My name is Albert Lindblom, and I am an online grinder playing Legacy Lands under the MTGO alias alli. I have played Lands online for years and have multiple good finishes in premier events such as Showcase Challenges and the Eternal Weekend online. This year I am kicking off a new project with the aim of showcasing Legacy Lands from a competitive perspective. This will be done via a combination of (short) articles, videos, and live discussions in the Lands Discord. You can also find a video introduction to this project here.
I will play different variations of Lands (RG, RGu, RGb, GW, GWu, GWr, BG and BGu), and I will try to stay with a variation for at least four weeks so that I can arrive at a list that is well tuned for the expected winners’ meta in online Challenges. I will kick off each variation with a short article that highlights why I chose to play a certain splash color, and I will also end with an article that explains my conclusions. To ensure that my list is well tuned, I will follow the principles that I describe in this article. If you join the Lands discord, you can even help me tune the list in the #decklists section.
I intend to play one competitive tournament every week. This will be one of the following:
- Showcase Challenge
If I want to test something specific, then I will also organise a dedicated testing session with another online grinder. All matches will be recorded and posted on my YouTube channel.
After four to eight weeks, I will try to post an article on PendrellVale.com with my conclusions about this specific Lands variation. In the article, I will address questions such as these:
- How did the deck feel? What was my overall record?
- How did my meta predictions line up with the decks I faced? Did I predict the meta correctly?
- What did I win against?
- What did I lose to? Can these matchups be improved without adding another color or giving up percentages in other matchups?
I hope you will enjoy this content! Let’s dive right into it and explore the first iteration of Lands that I want to play.
I had a look at the Top 32 from the last three challenges (Dec. 12 to Dec. 26). They show the following winners’ metagame.
If we consider matchups that have >5% meta share, then I think that the top decks are Delver, Blue Zenith, Reanimator, Elves, various Urza’s Saga decks (8-Cast, Painter, Lands), and Doomsday.
I am going to start by playing Bant Lands. Why do I want to abandon red and play white instead? The main reason is that white provides better removal and another broken land in Flagstones of Trokair.
Swords to Plowshares vs. Punishing Fire
Let’s talk a bit about the difference between white and red removal. Swords to Plowshares answers Murktide Regent, which means that we don’t need Pyroblast against Delver (and we can instead run up to 3 copies of Flusterstorm). Flusterstorm improves the Doomsday, Reanimator and Blue Zenith matchups. These decks make up more than 40% of the winners’ meta.
Punishing Fire is very good in the Tribal matchups and against planeswalkers. I expect that Tribal decks (primarily Elves and Death and Taxes) will be fine even without Punishing Fire (this will have to be confirmed in testing, of course). We win most games vs. Elves with early disruption and a semi-fast Marit Lage, and the most-difficult-to-deal-with card from Death and Taxes is Kaldra Compleat, and that card is not answered by Punishing Fire (but it is answered by the white removal). Most planeswalkers can be killed with constructs or stopped by a timely Pithing Needle (which can be found via Urza’s Saga’s third chapter). Karn, the Great Creator is the only planeswalker that I am truly scared of, but the Karn decks are not popular right now, and I hope to dodge them.
Elvish Reclaimer or Urza’s Saga
Adding white to our deck also allows us to play Flagstones of Trokair. This land is very interesting. First, it removes the drawback of Crop Rotation, transforming it from a semi-risky line vs. blue decks into a split card of Tinker and Hymn to Tourach (depending on whether the opponent decides to Force of Will it or not). Second, Flagstones of Trokair combined with Elvish Reclaimer ramps us by one land drop every turn that the cards are online. A hand of Forest, Flagstones of Trokair, Elvish Reclaimer, and Thespian’s Stage represents a turn three Marit Lage, and a hand of Forest, Flagstones of Trokair, Elvish Reclaimer and Life from the Loam allows us to have Field of the Dead online as early as turn four.
However, Elvish Reclaimer and Urza’s Saga both require more than 8 slots (see the below table), and it can be difficult to fit both packages into the deck at the same time. I am leaning toward Urza’s Saga being better, as it’s a more powerful card and it kills quickly if the opponent stumbles, but Elvish Reclaimer is very strong against decks without removal, such as Elves, 8-Cast, Reanimator, and the Madness deck. I do want to test the Elvish Reclaimer package in the weeks to come.
|Urza’s Saga Package||Elvish Reclaimer Package|
|4 Urza’s Saga||4 Elvish Reclaimer|
|3 Tutor targets||2 Flagstones of Trokair|
|1 Crucible of Worlds||2 Field of the Dead (or 1 FoTD and 1 Vesuva)|
|0-3 Sphere of Resistance||0-3 Uro|
|Total: 8-11 cards||Total: 8-11 cards|