I have a 45-land deck that is competitive in Modern. I haven’t been this excited since Ninja Bear and FogDoor.
If you’re skeptical, I understand. A 45-land deck is not competitive. It should not be competitive.
But it wins. How much? I really don’t know. I don’t know what to believe. The tournament practice room has been easy and it seems like I’ve been winning a lot in the 2-mans, but the sample size is small. I don’t have any kind of real data here.
But if a 45-land deck is even semi-competitive or maybe he-said-she-said good, we are talking HUGE SUCCESS.
Forty-five. C’mon man. Forty-five! If the deck wins even a third of the matches I’m telling my grandkids—and I’ve been doing much better than that.
So let’s get to the list.
Last year I was pretty consistent with TWoosday Brewsday—a weekly stream where I would brew a new deck and face off against community brews.
One of the coolest ideas to come out of the community last year was the Countryside Crusher Fling deck.
The idea is to mulligan to Countryside Crusher. Crusher immediately becomes huge/lethal and digs only to more Crushers and Flings.
The deck is clearly not very competitive, but I remember being matched against it enough that I did eat it to the Giant.
Now that the Modern Pro Tour is over I feel relieved to move back in a casual direction. So I decided the first place I would start is with 55 Mountains.
The Seismic Assault Test
Then I got to thinking about Seismic Assault and the Seismic Assault test.
Let me ask you. Can your deck lose to this cheese?
A good draw from this deck can put out 12 – 14 damage on the third turn and will put out
56 x 2 = 112
This deck will put out 112 damage over the course of a long game so if your deck has a life total and creature count of less than 112 you might actually have a tough matchup against a good draw.
Decks that struggle with the Seismic Assault test include toughness-light Snapcaster Mage decks and toughness-light Robot decks.
Clearly merging the Seismic deck with the Countryside Crusher deck is going to be an improvement on both, so let’s do that.
The problem here is that there are still too many top tier decks that pass the Seismic test. Melira Pod has too much life gain and toughness. Tarmogoyf decks have too much toughness.
What we need is a gas card to combo with Seismic Assault.
Treasure Hunt or Life from the Loam?
The issue with Treasure Hunt is that it depends on having barely any spells in your deck, and with 12 already the card starts to drag in value.
On the other hand we have the historically-proven Life from the Loam to combo with our Seismic Assault.
Life from the Loam
Now we have a deck like this:
It’s starting to look a lot better.
The most exciting part is filling in the lands. Red and green have the deepest array of value lands of any color combination in the format, so let’s dig into that.
Spinerock Knoll taps for red for Seismic Assault and is a nice combo with a Seismic Assault if we grab a Loam or a Crusher.
Ghitu Encampment taps for red and is an okay body.
Treetop Village is a fantastic manland as a cheap 3/3 and if we’re green we have to use it.
If we’re playing Treetop Village we are going to want to filter it back into Seismic Assault, so Thicket becomes an all-star.
For any red/green deck, Raging Ravine is a great option. It has the biggest attacking potential for any manland and it’s not that expensive to activate.
Mosswort Bridge is similar to Spinerock Knoll but it’s a little harder to turn on. We need a big Crusher but we can also pump it up with man lands. And unlike Spinerock Knoll we’ll still want a Seismic Assault if we see it.
Kessig Wolf Run is a nice combo with Countryside Crusher to cut off chump-blocking.
Tectonic Edge is one of the top lands in Modern and the combination with Life from the Loam is enough to actually shut out some of the slower control decks like UWR.
These lands are good because they cast all of our spells and activate all of our lands.
Misty Rainforest is particularly tricky as it protects Countryside Crusher and finds our basic Forest.
Now that we have all those sweet lands we are going to have to play with Oracle of Mul Daya. In any kind of a slower grindy game, Oracle will let us take over the game with manlands. The card also digs us to spells quickly.
That brings us to here:
Lands… and SPELLS!
Does this deck actually win? It doesn’t make all that much sense, but yeah.
Let’s go on a short adventure.
Lands… and SPELLS! Photo Blog
Here is our Robot opponent scooping the match to an on-board Treetop Village.
Here is a crippled Melira Pod player stripping all of our spells but unable to beat the lands.
Here is a Storm player scooping out of the match.
Here is a nut Countryside Crusher.
Here’s a UW Tron opponent actually unable to beat mono-lands. The opponent later revealed a hand full of counters, sorcery-speed removal, Unburial Rites, and Emrakul.
The deck wins.
One of the most interesting questions about this deck is how to mulligan with it.
It was founded on a similar principle to the mulligan-for-Crusher deck, so at first I treated this deck like mulligan-to-Crusher-or-Seismic Assault.
It was smooth sailing at first until the mulligans to 3 started to happen. A mulligan to 3 should never happen. I should have kept before that. But what could I have kept? What if every hand was all lands?
So I started keeping all-land hands.
Now that I was keeping every hand I started to win more, surprisingly.
I found that I didn’t always need to draw Seismic Assault by turn 3, and if I ever drew it when alive, the board was immediately stabilized. I always had so much gas in hand.
Against other decks I found that sometimes the lands were enough pressure by themselves. So presumably lands plus Crusher or Oracle could put up a good fight.
However, the fact that I made a mistake by mulliganing every all-land hand doesn’t mean I should keep every all-land hand. Some all-land hands are better than other all-land hands.
So I started mulliganning 7-land hands and keeping 6-land hands. This way I got more shots for a Seismic without having to give up too much gas to do it.
It’s possible there’s even an alternative mulligan strategy that’s better, but that’s what I’ve been doing and I like it a lot.
Building a sideboard with a deck like this is pretty interesting. Are we going to board in more threats or hateful answers?
How many lands are we willing to board out?
So far I’ve pretty much gone with a mono-hateful-answer sideboard and I’ve been liking it.
Ancient Grudge is an absurd card against Affinity. 4x.
Leyline of the Void can be singlehandedly game winning against Storm or Living End. It’s also okay against Melira Pod.
Anger of the Gods is the best card against Melira Pod and is also good against various small creature decks like Affinity, Merfolk, and Fast Zoo.
Ghost Quarter is mean against Tron decks and is also an additional fetchland to play around Blood Moon.
This is definitely the weakest sideboard slot and I’d consider alternatives. The closest thing I have in mind is Leyline of Sanctity. Leyline of the Sanctity can singlehandedly blank Burn, and I play against that deck occasionally online.
Tweaking Lands… and SPELLS!
So here it is:
This deck can definitely be tweaked. I like it right now. I like the lands and I like the number of spells. There are a lot of other directions you can go.
Budget Lands… and Spells!
If you’ve noticed that this deck uses a lot of throwaway rares and can be built without fetchlands, I have too.
This deck is pretty budget by Modern standards, and it can be tweaked to be even more budget.
If you’re wondering if you’d get your money’s worth, I bet you would. The deck is so much fun and it’s good enough.
If you’re wondering if there’s a good speculation on this deck, I don’t know. Maybe Seismic Assault or Life from the Loam, but it’s possible the whole deck would go up in value. I can imagine this being the type of deck that a lot of players like to have in their backpack so maybe if it takes off as an archetype the whole deck will become more valuable.
So that’s it for me this week. Join me back later this week for some matches with the deck!