Exploring New Lands – By Phil Leger

 

This past Saturday I was up in Fredericton for the weekend and I figured I’d take some time on Saturday to play in GZ Fredericton’s Proxy Legacy Win-a-Dual. I played in one such tournament where I took first place and won a Tropical Island playing Miracles. I have been off Miracles for a while now. Though I really do like the deck, for some reason I have been a bit turned off by it lately and have wanted to play other decks. I am also fairly confident that I do not want to sit through 15 rounds of swiss with the deck so I wanted to get some practice in with something I might actually play in GP New Jersey. I toyed around with playing some form of BUG deck (Delver or Shardless) but a couple weeks back I proxied RUG Lands for Sunday Legacy and absolutely loved it. Now I can’t claim that Lands is a better deck than the BUG lists, your combo matchup is much worse, but I have not had this much fun in legacy in quite a while.

Instant [9]

3 Crop Rotation
3 Intuition
3 Punishing Fire

Sorcery [5]

4 Life from the Loam

Artifact [8]

2 Engineered Explosives
1 Ensnaring Bridge
4 Mox Diamond
1 Smokestack
1 Zuran Orb

Enchantment [4]

4 Exploration

Land [35]

1 Academy Ruins
1 Bayou
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Dark Depths
1 Forest
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Glacial Chasm
3 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Karakas
3 Maze of Ith
4 Rishadan Port
1 Taiga
1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
1 Thespian’s Stage
2 Tolaria West
1 Tranquil Thicket
3 Tropical Island
4 Wasteland
3 Misty Rainforest

61 cards

 

Sideboard:

 

4 Dark Confidant
3 Krosan Grip
2 Phyrexian Revoker
4 Chalice of the Void
2 Trinisphere

15 cards

 

The deck is pretty much exactly what I love to do in Magic. Play a slow controlling game where your wins just make your opponent feel completely helpless. With the M14 legend rules change, the deck also has a way to close out games very quickly via Thespian’s Stage + Dark Depths which means you run out of time much less often than with previous iterations of the deck that had to win via Mishra’s Factory or other such man-lands. It also gets to play the Grove of the Burnwillows + Punishing Fire combo which just wrecks a lot of decks. The mana denial aspect is also very strong, especially if you can get an Exploration out which allows you to develop your mana while still Wastelanding your opponent out of the game.

Thespian StageDark Depths

Most creature decks will have a very hard time beating you since you get to tax them so hard with Tabernacle + shutting them off mana via Port and Wasteland. You also get to play 3 Maze of Ith for the creatures that do get to stick around or cannot be killed by Punishing Fire. The deck can also be surprisingly very explosive. I got to play turn 1 land + double Mox Diamond into Intuition for Loam + 2 more lands which is very tough for a lot of decks to beat. It can feel really unfair when you are dropping almost your entire hand on the first or second turn and get to start dredging with loam.

Punishing FireGrove

 

The deck is a bit weak to graveyard hate, and a turn 1 Deathrite Shaman can be tough to deal with on the draw but you do get punishing fire to deal with Deathrite. Rest in Peace is probably the worst thing they can play against you in terms of Loam hate but you do get Dark Confidant out of the sideboard in those matchups to ensure you still get some good card advantage. You can also dodge Deathrite Shaman on your Life from the Loam by cycling Tranquil Thicket in response and dredging the Loam back to your hand.

The combo matchups are also generally not great, but Chalice of the Void + Trinisphere out of the board certainly help there. You can also sometimes just shut them down on mana and win with a quick Marit Lage.

Lands also mulligans better than almost any deck out there. You have 4 Loams plus 3 Intuitions to find them so that is rarely an issue, and you can usually mulligan down to a hand that will give you that explosive start you are looking for via Mox Diamond and Exploration. Crop Rotation does an excellent job of finding you the silver bullets you need in each matchup if you don’t manage to find them via dredging Loam or cannot find a Tolaria West. It is also worth nothing that you can not only find any land by transmuting the Tolaria West but can also get Zuran Orb or Engineered Explosive as well as Chalice of the Void since they all have a CMC of 0.

Onto the actual event itself, I would like to put a disclaimer here and say that I did not take notes for this tournament so everything here is from memory; I apologize for any vagueness or inaccuracies.

Round 1 – Rob Bull playing UWr Miracles

I wasn’t too happy to be paired with Rob in round 1 of the tournament with him being a good friend of mine and a seasoned Legacy player. I came here to win myself an Underground Sea so I wasn’t about to take it easy on him. In game one, Rob never got to draw more than 3 lands and I kept him off mana with Rishadan Ports and Wasteland. I managed to get a Marit Lage out with him taped out on white to close out the game.

In game 2 I got to land a Smokestack which took out most of his permanents before he was able to find the Entreat the Angels he needed to win in time.

Win 2-0 [1-0]

Round 2 – James Rennick playing Burn

I am not sure if burn is a good matchup for this deck or not yet but I feel like it is definitely winnable. In game 1 I got a very early Marit Lage in order to kill him before I went bellow 10 life. Game 2 I feel I could have won, but I made the mistake of not getting enough blue mana when I cast intuition which probably cost me the game because I couldn’t transmute Tolaria west. My Zuran orb couldn’t keep me alive as I sacked too many lands to stay in the game. I forget exactly what happened in game 3 but I know he didn’t play any creatures which was unfortunate since I drew a bit heavy on the creature hating lands.

Loss 1-2 [1-1]

Round 3 – Luc Dennis De Carfel playing 12 Post

The mana denial of the deck came in full force here and I was able to completely shut him out with Ports and Wastelands in both games before he was able to cast anything relevant. I believe the most mana he ever had access to was about 4 or so which is pretty rough on a deck that needs to at least be able to cast Primeval Titan.

Win 2-0 [2-1]

Round 4 – Jeffrey Milton playing Deathblade

Jeff is another friend of mine from the Moncton area (and the editor of this article) and so I knew he was on his usual Esper Deathblade. To be honest I forget exactly what happened here also but I believe Wastelands were big here too in shutting him off mana.

[Editor’s Note: I remember the whole thing. I still feel a bit traumatized.]

Win 2-0? [3-1]

Round 5 – Alex Morash playing UWR Delver

At this point only the top 2 were able to draw into the top 8 so the remaining players who were in contention pretty much had to play it out. I was pretty happy with most of the matchups that were still in contention for top 8 so I wasn’t too worried about since the field seemed pretty light on combo at this point.

Again my memory fails me for this one, I believe I won the first game but I do remember the final game since it was pretty interesting.

I assume he is bringing Rest in Peace and sure enough he lands one fairly early shutting me out of my loam engine. Luckily for me, I don’t really have anything too important that got exiled yet. I only boarded in 3 Dark Confidants and 2 Krosan Grips here, and I wish I had brought in all 3. I had the board locked down as he only had a flipped delver on the table and I had Maze of Ith in play but I couldn’t really get much else going in terms of win conditions until I could get the Rest in Peace off the table. My only ways to deal with it at this point are 2 Engineered Explosives and 2 Krosan Grips. I land an Ensnaring Bridge to stop any creatures of his and fire off an Explosives for 2 taking out the RIP and also a Stoneforge Mystic but he lands a second RIP the following turn. We play draw-go for several turns until I draw an Intuition. Now at this point I only have the 1 Explosives and 2 Krosan Grips left so if I cast Intuition for those I will get 1 but the rest will get exiled which means I will not be able to kill my Ensnaring Bridge if I want to win via Marit Lage.

I decide Rest in Peace no longer matters as I have Creeping Tar Pit and Thespian’s Stage already and I can Crop Rotation for Dark Depths if needed so I Intuition for Explosives, Grip, and Grip which leaves me with the Explosives in hand. I cast it for x=3 so that I can blow up the bridge but I mess up and get the Dark Depths Wastelanded (I think). So now my only win condition is Creeping Tar Pit and we are getting low on time. I know he has no Lightning Bolts left so I let myself go up to 3 cards in hand, tap all his white with my Ports on his upkeep and eventually take it with the man-land. I was lucky he did not draw a wasteland here as I would have had to play for the draw since I would have been out of win conditions (he can just block the Dark Confidants).

Win 2-1? [4-1]

Quarterfinals – Shane Spinney playing Shardless Bug

I finished 3rd I believe which would allow me to play first most of the time which I was quite happy about. Unfortunately we both forgot about that and rolled a die anyways which I lost. Mike walked over and asked me if I chose to play second at which point I felt like face-palming since it was too late to go back because Shane had played his first turn already. Oh well. Luckily for me I had one of those hands that feel amazing where you play 2 lands an exploration and a Mox Diamond on turn 1. I got a Tabernacle out and I believe he forgot to pay for it which cost him a Goyf and I was able to deal with Deathrite via Punishing fire and eventually got there with Marit Lage.

In game 2 I basically cut him off all resources via Wastelands before eventually landing Smokestack which he doesn’t really have a good way of dealing with (except maybe Pulse if he plays it). He doesn’t really get to play many cards and eventually fails to find on a fetchland as he has no duals left in the deck. Isn’t lands fun? I get Marit Lage out to finish him off shortly after. I think I had Ensnaring Bridge which I had to kill with my Explosives also.

Win 2-0? [5-1]

Semifinals – Kris Caron playing Bug Delver

I had played Kris in the semi-finals of the previous win-a-dual event where I beat him and I was hoping to repeat that this time. I don’t remember too much about this round but I do know that we got the Stifle interaction with Dark Depths wrong. If you stifle the trigger it actually just triggers again as the sacrifice only happens after the ability resolves so in essence you cannot really Stifle it. It ended up not mattering because I had loam and Exploration so I was able to set it up again the next turn.

Win 2-0? [6-1]

Finals – Brandon O’Shea playing Goblins

I had also played against Brandon at the last event and I knew he was still on Goblins. I got pretty lucky all day to play against mostly creature decks which is obviously Lands strong suite. I was able to take the first game with some quick mana acceleration into Punishing Fires but lost the second to his turn 1 Goblin Lackey into Wastelands of his own shutting me off green. In game 3 he mulliganed down to 3 cards in an effort to find an aggro hand but I don’t think it mattered since I was on the play and had the nut of turn 1 Exploration/Mox Diamond with Punishing Fire.

Win 2-1 [7-1]

So my only loss of the day was to Burn which I definitely felt like I could have won had I played a bit better with my Intuition. I got pretty lucky that the field was very combo light though you definitely still have game against it after sideboard with mana denial + Chalice of the Void or Trinisphere. I am pretty happy to pick up an Underground Sea here as I am still on the fence on whether I want to play Lands or some form of BUG deck at GP New Jersey this November and this makes the 3rd Sea in my collection. I would like to give a big shout-out to Mike Sheng for judging the event and also organizing it. It is really awesome to be able to get 27 players out to play in a Legacy event and see so many decks with few to no proxies. Though I did play with 76 proxies myself, I do plan on actually building this deck now that I know I really do enjoy playing it. Though getting a Tabernacle might be a bit rough on the wallet!

In the future I am thinking of modifying the list a little. While Smokestack was definitely sweet, I think the 3rd Explosives is probably just better most of the time as it basically can answer anything you come across. I also think I will cut the Ghost Quarter for a second Tranquil Thicket and possibly try and fit a Volcanic Island as you really only need a single green in play most of the time but often want double blue for Tolaria West as well as multiple red for Punishing Fire, though I am not sure if that is correct. The Ghost Quarter never really did anything for me and I feel like Wasteland and Ports are enough the vast majority of the time even if you can’t fully destroy the basic lands. With Marit Lage the games rarely go that long anyways.

Thanks for making it this far, I do hope to see some new players at The Comic Hunter’s Sunday Legacy events (with full proxies allowed!) every Sunday at 1:30pm.

Cheers

Phil

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