Do you like playing Child of Alara? For more than just its colors? You’ve come to the right place!
This spicy deck is a lands deck that utilizes 52 lands to assemble fast combos, destroy all nonland permanents when we need to, or out attrition our opponents.
The Main Strategy:
First thing first: this deck likes to ramp. Most of the deck is based off of green so we can hit our early ramp effects if we find them in our opening hand or early in the game. The reason why ramping is good in this deck is because its good at almost any point in the game. A lot of ramp decks have a problem where in the mid-late if they draw ramp spells those spells are not as useful. For those decks they want gas at that point in the game. Not ramp. Since this deck is a lands deck we have tons of utility lands (and options for other lands if we wanted to include them) so spells that let us ramp and play more lands are rarely bad.
Another reason ramp spells are good in this deck is because they can be easily used to build impromptu mini-value combos. In standard Tireless Tracker has proved how many cards it is capable of drawing. Add in fetch lands and lands like Gruul Turf and you’ll go crazy with clue tokens. Most of the mini-value combos consist of an effect that benefits you when you play lands plus an ability that lets you play more lands. Because the deck has 52 lands in it you are usually able to draw into more lands to further play into your value combo.
Letting your lands go to the graveyard can also be beneficial. Crucible of Worlds plus a fetch land lets you search out your forest-type lands and let you ramp. You can use discard-then-draw effects like Daretti, Scrap Savant, Chandra, Flamecaller, and Wheel of Fortune to pitch lands and get them back with Crucible or Life from the Loam. You can replace draw effects with Life from the Loam’s Dredge 3 and filter through your deck for the lands you need. Scapeshift can be a mass land tutor effect or you can use it to simply sac lands you don’t really need, find the lands you do need, then start playing the lands you sacced in the first place.
The main way that the deck doesn’t lose is through Child of Alara. The idea is that our ramp/land tutor effects are consistent enough that when we need to we can generate all 5 colors and have a high market (or Miren, the Moaning Well ) on board. If we untap with Child + Sac outlet we can hold our opponent’s boardstates hostage. Child is usually best when you can leverage it against the rest of the board and keep on making your land/value drops. Your opponents basically have to have a split second spell in order to kill/remove Child so it is very difficult for them to deny you a Child of Alara trigger unless they have cards like Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void that deny your graveyard.
When the time does come to trigger Child of Alara, just do it. With this lands deck your life total does sometimes matter because you sometimes have to hide behind Glacial Chasm for a few turns. Trading everyone’s boardstate with Child net benefits you because it usually slows the game down and when the game slows down you can buy yourself time to get more lands and get to your win conditions.
The way that you end the game usually ends one of Five ways (most end with you having a ton of land in play).
We run all 10 guildgates and Maze’s End. Don’t laugh: it works. We’ll sometimes pound out a long game and naturally draw into all 10 guildgates or we use Bring to Light / Scapeshift to cheat our way into a Maze’s End victory.
Maze’s End coming into play tapped isn’t usually much of a problem. We have Amulet of Vigor and Deserted Temple to untap it if need be if we are trying to complete the combo on that same turn. If you have any 11 lands in play plus a untapped Deserted Temple you can cast Scapeshift while floating mana with all of your other lands. Sac all the non-guildgates and find all the guildgates plus Maze’s End. Then you can untap Maze’s End and activate it with the Deserted Temple and leftover floating mana to win the game.
The real power of the Maze is that even if your opponents exile a guildgate you can still use it to develop your boardstate. Because you tap AND bring the maze back to your hand to activate its ability the maze can protect itself from the likes of Strip Mine and Wasteland. If you have a extra land enabler out you can use it to get another land out each turn. This extra land each turn can be huge if you have a value enabler like Tireless Tracker on the field. It even brings it to your hand so you can play it from your hand to trigger a Horn of Greed effect.
The other way you win is you out value your opponents. You can reset Child of Alara to the top of your deck using Volrath’s Stronghold to give you Child of Alara basically whenever you need it. You can also use stronghold to not deck yourself in extreme attrition matchups.
Dark Depths and Thespian Stage can create us an enourmous Marit Lage.
Target Dark Depths with Thespian Stage’s ability using the 2 mana.
Once the ability resolves you have a state based action to resolve. Choose to keep the Thespian Stage in play (due to the legend rule) and have the original Dark Depths go to the graveyard. Then Thespian Stage gets a trigger that says “Sac me because I don’t have any Ice Counters”. Then you sac the stage and put a Legendary 20/20 black Avatar creature token with flying and Indestructible into play.
This 20/20 alongside lands like Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion and Kessig Wolf Run should be enough to finish off your most problematic opponent. In a pinch Miren, the Moaning Well can eat Marit Lage to give you 20 life.
Learning how to juggle Glacial Chasm will do wonders for the pilot of this deck. Sometimes your content to sit behind Glacial Chasm and let your life total drop each upkeep while you go through your deck trying to find what you need. If you can cast Child and blow up all nonland permanents while behind the Glacial Chasm that’s usually enough to let you control the rest of the game.
Other times you need to protect Glacial Chasm. The most flexible way is probably through Thesbian Stage because the Stage can copy Chasm without immediately getting a ton of counters or sacing a land. You can then use Life from the Loam or Crucible of Worlds to get it back so you can play Chasm again with 0 Counters. You can also use Mina and Denn, Wildborn, Titania, Protector of Argoth, and Gruul Turf to reset Chasm in a pinch.
Crop Rotation and Alchemist’s Refuge:
Crop Rotation is the most flexible card in the deck. You can sac lands you don’t need to find the ones you need proactively or reactivity at almost any time.
If we want to get fancy we can go find Alchemist’s Refuge and activate it whenever we desire with Crop Rotation. This gives us almost limitless playmaking potential because our deck is so good at generating mana. One time someone cast Armageddon vs me in a game. In response I used Crop Rotation to find the Refuge and activate it, floating the rest of my mana. Once Armageddon resolved I waited until the end of that same phase to flash in a Eternal Witness getting back Splendid Reclamation from my graveyard. I then cast reclamation to revive my boardstate, all at instant speed!
G-Wave and Animist’s Awakening:
Genesis Wave and Animist’s Awakening are pretty simple to explain. In the late game if you dump all your mana into one of these insane cards you can flood out your deck and ramp really really hard while finding all of your critical utility lands and guildgates.
Sometimes you are under pressure and need lands. Don’t be afraid to cast these cards for meager amounts on turns where you can’t do that much anyway. If you need the ramp go for it: trying to wait and do nothing while you look for more land drops isn’t proactive enough for this deck.
Even if your opponents are able to deny you your set win conditions you can always beat them down with medium-large creatures like The Gitrog Monster, Ulvenwald Hydra, and Knight of the Reliquary. Kessig Wolf Run can make any creature in your deck lethal in the late game.
Other Lands You Could Include:
If you don’t have the money for some of the lands in my decklist or you wanted to try other options here are some good lands to try out:
Ghost Town : This land is really good at coming back to your hand so you can replay it and get landfall triggers.
Geier Reach Sanitarium : This land is OK, its cool that it provides us with a draw and discard outlet.
Boseiju, Who Shelters all : its OK vs a heavy counterspell metagame, not very good overall because of the lifeloss (games tend to go long with this deck). I personally think it is too specific of an ability.
Cephalid Coliseum : A decent blue source that we can use to dig more through our deck.
Homeward Path : Not that great for our deck, but its a great meta card vs decks that like to steal other player’s creatures. We can use it to be very political vs theft decks.
Nephalia Drownyard : Can be used to mill people to mess up their Vampiric Tutor effects. Good in the late game versus other grindy decks (can mill them out). Sometimes you want to mill yourself because you have Crucible/Life from the Loam/Splendid Reclamation.
Petrified Field : Can get a land from our graveyard back into our hand.
Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace : Sometimes you don’t care about your hand and having everyone discard a card can be to your benefit.
Why Not Burgeoning?
I feel like Burgeoning is actually a bad card in this format. Sure it can be good, but the draws that you need for it to be good are really specific and it does not usually do anything in the mid-late game. Its a card that makes me feel like I need it turn 1 or bust in this deck.
It is good with Oboro, Palace in the clouds, the karoo bounce lands, and ghost town when you have effects that trigger with each land drop. But usually you are doing just fine with these land drop effects in play and playing on your turn alone, ignoring your Burgeoning triggers. I personally like to run another threat or utility spell in its place.
Hope you enjoyed this spicy brew! How do you like to build your lands decks?