Ranking Every Land with EDHREC – Part 18: MLD and You!

(Flagstones of Trokair | Art by Rob Alexander)

We Have No Time!

Hi! Here we rank every land based on how many decks they appear in on EDHREC. Witty intro, say something silly, blah, blah, blah. Whatever! I have to finish this article before I can go play Magic, so the faster I get this done, the faster I can jam Gishath, Sun's Avatar into peoples' faces.

What are you still reading the intro for? Get reading!


169: Foundry of the Consuls: 2,435 Decks

Comparing this to Spawning Bed, it's amazing how much better the words "flying" and "artifact" can make a card. Being flyers means they may actually get in some damage with Equipment, plus they block those big, scary Dragons quite well. Being artifacts means that they can be quite silly with stuff like Pia and Kiran Nalaar. If I saw a deck that wasn't running Foundry of the Consuls, I wouldn't run to their house and force-feed them seven copies, but it's solid enough that I wouldn't be surprised to see it in artifact decks.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I'm still not ecstatic about paying five mana and a land for two derpy 1/1 tokens, so don't just play this card to attack twenty times with them to kill someone.


168: Phyrexia's Core: 2,441 Decks

Paying one mana to sacrifice as opposed to the zero mana on High Market makes this card a fair amount worse. However, it can still fulfill its purpose. If you want ways to get artifacts into your graveyard for Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle, this is a fine way to do that. If you want to prevent people from stealing your Traxos, Scourge of Kroog, this does that, too. If you want to steal peoples artifacts, but don’t really want to give them back in a deck like Bosh, Iron Golem, you can throw them into the melting pot. Mmmm, you can smell the corruption of all human life.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Not all decks want this effect, but those that do are happy to have it.


167: Deserted Temple: 2,463 Decks

Only in Commander can you ask the question, "Have you ever wanted all the mana you could possibly need, twice?" In most others formats, a Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth will probably be enough to win the game. In Commander, though, why cast Genesis Wave for 20 when you could cast it for 40?

Part of me wonders if this card is kinda win-more. When you have an active Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx with ten devotion, making a bajillion mana probably isn’t much different than making a bajillion mana twice. What you’ll lose to is Strip Mine, and Deserted Temple won’t save your from that, so it doesn't really protect your gameplan, and it basically does nothing unless you already have a ton of mana. When you say it like that, sounds like I might as well just run a land that doesn't color-screw me.

On the other hand, I have a Villainous Wealth deck that wants to cast Villainous Wealth for as much as possible, and you can bet that if I owned this, it’d go straight in there. Win-more? Absolutely, but if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing!

Over, Under, or Just right? Just Right: Yes! I am part of the problem.


166: Flagstones of Trokair: 2,473 Decks

As with Gods’ Eye, Gate to the Reikai from eons ago, no one will ever blow this up intentionally. But unlike those cards, this works way better with Mass Land Destruction!

Where are you going? Don't leave!

Okay, look. I get that MLD isn't everyone's cup of tea, but my job is to find neat tech for everyone, and some players like MLD. I know it feels a lot worse, but when people win with it in an efficient manner, it's actually not that different from other wincons. If somebody casts Armageddon with a Precinct Captain and a Dictate of Heliod, it's pretty similar to somebody with a bunch of creatures casting Overwhelming Stampede. Both will win the game if no one has an answer. The difference is MLD feels worse because there’s a slim chance you can draw out of it. This is why I will try and defend you stax players, but it comes with the heavy caveat that you don't blow up the lands if you don't have a plan to win. If you want your playgroup to even think about being okay with MLD, you can't just do it when you're behind or when you feel like it. Have a gameplan after the MLD, and preferably a quick one.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Now that I'm done with my digression, back to Flagstones! It’s untapped and taps for white, so it can be lumped in with all the other legendary lands that you have no reason not to run, but unless you are running MLD, you can probably do better.


165: Dust Bowl: 2,487 Decks

Dust Bowl is one of those lands I have no idea what to think about. I’ve been extolling the virtues of having at least one piece of targeted land destruction in your deck, but what’s the max number you should run? Dust Bowl is already pretty expensive. It’s around $15, so it’s not much of a budget alternative, and I think Strip Mine is better; it's free to activate, unconditional, and available in the early game, so if budget isn't an issue, why not just spend that much get a Strip Mine?

That said, some decks might want two Strip Mines, so what's the next best one? If you're only concerned with maximum efficiency, Wasteland is probably the next best, but it's also $40, so jumping from Dust Bowl to Wasteland is a harder sell, especially since it's not much better then Dust Bowl. However, using the same logic, I don't think Dust Bowl is much better than Ghost Quarter. Ghost Quarter is free to activate, and the basic doesn't really matter much in Commander. The multiple activations on Dust Bowl is nice, but each one also takes a good chunk of mana, and there's usually only one land you need to destroy in most games, so jumping from around a dollar to $15 is fairly steep here.

Then there's the Lands decks. They like having lands in their graveyard for stuff like Life From the Loam, so this looks like a slam dunk, and it's probably better than Wasteland in those deck, but again, not that much better. Tectonic Edge puts itself in the graveyard and can be looped with Loam, so it basically does the same thing as Dust Bowl for a fraction of the price. I don't think being able to activate this card multiple times is anything other then a neat bonus, but I guess if you can afford the card, it's still a bonus.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I think people are going to disagree, but I have no clue how good this card is.


164: The Ally Creature Lands: 2,492 Decks

(Stirring Wildwood; 4,130, Creeping Tar Pit; 2,655, Lavaclaw Reaches; 2,015, Celestial Colonnade; 1,838, Raging Ravine; 1,824)

This whole cycle is pretty affordable thanks to Ultimate Masters, with the exception of Celestial Colonnade, which is still $10. Honestly, though, how much better is Lavaclaw Reaches than Cinder Barrens? As I've said for basically every creature land, the situations where these can actually kill anyone in a format where people start at 40 life are few and far between. Plus they can be kind of expensive to activate. Not a ton, mind you, but 3-5 mana is kinda pricey. That can take most of a turn. Obviously, between these and the standard taplands, these are just better in almost every way, but they still enter tapped, so they have all the tempo issues of a tapland. Budget players should probably save that $1-3 and buy a Checkland like Rootbound Crag, or a Future Sight dual like Nimbus Maze. If you aren’t budget, then there're loads of better untapped lands you could be running. There just seem clunky.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I will make an exception for Creeping Tar Pit. It’s cheap to activate and it has good synergy with stuff like Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow, but the rest are subpar. I might play Celestial Colonnade in control decks if it wasn’t more expensive than the others, but I don't think the other three do enough, unless you’re all in on Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper.


163: Throne of the High City: 2,526 Decks

I don’t think I’ve met a single person that dislikes the Monarch mechanic. It’s best if you can defend yourself or have enough creatures to get it back, which most decks can do. For most decks, Throne of the High City is basically making a Staff of Nin on a land. Four mana is a lot, but not horrible. Any Boros or Rakdos deck can make really good use of this and can easily get the Monarchy back. I’ve even been running it in mono-green and I’ve been very happy with it. This card is really good, but it is getting up there price-wise.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: The real tech is to have someone else introduce the Monarch, and then when someone throws resources into stealing it and gets ready to reap the rewards, snatch it from under their nose. Speaking from experience, it feels very good.


162: Skarrg, the Rage Pits: 2,527 Decks

SKARRRRRRG!

Compared to Kessig Wolf Run, this card is laughable, but Wolf Run isn’t a budget card, so this is a decent replacement. The two-mana activation cost is a steal compared to the rest of this cycle, and trample is one of the mechanics that almost every Gruul deck will need. Again, Wolf Run is just better. Maybe some decks want multiple ways to give creatures trample on a land, but at that point, they could also just play a real card like Siege Behemoth.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: If this were in 500 decks, I’d probably have called it underplayed, but I wouldn’t play it any deck that could afford Wolf Run.


161: Nephalia Drownyard: 2,542 Decks

Obviously, any mill deck should run this. It’s totally on brand, but not completely terrible like Duskmantle, House of Shadow. Mill decks were running Drownyard before I even started writing this series, so this is not new information. I’m almost more of a fan of this in Self-Mill, since milling yourself to find imortant pieces like Flashback spells can be rewarding, and gleaning an extra mana from that is also pretty appealing. I ran it in my Tasigur, the Golden Fang deck for a little while before the mass of colorless lands just got too high. It does good work, though. It’s innocuous, but can be very good in the right situation.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I’m tempted to give it an 'underplayed' but it’s seeing play in almost 3,000 decks. It's a good tool for the decks that need it.


160: Gemstone Caverns: 2,545 Decks

This seems really loose. The odds that you aren't going first are quite high, but the odds of having this in your opening hand are low. Putting this into play turn 0 is only gonna happen once in 100 games, right? The rest of the time this is a colorless land that does absolutely nothing. Whoop de doo.

A piece of me suspects cEDH decks may be partly behind this land's high numbers. The top commanders are Godo, Bandit Warlord and Thrasios, Triton Hero, and the most recent decks I found for it included a Breakfast Hulk deck and a Kess control deck with a bunch of cheap interaction and counterspells. I know very little about cEDH, though, so I can only guess.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Maybe this is better in cEDH than I realize, but I can certainly say it's not worth $30 in non-cEDH decks.


What's your Gemstone? Mine's a Cave!

Time to go use Deserted Temple to cast Villainous Wealth for twice as much mana as usual! Let me know what you think about this batch of lands. Is Dust Bowl better than I think? Can someone who actually knows what they're talking about talk about Gemstone Caverns? Let me know all these things and more in the comments! Until we meet again!

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.