Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Fetch Lands in Magic?
"Fetch" lands refer to cards that sacrifice themselves to play other lands (usually basic ones) from your deck. They're especially handy for multi-color themes, finding whatever mana types you're lacking to ensure you don't get color-screwed.
Powerful as they are, most fetch lands carry a small downside, like paying life or entering tapped—which reign supreme? These are the ten best color-searching lands in Magic: The Gathering!
Rocky Tar Pit
10. Tapped Searchers
These guys all enter the field tapped, so you'll have to wait a turn to use their effect. But once they refresh, you can tap and sacrifice them to find either of two land types from your deck (consult the above table for specifics).
Note that you can but don't have to find basic lands; you could either sac Flood Plain for a basic plains or a unique one like "Sacred Foundry". Since only allied colors have these lands, enemy pairings (like red/white) will have to look for other searches.
9. Ash Barrens
If you play Ash Barrens, it'll simply tap for a single colorless; not great, but at least it enters untapped. Thankfully, it also has a cheap landcycling effect, letting you spend one mana and discard it to add any basic land from your deck to your hand.
8. Evolving Wilds
Evolving Wilds arrives untapped and ready to go. When you exhaust and sacrifice it, you play any basic land from your deck tapped. Again, you end up waiting a turn to access your new mana, but the ability to find any needed color compensates.
7. Blighted Woodland
Woodland arrives untapped and can simply provide a colorless mana. Or, by spending four mana (including at least one green) and tapping/sacrificing itself, you can play any two basic lands from your deck tapped.
Sure, this is today's most expensive effect and requires a specific color, but you're getting a two-for-one deal that can double up or mix and match (for instance, you could play two swamps or one swamp and one plains).
6. Myriad Landscape
Landscape itself can only provide colorless mana, and you'll have to wait for it since it enters tapped. However, its impressive secondary effect lets you spend two and tap/sac it to play any two basic lands sharing the same type from your deck tapped.
This time, you can't mix and match, but it's hard to beat a double-deal that only needs two mana.
5. Krosan Verge
Krosan Verge functions similarly to Landscape, entering tapped and providing colorless mana with its first effect. Alternatively, spend two mana and tap/sac it to fetch a tapped forest and plains from your deck.
While Landscape can work with any pairing and Verge requires you use some green/white, you're getting a better spread here, finding two types of mana instead of doubling up on one. Plus, you can but don't have to choose basic lands, so you could target special cards like "Cinder Glade".
An easy pick for my own green/white decks, Verge is also one of today's cheapest cards, costing less than a single dollar!
4. Thawing Glaciers
Perfect for long-term strategies, Glaciers enters the field tapped and can't provide any resources by itself. But you can spend one mana and tap (but not sacrifice) it to play any basic land from your deck tapped. At the end of the turn you use this effect, Glaciers returns to your hand, letting you field it again later and repeat the cycle.
While it takes time, this grants continuous land drops and deck thinning. For bonus points, combine with spells that let you play more than one land per turn, swiftly fielding your hand's extra cards.
3. Fabled Passage
Fabled Passage is a better version of Evolving Wilds. Just like Wilds, it taps and sacrifices itself to play a basic land from your deck tapped. However, if you then control four or more lands, you get to untap your new land, giving them same search power without the drawback of waiting on your mana!
2. Prismatic Vista
Similar to Evolving Wilds, Vista enters untapped and taps/sacs itself to play any basic land from your deck. This time, you have to pay one life, but in exchange your new land also arrives untapped, providing immediate mana ramp for whatever color you need.
1. 1-Life Searches
Like Vista, tapping and sacrificing these lands requires you to pay one life. However, both they and the lands they search arrive untapped, granting instant mana access. Each can fetch either of two land types, and you can again choose either basic or special lands with that subtype.
Plus, unlike our earlier tapped searchers, every color pairing contains one, letting any guild wield them and providing the best all-around fetches yet.
Supporting Fetch Lands in Magic
In addition to their ability to search needed colors, you can capitalize on fetch lands with landfall cards (which power up whenever you play a land) and spells like "Crucible of Worlds", which lets you play lands from your graveyard.
Having lands in your graveyard also helps meet the bonus conditions of spells with threshold or delirium, but for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of fetch lands, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill