Magic: the Gathering Modern Lands

I love lands strategies, but for the longest time, Modern has lacked a decent archetype based around this playstyle. Now, while we do have several top tier land decks in the format such as Tron and Valakut, none of these decks actually do what I like to see in a lands deck. The closest analogy to the kind of deck I love would be Lands from Legacy. That deck is 35 lands, 9 ramp spells, 12 tutors, and 4 kill spells. The deck relies on it’s manabase as a toolbox that serves as it’s interaction and it’s win-con. Modern does not have as deep of a card pool as Legacy, especially when it comes to lands, which is why this deck has never come to fruition. However, with Modern Horizons, lands got a lot of new tools that it can try out in Modern.

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Modern Horizons helped several strategies get a lot of powerful new cards that can make them players in the format. Lands was one of the strategies that benefited the most from the set, with tons of new and powerful cards available to the archetype. The one card that might actually give Lands a fighting chance in Modern is Wrenn and Six. This card has been seeing play everywhere, from Jund to Ponza and even Taking Turns! As it turns out a 2 mana planeswalker that isn’t Tibalt is actually really good. Being able to plus and survive a Bolt is huge for Wrenn and the card advantage it can provide cannot be understated.

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Now, in a typical deck such as Jund, Wrenn is serving as a way to consistently hit land drops. This is obviously good but is not really doing anything special. Dark Confidant can ensure you hit your land drops just as easily. What really makes Wrenn and Six special in our deck is being a 2 mana Crucible of Worlds. Before, the only 2 mana option to bring back lands from your graveyard was Life from the Loam. Being a permanent lets you untap with 3 mana which enables you to do plays such as Azusa, Ghost Quarter, plus Wrenn targeting Ghost Quarter, and Ghost Quarter them again. Wrenn returns the cards to hand, which is an upside when playing lands that can cycle, turning Wrenn’s plus into true card advantage.

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The other big change to Modern Lands decks come from the aforementioned cycle lands. Previously, all we had were the bicycle lands from Amonkhet, and while those cards are great, cycling for 2 mana is a little slow in the context of Modern. Modern Horizons brings us the Onslaught cycle lands, which are much cheaper to activate and much better for the archetype. With these 2 new additions, is Lands an actually viable strategy now?

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To be perfectly frank, I don’t think so. However, Lands is still in a much better place than it was a year ago. War of the Spark gave us one of the most powerful utility lands in Blast Zone and recurring Ghost Quarter is an absolute backbreaker against decks like Humans and Tron. Playing a deck with 35 lands and several tutors is simply not viable. However, our deck can still focus on lands while winning through other methods. One route that Wrenn and Six gives us is the ability to play cards like Wildfire and come out ahead. Planeswalkers notably do not get hit by Wildfire which means that once all our lands get sent to the graveyard we can start recurring them while our opponent has to hope they can top-deck.

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One card that works incredibly well with Wildfire is Wayward Swordtooth. As long as you ascend once, you don’t need 10 permanents for the rest of the game. Wildfire your opponent and start crashing in for 5 or even 10 damage as this card is not legendary, unlike Azusa. If you can manage to get to 7 mana you can also unleash a haymaker in the form of Avenger of Zendikar or Omanth, Locus of Rage. If you don’t like winning with these huge spells, you can also use Gifts Ungiven Realms Uncharted to get the exact silver bullets you need to stop your opponent’s strategy in its tracks. Bojuka Bog your Hogaak opponent, use Kessig Wolf Run to turn your Azusa into a trampling 7/2, cantrip your way to Wildfire with new additions of Tranquil Thicket and Waterlogged Grove, and even kill pesky 2/1’s with Grasping Dunes.

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This deck does not win solely on the backs of its lands. However, the lands that we do have give us a great toolbox that then lets our other cards take over the game. Wrenn and Six do so much for this strategy and make many plays possible that really lets this deck get to the next level. I wouldn’t rate this any higher than a tier 3 strategy at best, but as more lands get printed into the format this deck is only going to get better. Being tier 3 doesn’t stop this deck from being tons of fun, however, and finding out how many basics somebody’s deck has one Ghost Quarter at a time is exhilarating. Thank you all for reading, I hope you have a great week and an amazing Tuesday!

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