Over on Gathering Magic, Mike Linnemann recently wrote an article entitled “Better Basic Lands,” which details the basic lands he likes to bring along and use for Limited events. I’ve been packing pre-sleeved basics in my drafts for a couple years now, and I can’t recommend the practice enough.
Imagine this: you finish a draft and sit down to build your deck. Once you’ve got the build complete, what do you do? Most people have to stand up and walk to the land station to pick out their basics. I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to draft only to be mildly inconvenienced and get a miniscule amount of exercise. I came to play Magic, dammit. Bringing pre-sleeved lands saves you from that fate, and means you sleeve and unsleeve only half the cards of your unprepared opponents.
The downside is that you will always, without fail, be ready to play round one before your opponent is. That’s a given. But the upside, besides the aforementioned convenience, is that you can get a lot of shuffling in. This guy doesn’t have to worry about land clumps from an undershuffled deck! You'll also get the pleasure of playing with lands you find aesthetically pleasing, as well as the competitive advantage of all your lands featuring the same art.
The downsides are well outweighed by the upsides, so consider buying an extra pack of sleeves and picking out some of your favorite lands for your next draft. Full-art Zendikar lands are a popular choice, and some of my personal favorites to see in play are Beta basics. But you don’t have to go deep. Just pick out something you like!
For my part, I am a firm believer in the original border. Besides Zendikar full-arts, I refuse to play with lands post-Eighth Edition. I also hate white-bordered cards, except for those from Revised—it's a nostalgia thing. The five basics I’ve been using since I started packing my own lands are shown below. Do you have a favorite set of basic lands?