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BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
Huge Tracts of Land
March 11, 2010 

Today, Tobias has sent me in a deck that's trying to be a little different from what Tobias usually runs. The strangest thing I find about his deck? It's running Plains.

I don't really know what to call this one. The Little Oracle That Could? Mana Overflow? The Holy-Cow-That-Would-Never-Work Deck? Anyway.

Hi. I'm somewhere between tournament player and casual. I'm trying to design my first truly Johnny deck, and was hoping you could give me some advice.

===DECKLIST===

4x Oracle of Mul Daya
4x Fireball

30x Plains
30x Forest
30x Mountain

==============

...yeah, that's it. I've tried a few combinations of different cards and i'm completely out of ideas. In my experience with this deck, any additions of cards (such as mana accel or anti-removal) that don't strictly fulfill the deck's (fairly obvious) mechanic seem to serve as a hindrance to victory.

I need some serious help with designing this deck to work the way it's supposed to! i.e. Early wins that AREN'T boned by Path to Exile. Thanks a lot!

-Tobias

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wow. Just, wow.

But seriously, Tobias, why are you running Plains? You have no white cards in your deck. You might as well just run more Forests and Mountains.

But I've got a better idea of what lands you can run. You see, as funny and potentially explosive as your deck could be, we still have to deal with the elephant in the room: land flood. As it stands, if you want any chance of winning a game, you need to mulligan until you get an Oracle in your opening hand, even if it means mulliganing down to one on the play. Once the Oracle sticks, you get to play two lands off the top each turn, in addition to your draw for the turn-- effectively drawing three cards a turn, as long as two of them are lands. At that rate, you should be able to draw into a Fireball fairly easily by the time you have enough lands to fire off a lethal 20-point one... on turn 13. Seriously. Unless you drop a second Oracle, or your opponent has no blockers and you can swing for two for a few turns, it'll take you 13 turns to get enough mana to win. And that's assuming you never miss a land drop, drop the Oracle turn four, and the Oracle never dies. In the meantime, you're literally doing nothing but playing lands. What is your opponent doing? I mean, besides wondering what you're trying to do.

So what's the solution? You've already said that you don't want to add mana fixing or whatnot to the deck, because they just tend to get in your way by merit of not being lands. The obvious solution is to run spell-like effects that are lands.

First, instead of your mana base being red, green, and white, it should become green, red, black, and blue. I'll explain why in a paragraph or two. Then you need a full playset of just about every man-land in the format that uses those colors. Raging Ravine, Lavalclaw Reaches, and Creeping Tar Pits are your new win condition, and the Oracle can run them out two by two a turn. Don't forget Dread Statuary, and M10 gave us Gargoyle Castle to add to the party. I know, I know, the dual man-lands from Worldwake are rares, and probably pretty pricey (I haven't priced them), but Gargoyle Castle is a pretty cheap rare (it never caught on real big) and Dread Statuary is uncommon, so you shouldn't have too much trouble getting some man-lands. If you do manage to get 4 of each one, you'll have 20 creatures-- more than some decks have actual creatures.

And why stop at man-lands? Piranha Marsh takes 1 point off your opponent's total. Khalni Garden will supply you with chump blockers. Halimar Depths will keep the top of your library just the way you like it. Quicksand is always nice when you've got attackers coming your way, or maybe just having it will ensure that you don't. Smoldering Spires can help your lands punch through for damage. And if you think you'll still want to run Mountains after all that, well, there's Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle.

But of course, now you need to make sure you not only draw all these lands, but an Oracle as well. This is why I asked you to add blue and black to the deck. So you can run two draw spells which are mediocre-to-bad in any other deck. I refer, of course, to Ad Nauseam and Treasure Hunt.

Now, I know you said adding any nonland card to this deck hindered it, but that's because you were drawing the nonland cards when you needed more lands. Treasure Hunt and Ad Nauseam don't have that issue because they each draw you multiple lands when you cast them. Treasure Hunt is so useful here because your biggest obstacle is drawing a nonland card. Treasure Hunt guarantees you either a Fireball, another Oracle, or another draw spell that will in turn guarantee you one of those things, and will gladly draw you 20 or so cards until you get one, thus removing the disadvantage of not being a land itself. And Ad Nauseam, which normally is too risky to run due to massive life loss, has both of its restrictions mitigated in your deck. Not only are lands "free" to draw, and thus you can draw as many as you want with it, but with an Oracle out, you get to see what card you're about to draw before you decide if it's worth its converted mana cost in life points. And remember, Fireball's CMC is only one.

Actually, with all those man-lands, do you even need Fireball anymore? Meh, leave it in until it proves itself to be a hindrance.

Good luck!

~BMoor

 

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