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Much Abrew: Teaching Greedy Pioneer Players about Basic Lands

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Much Abrew About Nothing! The very idea of playing land destruction in Pioneer sounds silly on its face—Wizards stopped printing real land destruction long before Pioneer became a thing. But it turns out that Pioneer / Explorer players are incredibly greedy, to the point where many two- and three-color decks are literally playing just one or two basic lands! As such, it might actually be possible to make land destruction work in Pioneer (and maybe even get some flawless victories) even though all of our land-destruction spells replace the land they blow up with a basic land. The idea is to overload on these modern basic-land-replacing land-destruction spells like Cleansing Wildfire, Assassin's Trophy, Dire-Strain Rampage, and Krenko's Buzzcrusher; back them up with eight copies of Field of Ruin; and trust that we'll quickly run our opponent out of basic lands, which turns cards like Cleansing Wildfire and Assassin's Trophy into some of the most powerful land-destruction spells ever printed! So, today, we're going to teach Arena Zoomers about why playing some basics is super important, even in 2024, with a plethora of sweet utility lands and dual lands. All our opponents need to do to beat our deck is run a reasonable number of basics, but if they get greedy and don't, the punishment will be that we'll blow up all their lands and maybe even humiliate them with a flawless victory! Can land destruction work in Pioneer? Let's find out on today's Much Abrew!

Much Abrew: Jund Land Destruction

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In general, our deck's plan is simple: blow up as many lands as possible as quickly as possible to run our opponent out of basic lands, which will turn all of our "replace with a basic" land destruction into real land destruction, and then hopefully blow up enough lands that our opponent can't play Magic at all! Eventually, we'll find a Krenko's Buzzcrusher or Chandra, Hope's Beacon (which is also great for doubling up land destruction) to close out the game. We back this up with a bunch of removal and sweepers, and hope for the best.

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The deck was oddly effective—we finished with a winning record and took down several of the best decks in Pioneer along the way, like Boros Convoke, Lotus Field, and Rakdos Midrange twice. But the deck does have one major flaw: it because super hard to win if our opponent is playing a mono-colored deck with a bunch of basic lands because it's essentially impossible to run our opponent out of basic lands with our janky land-destruction spells.

That said, we have two new additions from Murders at Karlov Manor that help improve our bad matchups. The first is Krenko's Buzzcrusher, which is one of our best land-destruction spells in general since it comes along with a 4/4 flying body that we can use to close out the game after we blow up all of our opponent's lands, which helps against Lotus Field decks. In the past, Lotus Field was a miserable matchup since we couldn't blow up Lotus Field itself thanks to hexproof. But since Krenko's Buzzcrusher doesn't technically target, we can use it to blow up Lotus Field, which, combined with the immense greed of Lotus Field players (many of whom play just a single basic land), turns this bad matchup into a good one.

Second, we have Deadly Cover-Up, which is mostly in our deck to be a wrath but also has a sneaky superpower: we can collect evidence to exile a card from our opponent's graveyard and exile all copies of it. Notice that Deadly Cover-Up doesn't exclude basic lands, so if we run into a mono-colored deck (by far our worst matchup), our goal is to use Cleansing Wildfire or Assassin's Trophy to blow up a basic and then exile all the copies of the basic from our opponent's deck with Deadly Cover-Up, which gives us some shot to beat decks like Mono-Red or Mono-Green that are otherwise almost impossible to beat.


All in all, Jund Land Destruction performed super well. We ended up with a winning record, with essentially all of our losses coming against mono-colored decks, which are almost unwinnable matchups. On the other hand, we crushed pretty much every 2+-color deck we faced, including many of the best decks in the Pioneer format! We even managed to flawless victory the format's best deck—Rakdos Midrange—two games in a row! Let me know if you have some ideas on how to fix the mono-colored problem. The deck actually feels oddly close to being competitive, which would be hilarious. Wizards has tried so hard to remove land destruction from the game that it would be super funny if we ended up with a real land-destruction deck in Pioneer, even though we don't get to play any real land destruction, just because Arena players, Pioneer players, and Explorer players are so greedy with their mana bases!

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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