Magic: The Gathering is among the most mechanically rich trading card games of all time, boasting countless unique mechanics with new design space explored with the release of each set. First introduced in the original Zendikar block, Landfall is a mechanic present on various cards such as creatures and enchantments. While Landfall effects vary greatly, all Landfall abilities trigger whenever a land enters the battlefield under its owner’s control, allowing for a given effect to be utilized several times within a game.
Landfall effects are notably potent in decks with means of putting additional lands into play, as Landfall abilities will be able to trigger additional times and provide additional value. So we’re going to shine a light on this robust mechanic and see which Landfall cards from Magic’s past are the strongest!
Updated on July 23rd, 2022 by Paul DiSalvo: Landfall is a unique and powerful ability that sees play in several formats such as Commander and Modern. With repeatable triggers that occur through lands entering the battlefield, these effects pair in great fashion with the likes of mana ramp and fetch lands that reliably allow additional lands to enter the battlefield under your control, providing significant additional value with minimal effort required. To reflect this, we’ve added several more of what we think are the best Landfall cards in MTG.
10 Hedron Crab
Simple yet effective, Hedron Crab is a 0/2 Crab for the cost of one blue mana that converts your land drops into mill. Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you can have target player mill three cards.
As this effect can be used to target any player, this makes it a solid inclusion in decks aiming to win through milling opponents, as well as within self-mill decks that aim to access sizable graveyards. If played early into a game, a Hedron Crab can mill substantial sums of cards for the minimal investment of one mana.
9 Nesting Dragon
Seeing its solitary printing within Commander 208, Nesting Dragon is a mono-red Dragon for five mana that can provide consistant access to token generation through land. A 5/4 Dragon with flying for five mana, whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you create a 0/2 Egg token with defender.
While these eggs may not seem great at first glance, whenever one of these tokens dies, you create a 2/2 flying Dragon token that can gain +1/+0 until the end of the turn for the cost of one red mana. This effect has a lot going on, allowing it to function well in several types of decks. In addition to synergizing in token decks, the death triggers of these Egg tokens makes Nesting Dragon an excellent inclusion within Aristocrats decks as well.
8 Scute Swarm
Another token generator like Nesting Dragon, Scute Swarm is a green Insect for three mana that can cause your board state to get out of hand quite quickly — especially when played later into a game.
Though only a 1/1, whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you create a 1/1 Insect token. However, if you control six or more lands, you instead create a copy of Scute Swarm. This means that this effect can snowball out of control quite quickly, as these copies will begin to generate additional copies themselves!
7 Moraug, Fury of Akoum
Though somewhat mana intensive at six mana, Moraug, Fury of Akoum is among the most aggressive landfall cards in all of Magic, allowing creature decks to deal serious damage in a single turn. While many landfall effects are someone minor, and are particularly impressive when triggered frequently, each of Moraug’s triggers can be quite devastating.
This is because whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, each of your creatures are untapped and you gain an additional combat step. While this is already quite impressive, Moraug even provides your creatures with an additional +1/+0 strength boost for each time its attacked this turn, allowing Moraug to generate yet even more further damage.
6 Lotus Cobra
While Lotus Cobra may be the simplest entry on this list, it is an incredibly useful creature that can provide a great deal of mana and value for its controller. A 2/1 snake for two mana, thanks to its Landfall ability, whenever a land enters the battlefield under its owner’s control, Lotus Cobra’s controller adds one mana of any color to their mana pool.
A unique form of mana ramp, not only does Lotus Cobra reliably produce at least one mana per turn, granted its controller isn’t missing land drops, but it allows already potent mana ramp spells to provide yet even more mana.
5 Roil Elemental
An excellent blue creature that can put in a lot of work in the late stages of a game, Roil Elemental is a 3/2 flying elemental for six mana. While its stats aren’t much to write home about, thanks to its Landfall ability, whenever a land enters the battlefield under its owner’s control, its owner may gain control of the target creature for as long as Roil Elemental remains in play.
When paired with late-game mana ramp, a Roil Elemental can be used to steal several key creatures from an opponent, potentially swinging the game in your favor.
4 Avenger Of Zendikar
Avenger of Zendikar is a great Mono-Green creature with Landfall, known for its potency in the Commander format. For a costly seven mana, when this 5/5 elemental enters the battlefield, its owner creates a 0/1 plant token for each land they control, producing a large number of tokens in the late stages of a game.
While 0/1 tokens may not seem like much at first, thanks to its Landfall ability, whenever a land enters the battlefield under its owner’s control, that player puts a +1/+1 counter on each plant they control, meaning these tokens can become threatening very quickly.
Bloodghast is an incredibly efficient Mono-Black creature that can be quite difficult for opponents to deal with. A 2/1 vampire spirit that can’t block for two mana, as long as an opponent has ten or less life, Bloodghast has haste. While at first glance Bloodghast may appear to be a somewhat simple and mediocre offensive black creature, its Landfall ability is a game-changer.
Whenever a land enters the battlefield under its owner’s control, Bloodghast’s controller may return it from their graveyard to the battlefield, meaning even if it is destroyed, it will likely be back soon. When paired with its potential access to haste, this can be a pesky pairing in the hands of black aggro decks.
2 Ob Nixilis, The Fallen
Printed in Zendikar, Ob Nixilis, the Fallen is a legendary demon and the first iteration of the now-Planeswalker, Ob Nixilis. A 3/3 for five mana, whenever a land enters the battlefield under its owner’s control, Ob Nixilis causes the target player to lose three life, putting three +1/+1 counters on Ob Nixilis in the process.
After trigger even just once or twice, Ob Nixilis can deal severe amounts of damage both directly and through combat using its ever-growing offensive capabilities.
1 Omnath, Locus Of Creation
Notoriously banned in Standard and Brawl, Omnath, Locus of Creation is a legendary creature with a Landfall ability that uniquely offers different effects based on how many lands hand entered the battlefield under its owner’s control in a given turn. For the cost of one mana of each color save for black, when this 4/4 elemental enters the battlefield, its controller draws a card. Once in play, Omnath’s Landfall ability allows its controller initially allows its controller to gain four life.
While this may not seem like much at first, if a second land enters the battlefield under its owner’s control, its controller adds four mana to their mana pool. If that player is able to put a third land into play within the same turn, Omnath deals four damage to each opponent and Planeswalkers those players control. Between this suit of abilities, Omnath can provide such a massive impact on a game that it’s not hard to see the reasoning behind its Standard and Brawl bannings.