MTG designer explains why Kaldheim The World Tree isn’t a legendary land

Verhey doubles down on The World Tree legendary land debate.

Kaldheim MTG World Tree
Image via WotC Magic: The Gathering

Following numerous questions from Magic: The Gathering players as to why The World Tree wasn’t printed as a legendary land in the upcoming Kaldheim set, senior designer Gavin Verhey provided answers today.

Printing legendary lands within MTG doesn’t happen often. Since the dawn of Magic, only 43 single-faced legendary lands have been printed, according to Verhey. And a total of 11 others were a legendary land on the back of a Modal Double-Faced Card (MDFC). Verhey gave a number of reasons as to why The World Tree in Kaldheim (KHM) isn’t a legendary land during today’s Good Morning Magic program. 

The primary argument behind why The World Tree is just another land card is that “legendary lands don’t play very well,” said Verhey. Legendary lands aren’t like other legendary creatures and Artifacts, in that they are difficult to remove and often don’t go away. This leads to multiple copies in a deck being “redundant.” And it’s often not ideal within tournament settings due to issues like “mana screw.” 

“Usually, it’s a very careful power tunning knob on a card we already like but want to be a little careful with,” said Verhey.  

In regards to The World Tree designed as an MDFC whithin the KHM set,  “Kaldheim doesn’t contain any cards with land on one side and a spell on the other,” said Verhey.  Pathway lands were the only MFDC lands to get printed in KHM, finishing off a cycle from Zendikar Rising. Verhey went on to note that “design space for it [legendary lands] is small,” where neither the spell nor land can be powerful enough so that it’s a card worth playing. 

Players can expect another legendary land in the future, according to Verhey. Whether The World Tree will prove problematic within Standard, or other Magic formats, won’t be known until KHM releases on Feb. 5. A digital release of the new set will launch on Jan. 28.