Arena Boys Deck Guide: Orzhov Land Destruction

Magic has lost its way. Kids these days are casting 4 mana 7/7s and newfangled planeswalkers, with no respect for the days when we had to walk uphill—both ways—just to play a 2 mana 2/2 with downside! Ironclaw Orcs? Mogg Jailer? Let me tell you, impetuous youngster, we were thankful for these glorious cards!

It’s time for a change. It’s time to teach these young whippersnappers a thing or two about how to sling cardboard. It’s time to take things back to how Magic was meant to be played. The traditional and more pure way to play this glorious game, the way Garfield intended, with misery-inducing one-sided mass land destruction.

Phyrexian ScripturesFall of the Thran

All going well, if you curve Phyrexian Scriptures into Fall of the Thran, you will destroy and then exile their entire board. Creatures, lands—doesn’t matter—they all die real nice to this one-two punch. Meanwhile, you’re there with artifact mana, regrowing lands, and having a great time. Truly, Magic as Garfield intended!

Orzhov Land Death

8 Swamp
8 Plains
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Godless Shrine
4 Remorseful Cleric
1 Dawn of Hope
4 Fountain of Renewal
4 Treasure Map/Treasure Cove
4 Chromatic Lantern
2 Kaya's Wrath
2 Vraska's Contempt
4 Phyrexian Scriptures
4 Fall of the Thran
1 The Immortal Sun
2 Moment of Craving
4 Mastermind's Acquisition

1 Banefire
1 Zacama, Primal Calamity
1 Vivien Reid
1 Yargle, Glutton of Urborg
1 Dawn of Hope
1 Spell Pierce
1 Sentinel Totem
1 Aryel, Knight of Windgrace
1 Sanguine Sacrament
1 Revival/Revenge
1 Persistent Petitioners
1 Duress
1 Ixalan's Binding
1 Divine Visitation

Card Choices

As discussed in the video, the idea for this deck came about when Toffel suggested combining Fall of the Thran with Phyrexian Scriptures to build a one-sided Armageddon. This is obviously a pretty powerful thing to do—even if it requires such a huge amount of setup—and so most of the list drives towards making the best of Fall of the Thran. This is also quite a difficult thing to do, as Fall of the Thran is, surprisingly, a very bad card indeed.

Phyrexian Scriptures works double duty as a sweeper (backed up by Kaya’s Wrath), as well as a way to prevent lands from returning with Fall of the Thran. But it’s not the only way, as Remorseful Cleric will clear out their graveyard as well (while also serving as a win condition in a pinch when a 2/1 flyer is enough to get there). It’s not the primary win condition, however. Oh no, not by any means. The Fountain of Renewal plus Dawn of Hope package is enough to win most games, but Mastermind’s Acquisition really lets you dive off the deep end.

Mastermind's Acquisition

Mastermind’s Acquisition is included as a Diabolic Tutor, for the most part. The curve of Acquisition, Scriptures, Fall is made all the easier with Acquisition searching up the missing part, but that’s only half the story. Acquisition, in conjunction with Chromatic Lantern, means that you can play literally any Standard-legal win condition you like. That’s what is known in the business as “big game”.

When it comes to the sideboard, I think having Duress, Ixalan’s Binding, and Sentinel Totem is a good call. Sentinel Totem in particular, as if you’re missing both Remorseful Cleric or Phyrexian Scriptures on turn 5, you can Acquisition for the Totem before slamming Fall of the Thran next turn.

The rest is absolute nonsense, of course, but that’s the beauty of it. Once you’ve blown up their entire board, you’re free to win however you want with dumb cards out of the sideboard. For us, that’s Zacama and Banefire (obviously). For you, it can be anything you like. Hydroid Krasis? Adanto Vanguard? Torch Keeper? Chromatic Lantern shines a light on the words of the famous philosopher, Liza Minnelli: “Anything is possible in this world.”


Much of the early game is about survival and setup. We were all enormously impressed with Fountain of Renewal—the card is such a beating against the various mono-colored aggressive strategies—and that along with cheap, efficient removal means you should be able to defend your life total. From there, use cards like Treasure Map and Mastermind’s Acquisition to sculpt the perfect hand.

With six sweepers and plenty of spot removal, managing the board isn’t too difficult. Eventually, you want to put yourself in a position where you can effectively restart the game by blowing up their lands (and creatures, ideally), hastening your own mana development against theirs with Chromatic Lantern, and returned lands from Fall of the Thran. Two turns after the Armageddon effect, you should be back to 6 or 7  mana, while they should be struggling to play a second land.

Fountain of RenewalDawn of Hope

The combo of Fountain of Renewal and Dawn of Hope is, in all honesty, enough to get there against most decks. It provides everything: life gain, card advantage, and pressure. But you can definitely speed up the process by snagging a win condition from the sideboard. Once you get to the point where you’re doing that, the game is effectively over and you’re just tidying up and switching the lights off before you leave the office.

There are a few things to keep in mind when resolving Fall of the Thran triggers. Firstly, make sure your Phyrexian Scriptures trigger resolves before the Fall one, so their graveyard is good and gone before the Fall tries to bring back lands. Secondly, remember that if you bring back a Plains or Swamp and an Isolated Chapel, the Chapel will still enter tapped as they all enter the battlefield at the same time.

Next Week

Next week we’re going to try to break Growing Rites of Itlimoc! Gaea’s Cradle is a hell of a card, and there are plenty of delicious mana sinks in today’s Standard, so we’ll see just how silly we can get with it.

As ever, if you’ve got a list you’d like us to play, send it through to us on Twitter: @thearenaboys. It’s always great to get feedback. Thanks to everyone who comments on our videos or gets at us on Twitter, so please add your voice to the chorus!

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