Ranking Every Land with EDHREC - Part 3: That Thing is an Elephant?
(Expedition Map | Art by Franz Vohwinkel)
Where Things Get Better!
I mean, I say better, but temper your expectations, there isn't a secret second cycle of fetch lands or something. There are a couple hidden gems here, so let's dive back in.
345: The Kamigawa Exert lands: 134 decks
(Waterveil Cavern; 172, Lantern Lit Graveyard; 164, Cloudcrest Lake; 143, Tranquil Garden; 127, Pinecrest Ridge; 67)
"Ok guys. I know the Ice age lands were bad, I know the Tempest lands were bad, but this time I know how to make these lands playable: we'll give them really awesome names."
Yes, these things again. And at this point, Wizards really had no excuse. They had designed good lands at this point. Fetch lands, Pain lands, and the Odyssey filters, had all already been printed with Shock lands, and Bounce lands coming a year later. So why they thought they needed new versions of these Exert lands is beyond me. Even if these were just for Limited, they had tapped duals at this point they could have used. They're still poorly designed, they're still not remotely good, but they do have some pretty awesome names. So that's something, I guess.
Over, Under or Just right? Overplayed: You know in all three of these, we never got a enemy color version of the cycle. Just three unfinished cycles of trash.
344: Balduvian Trading Post: 141 Decks
Yes, this is from the same cycle as Heart of Yavimaya. Why is this cycle so inconsistent? Sometimes they tap for two mana, sometimes only one. Sometimes you need an untapped land, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the activated ability costs mana, sometimes the land just needs to tap. It’s just barely enough like a cycle you notice but not really similar in any way.
Over, Under or Just right? Just right: What was I talking about? Oh right. At least it taps for two but good luck killing anything with that second ability.
343: Unstable Frontier: 142 Decks
I really wish this wasn’t restricted to your lands. You could do some cute stuff with Islandwalk or the free spells like Submerge. Despite that, it seems like the type of card that when you build the specific deck for it, it’s amazing. Not an all-star or even a consideration in 95% of decks, but when the stars align and the perfect deck for it emerges, it's a card you'll be happy to have. Maybe a Sunburst deck?
Over, Under or Just right? Just right: Add another land to the "cheaper than a basic Wastes" club.
342: Rath's Edge: 153 Decks
Besides The Gitrog Monster cEDH decks (which I can’t explain in a paragraph, just read this) this doesn’t really do enough.
Over, Under or Just right? Overplayed: I wouldn’t play it anything other than Trouble Toad.
341: Centaur Garden: 171 Decks
This cycle is part of the reason for the numbering issues. The Threshold lands all have a different effect but they all trigger off Threshold so they all tend to want to go in the same decks. If not for one egregious member of this cycle messing up the average, they probably would be one slot. But here we are.
Anyhoo, these lands look free at first. They enter untapped and have a late-game ability. Perfect. But that life loss will get you. There’s no option to tap this for colorless, so if this is one of your early lands, you’re looking at three, four, five damage or more. That can matter, especially if you don't really want the Threshold ability often or can’t turn on Threshold consistently. This is probably the worst of the five. Visible pump is nice but I don’t know if it’s worth the life loss. On the other hand, green is one of the easier colors to enable Threshold.
Over, Under or Just right? Underplayed: Ultimately I think if it's in a deck that could use the pump and can get the land back easy, like Titania, Protector of Argoth, I would consider it.
340: Keldon Necropolis: 175 decks
I was surprised that this card was so low. A free sac outlet on a land with a relevant ability seems great! I then tried to imagine any deck that would want to leave up five mana to sacrifice a creature when there are many better options. I can now see why this card is so low.
Over, Under or Just right? Just right: I wouldn’t suggest you take this card out of your deck if you played it against me, but I would wonder silently if there were better options.
339: Griffin Canyon: 184 Decks
I missed last week that Elephant Graveyard works really well with Mistform Ultimus and the new Morophon, the Boundless. Griffin Canyon is that but doesn’t cost 200$. Yes please!
Over, Under or Just right? Just right: Between the Changelings and the Griffin lord commander, it produces about the number it deserves.
338: Nantuko Monastery 192 Decks:
This is the type of hidden gem I love. How has this not seen more play? It enters untapped. Untapped! That’s crazy. It taps for colorless but you're in green, you can totally afford to run a few utility lands. There’s the matter of Threshold, but in G/W that’s easier to enable than you think. Between fetch lands, ramp spells, sac creatures, and other random stuff, this is totally achievable late game. This is totally playable in everything from Gaddock Teeg or Karametra, God of Harvests, and that's not introducing other colors into the mix. Abzan loves this thing. Karador, Ghost Chieftain could not ask for a better creature land. I think this card is legitimately amazing and am shocked it hasn't at least been printed in a precontructed deck.
Over, Under or Just right? Just right: I’m playing this is basically any deck that has green and white.
337: Masque Storage lands: 193 decks
(Saprazzan Cove; 252, Rushwood Grove; 202, Subterranean Hangar; 191, Fountain of Cho; 168, Mercadian Bazaar; 154)
These are so close. They don’t tap for mana for two turns after you play them. And if you ever use them for mana, they go back to being stone useless. It’s really cute with Proliferate and they can power out some crazy stuff, but even these qualities are better in other lands we’ll see later.
Over, Under or Just right? Just right: I want these to be good, but they just aren’t.
336: Shelldock Isle: 193 Decks & 335: Howltooth Hollow: 196 Decks
These are conveniently close together so we can discuss them both at once. I feel like the Hideaway lands have potential to be completely busted but as far as I know, nothing yet. Some of you may be familiar with the other members of this cycle. We'll be seeing those much later on the list.
In the meantime, the red-headed stepchildren. At least the blue one is good in cube, though pretty unplayable in Commander (even in mill; I see you Steven Green). I don’t think I’ve ever seen Howltooth Hallow in play, anywhere. Couldn’t it be an opponent? Each player is almost impossible in two-player, let alone four-player. Originally, I said it was unplayable, but there is one deck where it does something: Grenzo, Dungeon Warden, and not even for the effect of Howltooth Hollow. It's just because Hollow puts cards on the bottom of the library. Howltooth Hollow is only in 53 Grenzo decks so that leaves 143 decks unaccounted for.
Over, Under or Just right? Overplayed: Well, maybe Shelldock isle isn’t the worst but I think activating Howltooth Hollow will happen maybe once every 1,000 games.
334: Empire storage lands: 206
(Sand Silos: 232, Bottomless Vault; 223, Dwarven Hold; 209, Hollow Trees; 190, Icatian Store; 176)
Are these better or worse than the Masque versions? They still take two turns to charge but these work better with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Chromatic lantern? Either way, all the same flaws as the Masque ones.
Over, Under or Just right? Just Right: Cute with Hokori, Dust Drinker.
333: Mobilized District: 210 Decks
Originally, this entry was me complaining about how this card hasn't cracked 200 decks yet. Now that it has, I can't really just reuse my thoughts, so people reading from the original articles get some exclusive new content!
This card is good in superfriends.
Those wondering why I haven't included Modern Horizons lands in this list can look at the WAR lands. War of the Spark released just a few months ago, so the lands from this list go up and up and up. This was originally 341 and the article from reddit was published about a month and a half ago, and this is the least popular lands from WAR. Blast Zone went from under 1,000 decks to over 1,600. You really don't get a true picture of how good a land is until about a year after so don't expect Mobilized District to stay in the 330's
Over, Under or Just right? Underplayed: It'll keep going up. I assure you!
332: Hellion Crucible: 230 Decks
For the crazy people who are trying to run mono-red burn in EDH. For the people who want to deal 120 damage through small creatures and burn spells to the face. For the people who are holding up the American dream of seeing your opponents dead to twelve point of burn in hand before the opponent realizes it... you still probably don't want this card.
Over, Under or Just right? Overplayed: Six mana is just too much for a colorless land.
331: Cloudpost: 237 Decks
This land may look useless, but it's not completely useless. There is one other land with the Locus type that we'll get to later, as well as Vesuva. So if I get all three of those lands together, I have created bad Tron! Yeah, I'm looking for a lot more when it comes to my colorless lands.
Over, Under or Just right? Overplayed: A tapped colorless land, my favorite!
330: Teferi's Isle: 240 Decks
The progenitor of the MEGA MEGA CYCLE! Back in Mirage block, Wizards wanted to make a land to represent a place in the story. Apparently you couldn’t make just a land that taps for blue without making lands for the other four colors because I guess it might hurt white's feelings, so the solution was to put a land of each color in the next five blocks. They aren't really a cycle other than the fact they each have a different mana symbol on them. Compare this card to the last member of the mega mega cycle, Keldon Necropolis. There's no theme tying any of these card together so calling it a cycle is pretty generous.
Back to this card, let's talk about Phasing! First Banding, now Phasing. This series is basically just me explaining bad mechanics.
To make a long story short, Phasing essentially removes this card from play every other turn. Basically the play pattern for this card is that the first turn, it enters tapped so you can't really use it. The next turn before you can tap it for mana, you’ll lose it. Then the turn after that, the land comes back and you can finally tap it for mana before you lose it again next turn, so on and so forth.
Over, Under or Just right? Overplayed: For all the complexity and mechanical oddities on this card, there are only a few decks that want it. I think it’s good in Patron of the Moon or with Amulet of Vigor but I would wager many of the decks Teferi's isle is currently in don't really want it.
Sometimes I wish I Could Phase Out of a Game
I feel like this batch of lands was better than the last one. Let me know if any of these lands tickled your fancy. I found a couple cool lands this batch, and I legit think Nantuko Monastery is criminally underrated. Thank you for reading!
Next week, let's talk Taplands!