In a game that is reliant on finding the right mana to cast spells, it turns out that those lands are sometimes the most problematic cards in Magic. Lands are unique in that they have almost an unlimited space for creativity and design. Some lands produce every color while others don’t make any mana at all. There are lands that prevent damage from being dealt and there are lands that banned for just being artifacts.
And of course, there are lands that become creatures.
Creature lands are exactly what they sound like. These lands become a creature after paying a certain cost, and some even have abilities attached to the creature-version of the land. Cards like Celestial Colonade and Raging Ravine have become multi-format all-stars due to their excellent ability to end games quickly.
With the release of Kaldheim came Faceless Haven, a brand new entry into the creature land cycle. This land made a small appearance in the current standard format in decks that wanted to play snow lands. Now as rotation draws near, it just may be time for this shapeshifting land to make a case as the best card in the Standard 2022 format.
Faceless Haven Fits into Every Deck
The main problem with strong lands is that they are essentially ‘free’ threats available to almost every deck. Most creature lands have a color restriction to them, making those cards a bit less flexible when it comes to deck building. The recent land cycle from Forgotten Realms is a good example of how a colored creature land only fits within a certain shell. Their activation costs need certain mana in order to actually transform the land into a creature.
Faceless Haven does not have that restriction. The activation cost of triple snow-mana is not as difficult as people originally thought. Every deck has access to the ‘restrictive’ activation cost for Faceless Haven due to the access to snow lands. Add the fact that the land also creates colorless mana, and now Faceless Haven becomes an almost must-add in every deck regardless of archetype. Get used to seeing this card in any matchup because it’s just too easy to add into any deck in Standard.
Lands are Tricky to Remove
One of the more annoying aspects of creature lands is their ability to stick around on the battlefield. Because Faceless Haven is only a creature when its controller decides to activate, it often times dodges any form of sorcery speed removal. Opponents can try to force a mistake and catch a Faceless Haven in post-combat, but they are better off trying to use instant-speed kill spells. Sadly most of the common removal spells will rotate in the coming fall. Baleful Mastery, Frostbite, and even Murder will need to come through as the premier options to remove Faceless Haven.
The other glaring issue in Standard is the lack of interaction with lands. Sure there are a few four-mana land destruction spells, but those are very unplayable in most Standard decks. Cleansing Wildfire and Field of Ruin are truly the only ways to battle problematic lands. However in best-of-one matches, no one is maindecking Cleansing Wildfire.
It No Longer Has to Battle Lovestruck Beast
It’s not uncommon to hear that Throne of Eldraine is one of the most powerful standard sets to release in years. Cards like Embercleave, Brazen Borrower and Bonecrusher Giant all dominated the standard environment. Lovestruck Beast was the “stat check” creature in standard. If a creature couldn’t get past the 5/5 beast, then the creature probably wasn’t worth playing. As a 4/3, Faceless Haven never stood a chance.
Come September, Faceless Haven won’t have to sit back any longer. Lovestruck Beast is gone, and four-power creatures can thrive once again. Faceless Haven can now threaten opponents life totals if left unchecked. Already green decks have welcomed in Ranger Class to help attacking creatures grow on each attack. On a board with just Ranger Class and Faceless Haven, games are over in a moment’s notice.
It Already Got One Card Banned
We've got a few changes to announce, including the banning of a certain book, some new events and the introduction of Midweek Magic!https://t.co/frtueBhZtN
— MTG Arena (@MTG_Arena) July 14, 2021
Well, sort of.
The interaction between Faceless Haven and The Book of Exalted Deeds leads too many unending matchups. Because Faceless Haven is an angel, it can receive the Exalted Deeds counter and prevent a plater from losing the game. However when both players have the combo in place, the game won’t end. For the time being The Book of Exalted Deeds is banned in the Standard 2022 best-of-one format on MTGA. It isn’t completely Faceless Haven’s fault that the mythic artifact got the ban, but these two cards will continue to be a problem going forward in Traditional Standard queues.
Featured image courtesy of Titus Lunter and Wizards of the Coast
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