On Aug. 29, 2015 Wizards of the Coast revealed several new spoilers from their upcoming expert Magic: The Gathering expansion set Battle for Zendikar during a special preview panel and live stream at Pax Prime in Seattle, Wash. Among them were a set of new non-basic lands. The cycle is already receiving a slew of nicknames, including “slow duals,” “slow lands,” “late lands,” and “lag lands.” Regardless of which moniker you choose to call them by, this new cycle of lands are a very powerful addition for players to use in their decks. Let’s take a look:
Land – Plains Island (Rare)
(Tap: Add W or U to your mana pool.)
Prairie Stream enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or more basic lands.
The continent of Ondu is a vast plateau crisscrossed by deep trenches and meandering rivers.
Land – Island Swamp (Rare)
(Tap: Add U or B to your mana pool.)
Sunken Hollow enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or more basic lands.
On the continent of Tazeem, rushing waters plunge through narrow canyons into mist-cloaked lakes.
Land – Swamp Mountain (Rare)
(Tap: Add B or R to your mana pool.)
Smoldering Marsh enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or more basic lands.
The Continent of Guul Draz is a geothermal swampland reeking of heat and decay.
Land – Mountain Forest (Rare)
(Tap: Add R or G to your mana pool.)
Cinder Glade enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or more basic lands.
On the volcanic continent of Akoum, bizarre vegetation clusters around gas vents, and jagged mountain peeks rise high into the air.
Land – Forest Plains (Rare)
(Tap: Add G or W to your mana pool.)
Canopy Vista enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or more basic lands.
The continent of Murassa lies beneath a blanket of dense vegetation, its enormous branches tangled so thickly that inhabitants never see the ground.
Let’s compare the new Battle for Zendikar lands to several cycles we’ve seen before. The most obvious choice is the Shocklands. Because Praire Stream, Sunken Hollow, Smoldering Marsh, Cinder Glade, and Canopy Vista count as two land types each players can find them with Fetchlands or any other card that allows you to search for a Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, or Forest just like the Shocklands. Praire Stream, Sunken Hollow, Smoldering Marsh, Cinder Glade, and Canopy Vista will never deal damage to you as they enter the battlefield. Shocklands have the advantage of entering untapped the battlefield untapped at the price of two life. These new lands only enter untapped if you control two or more basic lands. In terms of play, a Shockland will be more advantageous in the first few turns of the game when you’re willing to pay the two life. Afterwards, you’ll likely let a Shockland enter the battlefield tapped unless you really need the mana that turn. In contrast Praire Stream, Sunken Hollow, Smoldering Marsh, Cinder Glade, and Canopy Vista won’t really come online until turn three and forward. The Check Lands could never enter the battlefield untapped on turn one, however they can come online turn two forward. These new lands really shine the longer a game progresses because they’ll enter the battlefield untapped.
We’ve absolutely no doubt that these lands will see play beyond Standard in eternal formats. Consider the following scenario: It’s turn four in a game of Modern and you need to cast Supreme Verdict. Cracking your Flooded Strand to find a Praire Stream over a Hallowed Fountain will save you two life and give you a more flexible mana base over just searching up another basic Plains or Island. With the Scry Lands of Theros block departing Praire Stream, Sunken Hollow, Smoldering Marsh, Cinder Glade, and Canopy Vista are a welcome addition. How will you use them? Please let us know down below in the comments or via Twitter.
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