Cinder Marsh – Tempest
Date Reviewed: November 1, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 1.67
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
There’s an interesting tension in the design of Magic’s dual lands, because the shadow of a particular cycle hangs long over the game’s entire history (we’ll get back to that on Thursday). Many of them appear to be testing how close they can get to that particular cycle without actually equaling it, for reasons that some people won’t talk about but I’ll name outright as the Reserved List. Cinder Marsh falls relatively far away on the similarity scale, because you only get colored mana every other turn. In constructed, that’s most often not good enough, but lands that behave like it does are not actually quite as useless as they’re sometimes portrayed. They do come into play untapped, and you can mitigate their drawback with things like the “bounce lands” from Ravnica: City of Guilds. If you’re on a budget – and you might be, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of – or if you just like the art, then Cinder Marsh is in with a chance.
Constructed: 1/5 (in tournaments)
The theme of this week appears to be lands, with a particular focus on red/black lands. Cinder Marsh is interesting in that it has a functional reprint (Lantern-Lit Graveyard), and neither it nor its reprint are especially good. Outside of the fact that their blocks were notoriously light on color fixing for multicolor decks, and so these had use in Limited, you’re still effectively with half a land overall, since the main attraction (drawing colored mana) effectively exerts the land.
Cinder Marsh and its friends are not good, but they can be solid enough budget options if you don’t have the ability to use better lands. If you need a land that comes in untapped to get mana from, you can do worse than Cinder Marsh, but you can also do a lot better.
Limited: 3 (not great in Limited, but with a lack of options for color-fixing, these help things out a bit and also are at uncommon)
This card had the unfortunate luck of being printed during the time where WOTC was trying to dumb down the power of lands. Gone were the days of the powerful duel lands or the ice age pain lands, we are in an era where lands were just bad. Looking at it from today’s current meta, this card would be good in limited. If you’re lucky enough to do tempest draft, this land cycle us great for splashing in a color like red or black into your U/W strategy. This could be used for generic colorless but when really needed tapped for that precious resource. Outside of limited, there are tons of other better options for your RB decks, it’s a hard pass in commander and eternal formats, the drawback of not untapping is too great and could cost you the game.
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