Mechanically Minded - Landfall

(Muldrotha, the Gravetide | Art by Jason Rainville)

The Land Rises and Falls

Once upon a time, there was a little set called Zendikar. 

This set carried a definite Indiana Jones aesthetic, complete with adventurers dangling from ropes, hidden quests, and dangerous terrain. That last part - the treacherous terrain - was very important. So important, in fact, that Mark Rosewater and company developed a mechanic to highlight it. Hence, Landfall was born. Coincidentally, it’s also the subject of today’s article.

Welcome back to Mechanically Minded, the column where we build an EDH deck around a mechanic. You already know what we’re doing for this week, so let’s get started!

The Commander

When looking for a commander to match a mechanic, I start at the Themes section. New EDHREC users might not even know about it, but it’s a gold mine! Let’s see if we can find a theme to our liking.

Sure enough, we’ve got not one, but two! Always good to have options. Although the Landfall decks share the name of our mechanic, there are only 383 decks in that category. I’d like to find a bit more of a diverse selection, so let’s check out the Lands theme. (We can always come back to the other theme later.)

There are some obvious options here. Lord Windgrace, The Gitrog Monster, Omnath, Locus of Rage... all fine options, but also already well-explored. I’d like to try a commander with a bit less history with our signature mechanic. I’m talking about…

To me, the allure of Muldrotha, the Gravetide is its ability to play lands from the graveyard. With the right build, this almost guarantees us Landfall every turn. Plus, with the right help, we might even get multiple instances each turn. Let’s click Muldrotha and see what we can find.


So. Landfall rewards us for playing lands. Right. Our commander helps us play lands from the graveyard. Got it. Our missing link? Cards that put lands into graveyards. Let’s see here….

Many cards in this first category fit the self-mill strategy, one that works well with Muldrotha. We’ll be playing a high land count for this deck, so milling three to five cards at a time should hit lands relatively often. Plus, with cards like Zuran Orb we’ll have ways to make bonus use of lands we already have. Finally, Trade Routes helps us find even more lands by discarding the ones we have, then playing them thanks to Muldrotha.

Bonus Land Drops

Being honest, Muldrotha isn’t all that scary when we play only one land. No matter whether it comes from our hand or our graveyard, it still amounts to only one Landfall trigger each turn. Therefore, we’re going to play tons of cards that offer us additional land drops. Here are some of the best options:

I’m especially psyched on The Gitrog Monster. This hungry amphibian provides both extra land drops and another way to put lands into the graveyard for Muldrotha to replay. In fact, as long as it’s out with our commander, we’ll almost never fall behind on lands, as can sometimes happen with Gitrog. Also, any card with the type “Frog Horror” deserves recognition.

Getting multiple Landfall activations each turn will be huge, especially when you see some cards in the next category.

Landfall Payoffs

Now that we’ve got the lands flowing, it’s time to look at some of the deck’s best payoffs. Let’s find Landfall cards!

These cards are the centerpieces of our deck. Many can function as win conditions, particularly Avenger of Zendikar, Ob Nixilis, the Fallen, and Rampaging Baloths. Others, such as Tireless Tracker and Courser of Kruphix, provide our deck with the incremental advantages so important to an EDH game.

Remember, Hedron Crab is there to mill us, not our opponents. We want to find more lands to play with Muldrotha or other permanents to cast from the graveyard. The Crab can, however, even function as a win condition with a big Scapeshift or Splendid Reclamation (more on those coming up).

Land Fall, Land Dump

So we’ve covered our Landfall enablers and payoffs. However, I believe there’s another category worthy of highlight. I’m calling them land dump cards.

Think of these like turbo Landfall cards. They’re not just placing an extra land onto the battlefield—they’re dumping a handful at a time! This can lead to some huge turns with cards like the aforementioned Ob Nixilis, the Fallen and Hedron Crab.

I’m especially high on The Mending of Dominaria because of its added synergy with Muldrotha. Remember, Sagas go to the graveyard once they’ve told their final chapter. Then, since it’s an enchantment, Muldrotha allows you to play it again and start the process over.

The Land of Win Conditions

As mentioned, the above land dump cards will often serve as win conditions. However, it can’t help to have a few more, too. Check these out:

Worm Harvest might not look like much, but it gets out of control in a hurry in this type of deck. For more cast-this-and-win cards, look to Torment of Hailfire. For optimal satisfaction, I recommend Villainous Wealth.

The Sweet Land Suite

In a deck based on a mechanic based on lands, we should really pay close attention to… our lands. Here are some essentials.

Fetch lands are a must. They’re good in any deck and even better in ours since they provide double Landfall bonuses. I’m not a huge fan of running off-color fetches in addition to these, but you can definitely do it if you’d like. I also recommend some less-good fetch-ish lands, such as Myriad LandscapeEvolving Wilds, and Terramorphic Expanse.

There are also these oddballs: </span>Golgari Rot FarmDimir Aqueduct, and Simic Growth ChamberThe Ravnica bounce lands cycle, like the fetch lands, are good in any deck, but offer added value to ours. If you have two of them, you can even loop them for limitless Landfall triggers.

For a few other utility lands, try these:

Dakmor Salvage doesn’t look like much at first blush, but with so many inherent synergies in the deck, it quickly becomes one of the best lands in the entire 99. Tolaria West is similarly powerful, allowing you to find any land you need (or even a handy Zuran Orb).

The Muldrotha Specials

There are certain cards you simply must pair with Muldrotha irrespective of the mechanic you’re building around. Let’s cover a few here:

Remember, creatures with Evoke may be cast from the graveyard for their Evoke cost while Muldrotha is on the battlefield. Oftentimes you’ll go for that rather than hard casting them, because then they’ll be back in your graveyard for next turn. The rest, like Spore Frog and Shriekmaw, can staunch aggression from our enemies while we continue to build tons of value from our dead lands.

Playing the Deck

This one should play like a mid-range deck, since its strategy isn’t particularly linear. Yes, you get bonuses from playing lands, but we’re not going as deep as, say, an Undergrowth deck. Look to ramp early and establish your Landfall enablers ASAP.

In the mid-game, dig to find your big Landfall payoffs. At this point they might be some of the more minor ones, like Tireless Tracker or Tatyova, Benthic Druid. They’ll help you find your haymakers.

In the late game, win with your Landfall payoffs. Tons of Rampaging Baloths tokens, lots of life loss from Ob Nixilis, the Fallen, and so on. Simple as that!

One of this deck’s strengths is its non-reliance on its commander. Muldrotha bolsters your deck, yes, but if an opponent kills it or does something bad to it, your deck isn’t completely shut off like some others might be. Furthermore, it doesn’t ask you to do anything out of the ordinary. After all, every deck plays lands!

However, the main weakness I see with this deck is that it might struggle against something like a combo deck. As you can see, we don’t have the fastest or the most disruptive game plan. If a combo player gets a turn one Sol Ring into some other nice stuff, we might have trouble.

The Deck

The Land Before Gravetide

Commander (1)
Creatures (31)
Instants (6)
Sorceries (7)
Artifacts (3)
Enhancements (11)
Planeswalkers (1)
Land (40)

This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land

What other Landfall cards would you add to this deck? Let me know in the comments.

Enjoy the deck!

Kyle A. Massa is a writer and avid Magic player living somewhere in upstate New York with his wife, their daughter, and three wild animals. His current favorite card is Titania, Gaea Incarnate. Kyle can be found on Twitter @mindofkyleam.