Historic Deck Techs: Mono Black Devotion

Today we continue our look into our series of mono coloured decks for the Historic format, to give you something to try out while the world is still lockdown. In our previous article, we had a look at Mono Blue Tempo, which I’ll leave a link to here if you missed. Today, it is the turn of the Black section of the colour pie to show us what they can do.

Mono Black Devotion has been a popular archetype ever since the mechanic first appeared back in the original Theros block. An aggressive deck with a bunch of win conditions, hand disruption and removal spells, the deck has been a fan favourite to many, myself included. Proving to a Standard powerhouse back then, it has seen somewhat of a resurgence since the reprinting of Gray Merchant of Asphodel this year. However, it is in the Historic format that we really start to see what this deck can do, thanks in no small part to the card pool we have access to.

The inclusion of cards like Phyrexian Obliterator and Phyrexian Arena in the Historic Anthology series have really give this deck a shot in the arm, and make it into a real threat on the ladder. What’s more, if you were a fan of this archetype in Standard then you will probably already have most of this deck built and read to roll, and will only need to add a few Historic only cards to the mix.

First up we are running a playset of Knight of the Ebon Legion, Tymaret, Chosen from Death, Yarok’s Fenlurker, Murderous Rider, Ayara, First of Locthwain, Gray Merchant of Asphodel, as well as a pair of Rankle, Master of Pranks to from the base of our Devotion deck. Knight of the Ebon Legion is a powerful little one drop that can win the game pretty much single handed if left unchecked, in no small part thanks to is activated ability fuelling its triggered ability. Tymaret, Chosen from Death is a great defensive tool that also gives us some main deck answers to graveyard decks when needed.

Yarok’s Fenlurker pumps up our Devotion count as well as giving us some semi-random hand attack, while Murderous Rider provides us with both Creature and Planeswalker removal (and a 2/3 life linker to boot). Ayara, First of Locthwain does wonders and draining our opponent’s life total, while Rankle, Master of Pranks gives us some aerial support. And as for Gary, well we all know what he can do.

To this we add a playset of the above mentioned Phyrexian Obliterator, as well as a couple of copies of Phyrexian Arena. The Arena gives us a great source of additional card draw, and with all the life gain the deck has at its disposal the damage it deals us is negligible. The Phyrexian Obliterator on the other hand is just a monster in the truest scene of the word.

A 5/5 with trample for four mana that also adds four to our Devotion count is already good enough to be an auto include, but its triggered ability is were this creature really shines. If your opponent has a way of removing it without damaging it then they are in a good spot. But if they don’t, then they are in for a world of hurt as they will either have to never block it, or sacrifice a decent chunk of their board in order to stop its rampage.

We finish off the deck with some addition removal in the form of Drag to the Underworld, as well as three copies of Castle Locthwain for addition card draw, and twenty-one Swamps to round out our mana base.

Creatures (30)
Knight of the Ebon Legion
Tymaret, Chosen from Death
Yarok’s Fenlurker
Ayara, First of Locthwain
Murderous Rider
Phyrexian Obliterator
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Instants (4)
Drag to the Underworld

Enchantments (2)
Phyrexian Arena
Lands (24)
21 Swamp
Castle Locthwain

 Sideboard (15)
Agonizing Remorse
The Elderspell
Cry of the Carnarium
Vraska’s Contempt
Leyline of the Void

For the Sideboard we run some additional removal with The Elderspell, Cry of the Carnarium and Vraska’s Contempt. 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 shore up our game with two copies of Leyline of the Void.

And that about does it for 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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