Budget Build Series - Mono Black Devotion

Arena Standard Standard 
By: MTG_Joe - 18 Jan 2020
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A new Standard set means the start of another Arena Budget Build Series season, now with Theros Beyond Death. For those who have not come across this series before, what I set out to accomplish is a three-part build series across various budgets for a particular deck or theme.

The first version of the deck is a budget version, looking to minimize the number of Rare and Mythic wildcards to as few as possible, often settling around 10 or so. From there, I build out a mid-budget version using around 20-25 Rare/Mythic wildcards, followed by a non-budget optimized version. The intent of these guides is to provide a progression guide for you to work towards building stronger decks as you amass more cards. I play a few matches with each deck (Bo1 & Bo3), while explaining lines of play and rationale for side-boarding.

The first archetype we will be exploring this season is my favorite archetype – Mono Black Devotion! The essence of this deck is to develop a board state with a number of permanents that have a large number of black symbols in the casting cost. From there, you cast the iconic card Gray, Merchant of Asphodel aka Gary to drain out your opponent. I’ve built my variation focused on grinding out value and drawing a bunch of extra cards.

image

[THB] Budget Mono B Devotion (10 R)

Main 60 cards (14 distinct)
Creature (32)
$2.00€0.350.04
$0.250.01
$0.49€0.200.04
$1.98€1.370.05
$2.452.15
$0.62€0.490.08
$0.20€0.080.01
$0.25€0.130.01
$1.02€0.230.01
$0.45€0.260.01
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (4)
$0.50€0.200.01
Land (24)
$0.33€0.040.04
$2.40€1.612.63
$0.25€0.090.01
Side 15 cards (6 distinct)
$0.25€0.070.01
$0.37€0.220.04
$0.52€0.240.01
$0.30€0.140.01
$0.29€0.170.01
$1.68€0.820.06

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)
Show owned cards

Compare deck to your MTGA collection

Our MTGA Assistant extension enables you to compare any deck on the site with your collection by opening it from within the extension. Use the search engine or browse with the built in Deck Hub link. Use in the primary browser window, the Collection compare does not work in new tabs opened in the Overwolf browser.

- ENTER THE BATTLEFIELD PREPARED -

With the MTGA Assistant extension you can compare this decklist to your collection and easily see if you are missing any cards. Browsing any AetherHub deck from within the extension will enable this tab to show you summary like below. More information can be found at mtgaassistant.net.

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Example of summary:

Missing Maindeck
1 3
2 3
2 4
1 3
Missing Sideboard
2 3
Missing Rare cards:8

Gameplay for Budget Mono B

First up is the budget version of the deck, clocking in at 10 Rares. The Cauldron Familiarimage + Witch’s Oven combo is the starting point to grind to the mid to late game. Yarok’s Fenlurker attacks the opponent’s hand while Lazotep Reaverimage goes wide and creates a number of blockers. The new Legendary uncommon, Tymaret, Chosen from Deathimage is a perfect addition to this deck. It serves as a great blocker, while it’s activated ability provides main board graveyard hate, especially against all the escape decks.

Now, let’s take a dive into the Rares in the deck:

Murderous Rider

image

This is one of the best removal spells in the format, with the added bonus of being a creature as well. Rider can take out either creatures or planeswalkers while gaining life. If you have 4, play them all – this card is great.

Ayara, First of Locthwain

image

Ayara checks a bunch of boxes off for this deck. First off, 3 black mana symbols are ideal for Gary. Ayara also drains the opponent for damage for each other black creature being cast – bonus drain with cat oven! Finally, Ayara can serve as a card advantage engine, sac’ing creatures to draw extra cards.

Midnight Reaper

image

Midnight Reaper provides board wipe insurance, allowing us to rebuild quickly after potential board wipes. Again, paired with Cat+Oven allows for an extra card draw each turn, with the cat offsetting the life loss.

Castle Locthwain

image

Card draw stapled onto a land – the ideal utility land to help grind out games and take advantage of the extra life gain. We are playing a single copy in this budget build, but if you have more, go up to 4.

 

[THB] Mid-Budget Mono B Devotion

Main 60 cards (14 distinct)
Creature (32)
$2.58€2.710.21
$0.250.01
$0.45€0.260.01
$0.49€0.200.04
$1.98€1.370.05
$2.452.15
$0.62€0.490.08
$0.25€0.130.01
$1.02€0.230.01
$2.21€1.483.68
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (4)
$0.50€0.200.01
Land (24)
$0.25€0.090.01
$2.40€1.612.63
Side 15 cards (6 distinct)
$0.25€0.070.01
$0.37€0.220.04
$0.52€0.240.01
$0.30€0.140.01
$0.29€0.170.01
$1.68€0.820.06

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)
Show owned cards

Compare deck to your MTGA collection

Our MTGA Assistant extension enables you to compare any deck on the site with your collection by opening it from within the extension. Use the search engine or browse with the built in Deck Hub link. Use in the primary browser window, the Collection compare does not work in new tabs opened in the Overwolf browser.

- ENTER THE BATTLEFIELD PREPARED -

With the MTGA Assistant extension you can compare this decklist to your collection and easily see if you are missing any cards. Browsing any AetherHub deck from within the extension will enable this tab to show you summary like below. More information can be found at mtgaassistant.net.

Learn more

Example of summary:

Missing Maindeck
1 3
2 3
2 4
1 3
Missing Sideboard
2 3
Missing Rare cards:8

Gameplay for Mid Budget Mono B

The mid-budget version looks to improve some of the card advantage in the mainboard while upgrading some of the quality of our threats.

Erebos, Bleak-Hearted

image

Erebos is one of the returning gods from the original Theros set. When our devotion is not greater than 5, Erebos serves as an indestructible enchantment that draws us cards when a creature dies at a rate of 2 life. This allows us to quickly refill our hand after a board wipe. Erebos also has an activated sacrifice outlet that can give a creature -2/-1. While I haven’t activated the sacrifice effect in around 20 games, I’ve always been happy to see this card in play and have used the card draw ability to help dig countless times for Gary.

Knight of the Ebon Legion

image

Knight is a premier aggressive threat. The card scales to late game where we can pump extra mana into it, as well as give it deathtouch if needed.

Finally, we just clean up some numbers in the deck, adding the 4th Murderous Riderimage and a couple more copies of Castle Locthwainimage. If you have the 4th Castle, just throw it in there.

[THB] Mono Black Devotion v2

Main 60 cards (14 distinct)
Creature (28)
$0.45€0.260.01
$2.58€2.710.21
$1.98€1.370.05
$2.452.15
$0.62€0.490.08
$2.21€1.483.68
$5.49€5.244.66
$0.25€0.130.01
$1.02€0.230.01
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (8)
$0.50€0.300.02
$3.00€1.140.08
$0.50€0.200.01
Land (24)
$2.40€1.612.63
Side 15 cards (7 distinct)
$0.25€0.070.01
$1.05€0.520.07
$0.37€0.220.04
$0.30€0.140.01
$8.66€6.247.24
$0.52€0.240.01
$0.29€0.170.01

Simulating MTG Arena Best of 1 starting hand
(Simplified, true algorithm in MTGA not revealed by Wizards yet)
Show owned cards

Compare deck to your MTGA collection

Our MTGA Assistant extension enables you to compare any deck on the site with your collection by opening it from within the extension. Use the search engine or browse with the built in Deck Hub link. Use in the primary browser window, the Collection compare does not work in new tabs opened in the Overwolf browser.

- ENTER THE BATTLEFIELD PREPARED -

With the MTGA Assistant extension you can compare this decklist to your collection and easily see if you are missing any cards. Browsing any AetherHub deck from within the extension will enable this tab to show you summary like below. More information can be found at mtgaassistant.net.

Learn more

Example of summary:

Missing Maindeck
1 3
2 3
2 4
1 3
Missing Sideboard
2 3
Missing Rare cards:8

Gameplay for Non-Budget Mono B

We now reach the point of the non-budget version. I’ve been tweaking this list since the Early Streamer event and am closing in the Mythic Rank on the ladder. This “tuned” variation actually isn’t too costly considering it is mono colored mana base, with the current version coming in at 29 R/M wildcards. We also look to add some improved sideboard options at Rare.

Rankle, Master of Pranks

image

For my build, my preferred 4 drop creature is the swiss army knife Rankle. A hasty 3/3 can threaten planeswalkers the turn it comes down, while all its triggered abilities are useful in the deck. As we draw a number of cards, we can discard excess cards to force cards from the opponent’s hand. The sacrifice can help control the opponent’s board, and if we are behind, we can draw an extra card and ping the opponent. Rankle competes with another 4CMC creature, Nightmare Shepherdimage, in many other lists that are popping up. I will explain the exclusion below.

Bolas's Citadel

image

This powerful artifact can win the game outright in this deck depending how our draws line up. Using the excess life we gain as a resource, we can chain together free casting of multiple spells off the top of our library. Gray Merchant + Citadel nets to zero life loss and minimum drain of 5 on the opponent. There is also the ability to deal 10 to the opponent with Citadel’s activated ability.

Erebos's Intervention

image

Erebos’s Intervention was a recent addition to the deck, primarily to serve as additional removal and an option against opponent’s active gods. Intervention also provides another mainboard graveyard hate option if we need to deal with escape threats.

 Leyline of the Void - SB

image

Leyline is a potential free cast sideboard card to hate on the opponent’s graveyard. Unlike grafdiggers cage it won’t shut off our cat+oven interaction, and also provides two symbols of devotion.

The Elderspell - SB

image

Elderspell is a hedge to the number of Fires/planeswalker control decks I’ve run into thus far on the ladder. Being able to kill potentially multiple planeswalker for 2 mana is a very efficient effect.

 

So, you may be questioning the lack of Nightmare Shepherdimage. While admittedly a powerful effect, I think it wants to be included in a more aristocrats focused build of mono black. Paired with sacrifice effects like priest of the forgotten gods or Woe Striderimage, you can better enable the token making ability. In my build, I prefer the flexibility and haste of Rankle paired with the board wipe insurance of Erebos for my 4-drop slot.

This wraps up the first Budget Build Series for Theros standard. Let me know what you think, and what decks you’d like to see in the future. Next up will be either mono white or mono blue devotion decks.

About MTG_Joe:

MTG_Joe

I am a part time content creator on YouTube playing everything from budget brews to Tier 1 lists. I enjoy focusing on build guides and explaining strategy through my videos to help our newer and returning players. I am also very engaged in the Arena Subreddit community, also happy to chat MTG.

Youtube & Twitch: MTG_Joe

Twitter & Instagram: MTG_Joe2

Comments

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3 comments

wastewalker
Okay, fair enough. If that's the case, then I would suggest that you perhaps add a disclaimer regarding the competitiveness of these decks and how they stack up in that format vs other (more competitive) decks into your articles, as those newer to Magic (which these articles appear to be aimed at) may not be aware of this.
MTG_Joe
Literally got to mythic playing the non-budget version of this deck with video proof of me ranking up with the list. Chances are any super budget deck is not going to 100% spike, but their intended purpose is to assist people into getting towards more competitive decks.

Pic as proof
https://www.instagram.com/p/B7eV7bCH5eB/
wastewalker
Do NOT waste your wildcards building these decks - they get absolutely wrecked in any sort of competitive play.
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