Mono-Blue Devotion: A History and How I Would Build It
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.