Sideboarding Against Lands

Written by Kevin King on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Legacy

Sideboarding Against Lands

Kevin King

Kevin King is from Baltimore, has finished in the top 4 of the 2015 Legacy Championships, 2nd at SCG Worcester and top 64 of Grand Prix Chiba. When he is not blind flipping a Delver of Secrets, you can find him on Lands. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @Yahappynow

As a devoted Lands player, this is kind of a dumb idea, but I’m going to teach you how to beat me.  It’s always possible to board some outrageous tech like Dominate or Telemin Performance to beat Lands, but we’re going to focus on boarding to win without losing points to the rest of the field.  We’ll be looking at the latest in decklists and sideboards and how you should use your sideboard the most effectively, whether you’re favored and boarding to beat the hate or a huge dog trying to steal the matchup back.

Lands

I’ve been testing some crazy stuff getting ready for GP Columbus, but this is the latest list I can recommend in good conscience with accompanying sideboard plan.

In Out
Dark Confidant Maze of Ith
Dark Confidant Maze of Ith
Karakas Glacial Chasm
Krosan Grip Dark Depths
Krosan Grip Dark Depths
Pithing Needle The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale

The matchup can be very swingy, with both players jockeying to take control of the game by having the combination of Life From the Loam, Wasteland, and Exploration without getting Bojuka Bogged.  Pithing Needle is symmetrical in this matchup, but being the person who controls it is important.  Copying some random land early with Thespian’s Stage sets you up to be ahead, but it’s narrow.  Feel free to leave Needle behind.  Karakas bounces opposing Marit Lages.  Krosan Grip kills Explorations when you’re behind and Mox Diamonds when you’re ahead.  Dark Confidant gives you a fair “draw” every turn that you dredge, putting you ahead in the Exploration and Krosan Grip race.  Sometimes you get in some significant damage by attacking with it as well, considering they are unlikely to have many Maze of Ith either.  Maze of Ith saves you from a Marit Lage, but the deck is really well set up to beat a Marit Lage and so both players are likely boarding away from the combo.  Between Maze of Ith, Karakas, Wasteland, and opposing Thespian’s Stages, trying to make a token is often too big of a liability.

Grixis Delver

Let’s start the non-mirrors with a list which would count Lands as its worst matchup in a field of 55%s.  We’ll be using Grixis Delver hero Noah Walker’s latest list.  Thanks to Noah for the list and tech.

In Out
Engineered Explosives Daze
Surgical Extraction Daze
Surgical Extraction Daze
Pithing Needle Daze
Ancient Grudge Dismember

On the play, Daze may sometimes be good enough.  It’s important to counter Exploration and even more so Molten Vortex.  It’s hard to win through the former and impossible through the latter.  In the case you want some Dazes, consider shaving Lightning Bolts.  Cabal Therapy is an odd one.  It might be right to not take any out but not bring any in.  When it’s good it’s great, but Lightning Bolt is often better to close out games.  I like leaving Spell Pierce even on the draw because you don’t have to sacrifice tempo to hit the Turn One or Two plays like Gamble, Molten Vortex, Exploration, or sometimes even Mox Diamond.  Lands doesn’t come with many colored mana sources and sometimes countering Diamond is the right play.  Obviously Surgical Extraction is important.  It hits Life from the Loam most of the time, but often it’s correct to aim at Wasteland if Loam threatens to get back one or more before you can Surgical it. Pithing Needle names Thespian’s Stage or Molten Vortex and Engineered Explosives destroys all of Lands’s 1 cost permanents in most games, but be on the lookout for the Mox Diamond games where you can take Lands off colored mana.  Ancient Grudge similarly hits Diamonds and occasionally opposing Pithing Needles on Deathrite Shaman.

Miracles

While Storm may be Lands’ worst matchup, Miracles is definitely the biggest threat, being a larger percent of the metagame.  Your main deck is already good and it gets better after board.  Thanks to Miracles expert Anuraag Das for his latest Predict list and board.

 

In Out
Snapcaster Mage Terminus
Surgical Extraction Terminus
Surgical Extraction Terminus
Wear//Tear Terminus
Wear//Tear Counterspell
Wear//Tear Counterspell

You won’t be able to counter much with two mana that matters, so Counterspell is shaved.  Force of Will is very live in the first few turns to hit things like Thoughtseize and Gamble, but by turn 2, most counterable spells that matter have been cast.  Terminus is a Sorcery without Sensei’s Divining Top shenanigans and is just not good against an end step Marit Lage.  You will want to bring in Surgical Extraction to disrupt the graveyard plan, Wear//Tear to hit things like Molten Vortex, Exploration, and Mox Diamond as well as to be a one and a two for Counterbalance, and Snapcaster Mage to double up on your spells like Surgical Extraction and Swords to Plowshares and to be your eventual win condition if you never find Jace.

Eldrazi

For Eldrazi Stompy I’ll be using the list I advocated for in my “getting into Legacy” series article on Eldrazi.  If Lands finds Wastelands, it’s really tough for Eldrazi to win.  If not, Eldrazi often presents too fast of a clock.

In Out
Ratchet Bomb Dismember
Ratchet Bomb Dismember
Leyline of the Void Warping Wail
Leyline of the Void Endbringer
Leyline of the Void Umezawa’s Jitte
Leyline of the Void Umezawa’s Jitte

There’s a lot that could come out in this matchup.  It may be correct to use the Trinisphere slots for Endbringers, but I think six mana is a little greedy against a deck that is looking to recur Wasteland.  Warping Wail is pretty bad here, but it counters Gamble at best and buys a turn against Life From the Loam at worst.  I think it’s important to have as an option even if it’s narrow.  I would cut one before you cut any Trinisphere though.  Making Lands pay 3 for their Life From the Loam is actually important against the Wasteland plan where Lands is using their land drop for the Wasteland if they never hit Exploration.  You need to be the faster resource denial deck while really racing that creature damage in.

Shardless

Winning with Shardless can be rough.  Most of your threats die to a Punishing Fire or Molten Vortex easily and you don’t have much good counter magic.  This list I pulled from an MTGO league because it is fairly representative of the archetype.

 In Out
Vendilion Clique Dismember
 Sylvan Library Hymn to Tourach
Jace, the Mind Sculptor  Hymn to Tourach
Life from the Loam Thoughtseize
Golgari Charm  Thoughtseize
 Golgari Charm  Thoughtseize
Diabolic Edict Liliana of the Veil
 Diabolic Edict  Liliana of the Veil

Vendilion Clique can steal a Life From the Loam in the draw step, so that’s an auto include.  Sylvan Library will help find lands while you get Wastelanded out of the game.  Card selection is important while Lands races you to zero resources.  Jace, the Mind Sculptor is expensive, but hard for Lands to answer.  Life From the Loam is a little greedy against Exploration but sometimes it can keep you alive.  Dredge 3 is also a combo with a bad set of cards under Sylvan Library. Golgari Charm destroys Exploration and can save a Deathrite Shaman against a Punishing Fire for enough time to untap and eat it.  Liliana of the Veil is essentially a much worse Diabolic Edict in this matchup, so upgrade her to instants that can kill an end step Marit Lage.  All of your discard is near to useless against the Life From the Loam stage of the game and Dismember has no targets.

Ad Nauseam Tendrils (ANT)

You are favored game one by miles.  Game one is a combo race and you’re the better combo.  Don’t rely on your graveyard or just play around Crop Rotation for Bojuka Bog and you’re immensely favored here.  We’ll use Caleb Sherer’s list from January.

 In Out
Abrupt Decay Cabal Therapy
Abrupt Decay  Cabal Therapy
Abrupt Decay  Cabal Therapy
Tropical Island Underground Sea

I’m very far from an expert with Storm, so consult your local expert on this one.  Duress and Cabal Therapy both hit Sphere of Resistance and Crop Rotation, two of the only relevant cards you consistently will see out of Lands.  I would rather have Duress personally as it is more likely you’ll hit some random hate rock you wouldn’t have named than that you’ll get two Sphere of Resistance on turn one.  You will also need green mana and Abrupt Decay for resolved hate rocks.  Conceptually, this one’s pretty simple as you probably won game one and just need to beat the hate in game two or three.

Sneak and Show

Sneak and Show is generally pretty favored here.  Lands is just the slower combo deck that can’t usually interact.  I’m borrowing Chris VanMeter’s list from a Card Kingdom 1k last month.

 In Out
Blood Moon Spell Pierce
 Blood Moon  Spell Pierce
 Blood Moon  Spell Pierce
Echoing Truth Force of Will

 

You’ll want Blood Moon for obvious reasons, but don’t need as much countermagic as all of Lands’ removal spells for Blood Moon are effectively uncounterable.  Focus on countering Mox Diamonds which work under Blood Moon, Gamble, and things like Pithing Needle or Thoughtseize.  Echoing Truth bounces Marit Lage but pulls double duty against permanent-based hate from Lands.

I hope you’re all ready for Grand Prix Columbus.  If you have questions or would like to see the plan for a matchup I didn’t cover here, put it in a comment and I’ll write it up if I can find the time.

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