Ranking Every Land with EDHREC- 2022 Edition
(Secluded Courtyard| Art by Sam Burley)
Describe a Year in 10% of the Time
Hello all, and welcome to the final of our retrospective articles! Let's rank all the lands of 2022!
Yes, I know it's almost March. If Wizards can release 37 sets in a single year then I can spend two months going through all of them. Can't we all just take a moment to breath, and enjoy the slow passage of time? You blink and an entire year goes by. Stop and take a moment to look at your surroundings. It's soothing.
But also, we have a lot to go through, so go, go, go!
Lands of 2022
- Eligible Sets: Universes Within, Innistrad, Crimson Vow, Crimson Vow Commander, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, Neon Dynasty Commander, Streets of New Capenna, New Capenna Commander, Commander Legends: Battle of Boulder's Gate, Double Masters 2022, Dominaria United, Dominaria United Commander, Unfinity, Warhammer 40k Commander
- Previous Number of Lands: 470
- New Additions from 2022: 26
- New Number of Lands: 496
Not quite the 38 unique lands of 2022, but still a hefty line-up to squeeze into one article. Betcha can't name the Double Masters card that made its way on the list. I'll give you a second to gue---too late, let's gooooooooooo!
343: Havengul Laboratory: 5,211 Decks
I maybe should have talked about Havengul Laboratory last year since it was part of the Stranger Things Secret Lair, but I don't even know if they shipped that Secret Lair until 2022, and it only got its Universe Within edition in 2022, so I dunno, let's just talk about it now. No one's gonna be more semantics-y in the comments than I already am. (Yes, that is a direct challenge.)
Havengul Laboratory is kinda stymied by its color identity. I wouldn't play it outside of a Clue deck, but in a Clue deck it seems great. You get a free Reanimate that you can maybe use multiple times on a land that you already would probably play anyway.
The problem is that the most popular Clue commander is Lonis, Cryptozoologist, and they can't play this. Most of the Clue cards are also in Bant colors; heck, most artifact token decks are not black, so a lot of the obvious homes for Laboratory are locked out here. There's some commanders, like Eloise, Nephalia Sleuth, that can definitely play more of this, but imagine if this were colorless. There'd be so many good decks for this. Sigh.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: You should go to the Scryfall page and mash the transform button a bunch of times. It's very entertaining.
341: Thran Portal: 5,331 Decks
I don't hate Thran Portal, but I don't like it. It's a bad Shimmerdrift Vale that can maybe enter untapped on critical turns. It's not an awful budget land, but the odds of having it enter untapped feels so bad.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Just run Path of Ancestry.
331: Tomb Fortress: 5,839 Decks
It's Port of Karfell but mono-black! The problem is, the reason I like Port is because it's an uncommon that you were likely to open in packs or find in bulk. Tomb Fortress is an exclusive card from the Warhammer precon decks, so you have to go out of your way to find one, and that makes me less excited. It looks a lot clunkier if you're spending $3 on it.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It's not like Port of Karfell is a busted Magic card, it's just that the cost of acquiring one is so low that there's no real downside to playing one. This doesn't feel the same way.
322: Crystal Grotto: 6,302 Decks
Okay, I didn't wanna have to do this, but Crystal Grotto has forced my hand. It's time for an Unknown Shores tier list.
- Cave of Temptation
- Heap Gate
- Crystal Grotto
- Hall of Tagsin
- Painted Bluffs
- Unknown Shores
- Shimmering Grotto
We good? Good.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Add Unknown Shores to the list of things I know way too much about thanks to this series.
317: Cryptic Spires: 6,472 Decks
I don't hate this, actually. Cryptic Spires is worse than almost any other dual land you could play, but if you buy, like, ten of these, then you have dual lands for whatever you want! You can draw on the sleeves or just say ahead of time "Yo, my Cryptic Spires in this Izzet deck taps for Izzet." Seems a lot more flexible than buying Orzhov Guildgate, Izzet Guildgate, Golgari Guildgate, etc. I think 15-year-old me would have been into this!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Also, here's the Double Masters 2022 card. You actually could have kept guessing when I said to stop guessing. Sorry.
312: Uncharted Haven: 6,641 Decks
Wizards seems to have pulled away from making a million Transguild Promenades and instead wants to make a million Shimmerdrift Vales. Uncharted Haven is the fourth one in this vein if you count Forsaken Crossroads.
Because it's my job to make these meaningless distinction, I think I'd prefer Transguild Promenade to a land like Uncharted Haven. Tapping for multiple colors just feels mandatory for five color fixing. Even the Thriving Lands can meet that requirement.
That said, the fixing here isn't awful. I'd put Uncharted Haven and friends in the same category as Transguild Promenade and friends. They are the worst possible thing you could play that still fits the definition of playable. If you must play this, you can, but it would also take you maybe 30 seconds t0 find a better land on basically any metric.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Just play the Thriving lands, yo.
300: Capenna Cantrip Lands 7,650 Decks
(Waterfront District: 8,773; Tramway Station: 7,791; Racers' Ring: 7,547; Skybridge Towers: 7,151; Botanical Plaza: 6,990)
Even more Guildgates! I think the Streets of New Capenna cantrip lands are the second best common taplands they've done so far behind the aforementioned Thriving Lands, but (and I say this every year) it doesn't really matter which common taplands you wanna use. Play these, play the Campuses, play the Gainlands or the Guildgates or the starter lands, heck, play the refuges. None of them are gonna be the best, but they fix your mana for uber cheap, and that's all they need to do.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: #PlayWhatYouOwn.
268: The Tapped Dual Lands: 10,350 Decks
(Tangled Islet: 14,343; Haunted Mire: 13,126; Wooded Ridgeline: 11,670; Radiant Grove: 11,404; Sunlit Marsh: 9,698 Molten Tributary: 9,776; Sacred Peaks: 9,367;Contaminated Aquifer: 8,965; Geothermal Bog: 8,293; Idyllic Beachfront: 8,176)
"I'm honestly a little upset they gave the Kaldheim duals the snow type, though. It makes them better, for sure, and the snow decks are happy to have it, but I feel that it inflates the price of them a little more."
I feel like that quote could just be the write-up. I am so, so happy they printed a version of these tap lands with basic land types that is even less in demand and easier to reprint. I think the land types are often overrated in budget decks, but there's no reason not to let people have these. It's a net boon for all parties involved. I don't know why it took Wizards 30 years to make these, but I hope they reprint them as often as possible.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Again, not because they actually are underplayed, but because they will continue to go up this list.
248: Basilisk Gate: 12,286 Decks
232: Heap Gate: 13,870 Decks
229: Baldur's Gate: 14,054 Decks
219: Gond Gate: 15,233 Decks
There's a spectrum of decks that run Guildgates. On one end of the spectrum is the decks that just need budget mana fixing and so are running all ten Guildgates purely for fixing purposes. Maybe these decks are also running Maze's End for the cheeky surprise win, (stupid new cards making my janky budget win-con spike), but they aren't built to find multiple Guildgates per game. Those decks aren't really going to want these Gates matter cards, like Baldur's Gate, because they aren't gonna do enough on average.
On the other side of this spectrum are the Nine-Fingers Keene and Child of Alara all-in Gates decks. These are the ones running Gates Ablaze, Crackling Perimeter, Gatecreeper Vine, Guild Summit, you get the idea. Obviously, these decks love these new Gate lands if only to boost the number of Gates a deck can run. These are all auto-includes for that style of deck.
I'm not quite sure where in between these two extremes you need to be to run lands like Gond Gate and have them be worthwhile. I'm not sure a Circuitous Route and a Explore the Underdark do enough to justify these niche cards. I think something like District Guide is the line. If you're interested in District Guide, then you'll probably want these four lands. If not, I think Maze's End will do.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I'd redo my Gate card tier list, but my editors allow me one tier list an article.
244: Mech Hangar: 12,641 Decks
221: Voldaren Estate: 14,668 Decks
It's "the-niche-lands-that-nobody-remembers-until-they-need-to-build-a-very-specific-deck" of 2022! I'm not going to even say their names because you won't remember them until you need them for a specific deck because, again, these are "the-niche-lands-that-nobody-remembers-until-they-need-to-build-a-very-specific-deck" of 2022.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I will say "the-niche-lands-that-nobody-remembers-until-they-need-to-build-a-very-specific-deck" of 2022 are better than "the-niche-lands-that-nobody-remembers-until-they-need-to-build-a-very-specific-deck" of prior years. At least these ones do more than Dungeon Descent and Throne of Makindi.
208: Roadside Reliquary: 16,602 Decks
I already don't like playing Cryptic Caves and Arch of Orazca unless I have to, and Roadside Reliquary feels like those cards with an extra step. I think the times where this draws you two cards aren't worth the times where this draws you zero cards when Cryptic Caves will almost always draw you one mediocre card.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Why can't I just play War Room? Could we get a reprint of that card already?
205: Thriving Gates: 16,947 Decks
(Manor Gate: 18,406 Sea Gate: 17,968 Black Dragon Gate: 17,490; Cliffgate: 15,586; Citadel Gate: 14,837;
More Thriving Lands? Fantastic! I literally couldn't care less about the Gate subtype here (though Nine-Fingers Keene is happy). Anything that gets these excellent budget mana-fixers into the hands of more players after the Jumpstart debacle makes me a happy camper!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Future historians will look back and ask why Wizards called it Cliffgate and not Cliff Gate. I say they did it to spite me!
160: Capenna Sac lands: 24,293 Decks
(Riveteers Overlook: 27,123; Cabaretti Courtyard: 24,950; Maestros Theater: 24,370; Obscura Storefront: 22,518; Brokers Hideout: 22,507)
Wow. Uh, okay. I didn't realize people were so hungry for sac lands. Sure, whatever makes y'all happy. I can't say your Erinis, Gloom Stalker decks doesn't need more easy budget sac lands; it's a pretty potent effect. I guess I'm just surprised that these worse Evolving Wilds are so prized by the community, but y'know what? Go for it. They're better than Warped Landscape.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: If you ever feel like Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse are seeing too much play, look at the Capenna sac lands being in almost 25,000 decks and sip your tea.
121: Plaza of Heroes: 36,725 Decks
I don't like this card.
I think most people have cooled off from Plaza of Heroes being a Commander staple for any commander-centric deck, and that's good because that claim never made sense to me. Meteor Crater has never been good, and while Plaza is quite a bit better than Crater, having mana to spend only to cast your commander does not seem worth it when you can just play a land that taps for all five colors all the time.
Even in legendary matters, like Jodah, the Unifier, I still don't think it's that impressive. There're so many better ways to fix your mana, and the upside is not worth it. This is Tyrite Sanctum all over again. It's so much mana and time spent into protecting one creature, and you still get blown out by removal in response. I even waited to cast judgment on Plaza until I saw the card in play, and it was clunky when I saw it, too. Perhaps I just enjoy being contrarian, but I really feel like this card is bad, honestly.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Enjoy the hot take, I suppose. Actually, is this even a hot take anymore? Enjoy the lukewarm take.
102: Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance: 49,046 Decks
64: Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire: 76,172 Decks
47: Takenuma, Abandoned Mire: 98,090 Decks
33: Otawara, Soaring City: 116,723 Decks
Once upon a time, there was a cycle of lands from Legends that were adored by all. Urborg, Hammerheim, Tolaria, Pendelhaven, and a fifth land no one can play because it's busted. Outside of the rare Back to Basics, these lands have no downside. They're untapped sources of colored mana, so technically these are always worth running over a basic in any Commander deck, but realistically, the upsides here matter so little that it isn't worth buying a copy. No one wants to spend $3-$20 for the 1% of times that it'll be worth it to remove Banding from a Mesa Pegasus or give a Llanowar Elves +1/+2. It's optimization that barely matters in the grand scheme of things.
You might be wondering why someone would care so much about a cycle of cards from 1995. I say tell that to Wizards of the Coast because they keep making these dang things. The Kamigawa legendary lands, the Eldraine Castles, the mythic MDFCs, and now the Neo Channel lands. These are all slightly better versions of this same basic idea, but very few of these cards are actually worth their price tags in EDH.
Will your deck be better if you take out a basic and put in literally any Neo Channel land you can play? Almost assuredly. Their only downside is being legendary, which isn't a downside in EDH. They're technically always worth playing, but they're never gonna be amazing for you. You never want to spend four mana to make two 1/1s or three mana to kill a small attacking creature. You will if you have nothing better to do, but if your best option is paying four mana to bounce a creature, you probably aren't winning that game anyway. If you own an Otawara, Soaring City, go for it. Pick a blue deck and play it, but I'm not interested in paying $17 for a fancy basic Island, no thank you.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Like, I don't know man. Whatever floats your boat.
100: Capenna Triomes: 49,483 Decks
(Raffine's Tower: 52,677; Jetmir's Garden: 51,294; Spara's Headquarters: 49,207; Ziatora's Proving Ground: 47,471; Xander's Lounge: 46,770)
Wizards! You already had a name for these duals with the Triomes from Ikoria. Why must you stick to flavor at the cost of consistency? I'm miffed.
A lot of people are really high on these tri-dual lands with Cycling, and I still have the same opinion I had two years ago. I can't think of a deck I'd really want to play these in. In decks that can't afford Fetchlands, I don't wanna spend $10 on what will be a Jungle Shrine 99% of the time. In decks that can afford Fetches, I would rather spend the resources acquiring Shocks and other untapped duals. I asked Jake if these were good in cEDH, and he stopped looking for phallic Magic artwork long enough to say these were "outright unplayable." I don't know what I'm supposed to do with these.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: The only exception I can think of is if you're playing some hardcore Domain deck, and even then, you don't need these to make Domain work.
99: Secluded Courtyard: 50,870 Decks
I'd doubt that the activated abilities part of Secluded Courtyard is gonna come up very often. Slivers would much rather punch you to death than do anything sneaky, but who cares? It's another Unclaimed Territory. I will take as many of those as possible!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Now if only it wasn't $3. I guess we can't have everything.
86: Enemy Slow Lands: 57,462 Decks
(Dreamroot Cascade: 59,448; Shattered Sanctum: 59,536; Deathcap Glade: 57,806; Sundown Pass: 55,727; Stormcarved Coast: 54,795)
Oh, goodie. Another cycle I've talked about before and in which I had a hot take that got me roasted in the comments. Anything else I can say to drive engagement of this article? Uhhhhh, I like Jace Beleren as a character, I still think three-mana rocks are playable, and I personally have no problem with Unfinity in EDH. There we go!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: The slow lands are fine, good even, and they deserve the play they're seeing! I personally just have a hard time justifying the price tag on these because they're awkward if you draw them early on, and meanwhile, a Pathway always enters untapped.
25: Boseiju, Who Endures: 135,346 Decks
I mentioned that most of these pseudo basic lands were pretty vanilla in effect, but I acknowledge there are a few that are legitimately excellent: Karakas, obviously, Minamo, School at Water's Edge, Agadeem's Awakening, and the one everyone expected at the top of this list: Boseiju, Who Endures.
Disenchant is good. Disenchant on a Forest is very good. Disenchant you can buy back with Wrenn and Six is very, very, very good! Do you need to spend $40 for a Disenchant? No, not really. It's still probably better to buy some Fetches or Shocks with that kind of dough, but, in terms of pure power level, it probably deserves its slot as the best land of 2022.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Generally, I'm less annoyed with efficient answers than efficient threats. If the alternative is another Boseiju or another Chulane, Teller of Tales, give me more Boseijus, please.
Plus It's Fun to Say!
Phew! We're done with 2022! I hope to have the Mechanic series ready to go sometime in the near future, so be ready for that! In the meantime, what'd you think about this batch? Can you be the person to sell me on Plaza of Heroes? Is there something I should have been more contrarian about? Let me know in the comments! Until the future, internet!