Magic the Gathering™ finally has a sixth color, well, sort of. Oath of the Gatewatch Spoilers (or leaks, however you want to classify it) began with Kozilek, the Great Distortion and the new basic land type, Wastes. The basic land type Wastes produces “true colorless” mana. Starting with Oath, some spells and abilities will have the diamond symbol c to indicate that only colorless mana can be used.
Generic Mana is represented with a number and a circle around it . This mana can be created by ANY color or colorless mana.
Colorless Mana is represented by a diamond mana symbol c. This mana can only be produced by a source that creates colorless / diamond mana.
Mark Rosewater uses Sol Ring in this article to help explain the difference. Summarizing, Sol Ring costs 1 Generic Mana to cast (ie: 1 colorless or 1 mana of any color) but it’s tap ability creates 2 colorless mana cc.
It’s a bit confusing, I know, but makes total sense once you get the hang of it. Now that our new vocabulary terms are defined, let’s move on to the main topic!
Optimizing EDH Lands for Colorless Spells
In a colorless deck led by Karn, Ulamog, or Kozilek, optimizing our mana base is easy. Since our deck building criteria does not allow us to include lands with one of Magic’s five colored mana symbols on it, we can cram the deck with lands such as Urza’s Mine, Temple of the False God and Reliquary Tower. With the introduction of Wastes we now have a basic land where we can add multiples to fill in the remaining land slots. This is something colorless EDH decks did not have, until now. But what if I wanted to include colorless spells such as Kozilek, the Great Distortion or cards that required true-colorless mana to activate their abilities (like World Breaker) in a colored EDH deck? Cards that have the colorless mana symbol MUST have colorless sources to produce that mana if we want to cast these cards or activate abilities. In a deck with one or more colors, there very well could be a moment during the game when true colorless diamond mana is not available, only colored/generic. We actually need to take a closer look at our mana base if we decide to “splash” colorless spells into our commander deckes.
I can’t believe I am going to say this, but, ABUR Duals, Shock Lands and Fetch Lands take a back seat when we are trying to optimize our land base to produce colorless, diamond mana in a colored deck. The upgrades? Let’s take a look at lands that help our C/x EDH decks!
Lands for Color or Colorless
Filter Lands: While monetarily expensive, the filter lands are my prime target for any colored EDH deck looking for colorless mana support. While most of us have always included cards like Mystic Gate simply for the filter ability, these cards can also produce colorless mana with it’s first ability: Tap to add one colorless c to your mana pool.
Another land that was a budget mana fixer now takes on double duty (or is it triple?) as a source of colorless mana to help pay diamond mana requirements. The first ability of pain lands such as Battlefield Forge reads: Tap to add one colorless c to your mana pool.
There are only four tainted lands available. Each one, like Tainted Isle, includes Black Mana and one other color. These can also produce colorless per the land’s first ability. The tainted lands are a great addition to C/B/X decks.
The Onslaught/Khans/Zendikar fetches are not as valuable to a Colored/Colorless deck as the Panoramas. While cards like Jund Panorama can grab us a specified basic, we could also keep them around for a while if we need diamond mana. On a separate train track, if we are running Wastes, fetches like Evolving Wilds would do the trick. Before I close this portion, I’ve got to give a shout-out to Myriad Landscape, a fetch that enters the battle field tapped, but sports both the colorless mana generating ability or can search out any basic, including Wastes.
By now I am sure you have seen a pattern. We were looking for lands that have “Tap to add one colorless c to your mana pool”. But we can always turn to our trusty mana rocks if we need to get the colorless sources flowing. EDH favorites such as Thran Dynamo and Sol Ring are shoe-ins for helping us out. Heck, there is even the allied talisman cycle like Talisman of Impulse that operate in the same fashion as the Pain Lands mentioned above.
I’ll be practicing what I preach within the next couple of months as I begin to optimize my colorless mana sources in my Brago Flicker EDH Deck to try out Eldrazi Displacer. Same goes with Endbringer. I’ll be taking a close look at a few of my Boros and Mono White decks to see if I can optimize the mana base for the eldrazi card draw. What decks will you be adding a splash of colorless to? Please comment below!
On to the next!