By Josh Kaufman

Devotion existed once before, and it was called chroma. But in today’s article, I want to talk about the newest and most important mechanic in Theros, and how to trade for cards that could be speculative trades that will become devotion-activating format staples. (This applies to the Standard format, by the way.)

In order to figure out what will become good in terms of devotion, I looked at the most played cards in the current Standard. Then I subtract the cards that are rotating out, and look at the mana cost, because you need a certain amount of mana symbols to activate it.

So I’ll go by color to figure out the top permanents to activate devotion, whether it is to turn on your four-mana 6/5 red god enchantment/legendary/creature/tribal/summon/indestructable thing called Purphoros, God of the Forge, or summoning a creature using your devotion-enabled land called Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx.


  1. Burning-Tree Emissary—Devotion will be insane thanks to Return to Ravnica and its hybrid cards. They will be able to turn on devotion for more than one creature, and this creature will turn on devotion incredibly fast due to its ability to act as a Farseek on a stick and casting another one- to two-mana permanent. Playing Burning-Tree Emissary into another creature like Zhur-Taa Druid would turn on your god and lead to a start that is much scarier than Burning-Tree into Mayor of Avabruck.
  2. Rakdos Cackler—Another hybrid from the RTR block, this little one-drop will attack and activate devotion very similarly to how BTE will. He will also get help from the new red god, since he gives creatures +1/+0 and turns him into a real attacking threat.
  3. Chandra’s Phoenix—This card is 1RR, but most importantly it has haste. So if your god is in play, he activates his “when a creature enters the battlefield under your control, he deals two damage to all your opponents.” But most importantly, he has haste. Gods can go back to not being creatures if your devotion is less than five, so getting two devotion on the board that can be brought back to your hand can lead to your opponent being tapped out and you getting in a very quick ten damage when your opponent isn’t expecting it.
  4. Boros Reckoner—He is one of the best creatures in Standard at the moment, and he will turn on devotion for both red and white. Once again, another hybrid creature. Hybrids might be the first theme of the new Standard.
  5. Chandra, Pyromancer—This planeswalker might just be the reason Red Deck Wins takes over the first portion of the new Standard. It turns on devotion with a double-red mana cost, brings back Chandra’s Phoenix, and allows you to get through annoying blockers while possibly drawing cards.


  1. Boros Reckoner—See what I said about this card in the red section. Another hybrid that can turn on Heliod, God of the Sun. I actually think that this is the best of the gods since he is the most flexible in the most decks. He can be played in aggro decks, where his token-making ability can turn on battalion, but can also see play in control decks where you can wipe the board with a card like Supreme Verdict, and make 2/1 vigilant creatures that can attack and block.
  2. Voice of Resurgence—This is a good creature. He is nearly unrivaled in the two-drop slot of your deck, and works well in a GW or Naya shell. The only reason I believe he is slightly better than other potential two-drops is that without Avacyn’s Pilgrim, getting out a turn two 4/4 wont be as consistent.
  3. Loxodon Smiter—He is another top-of-the-line creature. He doesn’t turn on devotion as quickly as other cards, but a 4/4 with vigilance on turn four can be a back-breaker.
  4. Obzedat, Ghost Council—His mana cost helps with both white and black devotion, and he is just an amazing creature.
  5. Angel of Serenity—This card was good, but anything with the word “exile” on it has gotten 1000x better. It will turn off your opponents’ devotion all while turning on your own.


  1. Burning-Tree Emissary—See red. He isn’t as much of an aggro card in green as he was before rotation, but it activates devotion, and can ramp you into the god himself, Nylea, God of the Hunt. It is also helped by Nylea’s trample ability, and gets much better than a 2/2 when Nylea pumps creatures +2/+2. It can win games very quickly.
  2. Kalonian Hydra—I love this card. More than most people, but I think a curve of turn one elf, turn two Domri Rade, turn three Nylea, God of the Hunt, and turn four Kalonian Hydra may be unbeatable.
  3. Domri Rade—I like this for green more than I like it for red because his fight ability can turn off devotion all while turning on your own. His +1 ability has also gotten about four cards better because Nylea is a creature, so you have less chance of getting a miss. And scry has also made him an even better planeswalker, if that was possible.
  4. Scavenging Ooze—I don’t know if you noticed, but there is an instant-speed Unburial Rites in this new set. Ooze will be a must in a large variety of decks just to deal with Rescue from the Underworld.
  5. Experiment One—I won’t put Ghor-Clan Rampager on this list because he is more of a combat trick than a creature. Experiment One is probably a much better one-drop alongside Elvish Mystic.


  1. Obzedat, Ghost Council—This turns on devotion, and also gains life. The gaining life is important because late game you will be using Erbos, God of the Dead’s ability to pay two life to draw a card.
  2. Dark Prophecy—What is this card? It is a triple-black devotion accelerator. And this enchantment will make devotion so good, Erbos, God of the Dead might turn out to be the best of the gods since you can’t destroy enchantments as easily as you destroy creatures, and your ability to put out chump blockers and use them to draw cards just makes control viable in post-rotation Standard.
  3. Tenacious Dead—Its ability to interact well with Erbos, and its ability to block very well while keeping your devotion up will work very well against all the aggro decks running around in Standard.
  4. Blood Baron of Vizcopa—One of the best creatures in Standard nobody knows about, this will allow your devotion to stay level since this guy almost cannot be killed, and his lifelink ability makes it much easier to pay two life to draw a card.
  5. Underworld ConnectionsLike Dark Prophecy, this is a great way to dig into your deck while keeping your devotion up. I think this will go from a sideboard staple to a maindeck staple.


  1. Jace, Architect of Thought—He is great planeswalker, and his surge in price shows you that. But the new blue god has the ability to allow you to scry one every turn. So digging through your deck will make Jace’s -2 ability better since it will give you a better chance at drawing the card you need.
  2. Aetherling—The scariest thing in Standard. Nobody wants to see an Aetherling on the board with blue mana open. That can be game right there. And since you are scrying every turn, it allows you to draw your mass removal, counterspells, or extra blue mana.

Blue is very difficult. Its best cards aren’t permanents. They are cards like Sphinx’s Revelation, Supreme Verdict, Syncopate, etc. But I still think the blue god will be a great card since it gives you the upkeep scry ability and can make a creature unblockable for late-game damage—perfect for a control deck. You can argue cards like Isperia, Niv-Mizzet, etc. could be playable, but black looks strong enough so that blue can be a nice addition to the other colors, which might be a little stronger by comparison.

Fun fact of the day!

Just like in the RTR and Gatecrash pre-releases, you can use your pre-release promo in your deck. The white Celestial Archon, a 4/4 flier with first strike that can be bestowed for seven mana, or the blue one, Shipbreaker Kraken, a 6/6 for six mana at its very least. The third-best is the black 6/6 flyer that poops out 1/1 flyers based on your devotion to black, and in the rear is the green thing with heroic, and the red creature with a pretty weak limited “monstrosity” ability, although a 4/5 for four mana isn’t bad.

When going to the pre-release, if they have limited “Hero’s Paths,” try going for those three, and hope you do not get stuck with green or red.

Meta game check!


  1. The Rock 14.12%
  2. Red Deck Wins 11.90%
  3. Blue White Control 11.39%
  4. Red Green Aggro 8.16%
  5. The Aristocrats (RWB) 6.46%
  6. Jund Midrange 6.29%
  7. Saito RG Aggro 5.10 %
  8. Bant Hexproof 4.78%
  9. Junk Reanimator 2.89%


  1. Affinity 12.08%
  2. Red Green Tron 9.97%
  3. Blue White Red Control 8.46%
  4. Melira Pod 8.16%
  5. Jund (RGB, WGBR) 7.25%
  6. Splinter Twin 6.34%
  7. Blue Red Delver 5.44%
  8. The Rock (BG) 5.14%


  1. Red Blue Green Delver 12.05%
  2. Blue White Miracles 12.05%
  3. Shardless Black Blue Green 9.84%
  4. Slivers 4.82%
  5. Goblins 3.61%
  6. Burn 3.61%

The biggest winners and losers of the week

Remember when I mentioned Serra’s Sanctum just over a month ago? It was cheap at $26, and now has a hefty price tag of $37. Hate to say I told you so, but yeah, told you so.

Top 5 winners of the week

  1. Jace, Architect of Thought (Return to Ravnica) $14.75—Up 14% on the week, this guy has been a steady climber from his low of almost $8. Remember when this guy was at the $52 mark? Damn, those were some crazy times. But I believe this is easily a $25 card, with a max of $30, so $14.75 is very cheap.
  2. Horizon Canopy (Future Sight) $40.09—This has been a mainstay on the weekly up-lists here. It has become the third most expensive land in Modern, and I think that will change. But for now $40 and climbing. Maybe $50 will be its top. To be honest, I think this will test the waters of the blue fetch lands, but not go above them.
  3. Desecration Demon (Return to Ravnica) $6.04—Ah, the good ol’ days. The days when this card was a good Limited card and that was it. Well it has reached what I thought would be its high of $5 and jumped up all the way to $6. I think this is a $10 creature, and the more play it sees, the higher it will go.
  4. Rishidan Port (Mercadian Masques) $68.43—Goblins faces off against Elves in the SCG quarterfinals. Port is just a very good Legacy card that will see a lot of play come December in a multitude of decks.
  5. Show and Tell (Urza’s Saga) $65.02—Once again, Show and Tell was in the finals of a Legacy Open. This time it was a sideboard card, but Show and Tell will have a strong showing at the next bunch of Legacy Opens leading to Grand Prix DC.

Top 5 losers of the week

  1. Tarmogoyf (Future Sight) $139.46—Since this is based on percentage loss, an expensive card like ‘goyf can see a loss of $2.41 and be the biggest loser of the week. Goyf ain’t going anywhere, so relax.
  2. Jace, the Mind Sculptor (Worldwake) $130.84—I believe the FTV:20 effect is now over, and JTMS has hit his low. Expect him to be creeping back up to the $140–150 range now that $130 is its low.
  3. Thoughtseize (Lorwyn) $56.61—This card dropped around $12 within two days after it was spoiled as being reprinted in Theros. I would love for Thoughtseize to hit $40 so I can pick up the older ones. I don’t like the new art, and art is a heavy factor in price.
  4. Voice of Resurgence (Dragon’s Maze) $37.39—I don’t know, maybe this is the beginning of a drop in the card. It had a nice run at the +$40 mark for much longer than I expected. I think this is a $25 card at the most, so it might be time to start moving them.
  5. Thundermaw Hellkite (M13) $14.85—Wow, remember when Thundermaw was $15 back when it first came out? Well here it is again, and to be honest I think it will remain here. It is playable in Modern, and that always helps the price of any card.

Well that is for this week. As one final note, I just went out and bought four Idyllic Tutors for $4 apiece and one Greater Auramancy for $9. I have been working on an enchantment-centric Modern deck that looks really good. ‘Til then, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Allow me to reintroduce myself my name is HOV—err, I mean Josh Kaufman from Brooklyn, NYC. I have collected Magic: The Gathering since Alpha, and played from Mirage to Apocalypse. I then quit for a while and returned at Dark Ascension. I don’t want to say too much about myself, so I’ll keep it simple: I am the greatest there ever was and ever will be. I am also very modest and insanely attractive.

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