For Grand Prix Columbus, I’ve decided to sleeve up 35 R/G Lands yet again.
There are a bunch of reasons to play the deck, but here are the foremost reasons in my mind:
a) Miracles is likely to be the most popular deck still, but only 10-15%.
b) Again, people love to play decks focused around interacting (removing) with the opponent’s creatures and permanents. These are traditionally very good matchups.
d) I legitimately enjoy playing this deck, since it presents a lot of ‘weird’ situations and scenarios people are not familiar with.
However, given the uptick in Sneak and Show and Miracles on day two, I have made a bunch of changes to address those matchups:
R/G Lands ? Legacy | Jarvis Yu
- Spells (25)
- 4 Crop Rotation
- 4 Punishing Fire
- 4 Gamble
- 4 Life from the Loam
- 1 Manabond
- 4 Exploration
- 4 Mox Diamond
- Lands (35)
- 1 Forest
- 1 Glacial Chasm
- 1 Karakas
- 1 Misty Rainforest
- 1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
- 1 Verdant Catacombs
- 1 Windswept Heath
- 1 Wooded Foothills
- 2 Taiga
- 2 Tranquil Thicket
- 3 Maze of Ith
- 4 Dark Depths
- 4 Grove of the Burnwillows
- 4 Rishadan Port
- 4 Thespian's Stage
- 4 Wasteland
Card choice discussion:
a) Removal of Riftstone Portal from the deck entirely in exchange for Karakas in the main deck. This is due to the expected uptick in Sneak and Show (given it only really ‘deals’ with Show and Tell and not Sneak Attack) given its performance at the MOCS.
b) The addition of Boil and Boseiju, Who Shelters All in the sideboard are to account for the increased number of Wear // Tear in Miracles sideboards. In Seattle Tacoma, I had two Choke and an additional Chalice of the Void, but I believe the Boseiju + Boil plan is stronger due to Wear // Tear being far more popular nowadays. However, Choke was better to bring in versus decks like Storm.
c) Removal of Molten Vortex from the sideboard. Molten Vortex is at its best versus Miracles and small creature decks where your graveyard isn’t under attack in a post-sideboard game. That’s a very rare situation now, so I’d rather remove it for the next card.
d) Addition of Tireless Tracker to the sideboard. Having played with this card in multiple formats, I can honestly say this is a great engine card for Lands that doesn’t rely on the graveyard. It synergizes well with Exploration and can also serve to protect your Life from the Loams from Surgical Extraction (via cracking a Clue).
Since the last time I played Lands, I’d like to reiterate some interesting things to take note of, as well as some new things I’ve learned:
- In the mirror, in response to a Crop Rotation, if you expect they are getting Dark Depths, you can Rishadan Port their Thespian Stage to keep them off making the 20/20 for one turn.
- Thespian's Stage can copy your opponent’s lands. This comes up a lot when you are playing against a deck like Death and Taxes or Shardless Sultai (copy Plains to play around Wasteland or copy Creeping Tar Pit to kill Jace, the Mind Sculptors). This also comes up in the mirror since it is far better to Stage off your opponent’s Dark Depths than it is to Stage your own Dark Depths. Do not Thespian's Stage your opponent’s Island if you have Boil in hand. Yes, I did this once in a play-test game . . .
Some more common matchups
The ‘new’ kid on the block since Grand Prix Seattle is Eldrazi Stompy:
Versus Eldrazi Stompy (and for posterity’s sake, here’s the Eldrazi Stompy list that I like the best).
Eldrazi Stomp ? Legacy | _Barook_
- Creatures (23)
- 3 Matter Reshaper
- 4 Eldrazi Displacer
- 4 Eldrazi Mimic
- 4 Endless One
- 4 Reality Smasher
- 4 Thought-Knot Seer
- Lands (24)
- 2 Brushland
- 2 City of Traitors
- 2 Karakas
- 3 Eye of Ugin
- 3 Mishra's Factory
- 4 Ancient Tomb
- 4 Cavern of Souls
- 4 Eldrazi Temple
I did not come up with this list. I found it on the Source (a well known Legacy forum) being worked on by someone who goes by _Barook_ on that forum. It seemed to have very well thought out plans, and also seemed to be more balanced; i.e. it wasn’t all-in on beating Miracles Game 1 (a lot of the colorless versions of this deck focused on 4 Chalice of the Void plus 4 Thorn of Amethyst in the main which meant they were much weaker versus creature decks).
However, I view it as a very favorable matchup for the following reasons:
- Maze of Ith is excellent versus giant monsters.
- They don’t have much disruption for a fast 20/20 without Karakas or Eldrazi Displacer.
- Glacial Chasm can ‘Fog’ them for a few turns.
With Lands versus the above Eldrazi list, here’s how I would sideboard:
I just want access to a way to answer Chalice of the Void (or Leyline of the Void). They generally try to play Chalice of the Void on 1 (stop Gamble / Crop Rotation) versus you in order to buy enough time to Chalice of the Void on 2 (to shut out Loam). Cutting some number of 1-drops to get around this is a good hedge. It’s also more difficult to try to make a fast 20/20 in the face of Eldrazi Displacer and Karakas.
For those of you interested in the above Eldrazi list, here’s a somewhat in depth sideboard guide I found here.
Versus Jeskai Miracles:
There are two ways to approach this matchup.
Versus Delver variants:
The plan is straightforward, try to deny them mana, and then search for a Tabernacle to Wrath of God them. They normally have no good response to a fast 20/20 either.
Versus Shardless Sultai:
The plan is relatively straightforward. Their deck is much slower than a Delver variant, so the mana denial is even better here. Just be wary of not making a 20/20 into Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Liliana of the Veil. They can sometimes chump block with a Baleful Strix, so ideally you’d have a Punishing Fire to pick that off as well.
For posterity’s sake, here’s the list of Infect that appeals to me. Gainsay is Andrew Cuneo’s MTGO handle, so I have the utmost respect for this list.
I generally approach this similarly to Delver matchups. Trying to ‘turtle’ up behind a bunch of Mazes of Ith is a bad idea because one Vines of Vastwood cast on their main phase defeats multiple Mazes of Ith. I like to aggressively attack their mana and search up the Tabernacle to Wrath of God them.
Versus Death and Taxes:
You are the control deck here. Given enough time, you can exhaust their multiple Karakas with Wasteland recursion and make enough 20/20s to end the game. You need to manage your life total with Glacial Chasm and Maze of Ith. Post-sideboard can be a lot trickier, since they can shut off your recursion with Rest in Peace. Pithing Needle can also be a nuisance (naming Thespian's Stage).
Legacy still remains the format where you can generally pick a deck and try to make it work, especially if you are good at meta-gaming.
With that in mind, my personal list of good choices for the Grand Prix includes Infect, Storm (both with and without Rite of Flame and Burning Wish), Grixis Delver, Death and Taxes (with and without Imperial Recruiter), and various versions of Miracles.
I look forward to playing my heart out this weekend in Columbus, Ohio, where I need a Top Four finish to acquire Gold Level pro status.
I welcome any comments or questions here or on Twitter@jkyu06.
Thanks for reading, and I wish everyone else the best of luck in whatever tournaments they may be playing in this weekend.