Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Is Black Lotus in Magic: The Gathering?
Any player worth their "Sol Ring" knows about the infamous "Black Lotus" artifact. It costs zero mana, making it free to play, and can tap and sacrifice itself to add three mana of any color. That's a monstrous mana ramp ability, leading the card to become ridiculously expensive and rare, not to mention banned in nearly every format.
Thankfully, with a wealth of Lotus-themed spin-offs, we still have several powerful artifacts to cast. But which flower-based spells reign supreme?
These are the ten best Lotus cards in Magic: The Gathering!
- Lotus Vale
- Lotus-Eye Mystics
- Gilded Lotus
- Lotus Cobra
- Lotus Blossom
- Lotus Bloom
- Lotus Petal
- Mox Lotus
- Black Lotus
- Blacker Lotus
Note: we're emphasizing each's power, not legality.
10. Lotus Vale
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 0
Like others lands, you don't spend mana to play Vale, but it does demand a price—you have to sacrifice two untapped lands you control. Thus, it costs you two potential mana sources, but Vale can tap for a whopping three of any color, just like its namesake.
You're putting your eggs in one basket with this risk, as foes can remove three of your mana with a single land destruction—but the reverse is also true. If you utilize powers that can untap a land (like planeswalker "Kiora, Master of the Depths", you'll now gain not one extra mana but three!
9. Lotus-Eye Mystics
Admittedly a bit of a cheat, Lotus-Eye Mystics isn't much related to our renowned artifact, but he does technically share its name. For four mana, this creature's rather weak at just 3/2 (three power and two toughness), but his prowess trait gives +1/+1 for the turn whenever you cast a non-creature spell.
Additionally, when Mystics enters the field, you add an enchantment from your graveyard to your hand, making him a great way to recycle white auras or other enchantments.
8. Gilded Lotus
Gilded Lotus requires a substantial chunk of five mana, but like most artifacts, these resources can stem from any mana types due to Gilded's colorless nature, synergizing with any deck. Once fielded, it taps for three mana of any color, granting the same boost as Black Lotus but without needing to sacrifice itself!
Remember, artifacts (unlike creatures) don't need the haste trait to tap on the turn they enter, letting you use Gilded's boon as soon as it arrives. Gilded remains one of my favorite colored mana-providers who fits in several of my EDH decks, and unlike most Lotus cards (who run you dozens if not hundreds of bucks), you can attain your own copy for less than three dollars!
7. Lotus Cobra
Despite his creature status, like the Lotus artifacts, Cobra adeptly increases your mana ramp capabilities. This snake wields a fair 2/1 stats and his landfall lets you add a mana of any color whenever a land enters the field under your control.
Normally, you can only play one land per turn, but with green's numerous multi-land effects (like "Exploration", "Burgeoning", and "Oracle of Mul Daya"), you can often gain numerous mana in a single turn with Cobra without ever needing to tap him.
6. Lotus Blossom
Lotus Blossom requires two mana, and it collects a petal counter during your upkeep. You can tap and sacrifice it at any time to gain X mana of one color, where X is the number of counters it had. Thus, Blossom is a one-off but powerful effect that works best in longer matches.
Combo Blossom with cards carrying the proliferate ability (like popular commander "Atraxa, Praetors' Voice" to rapidly amass counters and quickly obtain Blossom's mana.
5. Lotus Bloom
Lotus Bloom acts exactly like Black Lotus—just with a delay. You suspend it from your hand into exile with three time counters, removing one during your upkeep. When the last is gone, you cast Bloom for free, now functioning just like its ebon cousin, tapping and sacrificing itself for a fierce three mana.
You're gaining a trio of colored mana without ever having to spend any; just ensure you last long enough with the game's best defensive spells to make use of it.
4. Lotus Petal
Lotus Petal is a weaker but immediate version of Black Lotus, costing zero mana while tapping and sacrificing itself to add one mana of any color.
One mana is a less tempting benefit, but combined with your land per turn, this can provide an early resource lead that your opponent may never recover from. Since Petal soon heads to the graveyard, it's also useful for artifact revivals or meeting the graveyard-fill conditions of spells with "threshold" or "delirium" traits.
3. Mox Lotus
Costing a whopping fifteen mana, Mox Lotus is one of the most expensive spells in the game (gimmick it into play for free with effects like the suspend trait on "Jhoira of the Ghitu". Still, it combines the names of the infamous Mox series and Black Lotus, so you know it has to be strong. It certainly is, tapping for infinite mana!
Now, this mana is colorless, but by spending 100 (which is easy, since you have an unlimited amount), you can add a single colored mana, essentially giving infinite mana of any colors you need. Magic's mana burn mechanic has since been removed (it damaged you for having unspent resources), but Mox Lotus guarded against its damage, making it even more formidable in classic games. A powerful card, but note its release in the semi-official Unhinged expansion (you can tell Un cards by their gray borders), making it illegal in most tournaments.
2. Black Lotus
The artifact that started it all, Black Lotus needs no mana and taps/sacrifices itself for three of any color, granting its owner an enormous mana advantage while also stocking their graveyard. It's banned in basically every format, but you'll likely never obtain a legal copy anyway considering its absurd price tag.
How much does Black Lotus cost? Try upwards of $6000. Yea, pound for pound, Black Lotus is more valuable than actual rare jewels. But it only occupies the number two slot; what could possibly outdo it in competitive Magic duels?
1. Blacker Lotus
Like Mox Lotus, Blacker Lotus is an Un card, this time arriving in the Unglued set. Thus, you won't often be able to use it in most sanctioned events—but trust me, you don't want to face this thing anywhere. Like the original, Blacker is free to cast, but it now taps for four colored mana, not just three. However, rather than sacrificing it, you literally shred it into pieces and remove it from the game after using its effect, truly making it a one-time bonus.
Four mana of any color provides an unholy resource lead; combined with a land, this lets you play CMC five spells on your first turn! Even considering the wacky antics of Un games, that's a huge advantage that opponents will almost certainly lose to, making Blacker the best Lotus of all.
How to Play Black Lotus in MTG
Even though they may not be allowed in most tournaments, you can still make or buy your own Black and Blacker Lotus proxies to use in casual play. Perhaps one day we'll see a Lotus reprint to help non-millionaire fans obtain legal copies, but for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of mana-tapping artifacts, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill