Deck Tech: Black-Green Demonic Pact

Posted in Event Coverage on August 1, 2015

By Corbin Hosler

Demonic Pact. If there was ever a more "build-around-me" card, it would be hard to find one in the current Standard format. The four-mana enchantment from Magic Origins never fooled anyone with its power level, but its built-in risk was deemed by many to be too much to overcome. Unwilling to risk losing to their own cards, most players preparing for the Pro Tour looked elsewhere instead.

Except for Antonio Del Moral León, that is.

The Spaniard took one look at the card when it was previewed in Magic Origins, and he was sold from the start.

"It's the best card in this deck, and the best thing you can do on turn four," he explained. "It's just too much advantage to not play."

Fair enough. But it wasn't the Pact itself that's ever been in question; it's how to remove it or, preferably, return it to your hand when needed. And that's where Del Moral León had to get a little creative.

"We started with white in the deck because we thought Banishing Light could remove it, and it took a week before someone told us that doesn't work," he admitted sheepishly. "So after that, we decided it was just black-green."

Del Moral León wasn't the only person to show up to Pro Tour Magic Origins with Demonic Pact in tow, but he was the only one to bring one particularly bit of relevant tech with him: Invasive Species.

A forgotten card from Magic 2015, the insect is actually one of the key reasons the deck works. Picking up Pact when needed is the obvious use, but there have also been times where Del Moral León has returned Den Protector to his hand so he can re-morph it to bring a card back from the graveyard.

"Other people are playing Pact in blue-black, but those decks have a hard time against the red decks," he said. "We are playing green so we get to play Courser of Kruphix, which is really important in those match-ups."

Antonio Del Moral León has chosen to navigate his way out of some deadly pacts, and it has paid off for him this weekend

Figuring out Invasive Species was only half the battle. Next, Del Moral León had to work out how to make the "combo" consistent enough to prevent himself from losing games where he didn't draw both. The answer came in the form of another overlooked Magic Origins creature.

"Woodland Bellower is really good because it gets you whatever you need," Del Moral León said. "It's also just a big creature."

The beast ties everything in the deck together. Not only does it fetch out Invasive Species to return Pact—conveniently after two uses if cast on-curve—but it can also get the silver-bullet Reclamation Sage when needed, or the always-good Courser of Kruphix, or even grab Den Protector if there's an Invasive Species in hand to return the Den Protector the next turn. And, as the Pro Tour Fate Reforged champion said, it also happens to attack for 6.

Sometimes one Pact just isn't enough!

The final piece tying the deck together is Nissa, Vastwood Seer. With how important it can be to cast Woodland Bellower on time, the would-be Planeswalker actually fulfills a vital function by grabbing a land out of the deck when cast early. It doubles as another win condition in the late-game, giving Del Moral León the flexibility needed in a field as aggressive as the one in Vancouver.

Throw in disruption with Thoughtseize and some removal spells from black, and you have a black-green deck that can survive the early game while building to one of the best late-games in the format thanks to Nissa, Demonic Pact and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. It's a recipe that carried Del Moral León to a 9-3 record after 12 rounds in Vancouver, and a Top 8 berth is well within his reach.

Antonio Del Moral León—Black-Green Demonic Pact

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