CottonRhetoric's picture
By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Mar 24 2014 12:00pm
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Three casual land-centric decks!  And let's just start with the good one—suspense is overrated.

Deck 1 Sorrow's Path

Sorrow's Path

    Abundant Growth

Any deck that has Sorrow's Path in it is a Sorrow's Path Deck.

My love of this card is nothing new—just look at Deck #2 in this 2010 article I wrote.  Like today's deck, it ignores the half of the card that switches blockers and just exploits the part about damaging your own creatures.  But that was a vanguard deck, where a Birds of Paradise Avatar let us tap the Sorrow's Path whenever we want.  Automatically, every game, starting on turn one.  Contrast this with non-vanguard games, where just tapping the Sorrow's Path is itself a struggle.

So before we get to the applications for this ability (and believe me, there are some cool ones), let's just figure out how to even make it trigger!  (Relying on the opponent to declare blockers in a way that helps you isn't so reliable.)

Every color has a few ways, some better than others.  The best options I've put in bold.  Here the main ones are sorted by color and casting cost.   After each card, I have three letters:

1. S or U: Single (affects one land, like Abundant Growth) or Universal (affects all your lands, like Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth)—of course U is better, since it can be dropped before the Sorrow's Path.  S is still useful, but runs the risk of clogging up your hand.

2. M or A: Mana (the card makes your Sorrow's Path produce mana, like either of the above examples) or Ability (the card makes your Sorrow's Path do something else, like Racecourse Fury).  Mana is often preferable, but not necessarily.

3. C or N: Cantrip (lets you draw one or more cards) or Non-cantrip (it doesn't).


  W U B R G C
          Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth UMN
Riftstone Portal UMN
1   Realmwright UMN
  Racecourse Fury SAN Abundant Growth SMC
2 Flowering Field SAN Skygames SAN     Joiner Adept UMN
Prismatic Omen UMN
Nylea's Presence SMC
3     Blanket of Night UMN
Noxious Field SAN
Underworld Connections SAC
Hostile Realm SAN Verdant Field SAN

Chromatic Lantern UMN
Chimeric Idol UAN

4   Chamber of Manipulation SAN
Troublesome Spirit UAN
  Barbed Field SAN
5+ (Debtor's Puplit) SAN   Caustic Tar SAN Tin Street Market SAC Spawning Grounds SAN  

Unfortunately, cards like Spreading Seas and Celestial Dawn don't work, since they do allow the Sorrow's Path to tap yes but they remove its ability in the process.

    Swans of Bryn Argoll

Which brings us back to the question: why do we want to trigger this ability in the first place?  Because of cards like...

Considering that a single Chromatic Lantern (or any card in the above chart) lets you do multiple of the above every turn... this odd land can actually have quite a profound effect on the game.  And if you're thinking "What if someone destroys our Sorrow's Path?"—come on, this is the casual room.  Nobody runs land destruction.  You'll play against ten Skullclamp decks before you see one Sinkhole.  (Which is kind of weird, but whatever.)

The deck is mostly green-white, because that's where the most important of the above cards are, but with several of the Sorrow's Path enablers producing multicolored mana, it was quite easy to add some splashes.  As for which land to use... it depends on your budget.  Basics should be fine, since as I said there's already so much color fixing in here, but if you have the money for duals, go for it.

There are many other paths (pun intended) you could take this deck in.  For sure, I one day want to make a more black-heavy build with Underworld Connections.


Sorrow's Path
4 Wall of Hope
3 High Priest of Penance
4 Spitemare
4 Swans of Bryn Argoll
4 Phytohydra
19 cards

Other Spells
4 Abundant Growth
1 Mirri's Guile
3 Pyroclasm
3 Crop Rotation
1 Golgari Charm
1 Orzhov Charm
2 Chromatic Lantern
1 Mortify
1 Putrefy
17 cards
4 Sorrow's Path
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
19 assorted
24 cards
High Priest of Penance


It is so invigorating to play a Vanguard deck without Vanguard.  Not to mention all the snazzy new tech that's been printed since 2010.


Deck 2 Amulet of Vigor

One day, when I was trying to abuse this card...

Amulet of Vigor

I noticed a card it helped not once but twice:

Thawing Glaciers

Yes, we can not only put the Glaciers itself into play untapped, but so too does the land it finds enter untapped!  (Not to mention we repeat both of those benefits every time we activate it, which is pretty often in most games.)

    Gaea's Touch

I'll be honest—at this point, the deck pretty much builds itself.  We need ways to keep the land drops flowing. If you can afford the Explorations (I bought them back when they were $1.50 each, but now they're up to $16.50), they're obviously the strongest option.  However, the not-too-much-weaker Gaea's Touch is a mere 10 cents.  (I would stay away from Sakura-Tribe Scout though, as it doesn't trigger landfall-type effects.  Very relevant here, as you'll see in a moment.)

We'll need a way to get the Glaciers in play, for which I'll choose Sylvan Scrying over Crop Rotation due to the Explorations I just mentioned.

We'll want to capitalize on all of the land dropping we're doing, for which I'm employing a variety of green creatures (just see below—and there are a ton more to choose from) and Horn of Greed.

Then we can add some flourishes.  Like, we want more than just 4 cards to combo off the Amulet of Vigor, so we can add a Root Maze, which will continue to hurt our opponent without hurting us.  And we can add two Mosswort Bridges, which aren't too hard to trigger with all of the self-pumping creatures we're employing.

This ended up capitalizing on the land theme quite heavily.  A mere 8 cards out of 60 don't mention land in any way!

Thawing Mossvigor Vinecrop Grandfall
now with Root Maze
3 Vinelasher Kudzu
3 Battlewand Oak
4 Baru, Fist of Krosa
4 Baloth Woodcrasher
14 cards

Other Spells
4 Amulet of Vigor
2 Crop Rotation
4 Exploration
2 Mirri's Guile
1 Root Maze
2 Sylvan Scrying
2 Seal of Primordium
4 Horn of Greed
21 cards
4 Thawing Glaciers
2 Mosswort Bridge
19 Forest
25 cards
Horn of Greed


Yeah yeah (Rampaging Baloth) would be stronger than Baloth Woodcrasher... but... mythics... eh....


Deck 3 Sea Drake

Sea Drake

The only reason this card ever gets mentioned is because of its rules loophole.  How you can drop it off a first-turn Mox and City of Traitors and can keep it in play without bouncing anything (since there aren't two lands to target).

Is that a powerful play, yes, obviously, but come on, people!  You're ignoring the fact that the card is still perfectly good without all that!

So I'm going to be playing Sea Drake the honest way.  By just hardcasting it and bouncing two lands.  Well, we won't be completely honest about it.  I am going to cheat those bounced lands back into play extra-fast.

So the deck is branching out into two directions now.  One is the land theme, and the other is the cheap fliers theme.  For the fliers one, this guy gets some redundancy with the iconic beater that is Serendib Efreet.  At one mana higher, we have Living Tsunami.  Not quite as good as the others—but a nice enough addition to bring the head count from 8 up to 10.

And with all of these fliers, let's give Gravitational Shift a try.  I've always wanted to!  This gives us cause to run Scryb Ranger over Quirion Ranger.  Which segues nicely into the land theme....

This deck is about really doubling down on the land drop ability.  We're running seven Exploration-type cards instead of 4.  Which enables another pet card of mine:



What a cool deck this is turning out to be.

Adding some Ior Ruin Expeditions and Lignifys, we've got:

Sea-rendib Drakinomancer
12 of 60 cards do not mention lands
2 Sakura-Tribe Scout
2 Scryb Ranger
4 Sea Drake
4 Serendib Efreet
3 Ovinomancer
2 Living Tsunami
17 cards

Other Spells
4 Exploration
2 Mirri's Guile
4 Ior Ruin Expedition
4 Lignify
2 Gravitational Shift
16 cards
12 Island
13 Forest
25 cards
Gravitational Shift


Goodbye, everybody.


Good stuff. Killing people by AJ_Impy at Mon, 03/24/2014 - 17:48
AJ_Impy's picture

Good stuff. Killing people with Sorrow's Path is always fun: I had a Wizard tribal deck back in the day that used Vedalken Plotter or Political Trickery to swap it for a useful land, then Opposition, Magus of the Candelabra, Rimewind Taskmage, Floodbringer, Oboro Breezecaller (In conjunction with Rites of Flourishing and Azusa) to repeatedly tap and untap it until my opponent and all his creatures were shocked and pyroclasmed to death.