Welcome back! We’ve all heard that the best ventures involve buying low and selling high, so after calling for the evisceration of all lands a few weeks ago, it’s time to invest!
Today, we’ll be talking about some of our most colorless manabase buddies: lands with no color identity, which can fit into any deck. The goal here is to help develop a sense of what’s available in the market, and to enhance your portfolio of decks with some simple, budget-friendly upgrades. Let’s get started!
Perhaps this isn’t a card people will be talking much about, but Commander players everywhere will definitely be grateful for a Masters 25 reprint. When Myriad Landscape made its debut in Commander 2014, it saw a huge swell in demand, and for good reason. Landscape plays a huge role in developing early turns for non-green decks that have a hard time accelerating. As a mono-colored player, I find Landscape rewarding in most of my decks; I play it often, and I think you should, too.
Back when I talked about Hour of Devastation, I made a bold prediction that Scavenger Grounds had potential to join the company of Reliquary Tower in the “auto-include” conversations people like to have about utility lands.
While EDHREC stats and market prices are trending up, I’m going to call this a wash for one reason: People who play graveyard hate generally like to have their own graveyards at their disposal. Because of that, I can’t see Scavenger Grounds reaching the long-term, top tier potential I was talking about. It can’t get out of its own way.
Still, we shouldn’t underestimate it. Heavy Red, White, and/or colorless decks tend to be the biggest winners, as they also tend to want to play the game with what’s on the battlefield and what’s in their libraries as opposed to other zone interactions, thus turning mutual punishment into a very one-sided situation.
The land reprint with the most resounding community joy might be Ash Barrens, even over Rishadan Port! With the growing popularity of Pauper and the development of complex Commander mana bases, this was a huge get, especially in the effort to lower casual format barriers.
Functionally, Ash Barrens plays more like a spell to me, and I hope players treat it as such in deckbuilding. Most players I’ve talked with like to run really tight land counts, and if that’s the case, Ash Barrens will be a great answer for multi-colored mana bases.
MIKOKORO, CENTER OF THE SEA
As my favorite land, this Masters 25 reprint was a fantastic surprise. In the year or two between when I started playing Commander and when Temple Bell was printed, I snapped up cheap copies to help find more threats in my Green decks. Spoiler: It was great, and still is!
While Mikokoro’s still far and away the best of its kind, we’ve begun to see a slew of lands in the same wheelhouse, and that’s awesome. Geier Reach Sanitarium is the closest cousin to Mikokoro, and is even slightly more favorable for anything graveyard-based. I’m also a huge champion of Merfolk Looter, so it should be no surprise that I like Geier Reach as a nice budget option if you don’t feel inclined to purchase that property in the middle of the ocean.
There are a few other cards in this category that can still get the job done in a pinch. Sea Gate Wreckage and Arch of Orazca are inexpensive Miko-mimics for Green decks with no threats, the latter being just as good for Control decks with a lot of land and nothing to do. Throne of the High City starts everyone’s favorite Monarch subgame at the expense of itself, but has been beneficial to Control decks, particularly non-Blue ones, as they attempt to race by drawing answers to the threats on board.
Shortly after Magic 2011 released, I quickly discovered the nasty synergy between Mystifying Maze and Frost Titan and fell in love. I can’t count the number of times I was able to grind and dissuade players from attacking me with a Maze and four lands untapped.
Maybe it sounds like Maze is just for Control players, but Aggro decks really need these types of lands, too. It’s great when you’re behind, and it also helps Aggro players learn to pace threats. While adding pressure to the board is always part of the deck’s plan, having the flexibility to wait and force a Wrath holds a Control player accountable, and I really, really like that. I play it in every deck where the mana allows it.
Many players tend to favor functional reprints of a card that’s just better than the others. There’s no case where that is more common than when we talk about artifacts. Sometimes we just need that one Vedalken Shackles, or Darksteel Forge.
Outside of the artifact heavy hitters (Breya, Daretti, Sharuum, Kemba), Buried Ruin tends to be underrepresented, so let me make a few cases for its inclusion. Titania and any Crucible of Worlds-focused deck wants their Buried Ruin. So do Reaper King and Platinum Angel decks, Aggro lists with Akroma’s Memorial, and Sen Triplets decks. Even if they aren’t running another artifact, having support for that one artifact is really good. Having it tap for mana is even better.
Inventor’s Fair is by no means a “fair” card for artifact decks. It’s a huge coup, enabling silly Scepter, Throne, and Crown of Empires combos, while also being Spike-y enough because it gains a little bit of life before it goes to get Mindslaver.
For budget, fairness, and its great name, I tend to play a lot of Tectonic Edge. We all know the prevalence of Strip Mine and Wasteland, and Tec Edge is both a great extra copy, as well as a nice substitute if you don’t have either of its powerful predecessors.
Still, what makes Tec Edge so great is the sort of chivalrous intention in its design. Often, people play Strip Mine and Wasteland with every idea of keeping their opponent off of any land or from casting any spell. Tec Edge is simply there as a sign of respect, to be used to eliminate problems. Bookended between its nonbasic restriction and the conditional four land clause, Tec Edge helps support goodwill and the Commander social contract for people who don’t like getting their lands blown up while also threatening to stop Cabal Coffers, Gaea’s Cradle, and the rest of the format’s better lands.
Do you have any favorite utility lands? Be sure to let us know on Twitter at @Card_Kingdom!
Header design: Justin Treadway
Header image: “Myriad Landscape” by Richard Wright