Last updated on March 30, 2023

Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire - Illustration by Julian Kok Joon Wen

Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire | Illustration by Julian Kok Joon Wen

The channel ability was introduced in 2005’s Saviors of Kamigawa to represent the forces of the spirits of the plane using all their energy to produce a one-off effect. This ability returned in 2022 with Neon Dynasty, a set based on Kamigawa 1,200 years in the future.

Here channel appeared on a number of different cards, the most eye-catching being a certain legendary land cycle. And today we’re going to be taking a look at just that.

Let’s dive right in!

What are Channel Lands in MTG?

Boseiju, Who Endures - Illustration by Chris Ostrowski

Boseiju, Who Endures | Illustration by Chris Ostrowski

The channel lands are a legendary land cycle printed at rare in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. There’s one for each color of Magic, and each one has a channel ability that mechanically matches the color of mana that land can produce.

An important point about the channel ability is that you’re not casting a spell when you use it. This means they can’t be countered in traditional ways, only through an ability counter like Stifle.

The channel lands also have matching legendary synergies. They’re all legendary lands, which is quite unusual for modern Magic design. And each of their channel abilities cost one generic mana less for each legendary creature you control so you could potentially reduce it to a single colored mana, which is an excellent rate for any of these lands.

List of Channel Lands Ranked

#5. Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance

Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance

Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance, the red land in the cycle, possibly has the least interesting ability of all of these lands: creating two 1/1 colorless Spirit tokens. These tokens aren’t even red, which would occasionally be relevant.

That said, creating two 1/1s at instant speed for four mana (or less if you control legendary creatures) is still good enough when you can also play the card as a land instead. Being uncounterable also helps, especially in a blue control-heavy meta.

Sokenzan is currently seeing some play in Standard Boros () aggro. While the ability may not be used very often, it has a pretty useful interaction with Day/Nightbound cards like Sunrise Cavalier since you aren’t casting a spell when you use the ability, allowing you to trigger day/night flips easier.

#4. Takenuma, Abandoned Mire

Takenuma, Abandoned Mire

The #3 and #4 spots are incredibly tight. I’ve opted for Takenuma, Abandoned Mire to come in the losing slot since it doesn’t quite have the same amount of play outside of Commander.

Self-mill and graveyard interaction range from good in most decks to excellent in decks that particularly care about the graveyard. And you’re probably going to have some legendary creatures in play in Commander, making this a very cheap way to get the best thing from your ‘yard. And I’m sure you can find plenty of ways to bring this back to your hand and use it over and over again if you’re interacting with the graveyard.

Magic: the Gathering - Takenuma, Abandoned Mire (278) - Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
  • Name: Takenuma, Abandoned Mire
  • Set: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
  • A single individual card from the Magic: the Gathering (MTG) trading and collectible card game (TCG/CCG).

#3. Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire

Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire not only sees play in Commander, but also has some good Constructed play. A 3-mana removal spell isn’t a bad card at the best of times, but again, attached to an untapped land makes it very powerful.

This does fall off a little in Commander, but only a little. Four damage to a single target (that must be attacking or blocking) isn’t super powerful in Commander, but being essentially a free inclusion makes it difficult to leave out.

#2. Otawara, Soaring City

Otawara, Soaring City

The #2 channel land is a combination of Eiganjo and Takenuma in a lot of ways. Otawara, Soaring City can be used as a removal spell (okay, technically bounce spell) to bounce something back to your opponent’s hand. Or it can be used to bounce something you control back to your own hand to protect it or get more value from casting it again.

Four mana is quite a lot for this effect but it has a lot of potential in a number of formats, even before you apply any cost reduction effects.

#1. Boseiju, Who Endures

Boseiju, Who Endures

Okay. We all knew what was going to be top of this list before it even started. You probably aren’t expecting any groundbreaking takes on this one, but I’ll do my best…

Boseiju, Who Endures is a fantastic card. This is probably the card that’s going to have its ability used most of all out of all these lands. Partly because it only costs two mana to activate, which is an incredibly efficient rate for artifact, enchantment, or land destruction.

This is also a “green” card (yes, technically it’s colorless as a land, but for argument’s sake it’s green). Green is the color of lands in MTG, so if there’s any color that can abuse channel lands, this is it. There are so many ways to grab this out of your ‘yard, and even plenty of ways to search it out of your library.

Another important point here is that it isn’t a spell. This means it can’t be countered by Chalice of the Void. You know what else is important about Chalice? It’s an artifact, which means it can be taken out by this land.

Clearly pushed, this is a versatile card. But is it too powerful? Probably not. Answers aren’t usually the “broken” aspects of MTG. That’s usually left to the threats. Boseiju won’t win a game on its own.

What Sets Are Channel Lands From?

All of the channel lands were printed in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.

Are Channel Lands Good?

In short, yes, channel lands are very good, even the weakest of the bunch. Replacing a basic land or two with a “spell” with almost no downsides is extremely powerful for a lot of decks. Late game when you draw these instead of your sixth land feels amazing. And you can just use them as a regular land if you draw them early!

Not being counterable by regular means, as well as not being susceptible to hand hate with cards like Thoughtseize, gives channel lands a further edge that’s pretty much all upside.

Where to Find Channel Lands

Being sought-after lands from a recent set, channel lands are found in all of the usual places.

TCGPlayer, Cardmarket, Card Kingdom, and other retailers all sell them, ranging from slightly above bulk for Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance to the second most expensive card in the set with Boseiju, Who Endures.

Pros and Cons of Playing Channel Lands

It might feel like channel lands are auto-includes in pretty much any deck, and you’re not far off. They take the place of a “normal” land, allowing you to get that little bit of extra value out of your land base. But there are also some good reasons not to include them.

A lot of the abilities (ignoring Boseiju, of course) are fairly underwhelming on their own and don’t add that much to what you’re playing. Not to mention that only producing a single color of mana can also be problematic in multicolor decks. This is probably the biggest limitation on their inclusion, and I’d certainly think twice about including one in a deck running three or more colors.

Finally, not being basic lands means you can’t fetch the channel lands out with fetch lands, and they’re also susceptible to the dreaded Blood Moon.

Give a good breakdown of considerations when including channel lands in your decks

How Many Channel Lands Should I Play in a Deck?

The channel lands being legendary does cause some headaches in deckbuilding. I’d be a bit wary of including more than two of the same land in a deck if I’m building for a 60-card format. You don’t want to be stuck with multiples in hand and only be able to play one of them. There are definitely arguments for only putting one in there, too.

An edge case I can think of where you may want to include more is having some extra Boseiju, Who Endures in your sideboard to bring in during matchups where the ability is more important. There may be reasons to do similar here with some of the other lands, but it feels like Boseiju is the one where this would come up more often.

Wrap Up

Otawara, Soaring City - Illustration by Alayna Danner

Otawara, Soaring City | Illustration by Alayna Danner

The channel lands are quite clearly all playable in multiple formats, and some will have at least some ripple effects on the formats they’re included in. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see these played in many decks for a good few years to come.

What do you think? Do you like the channel lands? Do you want to see more lands like this? Let me know in the comments below or over on the Draftsim Twitter.

Be sure to come back soon to see what I’m waxing lyrical over next!

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