You really can do anything in Modern and find success. This deck looks like a Theros Standard black devotion deck, only there’s no actual payoff for said devotion. With tons of black mana symbols to put onto the battlefield, this deck could fully take advantage of Nykthos or Gray Merchant, but it just doesn’t need it (yet).

Vampire Cutthroat. Drink that in—it always goes down smooth. A 1/1 lifelink skulk creature for 1 mana. No tribal synergy. No need to even have a creature on the battlefield early for devotion or anything. Just a hard-to-block 1/1 lifelinker. Good enough for me!

Dark Confidant is a little more powerful than Vampire Cutthroat. This is one of the best creatures ever printed and I guess having access to some Cutthroats will keep your life total a little higher and let you try to end the game quickly. As for 2-mana spells that cause you to lose some life, you have a playset of Bitterblossoms alongside your Confidants. You’re getting some real advantages, but at a cost. You may need even more life gain.

Gifted Aetherborn will take care of your problems. It trades up with Tarmogoyfs while shutting down all of the little threats running around in Modern. This helps gives you the time to ride Dark Confidant and Bitterblossom to a win.

Geralf’s Messenger… haven’t seen that guy in a while, but I have played them in a Modern Pro Tour before! Messenger made the cut in Team CFB’s Jund deck many years ago, and it’s a high quality threat in a deck that can cast it. You’re getting some real value in the life loss trigger, and this thing is sized to move and only comes back bigger and better if they’re able to deal with it.

Phyrexian Obliterator has gone seriously down in value with cards like Dismember and Fatal Push being big parts of the format. If they don’t have the answer, however, this is a massive threat. Dealing damage to an Obliterator is not a good option and it can close the game out in a hurry. A 5/5 trampler that will obliterate anyone who gets in combat with it isn’t easy for a lot of decks to answer.

While black has plenty of great removal spells and even gets access to Fatal Push that it didn’t have years ago, you’re forgoing much of the mono-black removal and dipping your toes into red. This lets you play Lightning Bolt, which ends up being a really powerful weapon with a bunch of cheap creatures, flyers from Bitterblossom, drains from Messengers, and impossible-to-block Obliterators. You’ve also got Terminates for bigger threats, Dreadbores for planeswalkers, and Kolaghan’s Command because it’s pure value.

Collective Brutality is your only way to attack the opponent’s hand in game 1, which is pretty shocking for a black Modern deck. Thoughtseize is in the sideboard and Inquisition of Kozilek is nowhere to be found in this list. Brutality helps shore up some tough matchups and can get you some critical life in a deck that can deal a lot of damage to itself.

Getting to play main deck Relic of Progenitus gives you a lot of extra win percentage against a number of Modern decks, and being able to pop a Relic without hurting your own deck with no graveyard interaction outside of Kolaghan’s Command gives you extra game against Snapcasters and Tarmogoyfs.

This is definitely a deck off the beaten path and I’ll be the first to admit that I have absolutely no idea how good it is (truth be told, I removed the Geralf Messengers from my Modern playables box earlier this year after they collected dust for years), but it sure is sweet!

Black-Red Devotion

EPICWARFARE, 5-0 in an MTGO Competitive League