Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Spell Costs in Magic
Casting spells in Magic requires mana taken from lands. Since players can play one land per turn, their mana production gradually increases, slowly affording bigger and better spells.
But you can delay opposing plays with added cost effects. Often blue, white, or colorless, these cards require players to pay extra mana for certain spells (which you can dodge by neglecting those card types)—which reign supreme? These are the ten best mana cost-increasing spells in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Vryn Wingmare/Glowrider
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 3
Both of these are 2/1 creatures that make non-creature spells cost one more, perfect additions to creature-heavy themes. They're not legendary, so it's easy to stack the effects and drastically hinder non-creature themes. Both are great, but take Wingmare where possible since flying makes him harder to block.
9. Monastery Siege
Like the other siege enchantments, Monastery lets you choose of two effects on entry. The "khans" option has you draw an extra card at your upkeep, then discard, useful for graveyard-based themes.
But more importantly, picking "dragons" makes opposing spells that target you or a permanent you control cost two extra mana, a wide shield that doesn't hinder your own spells.
Chill and Gloom both target a specific color, excellent against those decks and pretty useless otherwise. Chill taxes red spells by two additional mana; Gloom makes white spells and white enchantment activated abilities cost three extra!
Assuming you aren't playing the victimized color, you'll escape the net while (hopefully) imposing a huge penalty on other themes.
7. Elspeth Conquers Death
A unique saga enchantment, Elspeth activates its first effect on entry, triggering the following abilities after your next two draw steps. The first exiles an opposing permanent with cost three or more, an excellent removal that can hit most card types and prevents graveyard retrieval.
Then, the second trigger increases the cost of opposing non-creature spells by two until your next turn, a temporary but powerful debuff that leaves your own casting unencumbered. Finally, the last trigger revives a creature or planeswalker from your graveyard with a +1/+1 or loyalty counter, yet another tempting effect.
6. God-Pharaoh's Statue
This legendary artifact requires a heap of mana itself; try ramping with green to quickly afford its fee. Once out, Statue increases the cost of all opposing spells by two, a substantial fee that again leaves your own spells untouched.
As if that weren't enough, Statue also has opponents lose one life at the end of your turn, making it only a matter of time before their health depletes.
5. Sphere of Resistance
Sphere of Resistance isn't as powerful as Statue and its penalty affects all players, but it costs much less mana. Once fielded, all spells require an additional mana, a quick way to stall foes (and yourself) early on.
Use this in decks with many low-cost spells that have some wiggle room, or with activated abilities (which aren't taxed).
4. Aura of Silence
Silence increases the cost of opposing artifacts and enchantments by two, impressive power for a fairly inexpensive spell. As icing on the cake, you can sacrifice Silence at any time to destroy an artifact or enchantment, an instant-speed removal to fracture cards your opponents manage to play.
3. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben/Thorn of Amethyst
Both of these are two-cost cards that make non-creatures cost one additional mana, more great supplements to creature-based decks. Choose Thalia if you want a 2/1 creature with first strike attached, go with Thorn when you prefer artifacts or aren't using white.
2. Lodestone Golem
Golem has sold 5/3 stats and numerous synergies as an artifact creature, but his real benefit comes from his effect, making all non-artifact spells costs one more mana. This impacts you too, but in artifact-heavy decks, you'll adeptly escape the fee.
Most decks run a few artifacts, but few fully commit to them, skillfully delaying most opposing plays. A must-have in any artifact theme, Lodestone is also surprisingly cheap, costing less than a single dollar!
1. Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
A popular commander choice in EDH format, Augustin has unimpressive 2/3 stats. However, he discounts your white and blue spells by one mana, or two if they're both colors! Meanwhile, he also makes opposing spells cost one more. It's as simple as that; use Augustin to drag out enemy plays while hastening your own.
Upkeep-Draining Cards in Magic
Today's spells work wonders for delaying opponents, but rather than increasing the cost of casting spells, you could force upkeep costs for maintaining them with spells like "Aura Flux", "Energy Flux", and "Pendrell Mists".
It might not sound like much, but having to pay an extra mana can mean the difference between dynamic and dead turns. But for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next set of spell-taxing cards, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill