Leyline of Vitality | Illustration by Jim Nelson
Does it ever feel like you’re lost, or on an unfamiliar path? When in doubt, find your Leyline.
Leylines have become popular sideboard cards for many formats, but why? What can these cards do for you? Today I’m going to look at the 11 Leyline cards and rank them based on how useful they can be. Some of them have value in the maindeck while others shine in the sideboard, so I’ll be ranking them accordingly.
Let’s follow these ancient mana paths and see where they take us!
What Are Leylines in MTG?
Leyline of Sanctity | Illustration by Noah Bradley
Leylines are enchantments that depict ancient mana lines or paths that crisscross each other on every plane in Magic. They all cost four mana, but if one of them is in your starting hand then you can place it onto the battlefield before the game begins. This opening hand effect was created to give the impression that Leylines are found, not cast.
The Leylines were printed in three sets: Guildpact, Magic 2011, and Core Set 2020.
#11. Leyline of Lifeforce
Leyline of Lifeforce assures that your creatures won’t be countered. I believe this is the definition of a sideboard card for creature decks. It doesn’t need to be main decked and therefore won’t be as valuable as some of the other Leylines on this list.
#10. Leyline of the Meek
Leyline of the Meek boosts your creature tokens and so belongs with cards like Bitterblossom and Edgar, Charmed Groom. This Leyline isn’t a must-have for token decks as it can be replaced with cards like King Darien XLVIII and Eldrazi Monument.
#9. Leyline of Punishment
Time to get your burn decks ready! Leyline of Punishment stops lifegain and damage prevention. You have one focus when you play this card, and that’s to burn your opponent with cards like Firebrand Archer, Brimstone Volley, and Koth of the Hammer.
#8. Leyline of Anticipation
Leyline of Anticipation is a fun Leyline to take advantage of instant-speed casting. Flash is a great keyword, so why not give it to all your spells?
This can turn powerful cards like Clone or Agent of Treachery into momentum-changing, instant-speed plays.
#7. Leyline of Vitality
Leyline of Vitality is great for lifegain decks. As a slight bonus your creatures also get an extra toughness to keep them alive. This Leyline can boost creatures like Archangel of Thune and Voice of the Blessed, and works in tandem with a card like Soul Warden.
#6. Leyline of Sanctity
Leyline of Sanctity seems like the least fun of the Leylines in my opinion. It stops all “target player” effects, but it doesn’t give you much else outside of that.
Keeping yourself from being targeted may be enough to win you some games, but I wouldn’t bet on this strategy for most matches.
#5. Leyline of Lightning
Leyline of Punishment is great and all, but Leyline of Lightning is the card for your next burn deck. It adds a potent burn to all your cards if you can keep extra mana free. I also love that it says “spell,” so this includes all your nonland cards.
This Leyline is worth rostering in main decks that want to burn their opponents with every spell.
#4 Leyline of Singularity
Leyline of Singularity has some interesting interactions that come from making all nonland permanents legendary. It stops your opponent from playing copies of the same permanent and allows you to take advantage of legend-only type cards like Mox Amber and Day of Destiny.
This card can be built around to give you plenty of benefits.
#3. Leyline of the Void
Some of these Leylines help you, and some of them counter your opponent’s strategies. Leyline of the Void focuses on neutralizing your opponent’s graveyard and dying effects.
This card has such a devastating effect on some decks that it should be in most sideboards.
#2. Leyline of Combustion
The red Leylines are my favorite, but I also tend to lean aggressively. If you’re worried about your opponent targeting you with discard or using spot removal on your creatures, Leyline of Combustion will make them think twice.
Another great card to include in burn decks.
#1. Leyline of Abundance
You know a card is powerful when it’s banned in some formats.
Leyline of Abundance makes your mana producers even more efficient and has some late-game pump value. This Leyline is banned in Pioneer and Explorer, but it can still be used in Modern, Historic, and other eternal formats.
Best Leyline Payoffs
The red Leylines are all about burning your opponent, so make sure to include cards like Boros Charm, Monastery Swiftspear, and Searing Blaze.
The green Leylines protect and pump your creatures, so pair them with great creatures like Birds of Paradise, Workshop Warchief, and Briarbridge Tracker.
Some of the other Leylines protect you from threats which may give you time to realize some bigger strategies like an Approach of the Second Sun and Memory Deluge combo.
If you don’t want your Leylines to be just lame enchantments, you can turn them into creatures with cards like Opalescence and Starfield of Nyx.
Even if you don’t turn them into creatures, Leylines might help boost enchantment strategies alongside cards like Serra’s Sanctum, Enlightened Tutor, and Michiko’s Reign of Truth.
What Does Leyline of the Void Do?
Leyline of the Void changes where a card goes when it’s removed from the battlefield. The cards leaving the battlefield are sent to exile instead of an opponent’s graveyard. This change also affects certain triggers and abilities.
Does Leyline of the Void Stop Death Triggers?
Yes, it does. Magic defines dying as a permanent moving from the battlefield to the graveyard. Since Leyline of the Void changes the destination to exile, it negates dying effects and triggers. The exception to this rule is tokens, which I’ll talk about next.
Does Leyline of the Void Exile Tokens?
No, it doesn’t. Since tokens never go to the graveyard, Leyline of the Void doesn’t affect them. If tokens die they still trigger dying effects even if Leyline of the Void is on the battlefield.
What Does Leyline of Sanctity Stop?
Leyline of Sanctity stops any spell from targeting you as a player. Cards like Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek can target other players in this case, but not you.
Why is Leyline of Abundance Banned?
Leyline of Abundance was banned in Pioneer and Explorer because the combo of it and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx created too quick of a ramp effect. You can produce a ton of mana for relatively cheap with the opening hand play of Leyline of Abundance, a mana dork, and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx.
Leyline of Combustion | Illustration by Noah Bradley
Hopefully you’ve found your path through this toward a well of mana and knowledge. The Leyline enchantments are particularly wonderful and popular sideboard additions across a lot of formats. Make sure to understand their worth when considering what cards to put in your precious sideboard slots.
That’s it for me today. Feel free to leave a comment below, follow us on Twitter, and keep that competitive edge over your friends and frenemies.
Take care, and remember that our paths are not always shown, but sometimes found!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: