How To Get Ready For The Coming Onslaught – Lands And Artifacts


This is the land that makes blue mana. If you have two of them untapped, your opponent will always worry that you have a Counterspell. As such, many people consider this the best land ever printed. And for good reason! If you have two Forests untapped, what is your opponent going to be scared of? Double Giant Growth?

Ah, land. Land of the Rising Sun. Land of the Free, home of the Brave. Land of Milk and Honey. The Heartland. The Land of Lincoln. I’m goin’ to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee. Laaaand hooooooo!


But, ya gotta have it. Unless you’re playing Type 1 (Classic), you can’t get away with making a deck without land. Lands produce mana; the basic currency in this game called Magic. If you ain’t got land, you can’t win.


Barren Moor (black), Forgotten Cave (red), Lonely Sandbar (blue), Secluded Steppe (white), Tranquil Thicket (green)

This is almost exactly like the cycle of (no pun intended, truly) cycling common lands from Urza’s Saga – with one big difference. Instead of costing two to cycle, these cost one of the appropriate color of mana. Personally, I always loved these things even though they came into play tapped; they allowed me to get rid of unneeded lands late in the game. In fact, the mechanic was so useful that my casual multiplayer group sometimes plays with a cycling land rule: anyone can cycle any land card in their hand for two. Makes multiplayer much more fun when you can get to those spells rather than getting stuck on a land clump.

Bloodstained Mire (swamp or mountain), Flooded Strand (plains or island), Polluted Delta (island or swamp), Windswept Heath (forest or plains), Wooded Foothills (mountain or forest)

These are the new sac ‘n’ search lands that will be”replacing” the Mirage versions. Yes, you have to pay a life to activate them. So, what? That’s no worse than the pain suffered when you tap a Sulfurous Springs or Underground River for colored mana. These also serve the grand purpose of thinning your deck.

The bad news is that they’re rares. I was really hoping after the Invasion CIP-tapped lands (like, say, Shivan Oasis) that we would start getting mana lands that were uncommon at worst. I can see making a land a rare if it has some other great ability (like Rath’s Edge or Risha-damn Port). But, it just chaps my aspirin when I end up having to pay $5 or $7 for lands that really just make mana. Oh, well.


This is the basic land that makes white spells possible. As a result, you’ll want to use these as proxies for lands that actually do something useful like Swamps or Islands. Also, they can be used as proxies for spells.


This is the land that makes blue mana. If you have two of them untapped, your opponent will always worry that you have a Counterspell. As such, many people consider this the best land ever printed. And for good reason! If you have two Forests untapped, what is your opponent going to be scared of? Double Giant Growth?


One of these used to mean a possible first-turn Dark Ritual, followed by all sorts of nastiness. Now, it just means that you’re splashing black in your blue deck.


Head for the mountains? I don’t think so. This land is just there to splash for direct damage spells to remove blockers so that your green creatures can get to your opponent. In the future, it may signal goblins or dragons; right now, it just says,”I have Fiery Temper, and I’m not afraid to use it… as long as I only have to pay its madness cost.”


This used to be the most underrated basic land in Magic. Thanks to green getting the best Flashback, Threshold, and Madness spells in Odyssey block as well as a host of cheap and efficient creatures, dropping a Forest on turn one now sends a clear message to your opponent: I am playing Quiet Roar or U/G Madness, and I will be playing a Wild Mongrel next turn.

Contested Cliffs

This turns every beast you control into a potential Tahngarth, Talruum Hero. What’s not to love?

Daru Encampment

…And this turns all of your soldiers into beast bait. Yet another swing and a miss as far as white goes. This should have given the target soldier protection from the color of your choice until the end of the turn… Or, in keeping with the Onslaught theme, it could have given protection from the creature-type of choice until the end of the turn.

Goblin Burrows

I’ve admitted to a love of white. So why do I like this one so much better than Daru Encampment? First, the difference between +2/+0 and +1/+1 is actually pretty big. That extra +1 on the back end is not as useful as that extra +1 on the front end. Second, goblins are a reckless lot anyway; they rush into battle knowing that a lot of them are going to die, but a few will get through and cause havoc. This land allows one of them to take down a bigger blocker or get those last few points of damage through to the opponent.

Grand Coliseum

The thing that I wonder about with this one is: does the existence of Grand Coliseum mean that City of Brass will not be reprinted in 8th Edition?

Riptide Laboratory

Wow! Something related to blue that isn’t heads and tails above the other colors! I just don’t think that returning a wizard to its owner’s hand is going to be a big deal.

Seaside Haven

Yeah, this will be slipping right into my birds deck ASAP.

Starlit Sanctum

…And this one goes right into the white / black clerics deck.

Unholy Grotto

When this was Volrath’s Stronghold, it was a legend. Then again, it wasn’t restricted to zombies. Wizards giveth, and Wizards taketh away.

Wirewood Lodge

Given how good the elves are going to end up being, I think your opponent will have to think hard about coming at you when this is on the board and active.


Cryptic Gateway

Nastiness. Repeat after me: uncounterable creatures are A Good Thing. It is suggested, of course, that you use this for large creatures such as beasts or dragons rather than elves or goblins; it’s just more fun that way.

Doom Cannon

I am still a big fan of Fodder Cannon when I play creature-based decks casually; they turn all of my creatures into four points of damage. But Fodder Cannon restricted the damage to creatures; Doom Cannon lets you fling guys around anywhere. And, as I like to say, colorless, uncounterable damage is A Good Thing.

Dream Chisel

This is another effect that I’m fond of: the”this type of spell costs X less” effect. What makes this one so great is that it turns all the morphs into Grizzly Bears. It also means that you will have that extra one mana left over, so, you can play Giant Growth on your 2/2 morph.

Riptide Replicator

Yeah, I’m thinkin’ Slivers, too.

Slate of Ancestry

Holy Walking Beatstick! Elf and goblin decks (and anything else that runs their hand out quickly) are going to just love this. Remember, your hand can be empty when doing this… And goblin decks run their hands out fast.

Tribal Golem

Remember Tek, from Invasion? Cute name, it was. Anyway, this is the Tek of Onslaught. Yeah, my thoughts exactly.

Well, there you have it: a complete rundown of each card in Onslaught (if my spoiler is to be believed) from the perspective of a scrubby, casual, rogue who just happens to accidentally win twice a year. I’ve realized, though, why I never did this before: It’s very tiring. There are only so many cute, witty, sarcastic, and entertaining ways to say”This sucks” or”This rocks.” I think I’m out of metaphors and similes. I hope I can pick up some more on eBay before my next piece is due.

As usual, you’ve been a great audience. Please, return all shopping carts to the designated areas. We are not responsible for damage done by carts in the parking lot.

Chris Romeo

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