After the printing of Bloodbraid Elf, G/R Land Destruction briefly became a deck to beat in Modern. The Arbor Elf – Utopia Sprawl package provides explosive starts and Bloodbraid Elf was a perfect four-drop to take advantage of it, often hitting a Stone Rain or Blood Moon to put the opponent immediately in a tough spot in terms of development while also staring down a significant clock.
The G/R deck is able to back up its land destruction with a clock so as to end the game before the opponent can recover. But where’s the fun in that? When my opponent is locked out of any meaningful plays, I want to drag the game out as long as possible and take my time savoring the inevitable victory.
Today’s deck has a similar land destruction package and Trinisphere to play the Blood Moon role of locking the opponent out of casting spells while being much better against Burn and the various Faithless Looting decks.
The backup for the land destruction package is where things get spicy. Rather than end the game, Eternal Witness rebuys the land destruction to keep the opponent in the lock. Then Primal Command shows up to find more copies of Eternal Witness for more fun.
The end-game is a card that I’m sure many opponents read when it’s cast: Stampeding Serow. Once you find this little number you get to rebuy an Eternal Witness every turn, assembling what we in the business call “the hard lock.” In case your opponent assembles a battlefield under your disruption, Primal Command can buy time with the lifegain mode or simply tutor for one of the toolbox creatures, like Silent Arbiter, Hornet Queen, or Walking Ballista, all good against hordes of small creatures, the bane of land destruction decks for 25 years.
But with all the land death goodness that’s going on here, the card I’m most excited to see is Plow Under. Not only is it a powerful card from Magic’s past, it’s among the most demoralizing effects ever printed. Not only are you down a bunch of mana, but you know your next two draw steps aren’t going to help much. Needless to say, I’m a big fan.
The low land count here worries me, given that you need to get to four mana quickly, but I like what’s going on here because there’s nothing worse than having to worry about your opponent messing up all your cool tricks by trying to kill you and your stuff. There’s a finite amount of fun available in any given game of Magic, and I want it all.
- 1 Silent Arbiter
- 4 Eternal Witness
- 1 Stampeding Serow
- 2 Simian Spirit Guide
- 2 Acidic Slime
- 4 Arbor Elf
- 1 Hornet Queen
- 3 Elvish Mystic
- 1 Walking Ballista
- 1 Pendelhaven
- 19 Forest