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Much Abrew: Naya Landfall Zoo (Modern)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Zendikar Rising is here, and we're kicking off our exploration of the set in Modern with a deck I've been working on since spoiler season: Naya Landfall Zoo. Thanks to the printing of a new Steppe Lynx in Akoum Hellhound and a new Plated Geopede in Brushfire Elemental in Zendikar Rising, we have a ton of redundancy in cheap landfall threats. Thanks to fetch lands and some tricky land-based synergies, we can potentially trigger landfall two or even four times in a turn, which suddenly makes small landfall threats into massive attackers. With our best draws, we can kill our opponent with combat damage as early as Turn 3! How good is landfall in Modern thanks to the redundancy and power added from Zendikar Rising? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Naya Landfall Zoo

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Discussion

  • Record-wise, we ended up 3-2 in our league, which is a solid record, although honestly, I was disappointed. While one of our losses came to Mill, which seems pretty scary thanks to new Zendikar Rising cards (which is a weird thing to say), our other loss came to Death and Taxes, where, in game three, we kept a hand designed to beat a Leonin Arbiter and our opponent happened to have two Leonin Arbiters to shut down our fetch lands and lock us out of mana altogether. Basically, with a bit more luck, we could have been 4-1. 
  • You probably noticed that the list we played today was a bit different than the one I posted on Twitter during spoiler season. Initially, I wanted to see if Wayward Guide-Beast would be good enough in the deck, but it ended up being just as horrible as I thought. Switching it for more consistent ways to make land drops in Wrenn and Six, Knight of the Reliquary, and especially Renegade Rallier (which is extremely strong in the deck) greatly improved the deck. The problem with Wayward Guide-Beast is that it can't attack on Turn 1 or 2 because we can't afford to bounce a land that early in the game; then, by the time it can attack on Turn 3, it usually gets blocked. Even if it does manage to connect, it isn't that exciting since it bounces a land at the end of combat, so we don't get to take advantage of it right away. And it's not great at bouncing fetch lands, which are the most important lands in our deck.
  • The basic plan is simple: in the early game, we play our landfall threats Akoum Hellhound, Steppe Lynx, Brushfire Elemental, and Plated Geopede, which we then turn into massive attackers by triggering landfall at least twice each turn with a fetch land. With a single fetch land, our one-drops turn into 4/5 attackers, while our two-drops become 5/5s with upside. 
  • Thanks to our landfall creatures and fetch lands, Renegade Rallier is absurdly powerful in our deck. While we do occasionally use it to get back a landfall creature that dies to removal, its true power is reanimating a fetch land. Picture this basic curve: Turn 1, we play Akoum Hellhound or Steppe Lynx. Turn 2, we play and crack as fetch (allowing us to attack for four with our one-drop) and follow it up with Brushfire Elemental or Plated Geopede. Turn 3, we can play and crack a fetch land, play Renegade Rallier (with revolt, thanks to the cracked fetch land) to put the fetch land back into play, crack it again, and end up with four landfall triggers. This makes our one-drop into an 8/9 and our two-drop into a 9/9, potentially allowing us to kill our opponent on the spot with a big attack, making Naya Landfall Zoo roughly as fast as a deck like Mono-Red Blitz, which is built on a similar concept (playing small creatures that grow into big threats based on the rest of our deck). 
  • The problem with Naya Landfall Zoo is that our creatures are horrible if we don't have land drops. Even with just a normal land drop each turn, our creatures are just okay. This means that having a fetch land each turn is essential, which is why we have cards like Wrenn and Six and Knight of the Reliquary to ensure that we are playing and cracking a fetch land each turn as often as possible. 
  • And that's basically the deck. Atarka's Command and Lightning Bolt offer some reach. Atarka's Command offers some extra upside with its sneaky "put a land into play" mode allowing us to pump our landfall creatures at instant speed. 
  • All in all, I wouldn't be surprised to see Naya Landfall Aggro end up as a legitimate Modern deck. It felt extremely powerful, and its ability to go long thanks to cards like Renegade Rallier and Wrenn and Six (with Horizon lands) was extremely impressive. Along with potentially winning on Turn 3, we had some games where we beat a huge pile of removal spells and managed to win on Turn 8 or 10, which was a surprise. The combination of aggro kills and long-game resilience makes Naya Landfall Aggro into a potent Modern threat. Will it end up being a top-tier option? It's hard to say, but it should at least be a playable deck in the format that can 5-0 a league or compete on the big stage once paper tournaments return!

Conclusion

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 SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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