Fetchlands, therefore Zoo

woodedfoothills1A friend and I started trying to get into MTG tournaments about two years ago. We hadn’t played Magic since secondary school, and the first attempts were not nice. I tried using a version of Spooky’s Aura Gnarlid deck, which was originally thought for Legacy, but I wanted to adapt to Modern, this being the format I was told was going to be the future.

It didn’t work, partly because I had no idea about deckbuilding and partly because I had no idea about playing Magic. I still don’t, but here we are. And the idea of piling up auras on a creature proved to be a good one mere months later, with Aura Hexproof getting to second place in a Pro Tour piloted by Duke Reid. My friend tried to play Zoo, because he had received some cards as a birthday present that pointed him in that direction.

That didn’t work either, because he was informed he basically had to spend around 300 euros on lands, and he was not going to do that, as it was just crazy to spend more than a couple euros on a card. Little did we know.

Fetchlands have been a huge deterrent for a lot of players to start playing Modern. It’s not only about affording them, but also about people finding a justification for this investment. As time passes, and players get more involved in the game, they start to find big investments not so crazy anymore, as Magic is an activity they devote a lot of time to, and which they enjoy a lot. It starts being worth it.

But it is precisely when one is able to go to big competitions that the game really gets interesting, and some players just don’t make that step, because they cannot grasp the whole thing. Modern needed to make it easier for beginners to try the first dose, and Wizards did so. The Onslaught fetchlands have been reprinted, and everything points at the Zendikar fetchlands getting a reprint to. Opinions vary, but most point at around 15€ as the average price for fetchlands when things stabilise. That’s a lot cheaper than they used to be. Like, a lot.

windsweptheath1And now Zoo is… substantially more attractive.

The big caveat is, of course, Tarmogoyf. There are a lot of discussions about it, with a large number of players suggesting Tarmogoyf is not so great, but with the numbers saying otherwise: it would take a khans-sized reprint to make supply meet demand in a reasonable price point, which in my opinion would be around 40€. It is going to happen, of course, but it may take a long time. After all, it was reprinted (albeit in ridiculously low numbers) last year. In any case, though, Zoo can be a valid strategy without a Tarmogoyf, and can even improve in certain games.

Zoo is also a really fun deck. There are lots of players who enjoy its mixture of beatdown strategy with removal and interaction resources. Also, the possibility of tweaking it into a more agressive, early game version or a mid-range deck makes it a very attractive combination of cards. We, as the metagame experts and all around MTG know-it-alls we are, know Modern has not been nice to Zoo and it is more of a Tier 2 deck, but it is attractive, pretty powerful and is becoming cheaper thanks to the Fetchland reprint. The consequence can only be one:

Zoo is going to be played a lot.

It is going to become similar to Burn or Soul Sisters: a cheap way to enter the format. It is more interactive and its strategy is more flexible, so it will be regarded as a better deck. It has all the elements there. If this was the financial advice section, I’d say ‘buy the Zoo staples’. Luckily for you, I am not advising you finantially and therefore I’ll just say, ‘expect Zoo to be everywhere in no time’.


Decklists are nice. Let’s see what 200€ can do in the current situation ([c]Windswept Heath[/c] and [c]Wooded Foothills[/c] cost around 14€ now)


4 Wooded Foothills
1 Sacred Foundry
3 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
2 Windswept Heath
5 forest
3 mountain
1 plains


4 Experiment One
4 Wild Nacatl
4 Kird Ape
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Flinthoof Boar
4 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Loam Lion


4 Rancor
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path to Exile

12 Spells

Getting 6 fetches would have meant spending around 200 euros not long ago. Now the same amount gets you 6 fetches… and the rest of the deck. Complete with some shocklands, [c]path to exile[/c], [c]lightning bolt[/c] and other modern staples. How’s that for a way to start playing the format?