Combining Hobbies – Dungeon Masters, Jokulhaups and You

(Decree of Annihilation | Art by John Avon)

Ask and You Shall Receive… Terror

Hey everyone! Kya here once again! Welcome back to Combining Hobbies, the series where we take your favorite non-Magic games and use their unique elements to create amazing EDH decks!

So this month’s article is going to be an interesting one. In a constant quest to challenge myself as a player and writer, I recently asked Twitter the best way to train in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber:

It took less then a minute for one of my good friends over on Twitter to come up with an interesting idea! Many others also came up with some amazing subjects, but this one stuck out immediately.

Despite it not being everyone’s cup of tea, I personally love land destruction! It’s one of the most game-changing moves one can make with a single spell. For those who’ve read my articles before, you’ll know that I’ve even recommended using the theme for newer players to get them interested in the game for the first time. You may have even seen me use Mass Land Destruction (MLD) in quite a few articles to finish the game quickly with Jhoira of the Ghitu!

So why is it that my friend’s question is so difficult to write about?

Because as he suggested, it’s not for everyone. Mass Land Destruction is very much frowned upon in many pods, as some of you might know and agree with. Why? The very simple answer is that it’s the ultimate form of Stax without the possibility of recovering quickly. That’s my personal opinion, at least. It’s treated much differently than destroying artifacts or creatures because those can more quickly be rebuilt. However, without the basic building blocks known as lands, life on your playmat will not regrow in any reasonable amount of time. This is the fundamental difference between MLD and other forms of Stax or destruction. Your typical player does not enjoy sitting there not playing their deck for any reason, and it’s very important for them and yourself to understand who you are sitting across from.

So despite this, why does Kya play Mass Land Destruction?


When You Upset Your Dungeon Master

Some players – like yours truly – enjoy pods where gigantic plays and silly interactions are celebrated far more than winning. EDH, at the end of the day, is an excuse for friends to gather together and enjoy their company. How they do this is completely defined by that group. Personally I find memorable plays from anyone to be the bee’s knees and more memorable than which player won which game. I don’t even care if it’s me doing the insane play – if it’s crazy enough, I’ll help others complete their miracles on the field in any way I can!

If I could make any comparison, playing some themes such as Group Hug, Chaos or MLD is a lot like being the Dungeon Master at the table. My joy comes from creating an environment for others to adventure in. Sometimes I’ll be nice to my adventurers and play my Group Hug deck, creating a smooth adventure without many obstacles. Or maybe I’ll be a silly DM where even I don’t know what will happen next with Warp World! Or sometimes… sometimes… I’ll be a very cruel Dungeon Master, with the intent of making their adventure one of the most difficult experiences that a poor level 1 rogue could partake in after wandering into that tavern.

Today is one of those days! Grab your dice and prepare for a cruel and an uncaring world where you’ll be lucky to survive a random rabbit that crosses your path!


Magic Missile Zo-Zu

As mentioned, we’re not going to be a friendly DM today. Our goal is to create an unstable and dangerous road to victory for those brave enough to venture forth. If they’re not careful, any move they make will result in a full party wipe! So who will be our mascot behind the DM’s screen?

That’s right! Zo-Zu the Punisher will let everyone in the party know that this campaign isn’t for the inexperienced. Every step into a new land will be welcomed with pain. What’s best about Zo-Zu is that players will have to actively balance their need to ramp with their need to keep their life above 0! Know what makes this even more difficult? Blowing up lands!

Making players lose life while replenishing the losses you’ve caused will definitely make everyone a bit more cautious. Hopefully our brave souls will learn the value of teamwork and work together to bring you down before the cold grip of doom embraces them! Of course, as any Dungeon Master will tell you, it takes quite a bit of preparation and planning before hosting friends into your world. I’ll leave out a lengthy screed on the simple land destruction cards we already know I’m adding to this deck. Let’s see what else we have in store for them, instead, that’ll mix nicely with all this land hate!


A Story of Endless Possibilities

Excited to get started? Well, calm down and wait just a moment! We’re playing mono-red here, and we have to make sure we have enough tricks up our sleeves to keep everyone entertained. I know it’s not the fun part, but let’s slot our deck with plenty of draw options:

Whew, I don’t know about the rest of you but I always feel more comfortable building a new deck when I know I’ll always have a hand. I know it’s not an explosive start to being the world’s most frightening DM, but fear not! I promise you cards like Wheel of Fate will be sure to surprise an adventurer who thinks they started with great stats.


Your Bestiary of Horrors

Now that we’ve got scenarios in our hand, it’s time to fill our world with tiny terrors! Goblins and Dwarfs are plentiful in Dungeons & Dragons, so they’ll make a special appearance in our deck. Even better, many of them do not like the concept of players having the edge up on them. By removing player’s lands, we’ll keep them from leveling up too quickly. Of course, they can always play another land, but if they do, they’re going to take more damage from our commander!


Dragons and Titans

Every good fantasy world has its big baddies. We’ll keep ours limited, to keep these encounters special, but sometimes your table needs an opportunity of growth. Plus, excuse you: how dare you try and get around my land destruction with mana rocks!? There’s always that one person trying to derail the DM. Hellkite Tyrant will put an end to that immediately, though, so no worries!

I know what you’re thinking: how on Earth are we going to get so much mana if we’re going to be blowing up lands left and right? Don’t worry, we have some more critters who’ll be happy to help!


Staying One Step Ahead

Despite not being green, red manages to have a lot of sneaky ways to get mana and big creatures out without using lands. Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion is a second Neheb, the Eternal that’ll also help out! Sneak Attack seems scary enough, but imagine Bearer of the Heavens coming into play just to die immediately. Oh, boy! It’s not our fault if Wisdom wasn’t one of their more focused stats. Maybe they’ll learn for next time!

Oh, and that Braid of Fire might look odd to you, but what are you going to do with all that mana and no instants to enjoy it? Remember, we have a lot of creatures with tap effects that cost mana. Looks like we can save the lands for other purposes. Now that’s using your noodle.


When They Roll a One

Sometimes an adventurer just gets unlucky. The RNG gods are cruel mistresses to even the best of us. However. a mishap in their roll is a gift to you! Any of these lucky draws will assist in our commander casting Firebolt left and right! If they’re not careful, they’ll be down to 10 life very quickly! It’s not all punishments, though. We can help this wandering party stay together by ensuring that one doesn’t run too far ahead of the others with Blood Moon effects!


Cthulhu and the End Times!

You know, there’s only so much as a Dungeon Master that you can do to help out the party. Sometimes the party refuses to work together, and things get out of control. In these cases, the emperor’s mercy is the only option left for a caring DM such as yourself. It’s here where we add our true Mass Land Destruction spells to start them back at square one. Maybe going back to their starting point will help them learn what to do differently. If not? Well, Cthulhu will be more then happy to assist with a nasty Sneak Attack! Or maybe we use the already-useful Reiterate and Seething Song together with Comet Storm for a devastating finale they’ll be sure to remember! Getting three combo pieces without any tutors will be tough, but if you’re stalling them like you should be, it’ll happen eventually!

Now let’s put it all together!

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer

Closing Thoughts

What does everyone think of my playstyle? Would you be willing to be the table’s Planechase and try and navigate your victims – I mean, friends – through a unique adventure? Before you completely dismiss MLD or Group Hug, I’ll simply state that it’s a very distinct variation from your average game, and that there’s a lot you can learn from it if you haven’t tried it! It’ll hopefully create some laughs for your friends to joke about for a while, if nothing else. Just a friendly reminder: get the consent of your table first before trying to be purposely disruptive!

Now, for my fellow maniacs: let’s find out if we’re alone out there or not, shall we? What do you think about land destruction? Let me know in the comments! Also, a quick poll to see how many disciples of destruction are out there:

Until next time,

Kya

Never fear! Kya's here! Kya has been a long time EDH player and hobbyist. With an extended history of blacksmithing and 3d printing various MTG related items for fun, she has turned her attention to sharing her mad scientist brews to the public. Although a competitive player by nature, her aim is to provide fun and silly deck ideas to those looking to spice up their play groups. Kya is here to scratch that demented individual's itch for pure chaos and show everyone that a Warp World can be a fun experience! Except when you have a Hive Mind and Eye of the Storm out...