February 26, 2016

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Bad Brews: Lumbering Falls

Hello and welcome to Bad Brews, the game where we make playable decks out of unplayable rares.

Like every week we are going to crack open one booster pack and try to make a deck based off the cards inside. Like every week we are going to hope for the best, but expect the worst. This week we got our hands on a pack of Battle for Zendikar, the much hyped return to the plane of the Eldrazi menace. While they are running rampant let's see what we opened this week for commons and uncommons.

And Finally for this week's rare, we opened up a...

There is a lot to be said about this week’s rare. First and foremost that it isn’t, in and of itself, a bad card. Far from it. It sees play in a fair number of Standard decks these days. It being a man land - that is to say a land that can be activated to become a creature - is useful in most decks as late game you will have more mana available to you than you might necessarily need to use. Not only that, but when it is a creature it has Hexproof, which keeps it from being the target of your opponent’s spells, so land destruction be damned. To dispel a common misconception about Hexproof, you can still target a Hexproof land with spells you control, and they will still resolve. Hexproof simply stops your opponents from targeting your permanent with spells.

Now that we have taken a look at our rare, let's see what cards from the pack might be useful in our deck.

Lifespring Druid comes to the front of the pack, as it is some effective ramp for later game spells and for activating our man lands ability. While it does die to most removal, by the time that happens it should have already done its job and gotten something else onto the field.

Combine the Druid with Tajuru Stalwart and we have a serious creature on our hands. While normally in a two colour deck like ours it would come in as a 2/3 (getting a +1/+1 counter for each colour of mana spent to cast it), it comes in as a 3/4 thanks to being able to add mana of any colour to your mana pool. Suddenly our beastie looks a lot more menacing.

Incubator Drone is rather costly for a 2/3. However, it gives us the added bonus of adding mana to the mana pool so it gets a pass and goes straight into our deck. Unfortunately, the Eldrazi Scion it produces only adds colorless mana which means it doesn’t help us make our Tajuru Stalwart any bigger.

For the same mana cost as Incubator Drone we have a pre-combat trick up our sleeves in the form of Adverse Conditions. Tap down two creatures and add mana to your mana pool in the form of an Eldrazi Scion. No complaints here. Plus, the creatures don’t untap during their controller's next untap step, making sure to slow down our opponent for two whole turns, not bad.

Finally we have Pilgrim's Eye. While nothing special in and of itself, being making sure we don’t miss a land drop in a land based deck seems like it might be all around good. It's basically a card that replaces itself in your hand, which most players have a hard time complaining about. Plus, flying keeps it safe and sound under most game conditions, meaning we can comfortably ping our opponents for one point of damage over and over again, or chump block a flyer if need be. In the deck it goes!

Now that we have exhausted all the cards in our colors in this pack, let's go hunting for some other cards that might flesh out this deck.

Animist’s Awakening works really well in this deck to keep us ramping up to good stuff. Not only does it hit a bunch of lands in our deck, it might just allow us to have them enter untapped. The reason we like it most of all, is that it hits all land cards revealed, not just basic lands. This means any Lumbering Falls that we hit will enter the battlefield the same as regular lands.

Earthen Arms will give us the ability to put +1/+1 counters on a permanent we control. Putting those counters on our man lands makes them a more effective threat when we activate them. Also, if we cast Earthen Arms with Awaken we make our man land a creature permanently. This, unfortunately, is not the same as activating our man land, which we can still do just by the way, so it doesn’t grant Hexproof to our man land but it does make for some big creatures for our opponents to deal with.

Halimar Tidecaller works double duty in this deck. First and foremost, it flashes back our Earthen Arms, which gives us the ability to recast it from our hands. Second it gives our land creatures Flying. A Flying 3/3 with Hexproof is a menace that must be dealt with, if our opponents have an answer. So while you may never want to attack with Halimar Tidecaller, you will want to get it out onto the field as often as possible.

Finally, let's throw in a few copies of Part the Waterveil. Extra turns are a little unfair in magic, especially when they are combined with a brand new 6/6 creature. Unfortunately, since we exile Part the Waterveil when it resolves, we don’t get to flash it back by casting Halimar Tidecaller. This is of little matter by that point in the game however, since a flying 6/6 creature will end the game with little difficulty.

Bad Brews: Lumbering Falls

So what's our game plan?

Basically we want to get as much land out on the field as possible as quickly as possible. Awakening our Lumbering Falls is our game changer, giving us a 9/9 creature with flying is the ultimate goal, but if we can’t do that we will settle for a few awakened regular lands with flying thanks to Halimar Tidecaller.

Well, that's it for this week’s Bad Brews. Is there anything different you would have done with this pack? Let me know in the comments below. As always, enjoy brewing, and may your brews be as bad as mine!