Lands choice

Modern forum

Posted on June 28, 2020, 9:05 a.m. by dichia


every time I build a new deck, I often end up choosing the same kind of lands.

Since there are so many though, I started wondering if I was always doing the right choice.

So, I'm starting this thread to ask if anyone can give me a short "tutorial" on the different types of lands: when to use one instead of another, in what types of deck I should use a certain kind of lands, etc...

By kind/type of land, if it wasn't clear, I mean like fetchlands, shocklands, fastlands, etc..

Thanks in advance for the help.

ShiltonCDXX says... #2

Hey man I just wanted to bring your attention to this article that talks about all the dual lands, when they were printed, why they were printed etc. It doesnt explain which decks to use them in but getting a better understanding of the mechanics of each may help you figure that out.

The one thing I use to qualify dual lands is weather or not I am restricted from accessing the coloured mana and if so bu how much.

Any lands that come in tapped and have no way to change that go to the bottom of the list imo. Finally, fetchlands and duals that have the basic land in their type (swamp, island, etc.) have always worked well for me in any deck.

Hope this helps :D

June 28, 2020 10:39 a.m.

dichia says... #3

Thanks, I'll take a look at the article. Until now I've used fetchlands and shocklands, but apparantely they are not always the best choice.

June 28, 2020 11:16 a.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #4

Yeah they can be rough since its 3 life/land if you fetch and shock it in so against decks like mono-red burn they can hinder you a bit.

I have found it comes down to how your deck can handle things like that life loss or tapped lands. I also really like the filterlands (eg. Pay or to get , , or )

June 28, 2020 11:26 a.m.

dichia says... #5

Seeing the article, I found some lands I didn't even know of, and I'm starting to understand a little better.

Thanks again.

June 28, 2020 11:38 a.m.

dichia says... #6

To me, the fetchland/shockland combination seemed so strong that it would always be the best choice. But playing a little online, I saw that some people in some decks didn't use them. That's what got me wondering.

June 28, 2020 11:41 a.m.

ShiltonCDXX says... #7

Yeah there are a good amount of duals, more than most realize and there definitely is a strategy to picking the right ones for certain decks. Glad I could help, you are already doing the best thing you can though, play online and take notes as to which duals you see most often and in which decks.

June 28, 2020 11:45 a.m.

psionictemplar says... #8

This is an interesting topic and if I would have to guess that fetch/shock is mostly needed for decks that have a lot of different color requirements through an entire game. I'd say filter lands are for less color intensive deck and fastlands are probably in between the two.

June 28, 2020 4:46 p.m.

TriusMalarky says... #9

Fetch/Shock is great in 3+ color decks or decks with weird costs. It's also incredibly good in any land-based strategy, in any deck with Delve cards, and any deck that wants to reduce the number of lands they draw(E.G. Burn, Storm). It's also good when you can get lands out of your yard(E.G. W+6, Life from the Loam)

Shockcheck and variants are great for 2 color. Variants include shockcheckreveal(using a few of the reveal lands from SOI) and tangoreveal(AKA 'I don't have money'). Tangocheck and tangocheckreveal are also workable, but you almost always prefer shocks over tango when you can afford it. Note that tango really wants basics. These aforementioned manabases are entirely for 2-color low complexity casting cost decks, and are generally cheaper. You can use them for 3 color if used correctly.

pain/fast is about having the mana almost immediately. best in enemy color decks, i.e. storm, or in GW decks because of the Horizon lands.

Filter is really mediocre and high budget. If they see a heavy reprint soon, a filter manabase would be a good idea even if it loses to Damping Sphere, but they'd need to all be around $3 max.

Typically you have 'basic land type matters' and 'each land has it's own drawback' type manabases. Basic land ones tend to be better because they synergize more, but both are good in their own right.

June 29, 2020 10:24 a.m.

dichia says... #10

TriusMalarky, I understand now. Next time I'll build a deck, I will come back on this thread when it comes to lands choice.

June 29, 2020 10:35 a.m.

TriusMalarky says... #11

Glad I could help!

Of course, that's just a 5-minute rundown. There are theoretically infinite situations in which you'd rather have fetchshock, and same for not having fetchshock.

For instance, if you're actively milling yourself and/or removing cards from your deck, then fetches aren't as good because there's a chance that they'll fizzle because the best shock isn't there. But if you have Life from the Loam you like fetches to make sure you hit your land drops. Which means the Dredge archetype, while it wants some fetches, should also be using a manabase that functions fairly well without fetch-shocking, so they have to create a weird manabase that accommodates both aspects.

I'd also say that sometimes, painlands are actually better than unfetchable versions of the og duals(Shivan Reef v Volcanic Island). There are situations where they are just better -- and situations in which they're terrible.

Also note that filter lands(Mystic Gate and friends) immediately lose to Damping Sphere.

One more note: budget really influences your manabase. Most of the time, it is correct to go fetch-shock. I'd say fetchshockcheck is the best for your average 2 color deck(example for UW: 4x Flooded Strand, 2x Hallowed Fountain, 4x Glacial Fortress). This is because most decks in modern really benefit from fetches. In fact, a lot of the cards on the modern banlist would be fine if fetches didn't exist. Additionally, a lot of the best cards in Modern are only all that good because Fetches exist. Think Fatal Push. Even Tireless Tracker is far less powerful without fetches.

June 29, 2020 11:25 a.m.

dingusdingo says... #12

Check out as it lists all the non-basic lands for each color specifically. Some analysis of my own though:

Fetch lands

Polluted Delta and friends. Extremely useful for guaranteeing color access. The shuffle effect can generate extra value when you know what the top card is (especially Sensei's Divining Top and Brainstorm, but really any scry/reveal effect) by shuffling away cards you don't want. Generates huge color access when paired with Shocklands. The "pay 1 life" clause does add up, especially against decks like burn. Reusable from plenty of cards, and it also slightly thins the deck. Hosed by a few random effects like Aven Mindcensor or Leonin Arbiter that stop searches. Also hosed by Thalia, Heretic Cathar (and Root Maze if legacy/vintage) due to having two lands enter tapped instead of just one. A staple of any 2+ color deck, the positives far outweigh any negatives.

Shock lands

Overgrown Tomb and friends. Used in conjunction with fetchlands to guarantee color access. The 2 life to shock hurts, especially when fetched to make it 3. You can always crack fetches to grab shocks at the end of turn before yours, to have the shock enter tapped to save the 2 life. This allows you to keep mana open for instant speed response if you need it, while getting the reduced enter tapped cost if you don't need to respond to something. You generally want 1x of each shock for color access, and I personally think a 2:1 ratio is good for fetches:shocks. I will often start with 8:4 fetches:shocks for 2 or 3 color decks, and adjust as necessary from there.

Fast lands

Spirebluff Canal and friends. A nice dual land without land types that can guarantee color access fast and early. You generally should run 2-3 of these in a deck. Take note that you can play them untapped as the first, second, or third land. You like to see 1 or maybe 2 of these in a game, but don't like to draw them later. If drawn later in the game, entering tapped usually isn't nearly as big of a deal if the land entered tapped on turn 1/2/3. Extremely useful against decks like Burn or most aggro decks that seek to pressure your life total fast and early.

Check lands

Dragonskull Summit My favorite lands to use in conjunction with a fetch/shock package. They work extremely well with fetches and shocks, but do note that they will always enter tapped if it is your first land. A nice card to run, relatively efficient $$$-wise, but it doesn't play well with other non-basics such as the fastlands. These lands will also raise the percent of hands you need to mulligan with, as some otherwise playable 2 land hands will always make the checkland enter tapped (like if the other land is a fastland or other land without a basic type). Very efficient in 2 color decks, extremely efficient in 1 color dominant decks with a splash of another color for one card or sideboard reasons.

Filter lands

Cascade Bluffs and friends. Useful when you have extremely color heavy cards such as Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker or other 3+ colored mana requirements. Hosed out by Damping Sphere. Worth noting that this will never make colored mana on turn 1, which slightly raises the amount of hands you will have to mulligan. A fine option for most decks, especially if you pulled one from a pack and have it available. You will see the most benefit from these in 3+ color decks.

Reveal lands

Port Town and friends. Similar to check lands, but they perform slightly differently. They can enter untapped on turn 1, which is a massive gain, but enter tapped if drawn later on after you've played your lands out from your hand. Doesn't work well with other non-basic lands outside of fetch/shocks. I personally skip these in favor of check lands, but if you notice too many turn 1 plays being broken by check lands, this may be the solution.

Battle lands

Prairie Stream and friends. Also known as tango lands. Useful in 2 color decks where you will see more basics. Can't recommend them too highly there either, but that is where can possibly see play. These have basic land types, so they can be grabbed with fetchlands, useful as an EOT play so you can untap with them normally. Really not very useful, hard to have them enter untapped. Still significantly better than almost every land that 100% enters tapped though, as it sometimes enters untapped and is fetchable.

Pain Lands

Always enters untapped, always guarantees color access. You can navigate around the 1 life on later turns by using it for instead of a color. Useful in decks that must have color access. A good budget replacement if you can't afford a fetch/shock mana base. This land will suffer against burn.

Horizon Lands

There are only 6 of these, all enemy colored except for Horizon Canopy, but spicy tech for sure. Useful in a deck like Burn that depletes its hand, or decks that use Life from the Loam to get repeat draws from the horizon lands.

June 30, 2020 9:24 p.m.

dichia says... #13

dingusdingo, thanks for the detailed description. I appreciate the help very much and it was very useful.

I think I should revise some of my decks lands choice after reading this.

July 1, 2020 5:15 a.m.

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