Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sweet Pain: Dual Lands Part II

As mentioned in my last post, the Dual Land concept, having a single Land that could produce more than one type of mana, was a very popular one, but they were deemed too powerful and taken out of circulation. However, the idea has been revisited many times, with limitations added to the cards to take them down a notch.

SIDE NOTE: For purposes of this discussion, to save typing, I will use the same mana conventions I use in my listings. Therefore:
  • "W" means "one White mana"
  • "U" means "one Blue mana"
  • "B" means "one Black mana"
  • "R" means "one Red mana"
  • "G" means "one Green mana"
The first of these attempts was in the Ice Age expansion. This introduced two types of Dual Lands. The first type became known as "Pain Lands", because when they are tapped for a colored mana they also deal 1 damage to you, although they can be tapped for one colorless mana with no damage dealt. An example is the Adarkar Wastes that can produce W or U (this link is for a 9th Edition version of this card). The second type are known as "Depletion Lands"; when they are tapped for colored mana they get a "depletion counter" on them. If they have a depletion counter on them at the beginning of your turn, you can't untap them, but remove a depletion counter instead. Essentially this means you could only use these lands every other turn. An example is the River Delta that can produce U or B. So both types had a limitation - take a point of damage, or only use every other turn.

In addition to the limitations, a striking difference between these and the original Dual Lands is that there were only 5 of each type of these - only the allied color combinations were made. So there is no Ice Age Pain Land that can make either Red or Blue mana, since Red and Blue are enemy colors. Another important difference is that these lands do not count as both of the basic Land types they mimic. In other words, a River Delta is not an Island or a Swamp, although it can be used to make U or B. The Ice Age Pain Lands were reprinted in 5th Edition, 6th Edition, 7th Edition and 9th Edition (I'm not sure why they were dropped for 8th Edition). All of these lands were Rare cards in Ice Age, as well as when reprinted in the Core Sets.

Homelands had perhaps the least popular of all attempts at making multi-color lands. It had 5 uncommon lands that could be tapped to add one colorless mana to your mana pool, or to turn one mana of any color into a specific colored mana, or to turn 2 mana of any color into an allied color of that specific color. So, for example, Koskun Keep can be tapped to turn 1 mana into R, or to turn two mana into B or G.

In Tempest, the Pain Lands idea was picked up again for a set of Rare cards. This time two significant changes were made compared to the original ones in Ice Age. First of all, an additional limitation was added. These Pain Lands comes into play tapped, so you can't use them immediately upon putting them down. Secondly, again only 5 were made, but this time in the 5 possible enemy color combinations. An example of the Tempest Pain Lands is the Scabland that can produce R or W. Tempest also had 5 uncommon Lands that could be tapped for one colorless mana, or for one of two possible colored manas. If the colored mana was chosen, the Land would not untap the next turn. These are functionally the same as the Depletion Lands from Ice Age without the confusion of dealing with depletion counters. An example is the Mogg Hollows that can add either R or G to your mana pool, but then doesn't untap your on next turn.
The expansion called Invasion introduced two new types of Dual Lands. First there were 5 common lands that could be tapped add one mana of a given color to your mana pool, or be sacrificed to add one each of the two ally colors of that given color to your mana pool. For example the Ancient Spring can be tapped to add one U to your mana pool, or can be tapped and sacrificed to add WB to your mana pool. The second set of lands was a set of 5 uncommon cards that could produce either of two allied colors, but came into play tapped as a limitation. For example the Urborg Volcano comes into play tapped, but thereafter can be tapped to add B or R to your mana pool. These 5 uncommon cards were reprinted in 8th Edition as uncommon cards (for example this 8th Edition Salt Marsh that can produce U or B), I guess to replace the Pain Lands that were taken out after 7th Edition only to be added back in for 9th Edition.

In Apocalypse, it was apparently decided that the additional limitation of coming into play tapped added to the Pain Lands in Tempest was unnecessary, so a new set of 5 enemy color combination Pain Lands was introduced. These are functionally identical to the 5 Pain Lands in Ice Age, except that they combine non-allied colors together. An example is Shivan Reef that can produce either R or U. These 5 Pain Lands have been reprinted in 9th Edition (such as this Yavimaya Coast that can produce G or U). So 9th Edition has a complete set of all 10 possible two-color combination Pain Lands, making it the first Core Set since Revised Edition to have all 10 combinations represented.

Planeshift had an odd twist on the dual land idea. It introduced 5 "Trio Lands", the Lairs of five Legendary Dragons. These Lands required you to return a non-Lair Land you control to its owner's hand when you play them, but they can be tapped to add one of any of the three colors of mana needed to summon that particular Dragon. For example, Crosis' Catacombs can be tapped to add U, B, or R to your mana pool. Crosis, the Purger is a Legendary Dragon that has a casting cost of 3UBR.

An interesting variation of the Dual Land concept was introduced in Odyssey. This set included 5 lands that could be tapped to turn one mana of any color into two mana of allied colors. For example the Darkwater Catacombs could be tapped for one mana of any color (even colorless) to make UB.

Champions of Kamigawa introduced 5 uncommon Lands that were functionally identical to the 5 uncommon lands in Tempest. These lands can produce a colorless mana with no penalty, or one of two allied color manas at a cost of not untapping the next turn. This means that the Pinecrest Ridge from Champions of Kamigawa does exactly the same thing as Mogg Hollows from Tempest.

Now in the Ravnica block of expansions (Ravnica: City of Guilds, Guidpact and Dissension) the whole underlying concept involved 10 Guilds, each representing a melding of two colors of magic. Each Guild had a special rare Dual land that comes close to mimicking the original Dual Lands. Like the originals, each counts as two different basic Lands, and can produce either of the appropriate two mana colors. As a limitation, however, each comes into play tapped unless you pay 2 life when you play it - a nasty upfront cost, but cheaper in the long run than a Pain Land if you use it more than twice. And if you can afford to wait a turn before you use it, then no life cost at all! A good example is the Overgrown Tomb, a Land from Ravnica: City of Guilds that is a Swamp Forest, so can be tapped to add either B or G to your mana pool. Judging by current prices these cards are even more popular than the Pain Lands, and I wouldn't be too surprised if they make their way into a Core Set (maybe 10th Edition?), replacing the Pain Lands in that set.

Each Guild in the Ravnica block sets also had a common Land that was interesting. They come into play tapped, and you have to return a Land you control to its owner's hand when you play it. But thereafter it can be tapped to add two mana to your mana pool, one of each of the Guild's two colors. For example the Izzet Boilerworks from Guildpact adds RU to your mana pool when tapped for mana.

The Time Spiral expansion added 5 new "Mana Battery Dual Lands." This combined two concepts. The Dual Land idea I've been talking about was melded to the "Mana Battery" Land idea first introduced in Fallen Empires. The basic idea here is that these Lands can be tapped at a cost of 1 mana to add a storage counter to them. They can then later be tapped for a price of one mana and you can remove any number of storage counters you want (call it "X"). You can then add X mana to your mana pool, in any combination of two allied mana colors. So, for example, the Calciform Pools can be used to store up mana of any color, and then release the stored mana as either W or U.

Finally, the newest set to be released, Future Sight, introduced five new varieties of "Dual Land", one for each ally-color combination. Each one does something different. Graven Cairns can turn either R or B into RR, BB or a RB. Grove of the Burnwillows can add R or G to your mana pool, but each opponent gains one life (almost the opposite effect as a Pain Land). Horizon Canopy can add G or W to your mana pool, but you have to pay 1 life for the privilege (functionally the same as a Pain Land, but the wording makes the life loss unpreventable). Nimbus Maze can add W to your mana pool only if you control an Island, and U only if you control a Plains. And River of Tears can be tapped to add U to your mana pool, or B instead if you played a Land this turn.

No comments: