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Elephant Graveyard – A Magic the Gathering Card Review

Elephant Graveyard is one of the more interesting land cards ever printed in Magic the Gathering, appearing only in the Arabian Nights set. Not only can you tap it for a colorless mana, but you can also tap it to regenerate an Elephant or Mammoth. Regeneration allows you to tap a creature whenever it would die or be destroyed as a result of combat.  

However, only half of the creature types mentioned on this land actually matter. In 2007, Magic absorbed all Mammoths into the Elephant creature type during the Grand Creature Type update. Therefore, it really only helps one creature type, plus any creatures that serve as all creature types such as Shapeshifters and other changelings. Believe it or not, though, Elephants are a decent creature type in Magic. So, a deck that could utilize this unique land could help fuel a really fun strategy.

In the old days of Magic, Elephants and Mammoths were just big dumb creatures you could beat down with once you had the mana to spare. Of course, an Elephant beat-down deck wouldn’t be particularly competitive in today’s Magic, even if it still would be fun. However, there IS a Legendary Creature from Commander Legends that could serve as a fine home for the Elephant Graveyard, by the name of Hamza, Guardian of Arashin.

Hamza is, in fact, an Elephant Warrior. Being a Legendary Creature who cares about +1/+1 counters opens up many possibilities for competitive combos. These include Heliod, Sun’s Crowned & Walking Ballista, and the Enduring Scalelord & WIldwood Scourge combos present in many counter-based decks. 

Of course, that’s the competitive way to play the deck, and plenty of Elephants and Mammoths exist in green and white. Several of these Elephants even play into the +1/+1 counter strategy, such as Sandsteppe Mastodon, Venerated Loxodon, and Frontier Mastodon. There are also generically powerful Elephants such as Loxodon Smiter, Loxodon Gatekeeper, and Loxodon Hierarch.

Certainly, you shouldn’t invest in Elephant Graveyards for the purpose of building a casual deck around them, though. You’re looking at around $300 a piece for a decent condition copy. But, if you happen to stumble across a copy or two of these for a reasonably cheap price, it’s not a bad idea to pick them up. After all, it’s on the Reserve List, meaning it’s not going to be reprinted in any future Magic release. 

Because Elephant Graveyard isn’t necessary in any competitive sense, it’s no problem for it to remain on the Reserve List. Keeping it there simply helps it retain collector’s value. For many Magic players, that’s perfectly fine. But, if you want to just because you want to play Elephant Tribal, there are better utility lands than this. 

Have you ever played Elephant Graveyard?

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Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy. Personal Website: https://www.thephoenixdesertsong.com

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