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Saturday, July 14, 2018

EDH Land Destruction decks: is it really unbeatable?

June 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Deck Ideas

Stone Rain

Let the Stone Rain !!!!!!

I have a confession. I thought EDH Land destruction 1v1 deck is undefeatable, second against a Blue Counter all Deck. However, I have this nagging feeling in my head, how can I claim something without facts to back it up?

Thus, I create a simple and cheap EDH 1v1 Land destruction deck, using Radha, Heir to Keld as my general. As I was out of job for a while, I make do with what I have.

I do announce to my playmates that my deck is a Land destruction deck. They are game to play with me. Yes, Land destruction has a bad reputation in my area, which is why I politely request a game to satisfy my curiosity.

After a few games, there are some traits I found in land destruction.
As a disclaimer, I only tested a budget Red Green, Radha, Heir to Keld deck. But I am sure some of the findings are beneficial to others who faced some issues with land destruction decks or building one.

Radha, Heir to Keld

Ramping your mana into the killzone


Mana curve


When the floodgates are opened

Most of the cards that destroy Lands are casting cost of 3 and above. I count the total cards that destroy target Land or Lands. Cards that have global effects like Wildfire and Jokulhaups are not counted. Just in Sorcery alone, there are roughly about 38 of them from 3 casting cost to 6 casting cost for both Red and Green. 2 of them are multi-color.

Sorcery for Land-D. Red Green Red n Green
3cc 3 3 0
4cc 13 3 1
5cc 9 1 1
6cc 3 1 0
Total: 38


What does this data means to you? It means that Land destruction player will be casting 3cc to 4cc Sorcery more often to achieve 1-sided land destruction. To achieve the mana capacity of 3 to 4, the player needs the hand of 3 mana sources with 1 ramp spell. If the general is Radha, then you need 1 Mountain and 1 Forest to achieve 3 mana sources and 1 ramp spell to use Land destruction spells.

To simply put, for player to go destroying 1 Land, it is fairly common to start at 4th turn or 5th turn, fastest at 3rd turn without Mana Crypt and Sol Ring’s aid. With all 3cc and 4cc cards all in the deck, they occupied 23% of the deck. I say that is a lot. Your starting hand should easily get 1 or 2 Land destruction Sorcery cards.

I haven’t done the Creatures and Instant. But you got the rough idea. Land destruction starts at usually at 4th or 5th turn.


Most Land Destruction cards does not provide card advantage

Not all Land destruction cards provide card advantage. This is a quite a big weakness in my point of view.

Why do I consider this is a weakness?

Land destruction core objective is to slow my opponent.
However, with your starting hand, if your opponent is able to weather through your Land destruction till your hand is depleted. The core design of the Land destruction cards is trading 1 card for 1 land. So your hand size will shrink in the hopes of slowing your opponents. Your starting hand need 1 business card that allows you keep drawing cards.

Reviewing the Land destruction cards, those which provide some form of card advantage are usually in form of creatures like Dwarven Blastminer (recurring non basic land destruction), or have high mana cost, like Earth Rift, 4 to cast and 7 to Flashback, allowing you to trade 1 card for 2 lands. Faultgrinder is another good example, costing 7 to make it stay and fight for you.

Dwarven Blastminer

Dealing with the nonbasic over and over again. 


Most EDH Decks has focus ramp and card drawing


The Daily 2 for 1

Your opponent, if he is aware of the above weakness. He will focus of ramping and card drawing. In these 2 activities, he can out last your 1 for 1 trade. Ramp spells usually trade 1 card for 2 lands, not to mention filter 2 lands from the deck. Card drawing also helps getting Land also. I mean… duh?

So most of the EDH decks have this form basic strategy builds in to fuel all those bomb spells. It literally means, unless you capitalize my setback or you taste 1 bomb spell.



One of my friends mentioned to me the deck I been testing this theme has been quite slow. Decks he experienced start raining stones at turn 3. I do admit the deck I used to test, although I have the capacity to win games but it isn’t ruthless and competitive enough.

Even so, facts of cards that being used aren’t that far. Mana curve of those spells still fixed at this level. 1 for 1 trade is still there. I believe the Land destruction EDH deck can be strong if these weaknesses are tune down with more powerful cards and synergy. However, most, if not all EDH has this build-in capability to out draw, out ramp Land Destruction decks onslaught.

However, the last thing I do have to point out. Playing a Land destruction deck isn’t fun at all. The strategy turning point is extremely easy to recognize and you know it when you are losing. When he is able to cast his first huge draw spell or bomb spell it usually means GG for me.

Second sunrise

Surviving till the Sun rises again


Your Humility


Special thanks to my friends allowing me to play such boring games for the sake of researching:

  • Goh Yee Siang Aloysius
  • Zech Tan Zexing
  • Soong Hei


7 Responses to “EDH Land Destruction decks: is it really unbeatable?”
  1. Jack Sparrow says:

    I’d say dedicated land destruction vs. Azusa would be interesting

  2. baihai says:

    hi Manferd

    I am looking wondering if there is a possibility to make a 5cc land/mana denial (not land destruction) deck.

    eg using cards like boomerang, tamiyo, recoil, Crosis’s Charm, stone rain, molten rain, Resounding Wave, spreading seas

    do give me some advice on this?

  3. willis says:

    My deck start destroying lands as early as turn 1.

    With cards like wasteland, raze, and ghostly quarters.

    With a ramp card like dark ritual I can play a 4cc ld spell on turn 2.

    Yes, I know what your going to say. That this does not work with your 1 card for 1 land trade.
    But 2 things, the mana sources are possiblly reusable throughout a game, wether they are a creature or something else. Secondly so are the cheaper destroy cards.

    What I did is add in a splash of blue. You can bounce instead of destroy, and you can COPY ld cards, getting 2 for 1 on your opponent. Also counterspells if you want them. I know you can’t counter lands, but you can counter the spell they can afford to play

    For card draw I have pay x life black draw spells, being edh having 40 life makes this easier. There is also your gy which can work as an extra hand in a sence. The best part of my card advantage, is to play a few good discard spells. I have 3 ways to make my opponent discard there hand. I find they come back easily unless you take their whole hand.

    Lastly if I am losing like you mentioned, that’s when you play jokulhaups. They are thinning there deck of lands with ramp spells, while you are playihg a land per turn. So I have found that I can make a comeback from J, before they can. Using my ramp cards, or by bouncing my own lands to my hand before casting J. Another trick I learned if you can get some mana going (nyxthos), you can tap all your lands before J, so you can cast a creature post J.

    I also like to sideboard flashfire ( I am not using white), and boiling seas for when I play mono colored decks.

  4. greg says:

    can you give me information on red white land distruction what cards would I need

  5. Justin says:

    Interesting article. Having dabbled and faced land destruction decks myself I’d say your just at the tip of the iceberg. Some I’d say we’re unbeatable and others not so much. I think people forget that black has quite a few LD’s I used to run a mono black shutdown ld deck. It worked quite well but only in a 1v1 situation, it was just to hard for me to try and hold back two players from their mana. So it does suffer in multiplayer. Also something else I’ve seen with land destruction, you don’t really need red to run it, almost all colors and colorless have ways to blow up lands. So how quick or frequently you pop lands depends on the combo and commander you picked. I faced a mono red deck with Kiki jiki mirror breaker as commander, and was a LD deck, and it destroyed me so fast I was more than certain it was unbeatable. But that just brings up my problem with the whole idea of an unbeatable deck in mtg. Especially edh, is any thing really unbeatable??? With enough time and way more money could you not eventually build the deck perfectly suited to shut the other LD deck down? I mean somethings sure it seems like you can’t beat whatever deck played by whoever, but honestly given sometime you become way to fimiliar with the deck and know how to stop it, assuming no majors changes are made in the meantime. All in all land destruction decks are interesting to run into, you never know how good it will be and sense everyone hates LD it’s usually rare to run in to them, if your play group is all bout feel good times and competitive anyways

    • admin says:

      Hi Justin, thank you for your time to read our article and comment.
      You are right about a few things; nothing is undefeatable, given that card pool in MTG is so large. It is easy to deal with a certain Deck Archtype, by simply hating the deck archtype. For example, color hoser.
      If there is such an unbeatable deck in mtg, regardless of the format, community will tend to do a few practical things: play such decks or protest and ask the Wizards of the Coast (wotc) to do something about it.
      Let’s look into players point of view. A deck that is extremely high win rate will be highly played by many players. As such tournament will have a huge percentage of players playing that kind of deck.
      Now, when that happens, players can either do 2 things: play such Overpower (OP) deck or a deck that counter such OP deck. Should the OP deck still resilience of such counter decks. In due time, OP decks will flood tournaments and kill diversity.
      WOTC does not wish that to happened, as it has happened before at Mirridon block, where affinity decks run rampant. Not after a huge series of banned cards, then does the affinity get the nerf and diversity start to sets in.
      To actually to have an unbeatable deck in EDH is a tall order. High winning percentage deck is achievable, but it is a topic for another day.
      Based on what I observed from the banned list and the rationale behind of the decision to ban those cards, for example Sundering Titan. The EDH community preferred an exciting, interactive playing experience instead of an extremely boring, can’t win and draggy game.
      Sundering Titan can achieve such situation for all players, because 1 player has his control set up completed, the whole game for 4 to 6 players has turned into an extremely boring situation.
      The good thing about MTG is that there are always new cards, ever expanding card pool, and creating new situation and solutions to deal with different issues. Banning the cards isn’t a good idea, but creating cards that players may consider means good news for both players and WOTC.
      This is where hearthstone and League of Legends shine.