With World Championship XXVI behind us, the top decks in standard have been established: Azorius Control, Jeskai Fires, Mono-Red Aggro, and Temur Reclamation. Many articles have been written about these decks, so I will not write more about them here. You can checkout my article on Mono-Red here. I took this deck to Mythic on Arena and as of this writing I am ranked 493 with it.

Today I want to look at a fun deck that is surprisingly good but have trouble with some of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 decks in the format: Mono-White Devotion.

From the beginning of Theros Beyond Death season, White has been a powerful option in standard, but it stumbles when it does not get its combo pieces out early in the game. Many of the versions of the deck have moved to Ajani, Strength of the Pride as a way of ensuring that Ajani’s Pridemate gets on the field early. The deck has a good matchup with Mono-Red but has difficulty with many of the other Top Tier decks. Below is my take on the deck.

MONO-WHITE DEVOTION, Scott Trepanier

LANDS (20) (20)
18 Plains
Castle Ardenvale

CREATURES (30) (30)
Heliod, Sun-Crowned
Giant Killer
Healer’s Hawk
Ajani’s Pridemate
Daxos, Blessed by the Sun
Linden, the Steadfast Queen
Alseid of Life’s Bounty
Daybreak Chimera

PLANESWALKERS (3) (3)
Gideon Blackblade

ENCHANTMENTS (4) (4)
Banishing Light

ARTIFACTS (3) (3)
Shadowspear

SIDEBOARD (15) (15)
Leyline of Sanctity
Shatter the Sky
Ravnica at War
Conclave Tribunal
Citywide Bust
Prison Realm
Elspeth Conquers Death

One of the problems that I found with the meta deck was that there is not much evasion in the deck and when you do not get your Pridemate on turn two the deck does not perform well. I made two changes to the deck to improve my chances of winning even when Ajani’s Pridemate is not in my opening hand. These changes to the deck I feel make it more consistent.

The first addition is Daybreak Chimera. This flying 3/3 creature costs five mana, but it can be reduced to only two white mana depending on your devotion to white. Typically, I reduce the cost of Daybreak Chimera to only two mana. I can cast it on turn three or four and it gives two devotion to help make Heliod a creature. While Daybreak Chimera does not have the growth potential of Ajani’s Pridemate, it does give an evasive creature that can block many of the lower powered creatures in standard and can be grown by Heliod into a large threat that can finish games.

My second addition is Shadowspear. Only two of the creatures in the deck have lifelink, so having the ability to give any other creature lifelink and trample is needed to forward the decks game plan. Shadowspear gives the creature it is attached to lifelink, trample, and +1/+1. While this does not seem like a significant improvement for a creature, adding these abilities to any creature makes it more powerful and will activate the static abilities of Heliod and Ajani’s Pridemate allowing you to grow your creatures.

THE GAMEPLAN

The ideal playout of the deck is turn one Healer’s Hawk, turn two Ajani’s Pridemate then attack with Healer’s Hawk to grow Ajani’s Pridemate, and on turn three Linden, the Steadfast Queen then attack with Hawk and Pridemate. This will trigger Linden’s ability.

When you attack with Linden on the battlefield, you gain a life for each attacking creature. This will make Ajani’s Pridemate 5/5. Usually, when this playout occurs, you win the game in the next few turns because the Pridemate becomes to large to deal with against any deck that does not have removal for it.

On turn four you can drop Heliod, Gideon, or your Daybreak Chimera to further pressure your opponent. Daxos is another good option. Daxos gives you life any time that a creature enters the battlefield or dies. This activates Heliod and Ajani’s Pridemate.

Once you can start activating your combos, the deck starts to go bonkers. The decks biggest downside is that it does not fair well against decks running board wipes, but outside of Azorius Control and Jeskai Fires this has not been a big part of the metagame.

MONO-RED NOTE

Mono-Red is a particularly good match-up for the deck because of the life gain and red’s inability to do much about Ajani’s Pridemate after the turn it comes into play.

A note to anyone playing a Mono-Red deck. When you know that you are playing Mono-White Devotion, expect Ajani’s Pridemate on turn two. As a result, make sure that you leave mana open for a Shock or Stomp to get rid of Ajani’s Pridemate. This has been an effective way to have a chance against White.

Overall, I have enjoyed playing this deck. It does have its drawbacks, but with Mono-Red dominating the Arena best of one meta game Mono-White Devotion is positioned well in the overall metagame.

Until next time, good luck finding your win condition!