I don’t mind Mass Land Destruction (MLD) in EDH. No qualifiers. No restrictions. Full Stop.
In fact, I kinda like it.
After lots of thought, my normative stance – my “you should probably do X” – on MLD in EDH is you should:
- Be a mature adult.
- Not start your deck building assuming MLD is outright unacceptable – as if Armageddon just didn’t exist.
- Consider it if it would really make sense in your deck, but have an alternate card you can swap in for each piece of MLD card board
- Be ready to have a conversation before you start any games, and if it seems like you casting ‘geddon will mean ANYONE has a BAD TIME (not has a slightly less good time, or is going to be wingy and whiny about every single thing that prevents them from goldfishing you…I mean legitimately doesn’t have fun), then swap it out for the alternate.
- Otherwise, go forth and death lands.
(Subpoint: Always feel free to death my lands because: you just feel like it; you just want to break something beautiful; my tears sustain you; you aren’t winning; you will recover the fastest; or you’ve just never cast it.
As a guy with generally unpopular opinions, this may be one of my more unpopular ones. It’s rare that I am in favor of something that even most of Team GDC would find miserable; most of them share a fairly common position – at a minimum, you shouldn’t Obliterate or whatever, unless you have a quick road to mopping up afterwards, so it’s basically just your win con.
Not Cool Dude
My general position in EDH has become that I basically think everything is fine. I want to shrink the banned list, and I want everyone to find their bliss. However, I recognize that how I feel about what people play against me is not a good metric to determine how the average player should build their decks for games against the average field (which I assume is even more polarized – hyper casual or quite competitive – than the average person who posts online about EDH).
The main reason is simply that you shouldn’t do something that everyone is going to hate and which really just doesn’t fit the context of your game or group. There are lots of reasons why people don’t like MLD, including because:
- They don’t like how MLD often slows down the game and often results in a lot of “draw-go” turns as people wait for new lands to rebuild with;
- They don’t like things that prevent them from playing their spells;
- They feel like lands are inviolate;
- They’re sick of people spitefully firing off a Cataclysm just because the person saw someone was in a strong position and used it to “not lose.”
- Infinity billion others.
These are fine. You gotta walk a mile in their shoes etc etc. The point is, don’t drop big dumps on people. This is a tough line because some people are immature. So what? Grow up and figure out how to navigate ambiguous situations. In the end, don’t be the guy at a table of people who are of generally like minds, who shows up and shits on their fun and is generally a socially-unaware ass.
<steps down off random soap box>
In other words, I’m not saying “go forth and land death them plebs.”
No, I’m saying something much more dastardly:
You Should Agree with Me and Share My Point of View
Here’s why you should also like Mass Land Destruction:
1. It’s a challenge. We play games with a competitive aspect because we like challenges. You’re not building cooperative LEGO bricks at the EDH table because that wasn’t the type of thing you want.
So challenges are fun. Think about the difference between an EDH game where everyone just jams their ramp or combo pieces or fatties or whatever until Exsanguinate—>win.
Now, compare those to games with multiple Wraths, a few cool on-board tricks, a crafty control player who leaves UU up most turns so you have to use ‘tester’ spells to try to bait the counters and guess if the window is open to resolve a key spell.
I know which one sounds fun, and which sounds like old-man-complan-y fodder.
(I recognize that this is like the most subjective point ever. “Your fun is not fun but my fun, which is what most people call unfun, is actually fun.” And I realize I made it bullet number 1. Yep. Deal.)
The point is, MLD is just another tool in the toolbox of keeping games challenging and dynamic.
2. It tests decks and deck-building along a different axis. I’ve been trying to build decks that are a bit more low-to-the-ground and redundant anyway. Redundant pieces and lower-CMC spells in a nice synergy stew make for more resilient, interesting, and sometimes explosive decks anyway. But the new mulligan rule and thinking about land death pushed me further in that direction.
I’m not playing TinyLeaders ™ here – there are still X spells and spells with CMC-six or higher a-plenty. But now I have a curve. And I have more lands, ramp, recursion, and card draw, and threats that fill other roles or are SUPER tough to get rid of instead.
This all leads to decks that have a goal (as opposed to a ‘plan’ – I don’t want to say ‘plan’ because that tends to push me towards more tutors and games that play out more similarly, which I’m not into doing right now) and a way to “solve the puzzle” to work towards that goal in a wider range of settings.
3. It’s something new. This only holds for a little while, but if you’re in an environment where MLD has been verboten for a while, it will create an interesting board state: stuff in the yard, non-land permanents in play, maybe even some doods.
But no lands… Hmmm…
4. Most importantly, because letting more people do more stuff is better than outlawing and “banning” more stuff to constrict what people can do.
I believe this more than anything else on this page (in the context of EDH at least). Live and let live.
If you are REALLY into ‘ladies looking left’ and that’s the restriction that makes your deck-building boat float, then Team America. If you think [Card]Ashnod’s Coupon[/Card] plus [Card]Academy Ruins[/Card] is the pinnacle of humor, then I erase that errata and copy the effect with [Card]Rings of Brighthearth[/Card]. And if you want to go ‘land, land + mana rock, rock, rock + ‘Geddon, threat’ – well, more power to you. That’s magical.
I’m not going to narrow my definition of fun such that I’m sour about that [Card]Ruination[/Card] that turned me into a spectator for five turns and knocked me into ninety-hundredth place. Not even if you did it out of salty salty picklejuice spite. Because that doesn’t sound like a fun place to be.
. . . . .
And I only get to play EDH for three hours about ONCE EVERY MONTH OR SO. My EDH time is super-valuable to me. You know what isn’t a waste of that time? Someone gleefully slamming (cycling) Decree of Annihilation in her 10-slots-off-the-precon Daretti, Scrap Savant deck because she has a Steel Hellkite in play and knows she is about to mop the floor with our sad sad faces.
You know what would be a waste of time? If I got mad about that and popped off at her about the spirit of EDH or some other BS, making her all defensive and totally ruining that high for everyone-cuz-EFF-other-people-having-fun-if-I’m-not-100%-perfect.
So in conclusion:
Mass LD is stuplendiferous. Be honest about what you’re playing and looking for in a game. Be an adult and navigate social situations by thinking about what other people want too. Then, realize you can have fun lots of ways, and thus –
Learn to stop worring and love the (MLD) bomb.