Johnny's Landfall Musings
I don't get these Gathering Magic guys. First I hear white is far too powerful, then green is apparently too cool for school. Seemingly endless rantings of tiny and ultimately insignificant Magic the Gathering minds. I mean, are these guys playing the same game I am? I suppose I can't blame them. Too often I forget that most people do not retain the ingenuity and talent that one such as I possesses. But I digress. You may be wondering why I am here, on this pathetic, Spike and Timmy ridden site, gracing you with my invaluable time and knowledge. It's a long story, but lets just say, when you lose a bet with Reinhart, hes the type of person who will always call in his winnings.
I' m sure you already know who I am but Reinhart insisted that I formally introduce myself. My name is Johnny. Johnny, Combo Player. My raw card knowledge is unmatched even by the most ardent Spike. I pride myself in my ability to not only understand how cards work on the battlefield but more importantly how they interact with one another. Anyone can throw together a deck that deals twenty direct damage by turn five (yes, Timmy, very impressive. *golf clap*). I prefer the road less traveled. My decks wont just beat you senseless in the traditional manner of speaking. I build my decks to inspire! I create decks to prove that I am better than you and your net-decked faeries on so many different levels. I explore magics that, to the untrained eye, look impotent and otherwise unimpressive. A true combo master such as myself sees these cantrips as perfect pieces in an elegant puzzle. A spell played on it's own isn't much of a spell at all if you ask me. Each piece must work towards a greater end. Like a master alchemist, I combine the rare and the unlikely to form something amazing. Alternate win conditions, killer storm decks and Warp World builds are just the beginning for me. My never ending quest is to find the next killer combo. And just when my glorious ideas start to catch on with the masses I'll have already moved on to the next.
I could go on but I can sense that I'm talking over many of your heads so on to the topic at hand -Landfall. Now, I don't normally do this because it goes against everything I stand for. But when Reinhart asked me to reveal some of the combos I've been working on with landfall, I reluctantly agreed to divulge. Not since Storm have I been so excited to exploit a Magic the Gathering mechanic. Think about it! Every time I play a land, I could be comboing off one or more permanents with landfall! Combine that with the fetch lands and you're talking about a symphony of abilities triggering on the stack all at once! I know most of you aren't as excited as I am about landfall (probably because you don't understand it fully) but I think once I reveal some of these combos you'll start seeing things my way. Well, maybe not my way because that just isn't possible for most of you Timmys out there, but perhaps you'll retain enough to begin to understand what I'm getting at (or at least enjoy the pretty pictures of Magic cards).
The most obvious catalysts for landfall are the fetch lands. Terramorphic Expanse, Esper Panorama and now Arid Mesa will all get you double the bang for your buck. You'll want to stack your combo decks with these lands to combo off of your landfalling permanents. They also function doubly as "deck-thinners", weeding out lands so you're more likely to top deck critical combo pieces at opportune times.
The advantages of landfall in legacy and extended are plain enough. The color that traditionally lets you to fetch and play additional lands is green. This will most likely be your base in an extended, landfall, combo deck. You've got several cards that will let you play extra lands such as Scapeshift or Fastbond. I've used some of my incredibly valuable time to create a list of all of the cards in with Landfall in Zendikar at the bottom of this page. But for starters, consider this simple combo:
Playing green- Mana accelerate with Birds of Paradises, Overgrowths and Garruk Wildspeaker to play a Rampaging Baloths by turn four and follow up with a Scapeshift. You're putting lethal damage on the table by turn four. With an almost certain turn five win and the ability to still recover if you get wiped. Be sure to protect your blundering beast with a Vines of Vastwood and you're golden!
A bit Timmy-ish for my taste but alas... I only aim to please my audience. Of course, this is just one simple scenario using landfall but can't you just feel the harmony and cadence here? The way each piece isn't as effective on its own? For what is a Llanowar elf or Overgrowth without something to combo in to? And what good is Scapeshift without landfall? Each piece has its little role to play and each card seems rather bland on its own. But they are all focused on a single goal: to get landfall rolling. Sure you could use that skillfully played mana acceleration to cast just about any big creature or spell but this method grants you multiple targets, a mono-colored, easy to follow story line and massive amounts of mana while still holding cards in hand should things go awry. You could go for even more glory (and why wouldn't you?) with a piped or Dramatic Entranced Realm Razer in the mix! I'm getting chills just thinking about the possibilities!
I tend to play extra lands in my decks anyway so landfall really works well for me. Combos are all about controlling your draws and making sure all of the pieces are properly in place at exactly the right times. Tweaking those land totals can help you manage that timing. With landfall, you aren't punished as severely for playing those extra few lands you threw in to make sure you don't have to mulligan. Heck, you (and by "you" I probably mean "I") could even design a deck with 40+ lands. Why you ask? Consider a card like Ad Nauseam. This card was used in many a Seismic Swan deck but it could be just as potent with landfall.
I'm not a huge vampire fan. Tribal decks in general just don't do it for me. But when I saw Bloodghast I nearly wet myself. Try this combo on for size: Mid game, you've attacked with two separate Bloodghasts who've been blocked and sent to the graveyard (hopefully taking some other creatures with them). Your opponent's army is getting a bit too large for comfort so you decide to wipe with a double Infest, Day of Judgment or Martial Coup. You're out of mana of course but that makes no difference with this combo. What do you do? You simply play a land card and two hasty 2/1 vampires are coming your opponent's way. How's that for a combolicious recovery? You can even use it to bounce back after an opponent's wipe! Of course, the Spikes out there are mumbling something about Path to Exile to which I would respond- "Good! Use your removal on my 2/1 for two creature and let me put lands into play in my landfall deck! Go right ahead!" God forbid you have one of the several landfall quests on the table just waiting to be completed at the same time!
While I generally consider myself to be a man of the big stage, I am not one to simply ignore the more subtle landfall combos out there. Consider a card such as Knight of the White Orchid. While already a great card, imagine playing this with Emeria Angel or even the lowly Steppe Lynx on the table, triggering it twice or maybe even three times in that single turn with a fetch land! All for the cost of... two mana and a land you were going to play anyway? Sold. Anytime you can get lands out of your deck and onto the battlefield, you're doing something right. They're no good to you in your deck and can even screw up an important top decking situation.
Panoramas, Borderposts and Landcycling cards all seem much more playable not only in limited but in the standard format as well. Even a seemingly innocent artifact like Armillary Sphere or an otherwise forgettable spell like Gift of the Gargantuan might prove useful with landfall. Drawing cards will also be key to keeping your landfall deck in high gear. Look to blue or even Chandra Ablaze in standard or cards like Harmonize, Wheel of Fate or Necropotence in extended/legacy for that. If you're feeling particularly uncreative you can always roll the old Zuran Orb / Crucible of Worlds combo that landfall makes that much better. That's what I love about landfall- it is a combo in and of itself! A great combo for doing something (in this case putting out lands) that I was going to do anyway. Landfall is the combo player's best friend. You can wield it effectively in a more mild manner or build your entire deck around the mechanic in a dramatic, flashy blaze of comboing glory. I'll let you guess which way I'll use landfall.
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All cards with Landfall in Magic the Gathering: