4 Reasons to Play Green with Red Devotion Instead of White

December 13, 2013 | Posted by Dee

Two weekends ago, R/w Devotion put two people in the top eight of Grand Prix Vienna. But last weekend, the deck was nowhere to be found in the top 16 of Grand Prix Dallas-Fort Worth. Instead, Carlos Reyes got third place with a Red Devotion deck that swapped out white in favor of green.

Third place was definitely a great result for Carlos considering it was only his second Grand Prix.

In this article, we’ll look at a couple reasons why green in Red Devotion is better than white. But first, take a look at Carlos’s decklist below.

R/g Devotion
Creatures (26)
Spells (9)
Lands (25)
Sideboard (15)
Deck Price Tag: $433.25

1. Domri is Good in a Diverse Metagame

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The main draw for green is Domri while white gives you Chained to the Rocks, a cheap versatile removal spell. In a vacuum, the planeswalker is better because it is good in more situations. Domri can act as removal and he gives you card advantage while ticking up to a game-breaking ultimate.

But of course, we don’t play Magic in a vacuum. We have to consider the metagame to really figure out the effectiveness of a particular card. Chained to the Rocks was great two weekends ago because there was a lot of Blue Devotion in the metagame.

The enchantment can deal with Master of Waves and Thassa but Domri cannot target Master or kill Thassa with his fight ability.

However, after Grand Prix Vienna, you could make a good case that the metagame would be more diverse with less Blue Devotion. Domri is better in that environment than Chained to the Rocks because he can do more things.

For example, you would rather have Domri versus Jace control decks because Chained to the Rocks is a dead card in those matchups.

Here was the evidence that the metagame was about to be more diverse. There were seven different archetypes in the top 16 of Grand Prix Vienna.

Blue Devotion did win the whole thing and there were six other Blue Devotion decks in the top 16. But you also had a Pro Tour champion, Stanislav Cifka, make top eight with a U/W Control deck that had favorable matchups against Blue and Black Devotion.

With Cifka’s pedigree, success, and spicy tech (4 Last Breath main deck), there was a good chance many players would pick up Cifka’s deck and that would weaken Blue Devotion.

That’s what happened in the next Grand Prix. There were only four Blue Devotion decks in the top 16 of Grand Prix Dallas-Fort Worth and none of them cracked the top eight. On the other hand, there were two U/W Control decks in the top eight that played at least 3 Last Breath in the main deck.

2. Domri Provides One Red Devotion

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Along with being better in a diverse metagame than Chained to the Rocks, Domri makes the devotion strategy better because he has one red mana in his casting cost. He adds a little bit of value to Fanatic of Mogis, Purphoros, and Nykthos. One extra red devotion may not seem like a lot but it can be the difference between a win or a loss.

3. Better Mana with Burning-Tree Emissary

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The top R/w Devotion decks usually played 1-2 Boros Guildgate in the main deck to shore up their mana. In contrast, R/g Devotion doesn’t have to play Guildgates because it can get green mana from Burning-Tree Emissary. Playing that creature and then Domri on turn three is a strong play and you don’t need a green land to do it.

4. Strong Sideboard Cards for Beating the Top Decks

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White gives you Boros Charm, Assemble the Legion, Wear // Tear, and Warleader’s Helix as sideboard options but I think the green sideboard cards are slightly better.

Boros Charm is good against board wipes but you already have Domri in the main deck to beat those cards. Also, it can be tough to find a good situation where you want to leave up two mana to cast the white/red Charm. Red Devotion doesn’t have a lot of instants so sometimes you end up wasting mana if they don’t have the mass removal spell.

In some of those cases, it would be better to slam Xenagos, the Reveler. He can produce a 2/2 every turn so he’s pretty good against board sweepers. Also, Xenagos is a decent replacement for the powerful token maker, Assemble the Legion.

The best green card for the sideboard is definitely Mistcutter Hydra. It gains a lot of value with the rise of U/W Control because it dodges Azorius Charm and Detention Sphere while being uncounterable. Also, as you can imagine, the Hydra is very good against Blue Devotion.

Destructive Revelry is better than Wear // Tear. Don’t forget the damage from the green/red spell can be redirected to planeswalkers.

Warleader’s Helix is a great tool for beating aggro decks so R/w Devotion may be better in an aggro heavy metagame. But right now, the metagame doesn’t look very aggressive at all. And Red Devotion already has solid anti-aggro cards with Frostburn Weird and Boros Reckoner.

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Deck Price Tag ($433.25)

Click the links below to buy the cards on eBay.

QTYCard Name Avg PriceTotal Price
4Frostburn Weird$0.19$0.76
4Ash Zealot$3.49$13.96
4Burning-Tree Emissary$1.97$7.88
4Boros Reckoner$12.70$50.80
4Fanatic of Mogis$0.39$1.56
4Stormbreath Dragon$17.99$71.96
2Purphoros, God of the Forge$8.50$17.00
3Mizzium Mortars$3.37$10.11
4Domri Rade$21.43$85.72
2Chandra, Pyromaster$19.00$38.00
4Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx$9.69$38.76
4Stomping Ground$8.48$33.92
4Temple of Abandon$3.12$12.48
1Temple of Triumph$3.96$3.96
1Mizzium Mortars$3.37$3.37
2Destructive Revelry$0.25$0.50
2Xenagos, the Reveler$10.35$20.70
3Anger of the Gods$2.40$7.20
3Mistcutter Hydra$3.21$9.63
2Pithing Needle$1.45$2.90
Total Deck Price:$433.25

3 Responses to “4 Reasons to Play Green with Red Devotion Instead of White”

  1. thg on December 13th, 2013 9:54 pm

    Rw was 2nd and 12 at SCG Open in Sacramento; Rg was 11th.

    Overall, I’d say it was a wash for the two decks over the weekend.

  2. Dee on December 13th, 2013 10:17 pm

    I think you meant the SCG Open in Oakland.

    I still like R/g better because it looks like the metagame has gotten more diverse with less Blue Devotion. But if you expect a lot of Blue Devotion in your metagame, R/w has the edge.

  3. Ian Muir on December 17th, 2013 8:56 am

    I’ve been playing something similar to this for a while now. It started as an aggro deck, but has become more focused on devotion.

    I’ve been running the Mistcutter Hydra’s in my main and some skylashers in the side to deal with monoblue.

    The hydra’s are great when combined with nykthos, getting a some two drops and a reckoner out, followed by a giant hasty hydra has resulted in a few scoops.