Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Mana-Fixing Spells in Magic
The more colors a Magic deck uses, the more spells it has access to. But the more the add, the more risk you run of getting "color-screwed," where you don't draw the right land types for your spells.
Enter mana-fixing effects, which will either convert mana into needed colors or simply produce any hues you wish. To ease access, most are either colorless or need a pinch of green—which reign supreme? These are the ten mana-fixers in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Mana-Fixing Lands
Examples: Opal Palace/ Guildmages' Forum/Cave of Temptation
These three lands can all either tap for a colorless mana, or tap and spend any mana to produce one of any type. This latter effect won't actually increase your overall production, but it's a great way to shift into needed colors.
Plus, each land has a bonus ability; Opal Palace can give your commander a +1/+1 counter, Guildmages' Forum does the same with multicolor creatures, and Cave of Temptation can sacrifice itself to provide two +1/+1s.
9. Creature Boosters
Examples: Cryptolith Rite/Song of Freyalise
Both these enchantments need a hint of green but give your creatures the ability to tap for any type of mana. Rite maintains this effect indefinitely, while Song does so for two turns, then sacrifices itself on your third to give your creatures vigilance, trample, and indestructible for the turn, plus a +1/+1 counter.
For extra synergy, use these alongside creatures with vigilance, letting you swing without tapping in combat, then tap for mana in your second main phase.
8. Rosethorn Acolyte/Seasonal Ritual
Like the other adventure cards introduced in the Throne of Eldraine expansion, you can either immediately cast Acolyte as a creature, or you can first cast its Seasonal Ritual sorcery form into exile, then cast Acolyte at a later time.
Either way, both spells mana-fix; Ritual simply spends one green mana to add one of any color, while Acolyte provides a 2/3 elf who taps for any color.
7. Mana-Fixing Artifacts
Examples: Prophetic Prism/Chromatic Star/Arcum's Astrolabe
While these relics only convert mana and don't actually boost your production, they accept any mana types, replace themselves in your hand by offering a draw, and come with various other benefits.
All three tap and spend one to produce a mana of any color. Prism has a higher base cost of two but gives its bonus draw immediately on entrance. Star only costs one for base (and gives the draw when sent to your graveyard), and Astrolabe requires a mana from a snow permanent but also has an immediate draw.
6. Sunburst Artifacts
Examples: Pentad Prism/ Crystalline Crawler
Thanks to sunburst, Pentad Prism enters the field with a number of charge counters equal to the different mana colors spent casting it. Similarly, Crawler's converge lets him enter with +1/+1 counters equal to the different colors spent casting him.
Both can remove their counters at any time to add one mana of any color, and since they don't need to tap to do so, you can spend multiple in a single turn. Crawler costs more mana, but has the added ability to tap to gain another +1/+1; either way, be sure to proliferate the counters for even more mana.
A staple in my "Atraxa, Praetors' Voice" EDH deck, Prism is also one of today's cheapest cards, costing less than a single dollar!
5. Lotus Cards
Examples: Black Lotus/Lotus Petal/Lotus Blossom
The infamous artifact Black Lotus and its variants work great at providing any mana color (although they can only give a single hue at once). Black Lotus taps and sacrifices itself for three mana of any type, an incredible ramp that's only hindered by the card's ban in most formats.
Lotus Blossom offers the same effect but has to be suspended for three turns before it arrives, while Lotus Petal offers an immediate but diminished boost of a single mana. All great options for mana-fixing, even if they're single-use—unless, of course, you can recover artifacts from your graveyard (think "Silas Renn, Seeker Adept").
4. Rainbow Mana Creatures
Examples: Birds of Paradise/Lotus Cobra/Manaweft Sliver
Most mana-tapping creatures require at least some green mana, so you'll need to at least have that before you can nab other types. However, these guys don't convert mana, but actually produce it, increasing your overall capacity, and they all have various bonuses.
Birds of Paradise has the lowest cost and flying, Lotus Cobra gives any mana whenever a land enters your field (great with multi-land effects), and Manaweft Sliver lets all your slivers (itself included) tap for any mana type.
3. Rainbow Mana Lands
Examples: Mana Confluence/City of Brass/Command Tower
Earlier, we saw mana-converting lands, but these fields simply produce a mana of any type, albeit with a cost. Mana Confluence and City of Brass both decrease your life when used, while Command Tower doesn't but can only give colors included in your commander's color identity (which should be all you need anyway).
You could also include fetch lands in this category; cards like "Evolving Wilds" and "Krosan Verge" help pull needed colors from your deck.
While it's a single-use spell, Manamorphose provides a near-perfect mana-fix that spends two mana to provide two of any color(s). Instant speed lets you play it on any turn, its hybrid symbol lets you pay with either red or green mana, and its draw effect immediately replaces itself in your hand.
Unlike the Lotus cards, you can also mix and match mana if needed, letting you grab not just one but two lacking hues.
1. Land Boosters
Examples: Prismatic Omen/ Chromatic Lantern
Although they do it in different ways, these spells set your lands to produce any color you need. Prismatic Omen gives your lands all basic land subtypes, effectively letting them tap for any color and empowering land-type based effects like "Coalition Victory."
Chromatic Lantern requires an additional mana to play but accepts any colors, can actually tap for a mana of any type, and shares this effect with your lands, letting them tap produce any color (though they won't receive new subtypes this time).
When to Use Mana-Fixing Cards in Magic
The more colors you run in your deck, the greater your need for mana-fixers will be. One, two, and sometimes three-color decks can often skirt by without assistance, but with four or more, you'll want converters to ensure you're not sitting around waiting to draw the right land type.
In addition to today's spells, some cards lets you cast mana as though it were any type for certain spell types ("Ancient Ziggurat" does so for creatures while "Oath of Nissa" tweaks planeswalkers). But for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of mana-fixers, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!