Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Colorless Mana in Magic
In some ways, colorless mana is the weakest type, as it can only be used to pay for generic (gray) mana, not colored symbols. That said, colorless mana has several advantages. It's often easier to produce (many cards provide more than one), can fit inside any color identity in commander format, and is actually required for certain colorless cards (like "Kozilek, the Great Distortion").
Colorless decks can utilize basic wastes lands, but many unique lands have extra effects to encourage usage—which reign supreme? These are the 30 best colorless-providing lands in Magic!
30. Tower of the Magistrate
Like most of today's lands, Magistrate enters untapped and can tap for a colorless mana, giving an immediate albeit colorless resource. But by spending one and tapping (effectively spending two since it now can't tap for mana), you give a creature protection from artifacts that turn.
This works great for safely blocking artifact creatures, and you can be particularly nasty by targeting an opponent's creature to unequip any equipment on them—preferably once they're already locked into attacking.
29. Elephant Graveyard/Swarmyard
Both these cards can tap for one colorless, but they can also tap to regenerate certain creatures, saving them from their next death that turn. Graveyard can regenerate elephants while Swarmyard protects insects, rats, spiders, or squirrels.
While these certainly aren't the most common subtypes, you'll see them among several tokens. You can also use the effects on changelings, which have all creature types.
28. Reliquary Tower
A commander staple, Tower gives one colorless and an infinite hand size, meaning you won't have to discard if you maintain more than seven cards. Great for any EDH deck, particularly draw-heavy blue ones.
You're gonna want one of these want your opponent overloads a Cyclonic Rift and bounces your field back to hand; thankfully, it's one of today's cheaper cards, costing less than three dollars!
27. Riptide Laboratory
Thanks to the colored symbol in its text, Riptide can only go in blue commander decks. It either taps for one colorless or taps and spends two (including a blue) to return your wizard from the field to the hand.
This saves it from removals and lets you reuse enters-the-battlefield effects wizards often employ. And remember many popular commanders are wizards, like Thrasios Triton Hero.
26. R&D's Secret Lair
As noted by its gray border, this one's from an Un set and thus illegal in most play, but when it works, it's a powerful land that lets players play cards as written and ignore errata.
This lets you avoid the negative errata from other cards in the set, and use the original effects of cards that were later nerfed. For example, the original printed text of "Lotus Vale" effectively makes it a "Black Lotus".
25. Scorched Ruins
Ruins sacs itself unless you sacrifice two untapped lands as it arrives, and since it lacks hexproof, it's vulnerable to land removals. While risky, the payoff is high, as it enters untapped and exhausts for four colorless!
That's simply an awesome amount, especially when combined with land-untapping effects on spells like "Frantic Search".
24. Thespian's Stage
In addition to the usual one-colorless it can provide, Stage can spend two and tap to copy another land. So duplicate your opponent's best mana-provider (like Ruins) without having to sacrifice lands, and as a bonus, Stage retains its copy ability, so you can later change it again
Try copying "Dark Depths" to nab its 20/20 creature without having to remove counters first (they're only placed when the card enters the field, not when something copies it).
23. Arcane Lighthouse/Detection Tower
These lands do almost the same thing. Lighthouse is slightly better, as its alternative effect taps and spends one to remove both hexproof and shroud from opposing creatures that turn, letting you target them.
Tower only handles hexproof, and it doesn't actually remove it, but simply has you ignore the effect. Either way, both are great for removal-heavy decks that rely on being able to target their victims.
22. Deserted Temple
Tap Temple for one colorless, or to untap another land. It's as simple as that, great for quickly reusing Scorched Ruins, Thawing Glaciers, and other unique lands.
21. Drownyard Temple
Temple has the awesome effect to return itself from your graveyard to the battlefield tapped by spending three. This works great with lands that sacrifice others on entry, or in self-milling black decks.
20. Blinkmoth Nexus
Nexus has not two but three uses. In addition to its usual mana, it can spend one (without tapping) to become a 1/1 flying creature for the turn. While weak, flying makes it a nice desperation blocker, and it benefits from both artifact and blinkmoth supports.
Speaking of which Nexus can tap and spend one to give a blinkmoth +1/+1 for the turn, letting multiple copies empower each other.
19. Ghost Quarter
Quarter can sac itself to destroy any land, letting its controller play a basic land from their deck tapped. So while they get a land in exchange, it's still useful for handling their best terrain, and some decks (particularly four and five-color ones) rarely use basics and might miss out on the effect.
To be especially cruel, use with cards that prevent or punish foes from searching their deck, like "Narset, Parter of Veils".
18. Temple of the False God
Temple can't tap for any mana until you control at least five lands (counting itself); from there, it taps for two colorless. So as long as you draw it fairly late in the game (as usually happens in EDH), it's basically two lands in one.
Plus, even if you don't yet have five, you can still play it as your land drop if you have nothing else, just to set it up for future turns.
17. Crawling Barrens
Unlike other man-lands, Barrens gradually grows in strength, as you can spend four mana to have give it two +1/+1 counters, then you have the option of it becoming a 0/0 elemental for the turn.
I've seen many games be won by a big Barrens that (since it won't count as a creature until you decide) survives most board wipes. Plus, its elemental subtype enjoys several supports.
16. Buried Ruin
Ruin's alternative use lets you spend two and sacrifice it to return an artifact from your graveyard to hand, great for recycling EDH staples like Sol Ring and Mana Crypt. This works even better when running cards that play lands from graveyard, like Crucible of Worlds.
15. City of Traitors
Risky but rewarding, Traitors sacs itself when you play another land, but taps for two colorless, no other strings attached. While certainly not for every deck, this is amazing in formats like legacy where games can win on turn one or two, fast enough that the downside may very well never matter.
14. Darksteel Citadel
Citadel has two qualities to set it apart. It's indestructible, a nice defense against land nukes like Armageddon, and it also counts as an artifact, empowering your artifact-based supports.
13. Field of the Dead
Having earned a few bans in other formats, Field nonetheless is still legal in commander. It enters tapped and only gives colorless, so sure, there's a downside. But when it or another lands enters your field, you create a 2/2 zombie if you control seven or more lands with different names!
Perfect for singleton formats like commander, getting a free 2/2 with each new land drop makes Field a must-have for decks that don't use many basics.
12. Dust Bowl
The game offers a few lands that can sacrifice themselves to take out threats, but not many reusable ones. That's where Dust Bowl comes in, letting you pay three, tap it, and sac any land to destroy a non-basic land.
Non-basics are generally the bigger threats anyway, and as long as you have spare resources, Bowl can handle as many as your opponents dare play.
Another man-land, Mutavault can spend one to become a 2/2 with all creature types for the turn. Considering the low activation cost, those are actually pretty decent stats, but the real treasure is basically having a changeling on hand whenever you need one, strengthening all kinds of tribal supports.
10. Yavimaya Hollow
Earlier we saw lands that could regenerate certain animals, but by tapping and spending one green, Hollow can regen any creature! That's simply one of green's best tools for keeping its bulky monsters fielded. Just remember Hollow is legendary, so you don't want to play more than one.
Best in non-singleton formats, Cloudpost enters tapped but provides one colorless per locus on the field. Few lands have this type, but the more Cloudposts and Glimmerposts you use, the more each one will give (opposing locuses also count). If you manage to play four copies of each, then every Cloudpost you control taps for a ridiculous eight mana!
8. Inkmoth Nexus
Inkmoth lacks Blinkmoth's self-empowering third ability, but in exchange, by spending one mana, it becomes a 1/1 with flying and infect, dealing damage to creatures as -1/-1 counters and opponents as poison counters.
Thanks to flying, this makes it easy to land a poison counter in EDH, and once an opponent has one, you can start proliferating them towards the ten that force a loss.
7. Unholy Grotto
Spending a black mana and tapping Grotto lets you place a zombie from your graveyard on top of your deck, ensuring you can reclaim whatever undead card you need. Since zombie decks quickly cull their own ranks, it also provides a defense against accidentally milling yourself, helping your deck maintain at least one card to draw at the start of your turn.
6. Volrath's Stronghold/Academy Ruins/Hall of Heliod's Generosity
These three legendary lands all do the same thing, but with different colors and cards types. As noted below, tapping them and spending two mana places certain cards from graveyard on top of deck, and like before, this guards against deck-out losses:
- Volrath's Stronghold: Needs black, moves a creature to top of deck
- Academy Ruins: Needs blue, moves an artifact to top of deck
- Hall of Heliod's Generosity: Needs white, moves an enchantment to top of deck
5. Rishadan Port
Don't want your opponent using their best land? Spend one and tap Port to tap an opposing land. Now, foes can tap that land in response, but if you do this during their upkeep, they won't be able to use its mana except on instant-speed effects. This is also one of few ways to handle opposing threats that are indestructible (and thus immune to cards like Ghost Quarter).
4. Library of Alexandria
Instead of tapping for mana, Library can tap to draw a card if you have exactly seven in hand. Which makes it ridiculously good to start with, as players begin with seven (or eight if going second).
Useful as it is, you probably won't see a non-proxy Alexandria—it's ridiculously expensive and banned in most formats.
3. Strip Mine/Wasteland
Strip Mine is amazing but understandably banned in some formats (though not commander), simply sacrificing itself to destroy any land. Wasteland is slightly weaker as it can only hit non-basics, but it's still a powerful, easy effect that's legal in practically every format.
2. Ancient Tomb
Tomb provides two colorless, but deals two damage to you. But that's small price for effectively a double-land, especially with commander's boosted life total, or when you have many life-providing white and black spells to supplement your health.
1. Mishra's Workshop
Good luck ever obtaining a legal copy of this gold mine. But when proxied, Workshop taps for an outstanding three colorless mana, but it can only be used on artifacts. Still, in artifact and artifact-creature themes, that can set you several turns ahead and create a board state that opponents just aren't prepared to handle,
Colorless Supports in Magic
Lands with added effects are already their own reward, and several spells further benefit colorless players. Forsaken Monumen" lets your lands tap for an extra colorless mana, Ugin the Spirit Dragon has a board wipe that leaves colorless permanents unscathed, and (unlike the colors) very few cards offer protection from colorless.
In some ways, colorless effectively is its own Magic color, but for now, vote for your favorite terrain and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2021 Jeremy Gill