When it comes to creature-based combo decks in the Modern format, the one that stands out the most in my mind is Devoted Druid. Devoted Druid has been around since 2008, but the card didn’t have a home in Modern until 2017. With the printing of Vizier of Remedies in Amonkhet, it was possible to make infinite green mana as early as turn 3! This is obviously quite powerful, so why aren’t we seeing more of this deck today? In this article I’ll be talking about how this deck fits in the current Modern metagame, talk about some exciting new cards in Phyrexia: All Will be One that will renew the archetype, and provide you a new list to try! Lets get to it.

Understanding the Devoted Druid Core

Lets take a brief moment to make sure we understand how this deck is winning games. Druid Combo lists can vary greatly, but some things never change; Druid Combo is an ABX combo deck, meaning you need two unique cards plus a third enabler of some sort. In this case, we need Devoted Druid and Vizier of Remedies as our A and B, and have a few ways to use our infinite green mana, such as Walking Ballista. Eladamri’s Call is a powerful tool at the core of this deck as it can find any of the three pieces needed for our combo.

Beyond this core of 13-15 cards, the rest of the deck is dedicated to redundancy and protection of the combo, with a few spicy Plan B cards sprinkled in. Lets move on to how this deck fits into the metagame.

The Good

Druid Combo draws a lot of strength from its ability to be finely tuned to any metagame you may be facing. The core of this deck is relatively small, and a large part of that core includes tutors for the creature combo-pieces. This means there is quite a lot of flexibility in deck construction that a person with an adept knowledge of the metagame can use to their full advantage. Not all combo decks have the ability to be tuned so finely. For example, the cascade-combo deck Living End has nearly forty cards that are stock in the main deck.

Another advantage that Druid Combo has over other combo decks is its ability to play a strong Plan B at very little cost.  Kaldra Compleat, Grist, the Hunger TideUrza’s Saga tokens—even fair creature beats are possible as a way to win when the opponent is able to disrupt our combo. The versatility this deck displays in terms of paths to victory and deck construction make it a powerful pick to attack a well-defined metagame.

The Bad

One issue with this deck is that it requires three cards to percolate. Without Druid, Vizier of Remedies is a vanilla 2/1. Without Vizier, Devoted Druid is just a mana dork. Without that third Payoff piece, your infinite green mana does nothing. Three-card combos can be hard to set up, and typically don’t mulligan well. Now consider that your druid needs to be in play for an entire turn cycle before it can tap due to summoning sickness. That sounds clunkier than clogs on the dancefloor!

Another downside of this deck is that the combo is reliant on creatures to win. A Lightning Bolt targeting Goblin Guide is annoying for a Burn player, but a Bolt targeting Druid can turn a great hand into a stack of bricks.

The Ugly

Remember how I just mentioned that creature removal is really good against our three-card, creature-based combo deck — Where one of our creatures needs to be in play for an entire turn cycle, all alone on the battlefield, naked and afraid, before we can attempt to go off? Well.. you may need to sit down for this news — Creature removal is everywhere. The Modern format is rampant with answers for small creatures due to the power of Ragavan. Wrenn and Six is also a powerful card advantage engine that just so happens to dunk on x/1 creatures while enabling mana bases to support Leyline Binding. Bolt and Unholy Heat are at the core of the most popular deck in the metagame, and we can’t forget the monsters under the bed — Fury and Solitude are very popular as well.

To summarize, there are a few problems with Devoted Druid Combo:

  • The combo requires three cards to percolate.
  • it’s a creature-based combo deck, in a metagame full of efficient creature removal.
  • Devoted Druid cannot tap right away due to summoning sickness.

How can we possibly shore up all these weaknesses?? Let me introduce you to the Mirran resistance against the Modern menace — a card that really packs a punch! Let’s give a standing ovation to…*drum roll*

Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler + Tyvar’s Stand

Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler [ONE]     Tyvar's Stand [ONE]

Wow. There’s just so much to take in. Let’s break it down one ability at a time and show how each one works to solve the issues with Devoted Druid Combo.

You may activate abilities of creatures you control as though those creatures had haste.

The passive ability on Tyvar is already shoring up one of the greatest weaknesses of Druid Combo: We can go infinite the turn we put Druid into play. No more needing to cross our fingers hoping we get to untap. This ability also lets Giver of Runes work the turn it enters, and it makes dorks like Birds of Paradise mana-neutral. It’s also relevant with Stoneforge Mystic!

[+1]: Untap up to one target creature.

The highest upside to this ability is that it untaps a mana-dork on the combo-turn, which can provided a much-needed second white mana to go off. It can also be used to give our Kaldra Compleat pseudo-vigilance. I’m not too sure how often these situations will arise, so I see this ability as gravy more than great for our deck.. Maybe we can get spicy with a Viridian Longbow in play? The +1 on Tyvar will certainly lead to some interesting games.

[-2]: Mill three cards, then you may return a creature card with mana value 2 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield.

When I read this ability for the first time I had to do a double-take. This -2 ability is great and has applications outside of Druid Combo I’m sure (I’m looking at you Dauthi Voidwalker). Being able to reanimate any one of our combo pieces is great. If you’re in a dire situation, you can even use this ability, mill three, and hope to spike the missing piece. This minus ability, combined with Tyvar‘s static, makes our deck much more resistant to creature removal. It makes the deck more redundant by helping us recur key pieces, and even lets us combo-off right away. What an all-star addition to this archetype!

Lets talk about Tyvar’s Stand now. As I’ve highlighted before, Druid Combo is a huge dog to creature removal. The Deck is priced into playing protection spells for our creatures. Druid Combo also requires an outlet for its infinite mana to win. Tyvar’s Stand is both of those things. Tyvar’s Stand can play a role protecting our combo pieces early game, and be used to kill our opponent in the late game by giving any of our creatures +X/+X.

I can’t wait to try these cards! 🤩

Devoted Druid Combo (Tyvar)

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What I’ll Be Paying Attention to As I Test and Tune

One thing that this list is bringing back is the use of mana-dorks, especially Birds of Paradise. This is not only due to its synergy with Tyvar, but also because it’s flying ability pairs very well with Tyvar’s Stand. I’ll be paying attention to how mana-dorks perform in this list and add or remove them as needed.
I’m really curious to see how well Tyvar lines up with Stoneforge Mystic. Being able to put a Kaldra Compleat into play is no joke, and often makes Stoneforge a threat that the opponent is forced to kill on sight. Being able to reanimate Stoneforge and activating it immediately with Tyvar should be very good against the decks that can’t beat Kaldra Compleat. I’d almost consider running a Sword of Fire and Ice in the board for additional value if this synergy proves to be powerful enough.
Another thing I’ll be keeping my eye on is how hard it will be to protect Tyvar. For example, we can cast Tyvar on turn two and untap a Birds to block. We could even tap that bird to cast a Giver of Runes to block. If we do leave Birds up to block, we can use Tyvar’s stand to make the attack bounce off. On the other hand, if Tyvar takes a non-lethal amount of damage, the passive might simply be enough to secure a win on the next turn. It’s clearly a powerful card, but I’ll be paying close attention to how it lines up vs. cards like Lightning Bolt.
I want to also note that Tyvar’s Stand is an all-or-nothing inclusion to this deck in my mind. The strength of this card is in its flexibility as you move from early to late game. If you play fewer copies, you’re more likely to draw it too late for its X=0 to matter.

That’s all for Now!

Thanks so much for reading my thoughts on Devoted Druid Combo in Modern! If you made it this far, you must truly be devoted to the archetype. Please feel free to show your support + leave a comment down below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this archetype and I look forward to seeing what the new cards can do. I hope you enjoy the rest of spoiler season and don’t forget — you can find all the singles you need for this sweet deck-list at FusionGamingOnline.com

Until next time,


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