A Whole New Lands

Posted in Feature on August 15, 2012

By Conley Woods

Legacy is often regarded as a stable format. A player is able to build his or her favorite deck and play it for years. It will wax and wane in power level during that time, but the deck will most likely be legal, which is reassuring. However, it is easy to then make the leap that Legacy does not change often, which is most certainly not the case. Legacy has had format-rocking bans and unbans, as well as newly printed cards that have changed the face of the format. From Flash dominating Grand Prix Columbus years ago to the printing of Mental Misstep, shaking up Legacy is as much a part of the format as the stability it also offers. One awesome deck that came out of the format five or so years ago was one that happened to be playing forty-three lands.

The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale

Lands, the deck, had a bunch of success when it first came out, but hard-to-find staples of the format began to hurt the list. Finding The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale can be quite the task, after all. The deck faded out of the spotlight and lay dormant for a year or two, until recently when Alex Orson took down second place at a StarCityGames Legacy Open in Kansas City. The deck still has much of the same feel, but it has been a while since the list has seen the light of day, so Alex put his own spin on things. First of all, the deck has reduced its land count to only thirty-five. This is still higher than every other deck in Legacy, but with more room for spells, Alex was able to fit an Enlightened Tutor package into the deck, increasing the versatility of the land-heavy brew.

Still, the focal point of any Lands deck is clearly on the lands themselves. Alex is able to take over control of a game without ever casting a spell in some cases. Cards such as Wasteland and Rishadan Port are able to constrict opposing mana bases, depriving them of certain colors or key activated abilities of lands. To combat creatures, Alex uses Maze of Ith as his primary tool, but singleton copies of The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Glacial Chasm, and Karakas allow him to impact the board and keep creature pressure off of him. Cycle lands like Tranquil Thicket, tutors like Tolaria West, and fetchlands like Misty Rainforest all provide great targets for Life from the Loam and give the deck much-needed consistency. Winning is often a grind, though, as only Mishra's Factory and Creeping Tar Pit can accomplish that, but with the pressure point on from other lock components, that is usually going to be enough, even if it takes a while. The deck is certainly a unique one to play, but that is the type of environment Legacy offers!

Alex Olson's Lands

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