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]

Description[edit | edit source]

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]

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (October 4, 2019—Throne of Eldraine)

  • 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.

Basic land types[edit | edit source]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (October 4, 2019—Throne of Eldraine)

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.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (October 4, 2019—Throne of Eldraine)

  • 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.”

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}".

Cloud is an additional basic land type that is only used on a test card from the Mystery Booster set (Barry's Land) — {T}: Add {C}.

References by other objects[edit | edit source]

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.

Full-art lands[edit | edit source]

Special full-art basic lands were first featured in Unglued (1998). These cards had extended artwork inside an oval frame stretching from the top to bottom of the card.[7] Due to their popularity, full-art basic became a characteristic feature of Un-sets. In Unhinged they had rectangular frames, in Unstable the frames were borderless, and the form for Unsanctioned is as yet undisclosed.

The first regular expansion to feature full-art lands was the 2009 land-themed Zendikar set. The lands have a regular name box but the mana symbol of the text box and the type line are conflated into one at the bottom of the card. The box is the normal height of the type-box but dents outwards for the mana symbol in the middle. To the left of the symbol are the words "Basic Land" while on the right is the type of the land and the expansion symbol. These special lands appear in booster packs and fat packs. Intro packs on the other hand have normal styled lands as they have appeared in the majority of large expansions. These have the same collector numbers, but with an added letter "a". There are four individual arts for each land and both sets of lands feature the same artwork.[8] Similar full-art basics were featured in the return set Battle for Zendikar, while the second set of that block, Oath of the Gatewatch, features full-art Wastes.

In August 2014, a cycle of foil full-art basic lands illustrated by Terese Nielsen were announced.[9] According to the letter included with them, they were intended to settle a dispute between Wizards of the Coast and the Judge community.

The two sets of the Amonkhet block, Amonkhet[10] and Hour of Devastation[11] also featured full basics.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]