Zendikar Rising is upon us and I’m stoked for the new set and what it offers casual players. I think there are a lot of cool cards to brew around and it seems that landfall based decks are getting quite some fuel. I loved landfall as a mechanic from the first time I saw it, because it rewards you for playing the game i.e. playing lands. One of my favorite cards from the original Zendikar set was Rampaging Baloths.
It’s so scute!
Getting a 4/4 Beast every time a land hits the battlefield is very strong. I have a deck with it that I will discuss at a later time, but for now my attention goes out to a card that is quite similar to the Baloths and that card is Scute Swarm.
Scute Swarm might not make 4/4’s, but it puts a 1/1 insect token into play whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control. When you control six lands and a land enters the battlefield under your control, it even makes a copy of itself. Things can get out of hand really quickly from then on and that is exactly what I want to do with a deck based around the Swarm.
The Swarm is a cool card to play around, but it should be said that a 1/1 is very fragile and dies to all sorts of things. Since the deck is all about the Swarm and copying itself with landfall, it’s better to play it when you already have six lands out and is able to copy itself right away. The focus of the deck is therefore to drop the Swarm, get six lands shortly after and then start copying the Swarm and finally win by swarming your opponents.
The Swarm is green, most land search is in green, so green is a good place to start. Scute Swarm costs three mana, but we don’t really want to just ramp up to three mana, so no Llanowar Elves and the like. The Swarm needs six lands in play to be really interesting, so we need to have spells that look for a land and put it directly into play, also ensuring landfall triggers later in the game.
A cheap way manawise to get lands directly into play is by playing fetch lands, also because it triggers landfall twice. If you have them, play Wooded Foothills, Windswept Heath, Verdant Catacombs and/ or Misty Rainforest, since they look for Forests and puts them into play untapped. However, they are quite pricey and that is not the way I want to go here. If you don’t have them, use a number of Terramorphic Expanse and/or Evolving Wilds. Maybe even the Shards of Alara Panorama’s, but I’m not a real fan of those.
The spells in the deck are mostly to search for lands and put them into play. Search for Tomorrow, Rampant Growth and Cultivate help you do this.
Search for Tomorrow can be suspended on the first turn when you don’t have a lot of other things to do.
Rampant Growth is ‘just’ puts a land on the battlefield for two mana…
… and Cultivate puts a land into play and in your hand, so you can make your land drop for the turn if you didn’t draw a land.
Khalni Heart Expedition is an enchantment for a colourless and a green mana that lets you put an expedition counter on it when a land enters the battlefield under your control. When it has three counters, you can sacrifice it to put two lands into play. You can drop it early, load it up with counters and sacrifice it when you need extra landdrops. This can be done in your opponents turn if you need extra insects or even extra Scute Swarms as surprise blockers for example. Harrow too can give you extra lands (and thus creatures) whenever you need them.
The more, the better
Having a lot of lands and triggering landfall is nice, but to win a multiplayer game you need something more. Most importantly you want to stay alive early. The Swarm is only 1/1 and makes only 1/1’s. Sure, it can make a lot of them once you have six lands, but that might take some time. Migratory Greathorn can beef up the Scute Swarm with its mutate ability. As a bonus, when you play it for its mutate cost, you may search for a basic land and put it into play, providing the oh so wanted landfall for this deck. Make sure you mutate the Greathorn on top of the Swarm. Once you have enough lands, the Swarm/Greathorn will copy itself with the the power and toughness of the Greathorn. More is better!
Ancient Greenwarden is a pretty beefy creature at 5/7 for four colourless and two green mana. It also has reach, so looks like a perfect blocker. It also further abuses the landfall synergies with the ability to play fetch lands from your graveyard and giving an extra trigger to all the landfall triggers. Six mana is a lot, but with all the landfall enablers, you will have enough lands on the battlefield in no time.
Since survival is key, two Kazandu NectarpoTs are in the deck to gain some life early in the game, so you can survive some early attacks if you don’t have a legion of Scute Swarms at your disposal.
Getting everything into place
This deck needs quite something to search for at least the Swarms and preferably some more of your creatures. Adventure Awaits lets you look at the top five cards and choose a creature. Just the right thing to find what your looking for and even better, if there isn’t anything in the top five cards you’re looking for, you may draw a card. That is a good deal for a colourless and a green.
It can happen that you lose some of the pieces you need to amass a huge Scute army. Bala Ged Recovery can help to get an essential card back from your graveyard and if you don’t need that, you can just play it as a land.
|2 Kazandu Nectarpot|
4 Scute Swarm
4 Migratory Greathorn
2 Ancient Greenwarden
|4 Adventure Awaits|
4 Khalni Heart Expedition
4 Rampant Growth
2 Bala Ged Recovery
//Bala Ged Sanctuary
4 Search for Tomorrow
|3 Evolving Wilds|
3 Terramorphic Expanse
If this deck does not swarm kitchen tables with self-copying insects, I don’t know what will. If you have suggestions to improve the deck or just any comments, let me know. See you at the next sixty!