PREVIOUSLY ON THE COMMANDER FILES, we discussed Deck Building 101. Today I wanted to discuss one of THE most important steps in starting a Commander/EDH collection. It’s getting increasingly hard to get into new trading card games. You have come in late after MANY other people have already started. You may have been brought in by a friend at school, a work colleague or even a lover, but what sort of information have they supplied you with? Today I will go over one of THE most important items in any collection, ever. The one thing that if you put money in to, you know the prices will rarely drop down due to short print runs of ancient sets or Masters products.
But first, a simple question to ponder. What is the one card type do I wish had flavour text in every set but doesn’t? I will answer at the bottom of the post.
LANDS, LOTS OF LANDS AND THE STARY SKY ABOVE!
Lands are THE most important part of Magic: the Gathering, they assist you in casting spells, they can have entire decks based around them and very rarely will you ever see a deck that doesn’t play them. You land base, the number of lands you play and how you can get them into play or your hand matters above all else. They ensure you can play cards and also assist with consistent plays, so long as you have invested in them.
But MTG is old, confusing and nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems, so where should you start in EDH/Commander land staples?
DUAL LANDS ROCK
FETCH, BOY! FETCH!
But first up, we need to look at fetch lands. Fetch lands come in many variations and costs from rare tap-and-sac and uncommon pay-to-fetch-comes-into-play-tapped. The prices vary depending on play in other formats and rarity, as well as reprints and foil vs non-foil. By far the best of these are the rare fetchlands as these fetch lands are played in almost every Magic format and though they have been reprinted several times, they can be a little pricey.
Rare fetch lands are expensive because they allow you to go searching for specific land types, but without the restriction on BASIC lands only. This means you can go fetch that Bayou or Overgrown Tomb with that Polluted Delta as they have a dual land type that contains Swamp. The main reason to have a playset is that you can play all of them in your deck (if needed) because they have NO colour! This means you can fetch a land with a dual type, so long as one of those types matches the fetch land requirement. But what can we fetch that makes all the difference?
These are the original gangsters of the MTG universe, these are never going to be reprinted in paper due to the reserved list and might never see another MTGO reprinting. Ever. But that’s cool, these aren’t super SUPER expensive in the digital realm meaning you can get your grubby mitts on them fairly easily.
In paper, these can set you back hundreds of dollars, but on MTGO the costs are far smaller due to reprinting in the Vintage Masters set. These are all very good lands, but most are as little as $2.00 USD up to almost $15. This isn’t a mark against how good these lands are, this is simply due to market demand and quantity out in the world.
Originally introduced all the way back in Ravnica block, these “pain” duals come in to play tapped unless you pay two life. Everyone needs to pay the ferryman, but no one wants to pay the piper. These are a great mid-level dual land that every commander player should have. The fact that they come in to play untapped if you pay a little life is negligible, far outweighed by having fast dual mana to work with. The other plus is these lands carry a land type corresponding to the type of mana they produce, such as Steam Vents is both an Island and a Mountain.
Pain lands are great, but as you can see, they aren’t fetchable by fetch lands as they fail to carry the specific land type required, instead they just carry the “Land” type. Don’t let that fool you though, they are still a great land to include in your EDH/Commander deck regardless as they come in to play untapped. However, they all restrict you to two colours, for the most part. The odd one out here, is City of Brass, that provides no colourless mana, but every time it gets tapped, yes even by your opponent’s effects, you take a damage. Moving further along to special lands, there are a number of other lands that should be in your collection and most of, if not all, are relatively cheap lands. Not unlike the pain lands, these also don’t have a basic type associated with them.
Printed in Amonkhet and carrying two land types,t hese lands are relatively cheap due to the “comes in to play tapped” clause. In a pinch you can cycle this land for the cost of two generic mana and draw a card, at it’s best, you can fetch these lands via rare fetch lands. Cycling lands are a fairly useful staple to throw in your deck and at worst is two mana, draw a card. At best, these are fetchable and also dual lands. The assist with mana smoothing, card draw and fetch targets. You should own one of each of these for your decks as a no-brainer.
There are a number of other lands, but they’re not really in the realm of MUST HAVE NOW NOW NOW! So I have left them off the list as they’re not really important enough and we will be seeing some reprints of these lands soon, say hi to Dominaria 😉
Basic Lands should have ALL THE FLAVOUR TEXT! Imagine being able to have a quick bit of lore relating to regions based on the Benalish Plains of Dominaria! That’s it for today, keep on commandering!