I know what you might be thinking. Why talk about multicolored creatures in regard to devotion? High devotion needs to be built up in the first three of four turns, right? You’re not wrong. All that extra mana can enable a hand-barf, but why not play a powerful creatures earlier than intended? Even better, what if you could build devotion for two different colors? You can! Some multicolored cards don’t have an aggressive mana cost. Instead, providing powerful spells to sink you extra mana into can help take advantage of those devotion-boosting permanents you’ve already resolved.
[card]Obzedat, Ghost Council[/card] ($8)
“Ghost Dad” has been bouncing between from $5-15 since Gatecrash prices settled. Though he may not see heavy play at the moment, a switch with [card]Blood Baron of Vizkopa[/card] after a meta change can be a quick fix to keep your deck up to speed with the ever-changing Standard format. He works better with [card]Gray Merchant of Asphodel[/card], avoids sorcery-speed removal, and can add two devotion to white or black. He quickly applies consistent life total swings and will always enjoy riding the [card]Whip of Erebos[/card] (Ghost Ride da Whip!). Though $8 may seem high, I think you will be glad to have some copies when he falls into favor again.
Let’s call this guy my sleeper in the hole. He may not be good in any playable deck at the moment, but when Wizards of the Coast (WotC) prints a card with protection from the featured card type of the block, the cranial alarm bells should ring. How would you like to block any god (except [card]Thassa, God of the Sea[/card]) throughout the entire block? [card]Polis Crusher[/card] can block and run past all bestow creatures, and unlike [card]Polukranos, World Eater[/card], cannot be hit by [card]Chained to the Rocks[/card]. I know four mana for a 4/4 is not all that impressive these days, but when a creature has protection from ‘X’ it should be kept in mind. Pick this guy up as a throw-in at the end of any trade.
With the printing of the B/G scry land coming to a LGS near you, I think the likelihood of Varolz finding a home is only a matter of time. Bestow creatures provide pump, a creature, a self sacrifice to Varolz, and a scavenge into a creature of choice. Mana dorks have more purpose and extra value from the graveyard, as does [card]Desecration Demon[/card] after it catches an early removal spell to the face. In a reanimation shell, engage ‘build your own fatty’ mode until you draw your reanimation spell. Even a BUG list with [card]Thassa, god of the Sea[/card] can make Varolz or [card]Reaper of the Wild[/card] an unblockable fatty, but with a form of self-protection latched on to each of their tool belts. This is another speculation that can consistently become a throw-in at the end of an almost equal trade.
We all know [card]Boros Reckoner[/card] and [card]Nightveil Specter[/card] will see consistent play through their Standard life. Both creatures add to your devotion count in a big way. “But Ginger Ale, [card]Prime Speaker Zegana[/card] can only come down on turn five (using [card]Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx[/card] with two mana at four devotion plus two mana of the other color)!” True, but what if I told you I think [card]Prophetic Prism[/card] can enable devotion ramp decks at little to no cost? Don’t believe me? Let’s change your mind.
This seems like a sweet pickup at the current price tag, especially being from an under-opened expansion (Gatecrash). Zegana combos with a four-power creature to make her a draw-five 5/5 for only six mana. I mentioned [card]Arbor Colossus[/card] in the last Financial Five as being a worthy speculation target. With [card]Elvish Mystic[/card], [card]Gyre Sage[/card], and [card]Burning-Tree Emissary[/card] (BTE) building early devotion, we already know getting to six mana isn’t hard. But how do we get blue mana? BTE can lead right into a free [card]Prophetic Prism[/card] to set up converting green mana to blue for an easy turn-four Prime Speaker. G/R Nykthos Ramp decks run out of cards if they don’t land [card]Garruk, Caller of Beasts[/card] early enough. Ramping to Garruk requires a heavy number of creatures to maximize his +1. Prime Speaker lets you keep hitting your land drops as well as your desired tempo or removal spell. Is one strategy better than the other? No, but it is a new way to abuse Nykthos. Though I could talk about how great his card is for days, know that $2.50 is as low as it will ever be. A worthy pick up to have in your collection moving forward.
HYPOCRITE ALERT! HYPOCRITE ALERT!
I know I’m suppose to suggest cards that help devotion strategies, but when a strategy become established, a strategy to counteract it must be found. As speculators, we must stay ahead of the metagame to maximize price increases. This last pick is already a solid card but also has potential to fight popular devotion strategies.
Playing against devotion strategies implies high-costing spells that this wizard could turn into heavy-damage burn spells. [card]Dimir Charm[/card] can even mess up a recent scry or force them to take a chunk of damage next draw step. Cheap removal in all shapes and sizes, e.g. [card]Cyclonic Rift[/card], [card]Doom Blade[/card], [card]Ultimate Price[/card], [card]Dimir Charm[/card], and [card]Rapid Hybridization[/card], can help minimize the amount of damage you take. Splash white for [card]Azorius Charm[/card] to force their prized high-drop back to the top of their deck or splash green for [card]Abrupt Decay[/card] to take care of small permanents. Cast a [card]Thrill-Kill Assassin[/card] to trade or eat an early removal spell to help clear the way for Seer. A price tag of $1.50 is a crime and I am ready to solve it when the time comes.
I feel that these picks have high profit potential and are just waiting for a minuscule meta change or one new card to take them to the level WotC intended them to be. All of these cards have solid synergies (Obzedat + Whip, Varolz + Bestow, Duskmantle + Dimir/Azorius Charm). Keep your eyes peeled for the new card that could turn your bulky rares/mythics into Standard staples. Ask [card]Desecration Demon[/card], [card]Pack Rat[/card], [card]Nightveil Specter[/card], and [card]Blood Baron of Vizkopa[/card]. They’ll vouch for me.
As always, thanks for reading.
Houston ‘Ginger Ale’ Whitehead
Listen: Tap N Sac Podcast (RSS Feed)