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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Jan 29 2015 1:00pm
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Hello!

Welcome to another Becoming A Modern Man!  With the state of Modern in flux I figured it was a good time to experiment with some unusual ideas.  So what have I got for you?  Well let's take a look: 

Mardu Landfall
esella (4-0) Modern Daily #7051708 on 05/05/2014
Creatures
4 Steppe Lynx
4 Plated Geopede
4 Kor Firewalker
4 Dryad Militant
4 Dark Confidant
2 Tidehollow Sculler
22 cards

Other Spells
4 Lightning Helix
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Boros Charm
2 Thoughtseize
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
15 cards
Lands
4 Marsh Flats
4 Flagstones of Trokair
4 Arid Mesa
3 Sacred Foundry
3 Plains
3 Godless Shrine
2 Blood Crypt
23 cards

Steppe Lynx

This is the list that inspired the article.  As you can see this list is actually pretty dated but it seemed exciting and was something I was keen to try.  I pick up a playset of Dark Confidant a while back but haven't had much chance to use Bob as too many decks run it alongside Liliana of the Veil.  This seemed fun and actually potentially even more powerful thanks to the reprinted Onslaught fetchlands in Khans.

The deck is an exciting combination of fast aggressive creatures, burn and hand disruption.  I think there is quite a lot of room for tweaks and changes but I've tried to generally take the current list and discuss changes later.  However, I did take it upon myself to add a couple Bloodstained Mire to the deck to get more Landfall triggers.

DECK TECH

Steppe LynxPlated Geopede
Steppe Lynx/Plated Geopede
The two cheapest and most powerful landfall creatures.  Both get a big +2/+2 bonus whenever a land enter the battlefield.  If you play a fetchland you can search up two lands in a turn for an exciting +4/+4.  Lynx and Geopede can hand out a lot of damage in a very short space of time.  They are generally less effective in the late game, particularly as you are less likely to have the lands to power them up.  However, the deck aims to get in its early damage with these guys and finish with burn if the ground becomes stalled.

Dryad Militant
Dryad Militant
There are a number of aggressive one-drops available to the deck.  Militant is an interesting choice and I'm not sure whether or not it's the best possible choice.  Before Treasure Cruise left the format it was an interesting way of decreasing the size of graveyards for Delve.  In a post-Treasure Cruise environment, it still has the potential to be useful against say Storm and Snapcaster Mages but the utility isn't massive.  I would be tempted to try out Goblin Guide, Monastery Swiftspear or even Figure of Destiny as potential replacements.
One useful interaction that I came across, though somewhat narrow, is that Militant will exile a Darkblast, even if it is used to kill the Militant.  Our deck is actually really vulnerable to Darkblast due to all the 1-toughness creatures and so preventing the opponent from reusing it is actually very helpful.

Dark Confidant
Dark Confidant
Confidant is probably the best reason for splashing black into this deck.  Landfall decks struggle when they start to run out of gas and Confidant is an excellent answer to that problem.  The fact that our mana curve tops out at 2-mana means that we will never take more than 2 life loss from Confidant's ability, excluding sideboard cards, which is about as minimal as it gets.

If there is a downside to Confidant in this deck it's probably that the deck is already filled with 1 toughness guys and Confidant is no more resilient than the others.  However, I think with UR Delver being nerfed we will see a lot less of cards like Forked Bolt which is really bad news for this deck.

Kor Firewalker
Kor Firewalker
Firewalker is another interesting choice.  Firewalker is a great anti-Red card and makes burn much less effective against us.  Also, in a deck that is a little suicidal the life gain you get, even off your own burn spells, can be pretty useful.  That said I feel like, unless you are in a particularly Burn/Red Deck heavy environment, it's more of a sideboard card generally.  Alternatives don't immediately spring to mind but Thalia, Guardian of Thraben would be a solid swap, otherwise the deck could probably afford to drop some creature slots for more burn/removal.

Tidehollow Sculler
Tidehollow Sculler
Tidehollow Sculler is a card I really like.  Hand disruption on a 2 mana 2/2 is really sweet.  It is a creature that attracts removal and unfortunately it isn't capable of dealing with a card indefinitely but it is still a very powerful effect.

Spells

Lightning BoltLightning Helix
Lightning Bolt/Lightning Helix
Bolt and Helix need little explanation as two of the best burn spells available in the format.  The lifegain from Helix is also useful as a way to offset the pain caused by your fetchlands, duals and Dark Confidants.

Boros Charm
Boros Charm
Charm is a very powerful burn spell which is its primary mode, however both the other modes can be relevant in this deck.  It's actually very possible for the Double Strike granting ability to be relevant in this deck (usually it isn't as you might as well do 4 to the face if the creature doesn't have more than 4 power) because Lynx and Geopede are very capable of passing the 4 power threshold.

ThoughtseizeInquisition of Kozilek
Thoughtseize/Inquisition of Kozilek
Thoughtseize and Inquisition are the two best hand disruption spells in the format.  The 2/2 split is interesting, I'm not sure what is optimal but taking the pain from Thoughtseize can hurt in a deck that already losses a lot of life to fetchlands, duals and Dark Confidant.

Lands

Flagstones of Trokair
Flagstones of Trokair
It's been a while since I've played Boros so it took me a bit of time to realise this but thanks to the change in the Legend rule Flagstones is no longer what it used to be.  In the past, playing your second Flagstones would cause both copies to be destroyed allowing you to search up two Plains and getting three Landfall triggers in a single turn.  However, now the Legend rule asks you to choose a copy of Flagstones to keep and the other is destroyed meaning you only get two Landfall triggers.  This is actually the same rate as a Fetchland and as such I think we are probably better off cutting Flagstones for more fetches.

Arid MesaMarsh FlatsBloodstained Mire
Fetchlands
Fetchlands are all important in a Landfall deck as a way to get two Landfall triggers out of one land.  As I mentioned given that Khans of Tarkir has added more fetchlands to the pool I think we want to be playing more and Bloodstained Mire is the perfect card for that slot.

Sideboard
I find the sideboard provided with the original list very questionable, though sideboards should always suit the metagame and this was a long time ago, but we will look through the choices and then I'll suggest some changes.

Wear/TearZealous PersecutionKitchen FinksAven MindcensorDeathmark

  • Wear/Tear is a great combination of enchantment and artifact removal in our colours.  I don't know whether the added versatility is better than playing something like Smash to Smithereens which continues to add pressure on their life total but it definitely covers a lot of eventualities.
  • Zealous Persecution is great against decks with lots of 1-toughness guys, like our own.  A good card against Delver decks, Young Pyromancer particularly, as well as any token or weenie decks.  Depending on where the metagame goes this could be a very good sideboard card but I think we'll see things move away from Delver and towards Abzan where this card is less exciting.
  • Kitchen Finks is a card that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  I guess it's here to combat burn decks but we already have Kor Firewalker main deck.  Finks is a solid creature and a good wall against creature decks, such as Zoo, but it feels odd as a sideboard card.  It's difficult to see exactly where this shines, except in being defensive which isn't what the deck wants to do.
  • Deathmark is a cheap and powerful removal spell, though obviously limited to use against green and white creatures.  I think we have better options in the form of Path to Exile and Murderous Cut that have wider applications, though Deathmark wouldn't be bad in a potentially Abzan heavy world.
  • Aven Mindcensor though giving you a flying threat probably makes less sense in a post-Pod banning world.  A solid card but I think the hate element of it is probably less useful if people are running Abzan and Zoo etc.  Still works against Scapeshift though which may be significant.

Path to ExileMurderous Cut
Cards I would consider for the sideboard, though I am sure there are others, are Path to Exile and Murderous Cut as previously mentioned as cheap and powerful removal.  More hand disruption may be useful in combo matchups so perhaps additional copies of Thoughtseize and/or Inquisition of Kozilek could make it into the board.

GAMEPLAY


Our first matchup is against Mono-Blue Tron.  Tron in general should be a favourable matchup, provided that they don't get off to a super-fast start.  We have quick beats that they have trouble interacting with and then burn to finish things off.  This match went pretty much as we would expect it to.


Our second matchup is against UR Delver.  This matchup is an interesting one and one that I'm not sure is necessarily in our favour.  Delver has a lot of answers to our threats and has been known to run cards like Forked Bolt which is a nightmare for our 1-toughness guys.  In a post-ban world, I expect to run into this deck less often which is good.  Also, as the gameplay displays we are more than capable of picking up wins against this deck under the right circumstances and have some good answers of our own.


This matchup is against Death & Taxes.  This deck seems to be rising in popularity online for reasons I'm not entirely sure of.  Leonin Arbiter is a pain for our fetchlands and Ghost Quarter/Tectonic Edge is a pain for our three-colour manabase but otherwise I don't think this matchup is too bad.  They don't have a lot of big creatures so we can overpower them and we have a nice amount of removal to deal with their threats.


My final matchup is against an interesting Abzan Loam deck.  I'm not sure Loam is better than a Liliana of the Veil package but it is an interesting take on the Abzan shell.  Siege Rhino and Knight of the Reliquary are real problems for our deck and I think they are good reason to have Path to Exile in the deck, to deal with these big creatures that act as roadblocks for our creatures.  Darkblast is also a real problem for us which beats us badly in Game 2.

CONCLUSION
I had a lot of fun with this deck and it actually did a lot better than I thought it would.  It suffers from the same problems as previous Boros decks I've played in that you really need to get going early otherwise your chances of winning are considerably diminished.  Creatures like Steppe Lynx and Plated Geopede are easily outclassed in the late game and also you will begin to run out of gas for them.  Dark Confidant does some work to alleviate the problem of running out of gas but can't always be depended on to be the game saver.

I doubt this deck will ever be taking the Modern world by storm but if you are like me and enjoy trying out something slightly different then this is definitely worth a go.  Definitely a lot of fun.

That's all for this article.  I hope to be back soon with more Modern content.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)

2 Comments

Boom // Bust by Izzyp at Fri, 01/30/2015 - 10:02
Izzyp's picture

Hey great Article and a cool deck. I would look at Boom // Bust for the sideboard. Since you run 4 flagstones it might be a really good matchup card against scapeshift and Tron. The only problem I see is that dark confidant reveals it you take a massive 8 damage. It might be worth the risk for that kind of effect against tron though. It might just be worth testing out.

Hey, thanks for the comment. by olaw at Fri, 01/30/2015 - 15:09
olaw's picture

Hey, thanks for the comment.

Boom/Bust isn't a card I had considered for the deck. Seems like a nice idea, particularly against Tron. I might give it a go!