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TurboLand Primer
By Oscar Tan aka Rakso

By Nick F on Saturday, June 10, 2000 - 01:41 am:
This rogue deck was developed by Zvi Mowshowitz, in an attempt to make maximum use of the synergy between Exploration and Horn of Greed. Zvi's article on this can be found at on The Dojo.

The basic mechanism of the deck is very simple. It is built to abuse these three cards:

Type=Enchantment Cost=G US(R1)
Text(US+errata): You may play an additional land each of your turns. [Oracle 00/02/01]

Horn of Greed
Type=Artifact Cost=3 SH(R1)
Text(SH+errata): Whenever a player plays a land, that player draws a card. [Oracle 99/05/01]
Playing a land will trigger it, but putting a land into play as part of an effect will not. [Duelist Magazine #25, Page 30]

Thawing Glaciers
Type=Land Cost=None AL(R2)
Text(AL+errata): ~this~ comes into play tapped. ; {1},{Tap}: Search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. Then shuffle your library. If it's the end phase, return ~this~ to its owner's hand. Otherwise, return ~this~ to its owner's hand at end of turn. [Oracle 99/11/01]
The land brought into play does not count toward your one per turn limit because it was put into play by an effect. [D'Angelo 97/03/02]

The decklist that Zvi first evolved for Extended play was:

Card Advantage (22)
4 Thawing Glaciers
4 Impulse
4 Brainstorm
4 Horn of Greed
2 Scroll Rack
3 Crop Rotation
1 Soldevi Excavations

Control (11)
4 Force of Will
4 Counterspell
3 Wasteland

Recursion (5)
3 Time Warp
2 Gaea's Blessing

Stayin' Alive (1)
1 Glacial Chasm

Kill Cards (3)
3 Treetop Village

Mana (18)
4 Tropical Island
4 Forest
6 Island
4 Exploration

His reasoning for the card choices, and how to play the deck, are described in the article referenced above, in Zvi's usual lucid style. In summary, you want to play at least one land every turn, more if possible. Each time you play a land, you draw a card for each Horn you have in play (3 Horns = draw 3 cards when you play a land). The Glaciers let you thin your deck, so that your draws are more powerful. An important benefit is that you can Thaw even if there is no basic land left in your deck, since that returns the Thawing Glaciers to your hand - which you can then play and draw more cards! Eventually, your library is reduced to something less than 20 cards, by which time you can usually go into infinite turn mode, casting a Time Warp, Blessing it back into your library, getting it back through ScrollRack/Blessing/Horn draws, and attacking repeatedly with the trampling Villages. The counters hold your opponent off and protect your Horns while the Chasm can be fetched in an emergency to stabilize until you are ready to go off. The deck is reemarkably resilient against most other deck types.

To convert this deck to a Type I format, we have to make a lot of different choices. First, Time Warp and Crop Rotation are restricted. The kill mechanism of Villages is much too narrow for most Type I adversaries. And, of course, there are a whole bunch of great cards that Type I can abuse which can be added. The following is the deck list which I have been using successfully for months. My win rate is in the 70%+ range, against a variety of different decks, including just about every deck type you can name in both extended, Type I and Type 2.

Card Advantage (16)
3 Thawing Glaciers
4 Brainstorm
4 Horn of Greed
2 Scroll Rack
1 Crop Rotation
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Library of Alexandria

Control (13)
4 Force of Will
4 Counterspell
1 Thwart
2 Wasteland
1 Strip Mine
1 Capsize

Recursion (7)
1 Time Warp
1 Time Walk
3 Gaea's Blessing
1 Regrowth
1 Mystical Tutor

Stayin' Alive (2)
2 Zuran Orb

Kill Cards (3)
1 Treetop Village
2 Faerie Conclave

Mana (19)
1 Sol Ring
6 Forest
8 Island
4 Exploration

Although many of these card choices may be obvious, I set forth my reasoning.

Thawing Glaciers is one of the key cards here. As noted above, you use it to get lots of basic land into play, to constructively thin your library, and to have land to play (the Glaciers itself) as often as possible. Against this deck, the Glaciers should be Wasted or Stripped as soon as possible. Crop Rotation is used to fetch the Glaciers, unless you already have at least 2 in play and/or hand. Incidentally, the power of the Glaciers is why I use basic land instead of duals.

Horn of Greed is the real power card of this deck. Although it will also benefit your opponent, your deck is designed for maximum use of this card so you should draw more cards than him/her. You should cast the Horn just as soon as possible. However, I will never cast my first Horn unless I can immediately play a land myself - why give your opponent card advantage? I usually will not hesitate to cast a second or third Horn, just to get my recursion working. Late game, you can pitch them to a Brainstorm or Scroll Rack. In fact, once the time warping begins in earnest, I sometimes Capsize one or two of my own Horns, just to get better control over my draws - for example, when my library gets Real Small!

Brainstorm, Ancestral and Scroll Rack need no explanation here. Brainstorm is superior to Impulse, since it lets you put two cards on top of your library, which you will immediately draw again with the land you just found with Brainstorm! With Impulse, you "lose" three of the four cards you look at, and then the cards you draw with Horns are more random. This can be very important when you are hording a hand full of counters. Early game, you are trying to get mana to get your combo into play, find that Thawing Glaciers, find that first Horn, or draw counters to hold off your opponent. Later, more counters, get more land (to draw more cards!), find that Time Walk or Warp or Blessing, and Keep Going! Library of Alexandria should be used at the end of your opponent's turn, or in response to a spell before you counter it.

I intentionally did not include Timetwister, Time Spiral, Windfall, etc. because (1) they are too random in what you get to draw, and (2) they also let your opponent draw cards. This deck wins through card advantage. Playing a card that gives your opponent the same number of cards as you do does not fit with the flavor of the deck.

The counters should be used judiciously, as with any counterspells, saving them for things that can seriously hurt you. The only caveat I would make is: never pitch your Capsize to a Force of Will, except to keep from losing, because the Capsize is often your only way to eliminate certain threats. This deck has no other enchantment/creature/artifact destruction. Generally, it is not needed. The Wastelands and Strip Mine are used to deal with opponent's threats, slow his/her development, etc. When I start to go into infinite turn mode, I like to spend the first few "extra" turns destroying all my opponent's permanents with Strip Mine and Capsize, clearing the way for man-land attacks. Thwart works especially nicely once you have at least one Exploration and at least one Horn in play. Due to its high alternative casting cost, more than one Thwart seems not to work.

The recursion cards are obvious. Usually you will Blessing back (1) another Blessing, (2) a counterspell or a land, and (3) a Time Walk/Warp or another land. Re-casting the Time Walk or Warp each turn has the highest priority. The Walk is preferable, of course, due to casting cost. You should cast every Blessing and Regrowth in your hand every turn, if possible. Keep re-stocking that library, you're going to need it!

The Zuran Orb has a fantastic synergy with the other cards in this deck. You can sack all the land you want to the Zorb, then Blessing it all back in and re-draw it. With the card-drawing power available, it is easy to get the land back, especially with Glaciers. In fact, in the middle-game I often find myself sacking one or two lands EACH TURN, just so I'll have land in my graveyard to recurse! I would probably sideboard one more Zorb against Stupid Red Burn and other aggressive decks, just to stay alive.

The man-land cards function as early-game mana and blockers, and late-game attackers. The one danger you want to avoid here is any spell that permanently removes creatures from the game, like Swords to Plowshares, because these are nearly your only path to victory. It is possible to win by decking your opponent, stripping all his/her lands and permanents and countering everything remotely dangerous, especially once you can go into infinite turn mode at will - but this type of win is very tedious for both players, and can be disrupted if your opponent can Timetwister or Disk.

The mana cards deserve a little comment. Ideally, you want to play a first-turn Forest/Exploration followed by Island or Thawing Glaciers. I have experimented with the Black Lotus, Moxes and dual lands, but found that I was always playing too many mana cards. It turned out to be better to have more basic lands than duals, to Thaw for. Further, the lands can be sacked to the Zuran Orb for life, which Moxes cannot.

In an earlier version, I played Mox Diamond and one Lightning Bolt. The Bolt was used to clear blockers for the man-lands to get through, and also as a recurring damage source once I was close to infinite turn mode. The trouble was that I often had a useless Bolt in my hand early in the game with no Diamond. Also, I didn't like the idea of discarding a land when I had multiple Explorations and Horns in play, since playing a land I could draw 1-3 other cards.

There were lots of other cards which I considered, but which never made the final deck list. For example, Stroke of Genius, Braingeyser, Forbid, Mana Drain, card-drawing tomes, Gush, Daze and Impulse have all been tried but were found inferior to the cards already there. The current deck has a fair number of counters, lots of graveyard recursion, and lots of card-drawing. The only real deficiency I would like to remedy is another extra-turn card, but I could not find an adequate solution. Neither Time Vault nor Magistrate's Sceptre appears workable, and I don't like letting my life drift below the Second Chance threshold if I can help it.

When playing this deck, you will often find yourself with more than 7 cards at end of turn. Usually I will keep 1-2 land, Capsize, and a bunch of counters. The lands are to get the card-drawing madness started the next turn! The rest of the cards in your hand are probably Scroll Rack bait. It goes without saying that you should keep 2 or 4 blue mana untapped for counterspells, even if you aren't holding one.

This deck can be played for a lot of fun in multi-player games. No one wants to kill you early, because your Horns are helping everyone else. Use your counters sparingly, to stay alive and to protect the Horns. If you can survive awhile, and if no one else is playing heavy blue, you can even go into infinite turn mode - and kill everybody, one at a time!

Against this deck, the must-counter spells are the Horns and recursion spells. If you can counter the Regrowth and all 3 Blessings, the TurboLand player has no way to re-use spells and will almost certainly lose.

One last caution. Although I find TurboLand to be enormously fun to play, it suffers from the same drawback as a Keeper deck: it can be annoying and boring to play against. After you recurse your Time Walk for the third turn in a row, your adversary is probably snapping at you to "get on with it." "If you're going to kill me, do it already". This can be an advantage, if this is the guy who's been irritating everyone with his annoying mannerisms, tough talk, etc. In that case, take a photo of his disgusted mug and frame that puppy.

And always remember, it's a Game, people! Have fun!

By Rakso on Saturday, June 10, 2000 - 02:49 am:
Great ending line!

1) No Fastbond? That was a surprise. And I'm not sure if Time Warp is restricted.

2) Thanks for formatting the decklist so it's easier to pick out the functions of the cards, but maybe we should just lump all land and mana artifacts rogether. Lumping Library and Strip Mine elsewhere while classifying Exploration as mana might be confusing.

3) A choice quote from Zvi would be a nice touch since you cited the article.

4) It might be nice to describe a turn sequence. For example, do you play Thawing Glaciers on the first turn?

5) I wasn't so sure about the Brainstorm vs Impulse argument. Will your hand be so good that you'll want to put it back in instead of digging deeper with Impulse? I think a better argument is to put back something and Thaw or put back a land and Thaw.

6) You might want to elaborate on how you defeat a weenie deck.

7) Why not 4 Thaws and 4 Horns?

8) No Glacial Chasm? Even if Crop Rotation was restricted, I think Capsize still works with this.

9) Trade Routes? (If you used this competitively, it might be nice to make sideboard notes as well.)

Read More Articles by Oscar Tan aka Rakso!

 - Wednesday (July 18. 2018)
 - Thursday (May 17, 2018)
 - Tuesday (Aprl. 24, 2018
 - Monday (Apr. 16, 2018)
 - Friday (Apr. 6, 2018)
 - Wednesday (Apr. 4, 2018)
 - Monday (Apr. 2, 2018)
 - Friday (Mar. 23, 2018)
 - Thursday (Feb. 15, 2018)
 - Thursday (Jan 25, 2018)

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