Utility Lands in Magic
Lands are arguably the most important part of any Magic deck; without the right colors and speed, no build can function optimally. And of course, you want to avoid "mana screw" by meeting your land drop each turn.
To help ensure this, many lands have ways to draw; these usually involve spending a fair chunk of mana, but since most are instant-speed effects, you can hold a counterspell or removal if your opponent plays a threat, or use the mana to draw if they don't.
But which advantage-gaining fields deserve your time? These are the ten best card-drawing lands in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Library of Alexandria
This fantastic card ranks low solely because it's banned in commander. But for the rare format where it's allowed, Alexandria taps for either a colorless mana, or to draw a card, though you can only do so if you have exactly seven cards in hand.
This often turns into a free draw every turn; use the effect either before or after playing a land/spell to get your hand to seven, then snag a free draw. Bonus points when used alongside infinite-hand effects like Reliquary Tower, letting you keep any surplus spells.
9. Gates of Istfell/Memorial to Genius
These two lands are near identical, both entering tapped and providing a colored mana (Istfell does white, Genius gives blue) and wielding a secondary effect that spends five mana and sacrifices itself for two draws.
These are expensive, late-game abilities to be sure, but nice ways to turn one card into two, especially since white and blue are excellent control colors. Istfell also gives two life when resolving the effect.
8. Arch of Orazca
Like many land-drawers, Arch's main downside is that it provides colorless, not colored mana. But once you have the city's blessing (acquired by controlling ten or more permanents while one has the ascend trait, like Orazca does), it can tap and spend five to draw a card.
Expensive, sure, but great when you have leftover resources. Plus, ascending is permanent, so once you have the blessing you keep it, even if your field drops below ten permanents.
7. Seek Gates
admittedly, this set of lands, one for each color, has its downsides. They enter tapped and only provide one color of mana, and like any card using the seek mechanic, they're exclusive to online game MTG Arena. However, each can spend four and tap to seek (add a random) non-land card from deck to hand.
Each can only do so once, but this still gives you an easy +1 when needed, and won't be a dead draw as lands tend to be late-game. Throw in the matching basic land types plus gate synergy (working well alongside cards like Baldur's Gate) for further utility. Here's each:
- Red: Gate to Tumbledown
- White: Gate to the Citadel
- Green: Gate to Manorborn
- Black: Gate of the Black Dragon
- Blue: Gate to Seatower
6. Roadside Reliquary
Reliquary only gives colorless mana but enters untapped and ready to use. Its effect is also cheaper than many of today's cards, spending two, tapping, and sacrificing itself to draw one card if you control an artifact or enchantment, or two if you control both.
Even decks that don't focus on these cards types often get the possible +1 advantage here, especially with dual type creatures that also count as artifacts or enchantments and token typings (food and treasure count as artifacts, shards as enchantments).
5. Bazaar of Baghdad
Bazaar is an amazing card…for decks that use the graveyard. It can't tap for mana (unless you make it a swamp or something with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth), and its effect might seem bad at first, drawing two cards but then discarding three.
However, for decks utilizing the graveyard, this gets all your GY-activating flashback effects ready, and easily places big creatures for you to summon with cards like Reanimate. Not for every deck, but fearsome in its element.
4. Bonders' Enclave
Enclave either taps for a colorless, or taps and spends three to draw as long as you control a creature with four or more power. Great for mono-color decks, especially those with big commanders or in the beefy green faction. It's also nice that you only need the creature to activate; you still draw even if it's hit with removal.
3. War Room
War Room works similarly to Enclave, either tapping for a colorless or tapping and spending three to draw a card. This time, there's no creature requirement, but you lose life equal to the number of colors in your commander's color identity—the fewer you run, the smaller the price. Heck, you don't lose any in a colorless build.
2. Castle Locthwain
Unlike many of today's lands, Locthwain actually provides a colored (black mana), and it enters untapped as long as you control a swamp; since this counts non-basic ones, it's easily attained.
Locthwain can also tap and spend three to draw, then lose life equal to the number of cards in hand. This provides a fantastic late-game tool for aggro decks, rewarding you for burning through your hand with new cards at lessened costs.
1. Canopy Lands
These amazing lands tap and pay a life for either of two colors, making them comparable to the infamous dual lands (they do lack basic land types though). Or, if your life dips low, you can also pay one and sacrifice the land to draw. Perfect for any multicolor deck, and great with cards that access lands from graveyard, like Crucible of Worlds.
- Red/White: Sunbaked Canyon
- Red/Blue: Fiery Islet
- Green/White: Horizon Canopy
- Green/Black: Nurturing Peatland
- White/Black: Silent Clearing
- Green/Blue: Waterlogged Grove
Landfall Effects in Magic
Lands are often underrated in how crucial they are to winning Magic, and having bonus effects available keeps you in the game even when your hand dwindles. Even late-game lands can be useful due to landfall effects or as discard fodder, but for now, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2022 Jeremy Gill