Last updated on August 29, 2023

Valakut Exploration - Illustration by Jesper Ejsing

Valakut Exploration | Illustration by Jesper Ejsing

Zendikar block introduced us to what would become one of Magics most iconic planes, one we’d return to many times over the years. It also gave us an iconic mechanic we’d see echoed in sets throughout the years: landfall!

Landfall is a powerful mechanic that provides players with abundant value as they play the game, primarily on enchantments and creatures. Many landfall cards are Commander staples, and it’s a powerful mechanic for your general. But what are the best landfall cards in Magic? Let’s find out!

What Are Landfall Cards in MTG?

Maja, Bretagard Protector - Illustration by Lie Setiawan

Maja, Bretagard Protector | Illustration by Lie Setiawan

Landfall cards are cards that have an ability that’s triggered by a land entering the battlefield under their controller’s control. There are a handful of instants and sorceries with abilities that get better with landfall, but the mechanic mostly appears on enchantments and creatures.

Landfall is a triggered ability on these cards, meaning its effect goes off whenever lands enter the battlefield under their controller’s control. They can happen at instant speed, so if you have a fetch land like Wooded Foothills or a way to put a land into play at instant speed like Harrow or Sakura-Tribe Scout, you can get the trigger at instant speed.

You can also get multiple landfall triggers a turn. You’ll get a trigger each time a land enters play, so if you have an effect like Oracle of Mul Daya or Azusa, Lost but Seeking that lets you play multiple lands each turn, you’ll get a trigger for each land you play.

#32. Skyclave Shade

Skyclave Shade

Black doesn’t have many landfall cards, but Skyclave Shade gives the color a strong card. It’s great in sacrifice decks that want a cheap creature to sacrifice and recur over and over, but midrange decks can also use it as a sticky threat that scales well into the late game thanks to kicker.

#31. Maja, Bretagard Protector

Maja, Bretagard Protector

Maja, Bretagard Protector is great landfall card for decks wanting to go wide with tokens. An anthem and army in one card give Maja value at any point you can play it. The Human Warrior tokens are also quite good as Humans and, to a lesser degree, Warriors are tribes with lots of support.

#30. Nissa of Shadowed Boughs

Nissa of Shadowed Boughs

The only planeswalker to make the list, Nissa of Shadowed Boughs is an interesting take on a green-black planeswalker that cares about lands. It’s not the first Nissa that makes land into creatures, and it tends to be a strong ability. The ultimate is truly interesting here. Thanks to the landfall trigger, you can play this and immediately ult it if you play it slightly off-curve, and you’ll get a bigger creature thanks to the counts. It’s a little slow and narrow but offers some interesting play patterns.

#29. Omnath, Locus of the Roil

Omnath, Locus of the Roil

The first of three Omnaths in our list, Omnath, Locus of the Roil is an effective elementals commander. This coming into play and killing a creature, planeswalker, or even a player if you have enough elementals is a powerful two-for-one before you factor in the landfall ability. It distributes counters narrowly but draws you cards once you’ve got enough lands in play. Eight lands is a pretty easy threshold for most green decks, so you’ll draw cards easily. This Omnath gets brought down simply because it’s so narrow compared to its contemporaries.

#28. Ob Nixilis, the Fallen

Ob Nixilis, the Fallen

Ob Nixilis, the Fallen gives black landfall decks a power finisher. Making a player lose three life for every land played adds up quickly, and the counters let Ob Nixilis deal the last points of damage itself. They also give it the stats to become a great blocker to stop your opponents from getting too aggressive while you chip away at their life total.

#27. Admonition Angel

Admonition Angel

Admonition Angel offers flexibility with its ability to exile other creatures. While it can function as a repeatable Fiend Hunter effect, it also has lots of potential in a flicker deck that uses this to exile several of its own creatures. You can then flicker this card with something like a Cloudshift to get all the creatures back or use it as protection against a board wipe.

#26. Omnath, Locus of Rage

Omnath, Locus of Rage

Omnath, Locus of Rage isn’t nearly as restrictive, even if it gives you access to fewer colors as a commander. This is basically Rampaging Baloths in the command zone, except these are bigger tokens with a more relevant creature type, and Omnath benefits you if they die. This card still cares about elementals but can happily helm a standard Gruul landfall deck.

#25. Roil Elemental

Roil Elemental

Landfall triggers that make creatures are great, so how good must it be to steal theme? Pretty good. Roil Elemental isn’t without weaknesses. It’s pretty fragile and costs a lot of mana, so you’ll have less land in hand once you reach it. But stealing your opponents’ creatures is fun and powerful, especially in Commander, since it’s a way to remove an opposing commander without changing zones. If you can protect this, it shifts the game directly in your favor.

#24. Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor

Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor

Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor is a more aggressive landfall card that turns lands into creatures in combat and distributes counters around your team whenever you make land drops. The natural play pattern is to load Obuun up with its own counters so the creatures it makes hit even harder, but this could also lead a counters-based deck that uses it to spread a bunch of free counters around. Either way, this nets plenty of value for your land drops and uses all those extra lands by making them threats.

#23. Primeval Bounty

Primeval Bounty

Green has a robust selection of landfall cards that kick off with Primeval Bounty. This big enchantment has a lot of text, with landfall being just one ability. It’s basically a supped-up landfall card that provides universal value for playing the game. Rather like dealing three damage with Ob Nixilis, gaining three life stacks very quickly. Even if you run out of lands, this card provides plenty of value once it hits the battlefield.

#22. Rampaging Baloths

Rampaging Baloths

Rampaging Baloths is a Commander classic that punches incredibly hard. We’ve discussed how good making creatures with landfall is, and this card is among the best. 4/4s are much larger than they look and stack incredibly well, and the Baloths being a 6/6 lets it hit hard as well. This card can be a little slow but gives you a steady stream of value if it goes unanswered.

#21. Emeria Angel

Emeria Angel

Cards that add to the board with your landfall triggers are among the best, and Emeria Angel delivers an army. 1/1 Bird tokens might not seem like much, but it only takes a couple of turns until you have a massive army in the air. It’s a great card to give token decks or flying decks a bunch of incidental value.

#20. Retreat to Coralhelm

Retreat to Coralhelm

Retreat to Coralhelm doesn’t look like much on the surface. As a stand-alone card, it’s mediocre. This card’s potential comes from how well it combos with other effects, making it a staple of landfall decks. Retreat to Coralhelm, Sakura-Tribe Scout, and a bounce land like Simic Growth Chamber establish a strong loop to get infinite landfall triggers, and that’s just the simplest combo to come to mind. This enchantment may not break the game alone, but its potential as a combo piece is unrivaled.

#19. Nesting Dragon

Nesting Dragon

Nesting Dragon is a simple landfall card but works in lots of strategies. It’s great in aristocrat decks that sacrifice the Dragon Egg tokens for more value than the 2/2. It’s good in token strategies that use effects like Doubling Season since it gives them a little resilience to board wipes, and it even works in Dragon tribal decks that care about the quantity of their dragons more than their quality. It’s never the best card in the deck, but always a solid role-player.

#18. Evolution Sage

Evolution Sage

Evolution Sage is a slightly narrow landfall card. Your deck needs to use counters for this to work, but the free proliferate triggers do so much work in decks that care about it. +1/+1 counter decks are a natural archetype to add this to, but it’s also fantastic in superfriends decks and even decks using charge counters or -1/-1 counters.

#17. Trove Warden

Trove Warden

Trove Warden is another white card that allows white decks to rebuild post-board wipe or build up some value to offset the inevitable Wrath of God. It also works well in aristocrat strategies that can sacrifice the Warden and recur it to get continual value. It’s even a rare, if roundabout, source of white land ramp.

#16. Tireless Tracker

Tireless Tracker

Tireless Tracker gives green a great token producer and a little card draw. Making Clues early gives you ways to utilize mana later in the game when spells have dried up. The Tracker can become a substantial threat since it gets larger as you sacrifice Clues. Note that you don’t need to crack the Clue to its own ability to get the counters; the Tracker grows even if you use something like Deadly Dispute to sacrifice the Clue.

#15. Nissa, Resurgent Animist

Nissa, Resurgent Animist

The newest addition to this list, Nissa, Resurgent Animist has made a big splash in Modern thanks to its mana production and ability to draw cards. It’s played in elemental decks alongside the Incarnations like Solitude and Fury. It could be higher on this list, but it’s too early to determine its long-term impact on the game.

#14. Moraug, Fury of Akoum

Moraug, Fury of Akoum

Landfall decks get another good finisher in Moraug, Fury of Akoum. This works well alongside the various landfall abilities we’ve looked at that generate creatures. Getting a bunch of extra combat and extra power is great for decks winning through combat. Note that you have to play lands in your second main phase for this card. If you play a land in your first main phase, you’ll go to the extra combat phase before you begin your regular one. Your regular combat phase won’t untap your creatures, so you need to get through the combat first.

#13. Avenger of Zendikar

Avenger of Zendikar

Another Commander staple, Avenger of Zendikar gets you a bunch of Plant tokens as soon as it comes into play and buffs them with every land you play after. It has a huge impact as soon as it comes down. It helps the board go wide, which synergizes incredibly well with other green staples like Craterhoof Behemoth or Finale of Devastation to end the game in a turn or two.

#12. Courser of Kruphix

Courser of Kruphix

The Commander staples keep coming with Courser of Kruphix. This enchantment creature gives you a source of virtual card advantage by letting you play lands off the top of your library. It gives land-based decks lots of top of the deck information, so they know when they want to crack fetches or draw the card on top of the library. The life gain trigger gives you a small, but welcome, life buffer that adds up over a long game.

#11. Tatyova, Benthic Druid

Tatyova, Benthic Druid

Tatyova, Benthic Druid was a mythic uncommon when released in Dominaria, and it’s still a fantastic choice in Commander. Remember when I said the best things you can do in Magic are play lands and draw cards? This does both in spades. It fuels itself incredibly well since drawing extra cards lets you see extra lands that let you draw extra cards that let you see extra lands… it’s a never-ending value train. The lifegain also adds up quickly.

#10. Hedron Crab + Ruin Crab

Hedron Crab and its newer iteration Ruin Crab are easily the best blue landfall cards. These make up the backbone of Modern mill decks, and Ruin Crab was a pretty big role-player alongside rogues in its Standard. Hedron Crab is certainly the more flexible of the two because you can use it to enable your own graveyard, but both of these cards are fantastic mill engines for 60-card formats. They also give you an instant win through milling with the above combo.

#9. Bloodghast


The best black landfall card is easily Bloodghast. This card is quite similar to Skyclave Shade, except it comes back into play for free. It was once a Modern staple when decks like dredge and Hollow One flourished in the format, though the banning of Faithless Looting hit those decks hard. This card is fantastic for any deck looking to self-mill or discard a bunch of cards that need free board presence for attacking or sacrificing.

#8. Searing Blaze

Searing Blaze

The best red landfall card is one of the few instants with a landfall ability. Searing Blaze is a staple in many burn lists thanks to its ability to hit players and creatures. With a landfall trigger, this is basically two Lightning Bolts in one card. It’s a little finicky since it doesn’t do much without landfall, and your opponent needs to control a creature. Still, it’s hard to beat this card’s efficiency at hitting opponents and their cheap threats.

#7. Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait

Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait

Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait looks like Tatyova at a glance, but this card has a few crucial differences that edge it out. First and foremost, Aesi lets you play extra lands to get even more value. That alone is well worth the extra mana. The toughness boost is also huge here. The power is nice too, but five toughness, as opposed to three, lets Aesi survive more removal spells. Aesi’s draw trigger is a “may” ability, so if you establish an infinite loop, you won’t mill yourself the way you would with Tatyova. These are small differences but cumulate into a card I’d hesitate to call strictly better, but it is the one I’d prefer as my commander.

#6. Felidar Retreat

Felidar Retreat

Felidar Retreat is an enchantment that produces a bunch of counters and creatures for your board. This card’s true strength comes from its versatility. When you play it early, it creates lots of tokens to build out your board state. In the late game, when you’ve already got plenty of creatures, it helps finish the game by making your entire team larger and giving them vigilance so you can freely attack without worrying about dying on the crackback. It’s a great card for any deck looking to go wide since it fills two important roles in a single card.

#5. Valakut Exploration

Valakut Exploration

The two best things you can do in Magic are drawing cards and making land drops, so what if you got to do both in one package? Valakut Exploration is basically a personal Howling Mine for landfall decks, but it can potentially draw multiple cards if you make multiple land drops. It even deals some extra damage with its second ability, which is relevant to this card’s strength since it lets decks that care about the graveyard use Exploration without worrying about losing cards to exile.

#4. Tireless Provisioner

Tireless Provisioner

Tireless Provisioner is incredibly strong. Essentially allowing your lands to tap for two mana the turn they come into play or letting your tapped lands like triomes make mana the turn they come into play gives you an incredible mana advantage. You can even store it up for an explosive turn later instead of ramping you a little on each turn. This card technically also makes Food, but you’re almost never using that mode unless you have a billion mana and one life.

#3. Lotus Cobra

Lotus Cobra

It might seem strange to see Lotus Cobra above Tireless Provisioner since you can’t save this card’s mana, but efficiency lets this edge its competitor out. They’re both fantastic with fetch lands, but Lotus Cobra is mana neutral on turn three when you play it, then play and crack a fetch. On turn two, it lets you untap with five mana with a fetch. In truth, these are both powerful cards, but the Cobra wins out because it’s just a little more explosive, letting you get a bigger, earlier advantage over your opponents.

#2. Scute Swarm

Scute Swarm

Scute Swarm dominates games. This is a cheap card, but you really don’t want to play it before you have six lands so you make copies of Scute Swarm instead of the Insect tokens. Unanswered, this grows exponentially and overruns your pod beneath a swarm of insects. It can also be a great defensive tool, producing plenty of chump blockers if you keep a couple of Scute Swarm copies around to make more tokens. It gives you great inevitability in many games that don’t include infinite combos.

#1. Omnath, Locus of Creation

Omnath, Locus of Creation

What could be the best landfall card other than the one so dominant in Standard that it caught a ban? Omnath, Locus of Creation doesn’t have one landfall trigger – it’s got three. That sounds like a lot, but it’s easy to get three landfall triggers repeatedly. This is more than a Commander card. Omnath is a Constructed and Cube staple that’s incredibly powerful in any format with fetch lands. It does a little bit of everything, gaining life so you can stabilize, producing mana, and even putting a clock on your opponents. It rounds all this out by drawing a card, so even if they answer this – and somebody must – you’re still up a card. This is VALUE in capital letters.

Sound intriguing? Check out our comprehensive Omnath, Locus of Creation Commander deck guide!

Best Landfall Payoffs

Part of what makes landfall such a powerful mechanic is that it doesn’t need a payoff. You’ll be playing lands each turn anyway. They get far better with ramp spells like Nature's Lore and Explosive Vegetation many green decks play anyways. Their value is in its purest form.

This doesn’t mean you can’t exploit them further. One of the easiest payoffs for landfall cards are fetch lands and bounce lands because they represent multiple triggers per land in your hand. A fetch land gets you two, while a bounce land gets up to three landfall triggers – one for the land you play, another for the bounce land, and a third for replaying the initial land.

Cards that let you play multiple lands a turn offer similar value. Creatures like Azusa, Lost but Seeking and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove that allow you to make multiple land drops give you as many triggers as lands you have to play.

Another effect that works well with the extra land drop cards above is cards that allow you to play lands from zones other than your hand. There are plenty of ways to play them off the top of your library, like Oracle of Mul Daya or Augur of Autumn. You can also play lands from your graveyard with cards like Ramunap Excavator and Crucible of Worlds.

All these abilities work in concert to allow you as many land drops as possible a turn from every zone you can get ahold of. It’s the best way to get payoffs for landfall triggers. They’re already free value since they just happen, so making it happen multiple times in a turn is key to making the most of the mechanic.

Wrap Up

Moraug, Fury of Akoum - Illustration by Rudy Siswanto

Moraug, Fury of Akoum | Illustration by Rudy Siswanto

Landfall is one of the strongest mechanics in Magic. Getting bonus effects from taking one of the most basic actions in the game is hard to interact with and harder to keep up with. Few mechanics are as value-oriented as this Zendikar classic.

It works well with ramp, card draw, and plenty of other effects. One of the easiest ways to squeeze extra value in your Commander decks is with a well-placed landfall card or two. What are your favorite landfall effects? Do you play a landfall commander? Let me know in the comments or on the Draftsim Discord!

Stay safe and make land drops!

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