An Ode to Enchant Worlds

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I don’t always keep up with all the new reprints and set releases that Wizards of the Coast puts out each and every week. There are simply too many to keep track of, so I try to prioritize my focus on the newest Standard set so I can familiarize myself with the Limited environment.

But last week, something stood out that grabbed my attention for longer than the typical three seconds I spend on each MTG spoiler. Behold, the Secret Lair reprint of Concordant Crossroads:

Why did this card catch my interest? Because it is a reprint of an Enchant World—which is like an enchantment, except that only one can exist in play, so if any player plays a different Enchant World, the first one is buried. You can read about the official rules of the Enchant World here.

It’s a fairly outdated ability, and you don’t see it on card text anymore these days (kind of like banding or flanking) with few exceptions.

You may have even thought that Concordant Crossroads was on the Reserved List if you didn’t see this reprint. I wouldn’t blame you—many Enchant Worlds are. But this one last got printed in Chronicles, making it ineligible for Reserved List status.

This week, I want to examine some of the best, worst, and craziest Enchant Worlds in Magic’s history—some are worth grabbing, others could potentially get a reprint treatment, and others still are so bizarre they merit their paragraph of fame just to bring them to light.

The Good (and Valuable)

Let’s begin with the strongest, most impactful World Enchantments. Concordant Crossroads surely belongs on this list, as it likely has popularity in some Commander decks. But because of its reprint in Chronicles, this Enchant World is far from the most valuable out there.

That title belongs to The Abyss.

There was an error retrieving a chart for The Abyss

This Legends Enchant World will cost you about $1,000, and that’s just for a heavily played copy! Nicer copies go up from there, making this the king of all Enchant Worlds. Honestly, I can’t remember ever seeing this card in play in a game of Magic, but it must have some niche following, possibly in Old School. It is a Legends rare on the Reserved List so that could be enough.

The other very pricy Enchant World is also from Legends: Nether Void.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Nether Void

This one I have seen cast once before, in a Legacy match about a decade ago. Still, it shares many common characteristics with The Abyss that make it so valuable. It’s a Legends Reserved List rare, has a powerful effect that likely draws attention from Old School players and collectors, and it even shares the same casting cost!

A couple other Reserved List Legends Enchant Worlds round out the most valuable in existence: Living Plane, In the Eye of Chaos, and Field of Dreams. Each of these are significantly less powerful than the big two black Enchant Worlds mentioned above, but they have relevant effects and are Reserved List rares from Legends. That’s definitely enough to make them stand out value-wise. Field of Dreams is a favorite of mine simply due to its art—one of these days I’m going to combine it with Ghoulcaller's Bell in Commander.

Outside of Legends, the Enchant Worlds are far less impressive (and valuable). In fact I suspect the next tier of Enchant Worlds from a value standpoint are also from Legends: Storm World, Gravity Sphere, and Chronicles Reprint Revelation. But I want to at least give honorable mention to one playable Enchant World that wasn’t in Legends.

Check out Tombstone Stairwell:

There was an error retrieving a chart for Tombstone Stairwell

This Enchant World from Mirage actually sees a scant bit of Commander play, and plays nicely into a Zombie theme or a “creatures in the graveyard” theme. Is it the most powerful thing you can do in Commander? I highly doubt it. But it’s a neat card with an interesting effect, and its status as Reserved List rare is enough to make this a solid $20 card.

The Bad

The Legends Enchant Worlds really stand out as being the most impactful in a game of Magic. But Enchant Worlds were printed across a few other early expansions, and some of them are not nearly as relevant when cast in a game of Magic. Let’s examine a couple of the most clunky, worst Enchant Worlds out there.

For instance, Forsaken Wastes strikes me as a rather unimpressive card.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Forsaken Wastes

Let’s see, for three mana you have an Enchant World that stops players from gaining life. Ok, that is pretty decent in certain aggressive decks (though life gain is a little less relevant in formats where you start with 40 rather than 20). Each player loses a life during their upkeep—we’ve seen effects like this before as well, usually in red. That last ability—the one where Forsaken Wastes causes any opponent who targets it with a spell to lose 5 life—makes it a little bit better, but it's still not very desirable in my opinion.

Another underwhelming card is Null Chamber. In a world with effects such as Meddling Mage, Council of the Absolute, Gideon's Intervention, Nevermore, and Voidstone Gargoyle, I don’t see how the symmetric effect of Null Chamber is worthwhile. If it was a four mana Enchant World that let only its caster name a card it would be far more interesting. But you and an opponent each name a card that then can’t be cast. I suppose in a multiplayer game of Commander, you could team up with an ally to gang up on a third player, so it’s not a completely useless effect. But there’s a reason Tombstone Stairwell, also from Mirage, is $20 whereas Null Chamber is $1.

Even worse than Forsaken Wastes and Null Chamber are two others I want to mention: Pillar Tombs of Aku from Visions and Winter's Night out of Alliances.

The former gives way too much flexibility to opponents—either they sacrifice a creature (Diabolic Edict) or they pay five life. That alone would be decent, except if they pay the five life then you have to sacrifice Pillar Tombs of Aku! A four mana, sorcery-speed Diabolic Edict that gives your opponent options is not what I consider a strong card. Don’t forget that if they do sacrifice a creature then this card becomes a terrible Innocent Blood, because you also have to sacrifice a creature or else pay five life and sacrifice Pillar Tombs of Aku. Just awful.

Winter's Night is one of those “snow matters” cards. Even if you’re playing Ice Age and Alliances Limited, this card is far too narrow to be relevant. Its casting cost is also awfully prohibitive—this may go down as the worst Enchant World ever printed.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Winter's Night

The Obscure (and Underutilized)

Lastly, I want to touch briefly upon a couple Enchant Worlds that I feel don’t get enough love.

I used to love Chaosphere as a kid. It has limited utility, but can wreak havoc on a game of Commander—suddenly it’s like flying creatures don’t fly and non-flying creatures do. That’s not the literal text, but that’s kind of what the card achieves in terms of blocking. I always found that a neat effect.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Chaosphere

If you don’t like Chaosphere, you could always just jam Mystic Decree to simply shut down flying (and islandwalk while you’re at it) altogether.

Elkin Lair is one of my favorites, and I actually do play a copy in my casual red Commander deck. It basically forces action, or else players will have to slowly discard cards from their hand until there are none left. I don’t think it’s all that inspiring, but it is pretty decent at hosing counterspell effects.

One of the most underplayed Enchant Worlds has got to be Homelands Reserved List card Koskun Falls. I’ve written about this one before—if Propaganda and Ghostly Prison are so popular in Commander, then a black version should be equally in-demand. Granted, with Koskun Falls you have an upkeep cost whereas you don’t with Ghostly Prison effects. However, the upkeep cost is relatively small in the grand scheme of things. Besides, it combos beautifully with King Macar, the Gold-Cursed so what is there not to like?

There was an error retrieving a chart for King Macar, the Gold-Cursed

The last one I’ll mention this week is Teferi's Realm, a bizarre, symmetric Enchant World that gives players an opportunity to phase out all cards of a given type during their turn. While the card takes some work to exploit, I feel like there are some cases where ensuring your opponents have no creatures, artifacts, lands, or enchantments during your turn would have payoffs. The card becomes even more interesting in multi-player games, where you may have more than one card type phased out over the course of your opponents’ turns. Just be careful choosing creatures, as your opponents’ creatures will phase back in before yours do!

Wrapping It Up

Enchant Worlds were not all that complicated—I’m disappointed Wizards of the Coast moved away from the card type after the first few early expansions. Maybe with the Secret Lair printing of Concordant Crossroads, Wizards of the Coast is hinting that they may print new “World Enchantments” (as they’re called in modern-day Magic) in an upcoming set.

In the meantime, I’ve enjoyed this walk down memory lane into some of the game’s best, worst, and most interesting Enchant Worlds of the past. Some are extremely valuable, some are largely useless, and there are a few in between that have some corner-case utility in the right deck. Hopefully this article highlighted a few interesting Enchant Worlds you weren’t aware of, that struck your fancy.

In the end, if I can convince just one more player to sleeve up an Enchant World in their Commander Deck to try, I’d consider this article a success.

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