This week on Compulsive Research, I had Alex Bianchi (@gemmanite) on the show to walk us through his spicy Devotion brew. I had initially seen this deck showcased on SCG during one of the now infamous Gerry vs Brad videos. Gerry decided that he was going to jump on to the devotion bandwagon, and try to just break Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. He tried to figure out what the best possible thing to do with a pile of mana was, and ultimately decided that the answer is “Cast a huge Sphinx’s Revelation”. Gerry proceeded to sweep Brad’s RB Aggro deck across 5 games. It wasn’t really close either. I was extremely intrigued about the deck, but it seemed a little rough yet, so I decided to wait until it got a little more polished before trying my hand at it. I met up with Alex and his crew at GP Toronto this year, and I asked Alex what he was playing in standard. When he told me that he was working on a deck that he was calling “Mono White Steam Vents” I knew exactly what he was talking about. Alex had been working on Gerry’s deck! This was perfect! I snap booked Alex for this stream date and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen. Here is the list that we ran.
Mono White Steam Vents by Alex Bianchi
At first glance, this seems like a complete mess. Once you get past the fact that the mana is pretty rough, there is a lot going on here. There are a ton of removal spells combined with the best anti aggro creatures at 2 and 3 casting cost in Precinct Captain and Boros Reckoner. Once Heliod hits the table, things start to get silly. A 3/4 indestructible creature that makes more guys is much stronger than I thought it would be, especially when your Nykthos start tapping for 7+. One of the great things about this Mono White devotion list is the quality of the sideboard options which contribute to the devotion counts. Fiendslayer Paladin and Archangel of Thune are excellent against the mono red decks, and the Banisher Priests are outstanding against removal light devotion decks, especially when combined with the nearly unlimited removal. Mono Black traditionally hates to see a single Assemble the Legion, let alone 4 post board. The one match where this deck suffers really badly in is the control match. UW and Esper are naturally strong against our strategy of committing large volumes of permanents to the field. Supreme Verdict is a card. and one that this deck hates to see. Also, with zero instant speed removal, Mutavault and a resolved Aetherling are very bad problems for us.
Despite all these weaknesses, we did very well on this night. Here are the games. 2 Parts, since we crashed due to too much awesome part way through.
And Part 2
So yeah… 6-0. Not too bad huh? Huge thanks to Alex for piloting with me. I couldn’t have done it without you.
I very much enjoyed this deck. So much so that I have it now built in paper. I’m not so sure that this is the right deck to take to a GP or a PTQ, given that the higher level players naturally gravitate towards control strategies with lots of choices. The SB right now could likely be tweaked to shore up the control matches, but it would likely come at some costs to the other ones. If you get familiar enough with this deck and can comfortably predict your metagame, then this could still be an option. As it, I would certainly be very happy to take this deck as is to my FNM and farm some packs. Perhaps some non zero number of Boros Charms might help vs verdict, and maybe counter magic is an option for Aetherling.
I can’t wait for some more Scry lands to come with Born of the Gods. I really think that the addition of the Azorius one will help this deck out.
I have some great stuff coming up on stream in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for that. More Modern, more sweet standard brews, and tonight, a Christmas themed surprise for you. Can’t wait to see how this one goes. 930pm Start time. www.twitch.tv/legitmtg. And since it’s Christmas, there will be some gifts to be given. See you there.
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