30, Jun, 23

New MTG Utility Lands are a Near Universal EDH Upgrade!

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The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth and its Commander equivalent have added several brand new legendary lands into the game, while reprinting some amazing older lands as well. Most of the lands operate the same; if you control a legendary creature the land enters untapped. Otherwise, it enters tapped.

In Commander, it’s a lot easier to guarantee a legendary creature is in play in most decks. Therefore many of these lands are very close to strictly better than a basic of the same color. On top of that, almost all of them come with reasonably priced activated abilities that can either add generic value to any deck or help optimize a mechanic in a themed deck. Here are just a few of the excellent uses of the new LotR legendary lands.

One Hundred Percent Legendary

The secondary commander of the Legends’ Legacy deck, Shanid, Sleepers’ Scourge is not the most popular commander. This red white and black deck has a “legendary matters” theme that is significantly more complete. Shanid gains an astounding six brand new, on color legendary lands alongside reprints of many solid old ones. This might not seem like a big deal, at first, but in point of fact it’s unbelievably strong. You can run all Legendary Lands. Yes, 100% legendary lands.

Along with a full land base, you can also add Isildur’s Fateful Strike and four other Legendary Sorcery cards to run a 100% Legendary deck! Adding “pay one life, draw a card” to every single card in the deck, including lands, gives it a huge value boost. Sure, you could have done this before LotR, but many existing legendary lands only add colorless mana. Adding in another five on color lands, one a dual land, drastically helps this idea. Of course, staple cards like Sol Ring and Swords to Plowshares are not legendary, so would the deck be good?

You can modulate the power level of the deck by either staying on theme or adding in some staple cards, which will reduce the legendary count but increase the overall power. In any case, it should still operate well at each different level.

More Scrying Synergy

More and more, Wizards is dropping a little bit of assistance towards making scrying an even more valuable effect. LotR helps out that idea by adding other cards like Lembas and Palantir of Orthanc for sources of scrying that can go in any deck.

These effects start to add up. Lost Isle Calling is an amazingly good payoff, as drawing seven or more cards and taking an extra turn is likely game-winning. If you do not have a repeatable source of scrying, it can be a relatively dead card, as are numerous other payoff cards like Elrond Master of Healing.

This is why the most important support comes in the form of two of the two new legendary lands, The Grey Havens and Rivendell. The ability to gain additional advantage whether it’s early in the form of setup or late in the form of payoff is extremely important for decks that work off a particular synergy.

More importantly, there’s always a ratio of cards to be considered. When your lands can help your deck do its thing, it helps keep interaction and payoffs at the right amount. Lands take up no build space in a deck and are resistant to removal. Rivendell gives you a very safe way to continuously scry. Cards that help a deck, in general, are good but cards that help a deck in a very specific way without taking up build space are few and far between.

Scrying with Rivendell and Elminster will make your next instant or sorcery cost four less. That means you looked up to four cards deep for effectively three mana. Gain a mana and draw a card once per turn, for free, is a value engine.

Token Decks Rejoice

Token decks are full of approximately three things. One, token generators. Two, token payoff. Three, the glue that binds them together, or staples. If you draw only token generators, but no buffs or token doublers, your deck won’t go off. Likewise for only anthems or doubling effects with no token generation.

What’s a Chatterfang, Squirrel General deck to do? Slot in some of the new legendary lands, of course! Both Barad-dur and The Shire allow you an easy way to generate a token if you can’t do it otherwise. Furthermore unlike, say, Khani Garden, it’s not a one time effect. As previously mentioned, ratios matter, and the ability to increase combo pieces and payoffs simply by swapping a land with a better land is a huge benefit for a deck.

While black and green have great lands covered, don’t forget that Mines of Moria makes tokens as well! Treasure tokens certainly have synergy with a variety of cards. A slow and grindy game is a great place to find Mines of Moria. While the activation cost is very steep, the ability to generate two Treasures will certainly put you ahead on the next turn. If you can activate this ability end of turn, and if you have any extra synergy from something like Xorn, it’s a large value swing. The simple fact is that if you are replacing a Mountain with Mines of Moria, you’re likely improving the deck in almost every situation for nearly no build cost.

Read More: MTG Lord of the Rings EDH Sleeper is Incredibly Underrated!

Nearly Free One Sided Board Wipe

The EDHREC Top 100 does not feature many board wipes. At most we are talking about six cards. While Blasphemous Act is very typically only one or two mana, both Cyclonic Rift and Ruinous Ultimatum are seven mana and relatively hard to cast. Therefore, it can clearly be seen that premium mass removal is important.

However, what happens when you need a second board wipe? The fact is, one is not always enough, especially because of the multi-player nature of Commander. Mount Doom is a very circumstantial board clear because, not only do you need seven mana on top of tapping and sacrificing it, but a legendary artifact is also required. Because of that, it’s fairly difficult to activate. However, when you do, you can protect up to two of your own creatures so it’s one sided.

What is the cost to adding in this rare but possible mass removal effect? You get to play a dual land instead of a regular land. Wait, that’s the cost, improving the mana base? This is a no brainer in many decks even if it’s unlikely to happen.

Land based effects are difficult to counter, and this card could give you an out in many situations where one normally would not exist. Plus, every deck is playing The One Ring, so it’s extra thematic when that is what you sacrifice.

Card Draw in White

White has struggled, historically at least, with card draw. Minas Tirith is certainly a welcome addition to many white decks. It can turn your tokens into drawing power or give you even more reason to constantly attack in a Boros deck. Two mana and tapping it is cheap.

Having two creatures to attack with will be a bit trickier, but many white decks are extremely low to the ground. Consider Commanders like Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful or Isamaru, Hound of Konda, and you can see that it’s very easy to guarantee free cards so long as you are playing creatures. Additionally, token generating effects goes perfectly with Minas Tirith. It seems like it’s one of the easier lands to get value from and can go in a larger variety of decks than some of the others.

Read More: Top 12 MTG Best Pioneer Decks! (July 2023)

That’s Just the Start

Lands with activated abilities have come a long way in Magic’s history. This legendary land cycle from LotR provides a nice boost to the utility a land should provide outside of simply making mana. Even in a format like Commander which features one hundred card decks, some players still feel there isn’t enough build room. Luckily, these new lands provide excellent utility for a minor cost while freeing up a slot or giving you even more redundancy.

Wizards knocked it out of the park with this cycle, plus a few extras. They even managed to make The Black Gate have the Gate sub-type so that it works with Maze’s End or Baldur’s Gate. Hopefully, they continue to make these types of cards which are strong includes for some decks but not necessarily needed in every deck.

Read More: MTG’s Two-Million Dollar The One Ring Has Been Found!

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