I chose to play Lands at this event for two reasons. First, I posted a SB guide to Miracles on Twitter 2 days ago, gamers were going to be expecting me on this game so I wanted to change. Second, Lands is one of my favorite archetypes in the game, I’ve always had good results with it, and I also expected a lot of Delver, which is a matchup that Lands excels at.
As usual, I prefer RG lists to 3-color lists; the deck is more consistent, more robust against wasteland and the mana denial plan is more efficient. Indeed, the first cut to fit the non-RG-duals is usually Rishadan Port. The black and blue splash of Lands essentially try to correct the weakness of the RG versions, in particular the combo matchup. In my experience these matchups are still very unfavorable and splashing a color makes your deck more sensitive to variance and weak against wastelands.
Thanks to Albert Lindom for the list. You will notice that it has quite a few differences from the one that allowed me to reach the legacy challenge final in December.
In recent days we have noticed that the lists are less focused on Valakut Exploration. The card in the past metagame had established itself as an excellent counterplay to Oko. Games today are faster and Valakut Exploration is often too slow, which explains the 3 MD copies.
ROUND 1 – UWR STONEBLADE
Usually an even matchup, and you have less dead cards for this matchup than against other control decks. But the deck play a bunch of basic lands, MD answers to Marit Lage, and True Name Nemesis is a pain and pretty hard to interact with.
I have a busted start, t1 Exploration + Mox, t2 Valakut Exploration + fetch into another Exploration. My opponent concedes.
Despite an unchecked t2 Tireless Tracker my opponent wins some time with Teferi and takes advantage of a me being tapped out to play B2B. I lose a few turns later to a True Name Nemesis equipped with a Batterskull.
Like game 1, I quickly put together the Exploration + Valakut Exploration combo, and a Field of the Dead outlasts a Batterskull in a few turns.
+2 pryroblast, +1 red elemental blast, +1 tireless tracker, +2 force of vigor, +2 choke
-4 crop rotation, -1 mox diamond, -1 tabernacle at pendrell vale, -1 maze of ith, -1 life from the loam (not sure about this)
ROUND 2 – URZA ECHOES
This deck is your worst matchup, along with Reanimator and Show and Tell. They play a lot of mana rocks, you can’t interact well with their threats and their combo, and Karn shuts off your Mox Diamond and provides to them outs for graveyard/Marit Lage .
Your best way to win is to make a 20/20 pretty fast .
Even with double Mox Diamond turn one, my opponent lock me turn two with Karn + Liquimetal Coating thanks to Lion’s Eye Diamond.
I mulligan to 5 and my opponent kills me quickly with Hullbreacher into Echo of Eons + Sai, Master Thopterist, who made the 20/20 not reliable .
+3 force of vigor, +2 pyroblast, +1 REB, +4 sphere of resistance, +1 thorn of amethyst
-4 loam, -2 elvish reclaimer, -1 tabernacle, -2 maze of ith, -2 sylvan library
I chose to cut Sylvan Library here because your opponent has tons of answers in the forms of Narset and Hullbreacher. I cut most of grindy cards because your opponent can overpower everything you do easily.
ROUND 3 – BANT MIRACLES
I know people dislike the matchup, usually because the deck plays tons of basics, answers to Marit Lage, some planeswalkers, and a high number of force of negation. On top of that you also have lot of dead cards . But without any bragging, I think I’m an expert of Miracles and know the deck pretty well. The result is a good matchup comprehension and usually a win.
My advice is to not play long games if your hand can’t. If you can go off turn t4, you should do it if you can’t play a long game.
The first game is long. Teferi keeps my sylvan library outside of the game, but a few turns later I can tap the only white source from my opponent and I kill him with a 20/20.
Sphere turn 1, Sphere turn 2, Choke turn 4, and two Rishadan Ports later I won when my opponent have only one plains available each turn.
+4 sphere of resistance, +2 pyroblast, +1 REB, +2 choke, +1 tireless tracker
-4 crop rotation, -1 mox diamond, -1 tabernacle, -2 maze of ith, -1 life from the loam, -1 punishing fire
I’m still unsure about sphere. I think the cards is medium most of the time against Miracles and keeping some Crop Rotation makes sense nowadays because you have a lot more must-counters and Field of the Dead to find with it. But most others players in Lands like to side in the spheres.
ROUND 4 – ELVES
One of your best matchups. The deck is pretty weak to all of your angles of attack; Punishing Fire , 20/20 combo, and Tabernacle are all pretty hard to deal with for them. But this is still a combo deck with some busted starts that can kill you turn two. I recommend to never keep a hand without early interaction.
I find a Tabernacle quickly and destroy all of my opponent lands with Ghost quarter + Wasteland. They can’t stick a creature on board and they concede.
I have Sphere + Tabernacle against my one-lander opponent; even if they keep ooze on board for 5 turns, I assemble the combo and kill him with 20/20.
+4 sphere of resistance, +1 torpor orb
-2 valakut exploration, -2 maze of ith, -1 bog
You can keep some Valakut Explorations if your opponent have lot of sideboard cards, and sometimes bring Force of Vigor if you see Leylines. But in the dark I prefer to keep the deck simple.
ROUND 5 – NINJAS
Ninja seems to be a slightly favored matchup, but sometimes they can put you in trouble. The deck has a robust manabase with basics, flying creatures and lot of card advantages with their ninjas. Usually their deck is pretty weak to Punishing Fire.
I have slow start against lot of basic lands + some counters; I lose quickly.
Me and my opponent have good starts, I kick off half of his board with a blast zone, and I kill him a few turns later with a 20/20.
My opponent starts with t1 underground sea into ponder, shuffle. I waste without any hesitation, they miss 4 lands drops, and I easily win with Valakut Exploration + Exploration.
+2 pyroblast, +2 choke
-1 bojuka bog, -2 sylvan library, -1 ghost quarter
ROUND 6 – SULTAI MIDRANGE
Sultai is as usual one of the best matchup for Lands. Their deck always has a weak manabase, no credible out to Marit Lage and not enough pressure. Usually I aggressively destroy the opponent’s manabase or make a 20/20. Be careful after sideboarding since Sultai usually has tons of grave hate.
You can see the match on the opponent’s twitch – ( https://m.twitch.tv/videos/957772615 at around 4:45)
My opponent put me on miracles and kept a solid hand with lands, cantrips but 0 relevant interaction. My opponent’s deck plays 0 basic lands and they concede when I cast Loam on Tabernacle + Wasteland + Thespian Stage.
The game is pretty one sided again. My opponent is forced to Surgical his Ponder after a Brainstorm lock. They draw several lands successively with his cantrips, and when they wants to cast Loam, I answer with Crop + Bog. I play a choke on my turn and will win the game a few rounds later with combination of Rishadan Port + Wastelands.
+2 pyroblast, +1 red elemental blast, +2 choke, +1 tireless tracker
-2 maze of ith, -3 crop rotation
ROUND 7 – GRIXIS DELVER
Grixis is usually the easier delver matchup for Lands. Their manabase, like Sultai, is pretty weak to Wastelands, Young Pyromancer is a mediocre threat against both Tabernacle/Punishing Fire, and their deck has no outs to Marit Lage… The only real problematic card in their deck is Gurmag Angler who’s hard to interact with.
I mulligan to 5 for a mediocre hand. My opponent makes a slow start but draws all his 4 Wastelands. So I will lose under the onslaught of Gurmag Angler, Young Pyromancer and Delver in the late game.
Like the last one, my opponent draws a lot of Wastelands. They also play Surgical on my Dark Depths. But a Maze prevents his Gurmag Angler from attacking, a Punishing Fire keeps his Bitterblossom in check, and I end up drawing Choke + Loam and win the game a few turns later.
I choose to cast my Exploration on turn 2 to resolve it around Daze and Force of Will, and I have a Pyroblast in hand. My opponent counters my Exploration with Force and Dazes my Pyroblast. At this point they have Young Pyromancer + some tokens. On my turn I’m able to Crop Rotate into a Tabernacle which holds their Young Pyromancer in comfortable zone. My opponent ends up cracking under the pressure of Wasteland and Tabernacle which kills every single creatures. My opponent finally concede.
+2 choke, + 2 pyroblast
-1 karakas, -2 sylvan library, -1 bojuka bog
During the tournament I sided in Tireless Tracker because my opponent had a lot of sideboard cards against me and aggressively surgicalled a Dark Depths in game two.
QUARTERFINALS – ICE STATION ZEBRA
I streamed the top 8 matches and a VOD is here – https://www.twitch.tv/mechint49170/video/958222703
One of your worst matchups, but much easier than Reanimator. Sometimes they draw the wrong part of their deck against you, like the 20/20 plan. Also their deck mulligans a lot and it is not uncommon to win because they just do nothing. Your goal is to make a 20/20 and shoot, be careful to not play Dark Depths without Stage, since your opponent can just copy it with Stage and make their own 20/20 .
My opponent starts his turn 1 with swamp, Lotus Petal, Thoughtseize. So I think they’re playing Dark Depths. It’s a very good matchup and I have a very strong hand against that deck. Finally my opponent plays Entomb at the end of my turn, reanimates a Griselbrand and kills me turn 2 with a Laboratory Maniac (Children of Korlis feeding Griselbrand)
My opponent mulligan to 6 and then I play a Sphere on turn 1 and turn 2, destroy the opposing lands and my opponent concedes.
My opponent mulligan to 3, and I keep an average hand of 6. My opponent plays an Entomb at the end of his turn 1 and reanimates a Griselbrand in his turn 2 when they topdeck an Exhume. Fortunately my turn 1 play is Karakas, and when they discard a Griselbrand in his discard step, I can play a Bog and buy some time. Finally I play a Valakut Exploration and several fetches which allow me to inflict the last 5 life points on him.
+4 sphere of resistance, +1 thorn of amethyst
-1 maze of ith, -1 tabernacle at pendrell vale, -3 punishing fire
SEMIFINALS – BANT SNOW CREATURES
My opponent plays a brew which is a hybrid between Miracles and Maverick. They has access to a GSZ toolbox and disruption in the form of blue forces and white removal.
I think this a an unfavorable matchup since, they have a robust manabase, wasteland, removal and some good threats against you.
I lose the first round pretty quickly after a misclick when I keep a bad hand at 7.
I keep a very average hand of 6, but which contains a Torpor Orb. As my opponent takes the lead I draw an Elvish Reclaimer which stays unchecked for multiple turns. The elf allows me to find Karakas to bounce Uro, Tabernacle to limit the opponent’s board, and finally Field of the Dead. My opponent makes a mistake by attacking with his scavenging ooze against my 7 lands and an elvish reclaimer with mana open and a Field of the Dead creates a surprise blocker. I will win the game a few laps later with multiple Fields of the Dead thanks to Thespian’s Stage.
I had a great outing with Loam + Exploration, I outclassed the opponent’s board quite quickly and killed my opponent with a 20/20.
+1 torpor orb, +2 pyroblast, +1 red elemental blast, +1 tireless tracker
-2 crop rotation, -1 maze of ith, -1 mox diamond, -1 wasteland
FINALS – URZA ECHOES
My opponent opens with LED + some artifacts that cost 0 + Echo of Eons, which finds another LED, Echo, and Hullbreacher. They repeat this twice and I lose pretty fast.
This time I have a fast start with a t3 Marit Lage and my opponent lets me untap (he forgot to add a stop on his endstep on mtgo) so that I can Pyroblast his Petty Theft on my Marit Lage.
My opponent has a slow start and I have Sphere of Resistance to slow down the game. I choose to delay Marit Lage for a turn to play Force of Vigor on my opponent’s artifacts and play Bog on my turn to prevent flashback from Emry. The next turn I make a Marit Lage EOT and my opponent doesn’t have Petty Theft this time.
9-1 and Challenge Champion!