aslidsiksoraksi – 5th with RG Lands in the Insight Esports Legacy 2k – 5/29/2021

In case you missed it, yesterday we revealed a lot of new and exciting  cards from Ixalan. The most exciting of course… | Mtg art, Creature concept  art, Dinosaur art
Pictured: my dinosaur about to crush my insectile opponents

So I found out about this event literally the day before it began. The event was double elimination, meaning that you played until you hit two losses. I liked this format but it also led to weird things (when the field came down to three players one of them essentially got scooped into the finals and $250).

But whatever the structure, it’s not like I had any question in my mind about what deck I’d bring. I haven’t seriously played anything other than Lands for over a year, so… let’s do this!

Decklist

A couple notes on some choices. In the maindeck, I chose to play a 2 copies of Lightning Bolt. These were a concession to Ethereal Forager and just the general need to have fast removal against Delver. As it would turn out, Delver was by far the most popular deck in the tournament, so it worked out pretty well. I also chose to play a Glacial Chasm over what would likely have been a second Field; this was mostly because I like Chasm but also because I had heard people were playing Price of Progress, which is just cruel and something clearly no one should ever do. Progress should be free.

In the sideboard is where the spice is. Shifting Ceratops, a great find by fmessina and alli in the Lands discord, is just a massive hammer for smashing Delver decks. Uncounterable means they can’t fight it on the stack, 4 toughness means burn spells have a hard time with it, protection from blue and the ability to gain reach means it can block virtually everything in their deck, and 5 power means it can often outrace opposing threats and just end the game. The card was great and won me more games than it should have. If I had known I’d be paired against this much Delver I would have played 3.

Speaking of pairings, let’s get to it!

Jurassic Park Hold Onto Your Butts GIF

Tournament

ROUND 1 – No Show

This was an online tournament and I guess my opponent overslept. Not the most honorable victory, but I’ll take it.

1-0

ROUND 2 – UR Delver

I hope you like hearing about this matchup because I played it 5 times in this event. Game one I usually just aim to make Lage fast, and then the other two are often grindier with more back and forth. Open decklists were a big help in showing me what my opponent’s outs were and none of them had g1 outs to Lage.

G1

I’m on the play with a turn one Library. Follow it up with Exploration and I start wasting their lands and Loaming. My opponent can’t seem to put up much in the way of threats and eventually I get Ghost Quarter for their basics. I play Chasm and make a ton of zombies before saccing it to kill them in one turn.

G2

I again have Diamond and Exploration in my opener, and draw a second Diamond for a pretty busted start. Loam adds fuel to the fire and I make Lage through a Wasteland pretty soon thereafter.

Sideboard Plan

+3 Choke, +3 Pyroblast, +2 Shifting Ceratops
-2 Crop Rotation, -1 Karakas, -1 Chasm, -1 Sylvan Library/VE, -1 Field of the Dead, -1 Bojuka Bog, -1 Life from the Loam

I shaved a Library/VE depending on play/draw. I think I may have a couple too many cards for this matchup since ideally I wouldn’t be cutting those. Chasm seems bad here because it’s hard to enact the lock through their Wastelands and Forces, and I knew my opponent didn’t have Price. Still, could see keeping it.

2-0

ROUND 3 – UR Delver

More UR Delver. My opponent had the coolest basics I’ve seen in a long time, all black with some kind of ethereal figures on them, looked almost like an alter? Can you do that on MTGO?

G1

I’m on the play. They don’t play any threats, just cantrip and counter a few things, and then I make Lage on turn 5 and they die.

G2

This game was eternal. My opener is two blasts, Diamond, and Choke. I sequence a little wrong but still go for Choke with blast backup and mana for Daze. They have double Force. I then proceed to draw virtually no action (though a good deal of removal) for something like 15 turns. My opponent also draws nothing and floods out very hard, though they have several Wastelands that are stopping me from making Lage. This is a game where I was slightly punished for cutting Field since it would have been great in this spot.

Eventually, they draw actual spells, have the Submerge for Lage when I finally make it, and I die.

G3

My opener has the dino – snap keep. They play a little early pressure and we do a little mana denial dance but their one Delver cannot beat my Dino. They attack for 3 and I attack for 5, eventually killing their creature with Punishing Fire and that’s all she wrote.

shocked jurassic park GIF
My opponent when they realize they could have just played an uncounterable 5/4 instead of cantrips

Sideboard Plan

+3 Choke, +3 Pyroblast, +2 Shifting Ceratops
-2 Crop Rotation, -1 Karakas, -1 Chasm, -1 Sylvan Library/VE, -1 Field of the Dead, -1 Bojuka Bog, -1 Life from the Loam

3-0

ROUND 4 – UR Delver

There are worse matchups to play three times in a row, so… ok!

G1

My opening hand has only Diamond as a mana source but also has Exploration, Crop Rotation, and Depths. Let’s see if we can get there. Exploration gets forced and I draw Stage. It gets wasted. I still make Lage thanks to Crop Rotation, but my opponent at this point has several elementals, a Delver, and a Whale. Luckily, Maze of Ith gives my monster vigilance so she can play defense as well as offense. They chump for a few turns and I think I would have lost to double Bolt, but I keep them off double red and eventually they run out of blockers.

G2

Solid opening hand with Exploration, Punishing Fire, Grove, and some Diamonds. However, they waste my Grove and surgical my Fire. Having spewed my hand, I pray for a Stage go with the Depths I’m holding. I do find a dino, but they have Stomp plus Bolt to kill it and I die shortly thereafter.

Jurassic Park' Turns 25: 21 Things You Probably Didn't Know (Photos)
Look what they did to my boy

G3

Opener threatens a turn 3 dino and has Crop Rotation plus Dark Depths, so I’m feeling pretty good. I land the Ceratops and they don’t have double burn spell. Maze again gives my boy vigilance and I keep up green to help him reach the the flying whales and bugs. Port and Waste keep my opponent off double red and they die to dino beats. Vengeance is mine.

Sideboard Plan

+3 Choke, +3 Pyroblast, +2 Shifting Ceratops
-2 Crop Rotation, -1 Karakas, -1 Chasm, -1 Sylvan Library/VE, -1 Field of the Dead, -1 Bojuka Bog, -1 Life from the Loam

4-0

ROUND 5 – GW Depths

Lands is usually a favorite against depths, but GW depths flips that on its head. They run the full playset of Knights and Reclaimers, both of which are very obnoxious cards for us to deal with. Usually the games don’t even involve Lage, but just end up being about mana denial and their creatures vs our Field/Valakut Exploration. What’s more, all land-based matchups are massively complicated since everyone is playing a ton of tutors and one wrong step can basically cost you the game. Not only that, but I knew my opponent was a very good player (they literally run a podcast with Depths in the name) and they wouldn’t throw away any obvious edges.

G1

I waste their first land (a wasteland itself), loam back my waste, and waste their second land. They don’t have another and scoop a few turns later. I’m overjoyed at the free win; they mentioned they kept a hand with a lot of good cards in the matchup but that folded to exactly Wastelands, so I guess we got a little lucky.

G2

Knight of the Reliquary is a very good card. I try to defend myself for a bit, but Knight + Reclaimer beats get me in the end.

G3

This game was very close. I have some solid engines with Exploration + Sylvan Library in the first couple turns, but they also land a t2 Knight. I take a decent amount from my Library and get maybe a little bit too greedy at one point, falling to 8 life. Still, I land a Valakut Exploration, and that, together Exploration and Library in play, plus Loam and two Crop Rotations in my hand, should mean that I can take over the game in short order, provided I survive.

That said, I’m at 8 and my opponent has a Knight and a Reclaimer. They play a second elf and swing in so that I fall to 3 life after blocking with Maze. Next turn I have to Ghost Quarter my own Bog to get enough green sources to do anything worthwhile, but I missequence my lands a little so that after loaming I can’t play the Bog again to shrink his creatures. The result is that any elf that hits me is lethal. My opponent has Knight to find Wasteland and kill my Maze, and while I have Crop Rotation to replace it, one Maze doesn’t stop 2 Elves.

My opponent, however, misses the fact that I have two Mazes in my deck. They do find Wasteland with Knight, but they declare attackers before using it. This means that I can Maze one elf, then Port their Waste to make them use it, rotate the land they aim for, and get a second Maze to stay alive. Thanks to that, I live to see another turn. Next turn I do the whole landstorm thing with VE and two Explorations in play. Ultimately I rotate a land for a Field, make a ton of zombies, and the game is essentially over. Like I said, complicated matchup.

Sideboard Plan

+2 force of vigor, +2 shifting ceratops
-1 glacial chasm, -3 dark depths

(I’m pretty sure this is wrong, Chasm is fine against them and cutting all the Depths is not ideal; having a single Depths likely would have let me steal game 3 a lot more easily)

5-0

ROUND 6 – UR Delver

Being 3-0 vs Delver so far made me feel pretty confident going into this. Reading my opponent’s name, however, did not make me confident, since I knew they were one of the famed Delver masters. Still, I figured I’d do my best. And hey, they don’t have outs to Lage in the maindeck so maybe my faith in Our Dark Lady of the Ice would be repaid and she’d work a miracle for me.

G1

My opener has Exploration and Loam – snap keep. Exploration resolves (always dicey on the draw) and I just start dumping lands, including a Port, Waste and Tabernacle. My opponent does land some threats in the form of Dragon and Delver, and things are looking a little tense, especially since Loam isn’t finding me much of anything.

Another Delver joins the fray and they both flip. I find a Crop Rotation and with no combo pieces in sight, I rotate for Ghost Quarter. My opponent has fetched all their basics so Ghost Quarter plus Loam kills two of their lands this turn, taking them to one mana and, thanks to Tabernacle, one threat. I take the hit and fall to 4. Next turn I ghost their last land, play Field, and the game is essentially over from there – I’m at 4 life so even a Bolt won’t save them.

G2

My opener is slow, but I have Ceratops, Choke, and Punishing Fire. I fire their t2 threat, and then find another for their Dragon, though that gets forced. They also have Force for my Choke, but at the end of the day Dragons can’t beat Dinos. And while Dino vs Dragon is a bit of a stalemate, I’m lucky enough to find a second one. There’s a little back and forth as their other threats stop me from comfortably attacking, but eventually I get Grove online, kill their smaller creatures, and attack with one dino while leaving the other back to block the Dragon.

Life Finds a Way

Sideboard Plan

+3 Choke, +3 Pyroblast, +2 Shifting Ceratops
-2 Crop Rotation, -1 Karakas, -1 Chasm, -1 Sylvan Library/VE, -1 Field of the Dead, -1 Bojuka Bog, -1 Life from the Loam

6-0

ROUND 7 – Doomsday

Doomsday is one of the worst matchups for Lands. Combo in general is not great, but this one is particularly resilient to mana denial since it runs a couple basics and only needs to get to 3 mana. Once it’s gone off, a good a player can play through wastelands and ports pretty easily.

G1

My hand can’t make Lage but it can slow them down a lot, so that’s what I do. They go off and thanks to open decklists I can tell they made a very slow pile of just lands, Oracle, Petal, and a Street Wraith. I have a Bolt for Oracle so if they try it too early maybe I can steal this? I port and waste and see what happens, but with a Petal it’s easy to just go land, Petal, Oracle. They do that with one card in their library. I bolt it, they cycle Street Wraith, I lose.

G2

I bring in a ton of cards and manage to land a Valakut Exploration and then a Ceratops before they go off. Doomsday cuts their life to 8, and thanks to a natural land drop plus Crop Rotation for a fetchland I’m able to hit 3 landfall triggers and kill them with Ceratops and VE.

G3

They counter an early Choke, and go off around turn 3 or 4. Their pile is a lot like it was in g1, but this time with a brainstorm as well. Mana denial doesn’t get there and they draw through their miniscule deck and kill me.

Sideboard Plan

+3 Choke, +3 Pyroblast, +3 Sphere of Resistance, +1 Thorn of Amethyst, +2 Shifting Ceratops
-1 Bojuka Bog, -2 Lightning Bolt, -2 Punishing Fire, -1 Karakas, -2 Maze of Ith, -1 Tabernacle, -2 Valakut Exploration, -1 Glacial Chasm 

6-1

ROUND 8- UR Delver

Only had to win two or three more matches to win the whole event, so I figured I could give up a match to Doomsday, no big deal. Shook off the loss and figured I’d do my delver-slaying thing one more time and go from there.

G1

My opponent goes wide with Young Pyromancer and has just the right Wastelands and Force of Wills to close off my outs in time. I may have scooped a little early; I think I could have rotated for Chasm to buy a few more turns. Still, a frustrating game where many opportunities were closed by them having exactly what they needed and they won with maybe 1 card in hand.

G2

There’s a bit of back and forth and they land an early Delver. They have a Relic cramping my style so I can’t loam effectively, but their own mana is pretty constricted as well. I land Exploration and Library, and kill their Delver with Punishing Fire. They play Court of Cunning to become the monarch, but I soon assemble Marit Lage with Pyroblast backup to steal the crown and the game.

G3

This game starts a lot like game 1, with my opponent playing a Young Pyromancer. They also play an Ethereal Forager and a Sprite Dragon and things are looking a little dire for our hero here. Fortunately, a big ol’ dinosaur joins the party and starts totally stone-walling their threats, while I also erect a Tabernacle to stone-wall their mana.

So it’s Young Pyromancer, Whale, and a Sprite Dragon staring down my dinosaur. I have a couple Stages and Ports, nothing too crazy, but a lot of live draws that can slam the game shut. I make bit of a misstep and blast their Forager, reasoning that even if they attack and I just eat it with my dinosaur, it’ll give them their Expressive Iteration back and draw them more cards. In retrospect, I think hitting the Dragon might have been better.

Anyway, between Blast and a Punishing Fire I whittle down their board and eventually it’s just Dragon vs Dinosaur. A bit of a precarious situation, but I’m confident my deck will give me something worthwhile as we sit at a bit of a stalemate for a few turns. Eventually my opponent plays a second dragon. At this point if either dragon gets to 13 power they can attack with both and end me.

They tap out, I draw Choke. Since they’re on four cards and I haven’t had a chance to play a spell for several turns, I’m thinking that my opponent must have countermagic. So I debate trying to draw it out with a Valakut Exploration that I also have. But I figure their dragons are close to killing me and being able to catch them with all their lands tapped vs my Tabernacle is too high upside. So I slam it. They Force. Ok, fine, still a lot of good draws left. Next turn they tap out again for some cantrips – those Dragons are getting big! I draw a second Choke and thank the gods of blue-hate. I slam it and yes, their last two cards are Force plus blue card. Oof. Fine, fine, we have about another turn, two if we’re lucky and they whiff on spells.

My next draw is Dark Depths. I make Lage. Their last card is Submerge. Marit Lage, long used to sleeping in the icy depths, apparently can’t handle being submerged in water. I lose.

Sideboard Plan

+3 Choke, +3 Pyroblast, +2 Shifting Ceratops
-2 Crop Rotation, -1 Karakas, -1 Chasm, -1 Sylvan Library/VE, -1 Field of the Dead, -1 Bojuka Bog, -1 Life from the Loam

6-2 finishing in 5th place

Was a great event and overall I’m happy with how I played. There were a couple moments that I could have made different decisions that might have led to different outcomes, and a couple sequencing errors, but no glaringly obvious mistakes as far as I could tell. Given the field, Lands was an excellent deck for the event. We may not be the 90% favorite to beat Delver we were in the past, but it definitely still feels like a good matchup – I’m personally at a 75% winrate against Delver over 15 matches since the Arcanist ban. If the field is going to continue to be 25-30% Delver like it was at this event, I’d be happy to take Lands into that. In fact, the other Lands player (Matt Brown) ended up 5-2, and based on win rate Lands was the highest performing deck in the event.

Thanks for reading! Until next time, may all your ships come safely into port.

1 thought on “aslidsiksoraksi – 5th with RG Lands in the Insight Esports Legacy 2k – 5/29/2021

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