The card Map the Frontier has the text:

Search your library for up to two basic land cards and/or Desert cards, put them onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle.

Does this mean 2 total lands can be put onto the battlefield tapped or that 4 total lands can be put onto the battlefield if 2 of them were basic lands and 2 of them were Desert?

3 Answers 3


It's up to two of the category "basic land cards and/or Desert cards". If it were four cards, it would be be "up to two each of basic land cards and Desert cards" or "up to two basic land cards and/or up to two Desert cards"

  • I've found some examples with one of your alternate wordings, though they're all "up to one X and/or up to one Y" instead of two: Finale of Promise, Chaotic Transformation, and Volatile Arsonist. Apr 25 at 15:51
  • This is the best answer because it explains how the grammar of "Magic-ese" (Oracle text) works. It's designed to be interpreted according to specific rules, and when thus interpreted, it is as unambiguous as computer code. Apr 27 at 18:35

The text says and/or which is saying that you can put 0-2 basic lands, or 1 basic land and 1 desert, or 0-2 deserts into play. The total amount is only 2 lands but it can be split between basic lands and deserts.


The text is meant to be interpreted as "Search your library for up to two cards, each of which is a basic land card and/or a Desert card."

  • I think you can leave the "and" out of this formulation: There is no basic land that is a desert and odds are there won't be any anytime soon. Apr 25 at 9:19
  • 1
    @JoachimSauer Sure. But this kind of formulation appears in more places than just this card, with just these characteristics. A card like Sylvan Reclamation with its formulation "Exile up to two target artifacts and/or enchantments." would definitely be able to find cards that fit both criteria. There might not be many cards that are printed as Enchantment Artifact, but it isn't very difficult to alter cards on the battlefield to become one.
    – Arthur
    Apr 25 at 9:36
  • Maybe Celestial Gatekeeper is an even clearer example, considering the card itself as printed fullfils both criteria simultaneously (and by the rules specification on Gatherer, is allowed to target itself, although it won't be very useful).
    – Arthur
    Apr 25 at 9:44
  • Yes, I understand all of that in general. The only reason I suggested removing the "and" was that one side was "Basic", which is a very limited supertype that's only gotten cards added to it 3 times (4 if you count Alpha ;-)). Apr 25 at 9:52
  • 2
    @JoachimSauer Sure. And I'm also of the conviction that "or" should be inclusive by default, which would mean that "and" is even more superfluous here. But MTG phrasing is standardised and doesn't take into consideration whether a specific combination of characteristics exists when putting words to a card. So I decided not to either. (As I was searchinng for these examples, I for instance came across plenty of cards that searched your library for "basic land card and/or Gate card", and that's also a combination that's not likely to ever appear on a single land. Yet the phrasing is there.)
    – Arthur
    Apr 25 at 9:57

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