Lands are something every Magic deck needs. You can’t play anything without mana right? Well some lands go above and beyond, doing extraordinary things and breaking your wallet at the same time. Let’s have a look at some of the best of all time!
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#5 // Man lands
Man Lands changed the game forever when they were introduced and are currently wreaking havoc in standard once again thanks to the nasties in Worldwake, most notably Celestial Collandade and Lavaclaw Reaches. Man lands are a big factor in nearly all formats and are still underrated by a lot of players that don’t realize just what they add to the game. Back in its heyday, Treetop Village would simply win tournaments and Mutavault is still a base card in Tribal decks of all types.
Some of the jewels in the Man Land tiara are Treetop Village, Mutavault, Mishra’s Factory, Blinkmoth Nexus, and the current Worldwake quintuplets.
Man lands give lands a chance to break away from the mundane and actually have a hand in killing someone. No longer do they just have to sit there tapping and untapping, some of them can hit someone in the face. If we were a piece of dirt that could slap people in the face when they walked by, well, just sign us up.
They add a whole new dynamic to the game as most wrath effects won’t kill them and they add a layer of strategy that wasn’t there before, changing the way people play the game. Killing lands is much harder than killing creatures and that’s where their strength lies.
Coolest thing to do with: Attacking Jace the Funslayer.
#4 // Dual lands
These are the original lands that go both ways. What they do is allow a player to fix their mana easily and the kicker is that they count as both land types. That means you can fetch these babies up with sac lands to have an easier time fixing your mana or sac your two Taiga’s for a Fireblast which you can’t do with nearly any other non-basic land (with the exception of the Shock Lands from Ravnica).
But obviously the reason they’re on the list is because there is absolutely no drawback to using them. Weaker versions either come into play tapped or don’t untap your next turn or do 2 damage to your face or even bounce other lands back to your hand.
The only drawback is how much they cost nowadays. You could feed starving children in China for a year for what some of you people spend on Underground Seas. Is it worth it? Star City Games says so.
Coolest thing to do with: Make newer players feel inadequate.
#3 // Tolarian Academy
If there was ever a totally broken land, this is it. I mean seriously with all the cheap or zero cost artifacts in the game you can collect blue mana like the Gulf of Mexico is collecting oil. Affinity anyone?
Tolarian Academy’s step brother Gaea’s Cradle could have been on the list but the power level on the Academy is just so much higher with what you can do (ei because it gives you blue mana) with it. Creatures are so easy to kill which can hamstring the Cradle while artifacts aren’t, which means you’ll probably get a lot more longevity out of the Academy.
The Academy was the format defining land during the Urza’s block and launched the ever popular “combo winter” that everyone loved. You would have decks with nearly 30 artifacts, Academys and Stroke of Genius. Yahtzee!
Coolest thing to do with: Tap. The only thing better then a blue mana is a shit-load of blue mana.
#2 // Strip Mine
What’s better than playing a land that does something amazing like Tolarian Academy? Playing a land that can destroy it. Obviously Strip Mine is more powerful then Wasteland or Tectonic Edge which is very evident by the fact that it has been banned or restricted in every format that it has ever been in because it’s just that powerful. It can answer pretty much every other card on this list and your opponent can’t do jack about it.
Strip mine can change games almost single-handedly. You can tap it for mana when you need to so it doesn’t slow you down and, even though you lose a land to destroy a land, it can swing the tempo in your favor whenever you want by destroying something that is special to your opponent like his $200 Tabernacle.
Really the only thing in the game that stops Strip Mine is a card that only costs one blue mana which leads us to the best land of all time…
Coolest thing to do with: Destroying an opponent’s $200 land with a two dollar uncommon.
#1 // Island
The Island is the single card that changed the face of Magic forever. When everyone else was wanting to play Savannah Lions or Llanowar Elves you could play cards that would prevent them from doing anything, especially have fun.
Preventing people from doing anything while playing a game for fun seems like a non-douche move to us. What’s more fun than not doing anything and just sitting there with your thumb up your butt while your opponent pings you to death with a Prodigal Sorcerer? Dental surgery? Let’s not do anything for 15 turns until I finally drop a Baneslayer or a Sphinx when you have finally given up on life. Good gameplan!
You can do so much crazy shit with an Island it’ll blow your mind, especially if you HAVE MORE THEN ONE! You can end a turn at any time, reset the game at any time, draw handfuls of cards, take an extra turn, take control of nearly any permanent that you “allow” your opponent to play, oh you just paid 27 mana for something? I’ll counter it AND add the mana to my mana pool next turn. Stifle, Daze, counter a spell without even TAPPING an Island ala Force of Will? HOLY SHIT.
In all honesty, when an Island hits the table you should probably just scoop and do something fun like mailing all your Magic cards to us.
Coolest thing to do with: Make the game not fun.
Honorable Mention: Cabbal Coffers, Maze of Ith, Academy Ruins