Good morning all y’all this is aslidsiksoraksi AKA ‘slid and we’re back with another grand tournament report with the world’s finest deck, Lands. This time we didn’t do too amazing, just a casual 5-3 and out of prizing on breakers but y’know what, I like making tournament reports and if you think 5-3 ain’t worth reading then just don’t read it, no one’s forcing you! So anyway… here we go!
4 Life from the Loam
4 Mox Diamond
4 Crop Rotation
You get it, this is Lands
4 Abrupt Decay
Sometimes people play permanents you have to interact with
2 Elvish Reclaimer
3 Sylvan Library
1 Cling to Dust
Consistency is king. And Cling to Dust seemed fun.
4 Thespian’s Stage
3 Dark Depths
1 Field of the Dead
Lands for winning
4 Rishadan Port
1 Ghost Quarter
Lands for your opponent not playing
2 Nurturing Peatland
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Windswept Heath
1 Misty Rainforest
Lands for casting spells
2 Maze of Ith
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
1 Blast Zone
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Cabal Pit
Lands with cool effects (yes making 2 mana is a cool effect)
1 Field of the Dead
2 Drop of Honey
4 Sphere of Resistance
2 Tireless Tracker
2 Force of Vigor
Answers and threats and the like
I ended up landing on straight BG because it is streamlined and has stable mana and because I didn’t have enough rental credit to play the BUG list I wanted (Uro, why you so expensive?). No regrets on the decklist side really, the deck played nicely and did exactly what it was supposed to do.
Rd 1 – RUG Delver (I won’t give names, I’ll let the MTGO people keep their anonymity)
We’re on the draw. They open on Trop, Ponder. I figure it’s delver or maybe some snowko pile. Play an Exploration and luckily they don’t Daze it. They play another land, pass. I play out two more lands, including stage, and I have a Crop Rot in hand. I figure I go for it if they tap out. They tap out for Oko. I rotate, it resolves, I win.
Bring in drops and chokes, cut some number of rotations and the lands that are bad (looking at you, Karakas). They open on a dual, Ponder. I play Ghost Quarter and Mox Diamond. Quarter them and well, you can’t find what isn’t there so they now have no lands. They miss their next land drop. I play Port and Reclaimer. They miss another land drop and scoop.
This was the fastest match of the round and the first round I ever played in a challenge… feeling good!
1-0, I love being a Phantom Tiger
Rd 2 – BUGr Snowko
I’m on the play with two Crop Rots, Exploration, and some mana. I play Exploration, play another land, pass. They play land, Astrolabe, go. I feel like I want to get some mana denial going so I rotate for port, start porting them. They land a Coatl followed by an Oko and elk their Astrolabe. I decay Oko. Start taking 4 a turn from the Elk and its lil Snake buddy. I’m sitting on a bunch of lands that don’t do anything and I’ve drawn 2 more Explorations that also… don’t do anything. They play Uro, he goes to the underworld, and I try to use my final Crop Rot for Bog so he won’t come back. They Force, I scoop. It’s possible I should have just gone for the combo with two Crop Rots and not bothered with the Port, but hey ya live and ya learn.
G2 I mull to five looking for green sources, never put much together, and get run over by the BUG value train. GGs.
1-1, my enthusiasm is tempered.
Rd 3 – Green Cloudpost
I’m on the play and my hand is 6 lands + Exploration. But there’s a stage, a waste, a port, and a Karakas, so I figure I can do stuff until I draw something good. Lead on Exploration, and another land. They start their story with the classic Once Upon A Time (though didn’t this story really begin with Exploration? I guess that was just the table of contents or something) and follow that up with Needle on Wasteland, which is sad because, well, I play Wasteland. I start porting them and play out a Reclaimer. They play a pair of Cloudposts and a Candelabra, which apparently is pretty good against Rishadan Port? Who knew. I draw into Depths, play it out with about a million lands in play. I opt not to Port so I can Port a Karakas should they have one. They don’t have one. Marit Lage rules the skies.
I board in Trackers and Thoughtseizes. Think about Spheres but decide against it as I don’t have a ton to cut. Don’t have much for this matchup but it’s pretty favorable anyway. I keep a hand that has Decay and a turn 2 Tracker. Draw Thoughtseize for the turn and Seize ’em up – they show a bunch of lands (3 Glimmerpost?) and a Crop Rotation. When you have no choices, it’s an easy choice to make. I play Tracker, start wasting them out a bit, and keep their life to a respectably below-20 number. I’m just plugging away with my tracker and a Depths in play, when they play Stage and Stage MY Depths. The nerve! But actually this was all part of my master plan since I have a slow-rolled Karakas for this situation, so I actually just sorta stone-rained them. And we’re back on the Tracker beats. I’m playing Lands, wasting them, etc, until I find Crop Rotation. So at the end of one of these turns I decide I’ll rotate, and I sac my Karakas (it was that or Forest, and I wanted to keep up the option of Decay). I go to make Marit Lage, but they Rotate for their own Stage and make their own Marit Lage? Again? Dang. So now there’s two 20/20s staring at each other. The tension is just mind-boggling except I Loam back my Karakas, bounce theirs and that’s it baby.
2-1, Back in it!
Rd 4 – BUG Urza
From the moment they play turn 1 Emry I know this is gonna be a wild ride. I actually feel kinda like I’ma get ’em, because I go to Cling their first Emry activation. But they have the Force of Will for it. I guess they really wanted that Lotus Petal. Which actually makes sense, since I have them Waste-locked and all they have is an Emry in play. Fast forward a bit, they’re drawing a lot of cards with Emry+bauble, but I’m drawing a lot of cards with Loam. The difference is I have lands and they don’t. Eventually we take Emry to the Pits and I put together the combo. GG.
Bring in Force of Vigor, Thoughtseize and Tracker. Thought about Choke or Sphere but these lists are on less baubles and more threats, and also less Islands… didn’t seem worth it.
G2 I mull to 6 trying to find something fast but end up keeping 4 lands Loam, Library. I just play lands one at a time like a total chump, playing Library on turn 2 on the draw, which is not really that impressive when your opponent had turn 1 Emry and turn 2 Karn. They Petty Theft my Library just to add insult to injury. I play it out again. They don’t actually have a ton of pressure (surprised they didn’t go for Liquimetal Coating off Karn; they chose Crypt instead). But I’m just too far behind and they’re drawing too many cards and eventually they kill me.
G3 I have a hand with a fast Marit Lage via Crop Rotation as well as a bunch of Wastelands. I make Marit Lage on turn 2, decay their strix, and smack ’em for 20. A thing of beauty.
3-1, the rally is real!
Rd 5 – Monored Painter
I recognize their name, so I look them up on the ‘ol spreadsheet and see that they’re the Painter player I lost to just the day before. This is not a pleasant matchup. G1 I mull to 6, and I have a hand with Library, Cling, and the combo pieces, but no acceleration. I figure it’s fine since Cling is good against them. And lo and behold I draw Exploration and set up to summon the queen of darkness on turn 2. Their turn they tap out for Painter, so I make her on my turn to play around Blast on Stage/Depths. But then they play Ensnaring Bridge? Really? Who plays that card?? I play Library to start digging towards Decay, but they blast it. I play Reclaimer to find Blast Zone, but they play Magus of the Moon. I play Mox Diamond so I’ll have black mana, but they blast that too. At this point my out is drawing another Diamond, another land to pitch to it, AND the Decay. They set up the combo and I die. It started so well, how did it come to this?
I bring in Force of Vigor, Tracker, and Thoughtseizes. Think about Spheres but I’m not sure there’s enough to take out for ’em.
G2 we’re on another mull to 6, this time with just Exploration, Stage, and a lot of mana-denial. You have not lived until you’ve ported a City of Traitors and then they just have to sac it without getting the mana. Anyway, they play out some artifacts and stuff, including a Painter, but can’t seem to find much of anything else. I Thoughtseize them and see that they’re sitting on basically nothing. A couple turns later, we find Crop Rotation and, well, at this point you’ve probably figured out that Crop Rotation goes well with Stage. Feeling kinda lucky to have pulled that one out, they had a pretty weak draw.
G3 my hand is Decay, Thoughtseize, Peatland, 2x Port, & the combo. They open on Tomb > Ichor Wellspring. I Seize their hand, take their Bridge (phew), and see blast, lands, Recruiter, and a Sundering Titan. Spicy. I figure they can recruit Painter and then blast messes up my combo, but I can get there if they tap funny or I go fast. So imagine my surprise when they recruit not Painter, but Welder. In retrospect this makes a lot of sense since they can weld back Bridge and draw cards with Wellspring. Exploration speeds me up a turn, and I put it all out there. He’s got the active Welder, so I’m sure he thinks he’ll be fine. Shouldn’t have trusted a goblin to build a Bridge though, that thing was very susceptible to Decay.
4-1 and feeling strong. Had to get some luck to beat this one but Marit Lage really came through.
Rd 6 – Sneak & Show
The nemesis of all Lands players. The matchup isn’t as horrible as it’s rumored to be but it is not what you want to see. Also, maybe it’s just me but I can never tell if they’re on Show & Tell, early plays always look like slow delver or control hands. That’s what happens this G1, as I keep Crop Rot, Stage, Diamond, 2x Port, and some other stuff. I start the game off on the draw with Diamond + Port, follow it up with land, then another Port, and they’re on two tapped islands and miss a land drop. Feeling pretty fine. But next turn we learn just how traitorous a city can be when they go City + Petal into Show and Tell, and they show me Emrakul. I try to rotate for Karakas, but they Force me to stop. GG.
Board in Spheres and Choke and Trackers and Thoughtseize. Board out everything.
G2 plays out more or less how every win against Sneak does. I actually have a great hand despite a mull to 6. I Seize them, and they have 4 lands, Show, and Sneak. I take Show. Turn 2 I play Choke. Turn 3 I play Sphere and Port and start stone raining them. A couple turns later I’ve got the combo and Marit Lage comes out to upstage that other tentacle monster.
G3 I’m on the draw and my 7 is Diamond, Stage, Karakas, Wasteland, and mana. I think for a sec as I could maybe do something with Stage if I get lucky and Karakas is good… but nah, we need lock pieces. So I’m on a mull to 6 again with a fast Choke and Port via Exploration. Not fast enough though as they show Emmy turn 2. I can’t find Karakas and die. If I could have known the future before it was present, my past would certainly be different. Still, I think the mull was right.
4-2, a bit sad… but still live for top 32!
Rd 7 – Esper Vial
Ok these were long and grindy games for the most part so I’ll skip over some of the details. G1, otd, I keep Exploration, Diamond, Loam, Stage, and mana. They force the Exploration, which, ok, fair (I’m gonna draw another one next turn anyway). Their turn 2 sees them play Meddling Mage on Life from the Loam. Wow how did they know I play that card? It’s ok tho, I can just make a 20/20 if I can’t out-value them. Plus I can draw Decay as an out. Then they make another Mage, this one on Crop Rotation. Marit Lage slips further out of my grasp. I’m porting them but they’re hitting me for 4 a turn, then 5 thanks a Strix. I die with the named cards in hand.
Bring in Trackers, Choke, & Drop. Thought about bringing in Force of Vigor but I figure all it really hits is Vial and I have Decay for that if I really want. Board out weaker lands, a Depths, that kind of thing.
G2 I keep a hand light on mana but heavy on removal – Diamond, 2x Decay, Tab, Waste, Drop, and Library. T1 Library always feels good. They have t1 Vial, I decay it. They stall out for a bit on 2 lands, I deploy Tracker and Reclaimer. Reclaimer goes farming. Tracker is doing her whole investigating thing while my opponent throws out Recruiter for Meddling Mage. Mage names Loam, as all good Mages do. I’m at just 8 from Library, and their stuff represents a real threat, so I deploy Drop. It gets Forced. Luckily, I have some spare honey. Drop #2. But they keep spamming Recruiters and my Tracker eats another Swords… I’m pretty low on life and I’m forced to Decay the Mage. Drop keeps eating Recruiters and it kinda looks like they’ll be able to kill me through it. But Cabal Pit saves me by killing another creature and the board is clear. At this point it’s my Library, 2x Exploration, Choke, Stage, Blast Zone, Diamond, and Forest against their (tapped) Island, Plains, Swamp. My hand is 2 Diamonds, which may be worth a good chunk of money but are not worth a ton of wins right now (actually they’re not even worth money, this is MTGO and I rented them, but shhh). I find Port and now they’re on one swamp in their main phases. I find Depths, tap their plains to cut Swords, and kill them. Phew.
G3! I’m on a mull to 6 with another t1 Library-and-hope-it-finds-something hand. They’re playing and fetching duals, which is interesting. I guess they wanted WW so they could eat my Library with a Leonin Relic-Warder. I land Reclaimer, port them. They vial in Mage on Decay. My next turn I draw Wasteland, waste them to 1 land, and rotate for Tabernacle. Mage can’t pay his tithe and Decay is live again. Next turn, however, the Tabernacle is sort of hosing me as I have to pay for my Reclaimer and don’t have the mana to Loam back the Wasteland. In retrospect I probably should have just gone for it and let Reclaimer go so that I could waste their last land and wipe the board. Cuz now they find a basic, and by the time I waste them back to 1 mana, I’ve had to lose Reclaimer anyway. So now I’m Loaming away, but taking a few hits from their Relic-Warden. Decay their Vial to really choke their mana. Play a Tracker and a fetch. They attack Relic-Warden into it and I figure two clues and my Library back is a fair trade, so I block. Now I have a Library too! But they’ve got Rest in Peace 😦 My Decays are stretched real thin (this is why people play Punishing Fire). Anyway fast forward a bit and they have Mage, RiP, and they play Soulherder. I was planning to Decay RiP, but I’m too low on life and have to hit Soulherder to survive. Tracker comes out to block. But then Mom comes out to stop blocks. I’m one Mage hit from dying (Mage on Reclaimer, btw). Have to find Maze or Decay. Find Maze after cracking two clues; we’re back in it. I’m at 2, with Tracker + Maze and a ton of lands facing down Mom, Mage, Vial, RiP, and 4 basics. I think I can get there since I have just found Stage and Crop Rot, but it’ll take a few turns to play out. They play Soulherder. We’re still stable, block + Maze is good. Soulherder is getting bigger though… I find another Rotation and then Library shows me Choke. They scoop to Choke on their 2 tapped islands.
Very close games. BG is supposed to be worse against creature decks (and it is, a bit), but we still have a lot of good tools.
5-2, one more win and we’re in for prizes!
Rd 8 – Dredge
Well I told you how this ends at the beginning, but it’s really all about the journey isn’t it? Something like that anyway.
G1, they run me over. I needed to find Crop Rot for Tab, but couldn’t in time.
G2, I mull to 6 keeping Cling, Reclaimer, Diamond, Waste, Stage, Peatland. Play out Reclaimer & Peatland, hold up Cling (pitching Stage). Wanted Waste to make Tab good, wanted Peatland to make Cling happen on t1 while I couldn’t do anything with Reclaimer. They play rainbow land, Putrid Imp. I think I’m overvaluing Tab here, as I play Wasteland, waste them, and Rotate for Tabernacle to kill the Imp. Take those nasty zombies to church. In retrospect I probably should have held up Reclaimer to Bog them, but I figured they could play through that with Imp by just pitching a second dredger if I Bog the first. While that may be true, when they played Cephalid Coliseum, LED, Breakthrough, I realized my mistake, as Reclaimer for Bog could have broken that up quite nicely. After dredging about 40 cards, they have a ton of a zombies and a Hogaak. On my turn, I have to pay for Reclaimer (another unforeseen drawback). There are a couple more turns and I actually assemble the combo but it’s too late as they use Coliseum to pay for Gaak and their Ichorids get me.
Still learning the lines against Dredge for sure. Bog placement is a delicate thing.
5-3, and end up 35th on breakers. A bit disappointing but considering there were 190-something players and it was my first Challenge, I’ll take it.
Overall the deck felt great. While I think I might tweak a few cards, I really liked the stable manabase and the no-frills way this kind of build plays out. Library and Reclaimer give you a lot of consistency, and Decay gives you a lot of flexibility. You lack the recursive removal engines (barring Loam + Pit), so Vial matchups are worse, but I think Reclaimer and Tracker as big fat blockers are enough to balance those out in tandem with things like Drop of Honey. MVP of the day was probably Thoughtseize, though that little Cabal Pit over-performed for me as well.
Any comments on plays or general suggestions are welcome! And if you’re ever interested in watching me try to figure my way through matches with Lands, you can find me streaming at twitch.tv/aslidsiksoraksi_ (now with bonus DepthsCam for watching deep sea creatures!)
Thank you for reading 🙂