Lands are the best part of Magic. Half the cards are beautiful nature landscapes.
From Earth we peer through these frames into an alternate plane where our inner wild animal can run free.
As on Earth, there is no game with no lands, so we get to hoarding them. They’re pretty, they’re powerful, they’re necessary.
And they become expensive. People get priced out and can’t play—because they can’t afford the lands.
This is all too true in Modern. As the format has grown in popularity the Zendikar fetchlands have put a strain on the ability of players to play. These beautiful scenes work in harmony with the Ravnica shocks for unparalleled resource consistency.
And so the fetchlands ballooned in price. Past 50 dollars. Touching 100 dollars? For one?? A thousand dollars just for the land base? It’s unaffordable.
Well, I have a feeling that things are about to change with the reprinting of the allied fetchlands.
While you’d like to figure it out exactly for the Pro Tour, the truth is that it really doesn’t matter that much. Any of these lands would cast your spells. Any of them work.
But the supply is about to increase. Dramatically. Maybe demand with it, so maybe we won’t see things change too much.
But I foresee at least a short window where Modern is much more affordable. All you need is a couple playsets of the rare land from the new set and your options open dramatically in Modern.
This is my hope, and my hope is it brings a lot of new players into Modern. I suspect it will… and it will bring a lot of new players into Modern rocking new color combinations.
Modern Fetch Metagame
Right now 3-color enemy shard decks are overly represented in Modern. While UWR has Arid Mesa and Scalding Tarn, Esper has only Marsh Flats. This has caused people to skew toward decks like UWR, Junk, RUG. These decks have better mana options.
But I expect we are now going to see a lot of people enter Modern through allied-color, Standard fetches.
I expect this will add a lot of creativity with players finding ways to make their mana bases work. I expect progress for Bant, Esper, Grixis, and Naya in particular. People will be on these decks because these are the lands they own.
Beyond the new decks, this new printing effects every single existing deck. Jund has new land tools. UWR has new land tools. Junk Pod has new land tools. There are new options which will mean more variety, more flexibility, and eventually a new Standard.
Fetch Lands for Standard
There are some definite downsides to having fetch lands in Standard. It doesn’t feel good to nug your own life every game but it feels even worse to wait for your opponent to shuffle turn after turn with time ticking down.
These lands don’t have to feel good to use or be exciting to new players, but the shuffle element will slow down tournaments. We’ve seen cards like Sensei’s Divining Top get banned for this annoyance and now the feeling is coming back.
As for the metagame moving forward, it doesn’t take a genius to see how well Sylvan Caryatid/Courser of Kruphix are going to work with the fetchlands. Block Constructed is always the harbinger of new Standard and I personally played against 13 Caryatid/Courser decks out of 15 rounds at Grand Prix Manchester.
These Courser decks got extreme incredible over the top of their deck with tapped scry lands… and now they get that power from untapped shuffle lands too. A lot of games are going to devolve into decisions of clever top manipulation rather than player-to-player interaction. The skill may rise to the top but it’s not everyone’s favorite style of game play.
With that all said, rotations will soon come to wipe the slate clean. The new Standard rules are fantastic—we get to enjoy over-powered problem cards for half as long without seeing them become stale and ruining the format. More rotations mean these problems solve themselves faster.
Mana Base of the Day
While we wait on details to emerge over Khans of Tarkir let’s walk through a deck I’ve been playing that I feel has an especially beautiful fetchland mana base.
The idea is to abuse Crucible of Worlds.
In combination with a fetchland, Crucible of Worlds means we will NEVER miss a land drop again. Every turn we can pay 1 life to have more land in play.
With Tectonic Edge, Crucible of Worlds means the opponent is going to be restricted on lands for the rest of the game. No matter how many lands they draw, they aren’t getting past 4.
The key is going to be building a deck that can drag a game on for a dozen or more turns to maximize the full advantage of Crucible.
We could build a Blue Crucible deck with red and white cards. Maybe we could build a red Crucible or a white Crucible deck. We could definitely build a black Crucible deck.
But today I’m interested in lands. I want a pristine mana base.
And no land is easier on my eyes than the basic Island.
This deck is quite good and enjoyable if you don’t mind taking 50 minutes to kill the opponent with an Inkmoth Nexus. It plays quite a bit like classic blue control decks of the past—Landstill in particular.
On one hand Batterskull is immune to Path to Exile and is a fantastic kill with Inkmoth Nexus. On the other hand it costs much more money and we arguably don’t even need either. In a perfect world, we would all play Batterskull here, but oh well.
I played with this deck this past weekend and I’m a huge fan. It has the mono-blue feel but it also has the feeling that lands are the most powerful cards in the deck. They cast all our spells and they fuel our bombs in Vedalken Shackles and Crucible of Worlds.
Over long games we crush their mana while assembling a beautiful panaroma for ourselves. Mono-Blue Crucible—it’s a land thing.
This is the sideboard I’ve been rocking:
The card I’m most excited about in the sideboard is Sun Droplet.
Sun Droplet is a super hoser against Burn and great against fast aggressive decks. This thing costs 2 mana and can gain 2 life a turn… forever.
This card is basically the best pure life gain spell outside of white. It’s really one of the only few options.
Sun Droplet has proven itself at past national tournaments in Standard and I’d like to bring it back. This sleepy little uncommon offers absurd bang for buck in the right sideboard.
Fetch Lands Moving Forward
I have big plans for the new fetchlands. I have big plans for fetchlands in general. They are going to power my Crucible of Worlds, they are going to fix my mana, and they are going to cast my spells.
Without fetchlands, without these lands, we would have nothing. We would have no game. No life in that plane, no life on this plane.
But we do have the lands and that’s great. It’s going to mean more brews for me, more brews for you, more players, more options, more decks, more fun.
This is a great time to be a Magic Player.