Posted in NEWS on December 9, 2013

Whenever I draft, I like to bring my own basic lands. Specifically, full-art Zendikar basic lands. I bring them every draft, and newer players even compliment the lands. They’re gorgeous, and it has gotten to the point where I (irrationally) feel bad playing with any other basic lands.

I only bring this up because those Zendikar lands are getting a real workout with new Standard, and Grand Prix Santiago is showcasing the power of the basic land.

Of the 94 decks to make Day 2, 51 have some kind of Devotion theme, and if you throw in Mono Red and Mono White aggro variants, a full 62 decks—nearly 2/3 of the field—are relying heavily on one specific type of basic land.

Granted, that’s finessing the numbers a bit, as many of the devotion decks and even some of the aggressive decks are dipping into a second color. Many of those decks are dipping very lightly, however.

(Note: any time going forward I mention a deck, the dominant color will be listed first and capitalized, while the splash will be second and lower case.)

The Black/green Devotion decks, for example, are typically only playing Abrupt Decay as a maindeck Green card. The White/red aggressive strategies typically only sport Boros Charm while the Red/white decks are typically only splashing for Chained to the Rocks.

In each of these cases, the small splashes are there to shore up a weakness. Abrupt Decay fights Underworld Connections and an early Pack Rat in the mirror. Boros Charm fights Supreme Verdict. Chained to the Rocks gives Red decks a way to deal with Master of Waves. And so on, and so forth.

Additionally, some of the Devotion strategies are a little less devoted than others. The Blue/white Devotion deck is more or less a UW Control deck with Master of Waves and occasionally Thassa, God of the Sea, with the Devotion primarily used for Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and powered by Jace, Architect of Thought and Detention Sphere. The Green-based Devotion decks are, for the most part, playing Red to engage with powerful planeswalkers or Blue to summon Prime Speaker Zegana and fuel overloaded Cyclonic Rifts.

And while not all of the Mono Red decks are taking advantage of Devotion to power Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx or power up Purphoros, most are using Fanatic of Mogis. Not everyone is using the powerful four-drop, however. No. 7 ranked Willy Edel, for example, purposefully avoided the four-drop to keep his curve even lower.

But less devoted strategies are finding success as well. Esper Control is the third-most popular Day 2 deck, though there’s no telling if that’s a function of how many players were playing it on Day 1 (hint: a lot) or if it really is well positioned. It’s likely a bit of both.

A few notes to parse the chart below. All of the “other” decks had exactly one copy on Day 2, and those included Brad Nelson’s Naya Control deck, a UWR Control list, a Black Devotion deck that splashed White for Orzhov Charm and Cartel Aristocrat, Maze’s End Control, Junk, Mono Green Devotion, and even Jund. Because Jund is always viable.

Mono Black Devotion 16
Mono Blue Devotion 12
Esper Control 11
Bg Devotion 7
Mono Red Aggro 5
GR Monsters 5
WG Aggro 5
Gr Devotion 4
UW Control 4
Uw Devotion 3
Rw Aggro 3
Gu Devotion 2
Wr Aggro 2
Rg Devotion 2
Red Devotion 2
Other 11