April 3, 2017

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10 Budget Utility Lands for Commander

I get asked all the time about one topic in Commander more than anything else: Lands. It’s something I often don’t think enough about, but aside from fixing for the colours you need there are an absolute ton of amazing utility lands available. We all know about Maze of Ith, Gaea’s Cradle, and Cabal Coffers, but those lands aren’t exactly easy on the wallet. So let’s take a look at a few more affordable options that aren’t all necessarily cards you’d think of right away.

At first glance Arena may not look super impressive because it’s a land that doesn’t act like a land, meaning that it doesn’t tap for mana which is a definite downside. But green decks with a lot of lands and giant monsters should have no qualms with his repeatable removal spell. Sure, the creature you fight is under your opponent’s control, but as long as you have something big it’ll be hard to stop the brawling in the arena.

I love Blighted Woodland, it’s my favourite of the Blighted cycle and an auto-include in all my green decks. It taps for mana and then for 3 and a green you get to grab two basics and have them enter tapped. Sometimes it can be hard to find the time for this card, but Commander gives us an opportunity more times than not. I really like this one in 3+ colour decks as it will often get you the 3rd or 4th colour you need.

Modern playable cards are usually EDH playable and Ghost Quarter is no exception. Depending on how many of these utility lands or non-budget lands like Maze of Ith and Gaea’s Cradle your meta runs, Ghost Quarter can become one of the best removal “spells” in your deck. It gets better as your opponent’s cards get better, and in an extreme pinch it can even fix you for your final colour. It’s not pretty but I’ve seen it happen.

Ever need just a turn or two more to complete your set up but some jerk running an Infect deck or Aurelia won’t stop attacking you? Easy solution is to run a Glacial Chasm and just take your time. Sure your cumulative upkeep grows pretty quickly and you can’t attack while it’s out, but when it feels like it’s too much, you just sacrifice it and get nuts.

Ice Floe is like a poor man’s Maze of Ith with upside – if that’s a thing. It keeps a creature without flying from attacking you but keeps it that way. Look out Blightsteel Colossus!

Remember when everyone thought Mirrorpool was going to become the best land in EDH and now it barely costs $2? I do! The hype was real, but now that it’s died down a bit Mirrorpool is right where it belongs for budget players. Doubling up Avenger of Zendikars or massive Fireballs is just a taste of what you can do with a Mirrorpool. The secret is that this land can be one of the best in your deck, but keep it a secret ok? We don’t need everyone to know.

Take everything I said about Blighted Woodland and just apply it to a better land that can go in more decks. It’s a bit pricier and slowly climbing so get your copies now.

Maybe with the exception of Insurrection, I haven’t seen a card end more games than Rogue’s Passage. When you’re stuck without a removal spell, life low and you have a board full of creatures, all it takes is one unblockable dude to end your game right quick. For 4 mana plus a tap Rogue’s Passage gives you that ability and is often ignored by cards like Ghost Quarter and Wasteland. Here’s a tip: if you see one, kill it.

Safe haven is a card I have never actually seen in play, but when searching for this article it seems like the type of card that should see more play. Green-black decks with graveyard recursion and ETB abilities would just love this card. Not to mention the simple ability to save a key creature from a board wipe and you’ve got yourself a decent land that fits in a lot of decks.

This is the Gruul Rogue’s Passage. ‘Nuff said? No, it’s actually better than Rogue’s Passage because it can add to your power and toughness. Xenagod’s best friend and a welcome to any Mayael, the Anima deck, Kessig Wolf Run doesn’t need to just pump werewolves. An absolute auto include in any Red-Green list.

So there you have it a fairly small yet significant list of some of the essential, solid and underrated budget cards for the Commander format. Did I miss any (of course I did), if so go ahead and list some in the comments below or hit me up on twitter at @andyhullbone! Thanks for reading everyone and I’ll see you in two weeks!