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Land Type
(Subtype for land cards)
Storm Scale 6[1]
36 cards
{C} 27.8% {W} 5.6% {U} 5.6% {B} 5.6% {R} 5.6% {G} 5.6% {W/U} 2.8% {U/B} 2.8% {B/R} 2.8% {R/G} 2.8% {G/W} 2.8% {W/B} 2.8% {U/R} 2.8% {B/G} 2.8% {R/W} 2.8% {G/U} 2.8% {M} 16.7%
as of Modern Horizons 3
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Desert is a nonbasic land type used for cards that depict a sandy or rocky region that is arid because of little rainfall and supports only sparse and widely spaced vegetation or no vegetation at all.

History[ | ]

The subtype was created in the Eighth Edition rules update when all land types were cleaned up.[2] For a long time, the only card featuring the subtype was the archetypal Desert from Arabian Nights. It was printed as such in Time Spiral/Timeshifted.

Apart from the ability to tap for colorless mana, the original Desert also can do 1 damage to attacking creatures. The subtype was needed because the Camels and Desert Nomads are immune to the damage done by deserts and refer to them by type.

Amonkhet finally featured four deserts, mirroring the harsh and punishing deserts of Egypt.[3] They were inspired by the original card. The original Desert was not reprinted because, according to Mark Rosewater, it slows games down and isn’t fun.[4][5]

The theme evolved quite a bit with Hour of Devastation, which features fifteen lands with the Desert subtype and sixteen cards that mechanically care about Deserts (there's some overlap between those two lists).[6][7][8]

Deserts returned in the Wild West themed Outlaws of Thunder Junction, with the first dual-colored deserts.[9] Like Sunscorched Desert, they deal one damage to an opponent, which is a low-investment way to commit a crime.

Ruling[ | ]

  • Desert is a land subtype with no special meaning. It doesn't grant the land an intrinsic mana ability. Other cards may care about which lands are Deserts.[10]

List of desert cards[ | ]

List of cards caring about deserts[ | ]

List of storyline deserts[ | ]

Amonkhet[ | ]

  • The Broken Lands

Dominaria[ | ]

Mirrodin/New Phyrexia[ | ]

Rabiah[ | ]

Rath[ | ]

  • Flowstone Desert

Shandalar[ | ]

Tarkir[ | ]

Thunder Junction[ | ]

  • Spinegully

Ulgrotha[ | ]

Trivia[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (2021-04-25). "I know deserts aren’t a mechanic,...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. Paul Barclay (July 8, 2003). "Eighth Edition Rules Update". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (April 10, 2017). "Amonkhet Down to Business, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (April 11, 2017). "How come desert is too strong for standard?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. Mark Rosewater (May 1, 2017). "Amonkhet Talking, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mark Rosewater (June 19, 2017). "Darkest Hour, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Melissa DeTora (June 30, 2017). "Designing Deserts for Draft and Standard". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater (July 24, 2017). "Odds & Ends: Hour of Devastation, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Mark Rosewater (April 15, 2024). "Outlaw of Thunder Junction Vision Design Handoff Document, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Eric Levine (April 5, 2024). "Outlaws of Thunder Junction Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.