. I cleaned up the initial post a little bit, as there was a LOT of outdated information. Now that there's a dedicated sub-forum for Mono-Black Devotion, there's a lot more space for discussion on splashes and match-ups, which is why I removed those sections. I also fixed the image on top. If you guys have anything you want me to add, feel free to PM me.

    Enjoy!
    Last edited by Thoras: 3/12/2014 7:49:48 AM
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  • #2
    Competitive Results and Decklists:

    Most Recent Top Finish:

    Bernando Fonseca - 1st at SCG Open Atlanta

    Thoras's DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    4 Desecration Demon
    4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
    4 Lifebane Zombie
    4 Pack Rat

    18 Swamp
    4 Mutavault
    3 Temple of Deceit
    1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

    4 Underworld Connections
    2 Bile Blight
    2 Devour Flesh
    4 Hero's Downfall
    2 Ultimate Price
    4 Thoughtseize



    Last edited by Thoras: 3/12/2014 7:43:37 AM
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  • #3
    Not sold on Disciple of Phenax... at all. 4 mana for a crappy creature that strips one card? That's what Thoughtseize and Duress are for my friend. Even Lifebane Zombie MB seems more valid... or try Crypt Ghast? I dunno, that card just seems completely overcosted. If it could at least be a beater it'd be okay.
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    Taking a break from Commander.
  • #4
    Very nice primer! Its a pretty interesting deck idea. I think the only issue is that there are simply better options out there right now.
    Standard:
    White Weenie
    Modern:
    Soul Sisters
  • #5
    Quote from Cabz
    Not sold on Disciple of Phenax... at all. 4 mana for a crappy creature that strips one card? That's what Thoughtseize and Duress are for my friend. Even Lifebane Zombie MB seems more valid... or try Crypt Ghast? I dunno, that card just seems completely overcosted. If it could at least be a beater it'd be okay.


    If this were the first time I had looked at Disciple of Phenax, then I would agree with you. During the spoiler season and the prerelease, I viewed this card as just a general trash common. Four mana to have them discard a card? Talk about useless... right?

    I'd urge you to think about it again. Coming down on the curve in this deck, very often you'll be playing this card for devotion = 4. In most situations, that'll hit their entire hand. You argue that Lifebane zombie in MB is more valid, but I disagee. This card hits EVERYTHING, including land cards. You will never whiff with this card even if you're playing a UW control list. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's another card that's standard legal that lets you target any specific card for removal. The card is good*.

    Add the two devotion it adds on top of that, and you could be having your Erebos active, or you could be enabling a huge Gray Merchant play that closes the game up. The deck is deceivingly powerful and Disciple deserves a spot in here.

    * = the card is good in a list that uses black devotion. In a vacuum, the card is trash.
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  • #6
    Problem with Disciple is that you are not presenting a threat. It is 1 power. That is wanting to be followed by a Grey Merchant for another 2 power on turn 5.

    This doesn't work s anything mid range or control. You must have something threatening in the first 3 turns of the game. Hitting there hand doesn't matter when they can rip it off the top of their library.
  • #7
    Quote from twicky_kid
    Problem with Disciple is that you are not presenting a threat. It is 1 power. That is wanting to be followed by a Grey Merchant for another 2 power on turn 5.

    This doesn't work s anything mid range or control. You must have something threatening in the first 3 turns of the game. Hitting there hand doesn't matter when they can rip it off the top of their library.


    View the body that Disciple provides as a bonus. I play the card for the BB devotion and the discard effect, and it works like a charm every time. Obviously, it loses value against certain matchups, but it is a very solid card and worthy of a MB slot. In this deck, getting as much devotion as you can is very important. Give me another permanent that can give me as much devotion and offers as much of a benefit in the main board and I'd be happy to play that card instead. Even against RDW Disciple can provide some blocking against their 1 and 2 drops. That's not worthless either.
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  • #8
    So what list do you play, and how competitive is your meta?
  • #9
    I play the Splash Blue, and my meta is very competitive.

    90% of the decks I play against at FNM are competitive netdeck lists (Esper, UW, Naya, RDW, GW Aggro) and there are usually 6 rounds before Top 8.
    Last edited by Thoras: 10/6/2013 7:37:15 PM
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  • #10
    Quote from Thoras
    View the body that Disciple provides as a bonus. I play the card for the BB devotion and the discard effect, and it works like a charm every time. Obviously, it loses value against certain matchups, but it is a very solid card and worthy of a MB slot. In this deck, getting as much devotion as you can is very important. Give me another permanent that can give me as much devotion and offers as much of a benefit in the main board and I'd be happy to play that card instead. Even against RDW Disciple can provide some blocking against their 1 and 2 drops. That's not worthless either.


    Wouldnt Lifebane Zombie just be better though? Same Devotion, gives information, just doesnt hit as much.
  • #11
    Reaper of the wild costs 4 not 5 as it says in the primer.
  • #12
    i think you should consider running rescue from the underworld. it plays well with the devotion guys like gray merchant of asphodel and abhorrent overlord and you choose the order that they come in so you can stack your devotion in your favor. Combine with green using grisly salvage to toss things in the yard and it opens you up to things like abrupt decay and deathrite shaman.

    also, it feels really awesome to rescue in response to a revelation
  • #13
    Great primer. I'm building BW at the moment; my list is very similar to Thoras's.

    Vitaly's DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    Creatures: 20
    4 Lifebane Zombie
    3 Sin Collector
    4 Desecration Demon
    2 Erebos, God of the Dead
    4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
    3 Obzedat, Ghost Council

    Artifacts and Enchantments: 5
    3 Underworld Connections
    2 Whip of Erebos

    Instants and Sorceries: 10
    3 Thoughtseize
    3 Doom Blade
    2 Pharika's Cure
    2 Hero's Downfall

    Lands: 25
    4 Godless Shrine
    4 Temple of Silence
    2 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
    1 Orzhov Guilgate
    11 Swamp
    3 Plains



    High Priest of Penance is a pretty effective wall against a lot of aggressive decks and most midrange decks, including Naya. I'd consider maindecking it in a control-lite meta. The rest of the list is fairly straightforward. I love running three Obzedat - at least twice, I've dropped one on turn five after a Whip (2), exiled for turn six (4), dropped a second after attacking (6), exiled it for turn seven (8), attacked, then Whipped the first one back (10) and exiled it for turn eight (12 life) which is a kill.

    Results to come after FNM this week.


    WUB Master Transmuter
    U Twinsanity
    WUBRG Reaper King
    UBG Dredge
    UR Howling Owl
    GBU Thief of Time
    WUBRG Wild Pair Slivers
    GU Snakes
    UR Dragons

  • #14
    Quote from -sYn-
    i think you should consider running rescue from the underworld. it plays well with the devotion guys like gray merchant of asphodel and abhorrent overlord and you choose the order that they come in so you can stack your devotion in your favor. Combine with green using grisly salvage to toss things in the yard and it opens you up to things like abrupt decay and deathrite shaman.

    also, it feels really awesome to rescue in response to a revelation


    I tried playing a singleton Rescue from the Underworld on Friday Night because I could only get my hands on three Desecration Demon's before the event started. I thought it would be pretty nice. However, I pulled the card in probably every match that was important, and I never once needed it to pull off a win, and I think I only ever casted it to my benefit once. Maybe I just didn't get to see it in the right light, but from what I could tell, it was very underwhelming. Maybe it's better in a Green Splash? Green Splash looks like it could be even better than the Blue splash I'm playing currently, and it's the next list I want to work on.

    Wouldnt Lifebane Zombie just be better though? Same Devotion, gives information, just doesnt hit as much.


    Lifebane Zombie isn't "just better." It's situationally better. Don't get be wrong; I love Lifebane Zombie. He can win games singlehandedly by removing an opponents most deadly threat. The only problem is that against certain decks, he can be simply a 3/1 unblockable with 2 devotion for 3... which isn't "bad," but I'd rather have a 1/3 that can remove any card for 4.

    I know it sounds weird, but just try the card out. The card was never dead when I played it, and it always put me ahead.


    Great primer. I'm building bw at the moment; my list is very similar to Thoras's.

    High Priest of Penance is a pretty effective wall against a lot of aggressive decks and most midrange decks, including Naya. I'd consider maindecking it in a control-lite meta. The rest of the list is fairly straightforward. I love running three Obzedat - at least twice, I've dropped one on turn five after a Whip (2), exiled for turn six (4), dropped a second after attacking (6), exiled it for turn seven (8), attacked, then Whipped the first one back (10) and exiled it for turn eight (12 life) which is a kill.

    Results to come after FNM this week.


    High Priest of Penance is a sweet card, I can't believe I didn't think of that. And yeah, totally. Obzedat is a very sick card and will honestly win you games you have no business winning when combined with the Whip. That interaction alone makes the White Splash very potent and possibly the most resilient of the 4 colors.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how you do on Friday, make sure you post your results and I'll add your findings on the OP.
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  • #15
    Why is there no Putrefy in the green splash section?
    Standard Meh.
    EDH RNorin, the WaryR - Turn 1 win.
    BMikaeus, the UnhallowedB - MBC
    URGAnimar, Soul of ElementsURG - Combic Beats RKrenko, Mob BossR - Gobo's and Marton.
    1 manaKarn, Silver Golem1 mana - ...in before Esper Karn
  • #16
    Quote from twicky_kid
    Problem with Disciple is that you are not presenting a threat. It is 1 power. That is wanting to be followed by a Grey Merchant for another 2 power on turn 5.

    This doesn't work s anything mid range or control. You must have something threatening in the first 3 turns of the game. Hitting there hand doesn't matter when they can rip it off the top of their library.


    I was really skeptical of disciple at first too but he does more than meets the eye. Personally I play a white version of this deck and mainboard lifebane zombies, and going turn 1 thoughtseize, turn 3 lifebane and turn 4 disciple is gamebreaking. You have 4 power on the board and potentially took their best three cards. You are also working with perfect information so your next few plays can be sculpted in any way you see fit.

    On paper, I agree, this card looks underwhelming but try him before you knock it. It's deceptively powerful.
  • #17
    Disciple is unplayable jank.

    Play lifebane or sin collector or something that is 4 mana and good.

    4 mana is for cards like polukranous and desecration demon and advent of the wurm and jace. Not disciple of bolas but slightly better CA for double the cost.
    Modern BUG

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  • #18
    So I've been looking through the Rakdos control thread, but this seems a lot more close to the deck I'm trying out for standard. What's your opinion on Lili of the Dark Realms. I know a lot of people don't like her, but she adds 2 devo, thins the deck and garuntee's land drops, tutors up shock lands for splashes, can kill gods, and pump a dude for the kill.
  • #19
    Quote from Serj
    So I've been looking through the Rakdos control thread, but this seems a lot more close to the deck I'm trying out for standard. What's your opinion on Lili of the Dark Realms. I know a lot of people don't like her, but she adds 2 devo, thins the deck and garuntee's land drops, tutors up shock lands for splashes, can kill gods, and pump a dude for the kill.


    I've actually thought a lot about it. I think Liliana of the Dark Realms would be more fitting in a complete Mono Black version of this list, which is something I wanted to touch on, but ultimately decided against because I feel as if this deck (Devotion) needs to be two colors to be as competitive as possible. She has a place, but not in any of the decks I listed.

    Disciple is unplayable jank.

    Play lifebane or sin collector or something that is 4 mana and good.

    4 mana is for cards like polukranous and desecration demon and advent of the wurm and jace. Not disciple of bolas but slightly better CA for double the cost.


    We play Desecration Demon alongside Disciple of Phenax. Phenax fits in this deck extremely well, and I don't blame you for thinking that it's complete jank. Play with it, you'll see how good it is. And like Balluka said, if you're playing this alongside Thoughtseize and Lifebane Zombie, that curve can be absolutely game-ending. They just simply can't come back from that.
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  • #20
    I added a section on Disciple of Phenax in the OP. If you have something to say regarding Disciple, please refer to the section. If you still have questions or comments, feel free to post. Just want to make the discussion on her a little more informed than utter dismissal.
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  • #21
    Since I've posted this, I've seen at least three separate posts criticizing Disciple of Phenax directly. I wanted to devote (haha) an entire section to the card alone. I've also since decided that, based upon the card art, that Disciple of Phenax is a girl.

    So, in no specific order:
    1. Disciple of Phenax is a great on-curve Devotion enabler.
    2. Disciple of Phenax is straight-up card advantage.
    3. Disciple of Phenax is relevant in every matchup. She may not be the stone-cold nuts against every deck, but what card is?
    4. Disciple of Phenax is recurrable with Whip of Erebos, allowing for even more advantage over your opponent by stripping even more cards our of their hands.
    5. Disciple of Phenax loves you, and you should love her.

    This is what you had to say why you play Disciple.
    These are very weak arguments.
    1- On the curve devotion. This couldnt be farther from the truth. You have 11 four drops with her in your deck. Thats so many. Lifebane Zombie would be a much better on the curve card, also giving you card advantage like Disciple.
    2- Disciple is straight up card advantage. See above.
    3- She is not relevant in every match up. She is terrible against mono red. Coming down on turn 4 to hit their worthless card. She cant even trade with creatures. At least lifebane zombie can either trade with a creature or lighting rod a burn spell.
    4- Recurrable with Whip of Erebos. So is Lifebane Zombie, and any other creature. At least lifebane swings for more and will take advantage of the haste it gets.
    5- Really?
  • #22
    I understand your desire to protect the Disciple (which has obviously become a favorite pet card for you) and not let it derail the thread. But "balluka" is highly suspect, a person choosing to join the forums, just to make a single post supporting your claims over a card in an obscure rogue deck (and who uses very similar language to you) is extremely unlikely and screams to be at best a friend of yours who you asked to help or at worst you yourself using a sock puppet account if either case is true it's pretty sad since the deck itself is interesting and antics like that detract from it.

    On the disciple issue I don't hate the card and find it a good limited card and can see how in the curve you describe it can be quite solid in this deck. However that doesn't change the fact that for 4 mana in standard most cards are usually going to be if not game winners then at least game changers (IE. change the game significantly in your favour). The disciple however does not, by the time you cast it on turn 4 the fast aggro decks will often have little to nothing left in hand and the control decks will be usually have a counter available (if they feel they need one). And that's in the best case scenario, in any other scenario when you don't curve with it and draw it later in the game it is even worse.

    A card that the deck might want to consider (particularly a blue splash version) is Returned Phalanx which provides an early game permanent (adding to devotion) in the currently light 2cc slot and which can effectively halt a lot of early aggro plays (Cackler, Dryad, Captain, Emissary etc.) and trade with others (Tusker, unleashed Chainwalker, pre-monstrous Lion etc.). With a blue splash it can also potentially act as a beater, particularly against control where it is cheap enough to slip into play before they can counter it and as a 3 toughness black creature is unable to be dealt with by some of the more common targetted removal.

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  • #23
    Quote from W0lf90
    Disciple is unplayable jank.

    Play lifebane or sin collector or something that is 4 mana and good.

    4 mana is for cards like polukranous and desecration demon and advent of the wurm and jace. Not disciple of bolas but slightly better CA for double the cost.

    I admit to not having tested Disciple and suspect there isn't room for it in my B/W build, but I agree with Thoras (and Luis Scott-Vargas) that it should not be written off without a trial. Thoughtseize into Lifebane Zombie (or Sin Collector) into Disciple is backbreaking against almost any deck, and unlike an actual Coercion it doesn't cost you complete board presence and can pay off in extra devotion life, an animated God, and potential 'Whipback' down the track. Control decks in particular should fear it, and as Thoras said, they are a difficult match for this deck.
    Quote from Thoras
    I've actually thought a lot about it. I think Liliana of the Dark Realms would be more fitting in a complete Mono Black version of this list, which is something I wanted to touch on, but ultimately decided against because I feel as if this deck (Devotion) needs to be two colors to be as competitive as possible. She has a place, but not in any of the decks I listed.

    Agreed. It's sad that despite screaming monoblack control, she is just not that great a card. Not being able to use her second ability straight away is tragic, and the ultimate doesn't even do that much in this deck unless we have life to burn on Erebos. I would sooner run Corrupt in the monoblack version of this deck.

    Something I think is worth considering is Hythonia the Cruel, in lieu of any good black sweepers (which essentially make or break this as a top-tier deck - come on, Born of the Gods!). Could potentially explode on turn 6-7 off Nykthos.


    WUB Master Transmuter
    U Twinsanity
    WUBRG Reaper King
    UBG Dredge
    UR Howling Owl
    GBU Thief of Time
    WUBRG Wild Pair Slivers
    GU Snakes
    UR Dragons

  • #24
    Two thoughts, as I have a slightly jankier version of this already built:

    1) Strionic Resonator. Could be win-more, could be totally backbreaking. That being said...

    2) On a much more serious note, if you want free Devotion, what about Nightveil Specter? Triple black, doesn't interfere with your current curve, evasive, and a TON of disruption if unchecked.

    Bonus: Instead of Erebos, what about Liliana of the Dark Realms? If we play this more towards a traditional combo build, she thins our deck and doubles as removal in a pinch.
  • #25
    Quote from TakeYourShoesOff
    Since I've posted this, I've seen at least three separate posts criticizing Disciple of Phenax directly. I wanted to devote (haha) an entire section to the card alone. I've also since decided that, based upon the card art, that Disciple of Phenax is a girl.

    So, in no specific order:
    1. Disciple of Phenax is a great on-curve Devotion enabler.
    2. Disciple of Phenax is straight-up card advantage.
    3. Disciple of Phenax is relevant in every matchup. She may not be the stone-cold nuts against every deck, but what card is?
    4. Disciple of Phenax is recurrable with Whip of Erebos, allowing for even more advantage over your opponent by stripping even more cards our of their hands.
    5. Disciple of Phenax loves you, and you should love her.

    This is what you had to say why you play Disciple.
    These are very weak arguments.
    1- On the curve devotion. This couldnt be farther from the truth. You have 11 four drops with her in your deck. Thats so many. Lifebane Zombie would be a much better on the curve card, also giving you card advantage like Disciple.
    2- Disciple is straight up card advantage. See above.
    3- She is not relevant in every match up. She is terrible against mono red. Coming down on turn 4 to hit their worthless card. She cant even trade with creatures. At least lifebane zombie can either trade with a creature or lighting rod a burn spell.
    4- Recurrable with Whip of Erebos. So is Lifebane Zombie, and any other creature. At least lifebane swings for more and will take advantage of the haste it gets.
    5- Really?


    Maybe point #5 is silly, but I wanted five points.

    You bring up good points. I'm not saying your concern over Disciple is invalid. You're right, Lifebane Zombie is better against decks that it's effective against... except against a few of decks, it isnt. In mainboard, at least in my meta, I have a less than 100% chance of it's ETB effect being useful. Let us list off the current "competitive" decks on this very forum that Lifebane Zombie hits:

    GW Aggro
    Junk Midrange
    BWR Midrange
    Mono-Green
    Naya Midrange

    I'm sure there's more than this, but this is what I found at first glance. Then you look at decks like Esper Control and UW Control, decks that are everywhere in my meta and competitive meta, decks that are notorious for shutting down a deck heavily invested into permanents, and that's when you start to see where Disciple of Phenax's value shines through. Can Lifebane Zombie hit an Elspeth? An Aetherling? What about a Merciless Eviction? What about their Sphinx's Revelation? Yeah, great, a 3/1 unblockable is super, but not against a deck that will turn it inside out before it gets a chance to swing. At least Disciple does something valuable or eats a counterspell.

    I think the thing you're forgetting is that this deck, due to its base color, has a more than decent match-up against aggro decks already. We have enough removal mainboard solely because of the color we play to make our pre-sideboard match up against GW or RDW favorable for us. Our hardest matchups are the Midrange decks and the Control decks. Those decks biggest weaknesses against us are hand disruption. The longer we can prevent them from dealing with our threats (through hand disruption Wink ) the more likely we are to get that game one win which is very vital to winning the match.

    And once we win that game one against GW and Naya Midrange or whatever the aggro deck is, we side out Disciple of Phenax and put in Lifebane Zombie. And then our post-sideboard match becomes just that more favorable. Also, I disagree about your point regarding it's body being insignificant. She can block Rakdos Cackler's, Ash Zealots, Voice of Resurgence, and any other 2/x that people might be playing nowadays.

    I understand your desire to protect the Disciple (which has obviously become a favorite pet card for you) and not let it derail the thread. But "balluka" is highly suspect, a person choosing to join the forums, just to make a single post supporting your claims over a card in an obscure rogue deck (and who uses very similar language to you) is extremely unlikely and screams to be at best a friend of yours who you asked to help or at worst you yourself using a sock puppet account if either case is true it's pretty sad since the deck itself is interesting and antics like that detract from it.


    Balluka is in fact a friend of mine. He's piloting the White splash version of the list, and he's much better than me at Magic. He wanted to vouch on the strengths of Disciple, and I don't see why that's a bad thing.

    On the disciple issue I don't hate the card and find it a good limited card and can see how in the curve you describe it can be quite solid in this deck. However that doesn't change the fact that for 4 mana in standard most cards are usually going to be if not game winners then at least game changers (IE. change the game significantly in your favour). The disciple however does not, by the time you cast it on turn 4 the fast aggro decks will often have little to nothing left in hand and the control decks will be usually have a counter available (if they feel they need one). And that's in the best case scenario, in any other scenario when you don't curve with it and draw it later in the game it is even worse.

    A card that the deck might want to consider (particularly a blue splash version) is Returned Phalanx which provides an early game permanent (adding to devotion) in the currently light 2cc slot and which can effectively halt a lot of early aggro plays (Cackler, Dryad, Captain, Emissary etc.) and trade with others (Tusker, unleashed Chainwalker, pre-monstrous Lion etc.). With a blue splash it can also potentially act as a beater, particularly against control where it is cheap enough to slip into play before they can counter it and as a 3 toughness black creature is unable to be dealt with by some of the more common targetted removal.


    First, on Disciple. You're right, she can be a less than exciting top deck when you're going into the double-digit turns, but she's not a dead card. We can make use of Devotion at any point of the game. If you've got an Underworld Connections and an Erebos out on the board, a top deck Disciple gets you a discard and an activated Erebos that could be the blocker you need to stay in the game or the last points of damage you need to end it.

    If anything, I may drop Disciple down to a 2-of, but everything I've seen in testing and in actual serious gametime, she's a very solid card and I wouldn't be singing her praises so defiantly if she was bad.

    And Returned Phalanx is actually a card I run in my Blue splash version. He's amazing against Aggro, and he's not useless against Control. He usually is the first to get removed against Esper or UW, but he's a great card and I'm glad you brought him up.
    STANDARD DECKS


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