Lands are the cards that drive the basic mechanics in Magic. They’re required to produce mana in order to cast spells. Without them, it would become very difficult to play the game. While certain artifacts and creatures can do this as well, those cards generally need mana to be played (and the ones that don’t are banned in most formats or require other costs). Since lands are so necessary to play the game, casting cards that destroy your opponent’s lands can be an effective method of controlling the field.
Land Destruction Cards
Frenzied Tilling/Stone Rain: Though it may be a bit expensive, Frenzied Tilling not only destroys one of your opponent’s lands, but also allows you to search for a land of your own. Stone Rain is a similar card to Frenzied Tilling, but at a cheaper mana cost and without the “gain a land” bonus. Both of them are stable and effective cards to use if your opponent has a land that they either base their strategy around or ruins your own strategy.
Ghost Quarter/Tectonic Edge: Both of these lands are Modern staples in land destruction. They efficiently deal with pesky non basic’s your opponents could play (Tron Lands anyone?). The only issue is that they both have a downside. Ghost Quarter allows whoever’s land is destroyed to search for a basic land and put it into play, and Tectonic Edge requires your opponent to have four or more lands in play.
Wasteland/Strip Mine: Both Wasteland and Strip Mine are basically the exact same card. If you don’t mind playing a colorless land, then Wasteland and Strip Mine can be useful land destruction at the cheap cost of zero mana. Be careful, as they do count as your land for the turn. Lastly, Wasteland and Strip Mine don’t have to be used immediately, so you can reap the mana that they produce for a few turns before you use them.
Armageddon/Ravages of War/Catastrophe: Moving on to board wipes, there are multiple strong contenders that you can use in order to remove lands from the field. The only problem is that they also generally remove all of your lands from the field. This won’t be a problem if you have enough mana artifacts in play. However, be careful that you don’t utterly disadvantage yourself by destroying all of your lands. Armageddon and Ravages of War are exactly the same card – they simply destroy all lands. But Catastrophe has the added benefit of being able to destroy all creatures on the field instead of all lands. When using Catastrophe or similar cards, just be sure to use the right ability in the correct situation.
Some other powerful board wipes for all your land destroying needs:
Impending Disaster: In most formats Impending Disaster won’t be that effective. However in multiplayer EDH a large number of lands will constantly be on the field. This causes Impending Disaster to activate soon enough to actually have a substantial impact in the game. The unique card can also be used as a control method to threaten people into not playing lands, which can be very useful against big mana decks. Overall, though it is underwhelming in most formats, Impending Disaster can be a useful bargaining chip in EDH.
Feast of Worms: This card may look pretty lame, but don’t let its appearance fool you. Being able to kill two birds with one stone can be the difference between winning and losing a game (especially if your opponent is casting expensive creatures). The only downside to Feast of Worms is its high mana cost, as well as the fact that your opponent gets to pick the second land that’s sacrificed. Additionally, Feast of Worms can only destroy two lands if the first target is a legendary land. In general green lacks in powerful land destruction, so Feast of Worms is the best most mono green decks can run besides colorless cards.
Destructive Flow: Passive abilities can be incredibly strong in Magic, especially in formats where you can play multiple cards of the same type, and Destructive Flow is no exception. Being able to force an opponent to sacrifice one of their lands each turn can be a huge advantage. Especially if you already have a strong front line force and mana producing nonland permanents. The catch with Destructive Flow is that it only gets rid of nonbasic lands. If you have an opponent that is playing only basics, then it’ll seldom see any sort of use.
Army Ants: Basically, Army Ants turns all of your lands into Strip Mines, but instead you tap Army Ants to sacrifice them and destroy another land. Army Ants can be a bit slow since it usually only destroys a land a turn. It can also be a bit risky since it requires one of your own lands to be sacrificed. But there are some ways to get around this by reviving your fallen lands with cards like Splendid Reclamation. In general Army Ants can be a good land destruction card, but its speed and riskiness can sometimes hinder it.
Fulminator Mage/Avalanche Riders: Fulminator Mage and Avalanche riders are premier land destruction creatures in Modern, EDH, and occasionally Legacy. Fulminator Mage is typically used in toolbox strategies to answer Tron lands as well as to color screw an opponent. Avalanche riders can very easily be abused with cards similar to Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, creating a soft lock on your opponents. Both creatures are strong candidates for land destruction, and can really make an impact during the course of a game.
Blood Moon/Magus of the Moon: While Blood Moon and Magus of the Moon are not necessarily traditional land destruction, I still felt they deserved a spot on this list. Their ability to turn every nonbasic land into a basic mountain does a ton of work in almost every format they are in. It completely shuts down some mid-range strategies, closing out games efficiently and quickly. Be warned though… Only play this card if you are okay with some people hating your deck.
Some other notable pseudo land destruction cards are:
- Back to Basics
- Winter Orb
- Static Orb
- Hokori, Dust Drinker
- Living Plane
- Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
Land destruction can be a fun strategy that can effectively shut down opponent’s decks. If your adversaries enjoy playing decks that require large amounts of land or mana, try running some land destruction in order to hold them off. Also, don’t be afraid to destroy your own lands in certain situations. Cards such as Splendid Reclamation and Ramunap Excavator can recover your lost lands. Additionally you should always make sure you have enough artifacts and creatures on the field if you are going to wipe all of the lands off the board.
What about you, have you ever played any land destruction strategies? How did it go for you? What land destruction cards are your favorite? Be sure to leave any comments, suggestions, and concerns down below.