Ranking Every Land with EDHREC – Part 2: Banding is too OP

(Expedition Map | Art by Franz Vohwinkel)

Carefully Optimistic

Welcome back! Last time we walked through the least-played lands in Magic, so that means this is where things get better, right?


359: The Tri-Sac lands: 52 decks

(Ancient Spring; 74, Sulfur Vent; 74, Geothermal Crevice; 43, Irrigation Ditch; 35, Tinder Farm; 35)

These don’t seem like absolute trash. They enter tapped, which is gross. They also aren’t great for fixing because they only naturally tap for one mana. On top of all this, they also have shard color identities so the number of decks they can actually be played in is fairly small. Still, they aren’t useless. They produce two mana – not many lands can say that. Sure, they have to be sacrificed to make two mana, but betweenRevolt, Delirium, and general graveyard shenanigans, there’s gotta be some use for the ability. I am surprised Geothermal Crevice isn’t seeing more play in Lord Windgrace. This card seems at least debatable in that deck. Oh! How about playing them with stuff like Balancing Act and Natural Balance! End with a Barren Glory kill?

Over, Under or just right? Underplayed: I’m sure there’s a deck for this somewhere. I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure it exists.

358: Island of Wak-Wak; 56 Decks

It’s very strange to see lands that don’t tap for mana. Wizards made a lot of these in the earlier days of Magic, and in general, they are not good. There are a couple well-known ones that have a tendency to break Vintage, but the rest of them are pretty awkward. Having an opening hand with one of these lands that don’t tap for mana is super awkward and generally not worth the risk.

At least this ability is kinda useful, but then you see the price tag and that about kills its chances in any casual deck. If you can afford to just drop 100$ on a land that’s only good in specific metas, then this is fine. It’ll stop that Dragon from swinging in at you. Much like a Maze of Ith… But then why aren’t you running Maze of Ith?

Over, Under or just right? Just right: The name is funny.

357: (Tie) Elephant Graveyard; 56 Decks

At least this 200$ land I cannot put in my casual Elephant deck taps for mana. The most interesting thing about this land is that moved up a slot between writing the article and posting it.

Over, Under or just right? Just right: I know someone who plays a Karn, Silver Golem deck with this land in it. No synergies, just playing it for the nerd cred.

356: Mono-color Sac lands: 62 Decks

(Bog Wreckage; 100, Timberland Ruins; 87, Abandoned Outpost; 58, Seafloor Debris; 57, Ravaged Highlands; 37)

A less deck-restrictive version of the tri-color sac lands. The black and green ones have found homes in our favorite frog, The Gitrog Monster but the rest are pretty meh. Honestly, the biggest downside between these and the tri-color lands is that they enter tapped. No cute shenanigans with stuff like Second Sunrise or Ramunap Excavator. Plus, seeing these mono-color tap lands in your opening hand feels bad, and these ones can’t even produce two mana, so they don’t even have the cheese potential. There are some better versions of these lands we’ll see later, but other than the ability to be run in more decks, I prefer the other sac lands.

Over, Under or just right? Just right: Basically just for Git Good Frog.

355:Tomb of Urami: 64 Decks

This is one of the most mono-black cards I can think of. How much more power hungry can you get then sacrificing all your lands for a Demon? It’s so metal! The card itself isn’t great, unfortunately. The life loss will add up and if you somehow get to the point where you have to pop this, the 5/5 probably isn’t gonna help against 3 opponents with more life than in a 1v1 game. Still, if you cast Splendid Reclamation, hold priority, and sac all your lands to Tomb, I think you just win the game of Magic as a whole.

Over, Under or just right? Just right: Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest. That is all.

354Rustic Clachan: 83 Decks

I think people see the Kithkin clause and stop reading. This is a great effect for how little downside it has. Having one of your lands be an instant-speed buff when you need it is cool! Yes, a +1/+1 counter isn’t that big alone but Commander decks have so many synergies with counters. Think about this card in Rafiq of the Many. At a minimum, this is two extra damage a combat, and that’s not counting any synergies like Hardened Scales. People love the Cycling lands and this isn’t that much worse, if not better for some decks.

Over, Under or Just right: Underplayed: It’s not a spectacular land but 83 decks is criminally low. I’d play it in any white deck that cares about combat.

353: The Tempest Exert lands: 87 Decks

(Cinder Marsh ; 116, Rootwater Depths; 93, Thalakos Lowlands; 85Vec Township79, Mogg Hallows; 60)

Oh, good! Another version of the Land Cap we talked about last part. I’m so glad.

To be fair, they do fix a couple of things with these ones. First, they tap for colorless, so they don’t have to not untap unless you really need colored mana. This catapults them from completely useless to just pretty bad. Secondly, no more weird templating about removing counters. Now they just don’t untap if you use them, although that introduces a new problem.

Let’s talk about the name I gave them because nobody else bothered to: Exert lands. For those unaware, this comes from the Exert mechanic from Amonnket block. Exerting a creature means it didn’t untap during your next untap step. The issue with this mechanic is that it’s very easy to forget this was used. Untapping is the first thing a player does each turn, every turn, and there were often times where it was correct to not Exert. So while it might not seem like having this one permanent stay tapped is that difficult to remember, with how much goes on in a game of Magic, it’s very easy to forget. This was so much of a concern that Wizards created these little punch card tokens to help you remember.

Now imagine that problem but now with something that is often hidden in a pile with a bunch of other lands and has an even smaller effect you can easily forget you did. Cast a Doom Blade and a [/el]Lightning Bolt[/el] and pass turn and when it gets back to you, oh, did you tap your Cinder Marsh for those? It’s not clear and now the game screeches to a halt as you have to go back through your turn and check. You could put counters on it to remind yourself but now we’re back to the Ice Age lands again!

Over, Under or Just right: Overplayed: Poorly designed and awful cards.

352: Heart of Yavimaya: 88 Decks

Betcha didn’t know Lake of the Dead was a cycle. Probably because the other members of the cycle aren’t as good. Sacrificing a land isn’t the worst if you already have a few lands out but the effect on this card is just okay and definitely not worth the risk. Imagine needing a third land and drawing this.

Over, Under or Just right: Just right: It’s mainly in lands decks with lots of ways to play extra lands and I guess it’s fine in those? Even then though, I’m not sold.

351: Forsaken City: 95 Decks

It goes in precisely one style of deck. Decks that play Stasis. Up for that? Great! Also duck because someone has probably thrown a rock at your head.

Over, Under or Just right: Underplayed: There’s more than 94 decks that want this kind of soul-crushing victory.

350: Archaeological Dig: 95 Decks

It solves the main problem of the other sac lands by entering untapped! It’s still not great, I’m not really into playing colorless lands that don’t do anything meaningful. But hey, at least it’s another toy in the pile of Teletubbies that can never possibly all get played with for Titania and Gitrog monster.

Over, Under or Just right: Just right: All hail our marshy overlords.

349: Halls of Mist: 95 Decks

I put this land into a lot of first drafts for decks but it always gets cut before the deck is finished. Not tapping for mana and the dreaded Cumulative upkeep makes the cost just too high, which is a shame, because the effect is unique and pretty relevant. A Moat that works every other turn sounds great and it’s on one of the least-attacked permanent types in EDH. Maybe it goes in Muldrotha as a sort of stax piece? I’m kind of into it.

Over, Under or Just right: Just right: I don’t think I can advocate more decks running this but it’s really sweet in Chisei, Heart of Oceans.

348: Rhystic Cave: 106 Decks

This is peak Prophecy right here. “We made cards that were way, Way, WAY too powerful and we don’t want to get fired so let’s make a land that does stone nothing if your opponent is feeling punchy.” There’s some weird staxs decks playing Rhystic Cave but I think this thing is unplayable. You know if you play this at a table, someone is going to spitefully pay the one. Every. Single. Time. Play it in your worst cards ever commander deck and nowhere else.

Over, Under or Just right: Overplayed: I think this is actually just the worst land ever printed for Commander. Well, maybe after Paliano, the High City.

347: Oasis: 118 Decks:

An affordable land that can’t tap for mana, oh joy! The biggest mover here seems to be Horobi Death’s Wail but even that seems too cute. These are not lands. For all intents and purposes, these are spells that take up the ability to play the thing that increases your resources. Except unlike Maze of Ith where the ability to stop any attacking creature is absolutely worth a card, tapping to prevent one damage will be relevant maybe one in a thousand games.

Over, Under or Just right: Overplayed: Just run any other better utility land.

346: Tolaria: 126 Decks 

Obviously Banding was simply too powerful. There had to be hoser that any deck could run easily. Oh, but of course, it can only work on upkeep. Because… they wanted to put more words on this card to hide the fact the ability is useless?

I mean there’s technically no reason not to run it over an island. You get got by Back to Basics but it dodges Boil so if you want to pay three dollars for a card that’s 0.1% better then an island, or if your meta is just overrun by ‘Googles commander with Banding’ Soraya the Falconer decks, go for it!

Over, Under or Just right: Just right: My favorite use for this is playing it in Ayesha Tanaka to remove her own ability. Next level!

M21: The Return of Banding to Evergreen

Well, that was definitely a Magic card we ended on. As always, let me know what you think about this batch of lands. Are you running Tolaria and have you ever activated it? Let me know! I like hearing the reasons people are running some of the less savory lands.

Next week, we’ll continue talking about this week.

Joseph started playing in Theros Block but decided that the best way to play the game was to learn every single card and hope that would somehow make him good at Magic. It hasn't. He is a college student in Santa Fe, New Mexico and also enjoys reading and other games of all shapes and sizes.