View Full Version : Manacosts and Monocolor

02-04-2010, 08:35 AM
I have been playing monoblue Singleton 100 (or standard highlander) since i started magic until now - it will be two years soon. Generally i was examining many cards which are mono color or multicolor, and with new hybrid mana. The findings are really nothing very important but i want just discuss what i have seen after all :)

It was easy to notice that cards which i use for my monoblue deck are stronger when they contain more blue mana symbols, and also it was certain that those cards are much more designed for monoblue. As an example i can say Mind Over Matter that with total CMC 6 needs 4 blue mana. Cards with similar costs have some specialities:

1. They can be used only in specific designed decks which favors one color.
2. They can be very strong or either unusable depending on players skills.

And as opposite to it there are cards with WUBRG manacosts or with three or four colored costs. Generally all multicolored cards were stronger from first view and more players were willing to include them i their decks. Also i must say that from some time i really like black, mostly Ravnicas Dimir guild cards. Adding another color - black - should ease my play, making my card pool much more variable.

Yesterday i have read the article "Is this your Card?" by The Ferret. Mostly i have to agree with all he wrote there. With all the "monoblue" color dilema i am fightning with for some time. I have some "My cards" even when generally people around me does not agree with it. After two years i must really agree that playing more colors should be different, will make more fun, but some people claim that it will make my deck better. Really i dont know whether to trust them. Playing the blue is a choice i made - i want to understand to this color, just because some people say that it is "hard to play" or "weird". I dont also like saying "Play that card, because it is good" with no reason WHY that card is good.

I see metagame around here, so i know some thing i may encounter. I know about situations which makes me completely defensless, but from time to time I learn something new which will help me to fix not even one situation.

As an example lets say Akroma, Angel of Fury. Very popular card without doubt, which can cause many trouble to me. Therefore i was trying to reach for some colorless solutions. Disk, Oblivion stone, Maze of Ith, Icy manipulator and Trip Noose. These cards were all well tested, and were of course recommended by each player i met. Why so? They are colorless and thus can be included in any deck. Thats of course the power of being colorless. Statistically more people have possibility to add it and test it.

Since I also collect blue cards i was later quite amazed how much monoblue responses to red Akroma i actually have in my collection. There are 5 colorless cards which can solve my problem, but how many blue cards is there? When I realized that it is just a question of time until my opponent will call for another single creature which i cannot block so the response was in any global effect which can buy me single turn.

Fade Away
Time Stop
Cryptic command
Reins of Power

And i this point i stunned. There is more cards in blue to solve the problem like in colorless. Nobody ever mentioned most of those cards even when everyone knows that i play monoblue even when the power of those spells can be really devastating. Mostly i like plays when my opponent prepares for attack with many elves and beast with overrun, until Time Stop says that his turn finished before damage was dealt. But also i know only few people are eagerly to pay 4UU which Time stop costs, mostly they prefer plain 1U or UU counterspells. There i learned that blue can buy time, and manipulate with it.

Referring to The Ferrets article, Time stop did not won a game once. It happened several times and honestly i believe that mass stop effect (no matter whether Time stop or any tapping) are much more worth playing than artifact which can tap single creature. Some people are convinced that playing monoblue is irrational, but also their recommendations for cards i got are pretty shortsighted except one...

One guy here claims that playing blue combo deck needs some black - as he demonstrated with Yawgmoths Bargain - and green - as he demonstrated with quite rich land tutoring. From my point of view i really know that he is good magic player, but also i know that he does not study all the blue cards. Well from his play ... we do similar things in first turns. He tutors lands, and i play draw engine. He gets a specific land, i get specific land (since monoblue :D). Then we wait who makes the first error in play and we shall start the combo which will win the game.

Therefore i just dont know who is right, maybe both, maybe no one. the question i want to ask is whether blue weapons of choice drawing cards are similar to green manafixations, or i should trust to anybody else just because playing monocolor is soooo irracional.

Thanks for any strategical suggestions :)

02-04-2010, 08:58 AM
The way that the colors in Magic are organized, it is impossible to have the ability to deal with any situation with only one color. This does not mean that playing a mono-color deck is wrong, but that you need to be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.

The most obvious strength of playing mono-color is that you have the most stable land-base. You are immune to wasteland, you don't have to run into stifle if you don't want to, and you never have the right amount of mana to play a spell but the wrong color. As you said, you also get to play the cards with multiple mana symbols, the cards that reward you for devoting yourself to one color (like Mind over Matter, or the classic Necropotence).

However, if you can afford the appropriate landbase, splashing a color into an otherwise mono-color list can be very advantageous. As an example, the recent Supreme Blue deck-lists have splashed red for Firespout, a card which can answer multiple early-game threats better than anything blue has to offer. Running 3 Firespout means running a few duals and a bunch of fetches, which along with blue's awesome filter/draw you should be able to find and be able to cast.

02-04-2010, 10:23 AM
Ok... just to be more specific about monocolor and manabase.

I like stability of my manabase. A lot i might say. Except few situations when manascrew ocurred (not too often) i had no real trouble with mana, nor amount nor color. My own recipe is quite strange, at least for local metagame...

I play Esper, Grixis and Bant panoramas, while i dont play Crucible of worlds anymore. People ask me why i do so in monocolor, why i just dont add island instead of them. I play 32 land cards able to produce mana, while the deck has 118 cards (at least now). Also i play Coral Atoll which in later game counts for 2 lands, while island i put onto hand will be back in play in later game. Why panoramas then...

They can give colorless mana. A land which comes into play and can be used as a manasource instantly. This is good enough for opening hand with one or two islands. I take "colorless" or "generic" mana as some sort of other color. Like people have to fix more colors in multicolor decks, i am to fixing only one. But the important for me is WHEN to activate the ability of panorama.

In early play i want to draw some lands, in later game i dont want such draw. Therefore i use panoramas. They give mana, most other fetches dont, and in other hand they can filter a land from library.

Three panoramas, can filter zero to three lands from library, giving an opportunity to shuffle the deck. Average rate is then 1,5 land filtered for 1,5 mana and three possibilities to shuffle the library for another 1,5 mana (2 generic per activation). I have been counting the effects of those lands several times and situations. While majority of people dont play them because of Pain Fetch lands, i prefer those - simple saying that generic mana does not matter to me - its the way how they work with library.

Irrational or not, the effect how these lands work are blue for me - especially when i use SDT instead of Ponder. What do you think?

02-04-2010, 08:25 PM
Splashing a color in Highlander or EDH for that matter gives you your deck so many more options. This is not to argue that you should play the 5 color good stuff deck but to show why it's beneficial to splash another color. By adding lets say white to a Mono blue deck, you are now able to deal with most of a mono color deck's glaring weakness's. Instead of running lets say remove soul, you gain access to swords to plowshares.

Instead of Bouncing or countering a artifact you can simply disenchant it. Also by splashing white gives you access to the best white spells and best blue spells, instead of the best blue spells and the okay blue spells. Now mono color decks often rely on artifacts to give them the neccessary power boost to help them compete against those 5c good stuff decks.

Green decks cast rampant growth, you cast mind stone/ signet. Not necessarily a huge difference. Signets die to artifact hate, while Lands via via stone rain.

Now from these arguments it to seem that running another color is never a bad idea, while this is reflected in formats as legacy/Vintage, the only reason to run mono color is either

A) In EDH your building around a general,

B) Taking Advantage of Being Mono-Color via Back to Basics/ Blood Moon,

C) The deck type fits your specific playstyle, so you go with it taking power from artifacts, and running with it all the way. Because Playing a deck in highlander that doesnt fit YOU is much worse then running a 5cc goodstuff.

Hope this helps, Plus with mono blue, I'm sure you have a legend so you can port your deck over to EDH xD.

02-05-2010, 05:04 AM
I think that C is the reason why i play blue. It just fits :).

Splashing artifacts is surely the easiest and not harmful way for getting advantages which are specific for other colors. While for me ability of each panorama is very blue there are possibilities which can provide some artifacts, but i realized that those possibilities are far away from being monocolor.

As one of my opponents tried to say... He played blue black combo very similar to mine - based on Mind over matter and Yawgmoths bargain while after short math he calculated that he cannot lose when the combo starts, but arguing that Green manafixing is much faster that any other color has.

I have heard that blue needs a lot of mana, and i might say it is true. I have been searching for possibilities how to fix the mana with blue or colorless methods.

1. Retraced image
Card usually used for easier casting of some big bad spells in attempt to win. While we speak about highlander this spell can be specifically used only to put additional land into play, due its manacost it will mostly be Island or Snow-Covered Island. This card is not part of my deck yet, but i am considering it.

2. Fabricate
Quite common tutoring. Mostly used to search for various artifacts, but it can also find any mana-producing artifact. At this point i want to mention artifacts like Gilded lotus or very recent Khalni Gem which has boosted my manabase greatly everytime i used it.

3. Expedition map - Tolaria West
Both cards can find a land for 3 mana converted cost, but Expedition map can do it faster. Easy to say is that why to play such cards when they dont boost mana, so it is easy to put an Island instead. Commonly i search for Coral Atoll which means that pay two mana now to put it in play, and have three mana in next turn.

Coral atoll has combo potential so it is necessary for many situations.

4. Wayfarers bauble
For three mana will filter out one basic land from the deck and put it directly into play. That means that complete cost is reduced by 1 mana.

5. Apprentice wizard
People ask how it is possible that i can use him, he just gives colorless mana - well mostly i dont care about colorless mana.

6. Gemstone cavern
Either colorless source of mana which does not make any trouble to me, or while i keep to begin my opponents possible way how to boost mana.

One easy method is to have stable mana addition each turn. That can blue do even without artifacts. Other thing is to boost up the mana like green do, by adding more than one land, or other manasource per turn. Therefore some boosting methods should be interesting.