How many lands is correct (on average)?

Lands in a "normal" commander deck?

<25
0
No votes
25-26
0
No votes
27-28
0
No votes
29-30
0
No votes
31-32
1
2%
33-34
3
6%
35-36
14
27%
37-38
27
53%
39-40
5
10%
41-42
1
2%
43-44
0
No votes
45-46
0
No votes
47-48
0
No votes
49-50
0
No votes
>50
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 51

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DirkGently
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Post by DirkGently » 2 weeks ago

I do want to be a little more specific - I'm talking about classic, 75%-ish commander. I'm sure cEDH has strong opinions about the right number of lands, but that's a different situation. Beyond excluding that, though, whatever power level you play at is fine for the poll.

I'm also curious how much the numbers vary for people. Do you always include the exact same number? Do you ever use a significantly greater or lesser number, and if so, why?
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Post by TheGildedGoose » 2 weeks ago

Objectively correct answer: it depends on your curve, what turn it becomes acceptable to miss land drops, how much ramp you run, and your ability to draw cards.

I answered 35-36, as I've found that to be the sweet spot for me, but I primarily play control with strong draw engines. I'm thinking of bumping up Shadowheart to 36, but cuts are so hard right now.

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Post by Ruiner » 2 weeks ago

I'm generally in the 36-37 land range. I find I don't miss land drops too badly there. This gets adjusted based on how much ramp, and card draw I have and some other factors of course. If the curve is overall higher, I might start at 38 lands.

Lowest I've gone is 34, but that is my Abomination of Llanowar deck where the curve is fairly low and there are a bunch of mana dorks.

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Post by DirkGently » 2 weeks ago

TheGildedGoose wrote:
2 weeks ago
Objectively correct answer: it depends on your curve, what turn it becomes acceptable to miss land drops, how much ramp you run, and your ability to draw cards.
Of course that's true, which is why I say "on average". But I am also curious to hear about how much variance occurs between builds for people.

Personally I voted 39-40, in keeping with the old wisdom. But I have decks that go as low as 33 or so, and as high as 47 (excluding meme decks like 98/99 lands and ODY/ONS only mono-red).
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Post by TheGildedGoose » 2 weeks ago

DirkGently wrote:
2 weeks ago
Of course that's true, which is why I say "on average". But I am also curious to hear about how much variance occurs between builds for people.
I just take umbrage with the use of "correct" here when you're really asking for a subjective opinion.

I tend to base my percentages on what I was used to for 60 card competitive formats. Control lists tend to run 24-25 lands, which is 40-42%, which in the typical 99 card deck is, obviously, 40-42. If we count Sol Ring as a land, as that is the most common "cut" for it, and consider each piece of 1-2mv ramp 1/3 of a land, 36 lands + Ring + 11 rocks is 40.666... which is roughly equivalent to that 40-42%. Of course, most games of non-cEDH go on a bit longer than 60 card format games, so I think you should always err on the side of caution and add an additional land just to be safe.

Then there's the cantrip to consider...

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Post by Crazy Monkey » 2 weeks ago

Other than very intentional deckbuilding reasons, I always start at 37 lands. Once the deck is built and I can analyze the curve then I start making changes to the land count.

Lowest land count I have gone is 30, based on curve or replaced with artifact ramp. The highest land count deck is 69 lands, for the funny number and to retain a certain critical mass and probability. Both of those extremes were considering land count as part of the primary deck structure instead of supporting the main plan, and did not start at my default.
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Post by RxPhantom » 2 weeks ago

It's probably my own bugaboo, but I have a hard time going under 37, even with a decent ramp package and low-moderate curve.
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Post by TheAmericanSpirit » 2 weeks ago

The thing I like least in a game of magic is dying to mana screw. I always err on the side of caution for control and midrange lists, and start around 40 then season to taste over time.

In aggro decks, I've found curving out in the early turns to be more important than ramping. Likewise every land after 6 may as well be dirt. In those decks, 32-34 has been my go-to.

In fast combo, like 29. I've grown to dislike that kind of game, so I've got no reason to play that madness in the future.

But I voted 39-40. It's the disciplined choice.
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Post by TheGildedGoose » 2 weeks ago

TheAmericanSpirit wrote:
2 weeks ago
The thing I like least in a game of magic is dying to mana screw.
I can understand this. Sure, over time averages average out, but you don't remember the games where you had a statistically likely number of land drops. You remember the mana floods and mana droughts.
But I voted 39-40. It's the disciplined choice.
Dang, even with a significant chunk of ramp? I couldn't imagine running over 50% mana sources in any deck outside of like, Smallpox decks in Legacy and Modern.

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Post by TheAmericanSpirit » 2 weeks ago

TheGildedGoose wrote:
2 weeks ago
TheAmericanSpirit wrote:
2 weeks ago
The thing I like least in a game of magic is dying to mana screw.
I can understand this. Sure, over time averages average out, but you don't remember the games where you had a statistically likely number of land drops. You remember the mana floods and mana droughts.
Hey, call me superstitious but I play 20 mountains in legacy burn. Both because I would rather flood than bet on a one lander and lose in today's meta and because I would prefer my opponents only have one opportunity to shuffle my deck.
But I voted 39-40. It's the disciplined choice.
Dang, even with a significant chunk of ramp? I couldn't imagine running over 50% mana sources in any deck outside of like, Smallpox decks in Legacy and Modern.
I did detail my thoughts like two posts ago. My methodology clearly varies. I voted based on the idea of a "normal" edh deck in abstract. If I was handed a deck to play, with no knowledge about it other than it was legal in the format, I would want that many. And then I'd season to taste.
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Post by TheGildedGoose » 2 weeks ago

This thread is making me self-conscious about my land counts and I don't care for it.

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EDIT: Ha ha! Time for math!

Using Erebos as a baseline, going from 36 to 37 lands is a 2% increase in the odds to have 3 lands on turn 3, whereas going from 11 to 12 ramp spells is a 3% increase in the odds to have one by turn 2. This doesn't mean that the ramp spell is the better choice just because it statistically has a larger impact, but that 1% ain't nothing. Still, I think being able to run an additional utility land (in this case, Takenuma, Abandoned Mire to recur Gary, Ghasty, or one of my planeswalkers) and having a more consistent deck is probably the right choice.

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Post by Dunharrow » 2 weeks ago

I put 37-38, but in all honesty my average is probably 35-36. My deckbuilding focus has been towards having more to do with 1-2 mana, so that if I am stuck on 3 lands I can still play and dig myself out of it. I am not cutting lands for preordain, but I am cutting 6 drops for preordain and staying at 36 lands. I think that's what I like.

Some decks have fewer lands because they ramp so hard. Some decks should be at 40 lands but I just can't bring myself to have more than 38. These are decks with average amount of ramp/draw so I need plenty of land. But when I go through my pile and I have 40 lands and need to make a choice between 2 lands or two high synergy card or 2 removal spells... I just end up cutting lands every time.

I will also say that if I keep getting stuck with cards in hand and not enough lands, I rework the mana curve. I don't just add lands. That's how my Phenax got a bunch of 1 mana cantrips.
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Post by pokken » 2 weeks ago

I think I tend to play more fixing and card velocity effects than most but I'm almost always 35-39 and voted 37-38.

No surprise to me that this is a bell curve around there.

I want 2-4 lands in my opening hand even if I have a cantrip or castable draw spell. So the odds are really in favor of that iirc around 38, accounting for mulligans.

I think most people play too few and spend a lot of time complaining about missing land drops.

The missing piece about cedh decks people don't put together is that if your commander is tymna or thrasios you can afford to play 29 lands and 13 mana dorks just because your commander will fix whatever you do by drawing you out. If your commander isn't a sub 4 cmc card advantage engine deck design has to be wildly different.

You will not see a lot of mana dork decks in cedh that don't draw cards in the zone. And those that dont are playing more ca. but really decks that don't draw cards in the zone mostly suck in cedh.

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Post by folding_music » 2 weeks ago

i've been wondering if a deck with Traverse the Ulvenwald and Abundant Harvest which are almost always used to go find a swamp/snow-covered swamp should just kick the dig spells and have two more swamps? the edge cases where you draw those things and immediately cycle for action are so tempting...

I'm aiming at 41 lands in the decks I'm playing right now cos one blows up low cmc ramp stuff habitually, wants to support Glacial Chasm and eventually wants to play 6 cmc creatures, and the other is going to be Belzenlok lol

ps I have no delusions of wanting to participate in CEDH, am actually thinking of decelerating my stuff and putting in more utility n scry etc

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Post by RxPhantom » 2 weeks ago

Missing early land drops is one of the worst feelings in Magic, and it's magnified in Commander. One could argue that I run too many lands in most decks, but I rarely have games where I'm dead in the water due to mana screw. I'm consistently at 37-38 lands regardless of curve. I'm considering dropping a land in General Ferrous Rokiric for a Liquimetal Torque, but I'm reeeeeeeally apprehensive about it. I'm already running Sol Ring, six 2-MV rocks, Smothering Tithe, and Tome of the Guildpact. I know that last one isn't really ramp since it's five MV, but it's not not ramp I guess.
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Post by DirkGently » 2 weeks ago

TheGildedGoose wrote:
2 weeks ago
I just take umbrage with the use of "correct" here when you're really asking for a subjective opinion.
Well I'm more interested in what people think they ought to be running, moreso than how many they actually run. The latter doesn't really provide as much fodder for discourse imo.

It's sorta subjective insofar as people could be assuming different power levels which correspondingly different average curves (i.e. cEDH has a much lower average mv than precon fights, taking the meta as a whole instead of individual decks). I eliminated cEDH in the question but obviously some people's metas will be closer or further. That said, within a certain power level, I think there is a correct answer to the question, even if it's difficult to ascertain.

I've seen a lot of people advocating 35 lands and fewer, and I think that's usually incorrect. 33 lands would be equivalent to a 20 land standard deck, which is quite a bit fewer than most standard decks use, and we can trust them to be pretty optimized. But beyond that, commander crucially has an 8th nonland card in hand, and which adds itself back into your hand throughout the game, which I would argue significantly motivates running more lands to balance out.

That said it seems like people are going for close to 40, so I might be wrong about what people are advocating. Seems like I'm not as much of an outlier at 40 as I thought.
Last edited by DirkGently 2 weeks ago, edited 1 time in total.
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Garth - Kros - Anthousa - Shigeki - Light-Paws - Lukka - Sefris - Ebondeath - Rokiric - Garth - Nixilis - Grist - Mavinda - Kumano - Nezahal - Mavinda - Plargg - Plargg - Extus - Plargg - Oracle - Kardur - Halvar - Tergrid - Egon - Cosima - Halana+Livio - Jeska+Falthis+Obosh - Yeva - Akiri+Zirda - Lady Sun - Nahiri - Korlash - Overlord+Zirda - Chisei - Athreos2 - Akim - Cazur+Ukkima - Otrimi - Otrimi - Kalamax - Ayli+Lurrus - Clamilton - Gonti - Heliod2 - Ayula - Thassa2 - Gallia - Purphoros2 - Rankle - Uro - Rayami - Gargos - Thrasios+Bruse - Pang - Sasaya - Wydwen - Feather - Rona - Toshiro - Sylvia+Khorvath - Geth - QMarchesa - Firesong - Athreos - Arixmethes - Isperia - Etali - Silas+Sidar - Saskia - Virtus+Gorm - Kynaios - Naban - Aryel - Mizzix - Kazuul - Tymna+Kraum - Sidar+Tymna - Ayli - Gwendlyn - Phelddagrif - Liliana - Kaervek - Phelddagrif - Mairsil - Scarab - Child - Phenax - Shirei - Thada - Depala - Circu - Kytheon - GrenzoHR - Phelddagrif - Reyhan+Kraum - Toshiro - Varolz - Nin - Ojutai - Tasigur - Zedruu - Uril - Edric - Wort - Zurgo - Nahiri - Grenzo - Kozilek - Yisan - Ink-Treader - Yisan - Brago - Sidisi - Toshiro - Alexi - Sygg - Brimaz - Sek'Kuar - Marchesa - Vish Kal - Iroas - Phelddagrif - Ephara - Derevi - Glissa - Wanderer - Saffi - Melek - Xiahou Dun - Lazav - Lin Sivvi - Zirilan - Glissa - Ashling1 - Angus - Arcum - Talrand - Chainer - Higure - Kumano - Scion - Teferi1 - Uyo - Sisters
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Post by silversnakes » 2 weeks ago

I voted for 37-38 I mainly use 37 lands an go from there depending on which archetype I'm playing as well as how much ramp, and card draw I'm running too. 36-37 lands is the sweet spot at least for me.

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Post by Serenade » 2 weeks ago

silversnakes wrote:
2 weeks ago
I voted for 37-38 I mainly use 37 lands an go from there depending on which archetype I'm playing as well as how much ramp, and card draw I'm running too. 36-37 lands is the sweet spot at least for me.
Exactly this for me, adding MDFC as something else I take into consideration.
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Post by Dragoon » 2 weeks ago

Same as for other people, I usually start at 37 and then possibly adjust to 36 or 38 if needed, usually accompanied by 8-12 pieces of ramp.

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Post by TheGildedGoose » 2 weeks ago

DirkGently wrote:
2 weeks ago
I've seen a lot of people advocating 35 lands and fewer, and I think that's usually incorrect. 33 lands would be equivalent to a 20 land standard deck, which is quite a bit fewer than most standard decks use, and we can trust them to be pretty optimized. But beyond that, commander crucially has an 8th nonland card in hand, and which adds itself back into your hand throughout the game, which I would argue significantly motivates running more lands to balance out.
RDW and other aggro decks can run that few, as well as combo decks. Obviously RDW isn't at all even close to viable in EDH, but combo is alive and well, but that gets into cEDH territory which is obviously excluded.

As for the 8th card, absolutely. Even without the commander tax, I would wager that a significant portion of EDH decks want to windmill slam their commanders as soon as possible. Of my 5 decks, 4 want to do so, and many of my previous decks did, as well. Ensuring you have enough land drops to get to cast them on curve (or, ideally, earlier thanks to ramp) is a major selling point on running enough lands. I think cEDH deckbuilding gives a lot of people the wrong idea.

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Post by Treamayne » 2 weeks ago

Voted for 37-38, as my schema from this thread hasn't changed much. I won't remove a land for a MDFC, but I do count them in my rock/ramp count.

I do probably tend to not play enough ramp or rocks; but that's cause I prefer theme and epic games than rushing to a conclusion as fast as possible.

Example: Sydri Vehicles - 38 Land + 8 Other (skewed toward theme)
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Post by RxPhantom » 2 weeks ago

Treamayne wrote:
2 weeks ago
Voted for 37-38, as my schema from this thread hasn't changed much. I won't remove a land for a MDFC, but I do count them in my rock/ramp count.
Hold on. Do you make a distinction between the ones that can enter untapped? For instance, I put a Turntimber Symbiosis // Turntimber, Serpentine Wood in my mono green deck and took out a Forest. It seemed like the right call.
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Post by Treamayne » 2 weeks ago

RxPhantom wrote:
2 weeks ago
Hold on. Do you make a distinction between the ones that can enter untapped? For instance, I put a Turntimber Symbiosis // Turntimber, Serpentine Wood in my mono green deck and took out a Forest. It seemed like the right call.
I do not make a distinction for untapped; unless I am adding specifically for the land side, not the spell/permanent side. Even then, I am reticent, unless I have some means of bouncing it to get the other side (Lair, Rav Bounce Land, etc.)

i.e. If I expect to primarily play it as a land, but might use the spell late-game then I may count it as a land, if I expect to use the spell, but have access to the land if I am manascrewed early, then it doesn't get a tally in the land count.
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Post by Dragoon » 2 weeks ago

Treamayne wrote:
2 weeks ago
Example: Sydri Vehicles - 38 Land + 8 Other (skewed toward theme)
Funny, for my Sydri Vehicles deck, I have 36 lands and 14 others that can ramp (also skewed towards theme)

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Post by RxPhantom » 2 weeks ago

Treamayne wrote:
2 weeks ago
RxPhantom wrote:
2 weeks ago
Hold on. Do you make a distinction between the ones that can enter untapped? For instance, I put a Turntimber Symbiosis // Turntimber, Serpentine Wood in my mono green deck and took out a Forest. It seemed like the right call.
I do not make a distinction for untapped; unless I am adding specifically for the land side, not the spell/permanent side. Even then, I am reticent, unless I have some means of bouncing it to get the other side (Lair, Rav Bounce Land, etc.)

i.e. If I expect to primarily play it as a land, but might use the spell late-game then I may count it as a land, if I expect to use the spell, but have access to the land if I am manascrewed early, then it doesn't get a tally in the land count.
Hmmm...I use the aforementioned Turntimber Symbiosis as whatever I need at the time. I generally won't hesitate to play it as a land, especially in the early game. But later on, the spell side is pretty good. I count them as both when I'm analyzing such things.
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