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All Spells, No Lands in Modern

Lands make mana and mana makes spells. Spells affect the game by creating or destroying—the means to victory in a Magical duel.

It begins with lands. Without lands we have no mana and we cannot make spells. Without spells we can’t do much of anything. So we need lands. Lands are essential. EVERY DECK PLAYS LANDS.

It’s not a rule that you have to play lands but everyone does it anyway—for good reason. It’s a fundamental aspect of the game. THE fundamental aspect of the game.

For me, there’s something attractive about breaking the fundamentals. To see why they’re fundamentals in the first place. To see if it’s even possible. To stretch my thinking. Experimentation is a crucial ingredient to learning and progress of thought.

So we build a 0-land deck. To see the result and experience what kind of brain chemicals fire off from the process. Let’s brew! It’s good for the brain.

All Spells

Imagine:

Turn 1 Lotus Bloom.

Turn 2 wait.

Turn 3 wait.

Turn 4 cast Lotus Bloom. Exile Simian Spirit Guide. Cast Balustrade Spy.

Target us. Whoops—all spells.

Flip our deck into our graveyard. Narcomoebas enter play. Play Gut Shot, Slaughter Pact, or Sickening Shoal for free from our hand.

Narcomoeba moves to the graveyard. Bridges from Below trigger. Black Zombies come into play.

Cast Endless Obedience from hand off of convoke. Target Angel of Glory’s Rise.

Laboratory Maniacs come back. Alchemist’s Apprentice or Azami, Lady of Scrolls come back. Draw and win the game.

Or, Wild Cantors come back. Loop Wild Cantors, Undercity Informer, Angel of Glory’s Rise, and Fiend Hunter to remove the opponent’s deck if you would rather the opponent lose than you win.

That was fun, let’s play again!

Turn 1 reveal Chancellor of the Tangle, play Aether Vial.

Turn 2 tick up Aether Vial, Vial in Wild Cantor.

Turn 3 tick up Aether Vial, Vial in Narcomoeba.

Turn 4 tick up Aether Vial. Vial in Laboratory Maniac.

Turn 5, upkeep, vial in Undercity Informer. Sacrifice Wild Cantor to remove our deck. Move to draw step. Win game.

No Lands

So it’s possible. It may not be a good option to win a tournament. But it can win some games in multiple ways. With NO. LANDS.

The results of this thought experiment are a functional no-land deck full of an interweaving web of cards, and a brain full of a greater interweaving web of thoughts for greater understanding.

Why do you build decks? For many of us it is primarily for the mental process. It is good to think.

All Spells

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For the Magic Online video series I played Sickening Shoal and Street Wraith, but if you had the Slaughter Pacts it might be better to play those with Gitaxian Probes. Either way works.

I haven’t played Serum Powder in either version, but it could be good. I’m mixed on it. It’s a total dud at any point in the game except when it’s in our opening hand and we want to mulligan.

Even in that situation, Serum Powder might exile a key combo piece—Narcomoebas, Bridge from Belows, or our card-draw Human.

Serum Powder may be worth building around in this deck, but I have personally chosen to forgo it.

All Spells Sideboard

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In our sideboard, Welding Jar is important to protect our mana sources.

Protecting our hand from discard seems like a good deal too.

I’m intrigued by Brain Maggot as a 2-mana discard spell that comes in off Vial. It can pick the opponent’s hand apart to clear the way and stick around to help cast Endless Obedience.

Value of Building All Spells

All Spells is certainly a successful thought experiment but in what situations could it be a successful deck?

It totally depends on the situation. It’s a great party trick to pull out of the bag, or a nice cutesy option to pull out against noobs.

I remember back in high school I would play against beginners in the Magic: the Gathering lunch room and I used to put together decks like this to win with style. The most winning deck is not always the best option as sometimes it’s nice to give the opponent a chance to win.

It all depends on your situation, but I hope some of you find some use in physically building this—but if not, our minds grew stronger today.

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