Lands just don't get the respect they deserve. Too many players just slap a bunch of lands onto the end of their deck-build, not giving these slots the respect they deserve. Considering lands make up between 35-40% of your decks, shouldn't you be maximizing these slots as much as possible?
I went through and found the top ten lands for multiplayer Magic. Just a couple caveats before we get started. For a land to make this list, it must do something other than tap for mana. Gaea's Cradle and Urborg do not make the list since they only produce mana. Admittedly they produce tons of mana, but that's all they does. I can make a top ten list for mana-producing lands, but that isn't this list.
Cost is irrelevant for this list as well. While some of these cards are inexpensive, some of them definitely are not. I respect that some of you are not going to rush out and pick up copies of every one of these cards. However, if you can afford it, real estate is always a good investment, and this is prime real estate. View of the water, privacy, location, location, location and all of that.
10. Gavony Township
So many people look at the cost of getting the counters and balk at putting the Township in their decks. However, this works so well in so many decks. Token decks, Weenie decks, and any other deck that wins through overwhelming numbers loves this land. Decks that give benefits to creatures with +1/+1 counters love this land. Decks that take the counters from a bunch of creatures and give them to one creature love this land.
Gavony Township is a great combat threat as well. I don't say combat trick, since it is sitting plainly visible on the battlefield, but the threat is undeniable. Swing with your 3/3 into an opponent's 4/4 and watch as they decide whether to block or not. When they decide they don't want to trade, you can then use the mana for something else. Having the mana up on your opponent's turn means they have to assume that all of your creatures have at least one more power and toughness. Add to that what a great mana sink the card is and its reason for Top 10 status is undeniable.
A +1/+1 counter on each creature!
9. Rogue's Passage
This has been finding its way into more of my decks as I begin to see how often I want to see a single creature get through. This works in decks where you are aiming to win with Commander damage. Spending four mana and tapping this is a small price to pay to get through a pillow fort of defenders and hit for ten or more damage.
This is also handy for decks that are running creatures that get bonuses for doing combat damage. Sometimes you have a creature that you really just need to get tapped, and this guarantees it doesn't die while doing that.
Part of the reason I really love this in multiplayer is that it comes out of nowhere when an opponent attacks another opponent. Players just aren't expecting you to do that and it can mess up their combat plans spectacularly. It also works very well with your efforts to goad creatures. While most times you are just happy to see the goaded creatures die, sometimes watching an opponent's large creature get to hit again and again is exactly what you are looking for and Rogue's Passage makes that happen.
8. High Market
I really didn't want to include High Market in the Top 10. Tap and sacrifice a creature to gain one life? Really? Yes, really. We all know it is here because it is a free way to sacrifice one of your creatures. Whether you are doing that as a way to start an engine that needs a creature to go to the graveyard, or whether you are using it to stop an opponent from stealing your creature, the utility of the card is undeniable. In the end, the life gain is just straight bonus.
7. Inventors' Fair
This is how you know these really are the Top 10 lands, and not just a list of my favorites. I refuse to play this land. I will not run tutors in my deck and this is a great tutor. You can play it any time and it will just sit there, tapping for mana and gaining you a tiny bit of life that no one will care about. Then suddenly at the end of an opponent's turn, you are sacrificing it for just the artifact that you need and you are ready to play it on your turn.
When using it keep in mind how you are tapping your lands. If you don't intend to use it that turn, the natural inclination is to tap it early for the generic mana. Keeping up colored mana is usually best since it leaves your opponents considering more options for what you could be playing. The problem here is that if you consistently do that, then this turn you don't and leave Inventors' Fair untapped, you are projecting your plans. If you can, leave it untapped. Let your opponents' minds consider all the possibilities for artifacts you could be reaching out for in the coming turns!
6. Mystifying Maze
This is the very definition of a rattlesnake card. You are telling your opponent they are wasting their time swinging at you, because all they are going to get for their trouble is an exiled creature. No one likes a wasted opportunity, so they will often just swing somewhere else. The part that I particularly love is that you can use this to stuff a creature that is attacking someone else. While this can be a goodwill move, it can also just stop creatures that get a benefit from doing combat damage. They may swing away from you and find an easier target, but nothing says they still get the benefit!
5. Maze of Ith
This is Mystifying Maze, but without that pesky four extra mana. Sure, Mystifying Maze taps for mana, but paying four mana is onerous and not necessarily something you want to keep open for turn after turn. Mystifying Maze also keeps the creature tapped which is nice, but the real reason Maze of Ith sits just ahead of Mystifying Maze is the exile clause on Mystifying Maze.
Too many creatures that get played in today's game have an enter the battlefield effect that you really don't want your opponent to have. Mystifying Maze gives them that trigger on the next end step when the creature returns, while the Maze of Ith does not. Given the choice, I'll choose the Maze of Ith every time.
A land that enters the battlefield as a copy of any land that is already on the battlefield is not to be underestimated. Ignoring the other lands in this list, even just copying a land that can tap for mana that you need is undeniably valuable. Vesuva is especially nice in decks that steal opponent's creatures, as it will allow you to activate those abilities that require colored mana your deck can't produce.
The real benefit is its ability to copy the lands that do something more. A bonus Maze of Ith makes things truly miserable for opponents. A second Gavony Township can mean a serious bonus for your creatures at the right time. I like that it enters the battlefield as a copy of the land, so cards like the Vivid lands or Mosswort Bridge give it the full benefit.
3. Thespian's Stage
I rank this one ahead of Vesuva, even in spite of the extra cost to copy a land. The flexibility of being able to copy one land for a while then copy a different land later is great, as it means your opponents need to be aware that any land they intend to drop can be copied.
The other benefit of Thespian's Stage is the combo potential. While Vesuva can get the benefit of lands that give you something when they enter the battlefield, Thespian's Stage gives you the benefit of copying lands that enter the battlefield with a downside. The most obvious target is Dark Depths, but there are other lands that can give you benefits in this way.
2. Mikokoro, Center of the Sea / Geier Reach Sanitarium
The two cards are essentially two sides of a coin, so they are sharing this slot. There are times when the deck simply wants everyone to draw cards and Mikokoro is your choice. Perhaps you are running a group hug deck. Perhaps you want to see your opponents with bigger hand sizes. For those decks, Mikokoro, Center of the Sea is your choice. For decks looking to pad graveyards or force discards, Geier Reach Sanitarium is the card of choice.
I like the options that these lands provide. You decide when players should draw the cards, so you can maximize that in your favor. You can even decide to just use the mana if the timing isn't working out. Both of the lands are legendary, so Sisay, Weatherlight Captain and other cards that search for legendary cards can find them.
Simply, the ability to let everyone draw an extra card is valuable in multiplayer games, and these two provide that option for a reasonable cost.
1. Kessig Wolf Run
This card has been in the number one slot for a long time, and it continues to be the best. Knowing that any creature you have can suddenly be huge and trample makes blocking decisions miserable. Virtually every attack can mean serious damage to an opponent. A player who simply plays this card and puts it next to their other lands on the battlefield is being disingenuous; let your opponents know you are playing Kessig Wolf Run, then let them try to figure out what to do.
While being the closer for many decks, Kessig Wolf Run does so much more. When you use it, X can be 0. You can just be giving your creature trample, which often is a surprise in itself for your opponents. They look at your mana and think you aren't using it here, since you can't pump your creature into a game-ending monstrosity.
Another use most players don't see is playing it on an opponent's creature. Much like Rogue's Passage, you can really mess up combat with Kessig Wolf Run. One of my favorite plays with this card involved two opponents who were working together. One was allowing Shadowmage Infiltrator through their defenses so the other could draw an extra card. I saw the opportunity and gave the Infiltrator +10/+0. In a separate game, King Macar attacked just to get tapped and an opponent obliged, blocking with a creature that didn't kill it. One Kessig Wolf Run activation for +10/+0 left an opponent dead and the other recognized just how ugly things were going to be for them very soon!
I hope you enjoyed this list of spectacular lands. I'd love to hear about your cool lands being used in unorthodox ways. Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter!