Last updated on October 1, 2023
Each new Magic set presents designers with an increasingly difficult challenge: finding something to do that they haven’t done before. There are plenty of reprints and functional reprints in each set, but it’s the unique cards that keep players coming back to buy new sets. Eventually someone at Wizards thought, “hey, our cards have two sides, let’s use them both!” spawning a whole new type of card.
Double-sided cards have been around for a little while, but it was Ixalan’s release that saw a lot of double-sided lands printed. As an exploration-themed set it made sense for Ixalan to also have a lot of legendary lands to make up a decent number of the flip lands from that set.
Wizards has since provided a good number of flip lands. Certain sets had an emphasis on them like Zendikar Rising, while some flip lands were just thrown into sets when appropriate like Hostile Hostel in Midnight Hunt.
Ready to learn more about these double-sided lands? Let's get into it!
Umara Wizard | Illustration by Jesper Ejsing
Flip lands are any land that has two functional sides. This could be cards that are lands on both sides, or lands on one side and another type of card on the other.
Certain flip lands start as one type of permanent and turn into a land while on the battlefield, while others force players to choose which side to use before it enters play.
Unfortunately a lot of the cards near the bottom of the list have a similar issue: the land part of the card comes in tapped, but the spell itself is still overpriced because it’s a more versatile card. Akoum Warrior and similar cards are slower options.
Beyeen Veil is a fair cost for what it does, unfortunately, so it’s only going to be situationally good. Another fair Limited pick due to being a flip land, but it isn’t too remarkable.
Song-Mad Treachery is far too expensive to be a great temporary theft card. It could help you out immensely in the right circumstances, but its cost prohibits you from doing much else in a turn.
Cheaper options are usually better because they give you a chance to sacrifice the creature you stole with a card like Village Rites.
There are instances when Jwari Disruption comes in handy. If an opponent is tapping out for a card or needs an exact amount of mana to pull off a big move, this can throw a wrench in that plan.
Skyclave Cleric isn’t anything too exciting. It’s an okay inclusion in a mono-white or Selesnya () Commander deck with a lifegain theme, but there are better options for formats with smaller deck sizes.
The nice thing about a flip land that’s also a creature is that it feels slightly less like a dead draw later in the game than an underpowered spell. At least you’ll be able to drop a blocker.
Kabira Takedown is too hit-or-miss of a card to be consistently good. If you happen to have enough creatures to destroy what you want, that’s great, but you’d be better off running a similarly priced spell that removes your target like Path to Exile.
Being a flip land helps slightly with how niche the card’s effect is, but I still think you’d be better off just running a different card.
Green is hard up for removal, so a fight card like Khalni Ambush can be very helpful for getting rid of fliers or creatures that can’t be blocked. Green also has a decent number of landfall payoffs, so Khalni Territory can come in handy if you don’t need the front side.
Silundi Vision is a pretty good filler card in a Limited deck, even some spell-slinger Commander decks. It’s a land if you need it to be, or it can help you dig relatively deep into your library for a card given its cheap cost.
Zof Consumption can be a good card in Commander decks that have payoffs for opponents losing life. The main downside to the card is its price.
Lots of flip land spells have an inflated cost thanks to the land on the back, and this makes Zof Consumption a bit too pricey. You could play Torment of Hailfire with X equal to 4 for the same cost and a much greater effect.
Spikefield Hazard can be a decent removal spell. If you kill the creature hit with it during combat or any other part of your turn after it was damaged then it’ll be exiled. One extra mana to exile a card like Arclight Phoenix or Tenacious Underdog isn’t bad at all.
Makindi Stampede isn’t a bad card, there just happen to be better cards that do the same or similar things. For example, Unbreakable Formation can buff your creatures while also giving them indestructible, all at a cheaper and less restrictive cost.
Board wipes like Ondu Inversion can be effective since they hit a wide range of permanents. While a bit more expensive than similar cards like Planar Cleansing, it’s still a decent card if you’re looking for more board wipe options for your control decks.
Flip lands like this are nice for decks that are looking to go to the late game. Decks like that may need a few extra land options to reach your expensive spells, but it’s nice to have a land that can also be a bomb on its own.
Pelakka Predation is helpful in a few ways. Looking at your opponent’s hand ensures you’ll have more information about the game than they do.
Where most similar cards only allow players to target low-cost cards or a certain type of card, Pelakka Predation can hit any high-mana card. It’s a nice way to fill in the gaps left by similar cards for your discard-themed deck.
Umara Wizard is one of the more appropriately priced front sides of a flip land. A 4/3 flier is pretty good, and this card can likely get flying consistently in the right deck. It’s both a merfolk and a wizard, so it has a place in a couple of popular tribal decks for Commander.
Blue isn’t the best color for ramp, so having a flip land option like this can be helpful.
Blackbloom Rogue synergizes well with other rogue cards. It’s also an appropriately priced creature even without considering the usual cost added for being a flip land. I think it fits nicely into rogue-themed Commander decks, or even Dimir () mill decks.
The nice thing about Tangled Florahedron is that both sides of the card are working towards getting you more mana. Unlike other flip lands you don’t have to give up a mana source to play it on the front side, and you get to choose which side’s best in the given situation.
Hagra Mauling isn’t too overpriced of a removal spell. Given the prevalence of nonbasic lands now you probably won’t pay more for this card than you would for Murder, and you have a land attached if you need it.
Getting Dowsing Dagger to transform into Lost Vale can be a bit of a chore. Between the cost of the Dagger itself, the creature you need to equip it to, and the equip cost, you’re likely spending more mana on this than simply casting a Gilded Lotus.
That said it’s not a bad option if you’re already running a lot of equipment and have other payoffs for it.
Conqueror's Galleon can serve as a decent blocker, but I’m not convinced it’s all that helpful when transformed into Conqueror's Foothold. All the abilities on its flip side are a bit more expensive than you’d expect them to be, but it also takes four mana and two turns before you even get access to them.
There are likely better things you can do with the same amount of time and mana.
Golden Guardian is a huge flavor win, forcing you to defeat the guardian to access the Gold-Forge Garrison. The Garrison itself is pretty good, both for mana production and creating creatures if you don’t have another use for mana on a given turn.
Otherwise it’s very expensive and takes a long time to transform. Since you can transform this into Havengul Mystery multiple times, it can serve as a good way to consistently grab creatures from your graveyard.
Both sides of this card also have great and flavorful names.
Metzali, Tower of Triumph is easy to transform into with the right deck. Its abilities can be helpful, and they’re reasonably priced for what they do.
It isn’t too flashy, but I think both sides of this card can be good in the right decks.
#27. Emeria’s Call / Emeria, Shattered Skyclave
Emeria, Shattered can enter the battlefield untapped like the other mythic double-faced lands from Zendikar Rising, so it’s a much more versatile option than other flip lands. But Emeria's Call is way too overpriced, and there are much better and cheaper options to keep your creatures safe.
Even without transforming, Thaumatic Compass can be a good inclusion in a deck. This can be a nice way to search up lands in a deck that might not be able to otherwise if you aren’t running green.
Spires of Orazca can be a great way to prevent your opponent from using a very powerful creature against you, or to stop one of your attackers from being destroyed if your opponent uses a combat trick.
Vance's Blasting Cannons is a great way to make sure you’re drawing into something each turn. It could occasionally turn out biting you, but an extra card a turn can be a very powerful thing.
This card is slightly underwhelming when it flips into Spitfire Bastion, but its damage ability can be helpful in the right circumstances.
Dropping Profane Procession early can give you a helpful tool as the game progresses. Five mana isn’t terrible for a repeatable way to exile creatures, and you can have some powerful options if you choose your targets well when this transforms into Tomb of the Dusk Rose.
Sejiri Shelter can be a great way to keep a creature safe or sneak an attacker through blockers. It’s a good budget option for an EDH deck if you just want a way to keep your commander safe.
Kazuul's Fury works well as another way to Fling creatures in Singleton formats like Commander. Having the flip land option also prevents it from being a dead draw when you don’t have any creatures to use it with.
I run Bala Ged Recovery as a good means of recursion in decks that don’t include black. It’s easier to cast than Eternal Witness and no more expensive than Dryad's Revival. It may be one of your better options for green recursion depending on the deck you’re playing it in.
Vastwood Fortification can act as a cheap combat trick or help to activate abilities that look for modified creatures. It’s also a good addition to any +1/+1 counter deck.
It doesn’t have an added cost the way most flip land spells do, so its ability to be played as Vastwood Thicket is just an added bonus.
One fun move is to steal an opponent’s legendary creature, copy it, and then sacrifice your opponent’s creature and keep the copy.
Malakir Rebirth can be helpful in a lot of different situations. You can sacrifice a creature and bring it back with this card in a sacrifice-themed deck, allowing you to get the payoff from the sac effect and double dip on an ETB effect on the sacrificed creature.
You can also use this on a blocker so that you don’t take damage but get to keep your creature. You likely want to use this card as Malakir Rebirth most of the time. There isn’t really a downside to the flip land aspect, so it just adds to how good this card already is.
Westvale Abbey offers a few different options for you to activate, though they’re pretty expensive. Its flip side is powerful, but it’s questionable if it’s worth five other creatures and five mana.
That said, it can be a big threat to your opponents if you manage to get Ormendahl on the field without getting behind.
Legion's Landing is a great flip land for aggro decks. It drops a creature token when it comes in, but it’s also able to quickly transform into Adanto, the First Fort if you’re running cheap creatures.
Adanto gives you a consistent method of creating more creatures and gaining life if you’re running lifegain payoffs.
On the flip side, its activated ability can be a great way to deal a lot of damage.
Journey to Eternity is probably one of the easiest Ixalan flip lands to transform. It can keep one of your creatures safe in the meantime, both because of its effect and because some opponents may be hesitant to let you transform it.
As Atzal, Cave of Eternity you can consistently return creatures from your graveyard for a pretty cheap mana cost. This works well in self-mill and delve decks since you’re filling your graveyard with creatures from your deck.
Consistent cheap card draw might be the best aspect of Arguel's Blood Fast. If you’re down to 5 life, you’re forced to sacrifice a pretty strong creature of your own to get your life total back up all at once.
I’d still run this card without intending to use Temple of Aclazotz all that much just because the front side is so good.
Azor's Gateway can help you search through your deck if you need to. It’s up to you whether you ever flip it into Sanctum of the Sun, so you can keep it on the front side if you just want the card draw.
- Barkchannel Pathway / Tidechannel Pathway
- Blightstep Pathway / Searstep Pathway
- Branchloft Pathway / Boulderloft Pathway
- Brightclimb Pathway / Grimclimb Pathway
- Clearwater Pathway / Murkwater Pathway
- Cragcrown Pathway / Timbercrown Pathway
- Darkbore Pathway / Slitherbore Pathway
- Hengegate Pathway / Mistgate Pathway
- Needleverge Pathway / Pillarverge Pathway
- Riverglide Pathway / Lavaglide Pathway
All Pathways are essentially the same thing: there’s one color of mana on the front and another on the back. You choose which side you want to put onto the battlefield, allowing you to pick the color of mana you need at the given moment.
You can hold off on playing a Pathway until you know which color you need if you have other lands in your hand. They can also be played right away if you need mana quickly.
One Pathway isn’t really any better than another, it just depends on what color combination you’re playing. For decks using more than two colors, the best Pathway to include really just depends on the proportion of different colors in your deck. Pathways are some of the best flip lands because they’re quick mana with a few options of what color they will produce.
Turntimber Symbiosis lets you dig deep looking for a creature to drop. The main danger with the spell is that you can whiff and hit a tiny creature, or no creature. That shouldn’t happen too often if you build your deck correctly. This card also makes up for hitting a tiny card by giving a buff to cheaper creatures you play with it.
If you choose to play this card as Turntimber, Serpentine Wood, you can pay life to have it come in untapped. It’s a quicker mana source as a result and is easier to include without worrying that it’ll slow down your game or be a dead draw.
It’s kind of nice not worrying that you’re going to accidentally help your opponents.
You don’t have to worry about this card slowing down aggro decks thanks to Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass’s ability to come in untapped.
Search for Azcanta can help you ensure that you’re drawing into something useful each turn. Its transform ability says “may,” so you can keep this as a way to surveil as long as you want. Thanks to an erratum this card now also surveils, so you get any payoffs for surveilling if you have them.
Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin can help you search through your deck even more quickly, but it isn’t as helpful if you’re running lots of creatures in your deck. It can be a great tool for spellslinger or superfriends decks.
Primal Wellspring is a great tool for more spell-focused decks. The cost reduction on instants and sorceries can have a huge impact, especially because it makes it easier to hold up mana for counterspells.
If you choose to transform this card into Primal Wellspring you’re basically able to copy one spell you play on each of your turns. Neither of these cards is legendary so you can have multiple Primal Wellsprings on the board at a time copying several spells a turn or the same one twice.
Agadeem's Awakening can be an incredibly powerful card in a Pod deck because you’re likely to have a lot of creatures with different mana costs. That might be the most explosive use of this card, but it also works well in a variety of different decks.
It can enter untapped as Agadeem, the Undercrypt, making it one of the better flip land spell options.
Sea Gate Restoration is an incredible tool for control decks. You’re likely to draw a few cards off this spell, and more resources are always a good thing to have. You also won’t have to worry about hand size so you can keep drawing and finding answers without worrying about discarding them.
Aside from card advantage you also get a potential source of blue mana that only costs you three life to come in untapped.
Growing Rites of Itlimoc is quick and powerful. It can be played pretty early on and helps you work towards transforming it by getting you a creature to your hand off the top of your deck. You can fill your board with more ease thanks to it transforming on your end step as opposed to upkeep knowing your creatures just have to survive to the end of your turn.
Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun is basically a Gaea's Cradle, but it’s even better because it can also tap for mana without having any creatures on the board. With a $900 Reserved List card on the back it’s hard not to consider this one of the best flip lands.
The best (and cheekiest) flip land payoff as of now is Goblin Charbelcher. Some players actually run decks completely comprised of flip lands that are spells on the front. This makes for a slower land base, but that isn’t a big deal since its ability can win you the game easily in this deck.
Once you activate Goblin Charbelcher it reveals your entire deck since you don’t technically have any lands. It’s unlikely your opponent has more life than you have cards in your deck early in the game in any format.
No, you can't flip Pathway lands. Once a Pathway is on the battlefield it can’t be flipped to the other side. In fact any double-faced card that doesn’t specifically have a way to transform in the rules text of the card can’t be flipped once it has been played.
Make sure you’re choosing the side of your Pathways carefully, because you won’t be able to change it later.
Pathways are not basic lands. They can’t be searched up with fetch lands or any spells that grab basic lands from your deck.
If you want your Pathways to be basic you need to have Rootpath Purifier on the field.
Silundi Isle | Illustration by Randy Vargas
Flip lands can be very useful cards to include in your deck. Some flip land spells are worse versions of other spells, but their ability to be played as lands often makes up for this. Some of these cards work better on their nonland side, but they’re still worth considering for your decks.
What flip lands do you use most often? Do you prefer dual lands or Pathways? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
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