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Woo Brews – Modern Blue Devotion

I don’t know how many of ya’ll have played with Omniscience in Standard or Legacy, but we need to do it in Modern.

I had a smashing time in Standard using Omniscience with Enter the Infinite, Thragtusk, Worldfire, Temporal Mastery—you name it, and I’ve seen a lot of people doing that in Legacy as well.

Omniscience might be the most powerful card in Magic. It has an absurd effect on the game. No, it doesn’t win on its own but—the power! The power to cast ANYTHING!

Cast

cast

cast

cast

cast this

cast this

cast

cast

cast

cast this

cast this one

and this one,

and at some point,

it’s not so much about

winning, so much as it’s about

drawing some kind of portrait on

the battlefield. Something you can step

back on and feel like you’ve accomplished

something great. Because you have. Not many

people have won with Omniscience, but those of us

who have know that we need to do it in Modern. It’s about

making

art.

Some of you might remember the wild mono-7-drop Rite Aid Reanimator deck that used Obzedat’s Aid to bring back a quick Omniscience and start throwing crazy 7-drop creatures on the battlefield and loop them in and out for infinite destruction and draw effects. I think we could do that in Modern. I think it can be done, if not OUGHT to be done! But today we’re not doing that.

Today

Nykthos is a busted Magic card. It’s really dumb. We know this. So let’s use it in a blue deck to make 10 mana to cast Omniscience.

Ten mana is a lot, but green Genesis Wave decks can vomit out everything on turn 4… and I’d bet blue has the tools sleeping in the sea weed.

Enter the mana base:

Borderposts have been good before with cascade Restore Balance and they’re good here with Nykthos.

Basically, one Island enables all the tapped Borderposts. They are slow but they add devotion. They count twice because of Nykthos. They are double lands. That’s crazy.

With this mana base we only need to play 16 cards that aren’t blue permanents in the deck. We can have 44 colored permanents to draw devotion from because of the Borderposts. That’s cheating.

They do have a drawback—our deck needs one of 11 Islands to even keep a hand. But 1 is all we need. So, there are awkward mulligans at times and sacrificed flexibility. But it’s worth it for the power.

For every Leyline that starts in play, Nykthos has 2 devotion straight off the bat. That’s lots of fast mana.

The ability to play everything at instant speed is great too. Players don’t know what to expect when and we can leverage our untap steps to crush control decks.

Unfortunately, the other Leyline plays poorly with having a bunch of blue permanents.

This Leyline does play nice with Declaration of Naught.

Declaration of Naught is the best double-devotion two-drop available.

With Sensei’s Divining Top banned, Counterbalance is useless, and if we play a creature it’s getting Bolted.

Declaration is a potential shut down against certain combo decks, but it’s a reasonable counter/ramp spell in concert with Leyline of Anticipation.

With flash, we can use Declaration of Naught as a straight-up counterspell while ramping two mana with Nykthos. Deal!

Now that we know we’re building devotion with enchantments in addition to artifacts, Spreading Seas moves to the front of the pack.

Spreading Seas was the OG hard counter against Jund decks back in Standard.

Jund decks are always so powerful but have such sketchy mana bases… except when they had Deathrite Shaman.

But then Deathrite Shaman got banned and BAM Spreading Seas is in the Top 8 of the Modern Pro Tour.

Spreading Seas is a confirmed good Magic card now. But how good? Is it potentially… a build-around card?

Maybe.

And if we’re building around Spreading Seas, we need Sea’s Claim.

If Spreading Seas is actually a good card then maybe Sea’s Claim is ABSURD.

It costs ONE mana and ices a land forever.

So it’s really bad against a Birds of Paradise or a basic Island, but it’s incredibly obnoxious against a majority of the majority of meta metagames.

ModernBlueDevotionCombo1

All right we’re still building blue devotion and we have a good start, but I’m looking for something with a little power to get us up to 10.

Annex is like some kind of messed up Thran Dynamo that kills an opponent’s land.

It’s slow, but when it’s not too slow it can be devastating.

And more, it feels great. You can take your opponent’s whole Urzatron or their foil Breeding Pool. Maybe even switch sleeves with the Annex itself. I mean, it’s yours now.

ModernBlueDevotionCombo2

At this point we don’t have a deck. We have a collection of cards that make devotion and mana.

11 Island
1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
4 Mistvein Borderpost
4 Fieldmist Borderpost
4 Serum Visions (Because it’s the best)
4 Sea’s Claim
4 Declaration of Naught
4 Spreading Seas
4 Annex
4 Leyline of Anticipation

That’s 50 cards that do a whole lot of nothing.

These cards are reasonably controlling and can really drag the game on by flooding the opponent’s mana base.

These cards also produce a drastic amount of mana, but we need a way to win the game.

First we Omniscience.

And then we Myojin of Seeing Winds.

ModernBlueDevotionCombo3

Draw a card for each permanent you control.

Don’t mind if I do!

With 4 of these, whatever is a kill. It could be Lab Maniac. I did that for a time, and it worked.

But we still have card slots left in the deck and I don’t want to be totally dependant on drawing Myojin or Omniscience.

What if there was some way we could totally take over a board for cheap?

I mean, our deck is full of ways to cripple the opponents mana. But we have no way to deal with creatures, stabilize a losing board, or go on the offensive.

But what if we played this creature that is immune to Inquisition of Kozilek, Lightning Bolt, Abrupt Decay, Liliana of the Veil, Grim Lavamancer, Flame Slash, Electrolyze, and Lightning Helix?

What if it offered tons of bodies for attacking and blocking?

Master of Waves is an absurd Magic card. Look at the 1- and 2-drops in the Standard version. They’re weak. People make those cards work because the payoff of Master is so high.

The payoff with Master here is even higher because we are producing so much more devotion—through our mana, through free enchantments, through land control enchantments that stick around.

Master also frees us from playing Laboratory Maniac because 4 Master of Waves and one Time Warp is going to get the job done… in the most fun kind of way. I recommend doing the math.

Master of Waves is CRAZY.

That brings us to almost a full deck. But before we add the 60th card, I have a confession.

I’m only playing 2 Omniscience now. I don’t want to draw multiples and we don’t need it to win. That doesn’t sound like a 3- or 4-of to me.

We do need to draw Myojin or Master to win though. So those are 4-ofs.

And the last card, rounding it all out, is a straight-up hate card for other blue decks.

This guy puts the brakes on counter war shenanigans. He dodges Bolt and can’t be killed right away, so he ramps THREE blue mana and adds 3 devotion for flash Masters.

Get in the van!

Blue Devotion Combo

I’m really in love with this deck. I have a successful video series coming with a primitive version of this deck and I’m excited to play out this fresh version on camera as well.

So we’re going to have action on this deck later this week AND next week.

The main deck is semi-budget. At the time of writing this article, Master of Waves is $5 in paper.

And it’s competitive. It plays crazy. It plays different.

You get to pick up your deck and throw everything on the table. Put your stuff all mixed in with their stuff in the back line, advancing Sea’s Claim all the way at the start of the game. Adjust your Spreading Seas and Sea’s Claim all game long. Take their stuff and mix it in with your stuff and tap stuff and make mana.

and cast

cast

cast

etc.

Sideboard

So the sideboard is entirely not budget but it’s really good.

First up is Threads of Disloyalty.

Maybe you saw what this card did in the Top 8 of the last Modern Pro Tour? That deck didn’t even use devotion!

This card totally reverses a losing board. Similar to Master of Waves, but it’s only playable against decks that run 1- and 2-drops. So it’s a sideboard card.

This card is a strict 4-of because it totally hoses Jund. It demands an Abrupt Decay or that Dark Confidant is yours. Most Jund decks can not win without beating down with some kind of 2-drop.

The rest of the sideboard is a who’s-who of spicy blue permanents at various cost points.

Phantasmal Image, Jace Beleren, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner, Vendilion Clique, Sower of Temptation, Consecrated Sphinx—sure, why not?

These cards are all great and give us an opportunity to shift gears against various decks. These cards control and beat down in various ways that free us from having to draw our various combos. Just powerful cards.

And then we have Wurmcoil Engines too because I want to beat Jund decks. People always care about Jund because it is timeless and popular, so I always want to formulate plans to beat it.

We do have Master of Waves in the main, so we have action—but that is our best bet in the face of all the discard and removal making it hard to build devotion.

We need to switch things up after board.

How about this deck versus Jund?

Sideboarded vs Jund

Tons of steal effects, mana denial, and bombs topping out at 6? This deck oughta do just fine.

Overcoming the Hate

Opponents have hate too and we can expect a variety of opposition. The most annoying are Ancient Grudge and Stony Silence potentially crippling our mana.

Beyond that, anyone could put a Pithing Needle on Myojin, so it’s good to have alternate plans. Master is a good start but that’s the minimum—Consecrated Sphinx is always a nice option!

Mulliganing

I wrote before about how the Island/Borderpost mana base forces some mulligans.

Basically we can’t keep most hands that don’t have one of 11 Islands. Most hands will have 1, but sometimes you get screwed over. I think it’s worth it, but you could always scale down on power for consistency.

Since our range of keepable hands is limited, we can’t afford luxury mulligans. If a hand has any play to it at all, run it, because the one behind it might not have an Island. You don’t have to double mulligan right now so keep!

Tips and Tricks

The main thing to think about is just to advance the mana base whenever the coast is clear.

Get those Borderposts down turn 1 because if you don’t they could get discarded or countered.

Hold on to that Nykthos to not expose it to Tectonic Edge. Sometimes we only need the mana boost once to win.

Appreciate the games where you start on Leyline. They can play drastically differently and save you from making hard decisions with Declaration of Naught. Everything plays into your hands.

Beyond that, the deck is fairly straightforward.

Make mana. Mix your mana into their mana. Mix their mana into their mana.

Pick up all the cards and scatter them about.

Make art!

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