Matchup Mulligan: Lands

Before we get started with Lands, here's the answer from last month's Sneak & Show article:

Sneak & Show Final Hand Answer

Hand 10: (on the draw)

Duress Cabal Therapy Gitaxian Probe Cabal Therapy Polluted Delta Badlands Infernal Tutor

Mulligan

This hand was even tough for me to decide, I want to keep it but ultimately it's a mulligan. Leyline of Sanctity is very popular out of Sneak & Show sideboards, this hand just loses to it (without aggressive mulligans, their odds are roughly 42-43%). Not because your discard spells are dead, but because of what you'd have to do to become hellbent for Infernal Tutor. This would require casting Cabal Therapy on yourself twice (while giving your opponent free information) or praying to draw Brainstorm or Lion's Eye Diamond. All of this seems very bad, IF your opponent has it.

Well, what if they don't have Leyline of Sanctity? The game would become a slug-fest. I imagine a turn one Gitaxian Probe into Cabal Therapy, then on the second turn another pair of discard spells. Now what? Their deck is full of cantrips and you've used half of the discard spells in your deck. If they draw Flusterstorm or Force of Will, you're in a very bad spot. On top of this, you don't actually have any mana to put into your Infernal Tutor. Can't cast Ad Nauseam with so little resources.

I wanted to keep this hand a lot, but I think this hand is a trap.

Lands

Pre-board

Hand 1: (on the draw)

Duress Cabal Therapy Gitaxian Probe Polluted Delta BurningWish Rite Of Flame Empty The Warrens

Mulligan

Against most control decks I would likely keep this, but against Lands it's a mulligan. Discard spells are incredibly ineffective due to their deck being either mostly lands or recursive (Life from the Loam or Punishing Fire). There's also the fact that Empty the Warrens is very bad against the card The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale.

 

Hand 2: (on the play)

Bloodstained Mire Polluted Delta Polluted Delta Scalding Tarn Chrome Mox BurningWish Lions Eye Diamond

Keep

How Lands attempts to win game one is by attacking your mana. This is very difficult to do when your hand is four fetchlands and there's two basic lands in your deck. On top of that, their deck in the first game is very slow to interact with you and weak to Telemin Performance. I see this being a "mill you!" on turn three land.

 

Hand 3: (on the draw)

Lotus Petal Chrome Mox Rite Of Flame BurningWish Ponder Brainstorm

Keep

You've already mulliganed once. I think with this hand, you're really just looking for Lion's Eye Diamond to win. Chrome Mox happens to be great in this matchup as it's unaffected by Wasteland, Rishadan Port or Ghost Quarter. I'd likely imprint the Brainstorm and start digging!

 

Hand 4: (on the play)

Bloodstained Mire Ponder Brainstorm Gitaxian Probe Rite Of Flame Duress Duress

Mulligan

We've already covered why discard spells are bad, but not over-excessive cantrip hands. This hand literally needs it all to win: lands, rituals, and a tutor effect! You're asking a lot from your blue spells. Especially on one land hand against a deck that aims to destroy your lands. Ship it.

 

Hand 5: (on the draw)

Rite Of Flame Rite Of Flame BurningWish Empty The Warrens Chrome Mox Lions Eye Diamond DarkRitual

Keep

Snap keep. I'm all in on that first turn Telemin Performance! This is an ideal game one hand. Post-board, I don't know...

 

Post-board

Website recommendation for sideboarding

 

Hand 6: (on the play)

Thoughtseize Chain Of Vapor BurningWish DarkRitual Scalding Tarn Polluted Delta

Keep

This hand isn't great. Burning Wish for Telemin Performance is very bad post-board as most Lands players know its coming. Meaning you'd have to get Dark Petition and hope they don't have Crop Rotation in hand. On top of that, you're exposing your lands to be disrupted. The bright side is you have two theoretical answers to hate permanents. I guess that's a plus.

 

Hand 7: (on the draw)

Infernal Tutor DarkRitual DarkRitual Lions Eye Diamond Chrome Mox Polluted Delta Brainstorm

Keep

No answers to any hate piece? Hm. You take that chance. Even if the Ponder was something else like a Rite of Flame I would still aim to kill them turn one. If they have the hate piece you tip your cap and try to find an answer. If they do have a turn one Sphere of Resistance effect, I'd probably search up basic Island and play Chrome Mox (imprint: Dark Ritual). This gets you closer to being able to cast your Brainstorm into bounce spells.

 

Hand 8: (on the play)

Lions Eye Diamond DarkRitual Lotus Petal Chrome Mox Rite Of Flame Swamp Scalding Tarn

Mulligan

It's fairly simple, this hand just doesn't do anything. While the potential is there, I think if your opponent has anything, you need multiple pieces to come back and that's just too much.

 

Hand 9: (on the draw)

Rite Of Flame Echoing Truth Duress Polluted Delta Island Brainstorm Chrome Mox

Keep

This hand is very close to a mulligan in my mind. While there's a Duress and Echoing Truth, your acceleration is weak and there's no tutor effect. You're going to expose your lands and eventually need to answer a hate piece as this hand is very slow.

 

Hand 10: (on the draw)

BurningWish Lotus Petal Rite Of Flame DarkRitual Volcanic Island Lions Eye Diamond Lions Eye Diamond

Share your answer in the comments below!

I'll provide my answer in the next article, but for now, make sure to post your thoughts!


Bryant Cook

Bryant Cook has 1 Grand Prix Top 8 as well as 9 Star City Games Top 8s (2 wins). You can often find him traveling the northeast in search for the next big event, he recently won SCG: Worcester and is the Legacy Premier League Season 3 Champion! Outside of M:TG he's an avid New York Mets fan, graphic designer, pop-punk enthusiast, and doggo aficionado. Bryant Cook is the owner and president of The EPIC Storm.