Gates are of a cycle of dual lands coming out in Return to Ravnica. There's a gate for each guild (WU, BG, UR, BR, GW), but they always enter the battlefield tapped. These are in stark contrast to the shock lands that reappear in this set (which only enter tapped if you do not pay 2 life), the duals from the core set (which only enter tapped if you do not already have, for example, a swamp or mountain for the dual that taps for R or B (ironically, the gates would allow this to not come in tapped)), and lands from previous sets that came in tapped only you already have a few lands. The Innstrad lands work the same way, even though they aren't always aligned with the guild colors (They have BW, not WU. But they do have BG and UR, very nice.)

So that's the background. Is the entering the battlefield tapped going to be too slow? You're basically sacrificing whatever turn you're at to be turn - 1, which is a pretty hefty price to pay (apparently, it's worth 2 life!) Are these only going to see play in limited to facilitate mana fixing that otherwise isn't available?

  • Is Pauper considered constructed? If so, then absolutely not.
    – WLPhoenix
    Sep 27, 2012 at 21:24
  • Never heard of Pauper before. (A quick google tells me it's common only). I should clarify that constructed strictly means DCI sanctioned constructed formats. That being said, the idea of Pauper EDH sounds like a blast (barring of course generals, who are almost exclusively rare or mythic, with a couple uncommons here and there).
    – corsiKa
    Sep 27, 2012 at 21:37
  • Pauper is a very popular format on MTGO, which is where it is mostly played. However, it is still a sanctioned format as there are WotC sponsored tournaments for it there.
    – WLPhoenix
    Sep 27, 2012 at 21:47

3 Answers 3


Short answer: unconditionally entering the battlefield tapped leaves them at too great a disadvantage with respect to the other options, and these lands are designed for limited play.

More specifically, there's essentially no advantage to using Gates over the corresponding shocklands or core set/Innistrad duals; since there's virtually no land type specific LD, gates are for all practical purposes strictly worse than their corresponding shocklands, because the shocklands can be fetched with Farseek and otherwise have the option of coming into play untapped if you're willing to take the hit. Likewise, the core/Inn lands are exactly like the Gates except for the possibility of coming into play untapped on turn 2+ (and note that the shocklands 'turn on' the core lands, which is another point in shocklands' favor).

Between these two factors, the only thing that Gatelands have to offer over the other choices is that little word: 'Gate'. If there were cards that took real advantage of the gate type - say, something like a Rampant Growth/Farseek for Gates - then I think you would actually see them getting some play in ramp decks. As it is, though, the only cards that interact with Gates are a couple of creatures (none of which is within constructed-stats range) that gain small benefits for gates in play and Gatecreeper Vine, which fetches a gate but - unfortunately - doesn't put it into play. This means that the land type (at least for now) isn't offering any upside to offset the advantages that the other styles of dual have.

So why do they exist? Well, pretty much for the reason that you noted; RTR limited is going to need quite a bit of manafixing since there are so many multicolor cards; this means putting fixing down into the common slots. And while Rarity Is Not Power, WotC has a number of reasons for not having rares 'outclassed' in substantial ways by commons, and they've done very few powerful land cycles at common (or even uncommon) - you can generally expect that any land-based mana fixing that winds up in the common slot is going to be a little bit weak.


Not all decks will be active turn 1, and while there might not be a lot of cards that use Gates at the moment, you can probably intimate from the name "Gatecrash" that they'll have a lot more of a role in the next set. They're being released now because they're being released with their guilds.

Talking of which, all of the Innistrad dual-lands pair with a guild. R2R only features five of the ten guilds.


Essentially, they are budget duel lands to help balance out almost any multicolored deck. Yes, you can't use it the turn you cast it, but you don't always need that extra mana anyways.

  • But sometimes you do... which is why Shocklands are exceptionally good while Gates are considered below par.
    – Alex P
    Dec 21, 2012 at 18:42
  • Minor nitpick: Lands are played, not cast. Spells are cast. :-)
    – corsiKa
    Jan 2, 2014 at 22:54

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