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Packing Basics for Limited

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Over on Gathering Magic, Mike Linnemann recently wrote an article entitled “Better Basic Lands,” which details the basic lands he likes to bring along and use for Limited events. I’ve been packing pre-sleeved basics in my drafts for a couple years now, and I can’t recommend the practice enough.

Imagine this: you finish a draft and sit down to build your deck. Once you’ve got the build complete, what do you do? Most people have to stand up and walk to the land station to pick out their basics. I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to draft only to be mildly inconvenienced and get a miniscule amount of exercise. I came to play Magic, dammit. Bringing pre-sleeved lands saves you from that fate, and means you sleeve and unsleeve only half the cards of your unprepared opponents.

The downside is that you will always, without fail, be ready to play round one before your opponent is. That’s a given. But the upside, besides the aforementioned convenience, is that you can get a lot of shuffling in. This guy doesn’t have to worry about land clumps from an undershuffled deck! You'll also get the pleasure of playing with lands you find aesthetically pleasing, as well as the competitive advantage of all your lands featuring the same art.

The downsides are well outweighed by the upsides, so consider buying an extra pack of sleeves and picking out some of your favorite lands for your next draft. Full-art Zendikar lands are a popular choice, and some of my personal favorites to see in play are Beta basics. But you don’t have to go deep. Just pick out something you like!

IslandC

For my part, I am a firm believer in the original border. Besides Zendikar full-arts, I refuse to play with lands post-Eighth Edition. I also hate white-bordered cards, except for those from Revised—it's a nostalgia thing. The five basics I’ve been using since I started packing my own lands are shown below. Do you have a favorite set of basic lands?

limitedbasics

Danny Brown

Danny is a Cube enthusiast and the former Director of Content for Quiet Speculation.

View More By Danny Brown

Posted in Drafting, Free, Sealed

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13 thoughts on “Packing Basics for Limited

  1. I prefer the old border lands, because the art are more classic land. A forest is a forest, and not a city with some trees in it.

    I also prefer the big mana symbol in the textbox

    My favorite is Portal forest from Quitin Hoover. They are so great.

    I also like the art of the African plains (like yours with the zebra)

  2. I bring my own basics, Revised ones, all the same art per type. I like to have white border basics for this purpose because should you ever fetch a land they are very easily found and there’s a very clear distinction between my lands and other cards. I never considered pre-sleeving them though, wouldn’t your sleeves wear unevenly that way?

    Somehow I run into an opponent every now and then who mistakes Revised for Beta.I guess I should get Unlimited for style points, but I don’t come across many of them. (Let alone Summer for ultimate style points…).

    1. Same exact practice here. Revised lands represent a time when I started this game. I use the ones that have the most color represented too (so no purple sunset islands here and definitely use those awkwardly darker ink swamps). But it’s nice when (most of the time) I can look for white borders for a quick determination over whether I need to mulligan.

      As for uneven sleeving, buy durable sleeves. I also happen to use a pack of Dragonshields (originally from 2004 no less) with 50 pre sleeved lands (10 of each). Generally that’s the deepest breakdown of lands you’ll use in limited anyway. Conveniently shields come in 100 packs, that means I’ve got 50 left over leaving me with two drafts worth of sleeves before I have to desleeve. I tend to shuffle up the sleeves and they all get cycled around fairly evenly.

      I’ll probably end up resleeving soon. Those dragon shields have gotten a lot of use in the last three years (I didn’t really use them much at all until 2011) and I think it’s time to retire them, hopefully I’ll go another 3 years on the next set.

  3. I bring my own lands,17 of each.I prefer to use Kamigawa or Urza’s Saga lands (matching arts), but the lands I use for limited are actually M12 since all my Kamigawa and Saga lands are already in constructed decks, and I just happen to have a large chunk of M12 lands. I didn’t think of pre-sleeving them though, I’ll have to do that.

    Another thing I do to save time is if I’m drafting I’ll sleeve my picks as I draft them. You can use the time you saved to watch other people assemble their decks, get a snack, or just get more trades in.

  4. At the risk of sounding like a troll, the free content here has been getting pretty weak lately. First a wave of links to reddit posts, and now this, which I’m hoping was meant as a goof.

    1. At the risk of sounding like an asshole, these \”weak\” posts get way more pageviews than the article series I used to spend 4 hours writing did. It\’s really hard to argue with results.

      1. That actually makes me really sad to hear. I was literally just reading through your past article series because I’m really hungry for content.

        Maybe I’m an oddity, but I disliked the links to Reddit. I already hang out there so I was seeing the same content twice. Actually, it’s not even about that. You guys write awesome stuff. I guess I am hoping for more QS writers’ original content.

        This isn’t a complaint. I realize generating content is hard, especially when it’s not your full time job. I guess as a new subscriber to QS I thought the content would be different than what it is. Oh well. Guess I’ll have to get used to it.

        1. I think the important thing to note is that free-side posts are meant as exactly what they are: short, with something to share or link to, and quick. We all write for the Insider side and focus our attentions there, which I hope you find more to your tastes.

        2. A few months ago, we made the decision that we would move all our long-form content to Insider. As an Insider subscriber, you are getting more paid content than ever before; generally 2-3 articles a day, 7 days a week.

          Our free content has been met with mixed reviews. Some people love that it’s a best-of-the-mtg-internet, mixed bag, often with a financial twist. Others hate it.

          The best I can say is, the sum total of value Insider provides has only grown since we started doing this.

        3. A few months ago, we made the decision that we would move all our long-form content to Insider. As an Insider subscriber, you are getting more paid content than ever before; generally 2-3 articles a day, 7 days a week.

          Our free content has been met with mixed reviews. Some people love that it’s a best-of-the-mtg-internet, mixed bag, often with a financial twist. Others hate it.

          The best I can say is, the sum total of value Insider provides has only grown since we started doing this.

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