Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How Does Landfall Work in Magic?
Many Magic cards offer "landfall," which activates special abilities when a land enters the field under your control. Assuming you don't run out of cards, you should be playing a land each turn, making these effects easy to trigger; and some spells let you play multiple lands each turn, forming fierce combos.
Landfall favors green, but it also dabbles in other colors, making it a diverse trait that can aid any deck. But with dozens of terrain-based abilities available, which members reign supreme? These are the ten best landfall cards in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Rampaging Baloths
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 6
Baloths costs a hefty sum of six mana, but green's abundance of ramps and free-creature effects ("Norwood Priestess," "Elvish Piper," etc.) let you play him sooner than you might think. Not only is he a fierce 6/6 with trample, but his landfall lets you create a 4/4 beast token whenever a terrain arrives under your control!
4/4 is surprisingly strong for a token, overwhelming many standard monsters in battle, and as icing on the cake, you don't have to gain the tokens in the rare cases you don't want them. If you mix red into your deck, check out "Omnath, Locus of Rage" for a similar token-producing effect.
While his stats are an average 2/1 and he can't block, Bloodghast has haste if any opponent has 10 or less life, letting him attack immediately. More than that, his landfall effect lets you return him from your graveyard to the field for free whenever you play a land! This makes Bloodghast ridiculously easy to revive, and you can quickly get him into your graveyard by using him as discard or mill fodder.
Throw in vampire and spirit synergies, and you have a surprisingly versatile card perfect for any black deck.
8. Zektar Shrine Expedition
Another two-cost card, Expedition acquires a quest counter whenever you field a land. Once it has three, you can sacrifice it to construct a 7/1 elemental token with haste and trample, although it's exiled at the end of the turn.
You can craft the token at instant-speed, making it hard for opponents to remove Expedition, and if you manage to clone the token with other effects, the duplicates won't copy its exile, letting you use them indefinitely.
7. Jaddi Offshoot
Needing just one mana, Offshoot makes a great first-turn play. Defender makes it unable to attack, but with zero power, there'd be little point. However, its 0/3 stats offer a useful blocker in the early game, and its effect gains you a life whenever a land arrives under your command. A useful bonus, but note this isn't optional and can occasionally get you in trouble against anti-life spells.
And while plant isn't as common a subtype as elf, it enjoys some nice synergies, stacking well with cards like "Avenger of Zendikar."
6. Eternity Vessel
Like Baloths, Vessel needs a substantial sum of six mana, but its colorless nature pairs with any theme. When it arrives, Vessel gains X charge counters, where X is your current life. Then, whenever a land enters under your control, you can have your current life become X, essentially healing previous wounds and making self-mutilating cards much safer.
To sweeten the pot, try using proliferate to increase the number of charge counters on Vessel, letting your life reach new peaks. Just remember that your opponent can still win if they collect 21 commander damage in EDH format.
5. Lotus Cobra
Lotus Cobra offers a great ramp tactic that doesn't require tapping, simply acquiring one mana of any color whenever you play a land. This works particularly well in multi-color decks, acquiring any hues you need Top it off with decent 2/1 stats and snake synergies for an excellent low-cost serpent.
4. Steppe Lynx
Lynx's 0/1 stats are unimpressive until you consider his landfall, which grants +2/+2 whenever a land arrives! Thus, he should effectively serve as a 3/2 on your turn, an exceptionally strong unit for his low price.
Lynx is particularly helpful in cat themes, but I use him in many white decks for his unrivaled early-game power. Fortunately, he's also one of the cheapest top-tier cards available, costing less than fifty cents!
3. Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
Unlike many demons, Ob lacks flying, and he enters with a disappointing 3/3 stats. But don't despair, as his landfall lets him acquire three +1/+1 counters and sap three life from an opponent, a deadly boost that turns Ob into an impressive 6/6 after just one feeding.
Like other landfall cards, try playing Ob before your land for the turn (if you can already afford him), letting you immediately reap his benefits.
2. Searing Blaze
With its prowess, Searing Blaze rivals even the infamous "Lightning Bolt" for best low-cost red removal. It inflicts one damage to both an opponent and one of their creatures, but if you've had a land enter your field during the turn, each target is hit for three!
Three instant-speed pain should remove most early-game creatures, and scoring an extra three against your opponent edges you that much closer to victory.
1. Hedron Crab
Despite nonexistent power, Hedron Crab is a decent early blocker with his 0/2 stats. But more than that, his landfall sends the top three cards of any player's deck into their graveyard, a great way to start milling opposing themes.
Using a removal against a single-cost creature isn't ideal, but your opponents might not have a choice, as an unchecked Crab can eventually riffle through half their decks. He can also mill your own cards, useful for getting zombies into the graveyard in black themes or quickly satisfying the conditions of cards with spell mastery, delirium, or threshold.
Supporting Landfall Decks in Magic
Remember, to repeatedly trigger landfall, use green spells like "Exploration" and "Burgeoning" that allow multiple lands plays per turn. Additionally, several lands (like "Evolving Wilds") can sacrifice themselves to field others from your deck, activating landfall twice with a single play!
You can entirely devote to a landfall deck, but it's also a great supplement to other structures, as its units still work fine on their own. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of land-based effects, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill