Land cards represent areas of land that are under a players control from which they can draw magical power. Lands are the principle source of the mana that is required to cast spells. For a list of all land cards see the land card list.
By default a player can play one land for "free" during their main phase. A land played this way can only be played when the stack is empty. Some cards can alter the number of lands a player is allowed to play on their turn.
The most common lands are the five basic lands. Unlike other cards there is no limit to the amount of these cards that can be in a constructed deck. These lands have a single ability, namely tapping them gives one mana of the appropriate color.
There are a number of non-basic lands. Lands that are not basic will have Land in their card type but do not have Basic in their card type. Non-basic lands are subject to the usual limit of no more than four of a given card in a constructed deck.
These lands are able to produce multiple colors of mana, or have spell like abilities, which will be specified in the card text. Many of them enter the battlefield tapped.
Comprehensive Rules (October 4, 2019)
- 305. Lands
- 305.1. A player who has priority may play a land card from their hand during a main phase of their turn when the stack is empty. Playing a land is a special action; it doesn’t use the stack (see rule 116). Rather, the player simply puts the land onto the battlefield. Since the land doesn’t go on the stack, it is never a spell, and players can’t respond to it with instants or activated abilities.
- 305.2. A player can normally play one land during their turn; however, continuous effects may increase this number.
- 305.2a To determine whether a player can play a land, compare the number of lands the player can play this turn with the number of lands they have already played this turn (including lands played as special actions and lands played during the resolution of spells and abilities). If the number of lands the player can play is greater, the play is legal.
- 305.2b A player can’t play a land, for any reason, if the number of lands the player can play this turn is equal to or less than the number of lands they have already played this turn. Ignore any part of an effect that instructs a player to do so.
- 305.3. A player can’t play a land, for any reason, if it isn’t their turn. Ignore any part of an effect that instructs a player to do so.
- 305.4. Effects may also allow players to “put” lands onto the battlefield. This isn’t the same as “playing a land” and doesn’t count as a land played during the current turn.
- 305.5. Land subtypes are always a single word and are listed after a long dash. Land subtypes are also called land types. Lands may have multiple subtypes. See rule 205.3i for the complete list of land types.
Example: “Basic Land — Mountain” means the card is a land with the subtype Mountain.
- 305.6. The basic land types are Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest. If an object uses the words “basic land type,” it’s referring to one of these subtypes. A land with a basic land type has the intrinsic ability “: Add [mana symbol],” even if the text box doesn’t actually contain that text or the object has no text box. For Plains, [mana symbol] is ; for Islands, ; for Swamps, ; for Mountains, ; and for Forests, . See rule 107.4a. See also rule 605, “Mana Abilities.”
- 305.7. If an effect sets a land’s subtype to one or more of the basic land types, the land no longer has its old land type. It loses all abilities generated from its rules text, its old land types, and any copy effects affecting that land, and it gains the appropriate mana ability for each new basic land type. Note that this doesn’t remove any abilities that were granted to the land by other effects. Setting a land’s subtype doesn’t add or remove any card types (such as creature) or supertypes (such as basic, legendary, and snow) the land may have. If a land gains one or more land types in addition to its own, it keeps its land types and rules text, and it gains the new land types and mana abilities.
- 305.8. Any land with the supertype “basic” is a basic land. Any land that doesn’t have this supertype is a nonbasic land, even if it has a basic land type.
- 305.9. If an object is both a land and another card type, it can be played only as a land. It can’t be cast as a spell.