Ranking Every Land with EDHREC – Part 31: On the Verge of the End
(Krosan Verge | Art by Tony Szczudlo)
My Creative Spirit Has Left Me
You know, the hardest part of writing these articles is the opening. I can write a million-billion words on freaking basic Wastes, but sometimes I just stare at the blank space above an article for like 30 minutes trying to think of a clever way to say, "Here on this series we rank every land based on how many decks they have on EDHREC."
And for all I know, people might just be jumping into this hot ranking action immediately and move straight past this bit. I mean, this intro is really just a framing device so I can ramble about lands for however long it takes you to read this article. Do you even need the framework? I know why you're here. You know why you're here. Perhaps we're just humoring each other, never realizing neither of us need framework to discuss Magic lands, and the intro is simply a reflection of the human desire for structure, even when no structure is truly needed.
Woah, that got a little too introspective there. Let's pull back a bit. Hey! If you're reading this, what's your favorite obscure creature type? I'm a Brushwagg fan myself, though I also enjoy a good Uncle Istvan.
40: Krosan Verge: 15,786 Decks
A couple of years ago, I probably would have said that this was an underplayed land, perfect for budget decks. Then it got reprinted in every precon since 2016, and now that it's in over 15,000 decks, I find myself thinking that it doesn't quite do enough to justify those numbers. It's great in Selesnya, but in three-color or more, the tapped colorless land is really awkward. Sure, it can get things like Shocklands, but it's so slow, and some games you won't have time to crack it. I’ve actually cut this from most of my decks because green has no problem ramping or color-fixing. I kind of wish this was in Boros or Izzet. Maybe we can pull a Modern Horizons and make an enemy color version of this cycle?
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Keep in mind that we're at the point where "overplayed" still means "staple in every Selesnya deck".
39: High Market: 15,954 Decks
This is one of those cards that new players look at and have no idea why we’re playing it. Sacrificing a creature for the purpose of gaining one life is absolutely not worth it, but it doesn’t actually matter what this card does. It could say "Sacrifice a creature: Destroy target creature if it’s a Minotaur." Or “Sacrifice a creature: Target opponent buys themselves dinner.“ A free sac outlet on a land is the reward in and of itself. The argument against it is that Market is only once a turn which isn’t quite as good as a repeatable sac outlet like Viscera Seer. Yeah, that doesn't stop decks like Meren of Clan Nel Toth from running it in everything because they often can't truly function without some sort of sac outlet.
It also can just be a way to save creatures for later. Saving any creature from a Mass Mutiny or a Path to Exile, in order to get it back from the graveyard later happens enough, Market might be worth a slot for that, alone. You could make the argument that it's overplayed. Phyrexian Tower is better in every way, and there are tons of cards that are much better sac outlets, like Dimir House Guard. I can see that argument, but High Market can go in any deck, has a low opportunity cost, and does so much incidental stuff, I think it deserve its place as one of the best colorless lands.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Due for a reprint, though.
38: Cavern of Souls: 16,355 Decks
It's another windmill slam land for tribal decks that has a line of flavor text about things being uncounterable and a $60 price tag. Line up, please.
Okay, I guess it can also make commanders uncounterable, but nobody wants to counter a commander, anyway. It's always a feel-bad because they can just cast it again. As for tribal decks, nobody wants to counter the random tribe members, they wanna counter the payoffs like Vanquishers Banner. Often it's better to just kill the creature rather than try to counter it. Giving things uncounterable isn't useless, but it isn't worth $60. Don't feel bad about running Unclaimed Territory, instead.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Still free fixing for any tribal deck.
37: Darksteel Citadel: 16,940 Decks
Should be fairly obvious why the monolithic blob that is artifacts is running this. It's so easy to slot into any deck, and it powers up cards that need artifacts, which is basically any card in an artifact deck. I wanna run cool lands like Lotus Field, and instead I have to run stupid good lands. "Sigh"
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I missed on Cascading Cataracts that indestructible lands are cute with things like Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper
36: The Wedge Tri-lands: 17,015 Decks
(Opulent Palace: 20,713; Nomad Outpost: 18,289; Mystic Monastery: 16,064; Frontier Bivouac 15,058; Sandsteppe Citadel: 14,951)
As someone who only didn't start playing Commander until after Khans of Tarkir, it’s tough to imagine a time when wedge commanders (a color with their two enemy colors) weren't really a thing that you could do. Before 2011, the only option for wedge commanders were a cycle of dragons from Planar Chaos and Doran, the Siege Tower. Commander 2011 added a couple cycles of Wedge commanders, but that was all we got for quite a while. Nowadays, while there aren't as many options as there are for two-color commanders, Wedge decks are way more common between Khans, Partner commanders, Core Set 2020, and random commander decks, each introducing more commander options to the pile
Speaking of Khans, we can thank that set for finally making some tri-lands for wedge decks. People rally against tapped dual lands in two-color decks, but you can have a blinged-out three-color deck, still run one of these, and no one bats an eye. Free three-color fixing is tough to come by, so definitely run these in almost any wedge deck.
It’s also a strategy to run all five of these and the five shard tri-lands (a color and its two ally colors) in five-color decks. Don't do that. Sure, running two or three tri-lands in a deck's main trio of colors is fine. Throwing ten tap lands that don’t tap for all five colors is a way to get color screwed. Run Vivid lands or Panoramas over the fifth or sixth tri-land.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I think a commenter mentioned this a million parts ago, but you could probably give these basic land types, and it'd be fine.
35: Mosswort Bridge: 17,735 Decks
The last of the Hideaway lands, and this one's just kinda middling. Commanders like Ghalta, Primal Hunger turn it on by themselves, but what more needs to happen to let you win the game when Ghalta, Primal Hunger and other creatures are in play? I’ve played with the card and I've never been unhappy with it, but I can’t think of anytime I went, “Wow! This card does work,” whereas I have had that thought with Spinerock Knoll and Windbrisk Heights.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: The many, many precon printings make it basically impossible to determine what people actually think of this card.
34: The enemy pain lands: 17,846 Decks
(Yavimaya Coast: 20,168; Caves of Koilos: 18,917; Llanowar Wastes: 18,418; Shivan Reef: 17,510; Battlefield Forge: 14,215)
You know, I pester Wizards a lot over lots of little reprints (Reprint Grand Coliseum you cowards!), but then things like the enemy pain lands show that they do throw us a bone now and then. Could they use another reprint? Sure, but so could every card, and they have just about printed these into the ground, yet they still are solidly two bucks apiece. It's about as good as we can get from a cycle that sees play outside of EDH.
These are everything a budget deck wants. I strongly advocate budget decks being consistent over being fast, (better to have an awkward early game than an awkward late game,) but the natural downside of this is that budget decks are pretty slow, often full of taplands like Evolving Wilds. Having accessible untapped dual lands is worth the two or three life that these will cost over the course of a game. Spending $5 on a couple of these will make budget mana way better, and I do hope they find space for yet another reprint to keep these a budget favorite.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I’m tempted to say that these are underplayed because I love them so much, but the fact that they don’t have land types means that the highest powered decks probably don’t want these.
33: The Shard Tri-Lands: 18,445 Decks
(Arcane Sanctum: 19,954; Seaside Citadel: 19,839; Crumbling Necropolis: 19,125; Savage Lands: 17,660; Jungle Shrine: 15,697)
An interesting quirk of doing this list now as opposed to a year ago is that EDHREC shifted from doing all-time data to data from only the last two years. I think this was a good change overall, but because of this, I expected to see the wedge lands higher. As I mentioned before, wedge commanders used to be a rare occurrence, but within the last few years, we’ve seen a ton of interesting three-color cards. Plus, the wedge lands were printed in Khans of Tarkir, which was a Commander favorite as opposed to the decent, but not groundbreaking, Shards of Alara. So I was surprised to still see the shard lands still holding a slight lead. There are still more commanders around shards than wedges, but some of the recent wedge commanders like Muldrotha, the Gravetide and Edgar Markov are crazy popular. I’m not sure why shards still reign supreme, but maybe a couple years from now wedges will take the throne.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I've said wedge so much, now I want a wedge salad.
32: Ash Barrens: 18,845 Decks
What a great budget replacement for Evolving Wilds that shot up to five dollars after it was released because it’s great in Pauper. Luckily Wizards reprinted it to death, so now it's actually a good replacement for in most decks. Wilds is always tapped even when you need to cast that [el]Sylvan Library on time, whereas when you have to have an untapped land, Barrens can get that for you. That flexibility is better in most cases, although in Landfall decks, it’s probably better to run Evolving Wilds because of the double triggers. You won't lose many games by playing Wilds over Barrens, but now that Barrens is pretty cheap, might as well get some now.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Here's a thread I made when Ash Barrens was released as a reminder that you really shouldn't be listening to me.
31: Opal Palace: 18,877 Decks
Hey look! An Unknown Shores variant. It’s like a callback to the 200's. I feel almost nostalgic.
Of all the Unknown Shores variants, Opal Palace is definitely the best. If you're running Unknown Shores for some reason, swapping to this is definitely better and easy to do. It's got some counter shenanigans, so if you're in Marchesa, the Black Rose this can power up the commander. It's not completely terrible. I sometimes put it in five-color decks when I have no other good replacements
But it's still an Unknown Shores variant. Like, come on. Almost 19,000 decks? It still puts you down a mana to make colored mana, and if your commander dies three times, is three counters going to save you? Even dedicated +1/+1 counter decks probably don't want to risk getting color screwed for the chance of putting a +1/+1 counter on their commander at the cost of making it cost one more mana. You can add a million lines of text, but that doesn't change the fact this is still a bad card.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It is one of the only ways to put +1/+1 counters on a planewalker commander, so if you need that for some reason...?
The Art Looks Like Melted Sherbet
We march ever closer to a conclusion, but before we get there, these lands must be evaluated by you! What do you think about the tri-lands? Are you into Unknown Shores 2.0? Let me know in the comments below. Until next week!