Surveil lands in Legacy Maverick

Surveil Legacy Maverick

Surveil lands have now been accessible to Legacy players for over a month and Maverick players have started adopting them across archetypes.


At first glance I don’t believe these seemed to be too playable for Legacy and Modern players other than a few who saw their potential.

I believe the best suited surveil land for Legacy is the UB land, as it fits quite well into UB Scam, a deck that already wants to put creatures into the graveyard to later reanimate them.

One trick you can do with these lands is after fetching for one and with the trigger on the stack, cast Brainstorm.
This way, you’re able to put back 2 cards, with the top card the one you want in your graveyard.

There’s also a few tricks Maverick players can do that can not only catch your opponent off guard, but also cause quite a blow out which we’ll get to later in this article.

The 3 main surveil lands seeing play in different builds of Legacy Maverick include Lush Portico (GW), Commercial District (GR) and Underground Mortuary (GB). These can of course be targets for fetchlands and currently look to be played in place of a dual land (for those doubling up on Bayou, now play 1 of each GB dual) or in place of a Canopy land.


Card selection of any kind is very appealing for a Maverick player. There’s been multiples times where I’ve had Sylvan Library in play and have been happy with just the ability to look at the top 3 cards (let alone draw multiple). This is where I get a large feeling of appreciation for these surveil lands.

In a simple example, if I need a land, I’m going to surveil anything but a land to the graveyard. If I need a threat, same thing.

Without cantrips to save me and make the top of your deck much more favourable, it isn’t easy to be happy with drawing multiple lands in a row, or back-to-back 3 drops when you’re wanting to find your 3rd land.

In my testing so far, they smooth out draws just that little bit. Just that small edge of putting something you’re not looking for into the graveyard to ‘turn on’ your draw for something relevant.

Here’s some of my favourite ways you can catch your opponent off guard:

Save a 2/2 Knight of the Reliquary from Lightning Bolt

You play a fetch land and cast a 2/2 Knight of the Reliquary. Your opponent looks at their Lightning Bolt, looks at your fetch land and makes the judgment that I’m only able to grow Knight to a 3/3.

After targeting Knight with Bolt, I have the chance to fetch for a surveil land, find another land on top and put that into the graveyard. My 4/4 Knight now survives the 3 damage.

Save a 1/1 Fiend Artisan from Orcish Bowmasters

The same line can hopefully save your Fiend Artisan from damage-based removal such as Orcish Bowmasters. In a very similar situation, putting a creature into your graveyard from the Surveil trigger gives your Artisan just enough to bypass a near-lethal Bowmaster trigger, Lightning Bolt, potentially even an Unholy Heat (I have a special prize for anyone who sends me a screenshot of them Surveiling to save a 6/6 turned 7/7 Artisan after being targeted by an unholy heat).

The above also applies to Scavenging Ooze where you’re wanting to grow it out of range of damage-based removal.

Save your land from Wasteland

As all of these lands are Forests, you’re able to pick them up with Scryb Ranger! Not only is that a great line, but getting the additional surveil triggers over a few turns can slightly assist you on drawing live.

Honestly, just the ability to have some control over the top of your deck is welcomed. Once Upon a Time has become a near staple for Legacy Maverick and I believe going forward all anabases will include at least 1 surveil land.

The cost is very small, but having one in your opening / not being able to cast a creature on curve / play around Daze does come up from time to time.

Some other small interactions that might come up:

  • Put your first creature into your graveyard after your opponent casts Exhume
  • Put a more relevant target for Renegade Rallier into the graveyard
  • Dig for a Wasteland to return with Ramunap Excavator
  • If you’re playing Punishing Fire, you may be able to return it / cast it the same turn
  • If you’re running multiple copies of Grist / creatures that are insects, you could leave it on top to get double activations of its [+1]
  • If you’re playing around with a BANT version of Maverick (bless) then you can get additional triggers thanks to Daze returning Island-based surveil lands


Don’t get me wrong, any land that comes into play tapped must be evaluated pretty harshly. Look at the Triome cycle of lands and their involvement in the format – hardly anything what the colour fixing they bring to some decks.

There are going to be times where the tapped part of these is going to be awkward, but I feel the gain is too strong to consider only that and move on.

If you’re interested in the numbers side of things, check out Frank Karsten’s article on Surveil Lands in Modern

I hope you enjoyed this content and it gave you some insights into the hidden features of Surveil lands in Maverick!

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About Douges

Hey! Douges here - Founder of the GreenSunsZenith. I've been playing Magic since 2013 and Legacy since 2014. I'm a Death & Taxes pilot turned Maverick aficionado who created the GreenSunsZenith as a resource for both beginners & experts of the Legacy Maverick archetype. I've been fortunate enough to be a guest on several Eternal & Legacy podcasts including Everyday Eternal, Deep Analysis with Brian Coval & Phil Gallagher, The Canadian Threshold, Archetype Influencers and the Dark Depths Podcast You can reach out to me through my social links below. I stream via Twitch on Thursday nights (7:30pm AEST) & Sunday mornings (10:30am AEST). Please let me know if you don't find anything on the site that you'd like to see. If you'd like to support the GreenSunsZenith, I have a Patreon account you can support the platform through :)

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