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Against the Odds: Modern Land Death

Hello everyone and welcome to episode ten of Against the Odds. First off, thank you all for voting in last week's poll. Once again we ended with over five thousand ballots cast! In the end, we had a unique situation. Part the Waterveil was the winner, but in the meantime I featured the card in Budget Magic: Turbo Turns. As a result Modern Land Death, which finished second, was bumped up to the top of the poll and declared the winner. 

Both Part the Waterveil and Land Death will be removed from the poll. Zada, Hedron Grinder, who is quickly becoming the new Tainted Remedy, will remain on the ballot. We'll have four brand new options!

Anyway, we'll talk more about Modern Land Death in a minute. First let's get to the videos. Just a quick reminder: if you enjoy Against the Odds and other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up with the latest and greatest.

Against the Odds: Modern Land Death Intro

Against the Odds: Modern Land Death Games

The Deck

In considering what deck to build for Modern Land Death, my first instinct was to play a Restore Balance deck. Since that deck was already featured on Budget Magic I figured it would be cheating. Next I thought about Wildfire, but we've played that too. Finally I decided that, in the strictest sense, Land Death means targeted land removal spells — not mass land destruction or cascade. What we ended up with is the Modern version of the Standard deck we played on Against the Odds a month ago. 

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We are looking to play a one-drop mana creature like Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch into one of our many three mana land destruction spells (Stone Rain, Fulminator Mage, Molten Rain) on turn two. In essence we're building our own Sinkhole. We follow this up with Avalanche Rider or Acidic Slime to keep destroying lands, or Outpost Siege to keep the cards flowing. We also get to play the sweet Boom // Bust fetchland combo.

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When I first started playing Magic I got in a big argument with an opponent who cast the Boom half of Boom // Bust targeting one of my lands and one of his fetchlands. He said that my land was destroyed, but he could sacrifice his fetchland in response and not lose a land. To me, this play didn't seem fair. It seemed obvious to me that the idea of Boom // Bust was that it would impact both players. Eventually I searched for a ruling and found that my opponent was indeed right. Now we're looking to pull this same trick on our opponents. 

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The other advantage of Boom // Bust is that it can be an instant win combo with Dingus Egg. I poured over a bunch of cards looking for a finisher for the deck. Terastodon, Woodfall Primus, and Inferno Titan come to mind. While Dingus Egg certainly isn't the most competitive, it is the perfect card for an Against the Odds deck. Just look at the art! I'm guessing it had to beat the odds to even see print. Anyway, with a Dingus Egg on the battlefield, all of our land destruction spells deal two damage. Over time we can shock our opponent to death, or with Boom // Bust to deal lethal damage all at once. 

On another note, as I was making the videos, I realized Dingus Egg is the perfect foil to the Reliquary Retreat combo deck. If you really, really need to beat Knight of the Reliquary + Retreat to Coralhelm and don't mind playing horrible cards, keep the egg in mind. Dingus Eggs are also an budget option for an Easter egg hunt since they are less expensive than real eggs. 

The Matchups

This may be one of the highest variance decks I've ever played. For example, against a deck like Tron or Scapeshift I'm not sure we can lose. Against Burn or Elves we probably won't ever win. What it boils down to is against slower decks we are favored. Against aggro decks that can win with only one or two lands on the battlefield, we are a huge underdog. Unfortunately, during the videos we never ran into our good matchups. Instead our deck was matched against a murderers' row of Zoo, Burn, Death's Shadow, and Elves. 

That said, being a dedicated land destruction deck in Modern is rough. Unlike Standard, every land comes into play untapped and decks are much lower to the ground. Plus, most decks are only two or three colors and it's almost impossible to cut an opponent off a color like you can in Standard. If fifty percent of the format was Tron, Scapeshift, and Amulet Bloom I would consider playing Land Death, but right now there are just too many bad matchups for the deck. 

The Odds

While the videos suggest the odds of winning with Land Death in Modern are around 20%, I think we can get a little more scientific by looking at the Modern metagame. By my count, we are heavily favored against Tron, Amulet Bloom, and Scapeshift, which make up just over 18% of the Modern metagame. Meanwhile, our "bad" matchups of fast aggro and combo decks make up 40% of the Modern metagame. We get another 10 to 15% against midrange decks like Jund and Junk. While I think we are underdogs in those matchups as well, we will win slightly more than against dedicated aggro. 

Therefore, against the field at large, we should win somewhere between 25 or 30% of the time, or just over one out of every four games. 

Vote for Next Week's Deck

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Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's Against the Odds deck and leave your thoughts, suggestions, ideasm and opinions in the comments. As always, you can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive. 

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