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Better Red Than Dead

Happy Wednesday MTG peeps,

Today on the MTG Realm blog, we wanted to yatter a bit about the new Magic: the Gathering standard constructed environment and in particular about a fairly fun build around devotion to red.  Similar to that older 'Chroma' ability in Eventide, the 'Devotion' mechanic in Theros has you sum up all the stated mana symbols within a specific colour and subsequently delivers a particular effect.  The official rules (700.5) states that 'A player's devotion to [color] is equal to the number of mana symbols of that color among the mana costs of permanents that player controls.'  

In Theros, there are about 16 cards with Devotion tech - 2 in white, 2 in blue, 5 in black, 2 in red, 4 in green and 1 reference in Nykthos, the legendary land card.  We realised quite some time ago, that going 'all out' on one particular stategy does not make for a robust build of 60 cards in that it blew out more than it would win, and it was less adaptable to an opponent's sideboard.  To that end, we worked on a few derpy builds to test out and settled on the two red cards - Fanatic of Mogis (which has a ping equal to devotion upon eotb) and Purphoros, God of the Forge which evolves from enchantment to creature after a devotion of five, similar to that of the other Theros 'god' cards, and arguablly, perhaps one of the better cards in this cycle of five.

To this end, we assembled a short list of cards to help us across the finish line - bascically any card with a double or triple count for red mana. Burning Tree Emissary, Ash Zealot, Frostburn Weird, and Boros Reckoner all made the cut.

After some time playing, we added Hammer of Purphoros and the R/G Planeswalker Xenagos, the Reveler.  We discovered just how much we enjoyed the synergy Xenagos had with Purphoros - generate a Xenagos token and have Purphoros ding two damage each time a creature dropped on the game table.  We went even so far as to explore a Naya build (Red / Green / White) with creature tokens from Molten Birth Birth and Elspeth, the new White 'Walker.  Alas, we dropped this idea and may now consider going with a Red / Green monster strategy with Domri Rade and / or Garruk, Caller of Beasts.

We don't know where this may go but we do know for certain that this is a work in progress and there will likely be a few more singles purchased at MTG Mint Card before we call this particular deck finished.

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