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Urborg has always been a shady place, but it became especially notorious after it turned into the grave of one of the most infamous villains known in Dominaria.

Translated by Witas Spasovski

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Urborg, Tomb of YawgmothUrborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is a nonbasic land. You may put up to 4 of them into your constructed deck, but usually you do not want to because it is also a legendary land. If at any moment you control two or more Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, you will have to choose one, then put all other into their owners’ graveyards. This rule is called the “legend rule”. The rule only affects lands with the exact same name; controling an Urborg and an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth has no downside.

From this moment on, I shall refer to Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth simply as Urborg, to shorten it up.

Urborg has no land subtypes. For this reason, you cannot find it with Verdant Catacombs, Farseek or Igneous Pouncer.

Urborg has one static ability that functions while the land is on the battlefield. The effect of this ability impacts all lands on the battlefield, including Urborg itself. Urborg has no effect on land cards in the graveyard and library!

Now on to the key part:

How does Urborg’s ability function?

Urborg’s effect gives lands a basic land type — Swamp. Magic has a special rule for such occasions:

305.7. If an effect sets a land’s subtype to one or more of the basic land types, the land no longer has its old land type. It loses all abilities generated from its rules text, its old land types, and any copy effects affecting that land, and it gains the appropriate mana ability for each new basic land type. Note that this doesn’t remove any abilities that were granted to the land by other effects.

Setting a land’s subtype doesn’t add or remove any card types (such as creature) or supertypes (such as basic, legendary, and snow) the land may have.

If a land gains one or more land types in addition to its own, it keeps its land types and rules text, and it gains the new land types and mana abilities.

Urborg’s ability is described in the last sentence, it gives a basic land type in addition to their other types, so it doesn’t deprive them of any of their current types and related abilities:

Darksteel Citadel Caves of Koilos Forest

Note that Darksteel Citadel does not lose the artifact card type and doesn’t get the Basic supertype:

Caves of Koilos now has three mana abilities. The player chooses which one he or she uses. He can get black mana off the original ability or off the ability granted by Urborg:

A basic Forest remains a forest and doesn’t change its name. It gets an additional basic land type and the corresponding mana ability:

Darksteel Citadel with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Caves of Koilos with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth Forest with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Nota bene: Urborg gives a mana ability to all lands, even those that have none originally. Remember that!

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth Verdant Catacombs Vesuva

The ability effect affects all lands on the battlefield including Urborg itself.

Fetchlands start producing black mana in addition to the usual option to sacrifice to fetch.

If you choose not to copy another land, Vesuva enters the battlefield untapped and may be tapped for mana right away through an Urborg!

Urborg’s best buddies

Urborg gives all lands the Swamp subtype. Some cards really like swamps:

Nightmare Corrupt Crypt Ghast

Urborg and Blood Moon

Both Urborg’s and Blood Moon’s effects are type-changing effects. Neither is an effect of characteristic-defining abilities (CDA).

When applying Blood Moon’s effect after Urborg’s, we notice that Blood Moon affects all the same lands as when we do without such effect. But if we apply Blood Moon’s effect first, Urborg will lose its ability and will no longer affect any land. This makes Urborg’s effect dependent on that of Blood Moon. In cases when there are dependent effects, we always apply independent ones first. As a result, when both of these cards are on the battlefield, regardless if Urborg appeared before or after Blood Moon, the result will be the same. Urborg will be a nonbasic legendary mountain named Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth with one mana ability producing red mana.

Other lands will no longer be affected by Urborg’s ability, as it will be removed by Blood Moon.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth with Blood Moon Blood Moon

When you face Magus of the Moon, take note that it is not enough to remove his abilities to disarm his effect:

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth with Magus of the Moon Magus of the Moon Humility

If your cunning opponent controls Magus of the Moon, then Urborg will look exactly the same as with Blood Moon. Now let’s see what happens when the Magus loses his ability, say, through Humility:

We have several continuous effects: that of Urborg, Magus and Humility.
The effects of Urborg and Magus are applied at layer 4, Urborg’s effect being dependent on that of the Magus, so it will be applied second.

The effect depriving the Magus of its ability is applied at layer 6, and we set his power and toughness to 1 at sublayer 7b.

As we can see, Magus of the Moon’s ability has effect at layer 4, and isn’t removed until layer 6, which means the effect of the removed ability will carry on.

As a result, all nonbasic lands including Urborg are (nonbasic) Mountains, no lands are affected by Urborg, Magus of the Moon is a 1/1 creature without abilities.

An animated Urborg loses its abilities

Now let us compare the above situation with the following: we remove Urborg’s effect after it begins to apply. We shall get a different result:

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth Animate Land Turn to Frog

An Urborg is animated through Animate Land, then falls under the effect of Turn to Frog.

Urborg gets the Swamp subtype through its own ability at layer 4. At that same layer it also gets the Creature type in addition to Land through Animate Land, and the creature subtype Frog through Turn to Frog. It becomes blue at layer 5. The effect of Turn to Frog removes its abilities at layer 6. Finally, at sublayer 7b it becomes 3/3 first, then 1/1.

Since the effect of Urborg’s ability begins to apply before it is removed, all other lands will have the Swamp subtype and the related mana ability. How about that!

You may read in details about the layer system at your leisure.

Remarkable situations:

Illusionary Terrain Strata Scythe Trait Doctoring

Illusionary Terrain enters the battlefield, and it is chosen to replace Swamps with Islands. Urborg gives all lands the Swamp subtype, upon which all land types of basic lands are insolently removed by Illusionary Terrain and replaced with one sole — Island (remember dependent abilities?)

Should you imprint a Swamp on Strata Scythe, Urborg cannot help pumping the equipped creature to an immense size. Strata Scythe is concerned with cards named Swamp, not their subtypes.

The effect of Trait Doctoring can change Urborg’s effect so that all lands become not Swamps but, say, Islands until end of turn. Recur to Mind Bend for a more lasting effect.

Urborg and Commander (EDH)

It’s a holiday for all EDH lovers! Urborg may be played in all decks with any commander! It is colorless as the overwhelming majority of other lands, and besides, it has no mana abilities as very few other lands, which means it doesn’t have any colored mana symbols in its text! Rejoice!

Irina Samonova © 1999-2017

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