(Dan is back today with a pretty interesting take on land destruction. His last article on Ashling was a very popular entry, and I’m happy to have him back for another round.
It’s safe to say that we don’t see eye-to-eye on land destruction (or Worldfire, for that matter…), but I can’t help but agree with quite a bit of what Dan has to say about the double standards applied to other denial strategies. This is a solid assessment even if you aren’t down with LD.
“But Dan, at least they aren’t touching our lands, so if we draw an answer, we can still play it.”
Again, in practice we know this isn’t always the case. Even the best deck will have unfortunate shuffles and bad luck. There will be games where you just won’t find that crucial enchantment removal, and in those games, you’ll be trying to play stuff and failing miserably. If they continually wipe your board and then sit back on their engine, the game is long and boring and you aren’t playing.
Let’s not kid ourselves – these decks are keeping you from playing as equally as if I limited you to a few lands with LD.
“OK, I have five lands instead of eleven. I just have to play carefully, and make aggressive moves if I want to win this game.”
Of course, we can’t forget that odds that the counterspell player isn’t just playing counterspells for the sake of counterspells; he’s probably building board presence in the form of a Workshop-style EDH prison deck. That matchup is a lot of fun. (By the way, Mr. Counterspell Player…if you’re going to engage in the most non-interactive stack manipulation ever, why not just goldfish at home? You’d save the gas you’d use to get to the shop.)
-“Oh, hey… I didn’t see that Wolf Run tucked under that
Forest. Well, I guess you just dealt me lethal damage.”
-“WOO! I just top decked the removal spell I need for that pesky artifact! Oh wait..is that an Academy Ruins you have there? Umm… Ok, I pass the turn.”
-“Volrath’s Stronghold huh? You’re just going to bring back your creatures if I play this board wipe…hmm…”
While we’re here…how often do you see people just dump tons of lands on the table? For me, it seems like all the time. I’ll see people drop land and after land and never use them. Why? For some imagined awesome play that costs twelve mana, but will be the talk of the shop if you ever manage to draw into the one card that will pair so perfectly with that other card in your hand? Does anyone keep lands back? I’ll see people sit there on a ton of lands, use only half, and still drop lands automatically whenever they draw them. Would you do that when you draft? Would you do that at a tournament? Or would you do the smart thing and keep something back? If you’ve drafted, and suddenly you stall out by hitting a pocket of five lands, would you drop them, or hold some back and try to make your opponent think you’ve got tricks up your sleeve?