“It was a strange morning. When we awoke, we found our trees transformed. We didn’t know whether to water them or polish them.”
—Pulan, Bant orchardist
Exotic Orchard is a very useful Land card from Magic the Gathering’s Conflux set. This Land is so useful that it’s been blessed with nine printings, most of those being in Commander preconstructed decks. What makes it so useful is that it taps for any color of mana that an opponent’s land could produce. In multiplayer Commander games, this card is pretty much a staple in three-color, four-color, and five-color decks. Also, thanks to so many printings, this card is very inexpensive to acquire.
Besides its obvious applications in Commander, Exotic Orchard did have plenty of competitive usefulness back in 2009 through 2011. It passed from Standard into the now defunct Extended format. The primary decks that used it were 5-Color Control – sometimes known as Cruel Control – and Cruel Cascade.
Exotic Orchard typically was only played at one or two copies. It sometimes complemented a full playset of Reflecting Pool. The Pool allows you to tap for one of any many a land you control could produce. So, the Orchard was basically a just-in-case mana fixer. In any case, it was certainly played. Some earlier decks during this card’s run did in fact run three copies of the Exotic Orchard.
While Exotic Orchard popped up in the early days of Modern in decks ported over from Extended, since then it’s become exclusively a competitive Commander card. The only inherent problem to running more than a couple copies of Exotic Orchard is that it’s completely dependent on the colors your opponent is playing. In multiplayer, this is obviously less of an issue. Even in one-on-one Commander, Exotic Orchard is a staple in many competitive decks, especially four- and five-color ones, although it’s even seen in two-color decks.
Any land that can tap for all five colors of mana and comes into play untapped is going to be a very good card. Exotic Orchard would likely be a lot more valuable than it is, if not for so many Commander deck reprintings. This is a card that anyone playing EDH/Commander should own at least one copy of in their collection.