Hello Magic enthusiasts! Welcome to the continuation of my series on utility lands. Last week I covered Black, Blue, Green, Red and White lands, and today I’m moving on to lands that have a multicoloured identity. What does that mean? It means two or more different mana symbols in the text of the card. There are plenty of lands that produce any colour of mana, but do you know off the top of your head how many lands have all 5 mana symbols in their text? Consider that a trivia question. Answer below.
I’ve broken this post up into Cycles of Ten, Cycles of Five, Incomplete Cycles, and One Offs. The majority of the first three parts are mana-producers. The majority of the last is utility lands. I’m hardly going to mention foils unless there’s something of note. For the most part, foils of utility lands are expensive. Very expensive when you consider play in competitive formats. There’s a lot to break down, and we’re starting at the top.
Cycles of Ten
The original cycle of dual lands, or OG Duals, are arguably the best dual lands ever printed. What’s the counter-argument? Some combination of cost and corner cases like Grove of the Burnwillows (see below) whose drawbacks become advantages in the right deck. But even the right deck would play these if it could. They come in untapped, make two colours, and are fetchable by anything that fetches by type, including Fetchlands. But I can’t recommend these things, because the counter-argument of cost is a pretty serious one. First off, these lands are on the Reserved List. So what we have is what we have. Second, the only printings are from the four original ‘core’ sets, Alpha, Beta, Unlimited and Revised. Some of those printings had errors, and some lands were left out altogether.
Volcanic Island (UR) was missed in Alpha, and only has 3 printings. A Beta copy might run $12,000. Revised might cost $500. Underground Sea (UB) is $13,000+ for Alpha, and $600+ for Revised. Bayou (GB), Tropical Island (UG) and Tundra (UW) range from $7000+ Alpha to $350+ Revised. Badlands (RB) ranges from $4000 Alpha to $300 Revised. Taiga (RG), Savannah (WG) and Scrubland (WB) have a similar top end to Badlands, but Revised copies are in the $200 range.
Plateau (WR) ranges from $3500 Alpha to the $150ish Revised version. The Revised art was different because the original became corrupted. A different age. If you have these and are okay with playing with very expensive lands, go for it. If you have serious cash to spend and want to have these on demand, a playset of Revised versions is only as much as some used cars. A fair amount of people treat these lands as investments. It’s tough to gauge the future of these cards, as many of them are in safes and lockboxes accruing value. No matter what the state of the Magic economy is, these cards will always have incredible function, but conversely, there are dozens of options that aren’t far off.
Not far off the OG Duals are the Shock Lands, which will Shock you if you want them to come in untapped. Like our OGs, these have basic types, and can be fetched, etc. While these are reprinted regularly, they are also in pretty heavy demand most of the time. Modern plays lots and lots of these, and many Modern players simply get playsets. These are currently in print, which means we have Standard demand as well. But we also have extra copies on the market. I’m of a few minds here.
First, these are of extreme utility, and I do recommend getting a playset that you can use across your decks. That being said, they’re still expensive. Most go for $8-10, and the blue ones usually go as high as $10-15. Getting a copy for each of your decks might be too much, and if you want to keep multiple decks together all the time, these guys add up. You might be best served waiting for the Ravnica sets to rotate out of Standard, and getting your copies then. There will be a large supply, and Modern players often have them. I wouldn’t expect them to be much less than $5, though.
One place to get these lands going forward might be in supplements. The Brawl decks each included a Shock land, and the Golgari Challenger did also. If you are looking for the extra bit of value to push you buy a supplement, check out the lands in it first, and look for Shocks.
The Fast Lands, which come into play untapped unless you have 3 other lands in play, see some Modern play and haven’t seen a lot of printings, so copies can see some interesting effects on their prices. For the most part, the Scars of Mirrodin Fast Lands (ally colours) are in the $15 range, except for Modern must-have Blackcleave Cliffs, which flirts with $50. The Kaladesh Fast Lands (enemy colours) are somewhat cheap. They range from $2-3 for WB to around $10 for UR. Some can be found in supplements, including past Challenger decks. These are likely to be reprinted in a Modern Masters set, as the upcoming planes have different cycles native to them. While these seem like no-brainers for Commander, they are often no better than a Guildgate unless your deck needs them for turns 1-3. I recommend the enemy colours more than the allied ones, as there are fewer options in enemy colours and the Kaladesh copies are still pretty cheap to get.
The Check Lands, which check to see if you have the corresponding basic(s) before coming in untapped, are a regularly printed cycle of goodness. The ally colours been in M10, M11, M12, M13 and Ixalan. The enemy colours appeared in Innistrad and Dominaria. The simple utility of these cards keeps them in constant demand and near a $5 price tag for each. That’s still not cheap, but it’s better than a lot of options. These are sometimes cheapest while in print and at peak supply, but might be more because of Standard demand. They also appear sometimes in supplements. These are worth getting, but look for copies as cheap as possible.
The Pain Lands, which deal 1 damage to you in order to produce either of two colours, are actually a set of tri-lands, since they produce colourless mana as well. Applications for the C are pretty limited now, but some are still very strong. Pain lands are most playable because they come in untapped. It’s also easy to get around the self-damage clause, or to make it work for you if that’s your thing. I highly recommend these, and hope for more reprints soon. Some of the ally ones haven’t been printed since Tenth Edition, but some have appeared in Commander precons, so I’m optimistic for more. Since that range covers Ice Age and several white-bordered printings, you might be able to find copies for as low as $3, but might see them for as high as $10. The enemy colours were printed recently in Magic Origins, and are also printed in precons. They can be had for $2-5.
The Filter Lands first appeared as a singleton, the Future Sight card Graven Cairns. Future Sight contained new mechanics that someday would see fulfillment, and the mana filtration provided by these lands was brought to light as a full cycle in Shadowmoor and Eventide. Graven Cairns is the only one with the wacky framing, however. It’s also the cheapest, and can be found around $5 for all printings. It was in Iconic Masters as part of the Future Sight land ‘cycle’. The enemy colours, found in Eventide, Masters 25 and Zendikar Masterpieces are around $10-15. The ally colours, from Shadowmoor and Masterpieces are $20-30 or more. They need a reprint, and should be in a Masters set soon. Until then, I don’t recommend these unless cost is no issue, or you found cheap copies, or you really need the colourless mana on your dual land.
The Temple cycle (or Scry Lands) are an excellent and cheap way to fix your mana with some sweet upside. Scry is almost always welcome, and a great ability to re-use with a bounce land. These were most recently issued in Core 20, and shouldn’t be in the new Theros expansion unless Wizards is completely out of ideas. Temples are cheap and available, around $1 each. These will likely be reprinted a lot going forward as well.
This cycle, called ‘Gain Lands‘ here, first appeared in Khans of Tarkir. They’ve been printed heavily since, with no signs of slowing. They’re extremely cheap, being commons, and are easy to get. I highly recommend these, not just for budgetary reasons. Many decks want lifegain triggers, and many 2 colour decks that use enemy colours have very few options in general. They can also be bounced for value.
Speaking of bounce, the Bounce Lands make their appearance. These see plenty of printings, especially in precons. They aren’t likely to be more than $0.50, and can provide a lot of value. The worst case scenario is being forced to bounce your first turn land on turn 2, and then have to discard. Beyond that, these are great mana producers, can bounce your ETB lands for added value, and can even be abused with Amulet of Vigor. Enemy-colour versions shine best because of few options.
With each visit to Ravnica, Guildgates look better and better. Guildgates offer synergy with a number of spells, and even have a wincon built in with Maze’s End. As budget mana fixers, Guildgates can be had for next to nothing. Perhaps the best reason to play Guildgates is the card Circuitous Route, which can grab two from your deck, or else a couple of basics, and put them into play. Even in a 2-colour green deck, summoning a dual land to the field is great stuff.
The modern Taplands are the baseline for function as far as budget duals are concerned. I find I use the enemy colour ones sometimes because of few options, as I’ve mentioned above. These are cheap and do the job.
Creature Lands, sometimes called Man Lands, are a cycle that began in Worldwake and was completed in Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch. Lands that get up and go are a Zendikar thing, and while these are a cycle, represent a wide range of abilities from across the adventure plane. Many are of minimal impact in games, especially in Commander, and overall, these lands have high activation costs. Creeping Tar Pit is possibly the best of the bunch for Commander, as it cuts through clogged boardstates, wearing nasty Equipment or threatening Planeswalkers. It was very expensive, but has dropped considerably since being printed in Ultimate Masters with the rest of the ally half of the cycle. Non-foils can be had for around $5, and foils are $10. The Ultimate Masters Box Topper foil without borders (UMBT) is about $40.
As a big strong flyer with vigilance, Celestial Colonnade is a pretty solid option, and probably the best clock among the Creature Lands overall. The activation cost is high, but plays well with control strategies, often in these colours. Like Creeping Tar Pit, prices dropped a lot with Ultimate Masters. Currently these are $10-15, and foils are around $40. The UMBT and art-art buy-a-box promo from Worldwake are both in the $50+ range.
Hissing Quagmire is one of the best Creature Lands because of the relative strength of Deathtouch. This trades with a lot, and while you lose a land, you’re in green, and the trade might be worth it. Deathtouch plays so well in combat, on both sides of it, that this is a great inclusion in Golgari decks. Not to mention the lack of options in the colours. This is still cheap at $2 or less, with $5+ foils. Expect a reprint for this entire side of the cycle, and for some to be included in precons.
Raging Raving isn’t amazing, but the inherent aggression of the Elemental creature and the +1/+1 counter suit the colours well. This gets much better with things like Proliferate and Hardened Scales, and the counters stick even if the land isn’t a creature. Once a $15 card, this is down near $2-3. Foils and the UMBT are $30-40.
Shambling Vent offers a very small body for the Commander format, but Orzhov (black and white) is a colour that leverages lifegain well. It’s not hard to find somebody open to attack with this if you need that trigger. For around $1-2, and $5 for foils, this is reasonable on the budget, and will shine in the right deck.
Wandering Fumarole is fragile either way the abilities are, but a few extra points of damage or defense can be all the difference. The corner case here is something like Crackdown Construct, which gets a bonus whenever an ability is activated.
While this is barely Commander playable, an arbitrarily large creature is nothing to sneeze at, and if we see something like that ability on a legend, Wandering Fumarole might be a must-have. This is around $1, and about $5 for foils.
While Double Strike is one of the best combat abilities ever imagined, Needle Spires suffers from the problem that plagues the white-red combo: mana. This has some crazy potential with things like Equipment, and is great to untap with on an empty battlefield after a sweeper, but the activation can be expensive for the colours, and the potential of losing the land is scary. If an opponent can muster up a single damage from a ping effect, or a -1/-1 counter, this is too easy of a target. Still great to throw into some very aggressive colours, and at $1 or less, and $2-3 for foils, is recommended for red and white decks for sure.
Hexproof is another excellent creature ability that kind of fizzles a bit on a Creature Land. Lumbering Falls is just too small, and the Hexproof ability too niche, to ever matter that much. This does wear Equipment well, and gets around Maze of Ith and similar effects, but with a 4 mana activation, is something you’re probably doing as a last resort in these colours. As always, and especially with the enemy colour duals, these are still highly playable, and let you find your own optimum corner cases. $1 or less, and $2-3 for foils.
Stirring Wildwood has the most printings of all the Creature Lands, with a Commander precon and Duel Deck appearances. That means it’s cheap. While 3/4 could be worse, this is mostly either an emergency blocker, or a rattlesnake threat to token flyers. Non-foils are under $1 and widely available. Worldwake foils are $5-6, and the UMBT is around $15.
Lavaclaw Reaches is widely considered to be the worst of the Creature Lands. With no natural evasion, and in colours that don’t do big mana so well without Storming off, this is often too little to be anything more than a chump. Decks that keep the board clear with stuff like Pestilence can use this for a piece of tech (Pestilence all turn, activate this after to keep Pestilence in play) or for a slowish clock. Topdeck wars happen, and mana sinks are useful. Copies are around $1, and foils are $5 or so, and the UMBT is $15+.
Rounding out the cycles of ten are the Tri-Lands. These are major staples, as there are few options at all for lands that produce more than 2 colours. Fewer for budget decks. While these might not make some 5 colour builds that run cycles like Guildgates, they’re must-haves for 3 and 4 colour decks. Commander precons have become the best source of these lands, and while they may not show up in Standard any time soon, are widely available. These can be found for around $1. They tend to be cheaper from the newer precons, so look for those. There are also some weird promo foils to watch out for, if you’re looking for bling or alt-art cards. Since the Tri-Lands are pretty much casual-exclusive, even the foils are $2-3.
Cycles of Five
Appearing in Battlebond, the Bond Lands may shake and stir the financial markets if they aren’t reprinted often. At one point, these were all $5 or less, and now only Spire Garden (RG) is under $10. I doubt that lasts. Morphic Pool is $20+, and the rest are about $12-15. More likely these will grow to be premium, and we’ll see the rest of the cycle in Battlebond 2 within a few years. Depending on how much the demand for these gets, we may see them in an Iconic Masters-style set, too. These deserve their price tag, as they come in untapped in most Commander situations. The only drawback is no basic type, other than the growing cost.
The Battle Lands, which come in untapped if you have 2 or more basics in their colours, also have the basic types. These don’t look like OG Duals or even Shocks in the first few turns of the game, but the later things go, the better these get. I would expect that we get the enemy colour versions of this cycle in the next Zendikar installment, and they’ll be really great for those colour combos, as they only have OGs and Shocks as basic-typed options. These lands do a lot of work for not much money, and are highly recommended. The range of prices and options for each of these lands are too vast to print. There are Expeditions, promos, and lots of reprintings. These seem to be a good fit for Commander precons, so we should see a steady supply. Right now, you’re in for $1-3. Foils and promos scale up quickly from there.
The BiCycle Lands from Amonkhet are another set of later-game performers like the Battle Lands. Instead of coming into play untapped more readily, these can be exchanged for a fresh card, so flooding gets easier to deal with. These lands are a great package of mana fixing, flood mitigation and useful types. I’m excited for the rest of the cycle. These are cheap now, but barring a reprint, will grow slowly. Some are climbing past $3 already. You might find copies in the $1-2 range. Foils are getting close to $10. Great lands.
The ‘Reveal Lands‘ could probably use a better name, but Shadow Lands never really stuck. While it’s not usually a good idea to reveal a card from your hand to the opponents, a land is probably fine, especially if it’s a basic. Having these lands come in untapped is pretty achievable but gets more difficult as the game goes on. Not requiring a basic, just the type, helps. The enemy colour version of these lands will be in more demand, as the ally ones have a lot of decent competition. These are currently $1-2, but expect them to climb slowly unless they’re reprinted in precons or something.
The 5 Zendikar Gain Lands are in an unusual spot. They have a functionally identical cycle that sees regular printing. But these see a lot of printings, too, mostly in precons. Will this cycle be completed the next time we do Zendikar? Maybe. I doubt it’s priority, but you never know. For the decks that want these, having two in each of the ally colours is great. They are also extremely cheap. Way under $1.
The Odyssey Filter Lands are a lot like Guild Signets. If you are in a two-colour deck, chances are you want both those colours to cast your Commander. These lands help get you there. The big drawback is that they don’t produce any mana on their own. That can be terribly awkward, worse if you only have the two lands and you need 2 mana of the same colour. These are best if you have a regular outlet for the two colours, like an activation cost on your Commander. Otherwise, I’d play a lot of other things before these, especially in ally colours. Recent reprints are keeping these nice and cheap. Copies are easy to find under $1.
Sometimes cards just need ‘the right Commander to come along.’ I feel like, for Storage Duals, that right Commander was Atraxa, and they still didn’t get there. I doubt I would recommend these cards even for dedicated Proliferate decks. They’re clunky and a lot to keep track of, although the dual versions are light years ahead of the mono-colour Storage Lands. Tapping for C helps a lot, and these could sneak into the occasional deck that wants to pay C for some cost or other. But until we have a Legendary creature that specifically loves storage counters, pass on these. If you must, they’re about $1 each, or $5-6 for foils.
The cycle of Tap-Pain Lands from Tempest is unusual. Other than the unnecessarily clunky design that was quickly updated in Apocalypse with the enemy-colour pain lands, this cycle is enemy-coloured only. Like I’ve been typing all along, enemy colour decks have fewer options for dual lands. That could explain why these are $2-3 each. Maybe it’s scarcity, too, as Tempest is the only printing. Decks that leverage colourless mana and self-damage get a less useful extra copy of a utility land.
The Snow Tap Lands from Coldsnap only come in ally colours, and could be tough to reprint because, until Modern Horizons, snow type was pretty fringe. Now snow type is still mostly fringe, but with a big sloppy helping of mainstream on top. Even with the recent addition of more snow cards, justification for these Snow Tap Lands is pretty slim. That could change. Snow could be a Modern Horizons 2 thing, or even the basis of an upcoming expansion or precon. If a Legend cares about snow, expect stuff like this to pop, but that might be in the same set that reprints these at common. These are around $2 each, and $5-6 in foil.
The original Tap Lands cycle from Invasion and 8th Edition might give your deck some old-school appeal, or fit your theme somehow. As budget mana fixers, you can do better. These are closer to $1 each than many other options on this list. The more modern Tap Land cycle makes these hard to reprint. Nostalgia value might keep them creeping up in price.
The Slow Land cycle is actually two cycles of functionally identical cards, in the same 5 combinations of ally colours. The first comes from Tempest, the second from Champions of Kamigawa. All are pretty bad, which is unfortunate, because the art and flavour of the whole lot is fantastic. The worst part of these lands is a crummy drawback that you have to keep track of. These are very cheap, despite few printings. Avoid until some Legend makes them great. Good luck.
If you were afraid of being confused about the Slow Lands and their ‘sometimes I don’t untap’ ambiguity, and thought they needed a counter of some kind to mark that, fear no longer. The Ice Age Slow Lands (Glacial Lands?) fall under the heading of Depletion Lands, but could be freed from suckitude by a Commander that functions like Solemnity, and prevents counters from being put on things. Then these are straight Duals. If you can move counters around somehow, like with Power Conduit, these might be worth a look, too, but not producing colourless mana and being unable to untap normally makes these almost unplayable. These lands represent cool locations and aren’t that cheap at $1-2. These have a better chance than many cards on this list.
The Lair cycle from Planar Chaos covers the Shards, the combination of each colour with its allies. This cycle is pretty niche and weird, but I hope it gets a reprint for a number of reasons. Obviously if Lair-type becomes more of a thing, these will play big, but they’re part of a very small suite of Tri Lands, and a slightly larger suite of Bounce Lands.They also come in untapped, and do not need the land they bounce to be untapped. Lots of utility to be had, and the prices are slowly creeping up past $2 and $5 for foils.
Does this cycle from Invasion have a name? Does it need a name? These are very cheap, mostly because they’re not that good. If you’re heavy in a certain colour, and only occasionally need a burst of fixing, I’d still recommend a half dozen cards over these at least. If they came in untapped, maybe.
The last cycle of 5 is from one of the lowest points in Magic’s history as a body of design. Homelands may prove me wrong in future, and I sleeved up a copy of Baron Sengir last weekend, but this is a bad cycle of lands that has been completely passed by Unknown Shores and friends. As with many marginally playable lands from Magic’s deep history, they represent cool Locations that should have had a better treatment. Maybe in a future set we’ll get Castle Sengir West or something. Cheap.
It’s funny to think of 6 being an incomplete cycle of lands, but because Modern Horizons introduced 5 Horizon Lands to back up Horizon Canopy, that’s where we are. Horizon Canopy is very, very expensive. Iconic Masters, at $50+ for non-foil, is the cheapest available. The gorgeous Future Sight printing goes for $75+, and $400+ in foil. Iconic Masters foils and the Zendikar Expedition fall somewhere in between.
Why is this innocuous little land so expensive, when the BiCycle Lands, which also fix mana and trade for a card are so cheap? Well, coming into play untapped is huge, and drawing a card in the late game off a resource you have in play is pretty great. I’m sure some decks can even leverage the life payment. In 60 card formats like Modern, these are the kind of incremental advantages that win you Grands Prix. In Commander, this is a nice frill, but hardly necessary, considering the price. The newer Horizon Lands are a lot less expensive, but they could totally get there. They range from about $10 for Silent Clearing (BW) to about $17 for Sunbaked Canyon (WR) which sees play in Burn decks. Time will tell when the other ally versions of this cycle will drop. I like these lands a lot, but the prices keep me back.
Nimbus Maze is one of a few cycles of one, formerly occupied by Horizon Canopy and Graven Cairns. While you can look at the 5 Future Sight Duals as a cycle, 2 have now been fleshed out and it’s totally possible for the rest to follow. Nimbus Maze looks great. The art, too, but a land that comes in tapped and makes 2 (plus colourless) kinds of mana with minimal drawback is hot gas. Or should be. I play this in a deck, and it’s solid, but unless you count the turn it comes in, is usually worse than an Azorius Guildgate. Commander is a format where many different lands can be played, and you might find yourself playing fewer basic-typed lands than you need to make this more than Wastes. I hope the rest of the cycle, if they ever get to it, deviates from this model slightly, because I’m afraid it won’t be played much otherwise. The more colourless matters, the better this can be. $2-3 for Iconic Masters, and that foil and the non-foil from Future Sight are about $5. Future Sight foils, which must be so pretty, are about $30.
Grove of the Burnwillows is a really great mana fixer. Entering untapped with no drawback and making 3 types of mana is fantastic. This should see more play, but some players just can’t give away advantages, and the price tag is a little high. This card has demand from other formats on an ongoing basis. It forms a pretty little engine with this card.
Punishing Fire was banned in Modern for being too strong with the Grove of the Burnwillows, but the pair are played together in Legacy. The Future Sight version is very nice to look at, which did not translate to the Iconic Masters printing. Future Sight will set you back $15+, with foils at a whopping $225+. Iconic Masters and the From the Vault: Realms foil are around $10. Iconic Masters foils are $15 or so. This could be a cycle of cards that gives opponents a benefit, not just lifegain. Time will tell.
River of Tears is like Nimbus Maze, in that it’s way better as a pretty card that seems good than it is in practice. In practice, it’s clunky. Why? Multiple phases, that’s why. You need to sequence land drops, combat, and your spells to use this properly. You can even give away your plan by your sequencing around this card. And while it makes Counterspell mana on your opponents’ turns, you might need to Doom Blade instead. I play with this in one of my decks because it’s pretty and exotic and it does come in untapped. If it makes your colours, you can do worse. It’s currently very cheap, at $1 for Iconic Masters, and about $3 for Future Sight. The Future Sight foil still commands $40, for being so purty.
The Tainted cycle is weird, because one of the ‘cycle’ is a basic Swamp. They also don’t have even printings, so it’s tough to call them a cycle. Each of these lands requires a Swamp specifically to make mana of any colour, but when they do, they can make two colours, one of which is black. Considering they can make colourless any time, these can be sneaky good. They all function just a little differently, depending on the colours. For example, Tainted Field is enemy colours so Dual land options are few, plus it casts arguably the best C mana outlet in Eldrazi Displacer. Whether any colour(s) paired with black mean more Swamps in the deck, or more likelihood of playing Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, is tough to say. You need to play a lot of Swamps, or ways to get them to make the Tainted Lands work. For this reason, Tainted Field and friends might be best for budget decks. Lots of recent printings make Tainted Field comfortably under $1, or $10 for foil. We could see a rehash of this design, where each basic type gets to pair with all the others, but I don’t know how they’ll do Plains. Plainsify a Mountain, Forest or Swamp and you get… a Plains.
Budget black blue decks could use this, but all copies start around $4. It’s tough to imagine demand coming from anywhere but Commander for this. If you regularly fetch for Underground Sea on turn 1, this is fine turn 2 play, I suppose.
Only one printing and Tainted Peak is $3 or so. $10 foils. Too bad, because the combo of black and red makes for some brilliant budget decks that run lots of basics, and this would fit right in. Reprint needed ASAP.
Tainted Wood has a number of recent printings, making it about $1 to buy. Foils from the one printing that did foils are $15, in part because this is probably the best of the ‘cycle.’ Green and black is light on dual lands, but green is the best colour for fetching basics of any kind, making it elementary to get a Swamp on board, even on a budget.
The Tribal Duals ‘cycle’ is another cycle-not-cycle that gets around coming in tapped by revealing tribal-typed creatures. We have 5 cards like this total, but 3 ally colours, and 2 enemy. The tribes may not ‘cycle’ either, as types like Faeries and Giants should probably be Zombies and Soldiers. We may get a few more of these, or be presented with ‘all 10’ in a set. Who knows. Clearly Secluded Glen is great for Faerie decks, but also for Changeling decks too. I’m surprised this didn’t get some sort of call-back from Eldraine. It popped when Alela was revealed, but might drift back down a lot. Currently around $10, or $35-40 for foil.
Elves are one of the most popular and prolific tribes out there, though mostly in green. Gilt-Leaf Palace gets a bit of a boost for Golgari decks by virtue of limited options for enemy colours as well as a large number of utility elves overall. This sees play in some 60 card Elf concepts, and is overall good enough that it is about $25 or $80 in foil. Reprint overdue.
Auntie’s Hovel spiked when Modern Horizons and Core 20 added some Goblin power to the Modern mix. While there are a lot of utility Goblins floating around, and a few black red Goblin commanders, this might be best left for Modern players. $30 regular, and more for foil.
Eldraine brought us a few Giants, but the best way to reveal a Giant for this card is still either Taurean Mauler or Mirror Entity. Running a few Changelings in your Boros deck? That, combined with a price under a dollar, make Ancient Ampitheater worth running too. Foils are around $5, but considering the spikes the other Tribal Duals underwent, they might not stay there. This likely pops at some point if they print a Modern-worthy Giant set, or some more business Changelings.
Wanderwine Hub loves Merfolk, like a certain subset of the population, but I feel like it might have picked the wrong colour combo for them. This would be a lot better in Simic. It’s cheap, at $2-3, and $15+ foils. Zendikar has Merfolk, and Noyan Dar, the Roil Shaper is an Azorius Merfolk Legend. This could be many times the current price after that upcoming Zendikar set is spoiled. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
It’s our trivia answer! Crystal Quarry holds the distinction of being the only land in Magic with all 5 mana symbols on it. Like me, I bet you thought there’d be more. Considering how many lands are capable of producing all 5, it’s amazing that only 1 has them pictured. This also makes colourless mana, although other lands produce ‘all 6’ as well. The mana symbols make this tough to play. It’s 5C identity only, and is a net loss for mana to activate, but it plays super well with Fist of Suns and Jodah, Archmage Eternal among others. Even just fixing from 2 to 3 colours works, and you could run this in a 5C deck that’s heavily one or two colours, like flavours of Kenrith, the Returned King, and have stuff like this for activations. I say that like it’s a cheap option, but it has one printing, and a $7+ price tag, with foils at $40+. Yowza. A reprint would be welcome.
What have we here? Man I hope they do this card as some sort of cycle, because Murmuring Bosk is terrific. I love this card. Why? Well, there’s only so many Tri-Lands, and this is the only one that has a basic type. Forests are easy to fetch, and have plenty of playoffs. Decks with 3-5 colours that run land tutors like Skyshroud Claim and Hunting Wilds should jump all over this. Treefolk aren’t common, but one deck in these colours does play them, and that’s Doran, the Siege Tower.
Treefolk are another tribe that will be big game when some future expansion makes them efficient, nasty threats. Murmuring Bosk also has some weird, corner case applications with self damage. You can find copies for $1 or so, and I recommend you do. So many people play Forest tutors, and your 4 or 5 colour deck that plays them will love this. Morningtide foils are $13-14, but From the Vault: Realms foils can be found around $2-3. If you play Abzan (green black and white) why aren’t you playing this?
While the activation cost isn’t nothing, and pushes you into at least blue and green, Alchemist’s Refuge is an extraordinary amount of power on a land. The obvious use is to cast some business spell or creature on the opponent’s endstep so you can immediately reap the benefits of it. This also allows you to get around cast restrictions on your own turn, and really mess with combat if you want. Since it lasts all turn, you can activate this during your upkeep, or theirs, and cast at will. This is in prime reprint territory, only appearing in Avacyn Restored so far. Copies are expensive, and weren’t always so much, and if no reprint comes, this could keep climbing. $7-10 for non foil, $15-20 for foils.
Desolate Lighthouse is a pretty simple concept: Looting. I’m not sure how that fits in with a Lighthouse, desolate or not, but Looting sure fits in with a lot of Magic strategies. Anything that like to draw cards or discard cards can use this, and that’s a pretty wide range. The best use is always with an extra land in hand and the game on the line. Red and blue aren’t the best Madness or Reanimator colours, but a recent Flashback release rings a bell. This can be found for under a dollar, and foils for $2-5.
Some of the best abilities in Commander are the ones that scale well. Words like ‘any,’ ‘all,’ and ‘each’ can turn a minor thing like a +1/+1 counter into a huge swing. Once you get 3 or more creatures on board, Gavony Township looks pretty good. 5 to 10 or more, and this card is the hottest little Township in Magic. The fact that this can be used at instant speed is just gravy. Obviously go wide decks get the best of this, and the colours suit that. Despite only one printing, this isn’t too expensive. Copies can be had under $5, and foils around $10.
Grim Backwoods has a pretty grim activation cost, but instant speed Sacrifice outlets are always welcome. You can save a creature from theft or exile, get something you want in your yard into your yard, or use something you stole for profit. Or just turn a Saproling into something better. Drawing a card is good. This can be had for under a dollar, with plenty of printings. Foils are Dark Ascension only, and are probably only $2-3 for so long.
It’s probably for the best that not a lot of Commanders have Trample. And that not a lot of Equipment grants it either. And very few lands. Commander damage single-handedly justifies Kessig Wolf Run, but it’s a slam dunk in the colours no matter what. Trample’s utility increases if you have Deathtouch available, too. And a mana sink is always a good idea. Power increases can totally figure outside of combat. If you’re Gruul (red and green) on any level, this should get a look. You can get this for about $5, and $10 for foils. The From the Vault: 20 foil is around $6-7.
While Skarrg, the Rage Pits lacks the raw power of Kessig Wolf Run, it’s still a worthy inclusion in a lot of decks. Trample is amazing, as stated above, and don’t sleep on the slightly cheaper activation than Kessig, or the point of Toughness this adds. A card like this easy for opponents to forget. This is way under $1, but the only foil is in Guildpact, and may be as much as $5.
Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion has a hefty activation in some extremely mana-challenged colours, but Double Strike might be the difference between winning this turn, and not winning at all. Boros (red and white) can wreak havoc in combat, and if there’s a singular creature, especially a Commander, with high power, this can enable a lethal threat. It’s worth a mention that Double Strike at instant speed is rare and powerful. Use without extreme caution! This isn’t around for much less than $2 any more, despite a few printings. It’s good. Foils are $15+.
Vault of the Archangel‘s activation is extraordinarily powerful. Giving either Deathtouch or Lifelink to one creature with your land would be completely reasonable. But both to all of your creatures is just bananas. I can vouch for this. This turns a bunch of random dudes into a scary fighting force, and might gain you enough life to feel good swinging regularly and not worry so much about blocking. Although this card is a house when you consider blocking too. I expect the recent influx of Knights and Knight decks to pick this up and run with it. You can combine this with Fighting, or arrow-based Equipment, or even Crypt Rats and just wipe the board. Tremendous card. This appeared in the Modern Event Deck, as well as Avacyn Restored, and copies can be had for $3-5. Foils are in the $10 range.
Beasts are a tribe that seems to add members here and there rather than all at once. As a result, the available Beast pool slowly gets better and better. The two new Beasts introduced with Throne of Eldraine are both green only, and while the Questing Beast is Legendary, it will have to use Contested Cliffs to fight in some other Commander’s concept. Contested Cliffs can be a simple way for your vanilla beaters like Rampaging Baloth tokens to have extra game, or a nasty way to kill your Protean Hulk. Want to dig deep? Try Coalhauler Swine or Tephraderm. I use this in my Changeling deck, where it’s a great removal piece. Under a dollar, and about $4-5 for foils.
If you don’t count the lifegain trigger, Crypt of the Eternals is a worse version of Unknown Shores. Luckily, lifegain triggers have some applications across magic, and unlike most other lifegain lands, this comes in untapped. Are those justifications for playing this? Maybe. The lifegain colours are often the ones not seen here, though. Both foil and non-foil are under a dollar.
Mill decks are often black and blue, and while a single milled card is a tiny fraction of the hill you’re trying to climb, Duskmantle, House of Shadow is probably in there anyway. You can use this in decks that steal from opposing graveyards, too, or just to hose the player who uses tutors that go to the top of the deck. You can even mill yourself for value. A good little role-player. Under a dollar, and a couple for foils.
Grove of the Guardian makes a huge token, which can easily be populated or just smashed into an opponent. Unless you’re doing something a little extra with that token, or just want some extra oomph in a green white deck on a budget, this probably loses out to a slew of better options. Green and white don’t have too much difficulty outclassing 8/8 tokens, but you never know. Recurring this with something like Sun Titan makes it that much better. Under a dollar for non foils, about $2-3 for foils, and cool alt-art launch foil for about a dollar as well. Grab that one if you like this card.
Moorland Haunt makes me cringe a little. I know there will be plenty of games where the creatures in my graveyard are just fodder for things like Delve and this card’s ability, but trading a creature card for a 1/1 flyer feels like a desperate play. I could be wrong, and this card is terrific insurance and a sweet token engine. I have a Spirit deck that needs an overhaul, and this will get consideration then. About a dollar, and around $4 for foils.
Nantuko Monastery is actually a pretty decent rattlesnake effect if you can get threshold going. The activation is cheap, and 4/4 First Striker can be a handful in combat. This, like Grove of the Guardian, is a good budget option to add some basher potential to your mana base. Less than a dollar, and a few for a foil.
There’s not much to say about Nephalia Drownyard that I didn’t say about Duskmantle, House of Shadow above. This mills 3 for a slightly bigger cost. If you can only run one, it’s probably this one. About a dollar, or $3 for foil.
Nivix, Aerie of the Firemind pairs up really well with Scry. It doesn’t break timing restrictions, and allow you cast Sorceries as Instants, but it is a lot like drawing a card, and that’s pretty good. If you have reliable knowledge of what’s on top, you can do some tricks with this, like exiling cards you don’t want to draw/cast etc. and exiling castable cards in response to mill. Budget red blue decks with lots of spells but no topdeck control can use this to gamble, but be prepared for a few feelbads. Very cheap to buy, including foils, though that probably won’t last.
Novijen, Heart of Progress is pretty obvious in terms of go-wide strategies. Make a bunch of creatures, make em bigger. But you can use this on opposing creatures too, if that suits your fancy. I’m not sure there’s an obvious home for this, or a dirty trick. Pir and Toothy probably want it, but a lot of decks in these colours might. Chulane springs to mind as well. Five colour decks that make tokens or drop lots of dorks can use this, including Allies, Humans and Slivers. You’ll probably have to spend over a dollar for this, but not much more than that. Foils are up in the $7-10 range.
If there’s a deck that can leverage a single life gained or a single life loss it’s an Orzhov (black and white) deck. The activation on Orzhova, the Church of Deals is a little outsized for the effect, but Commanders like Karlov of the Ghost Council can turn it into something better than just a point of gaindrain. Gaindrain is really two abilities in one, and that’s a good way to approach it. Very cheap.
Prahv, Spires of Order has a very expensive activation. One of the biggest on any land. It’s a pretty strong ability, though, and quite versatile. The ability does not target, which is pretty unique, and it doesn’t only prevent damage to you, just from the source. That makes it a great answer to Hexproof creatures bearing down on you, and it can make an Earthquake into nothing at all. Blue and white decks can be the kind who hold up mana until opposing endsteps anyway, and this card fits that kind of strategy like it was designed to. Foils are closing in on $5, but nons are cheap.
Riftstone Portal is a really tricky card to evaluate, as it speaks more of your manabase than your colour identity. The way this card is used in 60 card formats is to make lands like Dark Depths and even Bazaar of Baghdad or the The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale tap for mana. That’s tougher in Commander, because although you have wider access to lands that don’t create mana, playing a lot of them and relying on something like this to fix that will cost you a lot of games. This might work in some sort of landfall or other land-based strategy that can put a card into the yard easily. That’s probably in the future, though. This misses Lord Windgrace, The Gitrog Monster, and Titania, Priest of Argoth, who might be able to use it, by colour identity. The best place for Riftstone Portal currently would be multicolour decks who have discard outlets, even Wheel effects. Plan to throw it away and passively fix your mana a bit. Commanders with a W or G intensive activation cost might try this, too. Copies are around a dollar, or $15+ for foils.
Symmetrical effects, like that on Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace, are made to be broken. It’s easy to imagine how you can get the best of this while your opponents get the worst, especially in red and black. Madness and Reanimator are obvious benefits to self discard, turning opponent discard into gravy. You do have to watch out you aren’t enabling another strategy as much as your own. Some graveyard decks will love you for this, and you won’t love what they do. You also have to watch out for hate, as discard can be really unpopular. Sorcery speed doesn’t hold this card back so much as make it reasonable. If you could force a discard at instant speed, you could do it during a draw step, and lock some poor topdecker out of the game. If the Hellbent deck ever emerges, this will be great for that. Currently it’s niche, and a bit of a gamble to play, but the power is undeniable. Under a dollar, and about $5 for foils.
Seaside Haven is just waiting for that major Bird expansion to explode its value all over the internet. There is a growing flock of Magical Birds, though, and it includes things like the Aven, Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker, and even Derevi, Empyrial Tactician.
Seaside Haven is still pretty cheap, and can be found for under a dollar, or about $5 for foils. I play it my Changeling deck. As always, a sacrifice outlet is big game, and so is drawing a card. There just aren’t that many great target options at the moment.
A Haste outlet stapled to a land is fantastic, and Slayers’ Stronghold provides one. It also gives a power boost and Vigilance, all of which forms a pretty potent package for WR and tap. Why is this niche? Well the real meat of this ability is Haste, and it can be had on other lands for cheaper costs that either have a better upside like Hall of the Bandit Lord, or don’t require white mana. Just on usability, this is the fourth best Haste land, which also makes it the worst Haste land, and it can’t go in any decks the other three can’t either. Stack up all the abilities this land grants however, and it might be the best for your Boros aggro deck, or even your 5C Dragon deck or something like that. There is only one printing, and prices are rising. This might be $4-5, with $15 foils before too long. Reprints are likely.
There are literally hundreds of Clerics across Magic the Gathering’s many planes. Starlit Sanctum is one of the few real payoffs that unite them. Black and white are the big Cleric colours, though this would be great for Yawgmoth, Thran Physician if it fit the colour identity. Both abilities are really useful, and both black and white (and Clerics) have lifegain and lifeloss triggers to abuse. The fact that this produces colourless mana makes it easier to play. I use this for Changeling tribal, where it might be better than with Clerics. My Changelings have no problem outgrowing the 2/2 and 3/3 that is the top end for a lot of Clerics, making the B ability a potential killshot. Starlit Sanctum is under a dollar at present, and $5+ in foil. No Cleric Commander has made this really pop so far, probably owing to small P/T sizes. Morophon decks should take a look at this, regardless of tribe.
Some decks love to kill you with a lot of tiny little damage triggers. Those are sometimes called ‘Death of 1000 Cuts’ decks. Stensia Bloodhall can play in those decks. Mogis, God of Slaughter is a good example of a Commander that does that sort of thing.
2 damage during your upkeep doesn’t sound like a lot, but these decks can stack up a bunch of similar effects. 2 per turn isn’t much, but 5 is a lot more scary, and when it gets to 8 or 4, we have a serious clock. A lot of these effects are passive, allowing for the player to hold up removal, or mana for effects like the Bloodhall. This is a really long way of saying that 2 damage can be a cool repeatable note in your symphony of pain. Maybe as much as a dollar, and $2-3 for foils.
Svogthos, the Restless Tomb has potential to be the biggest land creature out there, but also the smallest. This is clearly something for the late game, and Zombie is a pretty substantial type to have tacked on. Plant isn’t too bad, either, and will get better. You can definitely kill someone with this, maybe even as a 40/40 plus. But there’s a huge drawback, and that’s graveyard hate. Static effects like Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void will turn this off completely, but the worst are instant speed effects that nuke your graveyard, your land, and your mana investment all at once. Scavenger Grounds can turn your massive Plant Zombie into a 0/0. When you know it’s safe to activate, and your yard is full, this packs a good punch. It even makes colourless mana. I played this in my Beyond Vampires deck, but didn’t activate it. This is way under a dollar, and might be as much as $2-3 for foil.
Tournament Grounds isn’t subtle. Knight decks in the colours, and maybe some Changeling decks, will want this. It’s really too bad this doesn’t say ‘any colour’ instead of specifying RWB, as it limits this card a lot. As more Knights, Changelings and coloured Equipment emerge, this will get a bit better. Coming in untapped and making C aren’t nothing, so this is on a decent path to begin its career. This is cheap and in print. Foils might run $2-3.
Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree is the final land in this post. It’s a solid token producer, mana sink, and Saproling-tribal enabler. The cost is a little clunky, though, and the colours have a lot of other options. Castle Ardenvale is probably better. This would be great if it was mono-green. It’s still good, and if you can leverage Saprolings, like Ghave, Guru of Spores, you’re probably excited to play this. Lots of printings keep this cheap, and foils are $2-3.
While this covers the lands with a multi-coloured identity in Commander, there are still a lot of lands that do colour. Cards like City of Brass can do any colour, but the way they’re worded allows them to go in any Commander deck. Next time I’ll break down those lands, which I’m calling the Colourless Rainbow. Thanks as always for reading and may you continue to get utility out of your lands!