Alpha/Beta/Unlimited Dual Lands
How many design tropes started in Alpha?
Maybe as many as started elsewhere. Maybe more.
I haven't counted. There is perhaps no more
influential design, and none more iterated, than
the dual lands; maybe Lightning Bolt, but I'm
not even sure about that.
I have some personal history with these
cards, but it's rather convoluted - I started
playing shortly after the Fourth Edition was
released, so they were no longer widely
available. Some of the more experienced players
I knew were aware of their existence, but none
of them happened to own any. I didn't own any
myself until perhaps seven years ago, when I
combined funds with a friend to buy a batch of
them from someone who was selling their
collection. I played in some unsanctioned Legacy
events, and some more esoteric things like
60-card Vintage Singleton, but I didn't enjoy
those formats over the long run. It's true that
these dual lands can be crazily powerful in
those settings, but I maintain that the real
problem is and always has been fetchlands. If
you try making decks for formats with just the
Alpha/Beta/Unlimited dual lands but not
fetchlands, something like Ice Age Standard or
the Swedish-invented 93/94 format, they're not
actually much more powerful than Ravnica dual
lands in those contexts.
I know these are out of favor as far as
design goes, but there's really something about
the beautiful and evocative art, the elegance of
two basic land types and no other game mechanic,
and their windows of the infinite mysteries of
the multiverse that really just does it for me.
Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno
Today's cards of the day are the
lands from Alpha, Beta, and Revised which each
have two of the basic land types, but are not
basic lands. These are the dual lands all later
dual lands are watered down from as there is no
entering play tapped, no loss of life, and so
on. These also have the added benefit of having
the land types which allow cards like Nature's
Lore or Nightmare to interact with them. A
staple of formats where they are legal these
will likely never be replaced at the top of the
dual land pyramid.