Rules Simplification Project – Part 1: Mana by Stelios Christos Kargotis

Rules Simplification Project – Part 1: Mana by Stelios Christos Kargotis

Rules Simplification Project – Part 1: Mana by Stelios Christos Kargotis


The idea behind this project is to provide people with a simplified version of tricky rules and different examples of cards that appear similar on the surface of things but actually behave differently. As always any project of this nature is there to supplement your study not replace it.

Mana colours and mana types

There are 5 mana colours: White, Blue, Black, Red & Green (WUBRG), however there are 6 types of mana they are: White, Blue, Black, Red, Green & Colourless.

Test Pro Tip: When taking any Magic Judge written test be mindful of questions that ask you to figure out mana colour or mana type as the answer might differ greatly.

e.g. For Mana Type you might see the following question:

ManamorphoseQ: What types of mana can be generated if player A controls Reflecting Pool and Llanowar Wastes?

A: The Reflecting Pool can tap for Colourless, Green & Black Mana

For Mana Colour you might see the following question

Q: Player A controls Forest, Mountain & Urza’s Mine and casts Engineered Explosives tapping all 3 lands(which has the Sunburst ability and is interested in mana colour) what is X going to be?

A: The colours in the mana pool are going to be red and green (colourless is not a mana colour but is a mana type) therefore Engineered Explosives will come into play with 2 counters.

Mana abilities Vs Spells that add mana to your mana pool

Mana abilities are activated abilities if they meet the following criteria

It doesn’t have a target, it could put mana into a players mana pool when it resolves and its not a loyalty ability. E.g. Chromatic Sphere.

Triggered Mana abilities

Dark RitualA triggered ability without a target that triggers from activating a mana ability and could put mana into a players mana pool is a triggered mana ability. E.g. Mirrari’s Wake.

However cards like Dark Ritual are not mana abilities but simply spells that add mana to your pool. Its important to distinguish between the two because Mana abilities(activated or triggered) do not use the stack and just resolve straight away but spells that add mana to your pool do use the stack and behave like any other spell.

Mana Restrictions

Some cards have restrictions on the mana generated on them, cards like Thran Turbine produce mana which cannot be spent on casting spells. This is pretty straight forward but if you use Doubling Cube‘s ability to double the amount of mana in your pool during your upkeep, the result will be 2 colourless mana that can be used for anything and 2 colourless mana that cannot be used for casting spells, the restriction doesn’t apply.

Undefined Mana

If an ability would produce mana of an undefined type it produces no mana at all.

e.g. Player A controls Meteor Crater but no coloured permanents then Meteor Crater will not tap for any type of mana.

Permanents that could produce mana

There are two simple things to check when dealing with permanents that could produce mana.

1) If you were to activate the ability what could it produce at the time you could tap it
2) Ignore any costs used to generate that mana

mana pieE.g. 1) Player A controls Gemstone Cavern which has no luck counter on it and Reflecting Pool, what type of mana can Reflecting Pool tap for? The answer is colourless, if Gemstone Cavern has a luck counter on it then the self replacement effect would be in place and Reflecting Pool would be able to produce WUBRG.

E.g. 2) Player A controls Reflecting Pool and tapped Vivid Marsh with no counters on it, what type of mana can Reflecting Pool tap for: The answer is WUBRG, at any time Vivid Marsh could tap for any colour (while there is a cost associated with that, it is ignored only the effect is important here).

So that is it for this weeks episode on the rules simplification project, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. If there is an area you wish to have covered please do not hesitate to ask.

Stay safe and look for the next exciting episode of THE RULES SIMPLIFICATION PROJECT!



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