Ever since it was previewed, Wilderness Reclamation is all I can think
Wilderness Reclamation represents an effect very similar to Seedborn Muse,
which we haven’t really seen in a long time. Prophet of Kruphix is the last
one that I can remember offhand, but there are a few pretty big
differences. For one, Wilderness Reclamation doesn’t suffer from being a
creature. If your opponent kills Wilderness Reclamation, it will be because
they drew one of their very few ways to interact with it. On top of that,
costing one less mana (and only one green mana) is a pretty big deal.
The trick to making Wilderness Reclamation work is to use your mana at
instant speed. Bonus points if the card you pair with it can be used
multiple times. When I first read Wilderness Reclamation, the first thing
came to mind was Chemister’s Insight. When you hit your fourth land and
cast Wilderness Reclamation, all you want to be doing is making sure you
can use that extra mana. Chemister’s Insight fits the bill perfectly. That
burst of mana and card advantage starts to push you forward into the
lategame, all starting on the fourth turn.
But instants aren’t the only thing to pair with Wilderness Reclamation. It
doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that Nexus of Fate pairs
nicely with all the extra mana Wilderness Reclamation helps you generate.
Untapping lands during your end step means you’re effectively doubling your
mana each turn, but it also means you get to untap lands with special
abilities. And I can think of a few cool lands to use.
So, this is where we start, but I’m just as excited about where we’ll
This deck very clearly resembles the “Turbo Fog” variants of Bant we’ve
seen at points throughout the last few months. However, I’ve never been
much of a fan of Fog and that style of gameplay. I’d much rather actually
deal with the opposing threats my opponent is attacking me with.
And while this deck may resemble a Fog strategy, it plays in a
significantly different manner. Strange how adding a personal Heartbeat of
Spring drastically changes what your deck can do. So what can this deck
And that’s just what I’ve seen in my first few games of testing. I’m sure
I’m missing a thing or two. The more mana you have, the more powerful
Wilderness Reclamation will be. In essence, Wilderness Reclamation is just
a big mana engine. It’s your job to find ways to use that mana once your
engine starts running. Chemister’s Insight is one of the better tools to
use that mana, as it has back to back uses. You also have a bunch of
redundant copies of things that are worth discarding to jump-start.
Search for Azcanta is a huge part of your overarching strategy. If you’re
able to cast one on the second turn, finding your engine is significantly
easier. Hitting your land drops becomes significantly easier. And once it
transforms into Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin, it combines with your marquee
card better than anything I’ve ever seen. You know how disgusting it is to
untap Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria? Well now you
get to untap all your mana instead of just two!
I’m a bit concerned about the mana. I don’t feel like we can afford to take
too much damage from the shocklands, but luckily we have Gift of Paradise
to help alleviate some of that pressure. I feel like I’m starting off
building all my three-color decks with virtually the same manabase (ten
shocklands, twelve check lands, couple of basics), and I don’t think that’s
even close to correct. But so far, everything has felt good enough. I only
shock myself once or twice a game, and rarely have any of my lands entered
the battlefield tapped. Every three-color combination has 24 possible dual
lands. The hard part of building these manabases is going to be figuring
out how many basic lands we can fit, as well as working our best to build
our spells around our mana. Playing a slightly worse card because it’s
easier to cast, which in turn puts less strain on your mana, which will
allow for playing more basic lands, should be a regular occurrence.
I don’t think this will be a tough sell, but Warrant not dealing with a
creature permanently is a potential issue. For me, the biggest selling
point is that Warrant helps push you toward transforming Search for
Azcanta, as well as pumping Enigma Drake and Crackling Drake. I’ve wanted a
spell like Warrant that can handle Adanto Vanguard out of an Izzet-ish
strategy, and often found myself playing Seal Away even when an instant or
sorcery was much more desirable.
I think the larger selling point is that Warrant is the best part of
Azorius Charm, which was a huge hit the first time around. And like Azorius
Charm, it has more than one useful mode. Creating a Serra Angel with Warden
in a matchup where your opponent has no desirable hits for Warrant is
awesome. Split cards are always going to be slightly worse for the cost
than a normal spell. You’re paying that extra mana for versatility, which
is perfect when you’re playing a deck where your primary mission is to cast
Wilderness Reclamation and generate a ton of mana.
So, we’ve built one deck with Wilderness Reclamation. Let’s try another.
- 4 Shock
- 4 Opt
- 2 Search for Azcanta
- 4 Primal Amulet
- 4 Radical Idea
- 4 Chemister's Insight
- 4 Expansion
- 2 Lava Coil
- 4 Discovery
- 4 Wilderness Reclamation
After posting my initial list on Twitter, someone on Twitter told me that
I’m like 90% to cut Primal Amulet in a week and replace it with Niv-Mizzet,
Parun. My goal is to prove them wrong. If I’ve learned anything from
untapping Azcanta, the Sunken Ruins, it’s that untapping one of these lands
you have to work to transform is a pretty big deal. And while Primal
Wellspring doesn’t do anything if you’re flooded out on mana, where Azcanta
can find action, the strength of doubling up on your spells is insane. But
what about tripling up?
When I first started brewing with Primal Amulet during the release of Guilds of Ravnica, I had the most success when I was playing cards
that could incidentally untap my Primal Wellspring. Teferi, Hero of
Dominaria was a no-brainer, but I also figured out that Unwind was pretty
good. And when most of your deck functions at instant speed, untapping your
Primal Wellspring with Wilderness Reclamation effectively ends the game on
The first thing I learned after casting Wilderness Reclamation was that
anything that gave you a way to use your mana in a big way was important.
Drawing cards is key, because it gives you fuel to continually abuse that
mana generation. And any card that can do that while also providing you
with alternate value, like Search for Azcanta, is something you want in
your deck. You want to see the perfect card?
Expansion acts as a Negate for your opponent’s counterspell. It can copy
your opponent’s card draw spell when you’re low on mana and need to hit
your land drops. Expansion can double up your removal spell to kill two
creatures and buy you time. You play four of this card because Expansion is
a fine spell on its own.
But you also play four copies because a fourth turn Wilderness Reclamation
followed by a fifth turn Explosion draws you six cards and kills something.
Winning after that should be trivial. I could be overstepping myself, as
I’ve certainly lost before when casting a big Explosion. However, that
usually only happens when I was unable to contain a wide array of threats
from my opponent. This version of the deck has Lava Coil and Shock to help
in the early turns, but we’re not really that kind of deck. We only have
those cards to help buy us some time until our engine gets running.
Then we dumpster them.
As you read this, Ross Merriam and I will likely be preparing for VS Live!
where I’ll be piloting this deck in one of our matches. If I had things my
way, I’d be playing three different variations on this archetype, because I
think the card Wilderness Reclamation is absolutely busted. I’d be trying
out a different removal package every game. I’d be mixing and matching the
numbers, trying out different manabases, different sideboard plans, all for
the glory of Primal Amulet.
Hot Take: Primal Amulet will be a major player in Guilds of
Ravnica Standard. Article and decklist up tomorrow on @StarCityGames
Todd Anderson (@strong_sad) September
I was always under the impression that transforming Primal Amulet into
Primal Wellspring would be the most difficult aspect of this card. When it
was first printed, I was able to use it to copy a Hazoret’s Undying Fury,
thinking it would easily win me the game. I was wrong, and transforming it
felt a little too difficult for the payoff. It wasn’t even close to
Pyromancer’s Goggles, a card I could just cast for five mana and then use
to cast and double up on a one-mana red removal spell.
But then they printed cards with jump-start and everything changed. When I
started jamming four copies of Radical Idea into the deck, transforming
Primal Amulet was almost too easy. I was using it to copy expensive and
splashy stuff like Star of Extinction or utility spells like Revitalize.
Ultimately, my win condition was Explosion, but it took a lot of effort to
get going. We needed more mana. And now we have it.
Before I go today, I want to go over some of the cards I want to try out
with Wilderness Reclamation, as well as a brief explanation as to why I
think they’d be useful.
Primal Wellspring can produce any color of mana, which is particularly
useful with split cards. That means you get to double up on Dispersal if
you want. Warrant is sweet but could be a little too difficult to cast in
the deck. With only sixteen sources of blue mana, getting two blue by the
second turn, untapped, could be relatively difficult.
I think this card will probably end up seeing some play in the deck, as
addendum means instant. And I don’t mind casting things on my main phase,
untapping, and then using that mana to cast my “real” card draw spells. It
might ultimately be too expensive for what it does, and possibly worse than
Blink of an Eye because it can’t “unlock” your permanents from an opposing
Drawing seven cards feels pretty good, but especially so when you get to
play a free permanent from your hand. And if that permanent is Wilderness
Reclamation, that means you get to untap immediately, and potentially
follow it up with Nexus of Fate.
This card works pretty well with Wilderness Reclamation on the front side,
but probably isn’t good enough to justify the inclusion.
Both sides of Vance’s Blasting Cannons work well here, giving you a card
advantage engine to go alongside your mana engine. Plus, when you get to
transform into Spitfire Bastion, you can end the game rather quickly (or
contain your opponent’s threats).
While this requires you to play four colors if you want to play blue, which
is relatively important for casting things at instant speed, it’s possible
you could find enough permanents that allow you to dump all that extra mana
where you don’t actually need to play blue at all. Profane Procession seems
like a fine answer to Niv-Mizzet, Parun if you ask me. And all that extra
mana, plus the ability to activate multiple times means you should be able
to grind through Dive Down.
I don’t think it’s an accident that Wilderness Reclamation works well with
all these cards from Ixalan. The trick is finding the ones worth
putting the effort into transforming so you can get a lot of mileage out of
their abilities. At the moment, I think Primal Amulet is the best one for
this, I could just be blinded by my love for all things Izzet. But the
whole reason I even started building this deck was because you can
Explosion for X=6 on the fifth turn, and all you have to do is cast
Wilderness Reclamation on the previous turn! That’s ridiculous!
My goal over the next few weeks is to see if Wilderness Reclamation is the
real deal. I’ll hopefully learn a bunch from my VS Live! session with Ross
and put together some cleaner lists for next week. We should also be
getting the full set pretty soon, which will make this whole
speculation/deckbuilding process a bit easier.
I just hope there are a few more cool instants and sorceries to try out!