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Land symbol
Card Type
Subtype Land type
973 cards
{G} 0.1% {artifact symbol} 2.2% {land symbol} 97.7%
as of Murders at Karlov Manor
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Lands represent locations under the player's control, most of which have mana abilities.[1] Because mana is needed to use almost any card or ability, most decks need a high number of mana-producing lands (typically between 33-50% of the total deck) to function effectively.[2] Taking mana from the lands represents the strands of magic, as described in "The Player's Guide", by Wizards of the Coast. The most commonly printed Magic cards are the five basic lands, one for each color, each of which intrinsically produces one mana of a specific color.

Playing lands[ | ]

Lands are played on the player's own main phase when the stack is empty, and only once per turn (though there are spells that can alter how many lands you can play a turn, like Exploration). Playing a land is not like playing a spell; it is a special action that does not use the stack and does not require passing priority for it to resolve. When a player wants to play a land and has the opportunity, they simply put it into play.[3][4] Likewise, the mana abilities of lands do not use the stack, and cannot be responded to. Although many lands generate specific colors of mana, lands are colorless on their own.

Flavor[ | ]

Brady Dommermuth explained the flavor behind the playing of lands in a Magic duel:[5]

The basic idea is that a mage must first create a bond to the land through some kind of ritual. Whether the mage needs to visit the land is an open question. Maybe some lands are so mana-rich or renowned that mages can create a connection to them from across space, time, or even across planes. In any case, once a mage has established a bond to a given place, they can manifest that bond by concentrating on it, and then channeling the mana from the land into themselves for spellcasting.

Perhaps this bond is abstract and only in the mage's thoughts, but we've also thought about ways to represent the bond visually, such as with 'mana globes' that float around a mage. The mage would create a small mana globe - roughly baseball-sized - that is a magical manifestation of his/her connection to a given land. Then the mage could tap the mana globe to draw its power into themselves. The mana globe would then slowly regenerate until it was ready to be siphoned again. The bond could also be represented at the site of the land, such as with a totem or magical sigil that 'marks' the mage's bond to it.

One recent development in this area has to do with legendary lands. It used to be that any unique place would be considered legendary for card purposes, whether it was a single structure or an entire city. We decided recently that unique places should be able to accommodate more than one mage's bond. Theoretically, that means you could start seeing more unique places on nonlegendary land cards. This doesn't mean we won't print legendary lands anymore; such lands will simply be conceived as places that can support a bond with only one mage.

Rules[ | ]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

A card type. A land is a permanent. See rule 305, “Lands.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 305. Lands
    • 305.1. A player who has priority may play a land card from their hand during a main phase of their turn when the stack is empty. Playing a land is a special action; it doesn’t use the stack (see rule 116). Rather, the player simply puts the land onto the battlefield. Since the land doesn’t go on the stack, it is never a spell, and players can’t respond to it with instants or activated abilities.
    • 305.2. A player can normally play one land during their turn; however, continuous effects may increase this number.
      • 305.2a To determine whether a player can play a land, compare the number of lands the player can play this turn with the number of lands they have already played this turn (including lands played as special actions and lands played during the resolution of spells and abilities). If the number of lands the player can play is greater, the play is legal.
      • 305.2b A player can’t play a land, for any reason, if the number of lands the player can play this turn is equal to or less than the number of lands they have already played this turn. Ignore any part of an effect that instructs a player to do so.
    • 305.3. A player can’t play a land, for any reason, if it isn’t their turn. Ignore any part of an effect that instructs a player to do so.
    • 305.4. Effects may also allow players to “put” lands onto the battlefield. This isn’t the same as “playing a land” and doesn’t count as a land played during the current turn.
    • 305.5. Land subtypes are always a single word and are listed after a long dash. Land subtypes are also called land types. Lands may have multiple subtypes. See rule 205.3i for the complete list of land types.

      Example: “Basic Land — Mountain” means the card is a land with the subtype Mountain.

    • 305.6. The basic land types are Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest. If an object uses the words “basic land type,” it’s referring to one of these subtypes. An object with the land card type and a basic land type has the intrinsic ability “{T}: Add [mana symbol],” even if the text box doesn’t actually contain that text or the object has no text box. For Plains, [mana symbol] is {W}; for Islands, {U}; for Swamps, {B}; for Mountains, {R}; and for Forests, {G}. See rule 107.4a. See also rule 605, “Mana Abilities.”
    • 305.7. If an effect sets a land’s subtype to one or more of the basic land types, the land no longer has its old land type. It loses all abilities generated from its rules text, its old land types, and any copiable effects affecting that land, and it gains the appropriate mana ability for each new basic land type. Note that this doesn’t remove any abilities that were granted to the land by other effects. Setting a land’s subtype doesn’t add or remove any card types (such as creature) or supertypes (such as basic, legendary, and snow) the land may have. If a land gains one or more land types in addition to its own, it keeps its land types and rules text, and it gains the new land types and mana abilities.
    • 305.8. Any land with the supertype “basic” is a basic land. Any land that doesn’t have this supertype is a nonbasic land, even if it has a basic land type.
    • 305.9. If an object is both a land and another card type, it can be played only as a land. It can’t be cast as a spell.

Subtypes[ | ]

The subtype for lands is called land type and is exclusive to lands.

Friendly to lands[ | ]

Green is the color that loves lands the most, but every color loves its basic land type.[6]

Play extra lands

These effects are not found often, but they are also both in green's slice of the color pie.[6]

Lands matter[ | ]

"Lands matter" is a major mechanical focus of the Zendikar block, the Battle for Zendikar block, and the Zendikar Rising set. Two keywords that play into "lands matter" are Landfall and Awaken.

Land tokens[ | ]

The creation of basic land tokens is a mechanic that first appeared on test cards in the Mystery Booster set (Generated Horizons and Waste Land). R&D has stated that land tokens were a failed experiment because their controller is constantly tapping them and the opponent has to monitor the tapped state.[7] [8][9][10][11]

Token Name Color Type Line P/T Text Box Source Printings
Forest Colorless Land — Forest ({T}: Add {G}.)
Wastes Colorless Land ({T}: Add {C}.)

The Brothers' War introduced the first Standard-legal land token. It gets around the issues identified with the test cards by making the tokens creatures in addition to being lands.

Token Name Color Type Line P/T Text Box Source Printings
Forest Dryad Green Land Creature — Forest Dryad 1/1 (This creature is affected by summoning sickness, and it has "{T}: Add {G}.")

Rules[ | ]

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 707.2. When copying an object, the copy acquires the copiable values of the original object’s characteristics and, for an object on the stack, choices made when casting or activating it (mode, targets, the value of X, whether it was kicked, how it will affect multiple targets, and so on). The copiable values are the values derived from the text printed on the object (that text being name, mana cost, color indicator, card type, subtype, supertype, rules text, power, toughness, and/or loyalty), as modified by other copy effects, by its face-down status, and by “as . . . enters the battlefield” and “as . . . is turned face up” abilities that set power and toughness (and may also set additional characteristics). Other effects (including type-changing and text-changing effects), status, counters, and stickers are not copied.

    Example: Chimeric Staff is an artifact that reads, “{X}: Chimeric Staff becomes an X/X artifact creature until end of turn.” Clone is a creature that reads, “You may have Clone enter the battlefield as a copy of any creature on the battlefield.” After a Staff has become a 5/5 artifact creature, a Clone enters the battlefield as a copy of it. The Clone is an artifact, not a 5/5 artifact creature. (The copy has the Staff’s ability, however, and will become a creature if that ability is activated.)

    Example: Clone enters the battlefield as a copy of a face-down Grinning Demon (a creature with morph {2}{B}{B}). The Clone is a colorless 2/2 creature with no name, no types, no abilities, and no mana cost. It will still be face up. Its controller can’t pay {2}{B}{B} to turn it face up.

    • 707.2a A copy acquires the color of the object it’s copying because that value is derived from its mana cost or color indicator. A copy acquires the abilities of the object it’s copying because those values are derived from its rules text. A copy doesn’t wind up with two values of each ability (that is, it doesn’t copy the object’s abilities and its rules text, then have that rules text define a new set of abilities).
    • 707.2b Once an object has been copied, changing the copiable values of the original object won’t cause the copy to change.
    • 707.2c If a static ability generates a continuous effect that’s a copy effect, the copiable values that effect grants are determined only at the time that effect first starts to apply.

References[ | ]

  1. Sam Stoddard (October 9, 2015). "The Power of Lands". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Gavin Verhey (April 16, 2019). "Lands Are a Blast". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Gavin Verhey (September 27, 2017). "Real Estate Management 101". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Gavin Verhey (October 11, 2018). "Do(n't) Play Lands". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Wizards of the Coast (September, 2003). "Ask Wizards - September 2003". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. a b Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2017). "Mechanical Color Pie 2017". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Mark Rosewater (March 17, 2018). "Have you guys ever considered basic land tokens?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  8. Mark Rosewater (April 24, 2018). "Would there ever be a possibility of enchantment or land tokens?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. Mark Rosewater (October 22, 2021). "To my knowledge token lands arent really a thing...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  10. Mark Rosewater (October 22, 2021). "Magic has never done token lands before aside...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. Mark Rosewater (October 23, 2021). "Since silver border is often a place to try out...". Blogatog. Tumblr.