Ranking Every Land with EDHREC - Part 14: Goats!

(Expedition Map | Art by Franz Vohwinkel)

1v1 Magic is So Intense

Catching a break from all the Standard B&R hype? With all the hyper-competitive things you can do in Standard, it makes sense that sometimes things get a little too powerful. I mean, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim decks with Field of the Dead, Fires of Invention decks with Kenrith, the Returned King, and Planeswalker midrange decks? It's all so powerful, and especially tuned for the Spikiest of players.

Not here. Here in this series, we're ranking every land in Magic based on how many decks it has on EDHREC. EDH is a completely different format, made for kooky casual cards. We have stuff like Golos, Tireless Pilgrim decks with Field of the dead, Fires of Invention decks with Kenrith, the Returned king, and Planeswalker superfriends decks!

Yep, Commander and Standard truly are two completely different formats. Let's get back to the list.

209: Zoetic Cavern: 1,799 Decks

This is kind of a reverse creature land: most of the time, you have the land first and a creature later. This is a creature first, but then you can flip it face-up into a land. The problem is that neither half is very good; nobody wants a Scathe Zombies with no creature type, and nobody wants a land that taps only for colorless mana and doesn't do anything else, so stapling them together doesn't exactly make me very excited. Even with synergy in decks like Ezuri, Claw of Progress, spending a turn playing a 2/2 for 3 is only something I would do if I had to; it'd never be my first choice.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I only just now found out, as of writing this article, that this card wasn't in the Faceless Menace precon deck. That seems wrong.

208: Unholy Grotto: 1,819 Decks

Zombies are the most popular tribe on EDHREC; how does this land not see more play? It's a Volrath's Stronghold, but significantly cheaper. Sure, Zombies are particularly good at coming back on their own in the first place, but these decks are always happy to see another way to access an important combo piece or one of the Zombie lords that may have gotten killed. Additionally, these decks often like to mill themselves, so this can be a weird Vampiric Tutor land in the right deck. The only downside is putting the creature on top, but if it didn't do that, it would be way too good.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Almost 4,000 Zombie decks, and less than half are running this land. Unless you’re on a budget, this is a must-have for the archetype.

207: Memorial to Unity: 1,855 Decks

Of all the Memorials, this is the one that I think is the most okay. Comparing it to Tranquil Thicket, it's just as slow if you don't want the card, and it costs more to retrieve the card. The upside is you're more likely to draw a real card, plus three mana and the land isn't that bad in green decks. It’s fine, I guess. There are lots of other lands I would rather run besides this land, but I don't think this land makes a deck worse, so that's something.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I can see mana bases with this card that are fine. I can also see lots of mana bases without this card that are also fine.

206: Vitu-Ghazi, The City Tree: 1,866 Decks

See, this is where the flavor of this cycle is just sad: Vitu-Ghazi, the monster depicted in Awakening of Vitu-Ghazi that was only stopped by the God-Eternals, makes derpy 1/1 tokens stopped by a Horseshoe Crab. This cycle should be sentenced to flavor jail.

Five mana for a 1/1 is atrociously bad. I would choose Kjeldoran Outpost, which has a massive downside, over Vitu-Ghazi every time. Or why not Legion’s Landing? That’s pretty trivial to turn on, costs one less, taps for white, and the tokens have lifelink. Why would you settle for this?

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Awakening of Vitu-Ghazi or this? Which would you be more threatened by if it was asking for lunch money?

205: Shimmering Grotto: 1,896 Decks

You may be wondering why they made a functionally identical version of Unknown Shores with a different name, but actually, Shimmering Grotto was printed first in Lorwyn; the real question is why did they make a functionally identical version of Shimmering Grotto?

In fact, they can't seem to decide which version they want to keep printing: Grotto was the only version of the card until Theros, when they printed Unknown Shores with some really great art. Shores was printed again in Oath of the Gatewatch with, frankly, worse art, but then Shimmering Grotto was printed again in Conspiracy: Take the Crown and Modern Masters 2017. Painted Bluffs randomly showed up as a Desert in Amonkhet for a while before being usurped before Unknown Shores, reprinted in Ixalan, which was then overtaken by Shimmering Grotto in Iconic Masters, which remains king to this day. This has been probably more than anyone has ever wanted to know about common filter lands.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Unknown Shores had the better art so it’s just bad value to run this, although if you can find a deck that wants two Unknown Shores, please let me know.

204: Sliver Hive: 1,927 Decks

Slivers! How did it take Wizards until 2015 to make a Sliver land? Slivers were one of the first tribes to receive traditional support, along with Goblins, Merfolk, and Elves. Every player from old fogeys to neophytes probably knows what Slivers are. They can be as casual or competitive as you want, and while they can never really be super budget, I’ve built EDH Slivers for $50, and it can still crush some high-power decks if they aren’t careful. I love Slivers, and I hope they endure as long as Magic exists.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: The only reason it’s not in all 2,300 Sliver decks (and rising) is almost assuredly that price tag. If they reprinted this land, it would absolutely be in every Sliver deck.

203: Petrified Field: 1,945 Decks

Originally, this section was me just saying "Titania and Gitrog" and then going off on a tangent on how Restore is bad. And Restore is bad; it's bad ramp and poor recursion. I think that's what turned me off from Petrified Field at first, but Restore on a land is actually quite a different story.

It's way easier to find a land, for starters. Not as easy as a creature, but there are lots of different land tutors like Sylvan Scrying or Ulvenwald Hydra that can grab a toolbox card like this. It's also free: no mana, just the land, which is good for leaving up against possible graveyard hate. Land-based decks do not like when certain lands are exiled, and it's nice to have a way around that. I don't know. This card actually seems like a fine silver bullet, even in non-land-based decks.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: If your deck has lands like Cabal Coffers that you really need, and you have ways to find this land, I think Petrified Field is actually decent.

202: Lake of the Dead: 1,962 Decks

It’s time to bid adieu to the oddest cycle in Magic; the effects and restrictions on this cycle vary from card to card so much that I wouldn’t be surprised if they designed each individually and then tried to haphazardly tie them all together.

I said in a previous article that Tomb of Urami is the most black-flavored land in Magic, but Lake of the Dead is a close second. Sacrifice lands that make black mana to make more black mana! That’s an ability that makes you go "Ooh!" Now, there’s a big downside in that the returns are diminishing; good luck activating this more than twice in a game. However, it’s amazingly powerful. You can cast a Mikaeus, the Unhallowed on turn three with this; you can cast Vilis, Broker of Blood on turn four with some ramp; if you have anything like Crucible of Worlds or Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, things get nutty!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: As much as I love this card, there are a couple things holding it back, especially that $40 price tag that likely results from this card's membership on the Reserved List. That's kind of a thing.

201: Gemstone Mine: 2,004 Decks

Gemstone Mine is another card that gets better the lower the curve of your deck is. If your deck has eight or nine cards above seven mana and 40ish lands, Gemstone Mine is too slow and will basically help you cast ramp and nothing else.

If, on the other hand, you're closer to the high-power decks with lots of two- or three-mana cards, Gemstone Mine is excellent. It's untapped early-game mana when you need it most. Sure, it'll go away, but in games that end fairly quickly, it's worth the inclusion to avoid any possible clunkiness.

Over, Under, or Just Right: Just Right: I actually wouldn’t mind this in budget high-power aggro decks, like Slivers or Humans, except they haven’t bothered to reprint this yet. Wizards, this card only sees occasional play in some Modern decks, can’t you throw the budget players a bone?

200: Springjack Pasture: 2,054 Decks

It makes Goats! I don’t even need to say anything else, this card is great!

Sure, I know I was just saying Vitu-Ghazi, the City Tree wasn’t playable, and these tokens are worse, but it’s colorless! There are decks that want ways to make dorks, right?

Yes, it’s five mana to make one goat and that second ability basically does nothing, but it's a land, so it's free to play...?

Yes, I know the card is $1 for some stupid reason despite being printed in a Commander deck, which also probably explains the high numbers for this card.

Look, I can’t tell people not to play this; everyone loves Goats! I play this card in Zedruu, the Greathearted. It’s not good, and I can count the number of times I've activated it on one hand, but the memes!

But... I…


Over, Under, or Just Right: Overplayed: I guess paying four mana for a 0/1 isn’t very good... but if you have this in a deck, keep it in there! Long live Goats!

I'm Making Goats, Dang It!

Well, if you'll excuse me, I have to go test my Urza, Lord High Artificer deck for Modern. It's not like I can use cards like Paradoxical Outcome for anything casual! As always, let me know wherever you can comment what you think of this week's article. Is Petrified Field worth a slot in lands decks? Are you the guy running that Goat tribal deck I ran into? And if so, can you please stop killing me in every game? I'm serious.

I'll read your comments, wherever you post them! Until next week!

Joseph started playing in Theros Block but decided that the best way to play the game was to learn every single card and hope that would somehow make him good at Magic. It hasn't. He is a college student in Santa Fe, New Mexico and also enjoys reading and other games of all shapes and sizes.

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