Last updated on August 9, 2022
Lord Windgrace | Illustration by Bram Sels
Land-based strategies are one of my all-time favorites in Commander. It’s incredibly unique and hard to play against which makes it a great pick if you’re looking to shake things up a bit at the table.
Jund () is a color combo that can employ this strategy particularly well. Green brings everything you could want when it comes to landfall triggers and extra lands while red is an excellent supporting color. Black supplies efficient removal spells and a few bomb creatures. These colors come together nicely to make a good land-based soup and also supplies you with one of the strongest commanders in this field, Lord Windgrace.
I’ve decided it’s time to give Lord Windgrace the spotlight it deserves with the ultimate guide to playing it as your commander. Without further ado, let’s get to the fun part!
Life from the Loam | Illustration by Sung Choi
Avenger of Zendikar
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Birds of Paradise
Courser of Kruphix
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
Oracle of Mul Daya
The Gitrog Monster
Titania, Protector of Argoth
Field of the Dead
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth
The list I have for you here is a high-power version that spares no expense in its quest to blow your enemies out of the water. The deck has an ultra-high price point of around $3,000 which can luckily be chopped down to the mid hundreds with the right cuts. I’ve opted to go down the high-power route because I believe it’s much easier for amateur/average players to tune a deck and its price down than up.
There are a few often game-winning combos, some infinite combos, original dual lands, and other table-killing outlets for you to win through. The deck also leans heavily on the green and red cards in the list with only 13 total cards with black pips compared to the 40 green. This is because of the prevalence of land-getting cards in green less than black having any inherent downside.
Your commander today is Lord Windgrace, a planeswalker commander for that enters with five loyalty counters and revolves completely around lands. Its first ability is a card advantage engine that lets you discard a card to draw one, or two if you discarded a land card. This is an excellent ability not only because it’s nearly always useful but also because it sets your commander to seven loyalty the turn it comes in. That’s very resilient and helps to protect it from damage-based removal that you otherwise would be worried about.
Its second ability, which removes three loyalty counters, just returns two lands from your graveyard to the battlefield. This works great in tandem with cards that extend themselves like fetch lands or other high-priority lands that may have been killed.
Last is Windgrace’s ultimate ability, which costs 11 loyalty counters and destroys any six nonland permanents as well as supplying you with six forestwalking 2/2 tokens. This is a strong ultimate that’s pretty much always amazing to use. Very rarely when faced with three enemies will you not find six permanents you want to destroy. Even if it’s something like mana rocks or utility artifacts you’ll be happy to use this.
You’re mostly using Lord Windgrace for its first two abilities. You want to draw cards to continue to supply your landfall engines and then use it to bring back the lands you discarded to the first ability. Once you get your major landfall cards out the game quickly devolves into playing lands as much as possible, and Lord Windgrace is great at doing just that.
A lot of the cards included in this deck can be broken into one of two categories: cards that get you more lands and cards that benefit from having those lands. A good lands-matter deck has the right balance between these two, and I think I’ve found it here.
There are quite a few cards that get you more lands. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, and these are some of the best ones you have access to.
Wrenn and Six and Wrenn and Seven both make sense in this deck and can help you reuse a lot of the fetch lands included in this list or dump your hand full of lands that you drew through other sources.
Azusa, Lost but Seeking can help with that, too. It gives you +2 to the number of lands you can play in a single turn, which is quite a bit but not enough for the deck. There will be turns where you can play upwards of four or five lands in a single turn. I’m looking at you, Crucible of Worlds. Dryad of the Ilysian Grove is a similar creature that also fixes your mana along with giving you an extra land drop per turn.
Of course I couldn’t forget about Oracle of Mul Daya, one of the best green creatures for your strategy.
Most of the ways for you to dig lands out of your library or graveyard come from instants and sorceries. Life from the Loam is an all-time classic that you’re not going to skip on.
You already know and love Scapeshift, which can instantly supply huge amounts of landfall triggers (so can Splendid Reclamation). You also want the simple spells like Sylvan Scrying to get you ahead of the curve in terms of land drops early on.
Burgeoning, Exploration, and Sylvan Library also all supply a steady way to get and play more lands. Any one of these is great and provides some nice passive income to your mana base. It really just feels great to have one of these cards out early, believe me.
Time for the fun part: the cards that actually benefit from having all these lands enter the battlefield!
Titania, Protector of Argoth is another good creature to have out ahead of time. 5/3 creatures are great and are an excellent way to apply pressure via combat damage instead of threatening a combo or direct damage.
The Gitrog Monster requires an upkeep cost of sacrificing a land but supplies you with card advantage. This is an exchange that you’ll welcome with open arms. You don’t care about losing lands since you’re playing so many and can easily bring them back from the graveyard. No downsides for you!
Splendid Reclamation can be good here too. Just make sure to plan ahead if you’re going to go that route since you have a lot of different ways to bring your lands back that you might not have more than a handful at any given time.
Torment of Hailfire is another big payload that benefits from having upwards of 20 to 30 mana. You can get pretty quick at counting permanents and seeing how much you need to kill all of your friends. If you can still call them that afterward. Even if you don’t outright kill them, having them discard their hand and sacrifice a few permanents puts them in an ultimate stage of hellbent. That can be more fun than winning right away in my opinion.
Every deck needs interaction, especially ones like this that just play your little lands with your little creatures and then spontaneously explode with Torment of Hailfire on turn 12.
In terms of removal, black supplies you with some excellent spells that hit a wide variety of threats you might have to face in any given game. Abrupt Decay hits early threats like Rhystic Study or Mana Crypt, which you absolutely do not want to have your opponents benefit from.
Assassin’s Trophy is a nice kill-anything card that you can use as a crutch against combo decks. Chaos Warp falls into that category too. It’s sort of a “I don’t want to deal with that card” spell and should be used when you’re fine with gambling between your opponent hitting a land or an Eldrazi.
Toxic Deluge is your go-to board wipe. You have plenty of mana and can dodge your own large creatures in the blast wave. It’s also great against creature strategies that go wide like tokens or elves that can be very difficult to deal with.
Culling Ritual is also a decent board wipe since it won’t hit anything that you really care about. You have only a handful of permanents below two mana value, but you should be fine with trading them for your enemy’s mana rocks or combo pieces (cough Isochron Scepter cough).
Torment of Hailfire is your primary one-shot finisher that works entirely off having a huge load of lands on the table. It doesn’t need anything else like Craterhoof Behemoth does and is the most reliable way to win long games. Paired with something like Red Elemental Blast you’re good to go through at least one layer of counterspells.
Tooth and Nail can also win out of nowhere as long as you pull Avenger of Zendikar and Craterhoof Behemoth out. Having 20 20/21s out easily runs over three players regardless of what kind of board they have up. Even if one opponent manages to cling on for dear life their board is going to be in shambles, and their life total probably will be too. This is a super fun combo and very rewarding.
Scapeshift and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle is another surefire way to blow up enemies. If you manage to Scapeshift for upwards of 15 lands that’s 45 damage spread however you want. This won’t kill more than one player unless it’s later in the game and everyone is weak, but 45 damage is enough to launch you ahead in addition to all the other landfall triggers you get from other cards. Just make sure you don’t sacrifice more lands than you have left in your deck!
The Mana Base
This deck has a very pricey mana base with just about every playable dual land you can get your hands on. That includes the fetch lands in your colors; Bloodstained Mire, Marsh Flats, Misty Rainforest, Polluted Delta, Prismatic Vista, Scalding Tarn, Verdant Catacombs, Wooded Foothills, and of course Windswept Heath. These lands bring an added level of power to your deck since they provide at least two landfall triggers and can get nearly every land out of your deck with Crucible of Worlds or Ramunap Excavator.
In terms of the actual lands you’ll be fetching, you have all the original duals in your colors, the shock lands, some basics, and you can of course pick up the upcoming Jund tri-color land in Streets of New Capenna.
There are a few early mana accelerants in the form of mana dorks and rocks that help propel you into that four to five mana range as quickly as possible.
Chrome Mox, Mana Crypt, Sol Ring, and Arcane Signet make up all of the rocks in the list. You already have so many ways to naturally get extra lands or mana through other means because of your strategy which just makes these worse lands, for lack of a better word. So you only play the best ones. This is a great spot to look if you’re trying to make price cuts.
Wrenn and Six | Illustration by Chase Stone
The strategy for this deck is simple: play lands. All your win conditions, threats, and accelerants revolve around having lands either enter the battlefield or capitalize off lots of mana.
Early on your goal should be to keep a hand with some kind of acceleration, whether it’s a mana dork, mana rock, or spell that tutors lands out onto the battlefield. Getting a turn or two ahead in terms of mana works wonders for the first few turns.
You also want to look for hands that have some early ways to get more lands. Wrenn and Six, Courser of Kruphix, Azusa, Lost but Seeking, and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove are all great. Other than that, keep hands with three or four lands.
Once the early game is set up you want to get Lord Windgrace online. It’ll help you sift through your deck and draw more interaction and lands which is exactly what you want around this time. If you’re not able to resolve it or it dies instantly then other mid-game engines will do. Tireless Tracker, The Gitrog Monster, and Titania, Protector of Argoth are all good here.
If some lifegain player has a smug smile you want to wipe off, pair Torment of Hailfire with the infinite mana combo of Dockside Extortionist and Temur Sabertooth. You just need a few artifacts out to make enough Treasures to be profitable. Then you can set X to some arbitrarily large number that nobody can triumph over. If an enemy has some infinite life combo that can match this 1:1 then you can draw.
The Avenger of Zendikar plus Craterhoof Behemoth combo isn’t infinite, but it is extremely effective at killing other players. It comes out of nowhere with Tooth and Nail and is a surprise lethal weapon when your back is otherwise against the wall.
A lot of playgroups and local game stores have a “Rule 0” that calls for everyone to “have fun.” This means house rules that outlaw various strategies, cards, and styles of deck building that are cut through and anti-casual in nature. This deck has a few things that may be violations of your store’s or friend’s Rule 0s, so make sure you talk about these before the game to prevent upset opponents:
- This list has all playable original dual lands, which means you’re either running proxies or high-power cards. Either way, check with your friends.
- There’s an infinite mana combo with Dockside Extortionist and Temur Sabertooth.
- You play Demonic Tutor, which is extremely efficient and adds consistency to other game-ending combos.
- Fast mana rocks are played in the main list, including Mana Crypt and Chrome Mox.
I can’t say for certain what the people you’re playing with have banned or not, but these are the main targets I’d suggest you bring up to make sure. The last thing you want is to have somebody say, “wait, you can’t run combos!” right when you’re about to win with them.
Dockside Extortionist | Illustration by Forrest Imel
This deck has a high price tag of about $3,000, which is absolutely absurd and can easily be slashed in a bunch of ways.
After that Mana Crypt and Chrome Mox are your big-ticket items. They only help accelerate you early and can be swapped out with other mana rocks like the Talismans or Signets, or even other mana dorks.
Dockside Extortionist and Temur Sabertooth can also be removed for another 2-card combo or some other landfall cards. As the price comes down the power level naturally will too. Plus you’ll save yourself some Rule 0 violations in the process of saving your bank account.
Oracle of Mul Daya | Illustration by Vance Kovacs
Lord Windgrace is a commander that, while it can do things other than lands, doesn’t do other strategies well. Its entire kit is based around land strategies and there are better commanders for other strategies.
That being said, the next best strategy (if you can call it that) for Lord Windgrace is some kind of land destruction deck. Nobody is prepared for this kind of game plan and only other landfall-based decks have any hope of effectively combating it.
You can refill your own lands through the kind of cards included in the main list above while simultaneously ruining other player’s fun with Army Ants. Keldon Firebombers is another bomb that can help raze the table while allowing you to refill with something like Crucible of Worlds.
That wraps up the deck guide for today! I really like Lord Windgrace and all lands-matter strategies. They’re very unique to the game of Magic and have no real way to be stopped since playing a land doesn’t pass priority to anyone.
But what do you think? Is the list too strong, or too weak in your opinion? Would you do anything differently with the core concept? Maybe a different win condition? Let me know in the comments down below or over in the official Draftsim Discord.
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