Last updated on November 30, 2023
Godless Shrine | Illustration by Cliff Childs
Having an efficient and supportive mana base is crucial to any deck regardless of format and power level, and can be the quickest way to lose a game. You need to make sure to properly evaluate what duals you need, how many of each color, and what lands work best with one another when trying to build your mana base. Especially for Commander decks.
That’s why today I’m coming at you with a complete breakdown of the Orzhov () dual lands including a full ranking, why each land is great or lackluster, and which ones you should consider for Commander versus other formats.
Let’s jump in!
#27. Starlit Sanctum
First up on the list is Starlit Sanctum. It’s not a dual land, but it is an Orzhov utility land, which will be included in today’s rankings. This isn’t a bad card, don’t get me wrong, but it’s hyper specifically useful in cleric tribal and doesn’t even tap for white or black.
#26. Orzhova, the Church of Deals
Next up is Orzhova, the Church of Deals. This land taps for a colorless but can also drain a single opponent of one life for . That’s super expensive, and it doesn’t even tap for white or black like Starlit Sanctum.
#25. Forsaken Sanctuary
5Forsaken Sanctuary is about as dry and boring as dual lands come. It taps for both colors, enters the battlefield tapped, and offers nothing more in terms of mechanics or bonuses. This is the absolute bare minimum and the least powerful Orzhov land in the rankings.
#24. Vault of Champions (in 1v1)
Next up we have Vault of Champions, which is effectively the same as Forsaken Sanctuary in 1v1 formats. It’s specifically built for Commander and multiplayer formats, so it actually gets a higher ranking for that format specifically.
#23. Snowfield Sinkhole
Snowfield Sinkhole is just the snow version of Forsaken Sanctuary, but that small difference can mean a lot in decks that require snow mana or snow permanents to get additional benefits or cast spells. That’s significant enough to have it be rated two places higher than the other card.
#22. Scoured Barrens
Scoured Barrens, like Snowfield Sinkhole, is a slightly improved version of Forsaken Sanctuary. It enters tapped, taps for both white and black, and has an extra small benefit of gaining you one life.
This is pretty great fixing in Limited. While it can see play in lifegain decks that use both colors, it’s pretty much D-tier fixing in the Constructed formats that it’s legal in.
#21. Goldmire Bridge
Goldmire Bridge is the start of something more interesting. This is actually an artifact land, which helps contribute to affinity and metalcraft while also having indestructible. The indestructible is a neat part of this card since it means you can use it as a solid target for cards like Ensoul Artifact.
#20. Silverquill Campus
Silverquill Campus is the dual land common from Strixhaven that can tap for both white and black and enters tapped (boo!). You can tap this land and pay to scry 1, which helps filter your draws in stalemate and pass-go situations.
This land is particularly good fixing in Limited and playable in budget Commander decks, but it doesn’t have much of a home outside of that.
#19. Orzhov Basilica
Orzhov Basilica is the bounce land that taps for both white and black. But it does come into play tapped and requires you to return a land you control to your hand. This means you can’t actually play this land turn 1 and be ahead on mana because it’ll be the only legal target for you to return to your hand.
I think these lands are pretty good in casual and mid-power Commander, but not really in any other format.
#18. Vault of the Archangel
This is great in Orzhov token decks that like to go wide early, making your creatures lethal threats that still grant extra value with lifelink if they go unblocked. Great utility land all around.
#17. Great Hall of Starnheim
Next up we have another utility land. Great Hall of Starnheim taps for black but has an activated ability that allows you to pay on top of sacrificing it and another creature you control to make a 4/4 flier with vigilance.
This is a great late-game threat generator that can still act as a black source. It’s begging to be played on turn 1.
#16. Salt Flats
Salt Flats is a mediocre pre-power creep version of Caves of Koilos. It does everything your typical pain land can do, but it enters the battlefield tapped. That’s a serious drawback, especially when strictly better options are available.
Losing a turn’s worth of mana can be just what it takes to be forced to use mana inefficiently the entire game, eventually losing.
#15. Tainted Field
Tainted Field is a very situational dual land. In the right deck (read: deck with a lot of Swamps or swamp-cards), it can excel. It enters untapped, provides both colors of mana, and importantly, can tap for one colorless as well. That makes it playable on turn 1 if you're looking to drop something colorless such as Sol Ring.
#14. Temple of Silence
Temple of Silence is another tapped land, but this one doesn’t require that pesky one life tax and it lets you scry one when it enters. This is a great turn 1 or 2 land for midrange decks to help round out their curve, ensure they hit their land drops, and fix their mana.
It’s great in Standard when it’s legal, and it’s sub-optimal fixing in Commander, but not much else.
#13. Fetid Heath
Fetid Heath is the filter land for Orzhov, which means it costs one mana to activate if you want colored mana, popping out two in any combination of white and black. It’s saving grace is that it can also be tapped for a colorless, which makes it effective in scenarios where you don’t need white orblack, like in 3-color decks.
#12. Shambling Vent
The Vent’s activation cost is only , which is pretty cheap for a creature land. It’s one of the better duals overall, but we still have some much better ones to cover.
#11. Isolated Chapel
Isolated Chapel is a dual land that taps for both white and black and has the ability to enter untapped if you control a Plains or Swamp. This makes it a superb land at any point in the game since you can play it tapped without a 1-drop on turn 1, or wait for turn 2 and have it act as a pseudo-Scrubland.
#10. Shattered Sanctum
Like Isolated Chapel, Shattered Sanctum is a non-fetchable white and black dual land that has a simple clause to entering untapped: having two or more other lands in play. This makes it a great land after turn 2, and still somewhat decent on turn 1 if you don’t have a 1-drop.
#9. Concealed Courtyard
Concealed Courtyard is where these lands go up a tier. This dual land enters untapped as long as you control two or fewer other lands, meaning it’s untapped on turns 1 through 3.
But that makes it a poorer draw afterwards. Having untapped mana in the first three turns is still incredibly crucial to setting the pace of the game and interacting with your opponent when it means the most.
#8. Brightclimb Pathway / Grimclimb Pathway
Next up we have one of the more unique dual lands in Magic, the Pathway double-faced lands from Zendikar Rising. I’m a big fan of these lands because they come in untapped and can very easily work around draws and the rest of your opening hand.
The Pathway’s only real downsides are that they can’t be fetched and you don’t get access to both colors at once. But this isn’t that big of a problem in 2-color Standard and Pioneer decks.
#7. Shineshadow Snarl
Next up is the Strixhaven dual land, Shineshadow Snarl. This is a tapped land that cap tap for both white and black but can also come in untapped if you reveal a Plains or Swamp.
Keep in mind that you can actually reveal dual lands that have either of these types, so you can technically reveal an Overgrown Tomb to have this enter untapped.
#6. Caves of Koilos
Caves of Koilos is your run-of-the-mill 2-color pain land. It can also tap for without requiring you pay the life tax, which can be significantly important in aggro matchups where you want to preserve your life as much as possible.
#5. Silent Clearing
Next up we have Silent Clearing, which is essentially a power-crept pain land. It taps for both white and black as long as you pay one life, but it can also be cashed in later in the game for a card.
That card draw is significant to its power level and is why it ended up in the top 5. While Orzhov doesn’t necessarily need or benefit from the extra card like Izzet () would, it’s still a great mechanic that really makes this land worth playing.
#4. Vault of Champions (in multiplayer)
Here’s the second ranking of Vault of Champions that I mentioned earlier. This dual land was specifically designed for multiplayer formats, which is basically code for Commander.
This is a non-fetchable dual that enters untapped if you have two or more opponents. This makes it exceptional in Commander but pretty much F-tier in anything else.
#3. Marsh Flats
#2. Godless Shrine
In the runner up spot today for black and white dual lands is none other than Godless Shrine. Nearly a perfect dual land, the Shrine can be fetched by both black and white sources, can enter untapped on the turn it enters the battlefield (for a small life payment), and taps for both white and black.
There isn’t much more you can ask for, and that’s why it was awarded the #2 spot.
We all knew it was coming, and now that we’re looking at the #1 spot, we can finally acknowledge that Scrubland is without a doubt the best black and white dual land. It enters untapped, can be fetched by both white and black sources, and has absolutely no downside other than being exposed to Wasteland.
This is the ultimate dual land for your Commander, Legacy, and Vintage deck. And you should hold onto it for dear life if you can manage to get your hand on one of these (from any set) since it’s a Reserved List card.
Orzhova, the Church of Deals | Illustration by Martina Pilcerova
That wraps up the top Orzhov dual lands in Magic! Orzhov is one of the lesser-played color combos, which means that its powerful dual lands are cheaper than their other color duo counterparts.
Did you enjoy the list? Are there any lands I left out or swaps you’d make in the rankings? Let me know in the comments below or over in the official Draftsim Discord.
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