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Budget Magic: $100 (60 tix) Mono-Green Land Destruction (Modern)

Seavus, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! This week we're doing something a little bit different. Most of the time the deck we play on Budget Magic are brews, but last week during our Instant Deck Techs we checked out a super spicy, budget friendly Mono-Green Land Destruction deck for Modern. While the deck was pretty popular, there were also some suggestions for improvements from the YouTube comments. In the meantime Zac Elsik came across the list and built a non-budget version. So today's deck is actually a weird mashup of the original list from our Instant Deck Tech (taking into account the comments) and a more budget friendly version of Zac's deck! 

The basic idea of the deck is simple: we're looking to blow up our opponent's lands, starting on turn two or three, to keep our opponent low on resources. Then in the late game we have the ability to not just keep our opponent's off lands forever, but to lock them out of ever drawing cards by looping Plow Under or Primal Command every turn with the help of Eternal Witness and Stampeding Wildebeests. Can a budget friendly Mono-Green Land Destruction deck work in Modern? Let's get to the videos and find out, then we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Mono-Green Land Destruction (Modern)

The Deck

The plan of Mono-Green Land Destruction, as its name suggests, is to blow up our opponent's lands, over and over again, starting on turn two or three. However, our Mono-Green Land Destruction also has a sweet twist for the late game, where we have the ability to lock our opponent out of playing Magic all together with the help of Plow Under and Primal Command, with Eternal Witness and Stampeding Wildebeests

The Ramp

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For a land destruction technique to really be effective we need to not just be able to blow up lands repeatedly, but to start blowing up lands as soon as possible, which means our deck is overloaded with ramp to play on turn one and turn two. Our most explosive ramp is the combination of Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl, which together can give us four extra mana on turn two - exactly enough to blow up a land (since all of our land destruction spells cost four or more). Even discounting the nut draw of Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl, the combination of Elvish Mystic and Sakura-Tribe Elder means we are very likely to have four mana by turn three, which is enough to start taxing our opponent's resources.

The other reason that having a lot of ramp is important to our Mono-Green Land Destruction deck is that some of our late-game lock/loops require a ton of mana, for example, one of our primary plans for closing out the game is to cast Eternal Witness and Primal Command or Plow Under every turn, and this loop means we need at least eight mana. As such, having a ton of redundant ramp helps us get to this point as quickly as possible.

Land Destruction

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We've got several different cards that can blow up opponent's lands. Mwonvuli Acid Moss is our best land destruction spell because it not only kills one of our opponent's lands but also allows us to Rampant Growth out a Forest, helping us get up to the eight mana needed for the Eternal Witness loop we talked about a moment ago. Meanwhile, Acidic Slime is helpful because it can blow up artifacts and enchantments as well as lands. While typically we are using the Ooze to destroy a land, in some matchups (like against Lantern Control or Affinity) having main deck artifact hate is key. Plus, Acidic Slime offers another lock in the late game since we can continually bounce and recast it with the help of Stampeding Wildebeasts or Stampeding Serow. Finally, Bramblecrush is basically a Acidic Slime that loses the loop potential because it's not a creatures, but gains the ability to kill Jace, the Mind Sculptor (or other planeswalkers). Together, these cards give us nine straight forward land destruction spells to keep taxing our opponent's resources turn after turn.

The Lock

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Plow Under and Primal Command are essentially pseudo-land destruction spells. While neither actually kills a land (instead putting a land on top of our opponent's deck), in some ways putting  a land on top of our opponent's deck is even better than killing a land, because not only is our opponent down a mana, but they also skip a draw (since they'll spend their next turn, or two turns with Plow Under, drawing the land we put on top of their deck). In theory, Plow Under can come down as early as turn three with our best draws, which means if we are on the play we're putting all of our opponent's land on the top of their deck. Meanwhile, Primal Command can do much more than just put a land on top of the opponent's deck. While we choose the lifegain or graveyard shuffle mode occasionally, most of the time we use Primal Command to tutor up a creature to help set up our lock.

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Eternal Witness is essentially another copy of Primal Command in our deck (or Plow Under, if the situation calls for it). The main idea here is that, assuming we have eight mana, we can simply cast Primal Command, put a land on top of our opponent's deck and also tutor up an Eternal Witness. After our opponent draws and replays their land, we use Eternal Witness to get back Primal Command, put the land back on top of our opponent's deck to make them skip another draw, and tutor up another [[Eternal Witness] to do it again the next turn. With four copies of Eternal Witness we can do this four times in a row, which is close to casting four Time Walks in our mono-green deck.

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If four Time Walks isn't enough, we can just hard lock our opponent out of playing Magic with the help of Stampeding Wildebeests or Stampeding Serow in conjunction with Eternal Witness and Plow Under or Primal Command. The idea here is, at the end of our [[Eternal Witness] loop we can use Primal Command to tutor up one of our Stampeding creatures, which allow us to pick up our Eternal Witness every turn during our upkeep. Then we simply recast Eternal Witness, get back Plow Under to put two lands back on top of our opponent's deck (or Primal Command to put back one, along with doing something else), and repeat this process every turn. The end result is that our opponent never gets to draw a card again, while also being stuck on lands. Typically this ends with our opponent conceding in frustration, but if they decide to play it out we can eventually use Primal Command to tutor up one of our finishers.

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Our primary plan for finish the game is to use the Stampeding Serow or Stampeding Wildebeests to keep bouncing our creatures for value. Even beyond the land/draw lock, bouncing Acidic Slime every turn offer a lot of land destruction value, or we can find another one of our one-ofs with the help of Primal Command. Thragtusk is helpful against aggro on its own, and pretty absurd when we can bounce and replay it every turn, making a steady stream of 3/3 Beast tokens while also gaining us a ton of life. Meanwhile, Hornest Queen gives us a repeatable, deathtouching Lingering Souls when we keep bouncing and replaying it every turn to make four more 1/1 Insects with flying. While both of these lines are sweet, and Hornest Queen and Thragtusk are great one-ofs in the deck because they are helpful in specific matchups (Hornest Queen against any creature deck and Thragtusk against aggro or burn), it's worth reiterating that the most common way we win the game is by locking our opponent out of playing Magic by forcing them to draw the same land every turn, often with very few (or even zero) lands on the battlefield!

Wrap Up

As for the record, we finished 3-2 in our video matches and 3-3 overall, with an additional loss to Storm (which is close to an unwinnable matchup for our budget deck, although non-budget builds of Mono-Green Land Destruction have some options, like Trinisphere, to swing the matchup after sideboarding). As such, as far as wins and losses Mono-Green Land Destruction is fine but not insane. The good news is that a lot of our wins were super amazing, coming close to flawless victories. We're extremely good at punishing players who miss a land drop or stumble on their mana even a little.

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The biggest downside of the deck is, like most Mono-Green Ramp decks, it can be inconsistent. Sometimes we draw five or six mana sources (including all of our ramp spells along with lands) in a row and lose because of it, and there's not really much we can do about this as mono-green deck with no card draw or selection. Courser of Kruphix is a good solution in a non-budget build, but to really make Courser of Kruphix effective we also need fetchlands, which increases the budget quite a bit. We can also have trouble if we draw all five mana cards and no ramp. However, when everything comes together and we have a good mixture of ramp spells and land destruction the deck is extremely powerful. Plus, locking opponent's out of the game is a blast!

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As far as changes I've made to the budget build of the deck, I'm not sure there really are any. We're going to struggle with fast combo decks, but I'm not sure that problem is fixable without spending money on cards like Trinisphere, and the deck is already right at our maximum budget. 

All in all, Mono-Green Land Destruction is somewhat competitive (losing to itself a little more often than I'd like), but amazingly fun to play. The good games with the deck are extremely unique and fun, and they happen fairly often. If you're looking for a budget friendly way to lock opponent's out of the game in a surprising way, Mono-Green Land Destruction is a great option for Modern!

Mono-Green Land Destruction is a tough deck to get down into the ultra-budget price range, because Eternal Witness and Utopia Sprawl are the two most expensive cards in the deck, but they are both very important to the decks plan. In the end, after cutting the Nykthos, Shrine of Nyx from the manabase and trimming the sideboard down to the bare bones, the only option to get the deck into the $50 price range was to cut Utopia Sprawl. It's a huge loss, because we lose the ability to destroy a land on turn two if we get lucky with the Arbor Elf / Utopia Sprawl combo. In its place we get Llanowar Elves, which is a fine ramp spell, but can't really replace the four-extra-mana-on-turn-two combo. As such, I probably wouldn't play this version of the deck. It's probably find for the kitchen table, but even for a FNM you really need to at least upgrade to Utopia Sprawl to have a chance of being competitive.

For our non-budget list this week we have the build of Mono-Green Land Destruction that Zac Elsik has been playing. The basic framework of the deck is the same, but with a handful of powerful additions, especially in the sideboard. In the main deck the big upgrade is Courser of Kurphix (along with some fetchlands) which help minimize the "drawing the wrong half of the deck" problem we were talking about a few minutes ago. Otherwise, in the sideboard we get Trinisphere for Storm and other cheap spell combo decks, Dungrove Elder as a resilient threat and Fracturing Gust to deal with both Bogles, Lantern Control and Affinity. All in all, these changes represent a pretty clear upgrade, mostly be shoring up some of the worst matchups for the budget build of the deck. 


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at

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