SpartanNerd MTG Quest update….TOP 8

I finally cracked the top 8 at the local comic book store’s Magic Tournament!  The Hub City was SLAMMED with snow for the past week, keeping me and everyone else indoors, so I spent plenty of time practicing, and it paid off it seems.

Basically, I played two rounds of 2 out of 3 matches against one of the SpartanSmurfs everyday.  One of them had a BEAST of a BNG Minotaur deck, and I was having a hard time with that, and thought to myself…”This is what people will be playing Saturday…”  (nope)

My two deck choices were either the Fencing Ace deck, which I had been playing and working with for awhile, but it always seemed to lose.  However, it would be fresh with some new BNG cards.

But then I thought I would revert to my pre-Return to Ravnica style…MONO BLACK.

Too bad this guy isn’t legal anymore…:(

I had been playing some black devotion.  But I thought it was time to step up my game a little.  One of the slow things about my devotion deck was that it was a “budget” deck, featuring the complete Bogbrew Witch combo.  I had some success with this deck in the last Modern tournament that I played, balancing the activity of assembling the combo and ramping up my devotion with Vampire Nighthawks.  Basically, I ripped all of that out of the deck and added something I never hardly played…Thoughtseize!  I replaced the Witch combo with Nightveil Spector, Herald of Torment, and Slitherhead.  (In place of the Festering Newts.)  BNG added Temple of Malice, so that was four more scry lands I could play.  Then there is the added advantage of having mana available to play cards stolen with the Nightveil Spector.  (The deck is mono black.  But the lands are not.  Unfortunately, there is no green and black scry land…yet…)

After playtesting it for a week because of the weather, I decided to add Elixir of Immortality in place of two of the Slitherheads…A fine choice!  The Elixir proved to be a star of the deck.  Cracking it over and over replenished my life (which I had to pay from playing Thoughtsieze), and it kept my cards playable, refreshing my deck.

I really wanted three more copies of Bile Blight.  I have whined and cried about this already.  I hoped to trade someone before the tournament.  No one had theirs for trade, or no one had one to trade.  BUMMER.  In the end, this would make a difference.

So at the Tangled Web on Saturday, February 15, I brought my black devotion deck.

Here is the deck list.

4 Temple of Malice
4 Temple of Silence
4 Temple of Deceit
1 Nykthos, Shrine ot Nyx
10 Swamps

2 Slitherhead
2 Desecration Demon
4 Nightveil Spector
2 Herald of Torment
3 Pack Rats
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
3 Spiteful Returned

4 Devour Flesh
1 Bile Blight
2 Liliana, of the Dark Realms
4 Thoughtseize
2 Elixir of Immortality
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
1 Whip of Erebos
2 Hero’s Downfall

I also had a sideboard….

4 Duress
4 Doom Blade
4 Dark Betrayal
1 Drown In Sorrow
1 Pain Seer
1 Lifebane Zombie

All evening I played against mostly green and red aggro decks.  I had no problem at all Thoughtsiezeing out Stormbreath Dragons, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, Archangel of Thune, or Blood Baron of Vizkopa.

One thing that people were playing that they should not, was Courser of Kruphix.  This allowed me to see what was on the top of the deck…

I had one mirror match, where we played until we had to draw.  It was tough…This was a seasoned player, and to see the same strategy basically across the table was an experience.

In the finals, I lost in the first round.  Devastating.  It was my first loss all day.  But it was a good game against an Azorius Sphinx’s Revelation deck.  I think fondly on this match, it was like an ascension…a catharsis.  Here I was playing against a truly great player, and standing him down with devotion for at least one match…I lost in the third game.  How did he beat me?  I didn’t draw Hero’s Downfall when I needed it.  His Elsepeth, Sun’s Champion continued to supply him with fresh 1/1 chumps, that I could have taken care of QUICKLY with a Bile Blight….He also played Supreme Verdict a good bit after he caught on to my game to squash my devotion, and then would have his Elsepeth give him more board presence.

I mean, what good is a NightVeil Spector if you can’t swing with him because he gets removed?  And you can’t use him for devotion because he isn’t there?)

So, I plan on playing at Friday Night Magic this week.  I will use the same deck, but hopefully have a full set of Bile Blight!  There are some other things I might change as well.  Herald of Torment didn’t do anything all night.  I like him, but he has to go.  He is not as good as Nightveil Spector, and he hurts you for one life each turn he’s out.  He is also expensive to bestow.  Maybe I’ll main deck Pain Seer, a weaker version of Dark Confidant….I might swap out the other two Slitherheads for Elixir of Immortality…The Elixir was a surprise star.  I think I might come up with two more copies of Heroes Downfall.  Most of the good players I played knew how to deal with the Desecration Demon.  I like him for the devotion.  And it’s not like he was useless…But most people either dropped a removal spell on him, or said “Let him through…”  Then I usually wouldn’t swing…usually…I also might go back to playing Underworld Connections.  This card helps with the card advantage better than Erebos, God of the Dead.  Did I mention that I got to swing with Erebos a couple of times?  People don’t like that….I also am thinking of adding a couple of secret weapons…aimed at the Sphinx’s Revelation deck.


Well, it isn’t a new strategy or anything.  Plenty of people out in the world are playing black devotion…it is one of the top builds in the world right now!  It is just new to me, and nobody around here hardly is playing it, so….

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