Historic Deck Techs: Mono Black Devotion, Kaladesh Edition

During the repeated lockdowns of this Covid pandemic, I have (as many of you will know) really started to enjoy the Historic format on Magic Arena. Sure, when it was first announced I was a sceptic and wondered how on earth an Arena legal format would compare to other more established eternal ways of playing the game. But with the release of Amonkhet Remastered and Jump Start, I have been fully converted to the format, and now play it probably as much as Modern.

The format is constantly evolving with every Standard set, as well as the release of future Remastered products, making it a real treat to play. Partly because I love eternal formats, and partly because it allows us to revisit previous Standard sets we enjoyed and see how they fit into the meta. Such is the case with the latest addition to Magic Arena, Kaladesh Remastered, which has given us some of the most broken and powerful cards in recent memory.

So to celebrate, I thought it would be a good idea to look at one of our previous brews and see what new toys Kaladesh can add to make it better. Now I have a lot of personal favourites when it comes to Historic brews, but the one we are going to look at today is the ever-popular Mono Black Devotion.

As many of you will know, Mono Black Devotion is a popular archetype in the Historic format. This aggressive deck can do it all, with hand disruption, card advantage, removal spells and a ton of powerful creatures to help carry the game. Cards like Phyrexian Obliterator and Phyrexian Arena from Historic Anthology were a big part of the popularity of this deck a few months ago. But with Kaladesh Remastered, we get even more cards to push the decks effectiveness.

First up we have Fatal Push, the Black Lightning Bolt if you will. This single mana removal spell it a must, as it can quickly put the breaks on decks like Elves and Mono Red by getting rid of early game threats. But we also want to make sure we can use that Revolt trigger to hit larger creatures as the game goes on, and while sacrificing a creature to Ayara, First of Locthwain can work in a pinch it hardly screams value. Instead, we are going to add some Fabled Passages to our mana base, which seem far more sensible.

The next addition to the deck is actually an oversight from the last time we looked at the deck. Gifted Aetherborn (or as I like to call it, Vampire Ground Hawk) is a great offensive or defensive creature. This card was printed in Jump Start, but for some reason it slipped my mind when last we looked at the deck. A 2/3 with both Life Link and Deathtouch, this Vampire is a great fit for the deck thanks to its double black cost and will keep a lot of ground-based threats at bay all on its own.

The final addition I wanted to talk about is of course the Dark Confidant wannabe, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner. Thanks to Menace, this Human Rogue will be able to get in for some early game damage most of the time. It can then turn the energy it gains from these assaults on your opponents life total into solid card advantage, keeping you ahead of your opponent and always with an answer to hand.

As for the rest of the deck, we are running a playset of Knight of the Ebon Legion, Murderous Rider, Ayara, First of Locthwain, Phyrexian Obliterator, Gray Merchant of Asphodel, as well as a pair of Rankle, Master of Pranks to from the base of our Devotion deck. I go over the reasons why we run this particular setup in my previous article, so feel free to read up on that here.

For non-creature spells we have two copies of Phyrexian Arena for addition card draw, as well as the above-mentioned Fatal Push. I know there are those that will advocate for the inclusion of Thoughtseize, and in a way I agree with them. But I just find Fatal Push so useful for this more aggressive, ground based deck. By all means, if you want to run Thoughtseize please do. But at the moment it just doesn’t feel right for me. We finish off the deck with three copies of Castle Locthwain for addition card draw, and seventeen Swamps and of course four copies of Fabled Passage to round out our mana base.

Creatures (30)
Knight of the Ebon Legion
Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
Gifted Aetherborn
Ayara, First of Locthwain
Murderous Rider
Phyrexian Obliterator
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Instants (4)
Fatal Push

Enchantments (2)
Phyrexian Arena
Lands (24)
Fabled Passage
17 Swamp
Castle Locthwain

 Sideboard (15)
Agonizing Remorse
Legion's End
Feed the Swarm
The Elderspell
Cry of the Carnarium
Leyline of the Void

For the Sideboard we run some additional removal with The Elderspell, Cry of the Carnarium and Legion’s End. When we find ourselves against control and combo decks, we can take out our removal and add in some additional hand attack in the form of Duress and Agonizing Remorse, and if we are really struggling against graveyard decks we can add in two copies of Leyline of the Void. Finally, two copies of  Feed the Swarm can be brought in if we need to handle enchantment based decks suck as Bogles.

And that about does it for our new and improved Historic Mono Black Devotion. What do you think about today’s deck? Is this what you want to play, or have you a different brew you want to try out? Please let me know in the comments below, and while you’re there you could like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics.

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