Removed From Game – The Twelve Decks of Christmas #10: Valakut

The StarCityGames.com Open Series returns to Dallas/Fort Worth!
Thursday, January 7th – For the second week of his daily Twelve Decks of Christmas article series, Rich Hagon brings us Runeflare, Boros Bushwhacker, Vampires, and much more!

I hope you found some joy in fiddling around with mid-range Vampires yesterday. I didn’t, but I certainly had plenty of fun, if not success, with this lot:

In truth, this is something of a one-trick pony, but it’s one hell of a trick, and one hell of a pony. In essence, once your Valakut is online with the right number of Mountains already primed, you have a deck that’s brimming full of Lightning Bolts that cost zero. The hard bit is still being alive long enough to pull off this delicious stunt.

Most Control decks feature mass removal, and it’s usually an indicator of the speed of a format whether or not Wrath of God is quick enough to have an impact at four mana. Right now, Wrath of God is Day of Judgment, but your boardsweeper doesn’t cost four. It costs eight, and in case you’re wondering, that’s a lot. In order to make this kind of overcosted nonsense viable, you better have access to a lot of mana, fast.

To that end, your deck is absolutely packed to the gills with ways to circumvent the rule about ‘one land per turn.’ Khalni Heart Expedition can be slow, but is a big bump up towards the end of your ‘ramp.’ Rampant Growth gets you one step closer, as does Harrow. Meanwhile, your creatures are mostly trying to keep you alive while you assemble all this mana. Bloodbraid Elf will mostly Cascade into a mana producer, with Lightning Bolt direct to the head usually the worst outcome. Goblin Ruinblaster has a good chance of setting your opponent back a turn, while Siege-Gang Commander can take a lot of getting around, allowing you the time you need.

Of course, none of this is much use without our hero card: Valakut, The Molten Pinnacle. That’s why we effectively run eight of them, thanks to Expedition Map, our very own personal Valakut tutor. Given its name, you might expect it to be a Legendary land, but I can assure that it isn’t, and that means you can get multiples down and do frankly absurd things. Both Terramorphic Expanse and Jund Panorama can turn into Mountains, and Harrow gets you a pair of them. With Valakut up and running, there’s very little any deck can do against you.

So what’s the downside? Apart from the time you need, which plenty of decks won’t willingly give you, the fact is that your deck is packed with cards that do approximately nothing to directly impact the game. Khalni Heart Expedition, Harrow, Rampant Growth, Expedition Map… this lot do a whole lot of nothing, while other decks have cards that impact straight away. Sometimes, you’ll lose a game and feel that you’ve cast literally nothing worthwhile, and you’ll be correct. Get as far as the magic five Mountains though, and you’re going to have a big stupid grin on your face. Let the carnage commence!

Until tomorrow, as ever…