Deck Tech: It's a Ponza Scheme!

Posted in Event Coverage on August 28, 2016

By Tobi Henke

Even if you play a lot of Modern chances are you have never had Mwonvuli Acid-Moss cast against you on turn two. But that's exactly what Artie Heinrich, a longtime player with a bit of Pro Tour experience and a penchant for unusual decks from Berlin, Germany, had been doing. He began the weekend with an 8-0 winning streak playing Red-Green Land Destruction or, as the strategy was traditionally called, Ponza.

However, Heinrich was quick to point out that he hadn't come up with the deck himself. "I first noticed the deck when it put up some Top 16 results at StarCityGames tournaments. And then Eric Froehlich played it at a Grand Prix, I think," Heinrich said.

"I did some research and found a series of articles by the deck's original creator Matt Mendoza. Those were super interesting; if you like the archetype you should really check them out," he recommended.

"I myself immediately fell in love with the deck. Land Destruction had been one of the first decks I've ever played, back in 2000. I've also always been a big fan of Blood Moon. I think that card's extremely strong in the current metagame," Heinrich suggested. "I've seen some French pros in the feature match area with Blood Moon as well."

(Don't miss Craig Jones's deck tech article on the Jund deck with Blood Moon played by Raphaël Lévy and Jérémy Dezani!)

"I first played the deck at the World Magic Cup Qualifier in Berlin a couple of weeks ago. There, I lost against Affinity and dropped out early. But there also was a Grand Prix Trial for Lille on the same day. In that tournament, I didn't lose a single match," Heinrich recounted. "So I simply had to go to Lille and it was clear which deck I'd bring."

In preparation, Heinrich reworked a few of the main deck slots, especially the selection of finishers, and made some changes to the sideboard, particularly with regards to Affinity.

"I also added three Lightning Bolts to the main deck which the Land Destruction lists usually don't run. They usually rely more on Bonfire of the Damned of which I still have three," Heinrich added. "A card which might raise some eyebrows is Crumble to Dust. Yes, it often is just an overcosted Stone Rain. But sometimes it's quite helpful to get a look at the exact makeup of your opponent's deck."

Heinrich said that yesterday had been a blast. He had particular fond memories of playing turn-two Blood Moon against two Urzatron opponents. "But even Affinity or Infect or Bogles just have one or two basic lands," he pointed out.

Unfortunately, he hadn't been able to continue his success into the second day of the tournament. "Curiously enough, several of my opponents actually knew of the deck and knew how to play against it," said Heinrich. "It appears the deck's not completely under the radar anymore."

Artie Heinrich's Red-Green Ponza

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