Temple of the False God is a bad card.

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Feb. 11, 2019, 2:02 a.m. by triproberts12

I've seen this card in a lot of EDH decks under the "Help" section. It makes me angry that Wizards keeps putting this trap into precons, so I'm going to lay out why Temple of the False God is bad. Ask yourself these questions:

Do I want a 4-mana rock in this deck?

Am I already running Thran Dynamo ?

Would I run a second Dynamo?

Does my deck have exactly zero Karoo lands?

Am I playing less than 3 colors?

Am I not playing green, with the exception of Azusa, Lost but Seeking ?

Does a major part of my game plan involve getting out a 6-drop ahead of curve?

Do I have ways to draw out of an opening hand with 2 lands and a Temple?

Am I okay being stuck on 4 lands for a turn?

Is my deck redundant enough that I can afford to regularly waste a mulligan?

Is what I am doing in the first two turns of the game important enough that I wouldn't be happier to see 2-3 lands and a Fractured Powerstone over Temple in my opening hand?

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, DUMP THAT FLAMING GARBAGE RIGHT NOW.

TypicalTimmy says... #2

Idk. Temple is sort of like a worse version of Sol Ring in my opinion. Like, OBVIOUSLY they are not the same. Even functionally, they just aren't. Ring doesn't have a condition.

But hear me out: We don't always get Ring in our opening hand. Some games, you might not even get it out at all. Most games, you end up topdecking it during a draw.

Consider that Temple is in the same ballpark as that. You probably aren't taking a hand with Temple in it. But, later on in the game when everyone is several lands in play, topdecking a Temple is super sweet. Comes swinging right out of the bat, unlike other 2-mana lands such as Gruul Turf .

Perhaps it's not that Temple is an objectively bad land, so much as it is a bad land for your particular builds?

For example, I have a Lord Windgrace landfall deck that absolutely loves Temple in it. It's a free second mana for a condition that I can very easily meet.

So realistically, it's better to ask the question: "Is this land a good fit for my deck?" and less about "Is this card garbage?"

February 11, 2019 2:12 a.m.

griffstick says... #3

I hate it but love it when it's my 5th land. But I think the real reason I love it is I can pick one up for 50 cents.

February 11, 2019 2:35 a.m.

triproberts12 says... #4

I just really don't see it as being anywhere near in the same ballpark as Sol Ring. Ring is amazing turns 1-4, great for a few turns, and about as useful a topdeck as a land after that. Temple is awful until turn 5, great for a few turns, and about as useful a topdeck as a land after that.

My point is that it may be sweet in magical Christmas land, when you've hit your first 4 land drops and have something to do with that 6th colorless mana, but even in mana-hungry decks it's often bad when you most need mana, and it doesn't play nice with non-land ramp, making it awkward for decks that can use it in the late game.

It's a trap because it looks like all upside, when, in reality, you'd be happier to see a basic more often than not.

February 11, 2019 2:37 a.m.

triproberts12 says... #5

Also, griffstick, while I agree that the correct question with card selection in general is to ask whether a card is good fit, rather than whether it's garbage, I feel a little overcorrection is necessary with Temple. It's a bad card in 99% of decks, but it's in 93,647 EDHREC decks. Players don't seek Temple out for its narrow, late-game ramp application like for Panharmonicon or Doubling Season . They see a second copy of Sol Ring or a budget Ancient Tomb , which is about as accurate as calling Omniscience a second copy of Sol Ring. It drives me crazy that Wizards seems more inclined to put a narrow card like Temple into precons than literally any other utility land.

February 11, 2019 2:57 a.m.

dbpunk says... #6

I mean, yes it's a horrible card in like 70% of situations, and most games with it you'll run into those situations. But it's a budget land that adds additional Mana, which is great for someone who's just built a deck and don't have better lands to put in its place.

The issue with putting in more utility lands instead of it is a giant amount of rare utility lands often boosts the power of decks past the other decks made at that time. Which is bad for a starting off group.

The precons can't all be 150$ decks and like anything wizard makes, you gotta expect a few lousy cards.

February 11, 2019 5:21 a.m.

Panas says... #7

In a lot of cases it's my 38th land and it functions as a mana rock that costs 0. If put into the proper perspective, it's actually quite good. Problems arise, when you consider it as part of your land-base.

February 11, 2019 6:26 a.m.

griffstick says... #8

Sometimes you get boned because its keeping you off your mana that's the downside of a card that comes in untapped and taps for 2 mana without causing any pain. Itd funny how many strong decks i see go from 40 to 16 life in just 6 turns because of a punishing land base and other punishing mana ramp. Just to be the faster stronger deck. The 1,200$ deck that crushes the 200$ - 400$ decks 4 out of 5 times. the biggest thing is dollars bill's man.

February 11, 2019 7:41 a.m.

SynergyBuild says... #9

The arguments for temple are almost always either extremely rare (topdecking it turn 5 when you need 6 mana, DIDN'T have ramp turns 1-4, AND hit lands turns 1-4 BUT didn't have land on turn 5 EXCLUDING temple.), require it to be, as Panas said, the 38th lands (therefore almost entirely useless, as it is ramp when you don't need ramp, and card draw would be tons better).

As griffstick explained, it is 50 cents more expensive than a basic land, which is tons better than temple, and over 30 cents more than most cards like Fractured Powerstone , Star Compass , Prismatic Lens , signets, Fellwar Stone , etc.

As dbpunk explained, it is a mostly bad card, and only TypicalTimmy is delusional enough to say it is okay. The rest of us are pretty much in agreement with you triproberts12.

February 11, 2019 8:38 a.m.

JohnnyBaggins says... #10

I personally hate temple, too. The amount of times I've seen anyone use Temple really profitably has to be single digits - and I've seen a lot of Temples being played.

The card is so heavily hit-or-miss and does a classic casual magic players thing: Newer players evaluate cards by their "hit" scenario. Sure, that isn't bad, but it's also not crazy impressive in a format where I can chain Nature's Lore into Kodama's Reach and similar things. And then there's its abysmal "miss" scenario. It's just so incredibly bad when you don't have another land to play on Turn 4.

I'm with you, the card should not be in a deck unless you have a very, very, very, very, (...) good reason to do so. And even then, just play an additional Island.

February 11, 2019 9:02 a.m.

cdkime says... #11

In competitive games, I would say Temple is a bad card. Unless you have a very, very aggressive land ramp package, Temple just comes out too late in the game to make much of a difference.

I take some issue with TypicalTimmy's comparison to Sol Ring . Sol Ring provides much more potential mana than Temple of the False God , and at a much more critical time in the game.

When looking at lands and rocks, I try to look at (a) their immediate payoff and (b) their long-term payoff over the course of the game. Sol Ring has an immediate payoff of , since you are sinking mana into casting the card. Temple of the False God also has an immediate payoff of , conditional on having five lands. But wait, you say, you do not sink any mana into Temple of the False God ? Correct, but you also are missing a land drop to play it, which would have provided you a mana regardless. As such, your net gain is only over a colourless land.

So, in terms of immediate value, Sol Ring comes out far ahead, as it is a similar benefit with no conditionals.

In terms of long-term value, the fact that Sol Ring can be played on turns 1-3 makes a huge difference. Let's say our hypothetical game lasts seven turns, and we drop a turn 1 Sol Ring . Our Sol Ring can be expected to tap for 14 mana over the course of the game. Temple of the False God on turn 5 will provide us six mana.

Finally, having ramp on turns 1-4 is far more important than having that same amount of ramp on turns 5+. Sol Ring enables degenerate opening plays (such as Grim Monolith ) at the early stages of the game, before your opponents have had the opportunity to set up and become a threat. Temple of the False God , on the other hand, provides ramp once your opponents have already developed their boardstate.

Onto your second point, I do not think there are any cEDH decks where Temple shines. It's just too slow and too dangerous for a format where you really want to hit your early-game mana perfectly to combo off as swiftly as possible.

Now, having spend a number of paragraphs bashing Temple of the False God and disagreeing with you, I am going to do a complete 180 and end this post on your side.

What makes commander great is how many different levels of play it has. cEDH is not the end all, be all of Commander, and a whole lot of people have metagames filled with casual decks.

When picking a card for your deck, you have to consider (a) does this card help my deck, and (b) will this card put me beyond the scope of my meta, and thus make the game less enjoyable?

As you said, there are a number of casual decks where you will reliably hit Temple of the False God 's condition in a casual game. Unlike some other hyper-fast lands, such as Ancient Tomb , Temple of the False God 's difficult restriction and low price-point make it quite acceptable for a casual meta.

Being familiar with your posting history and decks, I know you are a casual player, which is perfectly acceptable. Knowing that about you, and knowing the meta you likely play in, it's entirely possible Temple of the False God is a "decent" card for your table. It would be rather silly of me to call you "delusional" for knowing your own deck requirements and metagame.

February 11, 2019 9:43 a.m. Edited.

SynergyBuild says... #12

cdkime I use that word to imply mistaken judgement, not a mental disorder, obviously I don't know the user personally.

February 11, 2019 10:19 a.m.

SynergyBuild says... #13

I should still apologize to TypicalTimmy, I am sorry.

February 11, 2019 10:35 a.m.

MESS1802 says... #14

Considering that in almost every game I find myself fetching it mid game because that extra mana is going to allow me to cast a spell that’ll turn the tables heavily in my favor and usually win me the game, no, I don’t think it’s a bad card at all. It’s actually a pretty amazing card.

February 11, 2019 11 a.m.

triproberts12 says... #15

February 11, 2019 11:44 a.m.

dbpunk says... #16

triproberts12 I use it in lieu of those cards too because I can't afford about half of those cards because some of those cards are like $100+

That's why they include it. Not because it's a great card (it's not, most people here acknowledge that), not because wizards are villains trying to fool the poor players of the game, but because it's a cheap multi-mana land that's played in edh as a filler for really, really expensive cards.

February 11, 2019 12:02 p.m.

CastleSiege says... #17

It's bad. Better options include Ancient Tomb , Crystal Vein , City of Traitors , and Scorched Ruins .

February 11, 2019 12:52 p.m.

MagicalHacker says... #18

My question is usually this:

Do I want 6 mana instead of 5 mana sometimes at the cost of sometimes having 3 mana instead of 4? I tend to be heavier in the 4-drop section of my decks than my 6-drop section.

February 11, 2019 1:34 p.m.

MESS1802 says... #19

triproberts12, the answer to nearly all of your examples is no, because many of those are lands/land combos that are only good in decks with at most two colors and one of being black, and I have no two color decks with black, nor a mono black deck. I’m also not going to spend $300+ on a Gaea's Cradle nor $100+ on a Serra's Sanctum . And I do use Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx in my one and two color decks, but I don’t always have the devotion necessary to make it useful on the field. And if I do think some other utility land should be in the deck, I’ll happily add it without removing my temple. It’s not a perfect card, but it’s not a bad one either.

February 11, 2019 2:14 p.m.

triproberts12 says... #20

I'm a budget player, too. I in no way own Cradle, Sanctum, or even Ancient Tomb. I traded my Urborg before Cabal Stronghold was printed, since I knew I would never buy into Coffers. What I do is build decks that function without those cards. I DO own Nykthos, so I put it in my Tatyova druid tribal deck, and it would always be a better card at any time in the game than Temple.

I build my curve with plenty of 2-mana rocks, so I can play plenty of affordable GOOD cards at the 4-drop slot like Syphon Mind and Fact or Fiction to ensure that I hit land drops. There is no such thing as "filler" in a format where you have access to every card ever printed. I know that Wizards designs precons with room to upgrade, but putting it in every Commander set from 2012-2018 has left new players with the notion that it's a staple, when it's not. New players, especially are bad at evaluating mana bases. They go down to 35 lands and 2 pieces of 3-mana ramp. They keep 2-land hands with nothing to do until turn 4. They build 3-color manabases with a dual of each color and 5 colorless lands. Adding one more hurdle by throwing a card in their precon that will trick them into thinking they've kept a 3-land opening hand, when, in reality, they're starting with 2 lands and a 4-mana, colorless rock isn't evil, but they should definitely know better.

February 11, 2019 2:53 p.m.

triproberts12 says... #21

Sorry, 2011-2018. I forgot that the original was 2011 and they took a year off for 2012's Commander Arsenal, which they, thankfully, didn't detract value from with such an overrated card.

February 11, 2019 3:05 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #22

SynergyBuild You must have not read my entire post.

"Perhaps it's not that Temple is an objectively bad land, so much as it is a bad land for your particular builds?"

Is it a good card - objectively? That depends on what you are measuring it by. What your criteria are.

If you are strictly looking for lands that produce more than one mana, yes it is a good card. If that is your ONLY metric - it fits that one.

If you are looking for lands that produce multiple COLORS of mana, no it is terrible as it does not even fit this basic requirement.

Are you looking for lands that do not enter the battlefield tapped? Well, now you need to assess the number of turns you are into the game and the number of lands you have out.

Consider the following scenario:

  • You are on T6 in a 4-player pod.
  • You topdeck Temple of the False God
  • You look at your boardstate; 4 lands. You are a few drops behind.
  • You play Temple; It's the 5th land and can be used for immediately
  • You are now able to produce 6 mana on 5 lands, bringing you back into the appropriate mana resources. You are only 5 lands on T6 now, but Temple makes up for it by providing a second mana, for free because you met it's condition

Compare this scenario with a similar one, but with Sol Ring .

  • You are on T6 in a 4-player pod.
  • You topdeck Sol Ring
  • You pay to bring it out, but still only have 4 lands because you've missed your drops
  • While you are thrilled that you can now access via Sol Ring , you also now have three lands left untapped with a total mana output for 5 - in this regard while you improved your mana resources, you are still technically behind in that you should be able to produce 6 on this turn, had you hit all of your land drops

Continue this with the aforementioned Gruul Turf .

  • Turn 6 again in a 4-player pod
  • You instead topdeck Gruul Turf
  • You tap a land for it's mana so that you can return it to your hand without losing that precious resource
  • You play Gruul Turf and it enters tapped
  • You can tap your other three lands for mana, putting you at 4 mana
  • You are still 2 mana behind on resources, despite playing a land this turn

In all three scenarios, we look at the idea that you TOPDECK a resource. In all three identical scenarios, you come out ahead the MOST - the best position - with Temple of the False God .

IN THAT REGARD, TEMPLE IS A GOOD LAND

You need to base the metrics of your approach on various factors. Magic, as with most things in life, is not a one-shot question. You have to assess multitudes of situations, take in points of data, and assess your best move.

Is opening with a 7-card hand with Temple of the False God in it a good start? Hell no. Absolutely not. You have a dud card you can't use.

Is topdecking it later on in the game a good thing? Absolutely yes.

Are the chances of getting the Temple in your opening hand lower than getting it off the top of your deck? Absolutely.

So the pros of it being useful later in game, and the likelihood of finding it later in the game, outweigh the cons of it being a dud in an opening hand.

The same can be said about really anything in the game. Would you being the game with a hand full of 7 and 8 drop spells, with no resources to cast them? Absolutely not. They are duds in your hand and slow you down. You lose interaction within the game.

But would you remove those same cards from your deck, knowing they can be played later on and have massive impacts when you do? Again, absolutely not - they are specifically meant for late-game interactions.

Everybody needs to stop judging cards at face value and start realizing that the game is fluid and interactions change on the fly. Just because something is terrible in the first two or three turns does not make it objectively bad. It means you are failing to understand the mechanics of the card in general.

As I said, in a Lord Windgrace deck, SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO BE LANDFALL, Temple of the False God is a beautiful card because it goes off quick and hits hard. I've had turns were I bring out 11 lands.

E L E V E N --- L A N D S

In one single turn.

So the next time you wish to call someone "delusional", try reading their post in it's entirety and take the time to actually comprehend what they are saying.

  • Your apology is not accepted.
February 11, 2019 9:53 p.m.

triproberts12 says... #23

[Typical Timmy], he preemptively apologized, so I doubt anyone cares about your temper tantrum.

That being said, we can clearly read your post. It's just not a good argument. "So the pros of it being useful later in game, and the likelihood of finding it later in the game, outweigh the cons of it being a dud in an opening hand" is not true in 99% of decks. My initial bullet points might have some holes in them, but WHAT IF MAGICAL CHRISTMAS LAND ON EXACTLY THIS TURN isn't one of them.

(late topdeck benefit) * (chance of late topdeck) < (early dead-card punishment) * (chance of early dead card)

Congratulations, you have a landfall deck. So do I. Know what I don't run, because it's a bad card? Temple of the False God. Know why? Because if I have 11 lands, know what I really don't card about? Mana. If you can't win the game with 11 lands, maybe the reason why Temple is good relative to the rest of your deck is the quality of your deck.

February 11, 2019 11:25 p.m.

triproberts12 says... #24

Also, thanks to cdkime for being reasonable and thoughtful. When I wrote the initial post, I was annoyed after visiting the Help tab and running into the third or forth "this is my first commander deck" this week that had no business including Temple. That shows in some of the obvious holes in the list of conditions I provided, but I really do mean it when I say that Wizards should be more aware of the common pitfalls new deck builders make and at the very least don't encourage them with traps like Temple.

February 11, 2019 11:43 p.m.

StopShot says... #25

In defense of Temple of the False God it is a cheaper alternative to Sol Ring and Thran Dynamo in terms on monetary value. I know both are under $5, but it helps if you're building budget with every cards costing a dollar or less.

February 12, 2019 12:13 a.m.

griffstick says... #26

You guys are still talking about this lol. Temple of the the false God we know it's good sometimes and it's bad sometimes. Ok end of story. Moving on. NEXT TOPIC!

February 12, 2019 12:53 a.m.

triproberts12 says... #27

Not until every false temple is burned to the ground. Richard Garfield, Ph.D. sent me. I'm on a mission from God.

February 12, 2019 1:05 a.m.

triproberts12 says... #28

Crusade ! Okay, I'm going to bed, now.

February 12, 2019 1:30 a.m.

11hrr says... #29

I agree that Temple of the False God is indeed bad. I dislike it.

February 12, 2019 8:22 a.m.

SynergyBuild says... #30

griffstick wait when is it good?

February 12, 2019 8:33 a.m.

griffstick says... #31

SynergyBuild it's good for being a coaster for your monster energy drink.

February 12, 2019 9:02 a.m.

MESS1802 says... #32

triproberts12, you’re the only one who seems to be throwing a temper tantrum about a freaking land card. If you think it’s such a bad card, why do you have problems with others using it? If it’s as bad a card as you say it is, wouldn’t your chances of winning increase if you’re not using it and others are?
My point is that you just need to accept that everyone builds decks differently and has their own opinions on which cards are good and which aren’t, and that they’re all just opinions. You are not the supreme authority of what is good and bad in MtG. Get over yourself.

February 12, 2019 10:57 a.m.

triproberts12 says... #33

"Your apology is not accepted." Sounds an awful lot like something a 4-year-old would say to me. Jesus, dude, it's not about me winning or my opinions. It's about hand-feeding new players a card they're likely to misevaluate that has narrow applications.

February 12, 2019 12:10 p.m.

triproberts12 says... #34

Also, I think my Crusade here is complete. Time to turn off the notifications for this dumpster fire.

February 12, 2019 12:33 p.m.

cdkime says... #35

triproberts12 raises an interesting point about Temple of the False God being seen as a staple by newer players due to its appearing in so many commander products. To extend this discussion some, I think it is worth mentioning Azorius Chancery and the other Ravnica bounce lands, as they are (a) commonly featured in Wizards' preconstructed decks and (b) pretty terrible lands often used by new players.

To be completely honest, I think the issue lies more with the new players than with Wizards artificially giving these cards "staple" status. The issue with new players are myriad, which I will address below.

  1. New players tend to play using the cards they have on hand. They might know a card is sub-optimal, such as Temple of the False God , but it is what they have on-hand. They might thus choose to run these cards over a basic, simply because they can and have little alternative.

  2. New players often mistakenly think "more is more" and look just at a card's flashy effects, rather than the downside. There's a reason many new players run the Ravnica bounce lands even if they have never seen a preconstructed deck--two mana must be better than one.

  3. They might have experience with other options, particularly if they are in a friend group that is at a similar level of experience or economic level. If you do not know that fetch and shock lands exist, you're not going to know just how inferior your manabase is.

  4. They might have experience with other options, but their budget prohibits it. As a new player, they might not see how vastly superior Ancient Tomb is to Temple of the False God --they would only see "two mana is good and worth a downside, and this is a wonderful budget alternative."

I would argue the second, third, and fourth issues exist independently of preconstructed decks. After all, how many of you went to Ravnica Allegiance prerelease and saw newer players slamming Gateway Plaza , an awful land, in their two colour decks? Even in the absence of preconstructed products, I suspect Temple of the False God would be a staple among newer players based on how flashy its effect is.

The first problem could be solved by making mediocre lands less common in introductory products. However, that creates two worse problems.

First, it would devalue the better cards while also making the preconstructed products more desirable and increasing their secondary price.

Second, the preconsturcted decks are generally commensurate with one another and with what a brand new player or budget would build. One of the things that makes them fantastic is they can be played against one another, regardless of what set they come from. A Commander 2016 deck will have a decent match up with a 2018 deck, etc. Bad as the mana bases are, they look a lot like a budget/new player mana base, so a friend with a preconstructed deck can generally have a decent game against someone who tried to make one on their own. If there was a sudden shift toward better mana in preconsturcted products, this equality would suddenly be shattered, which would provide an additional barrier of entry to the game.

So, overall, while I think there are some problems and bad lessons being taught with the preconstructed mana bases, I think these problems (a) would generally exist for new players regardless, and (b) are outweighed by the issues any solution would create.

February 12, 2019 3:36 p.m.

triproberts12 says... #36

cdkime, those are good points. In response:

  1. It's true that new players tend to do that. I'm a very Johnny player and enjoy researching, buying, and trading for singles that make my deck tick, but some people just like to play the cards they have. It never had to be that way with Temple, though. Until it found its way into every Commander product, it had only ever been printed in Scourge. If Wizards was going to let lands from Onslaught Block like fetchlands remain inaccessible to newer players, I don't see a reason they had to put a new supply of Temples out there.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly. I do think that the Bouncelands are good if you have a casual meta, though. They line up horribly against Blood Moon and Strip Mine , but for budget 3-color decks, I think they're a good way to avoid missing land drops in the mid-game. For example, I put them in my dollar Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest deck.

  3. This one, I have an issue with. I think Temple is worse than a basic land in the vast majority of decks. Fetches and shocks are a manner of fixing, rather than power. Whether you have to fill out your manabase with Cinder Barrens or not shouldn't have bearing over whether or not your deck should be running Temple. If anything, colorless utility lands lose value if you have to run more tapped duals to fix your mana as a result.

  4. I agree entirely, and that's why I think it's so damaging to put Temple in precons. If a new player sees an Ancient Tomb across the table and goes looking for a budget alternative, they'll have to weigh what to cut, and what benefits from the inclusion, which is the right way to evaluate cards.

February 12, 2019 4:31 p.m.

pappyc says... #37

I like running it in "funner" /less powerful decks because it can get me ahead sometimes.

I like running it in derevi because it is another land that taps for 2 that doesn't hurt me when I use it.

I like it in green land ramp strategies because my chances of getting to 5 lands are very high.

I can understand not running it so much in tri color decks or non green decks because you could be stuck at 4 lands for a while which sucks or it could not contribute to the mana requirements to cast spells. It may be fine in blue decks that draw a lot.

I could also understand not playing it in decks trying to win by turn 4 or 5.

March 30, 2019 6:05 p.m.

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