Lands are a major part of any EDH deck. The majority of the lands are just basics but a deck can find additional value by the abilities and effects that can be found on lands. When it is time to build your mana base consider the lands that made this top ten list. Just a reminder all top ten lists are subjective and this list was created with casual commander in mind.
Honorable Mention Command Tower
Every deck needs mana fixing and Command Tower will do that for you. It’s straight forward and will make one mana of any color you need to generate in your deck and is included in almost every commander deck except for mono-colored decks. It’s a solid card if bland. But it is not quite good enough to make the top ten.
Honorable Mention Dark Depths
These honorable mentions are not necessarily cards eleven and twelve on this list. Instead, the spot is used to point out interesting and powerful cards. Dark Depths is certainly interesting but a little inefficient. It’s a mana sink that you can dump extra mana into. If you spend enough mana you will create a 20/20 indestructible flier. I would have rather seen trample on the card but flying is a form of evasion that will do for a big fattie. There are other cards I would place in the top twelve but wanted to highlight this one as it is unique. If your deck generates a lot of mana and you want an extra creature in your deck, consider this honorable mention.
10 Thespian’s Stage
This land can become a copy of any land on the battlefield. This versatility allows you to double up on some powerful abilities or copy an opponent’s land that is giving them an advantage. The downside is that it is slow. You need to spend two mana and tap it to make it a copy which means it will take two turns for it to pay off. Still, a Cabal Coffers is a Cabal Coffers even if it takes an extra turn to get there.
9 Maze of Ith
The ability to take any creature out of combat is a nice ability to have. However, it will mostly help you versus Voltron decks and be utterly useless against a mass token horde. The good news is that just having a Maze of Ith will often be a deterrent for opponents. People want to have meaningful combat so often they will look elsewhere to attack someone. Thus Maze of Ith can often be worth more than it’s lone ability. It also will allow you to be a little more aggressive when you attack. You can always pull your own attacker out of combat if you do not like how your opponent blocks or if they play a card you did not anticipate. Maze of Ith helps prevent blowouts.
8 Emergence Zone
I am probably going to take heat for this include. I like that this land can give flash to every color. Being able to flash out several cards before the start of your turn is strong as it effectively doubles your mana in a turn. Also, it gives pseudo haste to your creatures if you want to swing out with them. This is strong but it also is a one time only effect. It loses ranks on this list for that reason, Most decks can use this card and I am very high on effects that give flash. Which is why it is ranked number eight despite being a one-time use.
While Thespian’s Stage retains its ability to copy lands throughout the game Vesva does not. It only copies when it enters the battlefield. Still, the ability to copy a land is free and you can use any special ability the land may have quicker compared to Thespian Stage. This overcomes its lack of copying lands multiple times. This card has the ability to negate mass mana generators by giving you the same one or double up on an effect your deck wants. Vesuva is a great include if you can afford it.
6 Alchemist’s Refuge
This is the land I wanted Emergence Zone to be. it’s consistent and repeatable. Allowing you to do all that flash offers turn after turn while leaving mana up to threaten whatever removal effects your color identity allows. Unfortunately, you must be in simic colors to use the card and that is highly restrictive. This card beats Emergence Zone as it is repeatable e of its lack of eligibility to slot into many color identities of commander decks keeps it out of the top five.
There is a social contract about mass land destruction. Often though players do not get too upset if a single land is blown up as a means to control land mischievousness. Single land removal while not taboo in many cases, is still not an effect I wanted to clog this list with as some groups frown upon it. After all, this is a casual commander top ten list. So we will include two of them at number five. Wasteland will remove the troublesome Cabal Coffers or Maze of Ith that is hampering you. Although it will cost you Wasteland. It does cost mana to activate the ability. Two mana is still cost-efficient in most cases as it will deny the opponent at least that much mana in a course of a game or an effect that is worth more than that.
5a Dust Bowl
Wasteland and Dustbowl are similar cards although there are two key differences that separate them. Which is why I decided to split them on this top ten as opposed to lumping them together as one. Dust Bowl costs one more mana than Wasteland to destroy a land. In this way, it is worse than Wasteland. However, Dust Bowl is repeatable allowing you to sacrifice any land. To destroy a non-basic land. Being able to destroy multiple lands is very strong and a political tool the “encourage” players not to target you. There is an effective political edge to this card to maneuver with ranking Dust Bowl above Wasteland.
4 Reliquary Tower
What is better than having a full hand of seven cards? It’s having a hand with unlimited cards. More cards mean more lines of play which will help you win the game. It will not win you a game of commander as even if you discarded fifteen cards down to seven you crafted a strong hand to move forward the rest of the game. Reliquary Tower does help though. The Tower is a card most decks with card draw can use and it is a static ability making this land number four on our list.
3 Strip Mine
With Wasteland on the list, you knew Strip Mine was coming. This card is strictly better than Wasteland. The ability to remove any land is strong and for free significantly strengthens the power of this card over the other targeted land destruction options. It can synergize well with Crucible of Worlds and Azusa, Lost but Seeking for some very mean play lines. They deserve a mention but if we considered them Strip mine would not make the list at all because the casual masses would rebel. Use such synergies with caution. For playgroups that allow it, Strip Mine is number three.
2b Serra’s Sanctum
This land is a double-edged sword. First its mana ramp in white. In the correct deck, it can generate five or more mana which is something white desperately needs. The downside is that it requires enchantments to generate that mana. Most decks use enchantments but unless you are building an enchantment heavy deck you are not guaranteed it will ramp you let alone generate mana for you making it very narrow for gameplay purposes. From a playability standpoint, Serra’s Sanctum drops to about eight on this list but we will not clog up space on the list preventing other cards from being highlighted. Instead, we will clump it with a similar card at number two.
2a Cabal Coffers
Most black decks can use Cabal Coffers whether or not they play Urborg Tomb of Yawgmoth. Its mana generating ability is something that should frighten most EDH tables. Swamps are general enough that most black decks can profit off of this card without Urborg and mono-black decks don’t need Urborg to generate insane mana. This is the type of mana generation that is a support to winning games. This is why Cabal Coffers sits squarely at number two on this list. Serra’s What?
1 Gaea’s Cradle
The Cradle is on the reserve list. Because of this, I have never seen someone play a real Gaea’s Cradle. In some commander circles, I have seen some proxies in decks. This card generates a lot of mana in a way that green appreciates. It’s solid in Green stompy but any token or weenie strategy this card generates a lot of mana to continue to fuel it mass creature shenanigans. Just like Cabal Coffers this card generates mana that will win you the game. It also does not need a specific card or deck archetype to do it. It also goes with a condition that is easy to achieve at least a couple of mana at the very worst. These factors place Gaea’s Cradle at number one on our list.
All top ten lists are subjective and this one is really more like a top fifteen by the time you consider all the additional cards. Does Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx deserve a spot in the top ten? Where should Serra’s Sanctum fall? Does it deserve a mention at all? Notice the dual lands did not make an appearance. They are not as versatile as Command Tower although they are expensive. Command Tower did not make the top ten so it is hard to consider the og duels in the top ten despite their Arthurian stature in the MTG community. I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and if you have any questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.