Ranking Every Land with EDHREC – Part 25: The Top 100 Beckons!

(Emergence Zone | Art by Jonas De Ro)

Breaking Into Double Digits

Welcome back to our global tour of Magic lands, where we rank each land based on how many decks they're included in on EDHREC. Today we've finally escaped the 100s and have entered into double digits. The end is in sight. I’m sure we’ll be at the end of our quest in no time!

Wait, I still have like ten of these articles to do, don’t I? Hmm. I guess I'm not getting my free time back anytime soon.

100: Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle: 5,486 Decks

Despite being the best in the cycle for other formats, it’s not nearly the best for Commander. It's still very good, but having to have five other Mountains means it won’t count dual lands like Rakdos Guildgate. This basically restricts this to mono-red, and maybe Gruul. What's the reward for this? Lightning Bolt every turn! It's good, but it doesn't scale well to 40 life and giant creatures.

Over, Under or Just Right? Just Right: I said all that, but this is still an excellent land for mono-red decks. Also, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove says hi.

99: Spire of Industry: 5,524 Decks

A less punishing Glimmervoid, which was itself a shifted version of Thran Quarry, so now we need a Spire of Industry but for creatures.

City of Brass, but only when you have an artifact, is still a City of Brass. The one life is pretty meaningless, and the condition is pretty trivial for any artifact deck, Plus, it taps for colorless. There's not much to say here, the card is good.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: This should just be in all the multicolor artifact decks.

98: Warped Landscape: 5,532 Decks

I’m going to blame Warped Landscape being this high on Mitch from Commanders Quarters. It’s probably not all him, but any three-color budget mana base he builds usually has this in there, so I'm guessing he's part of the "problem". I love Mitch. You probably love Mitch. He’s way more creative than your derpy land guide here, but I just do not like this land very much. I understand the value of an untapped land, and Evolving Wilds is very clunky, but using two mana and the land for mana fixing is just terrible. When will you ever have the time to crack this? And if you do, does it ever feel good? Just run Evolving Wilds or another basic. This thing is glacially slow, and when you need it to fix your mana, you'll have already lost because you’re spending turn three cracking this card.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Maybe I’m wrong. Mitch has made about a bajillion budget decks, but I don’t know if I’d resort to this.

97: The Shadows Reveal lands: 5,690 Decks

(Choked Estuary: 6,888; Fortified Village: 5,874; Port Town: 5,783; Foreboding Ruins: 5,459; Game Trail: 4,447)

I’m going to derail the article to mention the art on Port Town is one of my favorites. Don’t know why it resonates with me, and I’m not a fan of the doofy Skeleton in the art, but the atmosphere and character of the piece is fantastic! It's the only piece of Magic art I own.

For budget, these are a reasonable and decent step up from something like a Guildgate, but I’ll be honest, I haven’t been particularly impressed with them. In dual color, they’re okay; it’s pretty easy to play these untapped in the early turns when you need to. However, in decks with three or more colors, these enter tapped more often than I would like. Three-color decks are often running a lot of other nonbasic lands that won’t keep this untapped. Most of the time when I can have this enter untapped, it doesn’t matter because I have other lands I can play, and when I can’t have it enter untapped, it’s when I'm light on lands and I needed it untapped to cast a ramp spell.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It’s, like, right on the edge of overplayed, but I don’t want people to walk away from this thinking these are bad. They have a chance to enter untapped, so switching from taplands to these is good. However, unlike the check lands, which are great in $20 mana bases and still good in $200 mana bases, these will be pushed out by better options.

96: Mistveil Plains: 5,716 Decks

I just don't like tapped mono-color lands. Putting a card on the bottom of the deck means you might draw it again if you shuffle, but the odds are so small. Maybe you also save some spell from a rogue Memory Plunder, but again, it's small, and there's a very real downside to playing a tapped land, especially a mono-color tapland. Are there decks that want this card? Sure! Decks that can consistently search their library and need very specific cards. I played Shadowborn Apostles for a while, and because that deck often could get six Apostles multiple times, having ways to shuffle Rune-Scarred Demon back into the deck to tutor it out again is pretty neat. And 64% of red-white decks that include Mistveil Plains also include Sunforger, which can repeatedly find you the same spell when you need it.

But the other 36% that aren't using that kind of synergy? Mistveil Plains does a lot of nothing, and most decks with this card would probably benefit from running a basic Plains.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It may feel good, but it is not.

95: Transguild Promenade 5,835 Decks

Let's imagine a scale of playability for lands. Ignoring synergy for a moment, in the average Commander deck, how playable is X land? Some lands, like Command Tower, are top tier and playable in most any deck. Others, like Evolving Wilds, are certainly playable on a budget, but usually aren't playable when compared to more expensive options. Still others, like Castle Sengir (or the Lair lands. I will die on this hill), are not playable in Commander and should probably be swapped for basic lands. If we take this scale all the way to the edge, right on the line between playable and unplayable, I think that's where we find Transguild Promenade. Just barely playable for uber budget decks, but also the first land you should replace with a more expensive alternative.

The issue with taplands is the loss of tempo. Transguild Promenade amplifies this to eleven. If you play this within the first few turns, that’s the turn. You don’t get to do anything else. Even playing this late game can be awkward when you might need every bit of mana you can get. In short, the turn you play this land feels atrocious, but after that, it's a free rainbow land. If you weren't going to play anything on turn two anyway, then Promenade is okay because now it's just a Command Tower, no muss, no fuss. It’s fine. I would recommend cutting this for the first untapped dual or triland that comes your way, even something like Ash Barrens, but if you're on a budget of pennies and need a rainbow land, I'd say go for it!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: That said, almost 6,000 decks is far too many.

94: Emergence Zone: 5,848 Decks

There's been some pushback against effects that let you play at instant speed. Sure, I think there was a time when effects like Leyline of Anticipation were a little overrated, but now I kinda feel like we've swung back to them being a bit undervalued. At least, in the circles I frequent. Control decks like having options, and it feels gross to choose between casting their commander or leaving up a Counterspell. Creature-based deck don't like telegraphing that the Avenger of Zendikar they have will straight up kill the table if no one has an answer. These flexible effects give players the ability to have more information when making decisions, and conceal information from the table. And that's without even mentioning synergies like Awakening. Do they go in every deck? No, but they can be the scariest cards in certain decks, and will destroy you if you don't pay attention. Unfortunately, these cards are getting up there in price, so budget decks don't really have that option.

Enter Emergence Zone, which is not nearly as good, but can still give a deck that flexibility. Just having the ability to wait on casting that Clever Impersonator until the best threat is played is often enough value to justify it, and if you have any way to recur it, now you're playing with power!

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Is it worth playing over Alchemist's Refuge? Probably not, but for budget decks this is a welcome addition.

93: The Enemy Fast Lands: 5,989 Decks

(Botanical Sanctum: 6,918; Concealed Courtyard: 6,518; Blooming Marsh: 5,850; Spirebluff Canal: 5,464; Inspiring Vantage: 5,195)

This is an excellent example of how the popularity of a card isn't necessarily proportional to how good it is. Compare this cycle to the ally-colored fast lands, which we talked about almost ten editions ago. On the surface, both cycles are identical in function, yet Darkslick Shores, the best-performing land from the ally-colored cycle, has half the decks of Inspiring Vantage, the worst-preforming land from this cycle.

Now, there's a cavalcade of reasons for this. The ally-colored lands were printed in Shards of Alara, which was well before Commander's prime, while the enemy-color lands come from casual favorite Kaladesh. The ally lands are between $7-20, while the enemy lands are between $3-15. Ally-color decks have more cycles than enemy-color lands, so any land enemy colors do have are going to see more play. All these outside influences should remind you that just because a land is in a ton of decks, that doesn't mean that land is better than other options.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: A few years from now these will probably be as hard to get as the ally fast lands, so get them while you can.

92: Spinerock Knoll: 5,912 Decks

In any sane format, when someone deals an opponent seven damage, they probably don't need more stuff to win that game, but in Commander, seven is barely a scratch, so I might as well cast the Avatar of Slaughter underneath my land! I don't think it's as good in burn decks like Neheb, the Eternal because you’re already casting X spells like Comet Storm for lethal amounts anyway, but in decks like Etali, Primal Storm, hitting for seven is the ramp-up turn.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Do note that the player with Spinerock Knoll doesn't need to deal the seven damage; if any one opponent takes seven for any reason, you're golden.

91: Hanweir Battlements: 5,949 Decks

I shouldn't like Meld. It looks silly to just shove two cards together and tap them as one, it’s a mechanic that’s not really usable outside of Innistrad, and it’s not particularly interactive gameplay; either you have it, or you don't. All these things don't stop me from loving Meld! It's hilarious if you ever pull it off and a great goal to try and achieve in Commander. I’ve been playing this with Hanweir Garrison for the past three and a half years, and I’ve only gotten them to Meld twice, but I felt like I won the lottery when I pulled this off. It’s an achievement, and even on the losing end, you know how unlikely it is so you can’t even be mad.

But Hanweir Garrison is only in 51% of decks with Hanweir Battlements. While I think it's heresy to play one without the other - who doesn't love making a Spaghetti Monster Town??? - I will admit the card is perfectly serviceable on its own. I mentioned Flamekin Village a while ago, and this is basically the same card, but as an untapped colorless land. Any commander with an attack trigger like Kaalia of the Vast really needs a card like this to ensure they get value from the commander straight away. Plus, this can give opponents' creatures haste, so the political shenanigans here are endless.

Over, Under or Just Right? Underplayed: This or Flamekin Village should be a consideration for every Commander deck that cares about combat, and this one can become a horrifying creature from beyond the multiverse. What's not to love?

Can the Mayor of the Town Be the Town Itself?

Well, I shall continue moving forward to the day I can give my triumphant speech, but until that day comes, what speeches do you have for me about this batch of lands? Does Emergence Zone make the cut? Are you running Mistveil Plains? All this information should be proclaimed in the comments below!

Till 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.