The most important part of any deck is the lands and dual lands are the holy grail of magic. Fortunately, dual lands are pretty cheap and you should be able to build a winning deck by spending less than $20 on lands.
When Ice Age and Fourth Edition came out, old-time players were dismayed at the lack of dual lands. So beloved for their ability to let players cast their spells, their removal signified the dawn of a new era in Magical mana. Players would have to work to get a good manabase, and pay real costs to have something other than a mono-color deck.
But what if they had reprinted dual lands instead?
The precedent set would be completely different. Instead of wondering what the next set’s manafixing was going to be, there would always be the best the game had to offer instead.
There were several years in Magic’s history when, if you were playing Standard, there were only certain color combinations that were possible, due to how the mana worked. Going outside of that meant using terrible, slow lands against the nonstop aggression of monocolored red decks with no such restrictions. Early incarnations of combo decks, like Survival of the Fittest/Recurring Nightmare, or Mike Long’s Prosperous Bloom, would have been unfathomably stronger.
The irony in replacing all those inferior dual lands with real duals, though, is that we would miss out on what really defines Eternal formats: fetchlands. It would be insane to print them in a Magic where everyone has access to dual lands in every format; doing so would essentially dictate the end of color restrictions mattering for Standard.
There’s also the ugly side to printing dual lands: printing cards to hate out the dual lands. The game would still need a way to incentivize people to play their basics, so cards like Wasteland, Back to Basics, and Blood Moon would certainly be made more prominent, rather than placed in the sad bin of “things the game doesn’t do any more.”
Would Magic be a better game in this alternate reality? It would certainly be a less expensive one, if the hideously expensive lands were instead reprinted to saturation. But we’d also run into a lot more Standard decks that resemble things like Shadowmoor’s Five-Color Control: all the best cards in whatever color; shuffle ‘em up.
Forward by: Matt Dolge
Written by: Jesse “Easy Mana” Mason
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