When it comes to Magic: the Gathering and style formats, nearly every iteration falls into two buckets. The first are those which work with a limited pool of cards, restricted in some way such as a specific set or a time period in which the cards belong to. This includes formats such as Limited, Standard, Brawl, and Modern. The second are formats that have little to no such restriction of the cards you can use. From casual play to EDH to Cube to Legacy & Vintage, these are commonly referred to as Eternal formats, where you are – for the most part – able to play whatever cards you want to in your deck.
On the plus side, this allows for a huge volume of card variety to choose from for a host of different abilities.
On the down side, this allows for a huge volume of card variety to choose from for a host of different abilities.
Yes, when it comes to basic effects such as drawing cards, gaining life, dealing direct damage, and so forth, Magic has no shortage of options, as nearly every set has some version of them. As their relative powers ebb and flow over the years due to the needs of the set to provide set synergy, to enabling drafting strategies, or for helping make changes to Standard gameplay, some versions of these card effects will undoubtedly be better than others. Yet on the whole, for every few mediocre card draw or life gain cards, there inevitably comes along one that stands out as one of the better ones (at least when compared to the entire library of options befitting Eternal formats). As a result, while the overall number of such cards goes up with every successive new product release, in totality so does the number of ‘good’ versions.
Which means that, inevitably, when it comes to choosing some of the less flashy cards that make your EDH deck work, you have plenty of options. In some cases, too many even.
After all, if you have three slots allocated for spot removal in your deck and 40 worthwhile cards to consider, making firm decisions can be difficult. Some people ultimately opt for the closest nearby option to them available while others will intentionally go out of their way to get what they feel is the best of the best, regardless of scarcity or price.
Or, as is often my case, trying to use a different card than one in another deck for the same purpose to provide some variety to my own decks. After all, if there really are 40 decent cards that do the same thing, why the heck would I want to use the same one in every one of my Commander decks? That seems like a wasted opportunity to try new things and get a different experience.
This is particularly true in the case of land fetch cards, of which there is absolutely no shortage of choices. Though there is always one in particular that comes to mind as a go-to consideration. It was popular for decent period of time but isn’t seen as frequently these days. And that happens to be this week’s pick.
Today we have: Recross the Paths
Name: Recross the Paths
Focus: Land Ramp / Mana Acceleration
Highlights: Although Clash was actually quite enjoyed by my own play group, if we’re being honest, it wasn’t particularly beloved overall. Seen during the Lorwyn era, most didn’t like the extra work that went into clash effects on cards, either because they didn’t feel it powerful enough or the players didn’t particularly like the idea that a boosted effect was semi-random as it’s based on comparing the top card of your respective decks. A few also didn’t like the prospect of giving an opponent a potential free Scry 1 for the trouble. Because of this, Clash overall has not aged particularly well.
Recross the Paths is a rare exception.
It is true that this Morningtide land fetch card hasn’t been as prominent in many decks as it used to be, but it seems more to do with more (and newer) competing cards performing the same feat. Which is fair. Still, although not as ubiquitous as Harrow or Cultivate or Crop Rotation or even its more flashy sibling from the same set, Scapeshift, Recross the Paths definitely should be on a short list the next time you need a simple land fetch card.
At its most basic, Recross the Paths is a straightforward and basic three mana land fetch card that takes a land from your deck and puts it untapped directly onto the battlefield rather than in your hand. The catch, however, is that rather than search for a specific basic land type, you instead reveal from your deck till you find something. This make it less predictable than some of its counterparts if you’re after a specific land, but in many multiplayer cases, especially in Commander, any land drop is good as it enables more options, accelerates your deck, and thins out the likelihood of land draws on your turn.
Moreover, Recross the Paths offers something that’s often overlooked at first: it will put any land you find onto the battlefield, not just basic lands. In a format where nonbasic lands are almost more common than basic ones at times, this turns what may have been initially a downside into something incredibly advantageous.
Finally comes the clash itself, which even those who don’t love the effect overall may want to pay attention to. For on this card, if you win the clash with an opponent, Recross the Paths goes back to your hand to be cast again. If you have the available mana and have a particularly high CMC card atop your library, you could easily ensure multiple casts within the same turn if you wanted. Sure, each time you’re clashing you are allowing an opponent to sift the top of their deck and get rid of a particularly undesirable card, but a) you also get to do this and b) no one says you have to choose the same opponent each time.
And hey, at the worst, the very worst, Recross gives you a three mana land drop with a Scry 1 kicker. The horror!
So all in all, yeah, the next time you need to pick a fetch card in Green out of your 50 or so choices, give it a second look.
Keep an eye out for us to be regularly featuring other more accessible-but-worth-it Commander cards going forward. In the meantime, we’ll keep the light on for you.
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