A few words on Albert LindblomMy name is Albert Lindblom and I am a Swedish magic player living in Denmark. I have played magic since Ice Age and Legacy since 2010. I used to play The EPIC Storm exclusively for many years, and a big part of my paper legacy collection is actually built up from store credits that I won playing TES. I stopped playing Storm during the peak of the Deathrite era and I have not played a single match with the deck since Gitaxian Probe was banned. I am now an online grinder with Lands. I have many great finishes with Lands including multiple Legacy Showcase Top 8’s and a 9th place in last year’s Eternal Weekend. I also managed to qualify for one of the Arena “Pro-Tours” via a 2nd place in last season’s Showcase Qualifier.
[[Urza’s Saga]] is strong in Lands. It’s a better midrange engine than [[Sylvan Library]] or [[Valakut Exploration]] in the current Legacy meta (that in many ways is warped by the card [[Prismatic Ending]]). [[Urza’s Saga]] has great synergy with [[Life from the Loam]] and [[Crop Rotation]] and I like the toolbox that it provides as this makes our deck more non-linear.
[[Urza’s Saga]] does very little in game one against TES as it’s often too slow. In post sideboard games however a Saga combined with a Sphere effect is an effective strategy that requires less resources compared to the [[Dark Depths]] combo.
No. This strategy does not work against [[Lotus Petal]] decks as they can just sandbag a land in hand or go off from a [[Lotus Petal]] or Mox.
Game one is only won by a turn two or turn three Marit Lage, and it’s better to use the mana from our copies of [[Wasteland]] to speed up our clock.
I know that many great TES players refuse to go for [[Empty the Warrens]] against Lands, so this is not a card that I worry about. In fact, I sometimes side [[The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale]] out in the matchup as I am confident that my opponent will not try to win with [[Goblin Token]]s.
In the olden days, when we played four [[Gamble]], [[Empty the Warrens]] was truly a non-issue. I was jumping for joy every time that my TES opponent went for the [[Goblin Token]]s plan. BAs we started cutting [[Gamble]] for [[Valakut Exploration]], [[Empty the Warrens]] became a little bit better as it was harder to consistently find [[The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale]]. Even in these builds, we played four [[Crop Rotation]] and two [[Elvish Reclaimer]], making [[Empty the Warrens]] was somewhat of a risky option. In today’s version of Lands, we play an [[Expedition Map]] that can be found via [[Urza’s Saga]], and I would say that it’s easy to find a [[The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale]] with this configuration.
They have not changed the matchup much in my opinion. Sure, [[Prismatic Ending]] is a cheap way to destroy [[Sphere of Resistance]] that also dodge [[Pyroblast]], but TES already had access to this effect in [[Abrupt Decay]] or [[Crash]].
[[Orim’s Chant]] can stop Marit Lage for a crucial turn, and it also plays nicely around [[Mindbreak Trap]]. We typically don’t play [[Mindbreak Trap]], however, or any other spell-based interaction and hence [[Orim’s Chant]] is mostly a dead card against Lands.
It’s hard to find sideboard cards that are great against TES, ANT and [[Doomsday]] at the same time. The best one I can think of is [[Flusterstorm]], but this requires us to have a blue splash.
TES is good at ignoring our spell based interaction. [[Crop Rotation]], [[Endurance]] and [[Pyroblast]] do very little against TES. I still think, however, that TES is an easier matchup than ANT. This is because TES has a shaky manabase, and they also use artifacts as their mana sources (and hence [[Force of Vigor]] can be used to attack their mana). A single Sphere is often enough to win over TES, but I don’t feel the same way when playing against ANT.
[[Doomsday]] is another [[Dark Ritual]] deck, and this got a lot easier once [[Endurance]] was printed. We can now fight [[Doomsday]] with both permanent and spell-based hate. There are even utility lands, such as [[Ipnu Rivulet]], that we can add if we want to improve our chances against [[Doomsday]]. I still think that this is a very difficult matchup as it’s a fast combo deck with [[Force of Will]].
In game one, [[Exploration]] is better than [[Mox Diamond]]. We want to go turn one [[Exploration]] into turn two Marit Lage (possibly via a [[Crop Rotation]]).
In game two, [[Mox Diamond]] is one of our best cards. We want to go turn one [[Mox Diamond]] plus [[Sphere of Resistance]], and then follow this up with a turn two [[Urza’s Saga]] or turn three Marit Lage. I will definitely keep a hand with [[Sphere of Resistance]] but no [[Mox Diamond]] on the play, but this can be too slow on the draw.
[[Force of Vigor]] is very good against TES. TES players will often play out their artifact mana to play around Spheres, and this gets punished by [[Force of Vigor]]. Good TES players will sequence their spells in a way to minimize the impact of [[Force of Vigor]]. I will not keep a hand where [[Force of Vigor]] is the only interaction as this will not be enough.
I think that the Lands master Casey Lancaster has described this matchup very well via this sentence: “if we both are casting spells then I’m going to lose”.
This really sums up my strategy against Storm. I want to stop them from casting their Spells. If I play [[Rishadan Port]], then I will try to land a [[Sphere of Resistance]] and then heavily attack my opponents mana. If I play [[Urza’s Saga]] (instead of [[Rishadan Port]]), I will play more like a Prison-Combo or Prison-Aggro. This means that I will try to slam a Sphere and then win before my opponent manages to remove it.
[[Sphere of Resistance]] is the most important card in my sideboard, and I bring in 4-5 of these effects against TES. I also take in [[Force of Vigor]] and some copies of [[Pyroblast]]. I usually have 10-13 cards to bring in against TES. In order to make room for these I will take out 4-5 lands ([[Bojuka Bog]], [[Karakas]], [[Maze of Ith]], [[Field of the Dead]], and sometimes even [[The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale]]) as well as 2-3 [[Life from the Loam]]. I also take out all removal spells and shave down on [[Valakut Exploration]].
These cards do close to nothing against TES.
I don’t think Storm players should overboard against Lands as you are already favored to win, just take in a few answers to [[Sphere of Resistance]].
I think you are over-boarding if you bring in [[Galvanic Relay]] against Lands. This is not an attrition matchup. I will try to slow you down with a [[Sphere of Resistance]] and then kill you as soon as possible. Your focus should be to find an answer to my [[Sphere of Resistance]] or kill me before it resolves.
From the Lands side, I think trying to Wastelock your Storm opponent in game one is a trap. As I said before, [[Wasteland]] is better as a colorless mana source in game one than as a land destruction spell. Another mistake that I see Lands players do is to focus on the wrong thing once a [[Sphere of Resistance]] is resolved. If we have [[Sphere of Resistance]] down, we are favored to win, and all focus should be on preventing our opponent from removing the [[Sphere of Resistance]]. We should not tap out for [[Valakut Exploration]] if we have [[Pyroblast]] for a potential bounce spell. It’s also better to use our mana to [[Rishadan Port]] the TES opponent in their upkeep compared to casting an expensive spell on our own turn.
From the TES side I sometimes see players do the following: Go down to two life with [[Ad Nauseam]] and die to [[Punishing Fire]]. Play out [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] too early just to have it destroyed by [[Force of Vigor]]. Here is a hint, the spell that you cast after [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] should be [[Burning Wish]] / [[Infernal Tutor]] / [[Wishclaw Talisman]]. Otherwise your [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] will be destroyed in response to your next spell and you won’t be able to crack it. Go for the [[Goblin Token]]s plan. It’s not great to 7-for 1 yourself just to lose it all to a [[The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale]]. Forget to crack your fetches in response to the third chapter of [[Urza’s Saga]]. Once that chapter resolves, you will not have time to crack your fetches before [[Pithing Needle]] is in play.
I would like to give a shoutout to the Lands discord. This is the best place to learn the deck and all masters are in there. You can use (this) invite to join.
There is also a website dedicated to Lands that can be found (here).