Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Playing Lands From the Graveyard
In Magic, lands form the backbone of your deck, providing the needed mana for other cards. Now, land removals are pretty rare but provide deadly effects that cripple your resource production.
Fortunately, many spells (especially in green) recover lands from the graveyard, either moving them back to your hand or directly to the field. Not only does this increase your mana flow, but it also won't count against your land-per-turn; how can you best recycle discarded or destroyed lands? These are the 10 best land recoveries in Magic: The Gathering!
10. The Mending of Dominaria
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 5
Like other sagas, Mending activates its first effect once cast and its following abilities during your next two draw steps. Both the first and second trigger mill two cards from your deck, then return a creature from your graveyard to your hand. The last ability returns all lands from your graveyard to the field, shuffling the rest of your graveyard into your deck.
So, you gain two recycled creatures followed by a mass land return—and the lands arrive untapped and ready to use. Reclaiming your remaining graveyard also helps defend against deck-out losses.
9. Harvest Wurm
For such an old card, Harvest Wurm holds up surprisingly well, though you sacrifice him on arrival unless you can return a basic land from your graveyard to the field. Still, you're getting a free untapped land alongside a 3/2 body, a bargain for just two mana. Plus, remember you can choose any basic land, not just a forest.
8. Planar Birth
Planar Birth returns all basic lands from every graveyard back to the field tapped. Sure, this can benefit opponents, but since it only works on basic lands, foes wielding non-basic lands (common in multi-color decks) won't receive much benefit. It's also a great follow-up to white land nukes like "Armageddon" or "Fall of the Thran."
This sorcery offers a cheap yet versatile recovery, simply returning a land from a graveyard to your field. That's not bad for two mana, especially since you can access any graveyard (even opposing ones), and the land enters untapped unless it specifies otherwise.
A staple in my own green commander decks, Restore is also one of today's cheapest cards, costing well under a single dollar!
6. Titania, Protector of Argoth
Titania needs a fair amount of mana, and her 5/3 stats aren't terrible but can fall to a single red "Lightning Bolt." However, when she enters, you get to move a land from your graveyard to the field.
Plus, whenever a land you control is place into the graveyard, Titania creates a 5/3 elemental token. These are surprisingly powerful tokens, and since Titania herself is an elemental, she blends perfectly with elemental tribal themes.
5. Grim Discovery
Unlike many of today's cards, Discovery won't return a land directly to the field, but it can add a creature and/or land from your graveyard to your hand. Two cards for two mana is a great deal, especially since black specializes in self-milling abilities that quickly stock the graveyard with fodder to retrieve.
4. Life From the Loam
Loam returns up to three lands from your graveyard to your hand, offering impressive card advantage for such low price. Plus, its valued dredge ability lets you sacrifice your turn's regular draw and mill three cards from your deck to return Loam from your graveyard to your hand.
Of course, milling cards places lands into your graveyard, giving more terrain to recover and continuing the cycle.
3. Ramunap Excavator
While I wish Excavator had better subtypes than naga and cleric, his cost is lenient and 2/3 stats are workable. More than that, he lets you play lands from your graveyard.
Doing so counts towards your land-per-turn, but it's a powerful effect that keeps your hand filled (letting you save land drops for later). Use Excavator alongside bonus land-per-turn spells to easily out-ramp opponents.
2. Wrenn and Six
A planeswalker with three loyalty for just two mana already impresses, and Wrenn's +1 returns a land from your graveyard to your hand (plus you can use the effect even if your graveyard doesn't have any).
Meanwhile, -1 deals one damage to any target, killing off weak foes, and -7 creates an emblem that grants instants and sorceries in your graveyard retrace. This lets you cast them from your graveyard by repaying their mana cost and discarding a land—which you'll have several of thanks to Wrenn's continuous retrieval.
1. Crucible of Worlds
The artifact version of "Ramunap Excavator," Worlds offers the same effect, letting you play lands from your graveyard. But thanks to its colorless cost, you can run it in any deck, and it usually lasts longer since it's not susceptible to common creature removals. Simple and sweet, Crucible remains one of the game's best artifacts.
Supporting Land-Graveyard Effects
Today we've seen spells that retrieve lands from your graveyard; how can you best get them there? Dredge, retrace, and other self-milling or discarding effects work well. Better yet, run self-sacrificing fetch lands for an easy gimmick.
Capitalize on your bolstered graveyard with spells like "Knight of the Reliquary," but for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of land-recovering abilities, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill