Watery Grave | Illustration by Svetlin Velinov
Of all of the card types in Magic, one is absolutely crucial: lands. No matter what you plan on doing with a deck, you need some sort of mana generation to get the cards from your hand onto the battlefield. It’s a necessary evil for the vast majority of decks. I can’t remember hearing anyone ever saying that lands were their favorite cards (art aside).
With the nearly three decades that Magic has been around, there’s a myriad of lands to choose from. You’re probably wondering which ones in Dimir () are worth running. I’ve ranked the 15 best black blue lands based on the following criteria:
- Speed: How quickly it can generate mana once it enters the battlefield.
- Versatility: How many colors it can generate.
- Utility: Other abilities besides mana generation.
- Legality: Which formats it can be used in.
Ready to take a look? Let’s jump right in!
There are some lands that don’t pass the usability criteria but are overall good lands. Let’s take a look at them before we get into the meat of the rankings.
Duskmantle, House of Shadow and Nephalia Drownyard each tap for one but have activated abilities to mill a few cards. Filling up your graveyard or manipulating the top of your library could be important, but you have better options.
Secluded Glen works the same as a true dual land, if you’re playing a faerie deck and willing to reveal one from your hand. Otherwise it works like Dimir Guildgate, which is just too slow without any other benefit.
#15. Dimir Aqueduct
Dimir Aqueduct comes into play tapped and has an additional cost of returning another land you control to your hand. Effectively using this land requires some structure.
Its additional cost can be mitigated by returning an already tapped land to your land, maybe even one that has an ETB trigger. And you’ll still be on tempo for mana since it taps for by itself.
#14. Darkwater Catacombs
While Darkwater Catacombs’ ability requires you to spend mana to generate some, it creates one blue and one black mana. This means that if you feed a blue in, you get it back plus a black mana, and vice versa if you feed in a black.
You can also feed it colorless, or whatever other color may be available to you, if you’re running three or more colors. A handy bit of mana fixing.
#13. Fetid Pools
#12. Tainted Isle
Tainted Isle enters untapped but produces colorless mana unless you also control a Swamp. Since most decks play basic lands on top of nonbasics it should be relatively easy to get this online early.
#11. Creeping Tar Pit
I can’t tell you how many times this has helped me finish off my opponents’ life totals. I love this card and was very happy to see it come back in the New Capenna precon and Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate.
#10. Shipwreck Marsh
Shipwreck Marsh comes into play tapped unless you already control at least two other lands. Obviously not great in the early turns, but this is just golden once you have your first two lands down.
#9. Darkslick Shores
Darkslick Shores is a card you want in your opening hand because it comes in untapped if you control two or fewer other lands. This and other fast lands are great picks for building a solid mana base since the early turns are usually the most important turns of a game.
#8. Drowned Catacomb
Drowned Catacomb enters untapped if you control an Island or a Swamp. You’re more than likely getting a dual land in untapped very early since the likelihood of you having one of those two basics in your opening hand should be high.
#7. Morphic Pool
Morphic Pool was introduced in Battlebond and only works in multiplayer games. Since the format of Battlebond was more akin to Two-Headed Giant than Standard, you pretty much always had two opponents.
#6. Clearwater Pathway / Murkwater Pathway
While Clearwater Pathway technically isn’t a dual land, it does offer you some mana fixing by choosing whichever color you need the most. And you can always return it with a bounce land and flip the color if you need to.
#5. Sunken Ruins
Unlike its brother Darkwater Catacombs, Sunken Ruins allows some more complex mana filtering options. It requires you to feed it either a black or blue but then lets you add either , , or to your mana pool. It also comes in untapped, so it can go to work right away.
#4. Underground River
Underground River comes into play untapped and can generate colorless mana or allow you to use your life as a resource to have it generate blue or black mana. It may seem odd that this is higher than some of the other choices that can also come in untapped and generate those two colors, but the main benefit here is that the River can come in on turn 1 and generate either color without the help of another mana source.
It’s also a helpful tool to teach newer players that life is a resource.
#3. Polluted Delta
While Polluted Delta won’t generate mana itself, you can sacrifice it to fetch an Island or Swamp from your library. This is great for mana fixing, finding another nonbasic with the Island or Swamp type, or to just shuffle your library.
It also pairs exceptionally well with the next couple of cards…
#2. Watery Grave
#1. Underground Sea
Underground Sea is one of the original dual lands that was printed starting in Alpha. There’s a reason these cards are so sought after, and it goes beyond the fact that they’re some of the first cards ever printed.
These are very simple lands that do one thing and do it well: come in untapped and generate two colors of mana. No strings attached.
Underground Sea | Illustration by Rob Alexander
Lands are a constant in every deck. Some can run a few, most run a lot, and some use them as a win condition. They’re such an important part of the game that they tend to be some of the most expensive cards out there.
But this list only looks at the lands that work with both black and blue. Looking at exclusively blue or exclusively black lands may also lead you to some interesting options for your next deck’s mana base.
That’s all from me for now. Stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: