Last updated on November 2, 2022

Cabal Stronghold - Illustration by Dimitar Marinski

Cabal Stronghold | Illustration by Dimitar Marinski

Regardless of the format you’re playing, your decks probably include at least one utility land. These are lands that do things other than (or in addition to) tapping for mana, like providing strong passive effects, granting abilities that give you card advantage, or buffing your creatures.

Utility lands can be critical in executing a deck’s strategy, especially if that strategy requires something like an infinite hand size or team-wide trample effects. Today I’ll be listing some of the best utility lands in all five colors plus colorless and multicolored, and giving them a general ranking.

Let’s get started!

Best White Utility Lands

#5. Hall of Heliod’s Generosity

Hall of Heliod's Generosity

Whether you’re running a Selesnya enchantress deck or a 5-color gods deck, Hall of Heliod’s Generosity is a great addition to give you a lot of redundancy.

While enchantment removal is pretty uncommon outside of green, you’re bound to run into it in one form or another. Recursion can sometimes be difficult to find in a non-black deck. This is an excellent and consistent way to get it since land destruction is even less common.

#4. Windbrisk Heights

Windbrisk Heights

Fourth place greets us with Windbrisk Heights, the white hideaway land, with the card being freed once you’ve attacked with three or more creatures. You’ll be able to fulfill this requirement pretty easily and consistently, making this land a strictly better Plains that generates a nice amount of card advantage.

#3. Emeria, the Sky Ruin

Emeria, the Sky Ruin

In third place we have Emeria, the Sky Ruin, which lets you return a creature from the graveyard straight onto the battlefield as long as you have seven or more Plains on your upkeep.

This card is great, especially in a mono-white Commander deck where this happens pretty much every single game. Returning something like a Sun Titan that then brings another creature back is great. I’d play this in every single mono-white EDH deck I own (which is one).

#2. Serra’s Sanctum

Serra's Sanctum

Our runner up is Serra’s Sanctum which generates a single white mana for every enchantment you have. This card is exceptionally strong, often generating loads of mana for you to continue playing enchantments and drawing cards. This truly is the Gaea’s Cradle of white, and its price of $230 USD reflects that.

#1. Karakas

Karakas

First place goes to the Vintage staple and EDH-banned Karakas. This land has an amazing ability that lets you bounce legendary creatures. This is great at bouncing Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer or Emry, Lurker of The Loch. But if there are no valid targets for the ability, Karakas still taps for a single white, making it an excellent land and a must-have.

Best Blue Utility Lands

#6. Castle Vantress

Castle Vantress

Starting off our blue list is Castle Vantress, a blue land that lets you scry 2 for . This is a very affordable and strong card for your EDH deck whether it’s mono blue or not. The added bonus that it comes in untapped if you have an Island is also excellent. This is usually a better Island that helps you avoid mana flooding later in the game.

#5. Seat of the Synod

Seat of the Synod

Fifth place goes to the blue artifact land Seat of the Synod. I’m ranking the blue artifact land in this section, while not doing it for some of the other colors, due to the fact there are some stronger and more prevalent cards that synergize well with this like Urza, Lord High Artificer or Emry, Lurker of the Loch.

#4. Academy Ruins

Academy Ruins

Speaking of blue artifact synergies, in fourth place we have Academy Ruins. This land taps for colorless with the activated ability to bring artifacts back from your graveyard.

This is great the more centralized around artifacts your deck is. I wouldn’t play this in anything but an artifact-themed deck since just having it on the off chance you get to bring your Sol Ring or Dimir Signet back is kind of pointless. Bringing back something like Blightsteel Colossus is much cooler. And stronger.

#3. Minamo, School at Water’s Edge

Minamo, School at Water's Edge

Third place goes to Minamo, School at Water’s Edge. This card can very easily go infinite with a lot of cards or commanders like Arcanis the Omnipotent.

At worst it’s an Island without the Island type. At second-worse it becomes a value engine that lets you untap your stronger activated abilities, like the one on Emry, Lurker of the Loch.

#2. Tolaria West

Tolaria West

Next up on the list of the best blue utility lands is Tolaria West. This card’s strength comes from its transmute ability, which lets you search for any 0-cost card in your deck. The most popular target for this is something like Mana Crypt, but it can also be useful for finding something more utilitarian like Tormod’s Crypt.

#1. Mystic Sanctuary

Mystic Sanctuary

First place goes to Mystic Sanctuary, which puts an instant or sorcery from your graveyard back on top of your library. It also can come in untapped if you already have three or more Islands out, which you probably do if you’re already trying to get an important spell back. This can be extra powerful if you’re bringing something like Time Warp or any other “take an extra turn” card that doesn’t exile back.

Best Green Utility Lands

#4. Mosswort Bridge

Mosswort Bridge

First up on the rankings for green is Mosswort Bridge. This is the green hideaway card from Lorwyn that lets you access the hidden card if your creatures’ total power is 10 or greater. This is a very easy thing to do in green, especially in a larger format like Commander where you’re bound to accumulate a wide creature base the longer the game goes on.

#3. Wirewood Lodge

Wirewood Lodge

Third place goes to Wirewood Lodge, which lets you untap an elf for a single green mana. There are a few incredible elves that can really benefit from an untap, like Lathril, Blade of the Elves (a great EDH commander) or Marwyn, the Nurturer. This could also be a mana doubler if you’re using it on Wirewood Channeler, resulting in you gaining huge amounts of mana in a single turn.

#2. Dryad Arbor

Dryad Arbor

Next up is the popular Dryad Arbor. This creature land has some pretty sweet interactions that let it help ramp you out, like being able to be tutored on turn 1 with Green Sun’s Zenith.

Just remember that Dryad is still affected by summoning sickness, so it won’t be able to also tap for a green and generate mana for you to play Sol Ring in the same turn.

#1. Gaea’s Cradle

Gaea's Cradle

Crashing into first place and miles ahead in power level than any other green utility land is Gaea’s Cradle. If you can get your hand on this ultra-expensive card, odds are you’re playing it whenever you’re allowed to.

Cradle generates a lot of mana, especially in creature decks that like going wide over tall tribal decks. Know that this land is an incredible threat that must be dealt with by any means possible if you see it played against you.

Best Red Utility Lands

#4. Castle Embereth

Castle Embereth

First up on the list for the best red utility lands is Castle Embereth. Red has severely worse utility lands than other colors on the pie. This card lets you pay three mana and tap it to give your entire team +1/+0.

This is an okay mechanic. The other upside is that it comes in untapped, assuming you already have one Mountain. This card is exceptional in a goblin or similarly token-creating deck, but not too hot otherwise.

#3. Den of the Bugbear

Den of the Bugbear

Next up is the red manland from Forgotten Realms, Den of the Bugbear. This land becomes a 3/2 goblin that also makes goblins when it attacks. Similarly to the previously mentioned Castle Embereth, Den comes in untapped if you control two or more other lands.

#2. Great Furnace

Great Furnace

In second place we have Great Furnace, which is the red artifact land. I’m including this one so high on the list because of the high number of artifact synergy red has in a lot of its powerful cards. The cards I’m talking about are things like Daretti, Scrap Savant and Hellkite Tyrant. It also doesn’t enter tapped.

#1. Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

Finally, in first place in the best red utility land rankings is Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. This card is exceptional in any Gruul landfall deck and is the flagship card in my favorite Modern deck of all time, Scapeshift!

It’s important to note that you can have multiple Valakuts out (if you’re not in a Highlander format, that is) and the three damage can also go to creatures. This gets a lot of value in multiplayer games where there are plenty of creatures to kill, but also excels in rapidly bursting your opponent down in 1-v-1.

Best Black Utility Lands

#6. Cabal Stronghold

Cabal Stronghold

Cabal Stronghold is an excellent mana generating land that gives you a single for every Swamp you control. This card is very similar to how the devotion mechanic on Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx works but for lands!

A must-include in any of your mono-black Commander decks and incredibly powerful if you have outlets to spend your mana on like Torment of Hailfire.

#5. Castle Locthwain

Castle Locthwain

Next up in fifth place is Castle Locthwain, the utility land from Throne of Eldraine that lets you draw cards at the expense of your life. While it’s no longer legal in Standard and rarely used in Historic, Locthwain still has a strong spot in EDH.

In Magic, cards are the ultimate resource to have, and your life total is the most prevalent resource you can spend in Commander. These two factors make this land a great inclusion.

#4. Bojuka Bog

Bojuka Bog

The classic Bojuka Bog is in fourth place. This land is an excellent answer to any kind of graveyard strategy or recursion. It sees play basically anywhere it’s legal and is very cheap thanks to a bunch of reprints.

Unfortunately it enters tapped, hits your own graveyard, and can’t be conventionally fetched out of your deck. But these downsides are pretty minimal compared to the upside of your opponents not being able reanimate their Protean Hulk.

#3. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

In third place we have Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. This card is excellent fixing in multicolored decks with black, but also provides amazing synergies with cards like Cabal Stronghold and Cabal Coffers. This can lead to downright incredible amounts of colored mana being generated for you to use in your game-winning outlets or combo pieces.

#2. Phyrexian Tower

Phyrexian Tower

Second place is the incredibly powerful sacrifice outlet, Phyrexian Tower. This is a great inclusion in any sacrifice, reanimator, or aristocrat Commander deck you may be brewing. It also gets an extra two black out of your already tapped mana dorks, meaning you could generate more mana early to quickly ramp out your commander.

This works especially well if your commander also makes cannon fodder for your sacrifice theme, like Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools or something more niche like Kokusho, the Evening Star.

#1. Cabal Coffers

Cabal Coffers MH2

First on the list for the best black utility lands is Cabal Coffers, which is actually just a strictly better version of Cabal Stronghold. This Cabal does all the same things but for one less colorless, which can make all the difference in certain situations.

This card gets much stronger the more Swamps you have, so prioritize picking one up for mono black builds. And pair it with a Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth if you’re in a multicolored deck.

Best Multicolor Utility Lands

#4. Kessig Wolf Run

Kessig Wolf Run

Fourth place on the multicolored list is Kessig Wolf Run, one of the more popular Innistrad utility lands that gives your entire team +X/+0 and trample. This is a wildly fun and powerful card, and one of the most popular for Gruul and Commander deck. The low cost of gives you plenty of room to spend on X, which very quickly gets up to Craterhoof Behemoth territory.

#3. Alchemist’s Refuge

Alchemist's Refuge

Alchemist’s Refuge is a Simic utility land that gives your nonland cards flash for . This is a superb mechanic and is invaluable at such a cheap cost. This benefit is great for creatures but even better for sorceries, which are balanced with their sorcery-speed limitation in mind.

Flashing in a Time Warp in a multiplayer game to cut off somebody’s game plan is as fun as it is powerful.

#2. Creature Lands

Second place goes to the group of dual-colored creature lands, also called manlands. These are great at finishing off your opponent, especially Celestial Colonnade and Creeping Tar Pit.

I’d include some of these in your multicolored EDH decks since they work as good mana fixing and excellent creatures later in the game when you have the mana to spend on them.

#1. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Last but certainly not least is Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx in first place. This card is in the multicolored category because it generates any color mana depending on your deck and board state.

Nykthos can go big in mono- or even dual-colored decks, especially in higher-power formats like EDH. Generating even four of five mana for the cost of two is already no joke, and you’re going to be extremely happy to play this card late game when you’re producing well over ten.

It does need a reprint of some kind since it’s currently going for over $30 USD, with the only version from the original Theros.

Best Colorless Utility Lands

#6. Reliquary Tower

Reliquary Tower

First up on the list of the best colorless utility lands is the incredibly popular Reliquary Tower, which gives you no maximum hand size while also having the ability to tap for one. If you ever get the chance to have more than seven cards in your hand, you should include this in your Commander deck. Especially if you’re playing blue, where you have access to incredible card draw spells and mechanics.

It wouldn’t hurt to include this Tower in your deck even if you won’t be at a consistent risk of overdrawing because it isn’t uncommon to draw cards because of another player in a multiplayer game. But that’s up to you to decide based on your deck’s power level of and if you have room in your mana base.

#5. Rishadan Port

Rishadan Port

Fifth place goes to Rishadan Port. Tapping down an opponent’s land is one of the most powerful stax effects in Magic. This card is great in your prison / stax EDH deck. It’s also really strong in the MTGO Vintage Cube.

This effect’s strength grows the more colors your opponent is playing because it goes from keeping them down one mana to locking them out of any one color, which is a much more damaging effect.

#4. Inventors’ Fair

Inventors' Fair

Next up in fourth place is Inventors’ Fair, which passively gains you life while also letting you tutor up any artifact card for four colorless. This is exceptionally good in EDH when you need consistent ways to win through combos that need artifacts like Dramatic Reversal and Isochron Scepter. But be mindful of needing three other artifacts in play.

#3. Wasteland

Wasteland

Following up in third place is Wasteland. While being hindered in targeting scope by only hitting non-basic lands, this card is still excellent. It can remove some of your opponent’s most powerful utility lands like Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx or Gaea’s Cradle.

This land, like all 1-for-1 trades, is weaker in 3- or 4-player games since it only puts you down a card in relation to two of the other players. But the getting rid of the threat is still preferred to having the land remain when facing large threats that need removal.

#2. Strip Mine

Strip Mine

Following Wasteland is its strictly better version, Strip Mine. This is the exact same as the previous card, but it hits any land instead of just non-basics. This becomes much stronger in conventional 1-v-1 formats.

If you’re playing an aggressive red deck and manage to Strip your opponent’s land after going first, you’ll be massively ahead in mana since your deck doesn’t need nearly as much. This card is still good in multiplayer formats, but more as a threat removal tool rather than an advantage generator.

#1. Urza’s Saga

Urza's Saga MH2

First place goes to Urza’s Saga, the best colorless utility land in Magic! This card quickly gained popularity in nearly every format it was legal in after its release, and for good reason. Creating two constructs is already great, especially in older evergreen formats where you’re playing Power Moxen or other high-power artifacts.

Saga also has a home in Commander, where you can use its third ability to tutor out Sol Ring or Mana Crypt. Overall an excellent card in every aspect, and something you’re always happy to play when you get the chance.

Wrap Up

Alchemist's Refuge - Illustration by Dan Scott

Alchemist’s Refuge | Illustration by Dan Scott

That’s the list of the best utility lands in the game!

Lately I’ve been very into theory crafting Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle in Commander. I’m really interested in building some sort of Gruul landfall list that revolves around it.

But what do you think? Did I miss any must-haves or niche lands you’ve found to be very powerful? Let me know down in the comments or head over to our Discord talk about it.

Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!

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2 Comments

  • Avatar
    Dragonlord December 17, 2021 4:53 am

    stating Kessig wolf run it’s +X/+0 not +X/+X

    • Avatar
      Dan Troha December 17, 2021 9:46 am

      Fixed, thanks!

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