Hello, my name is Squid (Twitter: @SquidJPN).
I started playing Lands in October 2020 and have been running Naya/4C lists since the end of the year.
My main results are:
- 01/03 Legacy Challenge: 5th place (4C)
- 07/10 133rd KMC with 98 participants: 6th place (Naya) (KMC is a Legacy tournament in Osaka, Japan)
I’ve also got a few Magic Online trophies.
I’m writing this because I’d like to increase the number of Naya/4C players, and I’d like to suggest an improvement to current Lands lists.
Also, please note that this article assumes that you already have some knowledge about playing Lands.
A Japanese-language version of this article can be found here.
What is Naya/4C Lands?
The first thing that sets this deck apart from the basic RG Lands is the Reclaimer package.
The benefit of this package is that we can sacrifice Flagstones of Trokair to activate Elvish Reclaimer’s ability to increase the number of lands on the battlefield at instant speed.
The basic strategy is to combine this trick with Valakut Exploration and Field of the Dead to gain advantage in the fight.
Here is the list I used at 133rd KMC.
At first glance, the mana base looks fragile, but it is stable with 15 white mana sources, 15 green mana sources, and 13 red mana sources.
The Reclaimer package consists of 4 Reclaimers, 2 Flagstones, and 4 Plains.
The number of copies of Field of the Dead and Valakut Exploration depends on the speed of the meta, but it should be between 1 and 2 copies for Field of the Dead and between 2 and 4 copies for Valakut Exploration.
Currently (right after the release of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms), the meta speed is generally faster due to the prominence of UR Delver, so only one copy of Field of the Dead is in the list.
I’m still building a 4C list, but this is what the list looks like now.
Both lists have 31 lands, which is a small number for a Lands deck, but the mana acceleration effect of the Reclaimer package makes it difficult for mana screw to occur. Color screws can occasionally happen in the first few turns, but mulligan well to avoid it.
The Merit of the White Splash
Another reason other than the Reclaimer package to splash white is the abundance of removal spells and hate bears.
We can play Swords to Plowshares, the strongest removal spell in Legacy format.
Of course, if we play this card, we will be able to remove huge creatures that are difficult to deal with in basic RG Lands.
We can also use other great removal cards such as these.
In particular, Council’s Judgment is a card that can deal with True-Name Nemesis, which is difficult to deal with except by countering it.
Another good point of white is that you can choose from a variety of excellent hate bears.
With these cards, we can expect to see an improvement in combo matchups, something that Lands is supposed to be bad at.
In particular, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Ethersworn Canonist serve as strong anti-storm and anti-SnT cards.
Hushbringer can disable Doomsday (Thassa’s Oracle’s ability is triggered when it enters the battlefield).
For 4C, we can hire Meddling Mage. This will also shut down combo decks that rely on a specific spell like Doomsday and SnT.
The Drawback of the White Splash
The downside to adding white to the deck is that we’re running out of space, as we can see from the fact that we only have 31 lands in our deck. We only have two copies of Punishing Fire and three copies of Thespian‘s Stage. This makes it difficult to play useful lands such as Rishadan Port, Ghost Quarter and Glacial Chasm. If the meta allows it, we might remove the Punishing Fire package.
We also have too many lands that work only as mana sources, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. In addition, because of the high ratio of spells in the deck, it is not very strong to dredge for Life from the Loam. If we do, we‘ll often end up with three spells dredged, so we‘ll have to be very careful about when we decide to dredge.
Playing Guide Summary
Now let’s talk about the actual playing strategy.
We will divide the game into three steps.
Imagine up to the second step with your first hand and make a mulligan decision.
The following is an ideal example.
1. Preparation (Turns 1~3)
Accelerate our mana with Mox Diamond and/or Exploration, and set up Elvish Reclaimer and Sylvan Library. The goal here is to reach at least 3 mana, and if possible, 4 mana.
2. Deployment (Turns 3~5)
The goal here is to set up Valakut Exploration and accelerate our mana for Field of the Dead.
3. Finishing (From turn 5~6)
If Valakut Exploration is safe at this moment, we’ve already won. Crush our opponent with a horde of zombies or run them over with Marit Lage.
1. Preparation (Turns 1~3)
Our goal here is to connect to Step 2, Deployment. We’ll talk about how to actually play, and how to decide to take a mulligan.
Sample Hand 1:
We have Elvish Reclaimer and Flagstones of Trokair. And they lead to Valakut Exploration. It’s a great hand.
(Next Turn)Flagstones→Activate Reclaimer to search Plateau and another Flagstones
(Next Turn)Valakut Exploration
If we can get this far, we win.
Sample Hand 2:
This is the hand that will eventually lead to Punishing Fire and Grove of the Burnwillows combo to deal with our opponent’s first action. And VE waits for its time.
If we can delay our opponent’s action with removal spells or Wasteland, keep it even if it’s too slow for what we want to do.
If we’re playing first, start with fetch land; if we’re drawing first and our opponent has a basic land, start with fetches; otherwise, start with Wasteland.
Sample Hand 3:
Sylvan Library can be played on the first turn. We can also see an early Valakut Exploration. If we can deploy our enchantments earlier, that’ s excellent. We’ll keep it.
Plains→Mox Diamond(Discard Bojuka Bog)→Sylvan Library
If we think we are opposing the Delver deck and drawing first, play Sylvan Library 1 turn later.
Sample Hand 4:
This is a little difficult.
The only thing that can be deployed is the Reclaimer, so it depends on whether or not they stay on the battlefield.
We have two copies of Wasteland, Maze of Ith, and Swords to Plowshares, so if we are drawing first, we can keep it. If we know we’re playing against a creature based deck, such as Delver, we might keep it even if we’re playing first. We play Wasteland first to take care of Daze, and then cast Mox Diamond.
Sample Hand 5:
It’s not very good, and like example 4, it relies on the Reclaimer.
If we have Elvish Reclaimer but no Flagstones of Trokair, we can decide whether or not to bring in Flagstones by looking at our opponent’s lands and moves on the first or second turns. If our opponent doesn’t have any removal, we may be able to connect to Thespian’s Stage from Flagstones.
If the Reclaimer doesn’t stay on the battlefield, let “Life from the Loam” and “Wasteland” dance.
Forest → Reclaimer
If the Reclaimer survives the next turn: Savannah → Activate Reclaimer
If the Reclaimer doesn’t survive: Wasteland or Maze of Ith (keep green and white mana source in our hand)
Sample Hand 6:
That’s the worst. There is nothing to deploy. We also have two copies of Flagstones. In this situation, it’s the same as if we had mulled down to six or five, since we have four lands only for mana. If our hands are like this, we should take a mulligan in 0.5 seconds.
Sample Hand 7:
The spells are great, but the lands don’t match. It’s rare that we get a first hand that doesn’t fit like this, but make a mulligan decision with an idea of what we’re going to do by turn 3.
2. Deployment (Turn 3~5)
The goal here is to deploy Exploration, Sylvan Library, and Valakut Exploration.
When these three cards are on the battlefield together, the game is over.
Check the top three cards with Sylvan Library, and put a land card on the top, and we’ll be in the same situation as if we were casting Ancestral Recall every turn.
If Valakut Exploration is countered, we’re going to have a hard time generating value, so be sure not to be countered with Daze, and cry when it’s countered with Force of Will.
Also, always keep the combo of Thespian’s Stage and Dark Depths in mind, so that we can aim for a sudden death.
3. Finishing (From turn 5~6)
Valakut Exploration helps to find a second copy, and once we have multiple copies, victory is at hands. It’s like an enchantress deck with infinite resources to destroy our opponent.
The strategy so far is based on Sylvan Library and Valakut Exploration, but don’t forget that this deck is Lands. Be flexible and think deeply about what we can do to win the game.
I’m going to talk about the core of this deck, Valakut Exploration, and the techniques, tricks, and knowledge associated with it. There is also a full article on this card on this site here.
1. Fetch lands
This is a basic trick that we use most often. When a fetch land comes into play and triggers VE, we can activate the fetch land before the triggered ability resolves and resolve the trigger twice in a row. In this way, the land we want to bring with the fetch land will not be exiled, and the library is thinned a little. Taiga or Forest are the preferred lands to bring in here, so we can play Elvish Reclaimer or Exploration when exiled. It also means that we can keep plains in our library to bring in with Flagstones of Trokair.
2. Thespian’s Stage and Flagstones of Trokair
You have VE on the battlefield, but no lands in your hand… that’s okay! Let’s activate the Stage targeting Flagstones. The legend rule allows us to send the original Flagstones to the graveyard, which will bring us a plains card and trigger VE. Even without VE, this technique can have various side effects such as fixing mana colors, thinning our library, and synergy with Life from the Loam.
Flagstones’ ability will not trigger if there are replacement effects on cards going to the graveyard in play such as Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void.
3. VE, Flagstones, and Legend Rule
If we play a new Flagstones when we already have a Flagstones and VE on the battlefield, one of the Flagstones will go to the graveyard and we can search for a plains. In this case, the ability of VE is also triggered, but the ability of Flagstones and the ability of VE are put on the stack at the same time, so it doesn’t matter which one we resolve first. If we resolve Flagstones’ ability first, we can exile two cards in a row, just like fetch lands do.
4. Reclaimer Package and VE
If we sacrifice a Flagstones with a Reclaimer when we have VE on the battlefield, it’s a bit tricky.
Activate Reclaimer→Resolve Flagstones→Resolve VE→Resolve Reclaimer’s ability→Resolve VE
If we play with paper, the shuffling is a bit troublesome, and there is a possibility that the land we want to bring with the Reclaimer will be exiled. Let’s pray for it.
By the way, the ability of Flagstones is “may” ability. So it is possible the land we want to bring with Reclaimer is exiled. So if we don’t want the land we want to bring with Reclaimer to be exiled, we don’t have to bring plains.
5. Keep a land card in your hand.
In the middle of the game, when we have time and don’t seem to have any use for mana, keep a land card in our hand. We may draw VE, and if we don’t have a land card right after setting it up, it’s a useless vanilla enchantment.
6. Sevinne’s Reclamation
Be a little careful when flashing back Reclamation from the graveyard. If we want to put a land and VE together, target the land with the original Reclamation and VE with the copy.
7. We can play exiled cards even if VE is removed.
VE’s ability to send cards to the graveyard triggers at the beginning of your end step. If VE is removed before the end step, this ability is not triggered and we can play cards exiled by VE at any time afterwards. It’s like having more cards in our hands.
Here is some knowledge and tricks to help us play this deck.
1. Sevinne’s Reclamation and Chalice of the Void
This is especially useful against Red Prison and Stompy. When we cast Reclamation targeting a Reclaimer which was countered by CotV so that we can put it on the battlefield.
2. Elvish Reclaimer, Thespian’s Stage and Dark Depths.
If the Stage is already on the battlefield, activating the Reclaimer’s ability and bringing the Depths to copy it requires 4 mana, not including the Stage.
3. Other potential sideboard cards
This is the ultimate anti-Doomsday weapon, used in 4C. If we add blue cards after the sideboard, put them together to count as blue mana source.
This is a combo counter card that can almost certainly be played on the first turn. Delay the combo and beat them with the creatures.
I like this card. Let’s target Doomsday, Show and Tell, and Storm spells.
Throes of Chaos
Not half the people who see the card’s name will immediately think of its text. Use it as an additional advantage source in slow matchups.
Burn down the elven forest.
Oblivion Ring, Cast Out
Put them in against SnT and control decks with a lot of PWs. It’s good that Cast Out can be cycled.
Seal of Cleansing
If we use Sevinne’s Reclamation, this is a good synergy.
Huge enchantments or artifacts, Planeswalkers, True-Name Nemesis, anything can be removed with this one. It’s also good for removing Kaldra Compleat.
Meddling Mage in mono white. Use it in Naya.
This is an anti-Doomsday and anti-Storm card. Our opponents literally can’t win the game.
It would be too long to list more than that, so I’ll stop at 10 cards.
Use your favorite sideboard cards according to your preference and the meta.
Thank you very much for reading this far. This is the first time for me to write an article about a deck, so it may have been difficult to read for some points. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, please feel free to contact me (Twitter: @SquidJPN).
See you in the next article, ” Guide for each Matchup”.