Last week we did a 40 Land Challenge and it was a huge success.
I received a record 200ish submissions, among them some of the most colorful and creative brews I’ve laid eyes on.
This week I am following up on that success with the opposite: a 10 Land Challenge. We are pushing the boundaries to the opposite extreme to see what we learn. The fewer lands the better.
Even more exciting, everybody’s favorite Luis Scott-Vargas has agreed to make a cameo to pick the ”sweetest brew” to be awarded the $25 CFB store credit.
First let’s review what we learned last week.
What Is a Land?
Mana is the source of a planeswalker’s power. Spells require mana energy. Aside from a few exceptions, every creature, artifact, enchantment, spell, or anything that does anything requires mana to be cast.
The land is a renewable resource that produces mana. As a rule, every turn you get to play 1 land, and every turn you generally to harvest 1 mana from every land on that turn.
Lands are the most reliable, most renewable source of mana from which everything Magical gets to happen.
There are no rules for how many lands to play, though there are generally accepted guidelines.
The basic starting point is 40%, or 24 lands in a 60-card deck. This proportion can be adjusted by preference or strategy.
Your task is to find the strategic advantage to drastically lowering that mana ratio—10/60 or fewer (17% or less).
Why Play Fewer Lands?
There are general rules for how many lands to play based on archetype, and we can use these guidelines to look for strategies that push the extremes.
1) Lower-Cost Spells—Fewer Lands Needed
Decks with hyper-low curves don’t need as many lands. Lots of 0-, 1-, and 2-mana spells give you more things to do with fewer lands.
In addition to 1-drops there is a surprisingly large selection of Modern “free spells” to choose from.
2) Lower Land Ratio—Less Likely to Flood
If you don’t like getting mana flooded there is an advantage to playing fewer lands. However, this is balanced by a greater chance of mana screw. Trade-offs.
3) More Spell Mana Sources—Lower Ratio of Lands to Spells
Lands are only one way to make mana. If your deck is full of other ways you don’t need as many lands. Rituals and mana dorks are a common example of this.
4) More Cheap Card Selection—Lower Ratio of Lands to Spells
The more cheap card draw and cheap land selection, the fewer lands you need. Cards that dig into your deck can turn that first land into a second land. Anything that cashes in for a new card effectively makes your deck smaller and ups your functional ratio of lands to spells.
5) Cards that Don’t Like Lands
There are a few buildaround cards that specifically don’t like lands. I’m not aware of that many of these and I’m hoping we can discover more.
6) Lands Are Overrated
Finally, we have to consider preference. Some people think lands are the greatest thing in the multiverse. Some of us don’t buy it.
<10 Lands Submission Guidelines
- Modern Format
- Listed Land Ratio 10/60 or fewer (17%)
- Cost Sorted Low to High
- Description- 250 Words or Less
- Deadline: Wednesday Night in the Comments
Decks should show off the strategic advantage of playing as few lands as possible. For 60 card decks there should be 10 lands or fewer. For larger decks, the land ratio should be 17% or less.
I’m excited to see what you can cook up!
<10 Lands Submission Examples
Here’s a few of my example submissions. My examples are Modern, list the land ratio, are cost sorted, with a brief description of the strategy and advantage of playing so few lands.
Modern Elf Belcher
This deck is a mash-up of land-light Elf tribal and land-light Elf Belcher. Only 5/60 lands but 51/56 mana means we have plenty to operate a lethal belcher. Our other plan is Elf beatdown with Elvish Archdruid and Ezuri.
Path to Exile gives us a ramp/removal split card and Wargate complements both plans. 5 Land Elf Belcher is fast and deadly!
Modern All Spells
Modern ALL spells NO lands! The goal of this deck is to use our nonland mana sources to dump an Undercity Informer or a Balustrade Spy and flip our deck. Either we get a simple win with Laboratory Maniac or we get creative. Narcomoebas jump into play, and Bridge from Belows fill the yard. Slaughter Pact or Gut Shot make black zombies to convoke Endless Obedience. Angel of Glory’s Rise comes back and Alchemist’s Apprentice draws for the win!
Not the most competitive deck overall, but amongst the most competitive No Lands options in Modern.
10 Lands Submission in the Comments!
I look forward to seeing your submission in the comments! Tune back in Saturday to see which deck special guest LSV picks as “sweetest brew” for $25 CFB credit!