pie chart


Modern Competitive Control Devotion Mono-Black Primer W/B (Orzhov)



Top Rank: #4 on T/O (#1 in Modern) on 6/10/2018 - thanks for reading!


This is my take on Mono-black Devotion, featuring Liliana of the Veil and Liliana, the Last Hope. I am trying to fine-tune the deck as much as possible before competing.


This build is primarily control-oriented, but can become very aggressive by turn four. I have reduced the number of creatures as compared to other Mono-Black Decks and have opted for more planeswalkers and removal to secure the late game. Devotion is a possible win condition, but is not the sole focus of the deck.


Eliminate a threat on turn 1 with Fatal Push, Thoughtseize, or Inquisition of Kozilek, followed by a Dark Confidant, Bloodghast, Victim of Night, or more discard/removal on turn 2. Play either Liliana of the Veil or Liliana, the Last Hope on turn 3, followed by Phyrexian Obliterator or Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet on turn 4. An Obliterator, Kalitas, or Gray Merchant of Asphodel should follow relentlessly on each future turn, overwhelming the opponent's resources and life total simultaneously.


The twin Lilianas are the centerpiece of the deck.

Liliana of the Veil is the ideal turn 3 play and is crucial when facing builds with very few creatures, due to her recurring sacrifice ability. Her +1 ability cripples decks which lack sufficient card draw and allows you to dump any Bloodghasts or currently unplayable cards in your hand.

Liliana, the Last Hope should be played as a additional draw engine, especially when you need a discarded Phyrexian Obliterator or Gray Merchant of Asphodel returned to your hand, or if you're fishing for a creature from your library. Between Dark Confidant and Liliana, the Last Hope, you should be able to draw the cards you need, when you need them. Liliana, the Last Hope's +1 ability is also useful for picking off tokens or killing your own Dark Confidant if your life is dangerously low.

The Lilianas' ultimate abilities come into play during the late game, especially against control decks. Once a Liliana hits the board, your opponent will feel pressure to deal with her and will most likely spend time and resources trying to remove her, instead of targeting you.


I like Dark Confidant because it allows you to start turn 3 with an extra card, versus turn 4 with Phyrexian Arena. The common argument against Dark Confidant is that it is always the first target for removal. However, I prefer for the opponent to use up their resources on removing Dark Confidant, rather than Phyrexian Obliterator. The way I see it, if the Dark Confidant allows me to draw at least one card before it dies, or if the opponent wasted a turn destroying it, then it was worth playing.

Use Liliana of the Veil and Liliana, the Last Hope to discard Bloodghasts and then summon them for free via Landfall whenever possible. Even if Bloodghasts are not useful for attacking during the late game, accumulating them on the battlefield adds to your devotion.

Bloodghasts and Phyrexian Obliterators are your main attackers, and the latter immediately forces your opponent into defense mode. If an opponent cannot deal with a Phyrexian Obliterator immediately, that player will be forced to sacrifice permanents to attack or block it, and that player will likely be unable to recover.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel is your big finisher, rather than Lashwrithe or other slower cards, because its devotion ability bypasses hexproof and combat. If you can keep your creatures and Lilianas alive, you can sometimes drain over 10 life with a single Gray Merchant of Asphodel.

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet has lifelink and can either serve as a back-up finisher or a survival tactic. He eats your Bloodghasts, Gray Merchant of Asphodel's, and the zombies he generates when your opponent's creatures die. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet's abilities synergize with Liliana, the Last Hope's ultimate ability during the late game.


Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek allow you to discard crucial pieces of the opponent's strategy before the opponent can recover. The loss of 2 life with Thoughtseize is minimal compared to the advantage the card provides.

Fatal Push eliminates the majority of threats for a single black mana and is probably the best black removal spell.

At first I was hesitant to splash white for Path to Exile, but it's crucial in a meta of indestructible or recursive creatures. Dismember is my favorite secondary removal option because it kills indestructible creatures, especially Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Gideon of the Trials. Plus it can be cast for only 1 mana in a pinch, which often catches an opponent off-guard.

I also sometimes include a couple of Victim of Night to deal with the current creature-heavy meta, because it targets a broader range of creatures than other 2-mana removal spells, including Doom Blade, Go for the Throat, and Cast Down. Most zombies and vampires can be targeted by Fatal Push anyway.

This deck is resilient to board wipes, including the Damnations in the sideboard, due to the Bloodghasts' Landfall ability and Liliana, the Last Hope's ability to return discarded creatures to your hand. If Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is in play and the board is wiped, your opponent's creatures are still exiled and zombified.

Never is on the sideboard to deal with planeswalkers. Return's Aftermath ability synergizes with both Lilianas and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet during the late game.


The 6 fetchlands allow you to consistently trigger Landfall with Bloodghasts and Revolt with Fatal Push, as well as choose the Godless Shrines out of the deck when needed. The fetchlands also thin the deck and randomize the remaining cards. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth helps during the late game if you have drawn several fetchlands and you would rather just tap them for mana, rather than lose life.

My previous version included a single Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, which was supposed to come in handy during the late game, but each time I drew it in testing, it derailed my mana curve, since the optimal opening is to control four Swamps by turn four to play a Phyrexian Obliterator. This is the same reason I do not run Arena.


I have included 2 Godless Shrine in this deck solely for access to Path to Exile, and Revoke Existence and Stony Silence on the sideboard. Although Revoke Existence is a sorcery, its ability to exile rather than destroy an artifact or enchantment is crucial when going up against indestructible or recursive artifact/enchantment decks.


If you go up against weenie or a creature heavy build, cut 2 Liliana, the Last Hope, and bring in 2 Damnation. I like Damnation over other black creature sweepers because it destroys the vast majority of creatures in the game, versus Bile Blight, Flaying Tendrils, Drown in Sorrow, and Night of Souls' Betrayal.

Against Ramp or Storm, cut 2 Liliana, the Last Hope to bring in 2 Damping Spheres. Damping Sphere shuts both Ramp and Storm for only 2 mana!

Against Tron, or builds with several non-basic lands and artifacts, cut 2 Inquisition of Kozilek, 2 Liliana, the Last Hope, 2 Victim of Night, and 1 Dismember, then bring in 2 Fulminator Mage, 2 Never, 2 Revoke Existence, and 1 Stony Silence.

Against Dredge, Reanimator, or other heavy graveyard manipulation decks, cut 2 Inquisition of Kozilek or 2 Victim of Night and 2 Liliana, the Last Hope, then bring in 4 Leyline of the Void. In my opinion, Leyline of the Void is the best graveyard-hate in the game, because it only targets your opponent and may start the game in play. For overkill, cut 1 Dismember and 1 Gray Merchant of Asphodel and bring in 2 Never.

Against a planeswalker heavy build, cut 2 Victim of Night and bring in 2 Never.

Any comments or suggestions are welcome and appreciated! Please +1!


Updates Add

Comments View Archive


94% Competitive

Compare to inventory
Date added 5 months
Last updated 4 weeks
Splash colors W

This deck is Modern legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.35
Tokens Liliana, 2/2 Zombie
Folders Modern Reference, Uncategorized, black decks, Modern, Interesting Modern Decks, Sweet decks, Ragnarokunltd's Folder, Good decks, Modern, Uncategorized
Top rank #4 on 2018-06-10
Ignored suggestions
Shared with