Hour of Devastation is finally here, and that means it’s time for brewers everywhere to show off their shiny new decklists.  Two weeks ago we looked at my picks for the cards that most interested me from Hour of Devastation.  Over the next few weeks we are going to be looking at cards from the set that I looked at previously and try to figure out if they are in fact viable in modern.  This week we’re going to be looking at Ramunap Excavator, what existing decks it might slot into, and the potential it has to spawn a new archetype in modern, Lands.  Let’s get to it!

 

Lands (the deck)

The printing of Ramunap Excavator has me very excited to see a “lands” style deck in modern.  Of course, there a few issues with this, as lands in legacy wins the vast majority of the time with Dark Depths, a card that’s banned in modern.  In addition to this, Exploration isn’t legal.  Fortunately for us, there are a lot of effects that duplicate the exploration effect in modern (albeit for more mana).  Unfortunately for us, there really isn’t another land that packs as much punch as Dark Depths.  So what I did is look through all about 400 nonbasic lands that are in modern for any lands that could replace Dark Depths.  Two cards in particular struck my eye (no pun intended):

Both of these cards are interesting because they do something when they hit the graveyard from the battlefield.  God’s Eye in particular is good because it synergies with itself due the the legend rule, whereas with Dunes, we are going to have to find another way to get rid of it.  And as it turns out, this is a lot harder than I originally thought.  It seems as though WOTC doesn’t really like printing cards that make you sacrifice your own lands, go figure.  The best sac outlet that I found was beauty:

I honestly forgot that this card existed.  But it works pretty well with our plan to sacrifice our lands for value.

Of course, while we’ll prefer to be using our Ghost Quarters on the opponent, we have the option of using them on our own lands if we need some extra token value in a pinch.

Next, we need to make Gods’ Eye and Dunes dangerous.  The easiest way to do this is to increase the number of land drops that we can play a turn.

These are our Exploration replacements, they allow us to do silly things like create three 2/2 zombies every turn with Dunes of the Dead.

Finally, these are our cards that reward us for playing so many lands.  Retreat to Emeria is our finisher in this deck making two to three activations of it very lethal on most reasonable board states.  Courser of Kruphix is some incidental life gain as well as some library manipulation with fetchlands.

Honestly there are so many possibilities for building this deck that I had a great deal of trouble coming to rest on this particular version.  There are things like the cycling lands which could be better than the Horizon Canopys because of Life from the Loam, I’m unsure as a case could be made for either.  Claws of Gix might end up being too cute and not actually useful enough to warrant.  I look forward to the bazillion hours of play-testing it’ll take to figure out this deck, because honestly, it looks like a blast.

Bonus: G/W Emeria

That’s all for this week, next week we’ll be looking at the viability of Reason // Believe.  Thanks for tuning in!

 

 

2 Responses

  1. Ben Iverach-Brereton

    While you would have to adjust the mana base to add red, would Greater Gargadon work better than Claws of Gix for your sacrifice outlet? It only costs you a mana once, and is harder to deal with; suspending it can’t be countered, and it’s not a permanent that can be destroyed. The downside is that you have a limited number of activations, but it also gives you a big hasty creature at the end.

    Not to belittle Claws of Gix, mind you; that gem has served me quite well in a number of Commander decks.

    Reply
    • Michael Shapiro

      A good suggestion! Greater Gargadon is actually on my “to test” list for this deck, though there are a couple issues with it.
      First, as you mentioned we would have to adjust the mana base to add red which is no small task as the existing mana base is pretty tight. I feel if we play the gargadons, a R/G deck might be the better route instead of trying to go three colors. And in reality the R/G deck might be better due to the extra threat Gargadon provides.
      Second, while Greater Gargadon’s suspend is generally not answerable, he is pretty vulnerable to Wasteland Strangler. That being said there are more decks that run artifact hate than Wasteland Stranglers, so its probably worth it.

      -Mike

      Reply

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