Basic land

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In Magic: The Gathering, basic lands are lands that possess the supertype "Basic" in their type line and may be tapped to produce mana in Magic.[1]


A deck may contain any number of basic land cards. To date, there is one for colorlessWastes— and two basic lands for each colorPlains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest and their snow-covered versions for white, blue, black, red, and green, respectively. Each basic land that produce colored mana has the basic land type of the same name; e.g., Plains have the Plains land type.

Basic lands are thought of as the cornerstones of Magic design, and no lands should be printed if they are strictly better than basic lands, with the sole exception to this rule being the dual lands from Alpha/Beta/Unlimited/Revised. Consequently, other, nonbasic lands feature drawbacks, in addition to the fact that no more than four copies of nonbasic lands may be played in a deck.[2]

The basic land's text box was changed to a giant mana symbol for Portal and Sixth Edition onwards.[3]

R&D has talked about changing the rules so basic lands can have different names, but the majority of R&D is not in favor.[4][5][6]


From the Comprehensive Rules (August 23, 2019—Commander 2019)

  • 205.4c Any land with the supertype “basic” is a basic land. Any land that doesn’t have this supertype is a nonbasic land, even if it has a basic land type.
    Cards printed in sets prior to the Eighth Edition core set didn’t use the word “basic” to indicate a basic land. Cards from those sets with the following names are basic lands and have received errata in the Oracle card reference accordingly: Forest, Island, Mountain, Plains, Swamp, Snow-Covered Forest, Snow-Covered Island, Snow-Covered Mountain, Snow-Covered Plains, and Snow-Covered Swamp.

From the Comprehensive Rules (August 23, 2019—Commander 2019)

  • 305.6. The basic land types are Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest. If an object uses the words “basic land type,” it’s referring to one of these subtypes. A land with a basic land type has the intrinsic ability “{T}: Add [mana symbol],” even if the text box doesn’t actually contain that text or the object has no text box. For Plains, [mana symbol] is {W}; for Islands, {U}; for Swamps, {B}; for Mountains, {R}; and for Forests, {G}. See rule 107.4a. See also rule 605, “Mana Abilities.”

Basic land types

The basic land types are Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain and Forest.

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (August 23, 2019—Commander 2019)

Basic Land Type
There are five “basic land types”: Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest. Each one has a mana ability associated with it. See rule 305, “Lands.”

Each basic land subtype implicitly grants the ability to tap for one mana of its corresponding color:

Any land with a basic land type has the appropriate ability. A land with multiple basic land types has each corresponding ability and can tap for any of the appropriate colors. However, a land with a basic land type is only a basic land if it has the Basic supertype.

Wastes is a basic land with no subtypes, so it has no implicit mana abilities. However, its Oracle text reads "{T}: Add {C}".

References by other objects

Any object that refers to one or more of the basic land types refers to any land with that land type, not to the Basic land of the same name. For instance, if a card says "Search your library for a Plains", you can find a Savannah, as it has the Plains basic land type. If a card needs to refer to the Basic land by the same name, it will say "a card named ..." or "a basic ... card".

Any object that refers to a "Basic land" refers only to lands with the Basic supertype and not any other land with a basic land type.

See also