ne of the cards I was most interested in playing after doing my set review was Gray Merchant of Asphodel. It just so happens that Josh Silvestri wrote about a sweet list that utilized him. In his article Josh goes over a number of Standard decks, but the Black-Red Devotion deck is the one I'd like to focus on.
The deck slants more toward control than anything else, but has enough medium-sized threats that it can actually win games by attacking. The curve of Nightveil Specter into Desecration Demon does threaten to kill the opponent very quickly, and even when stalled Gray Merchants can come down to finish things off. Gray Merchant also combines well with the non-creature permanents the deck plays, namely Underworld Connections and Whip of Erebos. Both those enchantments contribute BB toward devotion, and both synergize well with Gray Merchant. Underworld Connections lets you trade life for more cards, and Whip of Erebos both gains you a bunch of life and brings back Merchants.
This may sound a bit slow, but luckily black and red have plenty of removal. Between Anger of the Gods, Dreadbore, Hero's Downfall, and Doom Blade, this deck is well equipped to deal with all manner of threats. It's especially good against Planeswalkers, with six direct kill spells and a pair of Rakdos's Returns to handle any stray Jaces or Domris.
I also like how much card draw is in the deck. The aforementioned Underworld Connections are supplemented by three Chandra, Pyromaster, and two Read the Bones, which should give the deck access to a steady stream of removal and threats.
Josh Silvestri’s Black-Red Devotion
Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).