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Author Topic: Landstill: The Primer  (Read 15322 times)
Shock Wave
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« on: December 11, 2003, 06:49:08 am »

The Evolution of U/R Landstill – A Primer by Richard Mattiuzzo

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Part I: What is Landstill

Part II: Why Landstill?

Part III: Building Landstill – What Options Exist?

Part IV: An Analysis of U/R Landstill Components

A.   The Permission Base
B.   Removal
C.   Card Drawing and Utility
D.   The Mana Base
E.   Cards for Alternate U/R Builds
F.   The Sideboard

Part V: Playing Landstill Against the Major Archetypes

Part VI: Brief Conclusion






Part I: What is Landstill?

The release of Odyssey in October of 2001 gave blue an interesting card drawer in Standstill.

Standstill, U1 Enchantment

When a player plays a spell, sacrifice ~this~. If you do, then each of that player's opponents draws three cards.


Although Standstill was tinkered with in the standard, block, and limited formats, it was not for some time before the potential of the card was noticed by the vintage community. The first competitive archetype revolving around Standstill was “Gay Fish”. For further information concerning this specific build, see the Gay Fish Primer.

Landstill is an aggro-control deck that utilizes Standstill in conjunction with “man lands” in order to gain card advantage and board position. Because lands do not trigger Standstill when they are played, the Landstill player gains advantage by having threats on the table in the form of lands. Thus, the opponent is forced to break Standstill, resulting in a significant swing in card advantage.




Part II: Why Landstill?

Back in October of 2002, it had generally become accepted that most control decks (especially mono-u) had a slim chance of surviving in the environment because of the rise of Miracle Gro. The problem at hand for the typical control build was the fact that resolving card drawers had become extremely difficult as a result of the influx in pitch counters (primarily Misdirection). For this reason, Standstill was able to crack the competitive environment as a viable, “un-Misdirectable” card drawer.

When Gro-Atog entered the metagame, Landstill became a force to be reckoned with. Gro-Atog had forced aggro decks to the sidelines, which relieved Landstill of its most difficult opponents. When Smokestack based decks became popular as a result of the influx in Gro decks, Landstill suffered little. Thus, at the time, a well-configured sideboard was capable of taking U/R Landstill to the later rounds of even the most competitive Type 1 environments.

Landstill’s major weakness, the combo deck, is the primary reason why the archetype was pushed to the sidelines in the past 6 months. During GenCon of this year, Rector Trix and Mind’s Desire based decks proved to too prevalent and strong to allow Landstill to compete. The discovery of Burning Tendrils (also known as Long) only made it only less feasible to pilot Landstill to a winning record. However, the recent addition of Chalice of the Void to the card pool added the necessary anti-combo element that Landstill so desperately need.

Currently, Landstill stands as an overlooked yet extremely robust control archetype. It has all the necessary tools to fight combo, control, and whatever remnants of aggro that still exist. Because the archetype is unknown to most, it is full of possibilities waiting to be explored. The upcoming section of this primer will attempt to explore as many viable avenues as possible.




Part III: Building Landstill – What options exist?

As a prequel to understanding what makes red the most appropriate colour to splash, it is important to understand what made the early versions Landstill unsuccessful. Early testing of Landstill provided decklists such as the following:

Mono U Landstill

4 Standstill
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Fact or Fiction
4 Impulse

4 Nevinyrral's Disk

4 Mana Drain
4 Force of Will
3 Misdirection
1 Counterspell
4 Teferi's Response

4 Faerie Conclave
4 Wasteland
1 Strip Mine
1 Dust Bowl
1 Mox Sapphire
4 Mishra's Factory
1 Library of Alexandria
14 island

The inherent problem in mono blue control decks is their vulnerability to quick threats cast in the early game. Traditionally, Powder Keg has been the solution to this issue. However, when TnT entered the metagame, it was not only small casting-cost threats that became problematic, but “fast-fat” that made Powder Keg a very poor choice for the changing environment.

Taking a look at the above deck list, it is clear that aggressive decks were not taken into consideration. For those that would suggest that Nevinyrral’s Disk is an adequate method of board control for an aggressive metagame, consider an opponent casting a turn 1 and turn 2 creature threat (i.e. A la Sligh). The very reason Mono-U previously ran Powder Keg as opposed to Nevinyrral’s Disk is to account for the early creature rush. By the time a Disk has been cast and untapped, a competent aggro player will have your life total in the red zone.

The fact is that Mono-U Landstill has no clear advantage over standard Mono-U. In fact, standard Mono-U is the better choice, as it has a more reliable card drawing engine in Ophidian, faster acceleration, and a more stable mana base. Thus, it becomes clear that Landstill requires a colour splash in order to justify itself as a viable control archetype.
In order to warrant the inclusion of another colour, an analysis of the cards each supporting colour can offer is standard procedure for the proficient deck builder.

Black: Although Black typically offers much to the majority of control decks, it does little to rectify the aggro weakness of Landstill. Here are the black staples and other cards worthy of consideration:

·   Demonic Tutor – This could be particularly important in Landstill because it strengthens the deck in the one area that it is particularly weak: deck manipulation and card quality. Its primary function in this deck would be as a 5th Standstill.

·   Vampiric Tutor – Although generally weaker than its big brother, it does work particularly well with Standstill. Assuming your opponent breaks a Standstill at the end of your turn, a timely Vampiric Tutor will give you an important card without resulting in card disadvantage.

·   Mind Twist – This card can be a real bomb in the control mirror, however it is not an automatic inclusion in this deck. Landstill typically beats control, so the addition of Mind Twist might be unnecessary. It might be better to include cards that improve other matchups.

·   Yawgmoth’s Will

·   Diabolic/Chainer’s Edict – Definitely not the strongest aggro suppressor, however it is stronger versus TnT and other fat oriented aggro decks.

·   Duress – Although the stock value of Duress has risen recently with the resurgence of combo in the current metagame, I recommend extreme caution with using this card in the main deck. Because it is typically weak against aggro, I recommend using it in the main deck only if you have sufficient creature removal.

·   Nether Spirit – This card has surfaced in Landstill deck lists from time to time. It is a cute trick under Standstill, however its functionality as a finisher is weak. Aside from being a finisher, it serves no other purpose other than to chump block. Regardless of its synergy with Standstill, it does not make the cut as there are stronger cards to take its place.

·   Spawning Pool – The regeneration ability may seem helpful against aggro, but this land really just ties up mana and is a terrible finisher. Faerie Conclave and Mishra’s Factory are far more efficient.

Conclusion: For a very combo/control oriented metagame, black is not a poor colour to splash in Landstill. It is far more resilient versus combo decks, however this matchup is generally not in the Landstill player’s favour, regardless of the colour splash chosen. The key point to remember about black is that it does not strengthen the aggro matchup, and thus Power Kegs might be a necessity in the main-deck to account for this weakness. Here is another question to consider: In a real Type 1 environment, where both competitive and non-competitive decks exist, is splashing black just for the sake of improving the combo match-up a wise strategy? I’ve concluded that it is not, simply because the odds of facing aggro in the early rounds are much greater than being paired against a combo deck which runs a full compliment of power cards.



White: Although White has excellent choices with respect to board control, it cannot be justified as a supporting colour because it weakens the control mirror without significantly improving aggro match-ups. Perhaps in a metagame with a lot of TnT and other “fat” decks such as Mask, some the following cards could be utilized in U/W Landstill:

·   Swords To Plowshares: Probably the best creature spot removal the game has to offer, its function is no different in Landstill.

·   Decree of Justice: This is the primary reason to splash white. However, I must disagree that it provides any significant improvement to the weaknesses of the deck. Cycling of Decree of Justice occurs only under a Standstill, and in what match-up might this occur? This would only happen in the control mirror. Now take this into consideration: If Standstill is resolved against a control deck, the match has taken a significant turn in the favour of the Landstill player. Is it really important to cycle a DoJ at this point? The answer is no, because it is just as viable to win with manlands once Standstill has resolved. So basically, DoJ improves the “Land Still Mirror”, which never happens.

·   Meddling Mage: This may look like a nice turn 2 drop, but consider the following questions. Taking the mana base into account, is this even a consistent turn 2 play? What match-ups does this improve? It does not improve the aggro matchup, and with the addition of Chalice of the Void, nothing else is necessary to improve the combo match-up. Furthermore, Meddling Mage is a creature thus it is not very synergistic with Standstill.

·   Dismantling Blow/Disenchant: Although strong in the appropriate metagame, it’s difficult to justify their inclusion as opposed to running Nevinyrral’s Disk.

·   Balance: This card is a bomb in Landstill, especially versus aggro. It is not uncommon to cast Balance, clear the board of critters, and drop a Standstill to gain advantage.

·   Kjeldoran Outpost: This suggestion will definitely raise some eyebrows. Under the protection of Teferi’s Response, this deserves consideration as a win condition.

·   Mobilization: Although it has poor synergy with Nevinyrral’s Disk, it can pump out critters at an alarming rate and quickly overwhelm an opponent. Like Kjeldoran Outpost, it may not appear in the most optimally built Landstill decks, however it has its merits and should not be overlooked as a possibly viable win condition.

·   Forbidding Watchtower: Despite being a great blocker against random creatures, this is just as bad a win condition as Spawning Pool. Landstill is already a very slow, tedious deck. Adding this card would only make it slower.

Conclusion: I’ve recently seen some players in my local metagame and abroad tinkering with the white splash. Granted, splashing white does have a few strengths. However, for competitive purposes, what strengths does it provide that a red splash does not? Decree of Justice is a cute trick, but it does not give the deck a dimension that the U/R list currently lacks. Furthermore, because Nevinyrral’s Disk is so strong in Landstill, white utility cards offer no added security to the deck.



Green: By far the worst colour to splash, Green offers very few, if any, viable options. The major problem with green is that it lacks creature removal, thus Nevinyrral’s Disk and Powder Keg must both be used in the maindeck. Most of the green “bombs” (Sylvan Library, Compost, etc) are permenants, thus they don’t fit with the overall strategy of the deck. Here are a few cards I’ve tinkered with more for the sake of confirming that green is an awful colour to splash:

·   Regrowth: Yes, it’s a great card, however it is not great in Landstill because there aren’t very many bombs that can be brought back. Yes, there is Ancestral Recall and Time Walk, but the majority of the time those won’t be the spells being targeted my Regrowth. Also, choosing green as the colour to splash means that you cannot recur crucial removal spells such as Fire/Ice and Lightning Bolt.

·   Sylvan Library: Again, Sylvan Library is a great card, but it is not great in Landstill for a number of reasons. The major reason is that it isn’t very useful against aggro decks because the Landstill player will not have much life available to pay after surviving the early creature rush. Secondly, it does not have good synergy with Nevinyrral’s Disk, an essential component of good Landstill decks. Finally, Sylvan Library is only really great against control decks, which are favourable decks to play against for Landstill players.

·   Treetop Village: This is the only card that is tempting me to do further testing with green. It would speed up the deck on the premise of being able to kill the opponent a few turns faster and provides a pesky semi-fat creature against aggro decks.

Conclusion: There are untested possibilities that still remain for this colour, the most promising one being a transformational sideboard with Oath of Druids. I’ve had some players recommend playing Mulch, Summer Bloom, Exploration and other seemingly ridiculous cards. I’ll trust my judgement and say that green is the weakest colour to splash. I will say however, that I’ve not done much testing with respect to Green, and would like to hear from anyone that disagrees with my assessment and/or has ideas to share.




Part IV: An Analysis of  U/R Landstill Components

U/R Landstill 2002

// Permission
        4 Force of Will
        4 Mana Drain
        3 Misdirection
// Removal
        4 Lightning Bolt
        4 Fire/Ice
        2 Powder Keg
// Card Drawing and Utility
        4 Standstill
        3 Teferi's Response
        1 Ancestral Recall
        1 Time Walk
        1 Fork
// Mana Sources
        1 Sol Ring
        1 Black Lotus
        1 Mox Ruby
        1 Mox Sapphire
        1 Strip Mine
        1 Library of Alexandria
        4 Mishra's Factory
        4 Faerie Conclave
        4 Volcanic Island
        4 Wasteland
        4 Island
        3 Mountain
        
// Sideboard

3 Flametongue Kavu
2 Tormod's Crypt
2 Red Elemental Blast
2 Pyroblast
2 Blue Elemental Blast
2 Dwarven Miner
1 Shattering Pulse
1 Viashino Heretic


U/R Landstill 2003, post Mirrodin

// Mana Sources
       4 Island
       4 Volcanic Island
       4 Faerie Conclave
       4 Wasteland
       4 Mishra's Factory
       1 Wooded Foothills
       1 Flooded Strand
       1 Mountain
       1 Strip Mine
       1 Library of Alexandria
       1 Black Lotus
       1 Mox Sapphire
       1 Lotus Petal

// Card Drawing and Utility
        4 Standstill
        1 Ancestral Recall
        1 Time Walk

// Removal
        4 Lightning Bolt
        4 Fire/Ice
        4 Nevinyrral's Disk

// Permission
        4 Mana Drain
        4 Force of Will
        3 Misdirection
        3 Stifle

// Sideboard
        4 Red Elemental Blast
        4 Chalice of the Void
        4 Tormod's Crypt
        3 Maze of Ith


A. The Permission Base

·   Mana Drain: Although at first glance there doesn’t seem to be many Mana Drain sinks in the deck, play testing will definitely prove otherwise. Using Drain mana to cast a Disk is usually big trouble for an opponent. Also, it is not uncommon to use Drain mana to fuel a large number of man land activations.

·   Misdirection: Seemingly the “weak link” in the deck, Misdirection is still a house against control, suicide, and sligh. Many will argue that Misdirection is really poor against combo, and it is, but Landstill is poorly suited to defeat combo regardless of the 3 slots devoted to Misdirection.


B. Removal in Landstill

·   Fire/Ice – The Achilles heel of Landstill is exposed by fast aggro decks. Decks such as Sligh or even less prevalent archetypes such as White Weenie can pose serious problems if a few threats are resolved early. Fire/Ice generally addresses these issues.

·   Lightning Bolt – This card is extremely underrated as a method of removal. It takes care of Ophidian, Goblin Welder, Goblin Lackey, Hypnotic Specter, and numerous other annoyances.

·   Nevinyrall’s Disk – Landstill returns to the old-school philosophy of global board control with the implementation of this forgotten but powerful tool. It is an absolute house against so many decks in the current environment and is almost always a game-breaking play.

As a side note, the reason that red removal is the best choice for Landstill is because it is more than just creature removal, it’s extra damage the helps you win! Remember, standard removal cards are dead against certain decks, whereas burn spells are never “dead” cards. In a situation where an opponent breaks a Standstill, drawing burn spells is hardly ever bad, as they help you shorten the path to victory.


C. Card Drawing and Utility

·   Standstill – The deck revolves around this card. It is your major card drawing source, and is as close to Ancestral Recall as you can get.

·   Stifle – This has been a recent addition to the deck. The versatility it provides has solidified it as a maindeck choice for the current environment. Typically, a Stifle will stop a fetch or Wasteland, however in tournament play, I’ve countered numerous otherwise unstoppable triggered and activated abilities with this card.

·   Time Walk – This card is extremely powerful in Landstill. It can end games on its own, provided that you have enough man-lands in play. Although in a lot of cases Time Walk is cast as soon as it is drawn, it is better to hold on to with Landstill, and to wait for the opportunity to make the most of the current and following turn.


D. The Mana

Landstill is an extremely mana intensive deck, and thus requires a very high number of mana sources. Most of the time, you’ll be quite happy to draw land, as a good number of those lands are threats and can win the game. One thing to note is that Landstill can only support 2 fetchlands at most. The reasoning is that this deck does not want to thin its mana development in the early game. Earlier versions of the deck that included Sol Ring and Mox Ruby could only support 1 fetchland, however with the recent removal of those artifacts, an additional fetchland has been added.


E. Cards for Alternate Builds

·   Chain of Vapor – This is an excellent method of removal and is strong enough to be used interchangeably with Lightning Bolt. While both have their advantages, Chain of Vapor allows for some interesting timing tricks. Note that the drawback is asymmetrical; you should have no non-land permanents to bounce.

·   Trade Routes – If Nevinyrral’s Disk was not of paramount importance to the deck, Trade Routes would probably earn a few main deck slots. Perhaps in an metagame where Powder Keg could be used instead of Disk, Trade Routes could be a natural fit. It makes disruption of your mana base nigh impossible, and cycles excess mana. Furthermore, it makes your win conditions walls that are close to impenetrable.

·   Teferi’s Response – It’s really hard not to include this card in the deck. It is an absolute house against control and aggro. Resolving Teferi’s Response against control has the same effect as resolving an Ancestral Recall. If you understand the reasoning behind this, you’ll agree that resolving this spell translates into winning the game. However, it is obviously really weak against combo. It might be best to run this in combination with Stifle as opposed to running one or the other. The reason is that Stifle is the more versatile card, however Teferi’s Response can win games outright. Because the two offer different effects, swapping one for the other doesn’t really make sense.


F. The Sideboard

Because sideboards are entirely metagame dependent, this section describes options as opposed to a strictly defined outline.

·   Red Elemental Blast: This should be no surprise. Splashing red for this card is a very standard strategy.

·   Arcane Laboratory: Although it seems geared towards the combo match-up, it is actually strong against the majority of the current environment. Landstill does not need to resolve a win condition, so this card has incredible synergy with the overall strategy and approach of the deck.

·   Tormod’s Crypt: A necessary utility card for a competitive environment, the Crypt gives Landstill a fighting chance against graveyard based combo decks such as RectorTrix and Dragon. It also stops random decks with recursive Squee/Genesis/Gigapede/etc.

·   Maze of Ith: This is a great sideboard choice for an aggro metagame. It has great synergy with Nevinyrral’s Disk. Protected by Teferi’s Response/Stifle, it can be extremely difficult to remove.

·   Flametongue Kavu: Perhaps not the greatest choice for the current environment, FTK is still a bomb in an aggro metagame. It really hoses sui and random aggro decks, and can end a game extremely quickly.

·   Powder Keg: This card is versatile enough that it warrants a main deck slot for some environments. In a competitive metagame, it is generally good against any decks that run a high volume of mana acceleration. It is also great against Sligh, and again, is generally a useful aggro suppressor.

·   Energy Flux: This is great against Stax and Mud, and other artifact reliant decks. The only problem is that it is hard to squeeze into the sideboard. It is hard to justify a slot for this card because Nevinryll’s Disk can really hurt permanent based decks, and thus more sideboard space should be geared towards the combo match-up.

·   Chalice of the Void: This card is what gives Landstill a real boost against combo after game 1. By bringing it in against combo decks, often it will be possible to slow down the early game enough to gain control.



Part V: Playing Landstill

   Much like the majority of control decks, Landstill requires a considerable amount of skill to pilot properly. Unfortunately, Landstill is not very forgiving, so even a small mistake such as missing an opportunity to attack can end up being the difference between winning and losing. However, it takes a certain amount of practice to decide exactly when are the best opportunities to attack. Sometimes it is necessary to be aggressive and other times you might not be casting a spell or attacking for a considerable amount of time. Practice with the deck will demonstrate why red removal is extremely important. It is not uncommon to beat an opponent into burn range and finish a game with a few Lightning Bolts and Fire/Ice. While practice is this best way to develop winning instincts, the fundamental principles by which the deck wins games are what should govern game decisions. Landstill achieves victory by achieving/performing one or a combination of the following:

·   Board control and consequentially card advantage through resolving and successfully activating Nevinyrral’s Disk
·   Card advantage through Standstill so that it is improbable that the opponent will recover
·   Disruption of the opponent’s mana base with a combination of Wasteland, Stifle, Powder Keg, and Nevinyrral’s Disk
·   Lethal damage via a combination of attacking and burn spells

How to Play Against the Major Archetypes

i)   Keeper

As with every control match-up, the key is resolving an early Standstill and immediately putting pressure with man lands. After Standstill has resolved, do not be afraid to tap out to deal damage, as your objective is to force your opponent to break the Standstill on your turn. You’ll find that more often than not, after drawing an extra 3 cards in the early game, you’ll have sufficient pitch counter back-up to stop your opponent from resolving an important spell.

Don’t be reckless with your Wastelands, as an unexpected Dust Bowl or Library of Alexandria can completely turn the game around. My preference is to attack the mana base only if I’ve resolved Standstill and my opponent has no more than 1 artifact mana source in play. The reasoning is that if my opponent already has a high amount of artifact mana in play, the majority of the following drawn mana sources will be lands, which are obviously playable under Standstill. On the contrary, few artifact mana sources in play means that they will be drawn and either discarded (thus hindering mana development) or will result in my opponent breaking the Standstill in my favour.

As always, use your counter magic sparingly. Never counter a spell that targets an attacking manland, unless you are using Teferi’s Response or unless the game is very close to being won. There is a sufficient number of win conditions in the deck to allow even half of them to be destroyed. The proper play is to wait until you have protection from Teferi’s Response or Standstill, and to then commence an assault. Keep in mind that if your opponent plays first and accelerates quickly before you can cast a Standstill, it might be wise to try and resolve a Disk first. Decree of Justice can really hose if you if cycled under Standstill, so make sure that your opponent does not have the necessary mana to make a lethal amount of tokens.

Sideboard: -4 Lightning Bolt, +4 Red Elemental Blast

Some might be tempted to side out Fire/Ice, however let me assure the non-believers that it is very important in this match-up. By tapping lands at the end of your opponent’s turn (or during their upkeep step), Fire/Ice helps resolves key spells for forces your opponent to use a Force of Will as opposed to a Mana Drain.

ii)   Sligh

Do not underestimate your Sligh opponents. Ankh Sligh, in particular, can be very problematic if an Ankh of Mishra resolves. Landstill requires a land drop almost every turn in the early game, so an early Ankh can be very debilitating. Landstill running Powder Keg in the main-deck has a much better chance in Game 1, although I believe the match-up to be in Landstill’s favour, regardless.

The key cards in this match are Fire/Ice, Teferi’s Response, and Standstill. Be patient in the early game, and hold back with your man lands until you have protection from Teferi’s Response, Misdirection, or Standstill. The only real problem cards to watch out for are Price of Progress and Ankh of Mishra.

Goblin Sligh is hardly as scary an opponent. With 8 removal spells, you’re aptly equipped to deal with an early Goblin Lackey/Piledriver and leave your opponent with a handful of useless cards. Stifle can also be key if you are holding Fire/Ice and your opponent drops a 1st turn Goblin Lackey. If your opponent resolves a 1/1 critter (other than Goblin Lackey), don’t be afraid to drop Standstill, regardless of whether or not you have manlands on the board. A 1/1 is an extremely slow clock, and you will draw into a blocker unless you are extremely unlucky.

iii)   Suicide

Suicide can be very disruptive, but barring an absolutely ridiculous draw, this match should be a bye for a competent Landstill player. There is so much main-deck hate for Suicide that the odds are heavily in Landstill’s favour. As in the Sligh match-up, sit back and wait for your opponent to cast spells. Suicide cannot afford to wait until the mid-late game, so keep your resources open in the early game.

Remember, since Landstill is a reactive deck, always counter your opponent’s Duress. You never want them to know you are holding Teferi’s Response or Misdirection. By preventing your opponent from seeing what spells are in your hand, you may force them into casting a blind Sinkhole or Hymn To Tourach. If you are running Stifle in the place of Teferi’s Response, you lose a little leverage in this match-up, however it is still strongly in your favour.

Current builds of Suicide may run Null Rod in the maindeck, which should be stopped, unless you are running Chain of Vapour or other secondary permanent removal. Although Nevinyrral’s Disk is slow, it can still be useful removal in this match-up. Regardless, Null Rod shuts down enough cards in the deck that it should be stopped whenever possible.

iv)   Welder Mud / Stax

Because a resolved Nevinyrral’s Disk usually implies the end of the game, it is your primary goal to achieve. After a Disk clears the board, you can win at your leisure. Thus, counters should only be reserved for the elements which would either lock your mana development or give your opponent card advantage. Some of these cards include Smokestack, Goblin Welder, Memory Jar, Grafted Skullcap, Timetwister, and Tinker. There are obviously other must-counter threats, but if you understand the reasons behind countering the above spells, then it is not important to list them all. Standard Landstill (with Lightning Bolts) has all the necessary removal to accommodate Goblin Welder, so it is hardly ever an issue. For some reason, I’ve seen Landstill players squandering precious counter resources to stop Tangle Wire and Sphere of Resistance. In the majority of play situations, it is a severe mistake. If your opponent casts a Sphere, that’s great! Your deck is almost 50% land, so a Sphere of Resistance indirectly gives you tempo advantage. Attack your opponent’s Workshop(s) and be patient.

Sideboarding: Depending on the Landstill build, you may want to side out Misdirection in favour of something more desirable. However, it may be a good idea to keep them in if you’re anticipating Red Elemental Blast. Contary to conventional sideboarding strategy, it is actually a better play to side in Chalice of the Void regardless of whether you are playing first or second. The reason is because you can lock your opponent with Chalice after resolving a Disk, and Misdirection is almost always useless anyways.

Sideboard: -3 Misdirection, -1 Lightning Bolt

v)   Hulk / Neo Tog

A competent player will understand that a Psychatog is harmless if the player controlling it has no few cards in their hand/graveyard. Thus, your objective against these decks is no different then your approach to winning against any control deck: Don’t let them gain card advantage! This can be difficult as the majority of these decks run Duress in addition to the blue control staples. Your strategy in the first game is to either resolve Standstill as soon as possible, or if that’s not possible, you should be attacking the mana base (the black sources first) with Stifle and Wasteland. Remember, Psychatog is not the enemy. If your opponent casts one, let it resolve unless you can drain into a ridiculous play on your next turn. Take the small damage and retaliate with mana lands wherever possible.

Sideboarding: -4 Lightning Bolt, +4 Red Elemental Blast
                      -4 Nevinyrral’s Disk, +4 Tormod’s Crypt
                      -3 Fire/Ice, +3 Maze of Ith
         
vi)   Dragon

There’s not much to explain about this matchup. Sometimes Dragon will just be Dragon and throw its cards at you right from the start. The best play is to start with a Wasteland to prevent the early win, and ease off the mana base. Save your Wasteland for Bazaar and counter the Compulsion. Intuition is only a threat if a Bazaar or Compulsion is already on the board. Don’t bother trying to prevent burial effects from resolving. All it takes is 1 Bazaar to pitch a Dragon, so this is not the correct approach.

You have to play this matchup as if it were a control mirror. That is, you have to prevent your opponent from gaining card advantage. Once you’ve drawn a Stifle or resolved a Disk, you should be safe. Keep in mind that Landstill builds running Lightning Bolt are significantly weaker in the Dragon matchup than those that run Chain of Vapor. If Dragon is prevalent in your metagame, Chain of Vapor might be the wiser choice.

Sideboard: -4 Lightning Bolt, +4 Tormod’s Crypt  

                                     or

                     -Black Lotus, -Lotus Petal, -Mox Sapphire, -Lightning Bolt
                     +4 Chalice of the Void

Depending on the Dragon build, you may want to keep the Lightning Bolts to further protect against Xantid Swarm. Misdirection is also a candidate to cut, and Chalice of the Void can also be a strong inclusion. For example, if you’re playing 1st in game 2, you can drop a Chalice for 0 and then attempt to win via the mana denial route. It might not be a good idea to keep Tormod’s Crypt in if you’re set on bringing in Chalice as well. Tormod’s Crypt is probably best if you’re playing second in Game 3. The rule is that if you’re playing 2nd, Chalice of the Void is strictly inferior to Tormod’s Crypt. However, if you’re playing 1st, it can be an excellent play against Dragon, which runs a lot of 0 casting cost acceleration.



Part VI: Brief Conclusion

Landstill has evolved from an unknown, unrefined rogue deck to a powerful control archetype in the current metagame. Given the current tools available to fight combo and the plethora of methods available to stymie aggro decks, control will be the premier archetype to contend with in January of 2004. Landstill flourishes in a control environment, and has the tools to fight anything else you can possible throw in its path. Although it can be very unforgiving, it is undeniably one of the more potent control weapons in the hands of a skilled player.\n\n

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Shock Wave
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2003, 06:54:18 am »

I will continue to add to the primer as suggestions are posted. There are obviously some matchups missing but I figured I would comment on the more common decks and the ones I have the most experience playing against. Hopefully this will answer some of the questions of those that have been anticipating the primer. For those questions that have not been answered, post in this thread as I will possibly be adding a FAQ section in the future.

Thanks to all those who helped and expressed interest in the deck.\n\n

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Spizzard
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2003, 07:12:05 am »

As someone who hasn't played or is even all that knowledgeable about landstill, I found this primer was very informative and well written.  Nice job.  The card by card breakdown of options I thought was very good and showed why certain cards are used over others.
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Maxx Matt
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2003, 08:13:23 am »

nice job. I like a lot the UR verison of this deck for the current metagame.

I would like say to you that a very close version of the multicolor one that you seems to suggest ( at least for the cards pool... ) has well ( if not GREATLY ) performed in the last year here in Italy, thanks to his developer (Siral here on TMD ) and quickly followed by other players. That deck let him won many tourneys here in italy and before groatog with 4 gush, it was one of the greatest control deck all around, perfectly tuned for a mixed metagame as ours.

you can take some (not only outadated.. ) lists talking directly with him  or checking them at our decks and articles pool at www.theabyss.biz



very good job!
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wuaffiliate
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2003, 10:07:18 am »

very nice rich .
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Hawk
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2003, 10:16:17 am »

Very interesting and informing. I will test it since I wanted to update my GayFish for a long time so I can also try Landstill.

Nice work, Rich.

Hawk
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Dr. Sylvan
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2003, 10:26:15 am »

Explaining the pros and cons of each splash was very clear and well thought out. This is a very useful intro.

What made you decide on Lotus Petal over Mox Ruby? Higher potential for first-turn Mana Drain?
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Aroxisis
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2003, 10:37:44 am »

Very well-written and informative read. Not being a landstill palyer, but a curious one, is there any way you can add a non-powered list for po' boys?
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VideoGameBoy
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2003, 10:56:09 am »

Quote from: Dr. Sylvan+Dec. 11 2003,10:26
Quote (Dr. Sylvan @ Dec. 11 2003,10:26)What made you decide on Lotus Petal over Mox Ruby? Higher potential for first-turn Mana Drain?
Not only that, but more potential for a first turn Standstill, is it not?
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dicemanX
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2003, 11:02:18 am »

Nice primer Rich - very well written. I'm also a bit curious about the Ruby. I know Moxes don't have the greatest synergy with Standstill or Disk, but one more Mox can help you accelerate those two cards into play, or get Fire up against a first turn Lackey, or have first turn Response potential.
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bebe
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2003, 11:58:06 am »

An excellent primer. I'm very happy to see it as now at least I know how to best attack this deck. Seems we play each other at least once evr other tournament.


I'm glad you are finally getting some recognition for the work you put into this arch type.

Having playing against you numerous times I can only recall two builds that gave you trouble and I believe the deck has since evolved to at least offer more resistance to them ...
Rector/Trix - We know this was a problem for the deck.
TnT and now neo-TnT - This might be somewhat easier for you now that the the sideboard and main deck can offer a few more solutions.
Random combos - What can I say. This is Type 1. Any explosive combo start can be problematic. Other than Dragon, I feel combo decks are generally on the decline but I could be proved wrong.

Well, again, a very nice primer and I'm happy to see it finally posted.
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PucktheCat
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2003, 12:55:24 pm »

Shockwave, would you mind spending a moment discussing the manabase in a bit more depth?  In particular I wonder about the odd fetchland choices and single mountain in the deck.  I understand you don't want your red mana stripped, but don't you think another blue source would be nice here?  You run the fewest permanent blue sources of any (competitive) deck I have ever seen playing Mana Drain.  

Wouldn't fetchlands 'frontload' your colored mana in a desireable way?  You want to get double blue second turn but you don't want have your deck be all lands and no business spells.  That's what fetchlands do.

Thanks in advance,
Leo
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Shock Wave
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2003, 01:13:02 pm »

Quote
Quote Shockwave, would you mind spending a moment discussing the manabase in a bit more depth?  In particular I wonder about the odd fetchland choices and single mountain in the deck.  I understand you don't want your red mana stripped, but don't you think another blue source would be nice here?  You run the fewest permanent blue sources of any (competitive) deck I have ever seen playing Mana Drain.  

Wouldn't fetchlands 'frontload' your colored mana in a desireable way?  You want to get double blue second turn but you don't want have your deck be all lands and no business spells.  That's what fetchlands do.

Seeing as how this is the second different question I've gotten with respect to the mana base, I will elaborate on it in the primer ASAP. Contrary to most control decks, Landstill does not necessarily need UU on turn 2, although it has it at it's disposal very often.\n\n

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BreathWeapon
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2003, 01:20:40 pm »

I imagine the reasoning behind behind Lotus Petal, or atleast my reasoning behind it, is that a first turn hand of Mishra's Factory, Lotus Petal, Standstill kicks ass. I have even used it in Fish with some regularity when MisD was having an off day.

Now, a few things that interest me is which matches Red is secures over White. Lightning Bolt is alright, and it does go a long way vs Aggro ... but so does STP. STP also makes a significant difference vs FAT Aggro like Stacker and the best Combo decks left in the format, Dragon and Mask. Yes, sadly they are dead against Control, but despite Lightning Bolt being used to reduce the clock vs Keeper ... i'm not so sure its relevant. Against the Chronic, the game is won earlier than ever before on account of Stifles. Stifle allows you to dominate the LD game and out counter Keeper in the counter wars that will ensue over Isochron Scepters. Against Old School Keeper, Lightning Bolts 3 damage would have been much more relevant ... but not soo much anymore, come Jan 1st. I think its  a little strange that Shockwave is willing to accept MisD as a dead card vs Prison and Combo, but not accept the inferior removal card vs only Control. The only thing I can conclude from this is that he possibly doesn't see a lot of Workshops, or Combo is Dead, so its only a 1 for 1 trade off comparitively to him.

Now, your probably thinking, "What about Fire/Ice?" Ya, in U/w Standstill the loss of Fire/Ice sucks. Nevertheless, it frees up slots for MD card manipulation like Impulse or even Brainstorm with modifications to the Manabase. This has been a pretty decent trade off for me, as I am less reliant on fishing for Standstill and I see Plows, Disks and Balance more frequently. FYI, I cut the MisD's for more Fetch Lands in order to solidify the Manabase and make Brainstorm playable.

Decree of Justice really isn't great in Landstill. Its cool to Cycle under a Standstill, but its really not that practical. Decree tokens like to get in the way of Nev Disk and Balance too much.

Now the last thing to consider, if we accept that White offers superior MD choices, is what happens to the quality of the SB? Honestly, I thought the loss of REB and Rack&Ruin would be debilitating ... but really I haven't missed them at all. Let me tell you this about the Control Mirror, Teferi's Response > REB *Ducks Flying Chair.* Seriously, in this deck you will do such GOD AWFUL things to the opponents manabase that he will have nightmares in his sleep for years to come. Combined with Stifle, Teferi's Response can just CRIPPLE Keeper. Now, what about R&R? Its only a big loss vs Mask, but we have gained a lot vs Mask with STP. Against Prison.dec, Hurkyl's Recall or even Energy Flux is arguably just as strong ... if not stronger. So, I think its reasonably safe to assume that the SB is not lacking without Red. You even get a littled added space back by cutting Maze of Ith, not terribly necessary with STP's and Balance.

Despite ShockWave's assertions that U/r Landstill is the best for the general metagame, I have to disagree. Plow and Balance simply offer more against the broader metagame and the SB suffers little.

I'm not going to post a U/w Landstill deck list here, because frankly it would be rude unless I was asked to. Its not difficult to connect the dots anyway. I think i'll start something in the Newb thread, just because this deck is really cheap anyway.\n\n

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pernicious dude
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2003, 01:40:30 pm »

Quote
Quote You run the fewest permanent blue sources of any (competitive) deck I have ever seen playing Mana Drain.

Might you be forgetting that Conclaves tap for U?
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Shock Wave
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2003, 01:44:20 pm »

Quote
Quote Despite ShockWave's assertions that U/r Landstill is the best for the general metagame, I have to disagree. Plow and Balance simply offer more against the broader metagame and the SB suffers little.

Well, I've drawn my conclusions based on the following simple principles:

1. REB > all white anti-control cards
2. Fire/Ice = more flexible than STP
3. White improves the Mask matchup. That's it. If Mask and Stacker are what comprise the majority of your metagame and you are set on playing Landstill, then by all means bring your favourite u/w build.

Quote
Quote Now, what about R&R? Its only a big loss vs Mask, but we have gained a lot vs Mask with STP. Against Prison.dec, Hurkyl's Recall or even Energy Flux is arguably just as strong ... if not stronger.

None of these cards are necessary in a U/R sideboard. They shore up none of the difficult matchups. Nevinyrral's Disk is the end of the world for Workshop decks. You do *not* need any more artifact hate.

Quote
Quote Let me tell you this about the Control Mirror, Teferi's Response > REB *Ducks Flying Chair.* Seriously, in this deck you will do such GOD AWFUL things to the opponents manabase that he will have nightmares in his sleep for years to come.

*blinks* ..... *blinks* ..... Did you just advocate using Teferi's Response over Red Elemental Blast in the control mirror?
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kirdape3
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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2003, 01:56:03 pm »

What would the advantages/disadvantages be of running two splash colors - such as red and white?
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PucktheCat
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2003, 02:14:00 pm »

Quote from: pernicious dude+Dec. 11 2003,15:40
Quote (pernicious dude @ Dec. 11 2003,15:40)
Quote
Quote You run the fewest permanent blue sources of any (competitive) deck I have ever seen playing Mana Drain.

Might you be forgetting that Conclaves tap for U?
No, I'm not.  I may be exageratting a bit, but 14 U sources is pretty low, especially considering there are no cantrips to speed it along (the Standstill help, but other control runs Brainstorm and other card draw as well to get their mana base up)

The Conclaves certainly help the situation (although if I could get away with it against Fish I would probably cut one - coming into play tapped sucks) but they still leave this deck dramatically less likely to see UU on turn two than other control decks.

I realize this isn't as big a problem for this deck as it would be for Keeper (or, god forbid, BBS) but it is a problem, nonethless.  I think getting Mana Drain active early would be a significant step in this deck's struggle against combo.

To let you know where I am coming from, I proxied up this deck and played a few games against MUD and Dragon last night.  I lost more than one to lack of blue mana.  In particular I lost a game against MUD because I couldn't Drain out a Disk to get around his mana denial.

Leo
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BreathWeapon
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2003, 02:22:26 pm »

If you want to run Red/White, you have to cut into your non-Land card pool to make room for additional Fetch Lands.

@ShockWave, I've started to notice a very strange trend in Control Mirrors, jacking their manabase is more important than winning the Counter War. I've been considering cutting REB from Keeper for a compliment of Stifles for awhile, and its really tempting. Now, i'm not advocating that everybody should go and chuck REB from their SB, but the card has lost some if its "Must be played" allure. Teferi's Response is a strong card by itself, and inconjunction with 4xChalice in the SB Landstill is the strongest Manadenial deck in the game. This is what attracted me to the deck more than anything else, and I think it is THE most important factor in the decks future success. A first turn of Island + Chalice for 0 and a Stifle in hand is ungodly vs Keeper. Teferi's Response just compounds the madness that is this decks disruption base. I'd have a hell of a time winning the Teferi > REB argument, and I did/do fully expect harsh criticism and lots of balking. Nevertheless, the real point I want to get across, without any sensationalism, is that Teferi's Response is an acceptable SB card in the place of REB. Even if it is inferior, its still ridiculously powerful and U/w has the space for it in the SB.

I'm not sure I agree with your assertion on R&R being "Unnecessary." In my experience, it was the best thing in my SB. You absolutley need it if you want to have a prayer vs Spoils-Mask, and I also play in a very Scepter heavy meta, and Disc is too slow to deal with Land + Mox = Scepter Fire/Ice Go. R&R also dodges Stifle, which Disc is a real sucker for. The R&R's are the cards I miss the most from U/r Landstill.

On Plow, it not only improves the Mask and Stacker matchups, but it PWNz Dragon. Yes, I know Dragon is already a good match up for this deck, but having an almost guaranteed game 1 vs Dragon is even better than having only a favorable match up. It also allows Tormod's Crypt to be removed from the SB, which gives you more and more SB options to toy with.
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Shock Wave
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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2003, 02:23:32 pm »

Quote
Quote To let you know where I am coming from, I proxied up this deck and played a few games against MUD and Dragon last night.  I lost more than one to lack of blue mana.  In particular I lost a game against MUD because I couldn't Drain out a Disk to get around his mana denial.

Well, it's like this:

If in your opening hand, you don't have either

a) UU + Drain
b) U1 + Standstill

... then I would probably mull unless I'm holding a FOW. I don't know what to say about losing to Mud. Like I've said many times before, I hardly ever lose to Workshop.dec with Landstill. I don't see how their mana denial is an issue, seeing as how the deck runs Stifle or Teferi's Response, or both (see my latest tournament report).

Quote
Quote I'm not sure I agree with your assertion on R&R being "Unnecessary." In my experience, it was the best thing in my SB. You absolutley need it if you want to have a prayer vs Spoils-Mask, and I also play in a very Scepter heavy meta, and Disc is too slow to deal with Land + Mox = Scepter Fire/Ice Go. R&R also dodges Stifle, which Disc is a real sucker for. The R&R's are the cards I miss the most from U/r Landstill.

You're free to disagree, that's your prerogative. You're wrong though  . Maze of Ith is much better than Rack and Ruin in the Mask matchup because it can't be picked from your hand. Have you not seen the disruption that Mask runs? I played against Smmenen's Spoils Mask in Kansas, and it runs no land distruction. What are you afraid of Scepter for? Land - Mox Scepter is NOT a threat, especially if you're running Chain of Vapor. Even if you're not perhaps Seth can chime in here and talk about the last time that situation arose between us in tournament play?

A Scepter imprinted with Fire/Ice isn't exactly a stellar advantage, especially considering you can't use it under Standstill. Furthermore, before you can achieve parity again after casting the Scepter, you need to activate it twice (4 mana and 2 turns). In the meantime, I hope you're drawing land, because I'll be wreaking havoc on your mana base. Regardless of the Scepter issue, R&R is absolutely superfluous. If you're convinced about it, then stick to your guns and play it, that's up to you. The issue at hand is not whether or not it is useful, but whether it is important enough to warrant sideboard slots, which it is not.

Disk is a sucker for Stifle? Hmmm, perhaps for one turn.\n\n

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dicemanX
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« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2003, 02:24:18 pm »

Quote
Quote  may be exageratting a bit, but 14 U sources is pretty low

I count 17, including Petal and Lotus. That's even 1 more than what some of the BBS decks ran. The thing is though, there doesn't appear to be a whole lot of choice anyways. 5 Waste/Strip effects, LoA and 4 Factories are a given so any extra U mana would only come at the expense of business spells or that one Mountain.\n\n

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Lockdown
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« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2003, 02:39:18 pm »

A good primer, I just have 1 question about Landstill in general.  I've noticed that there are great similarities between Landstill and Gay Fish.  If we look at some of the more recent lists of Landstill and Gay Fish:

Shock Wave's U/R Landstill:
// Permission
       4 Force of Will
       4 Mana Drain
       3 Misdirection
// Removal
       4 Lightning Bolt
       4 Fire/Ice
       2 Powder Keg
// Card Drawing and Utility
       4 Standstill
       3 Teferi's Response
       1 Ancestral Recall
       1 Time Walk
       1 Fork
// Mana Sources
       1 Sol Ring
       1 Black Lotus
       1 Mox Ruby
       1 Mox Sapphire
       1 Strip Mine
       1 Library of Alexandria
       4 Mishra's Factory
       4 Faerie Conclave
       4 Volcanic Island
       4 Wasteland
       4 Island
       3 Mountain

PTW's Gay/r Fish:[/b] *Though there's really no more fish in this build Wink
4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Cloud of Faeries
4 Spiketail Hatchling
3 Voidmage Prodigy

4 Force of Will
1 Misdirection
3 Daze
4 Standstill
4 Curiosity
3 Null Rod
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk

4 Mishra's Factory
2 Faerie Conclave
1 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Mox Sapphire
2 Polluted Delta
3 Flooded Strand
2 Island
4 Volcanic Island

Now, if you'll take a look and compare the two lists, you'll find that:
-The lands used are almost identical, and while this build of Gay Fish has 2 Faerie Conclaves less than the Landstill build, it also has the extra creatures.  
-Gay Fish has less removal (Lavamancer) compared to Landstill (Lightning Bolt, Fire/Ice, and Powder Keg).
-They have a similar number of counters, if not the same type (Gay Fish has Dazes, Hatchlings, Prodigies instead of Landstill's Mana Drain, Teferi's Response {may not count})
-Gay Fish has an additional source of card drawing in Curiosity.
-Gay Fish has MD artifact hate (Null Rod) instead of SoLoMoxen

So to summarize, Landstill has more removal and "real" counters, while Gay Fish has more threats.  My question is, why is one build better than the other under any given circumstance?\n\n

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SummenSaugen
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« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2003, 02:46:03 pm »

As a mask player, I'd love to see how the matchup against Mask would (should) be played.  Analyzing both the monoblack and the survival-based masks would make me happy.

Other that that, great primer Rich.  Good read.
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specialk
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« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2003, 02:50:23 pm »

@Red/White Splashes- The splash is excellent if you don't get mana screwed and I found the only way to do this is to go down to 1-2 basic Islands and no basics in other colors

@17 blue sources- The deck runs 4 wastelands and a Loa and with any of the in the opening hand with a Blue source gives an extra turn to draw a U source.

@Green Splash- No mention of Hiddon Gibbons in the deck But a green splash would suck anyway

@non-exsistent sideboard Rack and Ruins- I agree that they are not needed in the tnt match ups but what do you use for null rods or dampening matrix(if someone can find a use for it)?


Overall great job with the Primer Rich
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Shock Wave
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« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2003, 02:52:14 pm »

Quote
Quote So to summarize, Landstill has more removal and "real" counters, while Gay Fish has more threats.  My question is, why is one build better than the other under any given circumstance?

I don't think one deck is specifically better than the other. I know that versus one another, Landstill will emerge the victor on the strength of Lightning Bolt and Fire/Ice, which absolutely wreak havoc on Gay Red.

Outside of the mirror, Gay Red has a much better combo matchup, however it suffers a little more against fat in comparison to Landstill. I've spoken with Marc about the similiarities of the decks, and we've agreed that they obviously try to accomplish the same goal, but have taken different routes in doing so.  For example:

- Nevinyrral's Disk vs. Null Rod
- Creatures vs. burn

It would seem that because both decks have such similiarity but have different card choices that one would be more effective than the other. However, this is not the case. Both decks are strong in their own respects.\n\n

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PucktheCat
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« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2003, 03:26:03 pm »

I don’t think the manabase is fundamentally untenable or anything, I just think there are a few odd things that could do with explaining.  Only 15 (my miscount, sorry) permanent sources of a color is risky, especially considering how dependent you are on UU to power out your Disk (I am not saying you can’t hardcast it, but I AM saying doing so will sometimes be slower than you want)  On top of that you have only 7 permanent red sources.  Both of these numbers are lower than they need to be.  I would do something more like this with the mana base:

4 Volcanic Island
4 Faerie Conclave
4 Flooded Strand
3 Island
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby/Lotus Petal
1 Black Lotus

4 Mishra’s Factory
4 Wasteland
1 Strip Mine
1 Library of Alexandria

That increases your blue count to 16.  It doesn’t leave you with an unstrippable  red source, but the fact is in a deck with as relatively few (and cheap) red spells as this one 8 red sources should be enough to cast your essential red spells even if they do get stripped.

My loss to MUD was certainly a triumph of bad luck (I had one blue source stripped while my land was Wired so I couldn’t Respond and didn’t draw another while Karn’s accomplices beat me down) but the fact that it happened at all makes me wonder.  Bad luck is what you want to eliminate from your deck, after all.

Leo\n\n

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Dante
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« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2003, 03:51:21 pm »

Puck - you've replaced 1 Island, 1 Mountain, and 1 Wooded Foothill, for 3 more flooded strand.  You actually haven't increased the permanent blue sources (remember fetchlands aren't permanent, they pull another source out).

your mana base has 1 more method each of seeing a red or blue source, but the manabase is actual less stable due to more thinning and having less basics.  I've tested this recently and I think making this manabase change would actually hurt the deck.

Bill
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PucktheCat
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« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2003, 04:07:04 pm »

Dante:  I disagree entirely.  The fact that fetches pull a land out doesn’t mean they aren’t permanent blue sources.  They are just as permanent as any other land in your deck.  A non-permanent mana source is one like Lotus Petal or Black Lotus.

Look, the reasoning I keep hearing about why we can’t add more blue sources is that we have to replace spells with them and the reasoning I keep hearing about not adding fetchlands is that we really want to be drawing as many lands as possible in the mid to late game.  Which is it people?

I think this deck wants to use its land drop every turn for as long as possible, but it really doesn’t want to be dropping colored sources after it has 3-4 Islands and some way to make red.  At that point it would much rather draw Wastelands, Mishras, Conclaves or answers. Fetchlands frontload the mana in exactly that way, increase your off-color stability, and provide additional insurance against LD.  What more could you want?

Leo
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pernicious dude
Guest
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2003, 04:49:56 pm »

Fetches aren't permanent sources, they're tutors.
I actually run a painland and a single fetch in my build.
That's an increase in permanent sources,
unlike your suggestion, which is a decrease.

With Stifle showing up everywhere,
I want lands I don't need to fight over.

When you fetch, and then they blow up what you get,
in a sense you've just been two-for-oned.
You have less chance of replacing that land in a future draw.

Late game, when I'm activating two Conclaves
while holding mana open for a Drain and a Stifle,
I won't be unhappy to keep drawing colored sources.

Fetches are golden in a multi-color deck,
or in a deck that doesn't want land past turn three.
In a mana hungry one or two color deck, I don't think so.
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PucktheCat
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« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2003, 05:42:13 pm »

My version of the mana base has a greater chance of having blue mana available to cast important spells than the other mana bases presented.  It may also have a higher chance of having red mana available, although that is debatable.

Whether we call fetches "permanent mana sources" or "tutors" or "purple cows" doesn't change that fact.

Saying fetchlands let you get two-for-oned "in a sense" doesn't either.  The sense in which you can be two-for-oned is the same sense in which you can two-for-one your opponent when he draws an island late game and you draw a Factory.  They are equally (ir)relevent.

Leo
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