Magic 2014 "Hall of Champions" Decklist & Strategies

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This deck has enough exalted dudes with enough forms of evasion and enough destruction cards across the charms, pridemage, and wipes, that it is not going to be bottom tier.  In fact, I can see it being one of the best in 2HG if comboed with a control deck.  However, it will also have serious issues for the same reasons I stated for the elf deck, it doesn't want to lose it's creatures.  Also, it kind of sucks in a lot of places blocker wise.

For future notice, evasion is flying, first strike, trample, intimidate, fear, unblockable, protection,  hexproof, and shroud.  And yes, trample is evasion, because it forces damage past blockers.  It just doesn't really act like it on anything smaller than a terra stomper.

2 + 2 = fish

True_Believer_02 wrote:

I don't see an option without using blue for this deck. The difficult part will be using just enough cards as a splash of blue to not constrain the mana base too much. Probably all small creatures (mana cost three or less) with blue will go out. I only see myself using Rafiq of the Many, Finest Hour and Bant Charm. Maybe Giltspire Avenger.

After deciding to follow this tactic, this deck I think turned out better than I first believed it could be constructed. Still you need to pick sometimes odd choices to make it work, but the end result doesnt look so bad after all.

You should still use deft duelist.  The first strike makes it too good versus too many decks, even just at its base 2 power.  This deck really needs it, because it is one of the few dudes that can easily block without dying on the low end.

2 + 2 = fish

Without blue, there's simply not enough playables. Even if there were, you'd be forced into a deck with no removal.

Cards like Leonin Armorguard don't help here either - I was trying to see if you could make this deck into weenie aggro that occasionally (if the coast is clear) makes use of the Exalted mechanic, but again there's not enough playables for that.

Another option is to try to make this a midrange deck. Alas, the lack of ramp and (enough) removal or even decent blockers makes that impossible. Which also means anything over 6 mana is probably unplayable.

 

So that only leaves the 3-color Exalted aggro option.

So we have a three-color aggro deck where blue is the least important color, and of course since it's Duels of the Planeswalkers our only mana fixing comes in the form of Terramorphic Expanse (and the unplayable Gleam of Resistance). All of this means that you don't want to rely on any blue cards that need to be cast before turn 5 to be relevent.

That really only leaves Bant Charm, Giltspire AvengerRafiq of the Many and Finest Hour. Of these, Giltspire Avenger becomes less and less useful the longer it takes for you to be able to play him, and with the other cards added you're already stretched thin as it is, so I'm gonna say he's out.

After that, the rest of the deck basically builds itself.

 

tl;dr: I agree with True Believer.

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About Deft Duelist, the card is good, no doubt. But the plan will be always plain, then forest, then island (if possible); so I think I won't use it. Instead I will use many and one colored creatures to fill the slots. All in the name of a stable mana base.

That's roughly the same thing I'm thinking True, but I stil plan on use Deft Duelist and a couple of the other 1 island creatures in the 2-3 spot.  If it becomes an issue then I will cut something out, but for now I wanna try to make it work with slightly more blue.

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The card that pains me most not using it is not Deft Duelist, but Rhox War Monk. That way I will ensure a stable mana base for the deck, but at a great price in its power level.

Why can't we have some Seaside Citadel? Only 4 of those and the mana base would be very improved.

 

Or, even remaining within the confines of DotP's "no mana pool" sillyness, they could've thrown us 4 Bant Panoramas.

Nemo got it down in a nutshell.  You are removing too many of your good cards in the name of fixing your mana.

 

No seaside citadel because they won't put dual lands in at all.

No bant panorama because they won't put mana creatures in at all.

This honestly is stupid, but it is how they make the games.

2 + 2 = fish

mjack33 wrote:

Nemo got it down in a nutshell.  You are removing too many of your good cards in the name of fixing your mana.

 

No seaside citadel because they won't put dual lands in at all.

No bant panorama because they won't put mana creatures in at all.

This honestly is stupid, but it is how they make the games.

 

What does Bant Panorama have to do with mana creatures? The problem with bant panorama is that I think the game will force prioritize tapping it for mana because it taps for colorless.

I wish the deck got all 12 copies of the good fetches(Flooded Strand, Misty Rainforest, Windswept Heath)

Krosan Verge would also be pretty cool.

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NemoYT wrote:

So that only leaves the 3-color Exalted aggro option.

That's exactly the problem. It needs to win fast and hard, but it's only going to be able to do that when it's not busy having mana issues. Nothing but Terramorphics and two Gleams - whose main function is a surprise block from a deck that attacks with multiple creatures - is not going to cut it a significant amount of the time. -4 Terra, 4 basic, +4 Windswept Heath, +4 Flooded Strand, and we'd have a workable deck here. Not only smooth mana, but through thinning it out of the deck and increasing threat density. There's even lifegain to offset the loss.

Really, fetchlands or Panoramas should be in every triple colour deck. Then they wouldn't need to all be Green in the first place.

Or, you know, duals. Which can and have been done without a mana pool by modders. Then again, if Wizards can't manage a forum as well as amateur site developers, I probably shouldn't expect them to code as well as amateur coders.

Moving this from the (wrong) thread it was in.

Wizards: If it isn't game design, we can't do it right. Frankly, we're kind of shaky on the game design sometimes too.

mjack33 wrote:

Nemo got it down in a nutshell.  You are removing too many of your good cards in the name of fixing your mana.

You obviously not reading very well now. He said exactly the same thing I said before, word for word almost, so he is actually agreeing with me 100%, not discording.

mjack33 wrote:

Nemo got it down in a nutshell.  You are removing too many of your good cards in the name of fixing your mana.

You obviously not reading very well now. He said exactly the same thing I said before, word for word almost, so he is actually agreeing with me 100%, not discording.

A few things about this deck:

 

1. It isn't a rush deck.  It's, again, a "camper" deck where you stall the game out as long as possible while putting an ever-increasing level of pressure on your opponents with one guy.

 

2. This deck's mana issues are highly exaggerated.  First off, don't run 3 islands.  Secondly, you don't need all your colors to win.  Finally, when you get all your colors this deck kicks some extreme butt.

 

3. This plays alot like Strength of Stone and every Dragon deck in duels history.  You want to slow down the game as much as possible.  My mindset with it is the same as when I'm playing one of megamaster125's builds from his 2013 site: I treat it as aggro-control, where I try to stabilize the board and pick away at my opponent.  That said I think megamaster125 will really like this deck (like Act of War '13).

 

4. Yes, you will get Dodge and Burned.  So will most creature intensive decks (Hunter's Strength being the exception).  This deck PWNs decks that rely on creatures, like Sliver Hive, Avacyn's Glory, Hunter's Strength, Deadwalkers, and Swords of the Samurai. 

 

5. Just give Hall of Champions a try.  I promise it'll make YOU a Champ!

Hey Grovyle, I know you have particular interests in other forums and were wondering if you might be interested in acceding to the requests of a decent deckbuilder. I have several requests lined up from forum users if you're interested. Bonus points if you can be reached via Steam.

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I tested this deck in tapped out to see the mana base and I found I had trouble in finding blue in close to 33% of the games I tried (total of 30 tries). I tested with a mulligan and three card draws to confirm the game. Some games I could play my hand even in this situation because Im using less blue in my build.

 

OBS: I tested with 4 evolving wilds, 10 plain, 7 forest and 3 Island, and 2 Gleam of Resistance

See, I think you'd want 4 or 5 Islands to give it a fair shake.

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I have to rephrase a little. I did find blue more times than that. The problem is to find blue in the three color combination.

Adding more islands doesnt really help in fixing the deck, because most of the cards are white, green, or both.

I am of the thorough opinion that they specifically designed each of the three color decks so that taking a color out is shooting yourself in the foot.  This is because they know people will immediately try to do that.

Losing green in slivers loses you all the muscle slivers, and losing red loses you some of the better ones like thorncaster sliver.

Losing black in dragons makes you give up too much of your destructive base and some of the best dragons.

 

Here, losing blue seems to have the same effect as cutting black in dragons, but more pronounced.  Because this deck would lose bant charm, deft duelist, and tons of other 3 color cards it kind of needs, I don't think it is a good idea.  Especially since it does not really have double colored cost cards (like chittering rats in dimir).

2 + 2 = fish

Okay, so I'm seeing some debate on the exact mana base.. I think I can sort this out using the power of math 

There are a few things this deck wants to do, and I think the best way to sort out the mana base is to make sure each of these things has an about equal chance of happening. After running the numbers, I come to the conclusion that the best mana base for this deck (assuming you run 24 lands) is:

- 4 Islands

- 6 Forests

- 10 Plains

- 4 Terramorphic Expanses

-------------------------------------------

For those who want to check my math, here's why I came to this conclusion. Now, the way I figure this out is by calculating the average number of a certain land you'll have at a certain turn. For this excersize, I leave three things out of the equation:

1) I assume you don't mulligan. You want to mulligan as few times as possible in any given game for obvious card advantage purposes. So we want the numbers to add up well for our first hand more than anything.

2) I assume you go first. The averages will obviously be different if you've seen 1 more card per turn, but calculating it both ways would take too much time/space in this post.

3) We ignore the turn you use playing the Terramorphic Expanse. While the calculation does take into account that you can't use your Terramorphic Expanse mana the turn you play (read: draw) it, it doesn't take into account that having to play a Terramorphic Expanse on a certain turn doesn't allow you to play on-curve that turn. This is because playing the Terramorphic Expanse is a nescesary evil; there's no need to know how much times it will set you back a turn because there's no getting around it anyway, unless you decide not to use them in the first place.. In which case, the averages would all be smaller due to lack of color fixing.

One last thing, my calculator uses commas instead of periods. Just imagine they're periods, I can't be bothered to change them all 

 

Alright, let's get into the math!

-------------------------------------------

So first, you want to be able to play Akrasan Squire on turn 1. With 10 Plains (and leaving out the Terramorphic Expanses because it's turn 1), you get this calculation:

10 / 60 = 0,1666666666666667 (this is the average number of Plains if you had 1 card in hand)
0,1666666666666667 * 7 = 1,166666666666667 (this is the average number of Plains you'll have on turn 1, assuming you go first and don't mulligan)

-------------------------------------------

Now, on turn 4 you want to have 2 Plains so you can play Sublime Archangel. With 10 Plains and 4 Terramorphic Expanses:

10 / 60 = 0,1666666666666667

0,1666666666666667 * 10 = 1,666666666666667 (you'll have seen 10 cards if you play first and don't mulligan, on average this is the number of Plains you'll have drawn at that point)

+

4 / 60 = 0,0666666666666667 (the number of Terramorphic Expanses you'll have on average if you're holding 1 card)

0,0666666666666667 * 9 = 0,6 (the number of Terramorphic Expanses you'll have on average on turn 3. Not turn 4, because you won't be able to use a Terramorphic Expanse you draw on turn 4 for mana that turn)

=

(1,666666666666667 + 0,6 =) 2,266666666666667 (on average, this is the number of Plains you'll have on turn 4 when going first and not mulliganing. Usually you'll be able to play the Sublime Archangel)

-------------------------------------------

Next, you want to be able to play Qasali Pridemage or Knotvine Paladin on turn 2. Assuming you have a Plains, we only need to calculate the average number of Forests you'll have. Remember, there's 6 Forests and 4 Terramorphic Expanses in the deck:

6 / 60 = 0.1 (you have a 1 in 10 chance of each card being a Forest)
0.1 * 8 = 0.8 (after seeing 8 cards on turn 2, on average you'll have drawn 0.8 Forests)
+
4 / 60 = 0,0666666666666667 (average number of Terramorphics you'll have per 1 card)
0,0666666666666667 * 7 = 0,4666666666666667 (average number of Terramorphics you'll have on turn 1 when going first and not mulliganing)
=
1,266666666666667 (average number of Forests you'll have on turn 2.)

-------------------------------------------

I think you should be starting to get this, so from here on out I'll only show the calculations..

Now, you want to be able to play Rafiq of the Many or Bant Charm on turn 4 (turn 3 Bant Charm is asking a little too much):

4 / 60 = 0,0666666666666667 (4 islands)
0,0666666666666667 * 10 = 0,6666666666666667
+
4 / 60 = 0,0666666666666667 (4 Terramorphic Expanses)
0,0666666666666667 * 9 = 0,6
=
1,266666666666667

-------------------------------------------

Lastly, you want to be able to play Privileged Position on turn 5:

10 + 6 = 16 (adding up the amount of Forests and Plains since you can use either to cast Privileged Postion)
16 / 60 = 0,2666666666666667
0,2666666666666667 * 11 = 2,933333333333333
+
4 / 60 = 0,0666666666666667
0,0666666666666667 * 10 = 0,6666666666666667
=
3,6 (you need 3 Forests and/or Plains to play Privileged Position. On average, you'll have a little over that on turn 5)

-------------------------------------------

So, to conclude, here are all the averages in a row: 

1,166666666666667 (need one plains on turn 1)

2,266666666666667 (need 2 plains on turn 4)

1,266666666666667 (need 1 forest on turn 2)

1,266666666666667 (need 1 island on turn 4)

3,6 (need 3 plains and/or forests on turn 5)

Since we need 2 plains on turn 4 and 3 plains/forests on turn 5, the numbers for those can be divided by 2 and 3 respectively and you'll see that all the averages are very close together, so for instance we have an equal chance to get our Island on time as we have of getting our Forest on time. That's good! It means the mana base will work out.

-------------------------------------------

We can also use this calculation to see how many lands in total we'll have on each turn (so we can see if mana screw or flood is likely):

24 / 60 = 0.4 (40% of our deck is lands)

Average lands on turn 1 / n/a --- 0.4 * 7 = 2.8

Turn 2 / 1 --- 0.4 * 8 = 3.2

Turn 3 / 2 --- 0.4 * 9 = 3,6

Turn 4 / 3 --- 0.4 * 10 = 4

Turn 5 / 4 --- 0.4 * 11 = 4.4

Turn 6 / 5 --- 0.4 * 12 = 4.8

Turn 7 / 6 --- 0.4 * 13 = 5.2

Turn 8 / 7 --- 0.4 * 14 = 5.6

Turn 9 / 8 --- 0.4 * 15 = 6

So for example, it takes us 4 turns to reach an average of 4 mana if we're on the play, and 3 turns if we're on the draw. That's perfect, because this deck definately wants to play it's 4-drops on turn 4! In fact, I think that's the most important point in this deck's mana curve, so 24 lands is definately the right call.

It also means it takes either 8 or 9 turns to reach 6 mana.. With the overabundance of aggro decks in this format, we definately can't expect the game to last that long. And since we just figured out that we don't want more than 24 lands (since 4 mana on turn 4 is perfect), we can conclude that this deck should top off at 5 mana which it can reasonably expect to get to by turn 6 or 7.

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You left something out of your calculations; how many of each symbol of each colour is present in the deck that each individual is using. I said four or five Island because if they ran every good Blue card, then they'd probably want the fifth Island.

What I do is count up all the symbols in each colour, then look at all the stuff with 2+ symbols of one colour at 3-4 mana and decide what I want to be able to play most consistently of those, and then from there try to partition out lands in proportion to the number of coloured symbols, giving a slight bias to any colour which has a 1DD or 2DD cost that I want to consistently land on turn 3 or 4.

Example:

http://www.mtgdeckbuilder.net/Decks/ViewDeck/729573

If you check the stats button, there's 26 White symbols, 23 Red, and 6 Green (at least in the maindeck stuff.) I went with a mana base with 10 White, 10 Red, and 8 Green mana sources (I use these fancy things called dual lands to do that,) however, because I consistently want Green by turn three. Partly because the sideboard has two and a spell in it. But the six maindeck symbols are Wall of Blossoms, Fiery Justice, 2 Tamanoa, and 2 Mindbender Spores. If I don't have Green on turn two, no biggie. Only one card wants it then and even then Wall of Omens is also in the deck. Turn three, however, is entirely different; there's only a few situations where I might not want to play any of those cards other than FJ immediately. Same with the sideboard Dosan, the Falling Leaf and Raking Canopy; both are very advantageous to have down early and thanks to the magic of dual lands, I can have both and potentially available turn three.

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That's a good point, but of course we don't have the luxury of using dual lands here. Without dual lands, there's no way to match up both the mana symbols with the mana ratios as well as making sure you can cast each spell on the right turn. Since the format is very aggressive, I think it's more important to look at which spells we absolutely want to be able to cast. I can safely say that if this deck can't at least have a decent chance of casting Bant Charm on turn 4, it's going to be in a lot of trouble against the aggressive decks. Similarly, the deck really wants to be able to cast Sublime Archangel on turn 4 as well to provide the best chance of finishing the game quickly against the slower decks.

However, this doesn't mean we don't need to look at the mana symbols... It just means that instead of trying to match our lands to our mana symbols, we should try to match our mana symbols to our lands, within reason of course.

I can tell you right now you're going to end up with too many islands in comparison to the number of cards that require them, simply because there's not enough good 4 and 5 drops that require islands, and there's no point in adding 3 drops that require them since then you have to add even more islands to be able to cast them on turn 3, which defeats the purpose and stretches the deck too thin.

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Right, the maths change without duals because of the lost flexibility, but honestly that doesn't even mess with it as badly as the fact that this deck wants to curve out, so a Terramorphic on turn two or three is undesirable almost every time. Even just the "pay one life" fetchlands at least let the fetched land come in untapped and would make an enormous difference in how the deck plays. Control decks can get away with 8-12 comes in tapped lands and do fine. Aggro really shouldn't have any. This deck doesn't have to be balls-to-the-wall aggro unless its opponent is, because while there is removal, there isn't much. You're generally better off forcing them into bad blocks by keeping the pressure on.

Still, if you go with the common 37.9% chance of opening hand Terramorphic and presume you can safely do that turn one to get your Blue source out of the way, that's a good start. Of course a significant number of those hands won't be keepers, but that's still a good 30% or so chance to get a playable opener with a Terra in it. The Terras are pseudo-Islands because that's what you'll normally use them to fetch, but they're still not quite as good as actual Islands because they're going to get a tapped Blue source, and you don't want to be playing them turn two or three most of the time. So I could easily make a case for 4 or 5 Islands, depending how much Blue you're running, or even 6 Island, 3 Terras, to narrow down how many lands are coming in tapped.

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Unstoppable wrote:

Still, if you go with the common 37.9% chance of opening hand Terramorphic and presume you can safely do that turn one to get your Blue source out of the way, that's a good start. Of course a significant number of those hands won't be keepers, but that's still a good 30% or so chance to get a playable opener with a Terra in it. The Terras are pseudo-Islands because that's what you'll normally use them to fetch, but they're still not quite as good as actual Islands because they're going to get a tapped Blue source, and you don't want to be playing them turn two or three most of the time. So I could easily make a case for 4 or 5 Islands, depending how much Blue you're running, or even 6 Island, 3 Terras, to narrow down how many lands are coming in tapped.

I agree. But it is a good start only if you have a plain and a forest at your starting hand, and that scenario doesn't happen very often unfortunately. Otherwise you have to search for a forest or risk getting at a bad position without forests. Sometimes it is possible to survive without an island, but it is almost impossible to survive without a forest.

Right, and that's why I went with the lower figure of 30% which supposes you have at least two other lands in hand (of no specific sort) or at least one other land and two playable threats with two mana and can reasonably hope to draw into a third non-Terra land by turn three. I didn't work out the exact maths (Nemo, for one, is better at it than I) but the rough estimate of 30% can't be too far off if you're running 24 lands.

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We need a Land Tax in here seriously to solve the mana problem since we can't have dual color lands and tap for mana creatures.

I see no point in running blue and like the others said, like some good multicolor-blues should be in this deck like the stoic angel.

No blue equals no destruction spells and losing a lot of combat tricks.  This is shooting self in foot to spite face.  Seriously, in addition to the bant charm, you also lose giltspire avenger (reusable monster destruction), jhessian infiltrator (your only unblockable and super powerful in exalted deck), deft duelist, and rafiq of the many (the double strike on your attacker can really hurt, especially when it is not blocked or has trample).  If you do not care about your destruction spell, your reusable destruction monster, your first strikers, your double strike dude, and your unblockable creatures, then by all means, removing blue is an excellent idea.

2 + 2 = fish

I'm going to try and make this deck work. Simply because people sleep on it. Just like FW, and HS. My older brother was able to make EtD work as well.

I've ditched all blue cards that cost 2cmc or less and it seemed to give me better starting hands, so I have some plays and the time to get that Island in play. Does anyone agree?
Hit save too soon. I kept the blue spells low except for the charms and 2 of the 3/4 lifegain guys in the 3 cmc as well.

Alphagaia wrote:
I've ditched all blue cards that cost 2cmc or less and it seemed to give me better starting hands, so I have some plays and the time to get that Island in play. Does anyone agree?

We had discussing this for 2 days now. You got a little late into the discussion.

Alphagaia wrote:
Hit save too soon. I kept the blue spells low except for the charms and 2 of the 3/4 lifegain guys in the 3 cmc as well.

My doubt is to use 4 Akrasan Squire; or 3 Akrasan Squire plus Jenara, Asura of War; or 2 Akrasan Squire and 2 Rhox War Monk. More than that is definitively out of question, because the more blue you add, the more clumsy the deck becomes.  Sometimes some clumsiness can pay off, that's the problem with chance. Finding the right balance between power and playability is the real problem to solve with this deck.

The other cards with blue worth keeping I already mentioned before, so I won't repeat myself here.

 

Sorry for being late, was busy and kinda still am. I think Rhox war Monk is gonna be a very important card, with its big butt meaning he can take some burn or a last gasp hit and gain some very important life to get your win conditions.
I do think having a few blue spells in 4 cmc or higher is fine. By that time ya should have your mana fixed. Finest Hour gives an extra combatround with exalted which is to cool to pass up. Most of the time your opponent only has an answer for your first attack.

Hall of Aspiring Champions

This is the deck I'll probably be playing.

This deck is not fast, but it can put some pressure in slower decks like CMD.

Cards with lifelink and Martial Coup for or  will probably allow you to stay alive long enough to play your bigger creatures.

 

I would use 4, 8, 7, 5 as my mana base.  I like the idea of being able to naturally draw blue as opposed to fetching it all the time.  However, I think people on this thread are arguing 3 vs 4 vs 5 island, and that is not very important in the scheme of things.  It is like arguing 1 vs 2 vs 3 black in dragons.  There are better things to do, and arguing runnign the third color vs not running it at all is probably more interesting.

2 + 2 = fish

my strange mix:

7xforest

5xisland

10xplain

4xterramorphic expanse

 

2xakrasan squire

1xknotvine paladin

3xqasali pridemage

 

2xdauntless escort

1xgiltspire avenger

1xjenara, asura of war

1xqasali ambusher

2xrhox war monk

4xbant charm

2xbehemoth sledge

2xpariah

 

1xknight of new alara

1xrafiq of the many

1xrhox charger

2xsublime archangel

 

1xfinest hour

2xgleam of resistance

1xprivileged position

 

1xtolsimir wolfblood

1xphantom nishoba

2xmartial coup


what happens when phantom nishoba is out of counters, but i have tolsmir with him (for example). he doesn't die, right?

i'm going to try the 3 listed first.

 

NemoYT wrote:

Okay, so I'm seeing some debate on the exact mana base.. I think I can sort this out using the power of math 

There are a few things this deck wants to do, and I think the best way to sort out the mana base is to make sure each of these things has an about equal chance of happening. After running the numbers, I come to the conclusion that the best mana base for this deck (assuming you run 24 lands) is:

- 4 Islands

- 6 Forests

- 10 Plains

- 4 Terramorphic Expanses

-------------------------------------------

We can also use this calculation to see how many lands in total we'll have on each turn (so we can see if mana screw or flood is likely):

24 / 60 = 0.4 (40% of our deck is lands)

Average lands on turn 1 / n/a --- 0.4 * 7 = 2.8

Turn 2 / 1 --- 0.4 * 8 = 3.2

Turn 3 / 2 --- 0.4 * 9 = 3,6

Turn 4 / 3 --- 0.4 * 10 = 4

Turn 5 / 4 --- 0.4 * 11 = 4.4

Turn 6 / 5 --- 0.4 * 12 = 4.8

Turn 7 / 6 --- 0.4 * 13 = 5.2

Turn 8 / 7 --- 0.4 * 14 = 5.6

Turn 9 / 8 --- 0.4 * 15 = 6

first: avarage doesn't say a lot, you need to calculate probablities.

second: playing terramorphic changes the picture, because it removes an extra land after using it, and you are left with less than 40% lands.

You really, really didn't need to quote the entire post.

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