(Sacred Foundry, and others)
– Ravnica: City of Guilds
Date Reviewed: November 8, 2018
Commander [EDH]: 4.88
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I’ve always found it rather amusing that these cards were apparently given names that didn’t include a reference to their guild so that they could be reprinted in non-Ravnica sets, yet most of their appearances have been in Ravnica sets. Regardless, they’ve become one of the pillars of modern (with either a capital or a small M) Magic: they set the limits of what multicolor decks can do in whichever constructed formats include them, they become top chase cards any time they’re reprinted, and people miss them when they’re gone. A one-time payment of two life is often not much of a drawback and there are even cards in larger formats that like you to lose life, from the famous Death’s Shadow to the more obscure fateful hour keyword from Dark Ascension. Their quality is perhaps more subtle than some cards, but they’re cards that you’ll always be happy to have around and to have more of.
This is the fourth time shock lands have been printed: thrice in Ravnica-related sets/blocks, and once as ultra-mega-shiny foils in with the Zendikar Expeditions subset. They’ve always been among the most powerful lands in any given format, paling only to the original dual lands from Unlimited, and a large amount of it comes from them being able to be fetched through the Onslaught/Zendikar fetch lands or any card that cares about land type. The drawback is fair and reasonable (2 life is not insignificant, but it’s not a huge impediment for the decks that run them, it’s a one-time payment, and faster mana is usually worth the pain), and they’re the cornerstone of Modern as a result of their efficiency and fetchability. They may not excite like cuddly dragons, majestic phoenixes, or EXPLOSIONS will, but Sacred Foundry and its ilk will always have a home in Constructed formats wherever they are legal (and I believe they see fringe amounts of Legacy play, in decks revolving around Death’s Shadow or in place of scarce and expensive dual lands).
While other land-typed duals have come along (the Battle for Zendikar “tangolands” and the Amonkhet cycling lands), these remain the gold standard of fetchable lands, and they’re unlikely to be usurped anytime soon.
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