The Toolbox - Gaea's Touch

(Gaea's Touch | Art by Mark Poole)

Having a Green Thumb

Welcome back to The Toolbox! Here we take a look at underplayed cards and evaluate where they ought to see more play. Today we are taking a look at one of the most interesting ramp spells in Magic: Gaea's Touch. This card is in a little over 1,000 decks on EDHREC, but that number should definitely be higher! Where can this card really shine to increase that number? Let’s take a look!

Gaea's Touch is sort of an Exploration and Wild Cantor stapled together. However, it can only be sacrificed for green mana, and it only lets you play extra basic Forests. Thankfully, those drawbacks are easily outstripped by the benefits. Let's see where people are using it so far!

I have played and covered some very underrated commanders in my time, but I legitimately did not know any of these existed until I sat down to write this article. I think the only reason Autumn Willow decks are playing Gaea's Touch is because some people brew her as an Enchantress deck, but when there are only 14 decks in EDHREC, it's hard to derive any reliable conclusions from the data. Jolrael wants to animate all your lands, so the extra lands from Gaea's Touch can be helpful. Mirri is in the same boat as Autumn Willow; people are trying to build them as inventive mono-green Enchantress commanders. Lastly, Baru is essentially a mono-green Landfall commander, so it makes sense why folks would run a card that lets you play extra lands.

Notably, all the top commanders are mono-green, but there are so many other options out there. Where else can this card really show its strength and solidify itself in Commander decks?

The Jolly Green Giant

Since we're talking about mono-green, let's start off with another mono-green deck that could make a nice home for Gaea's Touch. What better place to start than Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar?

Who thinks having seven mana on turn three is powerful? Everyone does! If you don't, just go watch some Modern Tron gameplay. Gaea's Touch[el] can get you there so that you can cast [el]Rampaging Baloths, Ulvenwald Hydra, Avenger of Zendikar or even Multani himself on turn three! All of those great creatures are in at least 60% of Multani decks, and each one of them appreciate the extra land drop that our signature enchantment enables.

Exploration effects lower in value when you run out of cards in hand, which is also true of Gaea's Touch. Luckily, we not only have lots of effects like Tireless Tracker or Rishkar's Expertise to fill up on cards, but Multani can reclaim himself from the graveyard when he dies by returning lands to our hand, so having an extra super-budget enchantment that lets us replay those lands is awesome. Gaea's Touch also only works on basic Forests, but that'll be 30% of our deck, so we don't have to worry too much about those!

There are all kinds of sweet lines with this deck that I could go through for hours, but I could also just show you the decklist!

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Fish are Friends, Not Food

I still think that I prefer Omnath, Locus of Rage for my land-based deck, but Tatyova, Benthic Druid is still an insanely powerful commander nonetheless. Because Gaea's Touch only works on basic Forests, I already know that I am going to get absolutely blasted for having any sort of multicolored decks in this article, since there would be so few Forests in a multicolored deck. However, I am willing to take that risk because of how amazing and underrated this enchantment is, and how well it works with Tatyova.

Even though she's multicolored, her average deck has 18 basic Forests in it. That's almost a fifth of the entire deck. With that, you're pretty much guaranteed to get at least a couple extra land drops from Gaea's Touch which means a lot for this deck.

Keep in mind that Gaea's Touch has updated templating, so it's an activated ability that doesn't count as officially 'playing' a land for the purposes of a Horn of Greed. It also only plays Forests from your hand, so no shenanigans with Crucible of Worlds. Still, it enables some extra Landfall triggers on Rampaging Baloths to get some Beasts, Retreat to Coralhelm to get a little card selection, and of course, Tatyova herself! She'll draw so many cards that it likely won't be difficult to find another basic forest.

By the by, as long as we're talking about underplayed cards, I want to mention that Nissa, Vastwood Seer showing up in only 22% of Tatyova decks is crazy, considering her extremely relevant abilities. Another is Uyo, Silent Prophet who only appears in 19% of Tatyova decks even though she is insane with Tatyova. If you bounce two Forests with her ability with Gaea's Touch and Tatyova in play, the ability essentially allows you to copy whatever spell you want, get two Landfall triggers, gain a couple life, and draw two cards! How is this card not played more?!

I could go on about all the underplayed cards for this deck, but let's just get to the decklist instead.

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Born to Be Wild

You know I had to take the chance to talk about my second favorite Gruul commander: Mina and Denn, Wildborn! For those who've talked to me about my Omnath, Locus of Rage "Land Storm" deck, know that I have tested pretty much every ramp spell under the sun, and I have some news for you: I heavily underrated Mina and Denn, Wildborn. They're just so powerful, and they fill many roles in this kind of deck.

Again, this is a multicolored commander, and I know folks will point out that the average Mina and Denn deck only has 15 basic Forests in the average list, which is not a lot for Gaea's Touch to be able to synergize with. Remember, though, that all you need is one. With Mina and Denn's ability, you can just bounce the Forest and put it back into play with Gaea's Touch.

This opens up extra triggers for all of Mina and Denn's favorites, like Omnath, Locus of Rage, Courser of Kruphix, and Tireless Tracker. The deck is already designed to repeatedly trigger these effects by bouncing and replaying lands over and over. However, you're only limited to a couple of land drops a turn, which makes extra land drops extra important for this deck. Gaea's Touch boosts that number up easily. Once you've got the engine online, you can pretty much setup an inevitability where you just gain such an advantage every turn simply by bouncing and playing lands.

I could go on and on about lands but I'll just let the decklist do the talking, so take a look!

I am Inevitable

Commander (1)
Creatures (24)
Instants (5)
Sorceries (14)
Artifacts (6)
Enchantments (8)
Planeswalkers (2)
Lands (40)

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Thank you all for your continued support of the series! I hope that you all enjoyed reading this installment, and I hope that you’ve found a new home for Gaea's Touch. Do you think that these commanders pair well with Gaea's Touch? Do you think I’m over-evaluating this enchantment, or do you agree it’s highly underrated? Remember, we only discussed this enchantment's ability to provide us with extra land drops, but it can also always be cracked for extra mana! Would you use this in a Karametra, the Harvester enchantress build? Or an Omnath, Locus of Mana deck for the extra mana? What decks do you think should have this card in their toolbox?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and as always, have a great day!

Elijah is a mildly obsessive EDH player from Georgia. He started playing during Battle for Zendikar with Green/Black Eldrazi Aristocrats and still pays tribute to the plane with his Omnath, Locus of Rage storm brew. He is always excited to innovate and try new things in Magic and Life. Elijah is currently a full time student looking to go into Computer Engineering but also has a bit of an artistic streak.