20 Best Utility Lands for Commander

20 of the Best Utility Lands for Commander

Kristen GregoryCommander

The manabase is arguably what makes or breaks your Commander deck. Other than on-color basics and dual-color lands, what should you fill it with? Kristen has her picks of the best utility lands for Commander.

20 of the Best Utility Lands for Commander

Picking out the best utility lands for your deck is a largely unique experience that’ll depend heavily on your Commander and overall strategy. That said, there are some solid format staples that see play in a wide range of decks, and it’s those you’ll want to consider first. For this list, we’re not going to look at lands that primarily tap for a set amount of mana – so no Triomes, and no dual-type lands like Shocklands. We’re also not going to cover MDFC lands, which – counted though they are as lands in most mana bases – are actually spells while in other zones. They’re also mono-color, and much more niche. 


Before the list proper, I just want to shout out Gaea’s Cradle and Serra’s Sanctum. If not for the cash investment to play these, they’d be pretty high up on the list. As it stands, they aren’t readily available to most players, and so it feels odd to put them on this list. The former can be replaced somewhat by playing Growing Rites of Itlimoc, and the latter has a good substitute in Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, which you’ll find later on the list. 

If you own these, then by all means slam them. 


Bouncing in at 20 are… Bouncelands. I promise the wordplay will improve. 

Bouncelands have gotten much better in recent years, giving a way to bounce those important MDFC cards back to hand. Any player worth their salt should be playing an MDFC early game if they don’t have plentiful lands in hand, and bouncelands are your reward for being diligent. They also help with landfall, particularly certain kinds – such as Plains from Emeria Shepherd, or Mountains from Valakut. In a pinch, you can also rescue a juicy target from land destruction in advance and drop it again later.

Ultimately, they turn one land drop in your hand into two, helping you hit a land drop every turn. 


Haste is incredible, and getting more access to it is only a good thing. Provided you’re in red, you have Hanweir Battlements, Flamekin Village, and even Slayers’ Stronghold to choose from. I tend to run as many as possible if I have haymakers like Etali, Primal Storm or a Voltron Commander, but Hanweir stands above the others given it comes down untapped and asks the lowest investment. If you’re not in red, Hall of the Bandit Lord works out well too – I especially like it in mono-white which really wants the haste.


I think with all of the flashy new options we keep getting – and people’s tendencies to cut lands to scarily low quantities – Emergence Zone has been forgotten about. I must admit, even in decks that I run it in, there are times when I’d rather not drop a land or don’t need to go out of my way to play at flash speed. 

However, when it’s good, it’s great. It can enable you to skirt boardwipes, cast sorcery speed win conditions outside of your turn, and otherwise commit shenanigans for just two mana (and losing a land). Outside of UG/x where you have Alchemist’s Refuge, this thing is the best you’re going to get.


Minamo is at the heart of many a combo, but it’s also just fantastic utility. It’ll untap a Selvala or Jegantha in order to produce Sisay, Weatherlight Captain mana once more. It’ll untap the new Stella Lee and other fun Commanders with tap abilities, from Empress Galina and Arcum Daggson to Emry, Lurker of the Loch. You can find it in the library with a Search for Glory or a transmuted Tolaria West, or an Ulvenwald Hydra


Phyrexian Tower is a fantastic sacrifice outlet. It’ll give you two mana for sacrificing a creature, which, if you’re making tokens, turns this into something akin to Ancient Tomb every turn. While making mana is the buy-in, don’t forget how good having a sac-outlet in the manabase can be. It can trigger your Grave Pact, it can save something from exile removal. It’s also Legendary, so slots into Legendary-matters too.


When you want one, you generally want both, and High Market takes the higher spot here due to the greater flexibility of not having to be in black to play it. It can be used for all of the same sorts of plays, but rather than adding mana, it can trigger lifegain, which can put you over the threshold for some effects, or just trigger putting +1/+1 counters on things. 


Having a sacrifice outlet in your manabase is good, but having a tutor is great. Inventors’ Fair has long been on my list of lands I love putting in my decks. Whether you’re in equipment-voltron, or artifact matters, or you’re just playing a lot of mana rocks and have a combo piece to find, Inventors’ Fair does a sterling job at cashing itself in later in the game. I’d take this over Axgard Armory for sure, and while the new Fomori Vault can be a solid option too, Inventors’ Fair has a lower floor. Plus, it gives you that cheeky bit of lifegain that can help with other synergies too. 


Microsoft Gardens feels like a real sleeper to me. It might be because it’s a rare in a recent set dominated by splashy mythics and on-theme mechanical cards, but it still feels a little under the radar to me. The first time you copy a Sword of Hearth and Home with this is going to feel amazing, and that’s only one of the many interesting things you can do with it. It’s like having a clone in your manabase, if you’re in the right build. 


Much as I’m loathe to admit – being a combat junky – having ways to fog damage is really really good. Maze of Ith is the premier way to do it, and this land can help you out of many sticky situations. It obviously is better in a dedicated lands deck or one that can tutor it up with a Crop Rotation or similar effect, but it’s also very splashable provided you run enough lands (38+) in the first place. 

If the inability to tap for mana truly bothers you, there’s Kor Haven in white, and a flipped Thaumatic Compass as another redundant piece.


What follows Maze of Ith is of course Glacial Chasm. While the power level of this land is indeed high, and could perhaps be higher on the list if we just looked at pure power, I can’t in good conscience put it any higher because it’s so easy to abuse. Fogs are fun as an occasional blowout, or as a little puzzle that needs solving like Maze of Ith. They’re not so fun when they indefinitely halt one of the core aspects of the game.

Still, if you’re playing in a meta where this card feels fair, and people run plenty of removal for it, then Glacial Chasm can really help you if you’re a late-game control or combo deck. 


Just as I’m not a fan of looping Spore Frog, I’m also not so much of a fan of looping Archaeomancer. Maybe it’s because I’ve been there and done that, but these days, I’d much rather run Mystic Sanctuary to get access to a 2nd Cyclonic Rift or Counterspell, and not those spells ad nauseum. It’s not like you can’t do that either with Mystic Sanctuary, though; you just need a Trade Routes

Mystic Sanctuary is a free piece of recursion if you’re playing enough Islands, and I’d be happy to take it any time. 


Those who haven’t played with this card much might be surprised to see it at number 9 here, but the absolute chads that have played with it will know exactly why it’s here. Witch’s Clinic can swing games completely. 

Having lifelink on a Commander in many decks can turn a beating into a double-digit lifepoint swing. Gaining enough life buys you an extra turn, after all, and so having the ability to do so for just three mana total, in your manabase, on an untapped land that otherwise taps for mana? Hell yeah. 


While Witch’s Clinic is good, we’re moving into the big leagues now, and the utility cards we’ve yet to cover are truly best in class. Field of the Dead is a menace, and you’d best hope you have a way of removing it. It spits out a great deal of advantage for basically free – you just have to be playing half and half snow and standard basic lands to get this thing online ASAP.

Obviously in lands decks it’ll excel, but don’t let that stop you putting it in decks that just enjoy having a free token to sacrifice or block with. Good enough to get banned in 1v1 Magic generally means perfect for Commander.


Nykthos makes a lot of mana, it’s true. It’s also way more accessible than Gaea’s Cradle (though who am I to stop you proxying for power level reasons, I think we all do from time to time for cEDH). Commander has more enchantments than ever, and between those and creatures, you have a lot of potential mana lying on the table that Nykthos can help with. It’s particularly good in one and two color decks, which I think is fantastic, because decks playing fewer colors should get some rewards. 


You might notice something about the best utility lands: they all tend to be effects you want in your deck, but would rather not spend the deck slot on including. One of these functions is graveyard hate. It’s very boring to pick one of the small artifacts that keeps things trim, especially if it’s competing with a deck slot for a pet card. That’s why you should never leave home without a Scavenger Grounds in your back pocket, kid. It’s now easier than ever to double-tap on, as well, because you can run the new dual-color deserts for extra fuel. 


I say this as someone that still doesn’t own one, but yes, Strip Mine is fantastic, and easily the best option of this effect for Commander. I’m offering up a wide range of powerful utility lands in this article, and having an answer to those lands in your mana base is a no-brainer. Thankfully, this slot is perhaps the most flexible for opting for a replacement of the effect. Demolition Field is a frontrunner, as is Ghost Quarter. You can’t go wrong, really, as long as you have access to this effect. 


Speaking of access to land destruction, have you seen Boseiju, Who Endures? I mean the answer is likely yes, but in case you haven’t: this is a land that can be discarded to blow up an artifact, an enchantment, or a nonbasic land. Sure, they get to tutor up a basic land typed land – which could be a shockland, or triome – but the flexibility of this thing is bonkers good. It also cycles to achieve the effect, which is a lot harder to counter than a spell. 


Urza’s Saga is, well… excellent. It gets you Sol Ring or Mana Crypt. It gets Shadowspear, or Jeweled Lotus. It gets a whole host of trinkets and doodads, and if you have nothing better to do before it pops, you can use it to make Karnstructs, one of the most powerful token creatures. It’s also an enchantment land, which will trigger some amount of Enchantresses for card draw. 

I can’t understate how powerful this land is in Commander. 


Sol Mana is stupid. It really is. It propels people so far forward so quickly that it feels unfair. It featured in my deconstruction of whether Smothering Tithe is a Fair Card, and while the current format philosophy allows for it because it’s fun, taking every piece available can start to propel your deck upward in power.

Still, it does feel fairer to use Ancient Tomb to cast your six-drop Commander than it does to cast a turn two or three Smothering Tithe. Ancient Tomb is hella strong, and it’s perfect for decks that want to push their power level higher, or decks with high-cost Commanders that’ll get taxed out. 

Some might say that a budget alternative is Temple of the False God, but really, they’re functionally different, because Temple doesn’t hit the field until later. That said, though Temple hasn’t made it onto this Top 20 list, I still think it’s a good card, and statistically you are unlikely to be screwed by it provided you run enough lands and enough card draw. It’s on my shortlist for manabases along with Command Tower for most decks that don’t have a two drop Commander.


“Booo! Fetchland Propaganda!”, I hear you cry. I mean, sure, you could be a little sus that Fetchlands top this list on a website that literally sells cards, but if you’ve read the rest of my content here at Card Kingdom, you’d be hard pressed to find me unable to express my opinion about when cards suck, or when I’ve used proxies, or when I want to way lyrical about cool budget stuff that is hardly going to break the bank. 

Fetchlands are the best utility land in Commander because they let you play the game. They let you have access to all of your colors. They help you to thin the deck and access better draws, and when combined with other effects, can be entire engines on their own.

I wrote about the BAE lately – the Boros Advantage Engine – and fetchlands are a key part of it. They help Boros decks ramp, and considering Boros is pretty far away from the powerful green landfall synergies, I think that says it all about how good fetchlands actually are. Most decks will benefit from running 2-3 fetchlands plus Fabled Passage and/or Prismatic Vista. And honestly? Even Shire Terrace is good. So are the New Capenna versions of Evolving Wilds. Mana fixing is great. 


Building a manabase doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s also a place to leverage consistency, power, and utility in your deck. Ship some of the best effects you need into your manabase and you’ll see things click into place. While there are oodles of powerful utility lands to choose from, just remember to run enough Basic Lands. I don’t like going below 20-22 in mono color, 14-16 in two color, and 10 in three color decks.