Tricky Terrain Modern Horizons 3 Commander Precon Upgrade Guide

Tricky Terrain: Modern Horizons 3 Commander Precon Upgrade Guide

Jacob LacknerCommander

Modern Horizons 3 releases on June 14th and this time around a Modern Horizons set comes with Commander preconstructed decks. The Tricky Terrain deck is perhaps the most unique of these new decks as it is a Simic “lands matter” deck that approaches lands in a couple of very novel ways. In this article, I’m going to look at the contents of the precon and suggest some upgrades.


Omo has a really unique ability thanks to her “everything” counters. She can put them on both creatures and lands, but this deck is really only geared towards taking advantage of the latter. “Every land type” means every non-basic land type. In other words – Desert, Locus, Cave, Gate and so forth.

While Omo is unique, I have some serious concerns about actually using her as the commander for this deck. Her everything counters only do something if she’s on the battlefield. This means your deck’s whole game plan can go up in smoke the moment she dies. 

That’s a pretty big problem too, because it means if you’re running a bunch of different payoffs for the various land types, they can often become completely useless until you get Omo on-line again. For this reason, the best Omo deck is probably only built around one or two basic land types instead of all of them. Right now, there just isn’t enough support for any of those types.

For that reason, I wouldn’t fault anyone for using the secondary legendary creature in this precon as the Commander. In fact, in an earlier version of this article I was leaning in that direction myself.

While Jyoti doesn’t do anything with land types, the broader strategy of Tricky Terrain is to ramp your mana and power out amazing spells. Jyoti helps you do this. It gives you lands, it ramps your mana, and it has an ability that buffs creature lands, including the token it makes. It’s also best to use as a Commander since if you cast it from the command zone you’re always getting at least one Forest Dryad. Furthermore, the fact it generates lands almost means it helps you pay its own Commander tax, and that’s no small thing. 

It was a tough choice, but in the end I think sticking with Omo is the best plan for this precon. This is because the deck comes with lots of powerful payoffs for having lands of various types, and if you decided to switch to Jyoti these cards would become significantly worse. I also think Omo’s unique design makes her more fun.


In addition to these two new legendary creatures, the deck also contains 12 other new cards. Most of them help the deck ramp mana, pay you off for having lands of a specific type, or assemble a critical mass of lands with a specific land type. 

Let’s start with a look at the new nonbasic lands payoffs.

Sage of the Maze is an awesome mana creature that can really allow you to play things way ahead of schedule. It’s also a great payoff for playing Gates since the land animation ability becomes more potent the more Gates you have. She can use them to untap too, so sometimes she might be able to send an army of lands at your opponent.

Meanwhile, Desert Warfare is a very powerful desert payoff. The card worries me a little bit because it’s effectively blank if you don’t have any deserts around, but the upside is worth it. Once you have five or more deserts, it starts spitting out a Sand Warrior army.

March from Velis Vel lets you animate all of your lands with a specific land type. It’s a little bit finicky for sure, but the deck can get enough lands in play with the same type that the March will be powerful both times you cast it.

Wonderscape Sage lets you loot by returning lands to your hand, but in this deck you’re usually going to be returning a nonbasic, so you just end up netting a card. Additionally, some lands in this deck have ETBs, and she can help you rebuy those.

While the Sage, Desert Warfare, and March of Velis Vel are payoffs, Copy Land can help you assemble those land types. In addition to having Copy Land enter as a copy of a land with one of your all-important land types, the deck also has several very powerful nonbasics that you’d be thrilled to have more than one copy of. For example, getting an extra Blast Zone can be pretty absurd.

The deck also has a whopping six brand new lands. That’s pretty unheard of, but it makes sense that a lands deck would get this kind of treatment. Most of these new lands are going to be good in this deck, but they are likely to impact the Commander format as a whole, too.

Horizon of Progress is usually going to be able to tap for mana of the colors you need, and it even lets you put lands into play from your hand at instant speed. Should you have the mana and cards, it can ramp your mana. And, if you reach a point where you need more gas, you can cash it in for a card.

Talon Gates comes with a useful land type so Omo and friends are happy about that, but it also comes with a powerful ETB. Phasing out an opposing creature is a good way to get a blocker out of the way, but because you can put the Gate into play from your hand you can Phase things out at instant speed too.

Sunken Palace is a Cave, but I have a feeling it’s going to see a ton of play in Commander decks that don’t care about that because it’s incredibly powerful. Doubling spells and abilities is strong no matter what, but especially when a land is getting it done. It does ask for a well-stocked graveyard and while Tricky Terrain isn’t super adept at making that happen, there are plenty of Commander decks out there that can.

The other new lands in the precon are all about the deck’s land type theme. Lazotep Quarry is a desert itself and a great desert payoff – if you have a desert and some mana, it lets you make token copies of creatures in your graveyard.

Planar Nexus is the perfect land for this deck, as it makes sure you’ve got at least one of every land type. Basically, it’s like it already has an everything counter on it. 

I’m less excited about Trenchpost. Even Omo is going to have a hard time getting you enough loci for the activated ability to be meaningful.


Upgrades to Tricky Terrain should be geared towards increasing the number of lands with useful types and payoffs for playing them. Let’s start with a look at the lands, because there’s really no reason that you should be running more than a handful of lands that don’t already come with a non-basic land type. If you do that, you make it so that your plans don’t completely fall by the wayside when Omo is stuck in the Command Zone.

First, there are three very affordable Caves that are great in this deck.

Echoing Deeps can copy lands in the graveyard while still remaining a Cave. So, it has the potential to have more than one basic land type. Pit of Offerings is a land that offers graveyard hate, something that is seemingly always useful in Commander. Sunken Citadel makes it easier for you to pay for the plethora of land activated abilities in the deck.

There are also three Gates that this deck could use.

All three of these have the Gate type and they also give you a bonus for having lots of Gates. If you have extra Gates around, Baldur’s Gate generates more mana, Gond Gate has the ability to produce more colors of mana, and Heap Gate can generate treasure.

Lastly, there’s one Desert that is a great fit in the deck. Cactus Preserve can not only usually produce mana of many different colors in most cases, it’s also a creature land!

Here are the lands that I removed to make room for these more synergistic ones.

-1 Island

-1 Forest



Quandrix Campus

Thornwood Falls

Lair of the Hydra

So, now that we have a better assortment of nonbasic land types, we need to add some more payoffs for having them. While Tricky Terrain has some ways to tutor up lands, the deck could use even more of them. After all, part of what’s great about this deck is you have lots of awesome utility lands. Those get a lot better when you can search one up that is good in a particular situation. 

Realms Uncharted is a Green Gifts Ungiven. It lets you tutor up a whopping four lands and even though you don’t get all of them, it isn’t very difficult to put your opponent in a pick your poison scenario.

Omenpath Journey searches up five lands. You don’t get them right away of course, but the Journey not only grabs your good utility lands, it also ramps your mana.

Traverse the Ulvenwald can only tutor up basic lands at first, but once you have Delirium it can tutor up any land or creature. While this deck is more into lands than anything, being able to tutor up a creature at will obviously has some utility too, especially because some of the big win conditions and payoffs in the deck are creatures.

Speaking of payoffs, that’s the last area of the deck that could use an upgrade – cards that get better with the more lands you control with specific nonbasic land type.

Colossal Rattlewurm will usually have Flash in this deck, and if he gets milled or goes down, he can be used to tutor up Deserts. Dune Chanter fixes your mana and makes all your lands everywhere into deserts. That’s pretty sweet with the Rattlewurm, who can tutor up any land once that happens.

Cosmium Confluence is a Cave payoff. Not only can it tutor them up, it can also animate them, and it also gives you some nice incidental Enchantment hate.

Here are the cards I removed to make room for these nonbasic land payoffs:

Fog Bank



Summary Dismissal

Mirage Mirror

Seer’s Sundial

You can find my updated deck list here


While Tricky Terrain is already quite powerful and can be upgraded with a pretty small investment, there’s still more that can be done.

This is an excellent deck for Field of the Dead. You don’t have to go out of your way at all to end up with seven or more lands in play with different names. In fact, if you’ve got seven lands in play at all, they are very likely to have seven different names without even trying. The Field is an insane engine in a deck like this one.

Boseiju is an excellent utility land that can deal with problem permanents at instant speed. This deck has several ways to get lands back from the graveyard that can allow you to really abuse it.

There are also two powerful land tutors that can make the deck even more consistent. Sowing Mycospawn is brand new, so it’s a little surprising they didn’t put it in Tricky Terrain in the first place. It tutors up any land on ETB and even puts it into play untapped. And if you kick it, you can even go after your opponent’s mana at the same time.

Elvish Reclaimer can give up lands in play to search up any land, and it even grows into a more significant threat in the later stages of the game. 


The Tricky Terrain deck is a little bit well…tricky, but there’s lots of fun to be had with such a unique Commander. I hope you have fun messing around with all the different nonbasic land types. I know I will.