But My Life, My Love And My Lady Is The Sea
To begin, let me take you back to the year of our lord two thousand and thirteen. The Greek and Roman mythology inspired set Theros had just been previewed. There are two cards that immediately catch this blue mage’s eyes. One of them is the Sea Goddess herself, seen above; the other is this bad boy.
Throughout preview season it seemed that Wizards was attempting to push blue into an area of Magic the Gathering that the color had been absent from, the combat step. I set out to build around the aforementioned cards. The week of release came and I had a list ready to go and I could not wait.
I made it a point to arrive at my, now former, LGS early to insure that I got the cards I needed for my deck. I was laughed out of the store. “Mono blue aggro? What a joke.” Those were some of the nicer comments and they came from individuals that should not have been acting that way towards anyone, let alone a regular customer.
I do have to admit, that I was angry at this outcome and started to question what I was trying to do with this idea. I chose to be steadfast in my resolve and continued to work on my deck elsewhere.
Pro Tour Theros: October 11-13, 2013
Flash forward a few weeks to Pro Tour weekend. I was glued to my television, watching every moment I could of the coverage. Throughout the weekend, I saw multiple players; players I was a fan of, playing Mono-Blue Devotion. To say that I felt validated is an understatement.
Sunday rolled around and the top eight of Pro Tour Theros was set. The archetype were as follows: 3 Mono Blue-Devotion, 1 Gruul Midrange, 1 Esper Control, 1 Orzhov Midrange, 1 Mono-Black Devotion, 1 Mono-Red Devotion. The final was a Mono-Blue Devotion mirror match!
My list was very close to the list that won the Pro Tour.
While the differences are slight, the cards that I did not include in my build were an oversight on my part.
We’re Going To Need A Bigger Boat
When Modern was announced it was sold as a format where you could play that cards that you owned that had rotated out of Standard. As good of an idea as this was, it was never going to be that way with the power level of some of the sets and cards that had come before. Pioneer is that format; a place where you can play to your nostalgic-craved heart’s content.
As most of you know; Mono-Blue Devotion never made its way into Modern. So once rotation hit us, and Theros left, I had to put down My Deck.
Allow me to be the first to welcome Mono-Blue Devotion back, for the first time, to Pioneer. This deck is back and better than ever.
Here is where I would start.
The main obstacle that Mono-Blue Devotion had when attempting to break into Modern was that a lot of the cards were just bad. Needless to say that there are very few bad cards in the Pioneer version of this deck.
The greatest upgrade that the deck has received from the recent sets are Tempest Djinn and Siren Stormtamer. Dominaria’s Tempest Djinn is a fantastic threat that scales with the length of the game and replacing Nightveil Specter from Gatcrash. The bird wizard from Ixalan, Siren Stormtamer, replaces Return to Ravnica’s Judge’s Familiar in spectacular fashion. The one drop from Return to Ravnica was a pseudo counterspell if your opponent didn’t have a spare mana to pay the required cost when you sacrifice it. Stormtamer does not share this same restriction, countering a spell that targets you or a permanent you control outright.
If you look through the list I have above you will notice that a lot of the creatures have something in common, they’re wizards. This gives us our most potent form of interaction in the deck in Wizard’s Retort, allowing us to counter anything we need to.
The current metagame in Pioneer is in a constant state of flux. This is a result of the numerous bans that have, rightfully, occurred over the young life of the format. That being said, Mono-Blue Devotion checks the two boxes that I require for a deck in Pioneer right now; disruption and pressure.
A new aspect to Mono-Blue Devotion’s strategy is card advantage through Curious Obsession and Gadwick, the Wizened. So why is this an important addition to this deck? While Standard’s Blue Devotion gained virtual card advantage through tempo and a quick clock, Pioneer’s version of the deck can still do this; we can also refuel our hand with The Gad-father or while we’re keeping the pressure on and attacking with Curious Obsession on a creature.
I have discussed the power level of a certain Pioneer cards that are present in the original build, but are absent in it’s Pioneer counterpart. That card is colorless mana producing land Mutavault. This deck is very mana intensive. When playing it you want a single blue source on turn one, two blue on turn two and three blue on turn three. The cost of running into a non-blue land in this deck can be the difference between victory and defeat. Circling around to out friend from the lamp, Tempest Djinn cares about how many Islands we have in play and believe me you want a lot of them in play. Alas, because of the requirements of the deck, leave the Mutavaults in the binder for this deck.
Currently, my sideboard is packed full of additional interactive spells. As I stated above, the format is in flux, you have no idea what you’ll run into right now so countering everything seems like a good plan. I’ve been toying with some number of Cyclonic Rifts in the sideboard as well as Jace, Architect of Thought. Those are both cards that found varying levels of success in the decks Standard hayday. Cards that I am still considering and testing for sideboard inclusion are Jace’s Scrutiny, Stubborn Denial, Dive Down, Spontaneous Mutation and Surge Mare. Now before anyone points it out, yes, those are copies of Entrancing Melody in the sideboard. I hate to admit it, but sometimes joining them is better than trying to beat them.
A Little Rain Never Hurt Anybody! Yeah, But A Lot Can Kill You!
The current state of removal in Pioneer has a fatal flaw when it comes to this deck. Thassa, God of the Sea can’t be dealt with through the tool that people are choosing to play in their decks. Exile based removal is not something that is high numbers right now, the same goes for effects that place negative counters on creatures. On the same side of this coin, Master of Waves is a four drop and has protection from red; meaning it dodges a regular Fatal Push and all of the red removal. Outside of these two threats and Tempest Djinn, a lot of your creatures are interchangeable and there isn’t one creature that an opponent can remove to break up your plan.
The Code Is More What You’d Call ‘Guidelines’ Than Actual Rules
Here it is! My first sideboard guide. Ye be warned.
Fires of Invention:
(Opponent’s deck has creatures)
(Opponent’s deck has no creatures)
It Can’t Rain All The Time
This is one of many stories where I had an idea that may, or may not, have been a little out there and wasn’t met with positivity. Granted, some of those ideas where flops and did not work out as nice as this one did. That doesn’t mean that you should not try out your idea. Human beings learn through trial and error, that’s just how it is. Ramon Bautista said, “The only stupid question is the question that is never asked”. I would like to encourage everyone, that if you have an idea that you believe in, take the leap of faith. Who knows, maybe you will end up with a story like the one that you read here today.
Good Luck, I Hope You Lose!