Oath of the Gatewatch Limited Review: Lands

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Posted January 15, 2016 by Jean-Luc Botbyl in Nerdy Bits

Mythic Rare

Mirrorpool

Mirrorpool

Mirrorpool is undeniably powerful, but it may not be at its strongest in Limited. You need to have creatures, instants, and sorceries that are worth copying at the cost of not only the mana need to activate Mirrorpool, but also of the land itself. Now, those definitely exist in this format, so this card does have a high ceiling. Even in its worst possible case, it’s a Wastes, which isn’t horrible considering the power level of some of the Colorless spells in this format.

Score: 7.9

Rare

Corrupted Crossroads

Corrupted Crossroad

Blighted Crossroads is the exact Land that Devoid decks will want. It gives them access to Colorless mana, which is important, and it allows them to splash a third color with ease. This is something that definitely comes in handy, considering there are powerful Devoid cards across all colors. It does only fit into that one archetype, but then again, that will probably remain the most powerful archetype in the format, so Blighted Crossroads definitely gets some bonus points there.

Score: 7.5

Hissing Quagmire

Hissing Quagmire

Considering that all this does is become a 2/2 with Deathtouch, Hissing Quagmire is probably the least interesting of all the two color manlands. The thing is, it’s still a manland, and manlands are inherently powerful. It may not necessarily be a windmill slam first pick (for instance, I would probably take Reflector Mage over it) but there’s an extremely low cost to playing Hissing Quagmire. Entering the battlefield tapped is to be expected of most dual lands, and being able to double as a creature to peck in for damage or block isn’t anything to scoff at.

Score: 8.0

Needle Spires

Needle Spires

Needle Spires is kind of an odd card. As with Hissing Quagmire, it’s definitely good, however, it seems to be conflicted, and is not necessarily a first pick. Needle Spires wants to go into a beat down deck, but four mana to activate it, while fair, doesn’t really fit that bill well. The cost is definitely justified – it essentially provides a four power attacker as long as you don’t need to cast anything else. Double strike will generally prevent the one toughness from being too much of an issue in combat, and the format lacks Instant speed burn, so again, the one toughness isn’t a huge downside.

Score: 7.6

Ruins of Oran-Reef

Ruins of Oran Rief

There’s no real downside to running Ruins of Oran-Reef, especially if you have a bunch of creatures. It essentially pumps creatures permanently for a single colorless mana, which is a decent rate. Plus, it does tap for Colorless, so if you need that mana, this will provide it. It isn’t necessarily a first pick, though. You won’t always want Colorless mana, and while you can run a few lands that only tap for generic mana in your two color decks, you may not want to pick them up early. Then again, I may be undervaluing Colorless mana in this format – it could be much more useful and important than I’m giving it credit for.

Score: 7.0

Sea Gate Wreckage

Sea Gate Wreckage

Sea Gate Wreckage is obviously much better than just running Wastes, and it’s a pretty powerful card. Inverse Library of Alexandria is probably better than straight up Library of Alexandria in Limited (barring Cube of course), when the goal is to curve out and dump your hand. You can just activate on end step or upkeep, and start a turn where you would have been Hellbent with two cards in hand – that’s an exceptionally powerful effect. Plus, it taps for Colorless, which is useful. However, here’s the thing: it’s not necessarily a super high pick, since you may not want access to Colorless mana, similarly to Ruins of Oran Reef.

Score: 7.8

Wandering Fumarole

Wandering Fumarole

Wandering Fumarole is probably the best of the three manlands in this set. It can switch between a 4/1 and a 1/4 at will, meaning that it can either hit for four, or survive being blocked by a three power creature. Four mana is a bit steep to activate the Fumarole, but it being able to switch power and toughness for free really begins to justify that cost. Plus, it does fix your mana, so as with the other two, there’s no real cost to playing this card.

Score: 8.5

Uncommon

Cinder Barrens

Cinder Barrens

Cinder Barrens is pretty good. Entering the battlefield tapped is a pretty normal cost for being able to tap for two mana. It has no other upside, but it facilitates splashed and even two color decks may want one or two to ensure smoother mana.

Score: 6.0

Meandering River

Meandering River

Meandering River is pretty good. Entering the battlefield tapped is a pretty normal cost for being able to tap for two mana. It has no other upside, but it facilitates splashed and even two color decks may want one or two to ensure smoother mana.

Score: 6.0

Submerged Boneyard

Submerged Boneyard

Submerged Boneyard is pretty good. Entering the battlefield tapped is a pretty normal cost for being able to tap for two mana. It has no other upside, but it facilitates splashed and even two color decks may want one or two to ensure smoother mana.

Score: 6.0

Timber Gorge

Timber Gorge

Timber Gorge is pretty good. Entering the battlefield tapped is a pretty normal cost for being able to tap for two mana. It has no other upside, but it facilitates splashed and even two color decks may want one or two to ensure smoother mana.

Score: 6.0

Tranquil Expanse

Tranquil Expanse

Tranquil Expanse is pretty good. Entering the battlefield tapped is a pretty normal cost for being able to tap for two mana. It has no other upside, but it facilitates splashed and even two color decks may want one or two to ensure smoother mana.

Score: 6.0

Common

Crumbling Vestige

Crumbling Vestige

Crumbling Vestige is a very well designed card. It enters the battlefield tapped, yes, but it provides mana on that turn as well. In a lot of ways, this is probably better than just running another copy of Wastes, since it fixes your mana in more ways than just giving you colorless mana. It’s definitely not a high pick, and some decks will probably not even want Crumbling Vestige. In the decks that want it, it will be quite good though.

Score: 6.5

Holdout Settlement

Holdout Settlement

Holdout Settlement is one of the better ways to get access to Colorless mana in this format. It entires untapped, so it is really strictly better than just having a Wastes in your deck, considering it can fix other colors as well. Tapping creatures for mana isn’t always the greatest option in Limited, since you may need those creatures to attack or block – and there’s always the possibility that you won’t have a creature. That being said, it does help facilitate a splash, and the ability to add any color of mana is a powerful effect, so this card ends up being pretty good.

Score: 6.8

Unknown Shores

Unknown Shores

Unknown Shores and Shimmering Grotto have always been fine in Limited scenarios. They fix mana when necessary, though it’s not the optimal way to do so. However, here, it’s much better, simply because of the ability to add Colorless mana. This is what has made it playable in the past, but in OGW, it elevates it, since it allows you to play Colorless spells at relatively low cost.

Score: 6.9


About the Author

Jean-Luc Botbyl

Jean-Luc is a grizzled veteran of We the Nerdy. Most days, he just wonders why he hasn't been formally fired. Follow him on Twitter at @J_LFett to make him feel validated.