Mono-Green Devotion has been on Modern’s back burner, idly biding it’s time for the correct piece needed to push it to be printed, and I believe that Leyline of Abundance is possibly the piece it needed to end it’s slumber.
Mono-Green Devotion (here by abbreviated to MGD) also happens to have some pretty absurd games, given the hand falls into the right place. And now that the London Mulligan rule is in full effect, I’m taking it upon myself to find the best shell, and test the limits of MGD. This is my first iteration;
This is a little bit unorthodox for MGD. There are very few references online, proving to me that this deck is what some would consider to be under played. Through my digging I was able to find two other decks that were posted somewhat recently, both of which were quite different.
The first list was adamant on playing a midrange game. It played the mid-tier threats in Steel Leaf Champion, Thragtusk, and Vigor, with the support cards in Harmonize, Primal Command, and Garruk Wildspeaker. The second list took a much more degenerate route, seeking to accelerate as fast as possible into a Tooth and Nail, grabbing Xenagos, God of Revels, and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.
While these two lists were vastly different in strategy, they share the same basic core cards in one mana dorks, Nythos, Shrine to Nyx, and the old Arbor Elf + Utopia Sprawl combo. One thing that I found interesting, however, was neither of them were playing Leyline of Abundance. In their (small) write ups, they didn’t even mention a reason as to why they were excluding the card from their list, my best guess being it doesn’t synergize with Arbor Elf. Through this, I have gathered the information I needed to build my first variation of the deck.
I decided on a mixture of the two. I took the support cards of the midrange list and moved them in with the finishers of the combo list, and that’s how we got to the above list.
Llanowar Elves and Birds of Paradise: These are auto-includes, especially as a playvset of each given the Leyline of Abundance. I’m playing Birds of Paradise over Elvish Mystic because there’s not really a reason to do otherwise. The zero power will be relevant maybe one out of twenty games, even then it will be marginal. Birds of Paradise also helps me cast Xenagos out of my hand, along with the sideboard Blood Moon.
Arbor Elf, Voyaging Satyr, and Utopia Sprawl: Even though Arbor Elf is a nombo with Leyline of Abundance, the potential value provided by these two cards together is too good to pass up. Unfortunately, Arbor Elf can’t untap Nykthos, but that’s where Voyaging Satyr comes in. It hurts that Voyaging Satyr is two mana, and honestly I’m not expecting him to stick around in the list, but he’s worth a test.
Leyline of Abundance and Garruk Wildspeaker: Garruk provides enough value and potential for the deck for me to consider it a part of the core. Not only does he untap relevant lands like Nykthos or something with a Utopia Sprawl on it, but while he does so he’s threatening an Overrun effect that could end the game. He is not by any means our primary win condition, but he applies pressure while generating value.
Leyline of Abundance is the reason we’re here today. In the opening hand with one mana dork, it allows us four mana on turn two. This can be used on a Garruk Wildspeaker, Harmonize, another Leyline, or more dorks. Keep in mind, the point of this deck is to generate enough mana to cast an entwined Tooth and Nail, so Leyline gives us two free devotion for Nykthos as well.
Eternal Witness, Harmonize, and Primal Command: This is our card advantage engine. While Harmonize doesn’t really do anything other than draw us cards, you can do some pretty interesting things with Primal Command and Eternal Witness. For instance, you can soft lock somebody for a couple of turns by casting a Primal Command, choosing to tuck a permanent to the top of their deck and tutor for a creature, get an Eternal Witness, and do it again. This let’s you blank up to three of your opponent’s draw steps before you run out of Eternal Witness’.
Primal Command is generally a versatile card however. It will pad our life total against Burn or other aggressive decks, it can shuffle away graveyards against Hogaak and Phoenix, and don’t underestimate the power of tucking a permanent. All of this while also having the ability to tutor for back up. Very solid card, and I’m excited to play it.
Tooth and Nail, Xenagos, and Emrakul: This is what the deck is really working towards. Ideally, we entwine Tooth and Nail to get Xenagos and Emrakul to win the game. The only tomfoolery that could get in the way of this is counter magic. If we cast this main phase and then immediately move to combat, our opponent won’t have priority until the Xenagos trigger is already on the stack, meaning removal doesn’t work in this case (unless they something like Settle the Wreckage to get rid of Emrakul). I’m playing four because it’s crucial we have one in hand as soon as we get to nine mana, as we then win the game.
Primeval Titan and Hornet Queen: These are some tasty alternative win conditions that I am quite a fan of. We can generate quite the amount of mana to quickly make Kessig Wolf Run a real threat, and Primeval Titan adds to the amount of mana that we have available with each turn that it’s around. With Xenagos, it can ramp us four lands in one turn. I can’t build a big mana green deck without my favorite Titan.
Hornet Queen can get us out of a lot of sticky situations. Being able to block and kill five separate threats is huge, especially against the likes of Humans and Jund. Against decks that don’t attack, the killer bees get in for some serious damage in the air that only board wipes can clean up well. Over all excellent card to see when you’re behind, at parity, or ahead.
My closing thoughts on this deck for now are filled with excitement. While this is not on the same level as Hogaak or Phoenix, it’s a fresh taste of Modern that brings a new angle to ramp decks over the traditional Scapeshift or Tron variant. I believe in the hands of the correct pilot with the correct tuning, this deck can stand up to the test of Modern.