Hi everybody! Welcome to another edition of The Winner’s Circle! We’ve just begun our December to Remember here at Dave & Adam’s Card World and what a memorable FNM we had this past Friday. 80 players battled it out and Joe Andrees came out on top! I got together with Joe over the weekend to talk about his deck. He’s running a Green Devotion deck that splashes Blue.
Here’s the list:
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Burning Tree Emmissary
4 Sylvan Caryatid
3 Reverent Hunter
2 Boon Satyr
3 Karametra’s Acolyte
1 Nylea, God of the Hunt
4 Polukranos, World Eater
3 Prophet of Kruphix
3 Prime Speaker Zegana
4 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
3 Cyclonic Rift
4 Breeding Pool
4 Temple of Mystery
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Bill: Wow! I really like this deck. Blue/Green is one of my favorite color combinations. Ramp effects and card draw effects work really well together. This deck has all of that plus a bunch of really big creatures. So what can you tell me about this deck?
Joe: The deck is essentially a mono green devotion shell with splash blue for Prophet of Kruphix, Prime Speaker, and Cyclonic Rift. The goal is to put huge creatures on board (the Reverent Hunter/Polukranos/Prime Speaker/Nylea) through ramp and bash face. At the same time, it can be extremely disruptive. An end of turn Cyclonic Rift overload can completely devastate an opponent’s mid-game, but it’s even more devastating after drawing off of a huge Prime Speaker that you flashed in. Prophet gives the devotion engine a much needed power play in Cyclonic Rift. It also makes Boon Satyr and flashed creatures better as you can end of turn Polukranos and on your turn play Prime Speaker, then untap for Prophet again on their turn.
Bill: Prophet of Kruphix is so powerful. I’m glad to see someone finally putting it to good use. When you can spend all the mana it gives you every time, you should be able to generate a huge advantage over your opponent. It’s like getting an extra turn during their turn! But it’s no good all by itself. It needs a supporting cast. What other cards are important in this deck?
Joe: The most important cards are the Garruk, Caller of Beasts and Karametra’s Acolyte. Unlike other devotion ramp decks, you don’t need the nut draw. If you can push a turn 4 overloaded Cyclonic Rift, that should set your opponent back far enough so you can get up to speed.
Bill: Yea, I imagine a turn 4 Cyclonic Rift overload would help you get back into the game. Putting all your opponents things into their hand is usually good for you! But I imagine this deck has some weaknesses. What are the tough matchups for this deck?
Joe: I’d say the deck is it’s weakest against a deck that abuses Supreme Verdict or Anger of the Gods. Anger not so much as I’ve tweaked the creatures to not be as vulnerable to it. This fact alone makes the Karametra’s Acolyte so good – she has a toughness of 4!
Bill: On the surface, Karametra’s Acolyte doesn’t seem very impressive. By itself, it only taps for 1 Green and it costs 4. It’s probably a lot better in your deck though. With a couple other creatures out it could make 3 or 4 mana every turn. That would probably make it the best mana guy in standard. How did you come up with this deck? I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it before.
Joe: I ended up thinking something with Prophet could be used with the green ramp. My buddy is using it in his Simic deck abusing a flashed in Kalonian Hydra to double his counters and smash face. I was thinking a little bigger. I went 8-0 in games at the first FNM at Dave and Adams that I took this to. The initial build abused Kalonians, Arbor Colossus, and Progenitor Mimic. I remember one moment where I Progenitor’d a Kalonian Hydra at my opponent’s End Step. Moving forward, I realized that I couldn’t face an agro deck head on without boarding and I didn’t want to go into a game 2 losing a game 1 to agro. The answer was cutting the big cards. Kalonian Hydra was the first to go as it has bad synergy with Prime Speaker. I would have to cast it, wait to swing, then drop Prime Speaker in that order. I’d normally draw 8 off that, which of course is never a bad thing but it’s slower. A 6/6 Arbor Colossus is a lot quicker and still draws me a bunch of cards compared to one Kalonian that has to get an attack in. Slowly though, Reverent Hunter became better than even Arbor Colossus and both Kalonian and Colossus were cut for him and the Acolyte.
Bill: Progenitor Mimic is cute and all, but Prime Speaker Zegana is probably where you want to be. You just want to play more big guys and he draws you a bunch of cards as well. Reverent Hunter is pretty good. You want a guy like him because he fits into your curve better. If your deck is just full of spells that cost way too much, you might stumble on mana and get crushed. So how did the deck perform for you at FNM?
Joe: I faced Junk in round 1. His removal was troublesome somewhat, but both games were ended up end step overloaded Cyclonic Rift. Round 2, I played against Blue/White control. He used Supreme Verdict a few times but my Garruk made beasts and got me through. Round 3 was quick because he was mana screwed the majority of the games. My round 4 was against Naya Control. Normally this is rough because of the Anger of the Gods but luckily he didn’t draw many and I was able to cruse on to victory.
Bill: Awesome! Thanks for sharing this with us. This deck looks really fun to play. I’d bet you had a lot of help building it. Any shout outs you’d like to add?
Joe: Oh, I seriously want to give some shout outs. I’ve played Yu-Gi-Oh for over twelve years and recently got into magic after some clever pushes from my buddies. I want to give shout outs to everybody who has made my transition smooth and enjoyable: Alex Roundy, Joe Shea, Nicholas Sutton, Peter Bloomingdale, Ryan O’Donnell, Joe Maraschiello, Brandon Bzz, Jeremiah Renda, Josiah, Joe Street, Allison Maino, Josh Yang and countless others, including Moose.
Bill: Congratulations to you, Joe Andrees! Stay on the look out for the announcement about our BIG PRIZE for this Friday at FNM. I’ve got something special picked out for this week. I’ll see you all again this Friday and one of you in the Winner’s Circle!