Mono Black Devotion (Modern) - Deck Tech

Written by Sam Burnside-Woods.

Hi there. I’m Sam, a fairly prolific Magic player from Dunedin. After a somewhat lacklustre performance at GP Brisbane with Grixis Control, I felt like playing something a bit more proactive in Modern. So after a bit of googling, netdecking and brewing I came up with this list, and somehow managed to win a 32-player event with zero games played beforehand. 



Spells (10):

3 Thoughtseize
3 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Fatal Push
2 Dismember

Planeswalkers (3):
3 Liliana the Last Hope

Creatures (21)
4 Gravecrawler
2 Relentless Dead
1 Gifted Aetherborn
3 Gatekeeper of Malakir
4 Geralf's Messenger
3 Phyrexian Obliterator
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Artifacts (2):
2 Panharmonicon

Land (24):
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
20 Swamp

2 Collective Brutality
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
2 Fulminator Mage
2 Grave Titan
2 Gutshot
4 Leyline of the Void
2 Night of Souls' Betrayal

So, Mono Black Devotion. A lot of this speaks for itself; You’re obviously playing 4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel, some number of Phyrexian Obliterators, and then a smattering of 1-3 mana black creatures with as many black mana symbols as you can cram into your curve. However, there’s a few cards I would like to highlight as being things I thought of (and haven’t seen online much) that turned out to be pretty good (or not so good, but still good enough to win a tournament).

Panharmonicon: A nod to Saffron Olive, but it turns out that in a deck with a good number of etb abilities, this can do a reasonable amount of damage.  As it happens though, I found it to be pretty win more. I would still keep one in the deck, but I really wish it had some black devotion.

Liliana, the Last Hope: This was more of a budget constraint than anything, but turned out to be fantastic. While traditionally the slot would belong to Liliana of the Veil, I think this one might be actually better with this deck in mind.  Her -2 ability ties the deck together well, and the +1 is gravy vs. so many decks in Modern, plus you sometimes just get to emblem a slow enough control deck. I can’t recommend Liliana enough.

Gravecrawler: I honestly don’t understand why no one has thought of this yet. Gravecrawler makes this deck So. Much. Better. Side it out against Anger of the Gods, sure, but the card is silly with Geralf’s Messenger and Relentless Dead.  It helps that Grey Merchant is a Zombie, too.

Gifted Aetherborn: A new addition from Aether Revolt, and probably the best 2 drop in the deck, in a vacuum. If this was a Zombie, it would be a 4 of, but alas. It's also really good with Liliana the Last Hope.

Fatal Push: Earlier versions of this deck were playing Smother and Disfigure. So yeah.


Aside from that, just count to four and then play two Gray Merchants and get them. (Or one Gray Merchant and one Panharmonicon - you know, whatever’s going.)  As far as the sideboard is concerned, the only real *tip* that I have is that you should bring Leyline of the Void in against any deck that even slightly cares about their graveyard. Affinity? Arcbound Ravager; bring in the Leylines. Death’s Shadow? Tarmogoyf. Get them in here. The reason for this is that they accelerate you by adding devotion, letting you do silly things like play Obliterators plus removal on turn three. I wouldn’t go so far as to maindeck them unless your meta is really dredge heavy, but they are really great.

Anyway, if you have any questions feel free to hit me up (Sam B-W) on Facebook. I’d love to hear what people think about the deck!