How Many Lands In A Commander Deck

How Many Lands In A Commander Deck: Optimal Ratios Explained

When building a Commander deck in Magic: The Gathering, one key aspect to consider is the number of lands to include. Finding the ideal balance between lands, mana rocks, and other sources of mana is crucial to maintaining a smooth flow of gameplay and achieving victory. As a player, it’s essential to understand just how many lands you should have in your 100-card Commander deck.

The general rule of thumb for EDH decks is to include 33 to 40 lands and 10 to 15 mana rocks, bringing the total number of mana sources to a range of 43 to 55. This number, however, can vary depending on your deck’s unique composition and strategy. If your deck is filled with low-cost cards or contains additional sources of mana like mana creatures or cost reducers, you might need to adjust the land count accordingly.

As you build your Commander deck, it’s essential to keep in mind that the land count and mana base should prioritize consistency and supporting your chosen playstyle or theme. Take advantage of lands that synergize with your commander and pay attention to your mana curve to ensure your deck operates efficiently throughout each game.

Basic Concepts of Commander Decks

Commander Format

Commander, also known as Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH), is a popular format in Magic: The Gathering. In this format, you build a 100-card deck led by a legendary creature, known as your commander. Your commander stays in a special zone called the command zone. You can cast your commander from there, subject to the additional rules and restrictions that apply to this format.

Deck Building

When building your commander deck, you need to include the following components:

  • 1 legendary creature as your commander
  • 99 other unique cards (excluding basic lands) that must fall within the color identity of your commander

Keeping your target audience in mind, here is a suggested breakdown of card types for a typical commander deck:

  • 33 to 40 lands
  • 10 to 15 mana rocks (artifacts or enchantments that produce mana)
  • creatures, spells, and other cards that support your strategy and commander’s abilities

The exact number of lands and mana sources will depend on your deck’s strategy and mana curve.

Color Identity

Color identity is a crucial aspect of building your commander deck. This refers to the colors of mana symbols appearing anywhere on your commander card (including the casting cost and the text box). Your deck can only include cards with mana symbols that match your commander’s color identity.

For example, if your commander’s color identity is Red and Green, you can include cards with Red, Green, and colorless mana symbols, but not cards with Blue, White, or Black mana symbols.

Remember, your commander deck should reflect your unique playstyle and strategy while adhering to the rules of the commander format. Experiment with different card combinations and have fun engaging in epic battles with fellow Magic: The Gathering players.

Land Count in Commander Decks

Determining the Right Amount

When building a Commander deck, it’s crucial to decide the right number of lands to include. A general rule of thumb is to have between 33 to 40 lands, with 10 to 15 mana rocks. This brings the typical number of mana sources in your deck to 43 to 55. However, these numbers can vary depending on your deck’s composition, including factors like the average mana cost of your cards and alternative mana sources (e.g., mana creatures or cost reducers).

To find the right balance for your deck, consider the following guidelines:

  • Commander cost: If your commander has a low mana cost (e.g., 2), aim for fewer lands and more mana rocks. On the other hand, a high-cost commander (e.g., 6) may warrant more lands and fewer mana rocks.
  • Mana curve: Evaluate the average converted mana cost (CMC) of your deck. Decks with lower average CMCs can afford to run fewer lands, while higher-CMC decks might need more.
  • Additional mana sources: Don’t forget about non-land mana sources, like mana creatures or cost reducers. Incorporate these into your mana calculations to find the right land count.

Land Types

In addition to determining the right number of lands, it’s essential to choose the appropriate land types for your Commander deck. Considering the color(s) of your commander and the overall deck strategy, you’ll want a suitable mix of basic and non-basic lands.

Here’s a quick overview of land types to include in your deck:

  • Basic lands: Basic lands like Plains, Islands, Swamps, Mountains, and Forests provide a steady and reliable source of colored mana.

    • Pro tip: Adjust the number of each basic land type to align with your deck’s color distribution.
  • Dual lands: These lands produce two different colors of mana, assisting with your deck’s mana fixing. Examples include shock lands (e.g., Steam Vents) and check lands (e.g., Sunpetal Grove).

  • Utility lands: Utility lands offer additional benefits apart from mana production, like card draw or creature removal. Be cautious, however, as too many can slow down your mana base.

Ultimately, the specific land count and types in your Commander deck will depend on your individual deck’s needs and strategies. Take time to analyze your deck’s composition to ensure a smooth and enjoyable gameplay experience.

Mana Sources in Commander Decks

When building a Commander deck, one of the most important aspects to consider is your mana base. This section will discuss different types of mana sources and how to balance them in your deck.

Mana Rocks

Mana rocks are artifacts that produce mana. They’re commonly used to help ramp up your available mana pool and act as additional mana sources. Examples of popular mana rocks include Sol Ring, Signets, and the Talisman cycle. Aim for 10 to 15 mana rocks in your deck, though the quantity may vary based on your deck’s needs and your commander’s mana cost.

Mana Dorks

Mana dorks are creatures that tap for mana, often named because of the original mana dork, Llanowar Elves. These creatures serve a similar function to mana rocks, but with the added benefit of being able to attack or block in certain situations. Some popular mana dorks include Birds of Paradise, Elvish Mystic, and Noble Hierarch. The number of mana dorks you include in your deck should depend on your deck’s strategy, but ensure that you have a balance between dorks and other sources of ramp.

Ramp Spells

Ramp spells are sorceries or instants that help you ramp up your mana base more quickly. Common ramp spells allow you to search your library for land cards, putting them directly onto the battlefield. Examples of ramp spells are Cultivate, Kodama’s Reach, and Farseek. Include ramp spells that fetch lands and support your deck’s mana curve. Your deck should consist of about 10 ramp sources, including spells, mana dorks, and mana rocks.

Keep in mind that these numbers may vary depending on your deck’s strategy and mana curve. In general, you should aim for 33 to 40 lands in your deck, alongside your other mana sources like mana rocks and ramp spells.

Deck Building Strategies

Mana Curve

When building your Commander deck, pay attention to the mana curve. The mana curve represents the distribution of cards based on their mana value (formerly converted mana cost). Look to have a mix of low, medium, and high-cost cards to ensure a balance of early, mid, and late-game plays. Analyzing your mana curve helps you find the optimal balance between lands and spells, which in turn increases your deck’s consistency.

Deck Consistency

A key aspect of effective Commander decks is deck consistency. To improve consistency:

  • Ensure a healthy land count, around 38 lands
  • Include 8-12 ramp spells to accelerate your mana
  • Increase card selection via 8-10 draw spells
  • Include versatile interaction spells (both single-target and board wipes)

By identifying the core strategies and synergies in your deck, you can prioritize including cards that consistently support your game plan. Keep track of any cards that underperform, and consider swapping them with others that may better align with your chosen theme, colors, and strategy.

Mulligans

Understanding and utilizing mulligans is vital in Commander games. The mulligan rule allows you to shuffle an unsatisfactory opening hand back into your library and draw a new one with one fewer card. If your opening hand doesn’t support your early game plan or lacks the resources required for consistency, it’s wise to take a mulligan and hope for a better draw. Competitive EDH (cEDH) players usually have a deeper understanding of the mulligan process, ensuring they have the best chance for a strong opening.

Opening Hands

Lastly, evaluating your opening hands is an essential skill in ensuring success. An ideal opening hand should:

  • Provide access to relevant colors of mana
  • Include early game ramp or mana rocks
  • Have at least one payoff, synergistic, or pre-emptive interaction card

Remember, you’re playing in a multiplayer format, so you need a hand that can react to different strategies and keep up with the pace set by your opponents while working towards your own goals.

With these concepts in mind, you’re well on your way to building a consistent and efficient Commander deck. Just remember to assess your mana curve, improve deck consistency, have a solid understanding of mulligans, and evaluate your opening hands carefully.

Specific Card Strategies

Land Cards and Utility

When building your land base in a Commander deck, it’s crucial to strike a balance between utility lands and lands that produce colored mana. Fetch lands are a popular choice in Commander, as they allow you to search for specific lands based on your color requirements. You may also want to consider including some of the following land types to further improve your deck’s performance:

  • Dual lands: These lands tap for two colors, providing flexibility and fixing your mana base.
  • Utility lands: They offer additional effects such as card draw, removal, or filtering, like lands from the cycling duals cycle.

Keep in mind that the optimal number of lands for a Commander deck is usually between 33 to 40, depending on your deck’s specific needs and strategy.

Ramp and Card Draw

To ensure a strong start, your Commander deck should have a good mix of ramp and card draw spells. Ramp allows you to accelerate your mana production and stay ahead of your opponents. Some popular ramp cards include:

  • Sol Ring
  • Rampant Growth
  • Farseek
  • Nature’s Lore

Card draw spells, also known as cantrips, are essential in keeping your hand full and giving you access to the right cards at the right time. Some key card draw options are:

  • Brainstorm
  • Ponder
  • Preordain
  • Night’s Whisper

Remember to playtest and tweak the number of ramp and card draw spells in your deck to find the perfect balance.

Artifacts and Enchantments

Artifacts and enchantments can also play a significant role in enhancing your Commander deck. They grant unique effects that are hard to replicate and can single-handedly turn the tide in your favor. Like with other card types, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the number and balance of artifacts and enchantments in your deck. Popular artifacts and enchantments in Commander include:

  • Sol Ring (artifact)
  • Rhystic Study (enchantment)
  • Mirari’s Wake (enchantment)
  • Smothering Tithe (enchantment)

Use resources like Scryfall and EDHREC to explore the available artifacts and enchantments that can fit your deck’s theme and strategy. Keep in mind the need to balance these card types’ inclusion with other essential components in your deck.

As you fine-tune your Commander deck, always remember to test and adjust your card strategies to achieve the best performance. Keep exploring various card synergies and interactions to make your deck as competitive and enjoyable to play as possible.

Example Decks and Themes

In this section, we’ll explore a few example decks and themes for different gameplay styles. We’ll cover Control Decks, Aggro Decks, and Themed Decks as sub-sections.

Control Decks

In a control deck, you aim to assert dominance over the board by manipulating the game state and limiting your opponents’ options. A common card you might include in a control deck is Blood Moon, which alters the mana base of your opponents. For your land base, consider running between 35-40 lands, depending on your deck’s specific needs:

  • 35 lands for decks with low mana curves and abundant card draw
  • 40 lands for decks with high mana costs or more reactive play styles.

Aggro Decks

Aggro decks focus on quickly dealing damage through efficient creatures and strong offensive spells. Birds of Paradise, for instance, is a powerful one-drop creature that can accelerate your mana while providing a versatile attacker. In these aggressive decks, a lower land count—around 33-38 lands—may be appropriate:

  • 33 lands for decks with a mana curve topping at 3-4 mana
  • 38 lands for more mana-hungry, creature-based aggro decks.

Themed Decks

Dragons

For a powerful, flavorful theme, consider building a Dragon-themed deck with Jodah, Archmage Eternal as your commander. Offering five-color access, Jodah enables you to cast a wide variety of dragons for just WUBRG. You might include Quicksilver Amulet for additional ways to cheat your scaly threats into play. Since your mana curve will likely be high, run around 37-42 lands, depending on your ramp package:

  • 37 lands for decks with ample ramp spells and mana rocks
  • 42 lands for more land-heavy builds.

New Deck

When constructing a new themed deck, take note of the average mana costs and color requirements of your key cards. Your land base should be tailored to provide efficient mana access, while considering any specific land synergies or interactions within your theme. As a general guideline:

  • 35-40 lands for decks with efficient curves or multiple mana sources
  • 40+ lands for decks with exceptionally high curves, like durdle or combo decks.

Remember, Personalizing and adjusting the land count in your deck is essential for optimal performance. Keep testing and tweaking based on your gameplay experiences and desired strategies.

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