When I mention Modern deck, you immediately think of Lantern, Death's Shadow and whatever other marquee decks are currently making the rounds. But it probably does not call to mind Mono Black Devotion. I stumbled upon this list by accident and I love how it does relatively well going up against "tier decks".

3 Gatekeeper of Malakir
3 Victim of Night
4 Thoughtseize
2 Phyrexian Arena
3 Fatal Push
2 Collective Brutality
4 Gifted Aetherborn
4 Geralf's Messenger
3 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
4 Phyrexian Obliterator
4 Liliana of the Veil
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
1 Bojuka Bog
22 Swamp

1 Night of Souls' Betrayal
2 Fulminator Mage
4 Leyline of Sanctity
4 Leyline of the Void
2 Duress
2 Damnation

Let's take a look at the creatures:



Gatekeeper of Malakir and Gifted Aetherborn are the only two drops, and because you rarely want to play Gatekeeper without the kicker, it's basically a three drop. Gatekeeper also deals with Tarmogoyf and Hollow One quite handily. Aetherborn is versatile, picking off small and big creatures alike while still gaining life. Both cards ramp devotion with double black casting costs.

However, as good as they are, these mainly just stall for the real threats:




Geralf's Messenger is a good recursive threat that can get in a few last points of damage, and trades well with many of an opponent's early creatures. Phyrexian Obliterator stops opponents from attacking and forces them into punishing decisions when it goes on offense. Both tick up black devotion for the other finisher, Gray Merchant of Asphodel (whom you might know as simply Gary). Gary can easily drain for 11 on turn 5, creating a whopping 22 point spread. He's also amazing when you're just playing the top of your library. As good as Gary is though, we only run three because of the high CMC. This is modern, after all, and hardcasting 5 drops is rare.



We have 4 copies of Liliana of the Veil - the best planeswalker in modern. I've been able to ultimate her in about 60% of my games. A single Liliana, the Last Hope helps manage go wide decks like elves.

Thoughtseize is a must-run in black decks, disrupting combo and decks with limited threats (Death's Shadow, for example). Collective Brutality is another combo breaker which also deals well with many creatures.

Fatal Push is another must-have in black decks. Use it to "bolt the bird" and kill goyfs or Death's Shadow. Revolt will rarely be on, so the list includes Victim of Night for bigger creatures. I prefer it over Go for the Throat as we'll usually have double black unless the opponent's Spreading Seas game is strong.



Leyline of Sanctity protects our hand from black decks, our face from burn and our library from mill. I know, I know. Hoping to get this in your opening hand means you'll often get a dead draw, but find me something better in black, and I'll play it.


Leyline of the Void makes both dredge and storm cry. What's not to love?


Duress is a measure against storm and other instant-heavy decks. Inquisition of Kozilek can be slotted in here as well.


Night of Souls' Betrayal shuts down Affinity, Bogles and most go wide decks. No need to bolt birds when they instantly die!


Damnation is even more protection against go wide decks - which are our biggest threats.


Fulminator Mage. Tron. Need I say more?


See if you can spot my misplay in game one. These things happen.

Let me know in the comments if you've had any experiences, positive or negative, politing or playing against Mono Black Devotion.

Also catch me streaming for Cardsphere regularly on Twitch: