Thassa Devotion Deck with Master of Waves and Bident of Thassa

September 23, 2013 | Posted by Dee

When Thassa, God of the Sea and Master of Waves were spoiled at the beginning of this month, I felt like a blue devotion deck could be pretty good in Theros Standand. Thassa and Master looked like powerful cards and they compliment each other well.

I thought Tidebinder Mage would have a big impact in post-rotation Standard. With her casting cost, she is a good devotion enabler at the two drop spot.

Also, in my research of Return to Ravnica block, Nightveil Specter was one of the top cards in the format. With a mana cost of triple blue, it could quickly turn Thassa into a creature and give you a bunch of Elemental tokens from Master.

I started building a deck right away. This forum thread about the best devotion enablers was very helpful during the process.

Here’s my current decklist. I recommend it for your next Standard tournament.

Thassa Devotion
Creatures (24)
Spells (12)
Lands (24)
Sideboard (15)

Click the links below to buy cards from this deck on eBay.

Main Deck Analysis

[Buy Thassa, God of the Sea on eBay]

While playtesting on Cockatrice, I saw people trying out Thassa in control builds but I think she is much better in a creature-heavy aggro or midrange deck because you need a lot of solid attackers to fully take advantage of all her abilities.

A control deck can’t really use Thassa’s unblockable ability effectively because it focuses on defense rather than attacking. Also, creatures are the best early plays to reach five devotion quickly and you definitely want to be in attack mode with an indestructible 5/5 for three mana.

Master fits the creature-heavy strategy because he can give you a lot of creature tokens to swarm your opponent and kill him before he has a chance to setup a reasonable defense.

With these things in mind, the creature base was pretty straightforward to build. Cloudfin Raptor, Judge’s Familiar, Frostburn Weird, Tidebinder Mage, and Nightveil Specter are much better than the alternatives at their mana curve spots.

Raptor allows you to become aggressive right away in the air. You can evolve it to 3/4 with Frostburn Weird and even to 4/5 if you drop Thassa on the board as a 5/5 creature. I’ve won many games by just beating down with big Raptors.

Judge’s Familiar is probably the weakest card in the deck but it’s still decent. It evolves Raptor on turn two for only one mana. One common play is turn one Raptor and then turn two scry land and Judge’s Familiar.

The 1/1 flyer slows down decks with a lot of sorceries and instants. For example, stopping Anger of the Gods on turn three is pretty key. Flying works very well with Bident.

As you can guess, Tidebinder Mage is a high variance card. Against decks with a lot of red or green creatures, she slows them down a lot while attacking for two and powering Thassa and Master.

[Buy Tidebinder Mage on eBay]

But if she doesn’t have any targets, she can be mediocre especially if you don’t draw Thassa or Master. I wish I could play a different card at times but she really is the best option along with Frostburn Weird at the two drop spot.

You could cut her and play less two-drops but this deck wants to get to five devotion quickly for Thassa. Also, Tidebinder Mage gives you more explosive starts with Master.

She’s another early creature for triggering Bident. Sometimes she just draws you a lot of cards with Bident against decks with few creatures because your opponent has to use his removal spells on more powerful creatures like Nightveil Specter and Master.

Frostburn Weird is solid because he’s a great blocker against fast decks. With four toughness, he keeps Rakdos Cacklers and Burning-Tree Emissaries at bay and he doesn’t die to Lightning Strike.

He only attacks for one but you can activate his ability to give him up to four power. Just watch out for instant speed burn spells like Magma Jet and Lightning Strike because his toughness goes down when you increase his power.

Nightveil Specter has been impressive in playtesting. It saw a lot of play in Return to Ravnica block but I didn’t think it would be that good in Theros Standard.

The 2/3 flyer doesn’t die to Doom Blade or Magma Jet. Against aggro, Nightveil Specter is a decent blocker. For instance, it matches up well against 2/2s like Burning-Tree Emissary and Fiendslayer Paladin.

It has flying, which is great with Bident. Nightveil Specter’s combat damage ability is a game-winner if your opponent can’t kill it right away. Even though it only attacks for two damage, you gain a lot of card advantage when it hits your opponent multiple times.

You can play the lands exiled by Nightveil Specter so you’ll find yourself casting non blue or black spells if you get in a couple of hits. On turn four, sometimes you need a fourth land to play Master, Bident, or Jace. Nightveil Specter can give it to you by dealing combat damage to your opponent.

Against blue or black decks, she can easily dominate because you are playing those colors. I’ve cast many of my opponents’ counterspells with Nightveil Specter. Your opponent must kill it right away. Otherwise, you’ll just bury him with card advantage.

Master of Waves is another creature that demands a removal spell right away or you’ll attack for a ton of damage with many 2/1 tokens. Plus, Master and his minions interact very well with Bident.

[Buy Master of Waves on eBay]

Master has protection from red so it can’t be targeted by many premium removal spells including Mizzium Mortars, Magma Jet, Lightning Strike, Dreadbore, and Warleader’s Helix. As you can imagine, Master destroys Mono Red Aggro, a deck I expect to be popular early in the season because it’s so proactive and it gained a lot from Theros.

Also, Master is excellent in multiples. Other copies give you more tokens and all the tokens get another +1/+1 boost. I’ve won a couple games where I just played back to back Masters and smashed my opponent with a massive horde of 3/2 Elementals.

Thassa gives the deck a lot of flexibility. I wish I could play four copies but I found that she’s not that good against decks with board sweepers or a lot of spot removal. Against these decks, it can be tough to get five devotion on the board so Thassa is not as effective

Also, she’s legendary. Drawing a second copy of her is often pretty bad.

That said, she’s still a central part of the deck. She ocassionally comes down right away as a 5/5 creature to buff Raptor. She gives you scry 1 every turn to make your draws more consistent. Quick tip: put a marker like dice on top of your library to remind you to scry on your upkeep.

When she becomes a creature, she’s huge at 5/5 for only three mana and she survives most removal spells because she’s indestructible. Her unblockable ability allows you to push through lethal damage or draw cards with Bident.

Speaking of her weapon, the legendary enchantment artifact is the MVP against mass removal. Cards like Supreme Verdict and Anger of the Gods are very good against this deck but Bident helps you overcome the card disadvantage for those spells.

The deck has 12 flyers and Thassa’s unblockable ability so it’s not too difficult to hit your opponent and draw cards with Bident. I haven’t had a situation where Bident’s activated ability proved useful but it’s nice to have the option.

I would love to play four copies of Thassa’s weapon but sadly, Bident is legendary so drawing multiples is pretty bad.

[Buy Bident of Thassa on eBay]

Thassa and Bident is a really strong combination because they give you three devotion and in game one, most decks don’t have ways to deal with either card. Once you have those two cards on the board, even if you have nothing else, all you need is to play is a two-drop creature and you can attacking with Thassa right away while threatening to draw cards.

The 2 Jaces are like the fourth and fifth Bidents. As a planeswalker, he’s harder to remove than a creature so he’s good at giving you two devotion. Against fast decks, he’s better than Bident because he allows you to race with his +1 ability. This ability slows down your opponent a lot if he has a swarm of small creatures.

Unfortunately, with the new Hero’s Downfall, it’s a lot easier to kill planeswalkers. But if they use that card to destroy Jace, that means one less removal spell for Nightveil Specter and Master. Also, Jace gives you card advantage against slow decks.

The optimal removal suite is highly dependent on your local metagame. For example, if you have a lot of black creature decks, Doom Blade should be something else. You could try Devour Flesh or Ultimate Price instead.

Far // Away is a flexible spell that has a lot of value in many different situations. The bounce side of the spell slows down fast decks so you can race them.

Bounce is also good against decks with a lot of creatures that cost four or more. It only costs two to bounce so you get a big tempo boost when you return something like Desecration Demon or Kalonian Hydra back to your opponent’s hand.

In some matchups, you’ll use the bounce to save a key creature like Master or NIghtveil Specter.

The sacrifice effect of the fuse spell is good at killing Obzedat or Blood Baron of Vizkopa in Esper Control decks. On the play, you can even kill the hexproof Sylvan Caryatid before your opponent taps it for mana.

With 24 lands, this deck regularly gets to five mana so you can fuse Far // Away to really wreck your opponent.

In the mana base, you’ve got 1 Mutavault and 1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. The manland combos well with Thassa’s unblockable ability and Bident.

The legendary Theros land works well because the deck has a decent amount of mana sinks. You’ve got Frostburn Weird’s ability and Thassa’s unblockable ability. Also, Nykthos can ramp to five or six mana on turn four.

Sideboard Analysis

[Buy Thoughtseize on eBay]

I splashed black instead of going mono blue for strong cheap removal and Thoughtseize. Supreme Verdict is great against this deck because it is uncounterable and it wipes out your devotion from creatures. Also, the Azorius sweeper kills Master and all his tokens in one swoop.

Bident is solid against Supreme but it’s legendary so it’s tough to play four copies. Thoughtseize gets around the uncounterability of Supreme so it gets a well-earned spot in the sideboard.

Against decks with a lot of pinpoint removal, Negate is a lifesaver. Whether you’re countering Detention Sphere or Doom Blade, Negate is good at protecting your permanents.

Domestication is pretty cool tech. It gives you two devotion while stealing problematic creatures such as Boros Reckoner, Ash Zealot, and Precinct Captain.

Doom Blade and AEtherize slow down fast aggro decks. Dark Betrayal is one of the best sideboard cards in Theros. It’s awesome to kill Desecration Demon or Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch at instant speed for only one mana.

The most important sideboarding rule for this deck is never cut a creature. For example, you may be tempted to take out Tidebinder Mage if she doesn’t have any targets. However, that move just makes Thassa, Bident, and Master worse.

You shouldn’t cut any creatures to keep your devotion potential high and to have enough attackers for Bident.

Here are two common sideboard plans. Against Supreme Verdict decks with very few creatures, I go:

+4 Thoughtseize
+3 Negate

-1 Nykthos
-2 Doom Blade
-2 Far // Away
-2 Jace

Against Mono Red Aggro, I sideboard like this:

+2 Doom Blade
+2 AEtherize
+2 Domestication

-3 Thassa
-3 Bident

Fun Factor

This deck is fun to play because it has many different avenues to victory.

Sometimes you win with Raptor beats. Other times Master of Waves crushes your opponent because she can’t find an answer. In some games, the board gets cluttered with creatures and Thassa helps you win by making creatures unblockable.

Against a red or green deck, you might draw multiple Tidebinder Mages and just tempo them out. In other games, you’ll draw a ton of cards with Bident and just bury your opponent with card advantage.

One common way of winning is the unchecked Nightveil Specter. Sometimes it just hits your opponent a couple of times and you play multiple cards you don’t own.

21 Responses to “Thassa Devotion Deck with Master of Waves and Bident of Thassa”

  1. pedro on September 24th, 2013 8:55 am

    Questions:

    1. Tidebinder mage is good against mono red and red-green. However, when mono red and red-green got hated and not playable what’s the best replacement of the merfolk?

    2. Adding black can let you access the best interrupters, how ever will temple of deceit slow the tempo? Will you lack of black mana to cast the black removals?

    3. Negate is a situational sb card. Shall one of them be replaced be dissolve?

    4. Why not abuse counter-spell when cavern of soul rotates out?

  2. Dee on September 24th, 2013 11:35 am

    1. Tidebinder is also good against green/black and green/white creature decks so there’s a good chance it never becomes a horrible card. But if the metagame makes him really bad, you really have no replacements for him. Frostburn Weird and Tidebinder Mage are the only playable two drops that cost double blue.

    You could try something like LSV’s list or Caleb Durward’s list but I think my list is better because it has Thoughtseize. You can always move Thoughtseize to the main deck if there are a lot of Supreme Verdict decks.

    2. Temple of Deceit hasn’t been a problem. You need it or else you will lack black mana to cast the black cards. Plus, the scry makes the deck more consistent. Maybe you can cut one copy. I’m not sure. Cutting two copies is probably too risky.

    This deck is not mainly about aggro or tempo. It can win with aggro or tempo but it has card advantage from Nightveil Specter, Bident, and Jace so it can also win long, grindy games.

    3. That sounds like a good idea.

    4. I haven’t tested main deck counterspells since this deck likes to tap out a lot but they are worth testing. If you do test them, let me know how it goes. Thanks!

  3. pedro on September 25th, 2013 9:10 am

    Hi Dee. Thanks for your reply. I tried the LSV list in cockatrice solo testing. LSV list looks good, however, it focus a lot on control. I may need to save mana for instants. That makes me sad, cuz I think the Thassa deck really need more aggression. I have to admit that the 2U tidebinder is good for the devotion tempo deck.

    The reason why I want to access counterspell is that I’m afraid of Anger of the Gods. The red removal is a brand new slagstorm. I wonder some guys will involve Anger of the Gods in american midrange, red-green midragne or X-red control. The three mana removal is faster than supreme verdict and it just do 3 dmg, which means my opponents fatty creatures will not die while I may lose all my blue weenies.

    Whatever, your decklist looks amazing and I really like your idead to involve Thoughtsize and Dark Betrayal in SB. Thx for sharing.

  4. Phil on September 25th, 2013 9:14 am

    Really nice article mate. I have been testing this deck in mono blue version for a few weeks, playing 4 claustrophobia over black removal, and this is also doing pretty well.

    I haven’t play bident yet, is it that useful? I thought it might slow us down against fast aggro deck, where we generally want to play another 4 drop on turn 4 like master to block or jace with his +1.

    So far I have been running 4 jace and he is usefull in pretty much all situations, slowing aggro and helping recovering after a wrath against control.

    Your version seems to work slightly better against control than mine. Could you detail a bit more your aggro match up?

  5. Dee on September 25th, 2013 12:38 pm

    @ Pedro

    Thanks!

    I haven’t had too much problem with Anger of the Gods. Judge’s Familiar holds it off for one turn. Frostburn Weird survives it. Bident allows you to reload quickly. Sometimes Cloudfin Raptor grows to 3/4.

    Then, you’ve got Thoughtseize and Negate to stop it in the sideboard. Negate works pretty well with Judge’s Familiar. The Bird buys you a turn so you can extend your army more while still having mana up for Negate.

    @ Phil

    Thank you.

    Actually, I just added 1 Claustrophobia to the main deck and 2 Claustrophobia to the sideboard. I cut a Doom Blade in the main deck and the 2 AEtherize in the sideboard to make room.

    Claustrophobia was pretty bad against control. That’s why I only play one copy in the main deck. I like the flexibilty of Far // Away to bounce Master or Nightveil Specter. Also, the fuse spell has been good at killing Sylvan Caryatid and Obzedat.

    Bident is the best card against control and it’s solid against midrange decks. It helps a lot with devotion because it has two devotion and it allows you to draw more devotion cards.

    It’s not good against fast aggro but I think the deck has enough cards to beat those decks. It has Master, Frostburn Weird, Tidebinder Mage, Jace, and cheap removal. Also, you can always sideboard it out.

    I haven’t seen that many fast aggro decks so the 3 Bident has been great.

    If you have a lot of fast aggro in your metagame, for this deck I would go down to two copies and play a third Jace.

    In my playtesting, Bident has been much better than Jace versus control and midrange and I saw a lot of those decks. Jace was more vulnerable. He died to Dreadbores and Hero’s Downfalls. Against control decks with red, I would -2 Jace and then he would die to Magma Jet or Lightning Strike. Warleader’s Helix is a card too and it easily kills Jace.

    Also, he didn’t give as much card advantage as Bident. It was not uncommon to draw 2+ cards every turn with Bident.

    I tried to make the deck balanced against aggro, midrange, and control so I think all three matchups have a similar win percentage. Supreme Verdict decks used to be a big problem in the beginning but then I added the 3 Bidents and the matchup was a lot better.

    Right now, the deck’s win rate is 71% over 77 matches versus many different decks. 71% is really good and 77 matches is a pretty big sample size so I think the deck is definitely strong.

  6. Ryan on September 26th, 2013 9:29 pm

    What timing. I was just brainstorming a Blue Black tempo style deck. I have a few suggestions that I would like to get your opinion on? Have you thought about Duskmantle Seer in the deck. It seems really powerful with Thassa as she can make him unblockable. I also think you should go up to the full number of Far//Away. The card just seems so versatile and will help your guys get through to activate the bident’s triggered ability and draw a card. I think the Jace seems a little out of place because you would rather play creatures. Maybe switch out the Jace for Duskmantle. I also think the Seer gets stronger because there is not as much life gain in the format which will give this style of deck inevitability going late. Just my two cents.

  7. Dee on September 27th, 2013 11:29 am

    The first version had Duskmantle Seer but it didn’t really fit the deck. It was a huge liability against Mono Red Aggro and it is not a good devotion enabler.

    Jace is a better devotion enabler. He’s harder to remove and he’s better than Duskmantle Seer and Bident against Mono Red Aggro at the four-drop spot.

    The deck is not primarily a tempo or aggro deck. It is more midrange aggro-control while occasionally having beatdown or tempo draws. The cards are not really built for beatdown or tempo because the creatures have low toughness for the most part.

    Instead, you are mainly trying to get card advantage with Bident and Nightveil Specter to keep devotion high for Thassa and then she dominates the board with her 5/5 body and unblockable ability.

    It’s counterintuitive but the creatures are primarily there for devotion and Bident. That’s their main purpose, not dealing 20. Once you get the devotion and card draw engine going, you just win because drawing cards is awesome and Master and Thassa are insane with a lot of devotion.

    By then, it doesn’t matter if your opponent is still at a high life total. Master and Thassa kill very quickly once you set up their devotion.

    Since the deck is not mainly tempo, you don’t need 4 Far // Away. I like the 2/2 split between Doom Blade and Far // Away to give the deck a little bit of flexibility. Sometimes you’re not in a position to race so it’s nice to have spot removal instead of just bounce.

    I’m actually trying out 1 Ultimate Price and 1 Claustrophobia over the 2 Doom Blade. Ultimate Price kills Desecration Demon while Claustrophobia is a removal spell that adds devotion.

  8. Phil on September 28th, 2013 4:49 am

    Your advices helped a lot man. I ended up playing a list similar to yours, except I am running a mono blue (not the budget for the shockland and thought seize for now). From your list, I -1 jace for +1 thassa, since this is the main card of the deck. Also it can easily get countered, removed with a selesnya charm or a detention sphere, all main deck cards..
    My 4 removal ( for u ultimate price, claustro, 2 far away) are 2 claustro, 1 rapid hybridization (works well with tidebender) and one cyclonic rift (to bounce an annoying sphere, save a permanent, or simply clean the board thanks to Nykthos).
    Also playing mono blue allow me to play 2 Nykthos, and this card is just huge 90% of the time.
    The sideboard has yet to be built, but I’m testing a mix of Dispel (counters, sphinx reve, removal..) and Negate. Dispel works well against control. Just waiting one more turn (or not with nykthos) to make sure your master, jace or Bident arrive safely.
    I’ll keep testing, post here if I there is something relevant to be said

  9. konrad on September 28th, 2013 11:09 pm

    what’s a good sideboard plan for a deck like BR midrange or BRW midrange?

    that’s where i got confused on what to do… i know what to bring in… where i’m having problems is what to take out. any help would be appreciated. :)

  10. Dee on September 29th, 2013 12:46 pm

    Can you give me at least five nonland cards you played against? The more cards, the better.

    It’s hard to give sideboard plans without knowing the cards because there are many versions of BR Midrange or BRW Midrange at the beginning of a new post-rotation format and you may have to sideboard differently for the different versions.

  11. konrad on September 30th, 2013 12:03 am

    oh sorry bout that. i forgot to mention the BR and WBR I played against was exactly the builds of Gerry Thompson in his articles on scg.

    wbr had…
    anger of the god
    desecration demon
    chain to the rocks
    warleader’s helix
    rakdos return

    br had most of the other cards in wbr but ran stormbreath dragons

  12. Dee on September 30th, 2013 8:45 am

    Here’s my latest decklist:

    4 Cloudfin Raptor
    4 Judge’s Familiar
    4 Frostburn Weird
    4 Tidebinder Mage
    4 Nightveil Specter
    4 Master of Waves

    1 Ultimate Price
    1 Claustrophobia
    2 Far // Away
    3 Thassa, God of the Sea
    3 Bident of Thassa
    2 Jace, Architect of Thought

    4 Temple of Deceit
    4 Watery Grave
    14 Island
    1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
    1 Mutavault

    SB: 2 Negate
    SB: 2 Doom Blade
    SB: 2 Dark Betrayal
    SB: 4 Thoughtseize
    SB: 2 Domestication
    SB: 2 Claustrophobia
    SB: 1 Dissolve

    Against both decks, I’m going:

    +4 Thoughtseize
    +2 Negate
    +1 Dissolve

    -1 Ultimate Price
    -1 Claustrophobia
    -2 Far // Away
    -2 Jace
    -1 Nykthos

  13. konrad on September 30th, 2013 11:49 pm

    thanx for responding dee. one last question though… what matchups do the Dark Betrayals come in?

  14. Dee on October 1st, 2013 12:46 pm

    Any deck with a lot of black creatures. They usually come in for Far // Away to keep devotion high so you have to gauge which removal spell is better.

    Against heavy black aggro, Dark Betrayal is better. Against midrange, I lean towards Far // Away if they are more controlling. If they are more midrange-aggro, Dark Betrayal is better.

    If you’re not sure, you can always just bring in one Dark Betrayal for one Far // Away and see how they perform in the next game.

  15. Wagner on October 1st, 2013 1:15 pm

    Hi Dee, I liked very much this Deck list.

    My friend is playing a WUG Deck with Nylea, God of the Hunt and Bow of Nylea. It’s hability of deathtouch and trample are really strong aginst creature decks like this one. What you suggest to fight him?

    Thanks

  16. Dee on October 1st, 2013 5:32 pm

    Thanks. I’m not sure because I haven’t played against a deck like that one.

    Maybe you can go UW instead of UB and play 4 Detention Spheres instead of the black removal (and the 1 Claustrophobia if you’re using my latest list).

  17. baitman on October 7th, 2013 8:43 am

    Hi,

    What do you think about Ashiok? We have a lot of creature to protect him.
    I don’t like Bident maindeck with so many RDW (at least on mtgo).
    This is my list:
    [DECK]
    Creatures (19)
    4 Frostburn Weird
    4 Master of Waves
    4 nightveil specter
    4 Tidebinder Mage
    3 Thassa, God of the Sea

    Planeswalkers (7)
    4 Jace, Architect of Thought
    3 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

    Instants (8)
    3 Dissipate
    3 Doom blade
    1 Hero’s downfall
    1 Ultimate price

    Others (2)
    2 Claustrophobia

    Lands (24)
    4 Watery Grave
    4 Temple of Deceit
    1 Dimir guildgate
    3 Mutavault
    13 Island

    Sideboard (15)
    2 Dark Betrayal
    2 Bident of Thassa
    2 Duress
    4 Thoughtseize
    1 Far // Away
    1 Doom blade
    1 Ultimate price
    2 Omenspeaker
    [/deck]

  18. Dee on October 7th, 2013 11:04 am

    Not sure about Ashiok since I haven’t played with it in this deck. If you’re worried about RDW, I think I’d rather play something like Claustrophobia and Domestication in its spot.

    But your deck is more controlling than mine since it has zero one-drops, so maybe Ashiok is better. But I would still test those two cards because they are better devotion enablers.

    The 1 Hero’s Downfall seems sketchy with only 9 black sources.

  19. Tom on October 11th, 2013 10:54 pm

    I’m convinced that monoblue is one of the best bang for your buck decks currently in the format.

    I run one without any black and I’ve found that I do extremely well against all decks except esper, uw or ub control.

    Specifically if thoughtseize gets out, supreme verdict hits (uncounterable and we have no recourse) or we don’t reach our devotion targets by midgame, we’re boned.

    Good news is that mono blue has a ton of control hate you can side for in game 2 and just a nightveil specter alone will turn the game in your favor.

  20. konrad on October 11th, 2013 11:01 pm

    would it be too greedy to go 2 mutavaults and 2 nykthos by cutting 2 islands? the cyclonic rift overload (thru nykthos) in the sb of the mono U’s in PT theros seems real juicy.

  21. Dee on October 12th, 2013 12:52 am

    @ Tom

    What do you side in against Supreme Verdict?

    @ konrad

    I’m not sure. I didn’t test that configuration but it could work.