Colorshift Land Control

Modern forum

Posted on Sept. 12, 2023, 8:40 a.m. by Icbrgr

I am wondering what people think about the concept and effectiveness of Changing an opponents land type as a means of control.

The two big examples That I can think of that have seen play In the format is Blood Moon and Spreading Seas; but there are other cards that also serve the same function.

Is there a deck that these cards have a home in? Or do these cards have potential to be revisited for a homebrew?

I'm currently fantasizing about some sort of Grixis Pile with some sort of combination of the above cards combined with some removal and or the Grief/Malakir Rebirth  Flip package.

legendofa says... #2

I've never live tested this, but my thought is that the more different types you change your opponent's land into, the more likely they are to use it. Like, if they're running , and you have Evil Presence, Spreading Seas, and Blood Moon, 1/3 of your cards won't help you. If they're running , only Spreading Seas will have a lasting impact. And then your next opponent is going with Izzet Murktide...

For all the multicolor decks in Modern, most cards are still monocolor. If you can predict what colors your opponent can and can't use, you can probably mess them up enough to get a few wins. To focus on color denial over land destruction, I think starting with forcing one land type and Convincing Mirage-style cards, and loading your sideboard with the full range of these effects would get the best results. Like, if you mainboarded Evil Presence, Contaminated Ground, and Convincing Mirage, you have a strategy against all non-black decks. When a black deck shows up, sideboard those out for your Blood Moons, Quicksilver Fountains, or whatever else will shut them down.

September 12, 2023 11:48 a.m.

Icbrgr says... #3

Well said legendofa... the more I've been thinking about this I think I echo what you said... its and cheeky strategy that with deep knowledge of the meta and some good guesses; might be able to steal some wins in some matchups.

Take boros burn for example... I really think slapping an Evil Presence on there Sacred Foundry could almost be as devastating as Blood Moon was to some other decks a few years ago... however I am not confident if that would translate the same to some other games.

September 12, 2023 1:57 p.m.

Siosilvar says... #4

Color denial on its own isn't a win condition, it's just disruption, and you need something else going on to make the single-land deniers playable. Blood Moon shuts off multiple lands and Spreading Seas replaces itself, so that's why those are the ones that get play.

But that said... Contaminated Ground and Pooling Venom can be win conditions, if you use them as repeatable shocks in combination with Hidden Strings, Fatestitcher, or Icy Manipulator to force your opponents to use them even when they don't want to. There's a brew from about 5 years ago I have bookmarked that does that: For Assholes Only

Another idea I've had is a mostly-blue deck that denies the first few lands until resolving an Isochron Scepter with Boomerang imprinted to keep them stuck at 2 Islands forever. The final win condition is just Cephalid Constable and Venser, Shaper Savant beatdown.

September 12, 2023 2:12 p.m.

Gidgetimer says... #5

I don't think that keeping your opponent off lands via the auras is a viable strategy. Blood Moon, as others have said, is global. I haven't kept up with modern in a while, but I thought that Spreading Seas was run in Merfolk and nowhere else. Merfolk uses it for unblockable creatures. The possibility of a tempo play is just gravy.

September 12, 2023 4:07 p.m.

Icbrgr says... #6

As a mainboard card Spreading Seas is definitely more in the Merfolk decks than anywhere (probably more for islandwalk than anything) else however it actually does get used in some random mono-blue and UW Control lists in the main for a resource denying cantrip...As a sideboard tech though the card is used quite a bit in a lot of different lists from Shadow or other 4/5c aggro to One Ring esper/dimir.

September 12, 2023 4:45 p.m.

nbarry223 says... #7

Don’t forget Choke + Quicksilver Fountain as a really convoluted option.

It’s not a super viable strategy in my opinion because it is slow and can be played around. Land hate like this hits certain decks hard, as some are super greedy. It is more viable as a sideboard option than a build around strategy in my opinion.

A more realistic option if you want to attack lands is probably Plow Under + Primal Command.

September 12, 2023 5:42 p.m.

nbarry223 says... #8

I just want to elaborate on above, forcing them to redraw the land you just made them topdeck is a lock in and of itself. It's a softlock, that shuffle effects can get around, but then they are just denied that mana as well. That's why Plow Under is disgustingly powerful against non-aggro decks. It's just a shame that almost the entire meta is aggro since MH2.

I really don't think any other land denial strategies are build around enough unless we see some hate cards become modern legal through MH3 or something to help slow down the format. Things like Back to Basics and Contamination come to mind as potential land hosers, but those are global effects like Blood Moon.

September 12, 2023 6:27 p.m.

sergiodelrio says... #9

Just came here to throw in the cute Spreading Algae + Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth interaction which I, myself never really got a consistent grip on, but it's kind of a thing of its own, and rarely talked about.

September 13, 2023 6:29 a.m.

nbarry223 says... #10

Yeah that alongside some effect that forces them to tap a land/permanent could be pretty disgusting. Would just be difficult to assemble all the pieces.

I’ve built the ramp into TopDecking lands strategy before, and it was surprisingly competitive, but that was back when Splinter Twin and Birthing Pod was most of the meta.

September 13, 2023 12:39 p.m.

lukecwolf says... #11

In my games, 3x Spreading Algae sideboard has been game breaking, but only because of the decks I am weak against. I play a Bant Elf Tempo Deck, and Black decks like Scam or Discard have been my weak point. Algae disrupts tempo so much that destroying just one swamp can end game. And given people play the tri color lands with the leylines, it's always come up.

Blood Moon like cards from my experience have been more good when you know you're going before your opponent, which is something that happens in games like YugiOh or formats like Vintage. As others have mentioned, changing one or two lands might not do much, and most decks still run a few basics.

I'm genuinely interested in seeing how this works as an entire strategy. Blue Moon is a solid legacy deck, but it leverages enough control and flying to win the game. Focusing on color denial and a Yawgmoth like lock seems viable but has its weakpoints against faster decks.

September 15, 2023 6:35 a.m.

myLAAN says... #12

It's not really limiting your opponents' mana along the way, but Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth with Life and Limb and Plague Engineer is game winning lock.

September 16, 2023 11:49 a.m.

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