Best of 2013: Pack it Up, Pack it In

Posted in Daily Deck on January 10, 2014

By Gerry Thompson

I'd be remiss if I mentioned Mono-Blue Devotion as one of the best decks of 2013 but didn't mention its biggest rival—Mono-Black Devotion. Normally the "best" deck is easy to identify, but Mono-Blue and Mono-Black are not making it easy.

Grand Prix Louisville was the breakout tournament for Mono-Black Devotion (as it wasn't taken seriously, despite making Top 8 at Pro Tour Theros the week before) and it was also the first career trophy for the Heisman-posing Brian Braun-Duin. That Top 8 also featured Brad Nelson and Todd Anderson, also playing the same deck as BBD, and cemented Mono-Black's place in the Standard metagame.

Mono-Black Devotion has cheap removal, card advantage, threats, and lifegain—all the necessary tools for a midrange deck to succeed. Having a rock-solid mana base goes a long way also. Who is favored between Mono-Blue Devotion and Mono-Black Devotion is a hotly debated topic, but only one of those decks contains the mighty Pack Rat.

Long thought to be a scourge of Draft and Sealed Deck only, Pack Rat has proven that it's got what it takes in Constructed as well. Sometimes Mono-Black ignores the fact that it's a midrange deck and goes on the offensive with an army of Rats. Anyone expecting a long game might be in for a rude awakening.

Brian Braun-Duin's Mono-Black Devotion

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Gerry Thompson is a former professional Magic player and strategy writer, whose career highlights includes a Top 8 at Pro Tour Gatecrash and two Grand Prix wins in Denver and Nashville. He's currently a development intern for Wizards of the Coast.

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