chikenrider asked: These scry lands are pretty souring. Actually they aren't bad lands and I'm 100% sure they will see constructed play in a wide range of decks, and i really do appreciate toning down the multicolor insanity of standard. But why are they rare? These are clearly uncommon quality cards; scry 1 is not bad at all, but rare? Can we get some insight here?
I’ll do my best.
Plain come-into-play tapped lands (meaning that’s all they do) are default uncommon. That’s the baseline. Then depending on the set things can move around a little.
In Return to Ravnica, we had the gates. The gates were common because in a multicolor block it’s crucial for limited that the mana fixing show up high in as-fan (as-fan talks about how many of something you get in each booster taking rarity into account) so to match the needs of the block we pushed the cards down a rarity.
The scry lands are the tap-lands plus. (Yes, the gates had the gates subtype but that mattered, especially in constructed, very little.) I know some of you don’t value scry 1 highly, but as I think time will show, in both constructed and limited, it’s more significant than it might seem at first blush. This pushes them to somewhere between uncommon and rare.
To figure out which way they fall, we look at the set they are in and the needs of the set. Theros limited is the opposite of Return to Ravnica. There is a little multicolor but mostly at higher rarities and mana fixing is way less important in Theros limited. This means that the momentum pushes the opposite way. Uncommon is very valuable space for making limited have longterm replay value and we would rather have five other cards there than the dual lands so the environment pushes them upwards instead of down.
There are obvious numerous other factors, but this is the impact that each set had on the decision about where to put its dual lands.