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Why I don't play LD. -- Posted by admin on Saturday, July 17 2004
Shane Mussell. I often get asked why I never play land destruction, often I answer that it's just too fragile. So I thought I'd share my theories with you, these of course may be completely wrong or just misguided, feel free to tell me if you think I have got something totally wrong.

Why does it seem to be inconsistent?

Most decks currently doing the rounds have a large amount of land, even the BlastoGeddon deck I played in the Last Type 2 has 20+ Land, and that's on top of birds and elves! Meaning that over 1/3 of the deck is land, that means that to give the same chances of drawing LD cards you'll need 1/3 of the deck being just LD leaving 1/3 for your land and another 1/3 for, well… whatever.

So what does this mean to a game?

Lets take a look at an example…

Green player opening hand - Birds of Paradise, Forest, Forest, Blastoderm, Creeping Mould, River Boa, Vine Dryad … Ok so this may not be what most green players would get but most times a green player will start with 2 land and an accelerator of some sort, Elves or the Utopia Tree perhaps.

Red player opening hand - Shock, Mountain, Mountain, Stone Rain, Mountain, Hammer, Seal of Fire…. Again most red players could get a different hand but something similar would be expected.

Ok so what can we see from the above hands?

Well for one the Green player is going to have a Vine Dryad in play pretty soon, remember you don't need to pay for it! So you can ditch the Creeping Mould to the Dryad forcing the Red player to deal with it. As soon as the green player gets to 3 land the red player will have to deal with a River Boa too, and if he's shocked the birds and then manages to get the Boa he wants to hope that the Green player doesn't top deck a Land, or he's going to start suffering.

To be fair the Red player could draw into lots of burn and deal with the Boa, Dryad and Birds, but then he's been using his resources to kill off creatures and not land. So most likely the Green player would have got to 4 mana and cast the Blastoderm which then stomps over for 15 damage. No amount of burn of LD is going to help you if a Blastoderm is beating on your head. Ok so you could have drawn into your Earthquake if you have one in the deck and kill old Blastoderm that way, but hang on you've just taken 5 damage and still not killed a land lets see that again…

Green wins the Die roll and goes first.

Green Player: - Forest, Birds of Paradise, GO

Red Player: - Draw card(earthquake), Mountain, Shock Birds, GO

Green Player: - At end of your turn discard Creeping Mould to Vine Dryad.

Green Player: - Draw card(forest), Forest, attack for 1, GO

Red Player: - Draw card(rhystic lightning), Mountain, GO

Green Player: - Draw card(elf), Forest, Attack for 1, Elf, GO

Red Player: - Draw card(stone rain), Mountain, Seal Of Fire, GO

Green Player: - Draw card(blastoderm), Blastoderm, attack for 1, GO

Red player: - Draw card(mountain), Mountain, Seal Elf, Ryhstic Dryad, GO

Green player: - Draw card(forest), Forest, River Boa, attack for 5, GO

As you can see the Red player has taken 8 damage, and is looking at a 2/1 regenerator and 5/5 that's going to do at least another 10 damage. Even if we jump back to when Saga was still around your going to be hard pressed to slow green down if your seeing a creature and land for first 2 or 3 turns. Remember with a good start Green can set out a Blastoderm from turn 3 onwards!

Red could of course get Pillage and start controlling land earlier, but if green just drops another elf, forest it's only slowed them down a turn!

Other reasons why LD is just so fragile are down to its mana ratio and colour distribution. You see Red just doesn't have enough LD in it, meaning you have to drop in another colour, normally black (rain of tears, despoil).

Most colours now have ways of dealing with LD :-

Blue: - Misdirection, Thwart or something and has Chill second game.

Green: - As above Speed, Fat.

White: - At the moment normally allied with a second colour, Rebel decks are a headache.

Black: - Although fast early on for red, is easier to deal with, as long as they continue to draw burn.

This is really only a look at LD and shouldn't really include the current Tide/Ankh that's doing the rounds as this should be able to deal with green, playing mono Blue or siding Black for Perish, this deck seems designed to deal with the problems that green throws at Red. Creatures are let down as Blue sets up the Ankh and the tides away the Forests. A good green player will always hedge his beats when seeing an Island hit the table, second game sees the Vine Dryad sided out (Bargain/Dominate) in favour of the Sex Monkeys, making it harder for Blue to lay the Ankh.

Shane Mussell


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