number of deck concepts were discarded in the previous
type 2 because they could not compete with the decks
built around Blastoderm, Saproling Burst, and Yavimaya
Fires that are commonly referred to as "Fires"
I feel that many of these deck ideas may now
deserve a second look, because the aggression level has
been turned down a notch, which puts less pressure on
speed and makes certain strategies more viable.
Also, any time new cards come in the value of
other cards are in flux, which causes them to be played
in changing quantities, which causes other cards' values
Tokens make bounce more powerful.
Various creatures make Flametongue Kavu more
powerful, which makes bounce in a creature-light deck
deck that had been overlooked and seems to have climbed
in power due to the recent metagame shift, was the deck
built around Warped Devotion.
I typically don't list a card's text, because I
am under the assumption that if you do not know the card
you can refer to a card database, such as Apprentice's
deck editor, Magic Suitcase, or the Ultimate Spoiler
Generator found on MTGnews.
But let's review Warped Devotion anyway.
With a mana cost of 2B, it is a global
enchantment with the triggered ability, "When a
permanent is returned to a players hand, that player
discards a card."
So this deck was blue and black, black because of
the Warped Devotion, and blue because all of the quality
bounce spells are in that color.
I've always kept it to that, because I feel the
deck needs all the help it can get in consistency, and
adding another color decreases consistency.
Warped Devotion is a global effect with only
indirect benefits, and as such has two inherent flaws.
First, it can be used to your opponent's benefit,
in this case if they have any way of returning your
permanents to your hand.
The other is the fact that it is indirect,
meaning it doesn't help you win the game on its own.
As a matter fact, it does absolutely nothing on
So to justify Warped Devotion, we need to have
the ability to return large numbers of permanents to our
opponent's hand on a regular basis.
my old Warped Devotion deck, with which I had some
success, I used four Overburdens and a Mana Breach.
Then to make sure that they would affect my
opponent more than they affected me, my only creatures
were a pair of Nightscape Familiars, four Waterfront
Bouncers, two Temporal Adepts, and one Squee, Goblin
Nabob, which I was incapable of playing.
Furthermore, I used four Seal of Removal.
All this meant that Overburden would seldom
bounce one of my lands, and that Mana Breach would work
in my favor because after it was played I would almost
certainly need to play fewer spells than my opponent.
Discarding Squee either to activate my Bouncers
or too the discard that Overburden or Mana Breach caused
me almost always assured me card advantage.
But with the loss of Overburden, Squee, and
Waterfront Bouncer, this strategy seems obsolete.
Mana Breaches alone didn't seem appealing to me,
especially without Waterfront Bouncer, because I'm
almost certainly going to be permanent-light.
start off the discussion of what I propose for a modern
Devotion deck with a decklist, shall we?
to the Clause
may not be the correct decklist, but I feel the local
maximum is not far off.
First let me explain the justification for
inclusion of these cards.
- Obviously bounce spells are necessary in great number
with Warped Devotion.
This happens to be one of the better ones
available in these colors.
It has a little bonus over other bounce spells,
Have you ever noticed how it acts more like an
instant Vindicate when their hand is empty?
Well with Warped Devotion is in play all bounce
spells are like that, so there is a definite benefit to
come from emptying their hand.
This card is the only one which will not increase
their hand size without Warped Devotion, and with the
Devotion it acts as a discard spell as well, decreasing
their hand size.
I don't feel that the benefit to be had from
their empty hand is great enough to justify discard
spells maindeck, as they have no synergy with Warped
However, a discard spell which is also a bounce
It fits perfectly into this deck's strategy, and
should be run in full complement.
- Another excellent bounce spell, this card really needs
no more justification other than this deck needs a lot
However, it has other good things to say about
First is the drawback of its targeting
restriction - it only bounces creatures.
There are VERY few good decks without a fair
number of creatures in them in current type 2.
If you do run across one, you'll have four almost
entirely useless cards game one, then side them out.
Second, it's a cantrip.
This is actually better for this deck than the
discard of Recoil.
This deck needs deck manipulation in large
numbers, and card drawing specifically, to keep running.
You need that Devotion.
When you get it you need bounce.
Later you'll need Haunting Echoes.
Cantrips essentially thin your deck and make
these things easier to draw.
Class A material for this deck, four is a
definite unless you plan to see one creatureless deck
after the other.
River - Clearly inferior to the previous two spells
within the confines of this strategy, this one could be
omitted if need be.
It's more expensive than boomerang and has a
targeting restriction that may actually come up with
this deck, since you'll be aiming everything you can at
their non-lands, meaning they may run out.
The only plus on this card is the ability to
return two permanents, which not only can buy you some
considerable tempo, but with Warped Devotion in play is
With two it's devastating.
Burst - Speaking of tempo, this card is insane.
Recently a writer for sideboard pointed out,
though I think he exaggerated the point, that when you
use X mana to neutralize an opponent's action which
requires more than X mana, you tend to gain tempo.
This means that when you play Aether Burst, if
that creature cost your opponent more than two mana to
play, you gain tempo.
If any subsequent one targets more than one
creature, their COMBINED mana cost need only be more
than two to gain tempo.
This is really the ultimate in stall cards,
particularly in a creature-heavy environment such as
In comes Warped Devotion.
Eliminate two or more threats.
You'd be nuts not to run four of these.
Infiltrator - If your opponent draws a card every turn,
and you draw a card every turn, and 2/3 of your
opponent's deck is threats, and 3/5 of your deck is ways
to deal with that threat, you're going to lose.
You need to draw cards and establish card
This does both.
It also aids in the finding of the next part of
your strategy, whether it be bounce, the Devotion, or
Even if you can't find the devotion, two draws a
turn can allow you burn off bounce spells stalling your
It's an excellent card, and great for this deck.
It's just too bad it's a creature, and therefore
a nice target for Flametongue Kavu, not to mention the
only thing holding me back from maindecking Innocent
- Among the most versatile disruption ever printed, and
low mana cost, it's hard not to throw four of
these in any deck based in blue.
This will cause your opponent to use two burn
spells, instead of just one, on your Shadowmage
Infiltrator, which could buy you a turn of drawing two
cards, not to mention saving some damage that would
otherwise point at you.
This could also stop people from destroying
Warped Devotion, which would be a major issue for you.
This deck simply does not have the slots for all
the countermagic that would be needed to compete with
the permission-based control decks, and it shouldn't
Luckily in that matchup you get some time to sit
back and relax, which means you can try to just sneak
through important spells when your opponent least
of Hand - I've said it before, and I'll say it again,
this deck needs deck manipulation.
These provide decent manipulation during in slots
on your mana curve where you normally wouldn't have
anything else to do.
Yes, this deck misses Seal of Removal.
Peek deserves consideration.
Pact - Extremely similar in argument to the above, this
increases by an even greater extent the chances of a
third turn Warped Devotion, which by the way, can mean
the difference between a win and a loss.
A solid card anyway, this card slides right in
and fits perfectly in this deck.
Echoes - Your strategy is based around getting your
opponent's cards into her graveyard.
Then, if you play Haunting Echoes, your opponent
soon becomes much easier to handle and on the clock as
they will deck before you.
You'll be waiting with a hand full of bounce and
two Warped Devotions in play when they finally draw a
This is the finisher of choice for a
disruption-heavy, creature-light deck with black in it.
It really is good.
I only include 2 because it isn't playable until
you've played five land anyway, and with as much deck
manipulation as this deck has you should draw it soon
after that point.
You really don't need to play two of them.
Marsh - Not a lot of 1 drops.
This card is great.
The deck is blue and black.
River - Though Salt Marsh is better for this deck, this
considerably ups the deck's consistency.
Cavern - This deck would hate multiples, but the first
is pretty easy to swallow, and it may throw off your
opponent making them think you're playing with white,
and therefore Meddling Mage and Spectral Lynx.
This also increases mana consistency.
Catacombs - Another land you don't want to draw two of
early, the first of these is easy.
Am I obsessed with mana consistency?
Perhaps mana screw is something Magic players
- Am I really going to justify basic land?
No, but I am going to say that more than one
swamp isn't necessary.
In a deck with 18 cards that require black mana,
when the only double-specific cost is late-game, I feel
11 black producers should be fine.
How often will you not draw a single of those 11
lands before turn 3, when you really need it most?
- This is a general note on the seemingly small number
You know I remember a time when 20 lands in a 60
card deck was perfectly acceptable.
This deck's mana curve is relatively low, with
only two five-mana spells and nothing higher, not to
mention nothing at four.
More importantly, though, the deck has four
cantrips (Repulse), eight super-cantrips (Opt and
Sleight of Hand), and a card often compared to Impulse
which was a great deck manipulation spell (Tainted
This is in addition to the Infiltrator.
This all means that getting the land you need
shouldn't be a tremendous issue.
you run against a deck with a lot of burn and four
Flametongue Kavu, which I think will be rather common,
Shadowmage Infiltrator is no longer optimal.
Actually, he's one of the reasons those decks are
Replace him with Innocent Blood.
Suddenly you're creatureless, which makes
Innocent Blood a Diabolic Edict for one less mana.
Their Flametongue Kavu are much less effective,
and they're unlikely to side them out.
It's an early play against a deck archetype which
often necessitates dealing with early threats.
control is bad times for this deck, as they have fewer
permanents for you to hit, and they can stop your clutch
Duress will help draw out counters.
Repulse is less effective, so you may want to
simply trade them off.
Tainted Pact is less needed, because speed is no
longer as urgent, and Tainted Pact doesn't guarantee you
a card like the one-blue-mana alternatives.
You might replace three of them with Planar
Overlay if your opponent has three colors or more.
Why not aim at the permanents they will have?
Granted this is a hard thing to pull off against
decks heavy in non-basics.
Planar Overlay is one of my least confident
side in Hibernation against the same fellows you'd side
it in with any other deck, those that have lots of green
creatures, tokens in particular.
What makes it different is that with this deck
Hibernation is INSANE against those decks.
Returning two creatures is worth the three mana
and the card, but bouncing ALL of them is unbelievable.
I feel strongly that there should be four of
these in the sideboard.
You can trade recoils for these, as those guys
usually empty their hands pretty quickly anyway.
people are talking about domain.
If it becomes popular, or domain variants like
Rice Snack become popular, Planar Overlay quickly
becomes the sideboard card of choice.
I wished I could've included but couldn't find slots
you wish the minimum was 100 cards, so you could fit
everything you want in the deck?
It's kind of like wishing for an extra hour in
the day or an extra day in the week, you know if you had
it you'd want another.
I'm glad I didn't include, and hope you don't:
only works with four cards in your deck.
Would you put Megrim in a deck with only four
Zuran Enchanters and no other discard?
Furthermore it doesn't help you control your
opponent, which is what you need to be doing to survive
long enough to win.
If it won quickly, then you could consider it.
costs too much.
At that cost you should be bouncing stuff, or
dropping a devotion.
If you wait to use it until later there won't be
any cards for it to grab.
It just doesn't fit.
Demise can't kill a creature until later when you have
other ways to deal with creatures that are more powerful
due to synergy this card just doesn't have.
Specter is gating, and falls into the same mana issue
To even think about Specter you'd need to have
enough cheap creatures to justify him, and I don't see
any cheap creatures in the environment that would be
beneficial to this deck.
The Familiar, yes, but it's not enough and
there's still the mana issue.
It's just not worth it.
Not even one copy.
I'd much sooner take Lobotomy.
If you stretch this deck to include the Specter,
take out Warped Devotion.
It's a different deck.
the way, this isn't the deck I intend to take to States.
I don't have the cards and I no longer have the
time or money to procure them.
Besides, the deck I will be playing is probably
at least as good.
gears, the contest from last week's article has ended.
Sorry, folks, but it's too late.
If you email me now, please let it be comments or
opinions on the articles themselves, not entries to that
had failed to notice my poor wording of the restrictions
on that contest, by the way.
I meant to say that it needs to be able to win
with Battle of Wits' triggered ability, not just win
with Battle of Wits.
I've gotten a number of entries from those who
would like to play Opalescence and win by attacking with
Battle of Wits.
Well, unfortunately the very first entry was of
this sort, and since it technically should win, I'll
give him the prize.
I've also offered a secondary prize to the first
person who sent me in a decklist which was what I was
looking for, but that fellow has declined.
on yet again, I found the asterisk line deleted from my
Apparently the editor doesn't like it.
HERE BEGINS MY DISCUSSION OF AN ALTERNATIVE FORMAT
you love biting the hand that feeds you?
playing mental Magic, you'll need piles of cards,
preferably with very few lands, to act as decks.
These can, and often are, random.
You could booster draft, if you're so inclined,
but that would be odd.
Most commonly it's done in Pack Wars style, where
you simply play a pack or two as they are opened.
You could use it as a constructed format also.
playing Mental Magic, any card may be played as a
Painless City of Brass, that is a non-basic land with
the ability, "T: Add one mana of any color to your
You may also play any card as any other card with
the same mana cost (colored mana symbols must match, as
well as the amount of colorless).
This means you may play no card as itself.
Oh, and one more rule, once a card has been
played as card X, no player may play a card as card X
for the remainder of the game.
This means that as soon as I play a Boomerang,
stating that it is a Counterspell, you may not play your
Phantasmal Terrain as a Counterspell.
a very fun format, though quite skill-intensive.
To be good at it you must know MANY cards, so
this isn't a good format for beginners.
If you're allowed to pick whatever booster you're
playing with, or it's constructed (that would be rather
funny), stay away from Invasion Block, particularly
The reason being that few cards share their mana
If there is a power card that would be good for
anyone, try to be the first to play it.
For instance, if you have something with one blue
mana as its cost, Ancestral Recall might not be a bad
Fact or Fiction is insane in this format, because
your opponent's split has to be based upon what they
think you will play those cards as.
interesting thing about this format is that despite the
fact that you typically aren't building decks, it helps
your deckbuilding skills.
If you get good at this format, then you are good
at deciding what the best card to play in any given
situation will be.
If you can then get a handle on what situations
will be common in a given field, you will be able to
build decks well-suited to that field.
who can play Magic and has access to cards can play this
If you want to get good at Magic, I would
Highly polar in popularity, you'll find those who
hate the format and those, like me, who love it.
If you haven't tried it, there's only one way to
find out where you stand.
you find what you seek.
Copyright 2001 Pojo.com
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