Too-Specific Top 10 - Multi-Mana Lands
(Urza's Power Plant | Art by Brian Snoddy)
Welcome to Too-Specific Top 10, where if there isn’t a category to rank our pet card at the top of, we’ll just make one up! (Did you know that Temple of the False God is the only land that taps for two colorless mana as long as you control five or more lands?)
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the Dragon Spirits from Kamigawa and Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and it turns out Wizards of the Coast went and combined my love for those Dragons with my love for Urzatron when they printed the card Kura, the Boundless Sky.
One death trigger, and I can get all of Tron into my hand? I'm on-board!
What else can you get with that trigger, though? Well, I was so excited about it that I brewed a deck just to find out!
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I was originally a bit afraid that the deck might play very linearly, always searching for the same three lands with Kura's ability every single time. Luckily, that doesn't seem to be the case! The lands we already have help keep the choices interesting. For example, if one of the five lands you used to cast Kura was a Thespian's Stage, you'd be silly not to go get Dark Depths. If you already have a Glimmerpost, then why go get Tron lands when you could grab Cloudpost and Vesuva, so you can start tapping those for tons of mana? With all the colorless lands the deck contains, it's even tempting to use Crop Rotation not to find some utility land or combo piece, but just to find a Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth for the color-fixing!
Above all, it's real nice to have six lands on the battlefield that end up tapping for 12 mana. Lands that give a little extra are wonderful - which leads me right into today's article topic.
Top 10 (Colorless) Mana-Positive Lands
With a full decklist of Locus lands, Urza lands, and Eldrazi tribal pieces, surely the decklist above got all the lands out there that give you access to multiple mana, right?
Well, let's find out!
Criteria: Lands with a colorless color identity that can make more than one mana, or that can search for two or more lands and put them on the battlefield. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.
Folks are probably wondering why this Top 10 was restricted to colorless lands only. The reason? Bounce Lands.
Now, it's no secret that I'm a fan of the Bounce Lands, from Karoo on down. There's nothing I love more than accessible, budget mana bases. However, these Bounce Lands don't really 'make' multiple mana, do they? Sure, they technically give you an extra mana if you fail to draw more lands, but they only do so by setting you back a turn when you first play them. Combine that with the oddity of the Filter Lands, which would also technically meet the 'make more than one mana' definition, and I felt that it would just be simpler to get right to the colorless stuff that was going to be the most broken anyhow.
10. Guildless Commons
(11,846 Inclusions, 2% of 771,748 Decks)
Welp. The first contender on the list is still a bounce land. Of course it is.
Actually, this is awesome, because it means I get to talk about how Karoo lands let you abuse Land Tax effects again! Alright, what you're gonna want to do is play a Guildless Commons down, bounce that tapped Plains back to hand, then flicker that Boreas Charger after you've sacrificed your other Plainses to Pegasus Stampede to then get them all back with Planar Birth, but not before your Archaeomancer's Map lets you put three more of them down from your hand because of your overabundance from last turn's Oreskos Explorer....
9. Urzatron (Urza's Mine, Urza's Power Plant, & Urza's Tower)
(~12,000 Inclusions, 1% of 973,356 Decks)
When discussing the truly pie-in-the-sky, 'magical Christmas land' stuff, I feel like the quintessential example is Urzatron in Commander. Getting three specific lands into play isn't that big a deal in the world of 60-card Constructed formats, but doing so in a 100 card singleton deck is very difficult. So why do these lands show up in 12,000+ EDH decks? Well, if you look at their EDHREC pages, you'll see that every single Top Commander that plays the Urza lands is either an artifact deck, a colorless deck, or both. In other words, these are decks that are essentially playing them as Wastes with hypothetical upside.
That hypothetical upside probably makes for a great story when you manage to luck into all three Tron lands without tutoring for them, which is, after all, what Commander's all about.
8. Shrine of the Forsaken Gods
(13,231 Inclusions, 1% of 973,356 Decks)
Eldrazi tribal may not be the most popular archetype (to be exact, it's currently the 14th most popular tribe, with 3962 decks), but there's no doubt that just about any deck that wants to make a lot of mana will at least stop to consider a few of the Titans. As you saw with my Kura brew up above, this is what I did as well. Sure, there might only be three Eldrazi total in there, but when you're able to get a Conduit of Ruin down on turn three to then race to an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger on turn five, Shrine of the Forsaken Gods, Eldrazi Temple, and Eye of Ugin all start to look pretty worth it.
7. Crystal Vein
(13,763 Inclusions, 1% of 973,356 Decks)
Most decks aren't looking for pesky tribal restrictions, though. They just want their mana, and they want it now!
Well, if you're into payday loans and the like, then might I introduce you to Crystal Vein? It'll work as a Wastes the same as Urza's Tower or Shrine of the Forsaken Gods will, but when you really need that mana now, it can also sacrifice itself to tap for two. That might not be a great long-term decision - if you're playing fair, that is. Most decks that playCrystal Vein rely on Crucible of Worlds effects alongside Azusa, Lost but Seeking, allowing Crystal Vein to flip in and out of the graveyard and make tons of mana.
6. Lotus Field
(16,733 Inclusions, 2% of 973,356 Decks)
Oh hey! Here's another opportunity to talk about ways to make sure you're always 'behind' in your mono-white deck that contains Land Tax effects. See, what you're gonna want to do with that Ghost Town is return it to your hand right before your Cartographer's Hawk deals combat damage so you can activate Mindless Automaton....
Right, right, sorry, let's focus on Lotus Field. Aside from ensuring you have 'fewer' lands than your opponent, this Lotus Vale knockoff also has quite a bit of upside because of its fancy keyword. Hexproof was probably only ever included on the card to make sure that you didn't get three-for-one'd by an opposing Strip Mine, but it's also an excellent thing to have when animating lands. For example, Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper wants nothing more than to throw 12 +1/+1 counters onto a hexproof or indestructible land and begin swinging through with a huge, flowery monster. Combine that with parity-breaking untap effects (Frantic Search if you're a nice person, Hokori, Dust Drinker if you're not), and there are ton of reasons you might want a three-for-one land that probably doesn't get you three-for-one'd.
5. Krosan Verge
(40,432 Inclusions, 4% of 973,356 Decks)
One of the oldest staples in EDH, Krosan Verge is pretty much an auto-inclusion if you're playing green and white. A land that impersonates Harrow is good enough, but the ability to grab duals or a Mistveil Plains is about as invaluable as it gets.
4. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
(66,544 Inclusions, 7% of 973,356 Decks)
Similarly, if you're playing a mono-colored brew, your deck would probably automatically be better with a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx in it. The $25 price tag is a bit prohibitive, however, so budget builds will, of course, steer clear of this one. Still, if you've got the wallet for it, it's hard to beat a land that comes down untapped early on and taps for ludicrous amounts of mana later in the game.
3. Temple of the False God
(124,606 Inclusions, 13% of 973,356 Decks)
I don't subscribe to the "Temple of the False God is bad" mantra. I will agree that it was overplayed in Commander for a while, but that was because of the more durdly nature of Commander games of old. When nothing but ramp happens until turn four, it's okay to have a land that doesn't do anything early. An important detail about expensive ramp effects is that they gave you extra lands, so you were more likely to make it to Temple of the False God mana. Say what you will about the efficiency of Rampant Growth and Arcane Signet, but they don't guarantee two land drops like Cultivate, Skyshroud Claim, or even Burnished Hart.
Still, the Commander format of today isn't the slower EDH that we used to play, so people are correct to say that Temple of the False God doesn't belong in every deck. So what? Neither does Aetherflux Reservoir, and no one's out there calling that a bad Magic card. Temple of the False God is a card for decks with a high land count, or that want to play slower games. It's still an absolute all-star in low-power games where things are likely to go into the late turns. It's still an all-star in lands-matter deck that's likely to hit the five land mark by turn three. It's still a fine card in your deck with a seven-mana commander.
In short, Temple of the False God isn't a bad card, it's exactly the kind of card we always need more of in Commander: a niche card. It fills a specific role in specific decks, and that means it's a good Magic card, just not a broken one.
2. Ancient Tomb
(127,614 Inclusions, 13% of 973,356 Decks)
For a mere $60 more, you can have a Temple of the False God that works all the time! What's not to like?
Well, to be honest, I don't think this card's data is 100% accurate. This isn't uncommon: sometimes people dream big when theory-crafting a deck online, but that doesn't mean all those cards make it into the deck they actually build in paper. There's an Ancient Tomb in the decklist I posted above, but there's no way I would ever include Ancient Tomb in that deck if I construct it in paper. Heck, I'd opt for an Untaidake, the Cloud Keeper first, cuz that costs $3 instead of $50.
Put another way, when have you ever seen someone put down a Mishra's Workshop in any fashion in a Commander game? For me, the first and only time I've seen it was in a Game Knights episode, and it was played by a guy who has an estimated net worth of $30 million dollars. Ancient Tomb may not be in that league, but it is still expensive enough that I don't think it's actually more popular than Temple of the False God, despite clearly being better. I don't think it's even close.
And that's okay! Magic isn't and shouldn't be a pay-to-win game to begin with, and that's especially true of EDH. For some, that may mean proxying expensive cards to keep up with your ultra-powered playgroup. For the majority of folks, it probably means we play a little slower and a little more suboptimally, so don't be surprised if you get some side-eye when you lay down your Ancient Tomb in a mid-power game, no matter how you acquired it.
1. Myriad Landscape
(217,548 Inclusions, 22% of 973,356 Decks)
Luckily, there's no such debate when it comes to Myriad Landscape! It's not quite at auto-include status (which again, is a good thing), but if you're in a mono- or two-color build, it's probably something you should consider at all but the fastest tables. Being able to fetch two Islands, two Plains, or even two Forests with just one land is a deal just about anyone can get behind, even if you might not have the time to do it immediately on turn three, which is fine, because Myriad Landscape is perfectly functional as a bad Wastes, patiently waiting for the time that you have an extra three mana laying around!
I mentioned Untaidake, the Cloud Keeper in relation to Ancient Tomb, and some folks are probably right to scoff a bit at that, because they're not even close to the same abilities. Even so, I stand by the idea that if you have an expensive or kill-on-sight commander, Untaidake is worth looking at. I think about it like a Jeweled Lotus: if you want your commander in play as early and often as possible, then it's worth at least taking a look at.
In similar fashion, if you're already playing Crystal Vein and you're looking for another land that likes to go in and out of the graveyard, City of Traitors is very interesting. Of course, it's near $300, but by now you know my thoughts about that. This land is also a bit more rigid, but it's not like you haven't played a worse version of a good effect before!
Lastly, I've poked a bit of fun at Land Tax strategies in this article, but Scorched Ruins puts you ahead while you're 'behind', and that's worth looking at even if you might get three-for-one'd on the deal.
Nuts and Bolts
There always seems to be a bit of interest in how these lists are made (this seems like a good time to stress once again that they are based on EDHREC score, NOT my personal opinion), and people are often surprised that I’m not using any special data or .json from EDHREC, but rather just muddling my way through with some Scryfall knowledge! For your enjoyment/research, here is this week’s Scryfall search.
What Do You Think?
My Ancient Tomb and Temple of the False God rants are probably getting people going in the comments as we speak, so why don't we all weigh in?
Finally, what are your favorite multiple mana lands? Are there any that didn't make the list that you think deserve to? Are there any that you don't think deserve it? (I know, I know, Temple of the False God and Guildless Commons, just rain on my parade.)
Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the massive line of white folding tables, efficiently manufactured in assembly lines somewhere in a far-off place for pennies, then shipped to your local LGS or convention center for the majority of the cost.