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Jul 18 2015

Wally D.

The Spirit Guide to Land Destruction – Mono Red Legacy Deck

Hey all! Wally D. here with a quick article on a rogue legacy deck that has been sitting in a box for about three years. Untouched and unplayed. This mono red deck now has the same fate as my discard legacy deck in that I am pilfering some of the cards that have spiked in value in order to fuel my EDH/Commander addiction. For commemoration, I present this article and decklist of a brew I built three years ago to blindside Tier 1 Legacy decks.

History of Spirit Guide Land Destruction

Simian Spirit Guide in Legacy MTG

After my pathetic 1-3 record with my Mono Black Discard deck at Grand Prix Indianapolis 2012, I decided to put together another rogue deck to try at the next legacy event. What is a rogue deck you ask? A rogue deck is a deck that is classified as well below Tier 1 and generally not looked at being competitive in a format. A lot of Johnny and homebrews are rogue decks. Why do I play rogue decks? Although I am competitive at Magic, I still do not want to dump a ton of cash into a format I play maybe once a year. Since my magic persona is full tilt Johnny, I enjoy putting together homebrews and tweaking them against similar rogue lists.

My rogue legacy strategy is resource denial. In my first attempt, I used black to attack my opponents hands to make them discard. What I noticed at Grand Prix Indy 2012 was the mass amounts of non-basic lands. In 2012, there were a plethora of Underground Seas and Polluted Deltas that allowed for early turn counterspells until the time was right for Jace, the Mindsculptor to make an appearance. This got me thinking. What if I could turn off all non-basics, on turn 1? With this thought in mind, I turned to combining two deck archetypes that were popular in my beginning days of Magic, Land Destruction and Burn.

Mono Red Land Destruction Legacy Playlist

The Spirit Guide to Land Destruction – Mono Red Legacy Deck

Fast Mana (8)
Non-Basic Hate (4)
Land Destruction (14)
Burn (10)
Koth – Just Because (3)
Land (21)

Strategy – Turn one Soft Lock

Magus of the Moon Deck

While every card in a legacy deck is important, there are just a couple of cards here that this deck is built around. I can introduce all three of these by announcing the perfect opening hand. Turn 1 Ancient Tomb, remove Simian Spirit Guide from my hand for one red mana and windmill slam a Magus of the Moon into play. Please keep in mind that I have never played this deck in a legacy tournament, but from what I remember at my previous Grand Prix experience, turning all non-basics into mountains will cripple most Tier 1 decks. With these three cards in my opening hand and a winning die roll to go first, I felt this could be unstoppable. Of course, I did realize there would always be the threat of Force of Will. Now you may be thinking, with the concentration on hating out non-basics, where is your Blood Moon? Well friends, even back then, this was a little out of my budget. I was able to make a nifty trade to get my Magus of the Moons so that is what I went with.

The Rest of the Deck

Since we are not guaranteed the above scenario, I included 14 land destruction spells. I wanted to make darn certain that my opponent never reached four mana to get Big Jace on the board. Stone Rain was playable turn one with a Spirit Guide and Ancient Tomb, While Molten Rain and Pillage were later turn plays. Avalanche Riders is here for nostalgia, one of my favorite cards from Urza’s Legacy. Avalanche Riders could see a turn two or three play with the help of Tomb or Mind Stone.

All of my burn spells were my second option for turn 1 plays. I could either suspend a Rift Boltor Lightning Bolt my opponent for three. Good stuff. Seal of Fire was another personal favorite from back in the day. Having the seal on the board was an uncounterable burn or removal spell that could only be stopped with Stifle effects once it was in play.

My alternate win condition was Koth of the Hammer. In theory, I could protect Koth by the continual stripping of my opponents lands and then beat them down with a 4/4 Mountain. If Koth reached ultimate, it should be good game.

Tearing it Down

I find it really hard to tear down any deck I build. In fact, I still have several casual 60 card multiplayer builds that will be featured in future articles here on MTGCasualPlay.com. But this deck had some valuable cards in it and my EDH addiction demanded resources. The Ancient Tombs will stay in my possession and be dispersed among four of my commander decks. I have already sold all but one of my Magus of the Moons. In fact, the price spike of Magus of the Moon is what prompted me to dig this deck out of the box. I did, however, keep one Japanese version of Magus should I decide to put it in a Commander deck. Next up, I will be listing my Koth of the Hammers and Simian Spirit Guides for trade or sale. I picked the Spirit Guides up as a 25 cent common long ago. Those apes are $5.00 a piece now, I love the return on investment!

So what did you think? Have you played or played against a legacy deck like this? Does it bring back memories of the arechetypes of the 90s? How do you think this deck would do in a legacy tournament today?

On to the next!
—wallyd

For further reading:
What is a Rogue Deck? MTG Wiki

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Wally D.
Nick Wallace (Wally D.) writes for EDHREC in addition to being an author here on MTGCasualPlay.com. His favorite brews include cool Commander decks with a touch of jankiness and cold, frosty craft beers. In addition to writing articles, Wally D. can also be found playing Commander on the MTG Casual Play YouTube channel.

2 comments

  1. Charles Sneerbite
    Charles Sneerbite

    I always had a soft spot for land-destruction. It cuts at the core of all the assumptions even the most seasoned players make–that they will have mana to support their investments. Taking that away from them or rendering their lands useless ( blood moon and magus of the moon in particular is a delight. It can be seen as the ultimate step in pragmatism, even more so than counterspells. I love the decklist you’ve assembled…the tomb in particular was a masterstroke—a turn one magus or moon is something that most decks, especially ones that run hierarch or delver, are hard pressed to deal with. Keep it up!

    1. Wally D.
      Wally D.

      Thank you for sharing the enjoyment of my evil plan to render mana bases useless! :)

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