Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Farewell, Common Duals
As was pointed out to me in the comments section of my previous post, I neglected to call attention to the fact that the Khans Common Dual Lands are about to rotate out of Standard, leaving the format without multicolored lands for the first time since Return to Ravnica. This will obviously have a major impact on what types of decks are viable in the format. Without access to reliable color-fixing, it will be unusual to see decks with three or more colors of cards. And given that such decks have performed well over the past few seasons of our weekly Standard Pauper Player Run Events, it will be interesting to see if this pushes the metagame away from Control once more.
Additionally, with this type of Dual Lands being rarity shifted back to Uncommon in Shadows Over Innistrad, there is the potential that this may not be a temporary situation, but a return to the baseline environment at Common from the more recent color intensive sets. This would be unfortunate, as reliable mana fixing not only allows players access to more colors, but also makes aggressive decks more consistent and thus better able to compete against Control strategies, which in my opinion is more healthy for the format. We shall see.
In the mean time, what Land-based color fixing will exist going into Shadows Over Innistrad? Evolving Wilds will still be available, as will a close variant from Shadows called Warped Landscape, which costs 2 to sacrifice and fetch any Basic Land but also taps for colorless immediately. We also have Crumbling Vestige, which only taps for colorless save for the turn it comes into play, when it adds any single color of mana to your pool. There is also Unknown Shores, which only creates colorless but can essentially filter any mana already in your pool from one color to another. And of course there is Holdout Settlement, which works on a similar basis but demands that you tap a creature rather than another mana source. Finally, Fertile Thicket deserves an honorable mention. While it doesn't actually fix your Lands directly, it does let you search among the next five cards in your library for one basic Land to put on top of your library while returning the other cards to the bottom of your library.
Obviously none of these are anywhere close to the ease and convenience of the Common Duals. Just how good they are will have to be tested before any firm conclusions can be drawn. But it's safe to say the format will definitely look very different.