December 23, 2014

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Devotion to Simic (Yisan’s Toolbox)

Devotion to Simic – Benoit Renaud

Creatures: (34)
Elvish Mystic
Kiora’s Follower
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
Courser of Kruphix
Genesis Hydra
Polukranos, World Eater
Prophet of Kruphix
Phyrexian Revoker
Reclamation Sage
Hornet Nest
Nylea’s Disciple
Nylea, God of the Hunt
Clever Impersonator
Arbor Colossus
Soul of New Phyrexia
Hornet Queen

Spells: (3)
Chord of Calling

Lands: (23)
Forest
Wooded Foothills
Yavimaya Coast
Thornwood Falls
Temple of Mystery
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Sideboard: (15)
Back to Nature
Mistcutter Hydra
Negate
Reclamation Sage
Aetherspouts
Setessan Tactics
Nylea’s Disciple

First, let’s talk about the green devotion deck. It’s a very powerful deck that can easily generate enough mana to play a 20/20 Genesis Hydra or be able to use Polukranos as a one-sided board wipe. However, relying heavily on creatures tends to make the deck weak against disruption, often leaving it with a bunch of mana dorks, and nothing to do with them. The deck has also very little disruption effects of its own, making it very weak against combo decks.
Most players have fixed these problems by either splashing red for burn, or black for removal and hand disruption. But each of these non green & non creature spells are weakening the deck’s devotion, slowly transforming it in either a Gruul Monsters or Golgari Constellation deck.
But it’s not like green doesn’t have answers, it just can’t find them fast enough. While Chord of Calling helps, it’s often not enough. And since Chord of Calling is usually the only instant in the deck, it’s easy to predict and play around. This is where Yisan, the Wanderer Bard and the blue splash come in.

The New Creatures:

The one card combo; this is the card everyone reads, and then wonders how much they should worry about it. The best part about this card is that the deck doesn’t rely on it; it’s not a crucial combo piece. If it dies, it just means that your opponent has one less removal spell in hand; allowing you to safely cast your bombs.
But what if they don’t remove it?

Turn 1: Elvish Mystic
Turn 2: Kiora’s Follower
Turn 3: Nylea and Polukranos
Turn 4: Prophet of Kruphix and Soul of New Phyrexia; Untap during his turn: Hornet Queen
You now have an impressive board state, and best of all, you only cast 1 spell, meaning your hand should still be full, allowing you to rebuild if ever something goes wrong.
Yisan also allows you to play during your opponent’s turn. This makes it harder for your opponent to know if you kept the land up to use its ability or if you have something in your hand you could cast.
Its deck shuffling ability has also a great synergy with the Courser of Kruphix, giving you a few extra chances to either find a land or a card you want to draw.

Its main purpose is to untap Yisan, but it can also be used as a Voyaging Satyr or to give vigilance to one of your creatures.
Since putting the verse counter on Yisan is part of the activation cost, if you untap it and reactivate it in response to the first activation, you can search twice for its current amount of counters, allowing you to get more value.

Similarly to Kiora’s Follower, its main purpose is to untap Yisan. But even without Yisan, he is a game changer. Having it allows you to cast your creatures twice as fast and it allows you to bluff; something the green devotion deck is usually unable to do. Your opponent now has to respect the fact you might have a Hornet Nest in hand, which could jump in front of his biggest creature.

The Toolbox:
These are the “Answers” you can find with Yisan and Chord of Calling in order to get out of almost any situation.

It can stop planeswalkers, Perilous Vault, Whip of Erebos or even mana dorks if needed. Having a cheap artifact creature is also surprisingly useful against the heroic deck that can give its creatures evasion with protection.

An amazing surprise blocker, especially fun against the Goblin Rabblemaster’s token.

Mainly here to stop Jeskai Ascendency, Perilous Vault and Whip of Erebos.

Amazing against aggro and burn decks.

An ace in the hole. Its greatest appearance so far was copying a Garruk, Apex Predator and then using the +1 to kill the opposing Garruk.

Game ender once the devotion count is high enough; trample is especially good against those pesky 1/1 deathtouchers.

When you need a way to deal with flyers, or just need a big creature

Another big creature, it counters removal, including board wipes. While it’s usually hard to keep mana up to use it effectively, being able to spend your mana during your opponent’s end phase thanks to Yisan and Prophet of Kruphix makes it much more viable.

The Regular Devotion Creatures:

Elvish Mystic: The mana dork.
Courser of Kruphix: Gains life, gets lands, sees top card, survives lightning strike.
Genesis Hydra: Amazing with Nykthos, will almost always find another creature, even at low cost.
Polukranos, World Eater: A 5/5 for 4 that can also be used as removal. Only 2 in the deck since it’s legendary and the deck has many tutor effects.
Hornet Queen: 5 deathtouch flyers; stabilizes the board instantly.
Spells:
Chord of Calling: Only 3 in the deck for now, but I’m considering adding the 4th. Getting a creature into play at instant speed is amazing; especially in a deck that has a bunch of singletons.

Sideboard:

Nylea’s Disciple: Against aggro deck
Back to Nature: One side board wipe against constellation deck
Setessan Tactics: Against decks that rely on creatures
Mistcutter Hydra: Against control
Negate: Against control and board wipes
Aetherspouts: This is where having Yisan or Prophet of Kruphix in order to play during your opponent’s turn is key. Keeping the 5 mana up won’t seem unnatural, and even if your opponents notice you are being careful about keeping it, they will most likely assume it’s for Chord of Calling. Amazing against Jeskai Tokens (assuming you survive long enough), Heroic, Sidisi Whip and Green Devotion.

Thanks for reading!