Building Your First Five, Volume Five: Creating the Mana Base

This is it: The final part. The cards have been chosen for the three decks we’ve been creating… Now it’s time to add the mana. And Abe rolls up his sleeves and gets more down and dirty than he’s ever gotten before, discussing percentages, ratios, and basically discussing 5-Color mana bases like no one has before. Go Abe!

For several articles now, we’ve been examining the construction of a Five Color deck. This final stage is all about creating the mana base for your deck. More than any other place in the deck, this is where the financial resources come to bear. In the past, any player who has the resources to front dual lands a-go-go will have a leg up on other players.

However, since the release of Invasion, this factor has significantly decreased. Now, we have Tap Duals, Lairs, Pain Fetch Lands, Tainted Lands, Enemy Pain Lands, and Filter Lands, plus a few other lands like Grand Coliseum and Terminal Moraine. All of these help contribute to a healthier land base.

And, to debunk the myth, some decks play practically nothing but basic lands: Kurt Hahn performed very well with a deck just that way. So even a poverty-stricken player, or one with a girlfriend, can field a legitimate Five Color deck with cheap lands.

Another aspect of the Mana Base revolves around the cards you use to get them. Whether we are talking about creatures that tap for mana, artifacts, or green and white spells that get land, there are several options available to get land and get the colors that you need. Like all things, though, some are better than others.

Remember, we are building three decks along the way. Instead of reposting them here, and forcing the Ferrett to link to all of these old cards, I am just going to assume that we will place a link to last week’s article. Oh, somewhere, around, say, here. Instead of posting the decks, will we have all sorts of analysis. The cards used, themselves, are not that important for this stage.

These decks will be excellent examples, because each will be built on a different scale of fiscal accessibility. The Living Death deck is being built without regard for cost, except for disallowing power cards and so forth. The Control deck, however, is being built very cheaply. And the Sliver deck is in the middle. We’ll get to see those interactions in this section.

Mana, Take One: What Lands are Which?

The question of how many lands is an interesting one. I personally like to run a little over 100 cards that are either lands, produce mana, or get me lands. If one third of your deck is mana, that leads to around 83 lands. I like to include another twenty cards or so that get lands or produce mana on their own.

Now, of course some decks will need more mana. Some decks guzzle mana profusely, and will want to play with some more lands. Control decks may want 90 to 100 lands, based on the cards they are playing.

From there, it is a simple mathematical exercise to figure out how many lands to play. If you are playing straight basic lands, then sum the number of colored mana symbols in the cost of a card for each color, then add them together. Divide and get your percentage of colored mana costs in each color. Then simply use that percentage to figure out how many basic lands to run.

So, for example, suppose that you have 28 black mana symbols in cards, 36 red, 103 green, 61 blue, and 41 white. Then you would sum those, getting 269 colored mana symbols in all. Then calculate percentages for each color. In our hypothetical example, it would be 10% black, 13% red, 38% green, 23% blue, and 15% white. Then, if you are playing an average amount of lands – say 85 – take percentages of that. So play 9 swamps, 11 mountains, 32 forests, 20 islands, and 13 plains.

The problem is that our formula only works if we are playing all basic lands – and usually, that is not the case. If it were, then we could play 32 lands that tapped for every mana, which would increase the number of lands that tap for the non-green colors. Then the remaining 53 lands could tap for colorless mana and we’d still be set. But, that is simply not a good strategy. So if we assume that every non-basic land taps for at least two colors, then I recommend simply doubling the final numbers.

In other words, in our hypothetical example above, I think that we should be running 18 black sources, 22 red sources, 64 green sources, 40 blue sources, and 26 white sources.

Of course, this assumes that you have access to good lands. Even if you do not, the Invasion tapduals and the Planeshift lairs will really smooth out a mana curve tremendously. The loss of speed these cards provide is more than made up by a satisfying color base.

This double mana base is easy to get to if you have some lands that tap for 2x colored mana, some that tap for more, and then some basic lands to shore up your mana base. The double formula works very well for spells with fewer cards, but sometimes you have to cut off some of the biggest color. Some decks have massive quantities of the most prevalent color, and this is definitely a diminishing returns sort of thing. We’ll see this in action in the Control 250 deck later.

Mana, Take Two: How Many Lands Again?

So, we now have a general formula for determining the basic structure of our lands. It relies on knowing how many lands to run. Which, of course, begs the question, "How many lands should we run?"

I can still remember when the golden rule of deckbuilding was 40 spells, 20 lands. Our communal deck construction skills have progressed since then. Today, a 60 card deck might want 20 lands only if it is a fast speed deck. Lots of other decks run 22, 24, or 26 lands. So, surely, a 33% division of a deck with 250 cards in it hardly acceptable. Right?

Earlier in this series, I went over the mulligans. Here is where the very liberal mulligan rules of Five Color come into effect with regards to deckbuilding. When you can take a One Land, No Land, or All Land mulligan, in addition to taking your opponent’s mulligans and Paris, then you can afford to have a few less lands in your deck. Additionally, most 60-card decks do not dedicate resources to finding lands – but you have to. You need to be able to smooth out your mana and get all five colors.

Liberal mulligans combined with the need for mana gathering lead to less lands being required. Again, as mentioned above, I generally like to have a little over 100 cards dedicated to the production or retrieval of mana. However, of those, I like to have around 80-85 actual lands. Please note, usually I do not count special lands that do not make some mana towards these requirements – Maze of Ith and Bazaar of Baghdad don’t count. Then, I want around 20-25 land tutoring effects.

The 80-85/20-25 breakdown of cards is a nice, healthy amount. Of course, there is a lot of wiggle room, based on the lands you use, the cards you have access to, and the mana costs of the cards in your deck. I use it as a guideline, but it can be easily broken.

Mana, Take Three: Basic or No?

There are a lot of possibilities that your deck can go for mana. Some decks will play with non-basic land hate and a bunch of basic lands. This is a powerful strategy in the right environment. As such, it is probably a good idea to run some basic lands. The question is simply put – how many basic lands versus non-basics?

If you happen to be lucky enough to own a full set of duals, then you might want to consider playing the full set, and a few extra lands like City of Brass and Grand Coliseum. Then go heavy into the basic lands for support of your main colors. That will give you your correct proportion, and still give you a host of tutoring options.

Remember, most cards which get lands out of your deck get either any basic land, or a specific land type – which can also net duals. There are very few ways of getting any land, which makes Crop Rotation and Weathered Wayfarer (which was recently restricted) even more valuable.

On the other hand, if you lack the resources for dual lands, you need to dip into other options. Often, the less money you have, the more non-basic lands you run, simply because they are less effective, and therefore you need more of them. It’s a weird reversal of what you would think – the poor player playing more basics. But it doesn’t work that way normally.

There are certainly basic land strategies, and players who want to build their deck on the cheap may gravitate towards those strategies.

There is still one overriding factor in discussing what sorts of lands to play: How many dual lands do you have to play with? If your answer is less than ten, then your mana base will have to play a lot more lands to compensate. As the answer gets closer to forty, you want more basic lands to round out your mix. Also, the cards you use to get lands out of your deck and smooth your mana will change in direct proportion to your dual land count.

Mana, Take Four: Other Mana Sources?

There are other options in addition to lands: Some of these are vital, while others are much less so. Starting with artifacts, you have to look at Fellwar Stone and Mox Diamond. The Stone is cheap while the Diamond is quick and more reliable… But both are key artifacts at in Five Color. The ability to produce mana of any color is just too good to pass up.

Other choices in the colored mana section certainly abound. You could play something like Moxes, Ramosian Body Parts, or Diamonds – but they see significantly less play, because they are simply lands with disadvantages. The Moxes cost too much money, and the other options cost too much mana. Other cards, like Diamond Kaleidoscope or Mana Prism see play occasionally. Of course, there are also the perishable Lotus Petal and Black Lotus – but the former is often too fragile, and the latter is often too expensive. Chimeric Sphere or Barbed Sextant might see occasional play, but only because they cantrip.

The artifacts worth investigating, after Mox Diamonds and Fellwar Stones, produce colorless mana. They can help your acceleration, and turn a mana light hand into a fast reliable hand. Fast mana starts at the cheap – and restricted – Sol Ring. It costs very little, both in terms of cash and mana. Continuing the restricted theme of good artifacts, Grim Monolith and Mana Vault offer excellent acceleration as well. There are a lot of other options as well, especially if your deck can use a lot of colorless mana. Thran Dynamo can make a solid amount of mana. Voltaic Key can also be used in fours, often being used to untap artifacts and make more mana.

Ultimately, artifact mana is used as an adjunct to other sources of mana.

Creature mana is a little different. There are enough cheap creatures, usually in green, that you can easily have a horde of mana producing green creatures. Again, there are several ways you can go.

Most will start with the undeniable King of Mana himself: The Birds of Paradise. No creature is better at making the mana you need in a Five Color deck. His price tag is a bit high, though. Utopia Tree sees some play as another option as well. Again, any mana, but for disadvantages.

And there are other ways of making mana other than green. Skyshroud Elf taps for a green, but can filter as much mana as you please into red or white. Essentially then, the Skyshroud Elf taps for a green, red, or white and filters into red or white. Urborg Elf can make blue, black, or green, and probably renders the old standard, Elves of Deep Shadow, useless. Quirion Elves can tap for any color of mana, and therefore can smooth out whatever you desire. Then Vine Trellis, Llanowar Elves, and Wall of Roots are played for both their mana-producing abilities as well as their ability to swing or defend.

There are a few other options in creatures. Scads of green creatures get lands – like Yavimaya Elder. Here is a creature that will yield two basic lands, and a 2/1 body, and can be sacrificed to draw a card. An excellent choice for the green-focused deck. And some green creatures get lands in a variety of ways, from Avenging Druid to Wood Elves. (HARELIP! – The Ferrett, telling you not to worry if you don’t get it)

There are also a few unusual creatures that focus on mana. Workhorse sometimes sees play in reanimation style decks. Weathered Wayfarer regularly tutors for any land. And Krosan Tusker cycles for a basic land and a card.

All told, creatures are a very common way of affecting the mana base.

Enchantments are a much less common way. Your basic option here is Land Tax – a restricted tutor for land. However, it does not produce mana itself, so it fits better in our next section. Really, only Eladamri’s Vinyard reliably makes mana – and even then, its advantage is so slight in a Five Color deck that it does not see regular play.

It is important to use some non-land sources of mana because it can help shore your deck against weaknesses like Armageddon. Or it could play into your strategy as well.

Mana, Take Five: Getting Those Lands in Play

When discussing the cards in Onslaught that have had the most impact on Five Color, several friends and I came to the realization that, other than Future Sight, all of the cards circled around mana. The pain/fetch lands, Weathered Wayfarer, Krosan Tusker, and Explosive Vegetation were all on our short list of powerful Five Color cards from the set. That should show how vital it is to have a sturdy mana base.

There are scads of ways to get lands into play. The first are lands themselves. The Mirage fetch lands, Onslaught pain/fetch lands, Krosan Verge, Thawing Glaciers, and Terminal Moraine often see a lot of play in Five Color. Each of these lands can get any color of mana; The Glaciers and Moraine by getting any basic land, and the others by getting the appropriate dual lands. They are quite versatile, and most of them are easy on the pocketbook as well.

Most other options lie in the realm of spells. In white, we have Tithe, which can get a dual land or two. If you are not playing duals, however, its power quickly diminishes. Green has loads of ways. The restricted Crop Rotation can get any land at instant speed. Living Wish can also get a land from outside your deck, and can be used in an emergency to smooth out mana. Rampant Growth, Gaea’s Bounty, Harrow, Explosive Vegetation, and Lay of the Land are just a few options that exist as well. Green simply has loads of ways to get lands. We also saw Yavimaya Elder and Krosan Tusker mentioned above, which are both nice ways to get a creature and mana in the same card.

Any discussion about mana should include Land Tax. A restricted permanent, it can single handedly turn a game into a rout. It has great combo-ability with a variety of cards – most notably Scroll Rack. The Tax fills up your hand with cards that can be used for a variety of purposes, including simply playing lands and helping your mana out. Over time, it can be a slow Mana Severance for a deck with mostly basic lands. It’s just a good, solid card and maybe the most broken of the land gatherers.

And Weathered Wayfarer might be right behind. The Wayfarer can tutor every turn for any land, as long as you have fewer lands than your opponent. As we have seen with the Land Tax, that is not much of a disadvantage… And the Wayfarer can get any land, which can help just about any deck out. He fits in everything from a more aggressive deck to a control oriented deck.

After creatures, spells, and lands, only a few other cards can net you some lands… And they are rarely played. Braidwood Sextant might apply. Even Lodestone Bauble can have some interesting effects.

Remember that most land gathering effects are in green, with enough in white to flesh out that color as well.

Sliver 250: Adding the Mana

And now we’ve come to the part of the article where we look at the decks that we’ve been working on all along. Again, I won’t repeat the exact card choices in the decks here. As you will see, it’s sort of unnecessary. What we will do instead is look at the colors and cards used, and create a mana base for the deck.

We begin with our Sliver deck. As mentioned from the very beginning, we want our Sliver deck to be fairly cheap, except for the land where I want to be in the middle. I do not want to shy away from cost here, but I also do not want to embrace the "Best of the Most Expensive" either. So, we’ll steer clear of cards like Mox Diamond, which is quite good, but expensive as well.

Our analysis of the Silver 250 deck thus far:

Green Mana Costs: 20

White Mana Costs: 25

Blue Mana Costs: 30

Black Mana Costs: 48

Red Mana Costs: 24

Total Cards Used Thus Far: 148

Total Mana Costs: 147

Percentages of total Land:

Green: 14%

White: 17%

Blue: 20%

Black: 33%

Red: 16%

Number of mana producing lands to be used (a guess): 80

Now we have some basic stats: We’ll need 22 green mana through 53 black mana, according to my formula above. Of course, we can easily do that with 80 lands that tap for mana. Therefore, ideally, we’ll have even more mana available to us. We are lucky, because we use d a lot of artifact in this deck. That was intentional. Now we can cast cards even if we do not have the right mana.

What this shows is an innate weakness of using a lot of gold cards. In the mono colored section of the deck, we only have a total of eight cards with two mana in their cost, seven of which are black; the higher numbers come from the large quantity of gold cards in the Slivers themselves.

That’s why we need to do is stress the ability to get any mana. We could have critical creatures in our hand of literally every color; therefore, we will want a lot of diversity in our mana selection. We’ll start with the basics.

4 Fellwar Stones get tossed in immediately. They’ll help to shore up any mana problems. As will a Land Tax. That leaves us with 97 cards. Now, we need to turn to lands and see what we are playing, before coming back and deciding on other cards to play.

We’ll start on the cheap, with two of each Planeshift lair. This will help to give us several colors that we need. We do not want to play too many – an opening hand of three Lairs is pretty bad. A full set of Gemstone Mines is also pretty essential. I also like two of each Invasion tap dual, at least to begin with.

Glancing at our costs, I see that we will need more black than anything else. I may consider some Tainted lands later if I play enough swamps. For now though, I want to begin with four of each basic land. That will give us something to tutor for. We now have used 49 cards, 53 to go.

Since we are assuming this is a medium-cost land section, I think pain lands should be available in moderate amounts. Let’s play two of each Apocalypse and 7th painland. Chalk up another 20 lands. You can play more if you have them.

We need more rainbow lands, so I’m going to play two each of Undiscovered Paradise, City of Brass, and Grand Coliseum. If you have more, please play them. We have now used up 75 of our 102 cards – we’re down to 27.

It doesn’t look like we’ll have many basic lands. We’ll need tutors for any basic then, because we don’t have those classic duals. I like Terminal Moraine, so we’ll put in a full set of four.

We needed big creatures earlier, so let’s play a couple of Krosan Tuskers. They will help out by getting land early, and could be a beatstick later on, which we needed to shore up our deck post-Wrath effects. Let’s also play a Crop Rotation to get that land. We have 20 cards remaining.

We only have either non-land ways of getting land thus far, so I’d like to add a few. I really like Weathered Wayfarer, plus he’s a one drop. Let’s play with two – and whoops! He’s been restricted since I wrote this article, so we’ll have to throw in something else later on. Either Rampant Growth or Lay of the Land are nice – different players have differing views as to which is better. This deck has less one-drops, plus the Lay of the Land won’t mess with Land Tax/Wayfarer, so let’s put in a full set of Lay of the Land. We have 14 cards left.

Now, a look at our current mana production shows an even distribution across the colors. We have 34 lands that tap for each color. Then we also have all of the searchers as well. Now I want to focus on the colors we need – black and blue.

Let’s up our count on the black/blue lands to four each. So, four Salt Marsh and four Underground Rivers instead of two. I also want to add four Bad River – the Mirage fetch land for black and blue. Let’s also add two more swamps and another island, for more targets in these colors.

We are left with three cards. We could go in a lot of directions, but I want a little more green, that way we can have a greater chance of getting green mana and one of our fixers. Let’s add in two more Llanowar Wastes. For the last slot, I’d like to add one more land. This deck has Winter Orb, so I’d prefer more lands over more search. Fetch Lands could again really help, so I decide to add the Mirage search land Grasslands in. It can set up an early mana fixer. Krosan Verge would also be a possibility, but it requires several mana to use, so I am going with the quicker option.

We have added to the deck:

4 Fellwar Stone

1 Land Tax

1 Weathered Wayfarer (and a player to be named later)

1 Crop Rotation

2 Krosan Tusker

4 Lay of the Land

10 lands total: 2 of each Planeshift Lair

4 Gemstone Mine

4 Salt Marsh

4 Llanowar Wastes

4 Underground River

8 lands total: 2 of each remaining Invasion tap dual

8 lands total: 2 of each remaining 7th painland

8 lands total: 2 of each remaining Apocalypse painland

2 City of Brass

2 Undiscovered Paradise

2 Grand Coliseum

4 Terminal Moraine

4 Bad River

1 Grasslands

6 Swamp

5 Island

4 Plains

4 Mountain

4 Forest

Total: 102 cards, 88 of which are lands, 83 of which tap for mana.

The mana breakdown is as follows. Lands that tap for that mana is first, followed by total cards that can get that mana. Please not that, in the case of white and green, spells that get that mana do not count in the second total, because you need that mana to cast it. So, for example, Lay of the Land counts in the second total for every color except for green:

Black: 40/62

Blue: 37/55

White: 32/48

Green: 34/42

Red: 32/46

There are your mana totals. Again, the first number is the raw amount of lands that tap for mana. The second number is the number of cards that get that mana, or other sources that tap for that mana.

And now, our Sliver deck is complete.

Living Death 250: Adding the Mana

After seeing the previous process, this one should be much easier. As such, I’ll tear right into the deck analysis without much prelude. Remember that this deck has mana sources without much regard for cost, excepting big expensive Type One power.

Black: 56

Green: 47

Red: 23

White: 19

Blue: 20

Total cards: 149

Total Mana Costs: 165

Percentages of total land:

Black: 34%

Green: 28%

Red: 14%

White: 12%

Blue: 12%

Number of mana producing lands to be used (a guess): 80

Again, we have an interesting breakdown, with our deck leaning heavily towards black and green. That should be where our mana focuses. We will need around 54 black sources and 45 green ones. We will, in fact, end up being much lower. The number here reflect a large number of black and green cards which have two (or more) of that mana in their cost: Living Death, Silvos, Restock, and so on. However, we have a bunch of mana sorters, which can help us out if we need it.

We already have a set of Krosan Tuskers in the deck, so we can ignore those for now. We may also go a little over 250 cards in this deck, because mana is more important here.

I want to start with the power Five Color mana fixers – a full set of Tithe, Mox Diamond, Fellwar Stone, and Birds of Paradise. Let’s also add a Weathered Wayfarer (originally, I had four), a Land Tax, Sol Ring, and a Crop Rotation. That’s 23 cards, which should help our mana base out tremendously. We could also play with Land Grants here, but I prefer all of the other cards used over them. Still, if room exists later, I may revisit the Land Grants.

This deck begins and ends with including forty dual lands, plain and simple. As such, cards like the Tithe mentioned above are preferable to other options. Still, we’ll have a few basic lands for the Tuskers and Land Tax to work their magic. Let’s play 5 swamps, 5 forests, 3 plains, and 2 each of islands and mountains.

To shore up our mana needs, let’s play a full set of City of Brass and Grand Coliseum. Now we have a little room with which to play. We have included 87 cards thus far.

I want a few specialist lands in the deck, besides the Bazaars we already have. With the Wayfarer, we can tutor for a few choice cards – although this strategy worked a heck of a lot better when I had four! I like one each of Volrath’s Stronghold, Keldon Necropolis, Kor Haven, Gaea’s Cradle, and Yavimaya Hollow. Each can be used in different situations, and each taps for mana as well.

Now, we’ll want some fetch lands to get our duals. Fetch lands, combined with duals, can get any mana we need. I think that one each of every Onslaught pain/fetch land should so the trick.

I also would like some more lands to help out our black and green. Four Llanowar Wastes would be of tremendous benefit. We have now gone to 251 cards. Let’s put in a few more lands and call it a day.

Krosan Verge is a particularly attractive card, tapping for mana and netting two dual lands. Let’s play with a player’s set of those. At 255 cards, we have a nice thick deck. We have added:

4 Tithe

1 Weathered Wayfarer

1 Land Tax

4 Birds of Paradise

1 Crop Rotation

4 Fellwar Stone

4 Mox Diamond

1 Sol Ring

40 lands total: 40 each of every dual land

4 City of Brass

4 Grand Coliseum

4 Llanowar Wastes

5 lands total: 1 each of every Onslaught pain/fetch land

4 Krosan Verge

5 Swamp

5 Forest

3 Plains

2 Island

2 Mountain

1 Volrath’s Stronghold

1 Kor Haven

1 Yavimaya Hollow

1 Keldon Necropolis

1 Gaea’s Cradle

Total: 106 cards added, 83 lands, 78 of which tap for mana.

Including the Tuskers previously in the deck, here is the mana breakdown:

Black: 33/68

Green: 34/52

White: 27/53

Blue: 25/60

Red: 25/60

That gives us a lot of options in the second column. To shore up the deck a little more, we could add Gemstone Mine or Undiscovered Paradise – but we have a lot of ways of getting mana, more than every color except for green and black, according to the formula. We could also use Land Grants, which are an option without the Wayfarers. Still, we have scads of ways of getting black, and a variety of ways of getting green as well, so I’m not worried about the mana base.

Control 250: Adding the Mana

Again, we’ll head straight into the analysis. The control deck was supposed to be built on the cheap, and we’ll be using several unconventional methods in our mana base.

Black: 32

Blue: 96

White: 40

Red: 21

Green: 22

Total cards in deck: 147

Total mana costs: 211

Percentages of total land:

Black: 15%

Blue: 46%

White: 19%

Red: 10%

Green: 10%

Number of mana producing lands to be used (a guess): 80

As you can see, our blue is off the hook. If we were to ever have a percentage over 50, it would be literally impossible to include that many lands. This is really close – so there is no way we will get the number of blue lands out there. If we play with 80 mana producing lands, 74 will need to produce blue! No way that this is happening, so we have an example of the high end of a curve being cut off a bit.

White and black, although not represented as much, are also critical to the deck’s functioning. We would love to have two blue mana online as soon as possible in every game. And we have 103 cards to do it in. Let’s begin.

We want as many lands that give us blue as possible, so let’s start with the cheap blue lands. We’ll want four each of Salt Marsh and Coastal Tower. We’ll also want four each of the Mirage Fetch lands Bad River and Flood Plain. Toss in a full set of Gemstone Mines and we are up to 20 lands already.

For the Planeshift lairs, we probably want four each of the three lairs that make blue: Dromar’s Cavern, Crosis’s Catacombs, and Treva’s Ruins. Toss in four Terminal Moraine from Planeshift as well.

We now need some additional directions for our mana. We will definitely want a Land Tax, Sol Ring, and Crop Rotation – all cheap options. Four Fellwar Stones are also necessary. Lay of the Land is another cheap card that can pay high dividends, but we can’t rely on green as much as in other decks: Let’s toss in Krosan Tuskers as well. Four each of the green fixers, but that’s it for green.

I want to head back to artifacts. Four Chimeric Sphere looks pretty par for the course right about now. Let’s go look at basic lands.

We want islands, and lots of them. But we cannot afford to ignore any other lands. We’ll start with 10 islands, 8 each of swamps and plains, 7 forests, and 5 mountains. We can add or take away lands later in playtesting if we do not have enough.

We are at 93 cards currently. We need another 10. I’d like a few more lands that can give me multiple mana. Our options are as limited as our financial resources… So I dip into a rarely used set. Did you know that the Homeland filter lands each tap for a colorless mana, in addition to being bad mana filters? So they can always be used to add to a spell. You might think I’d go with the Wizard’s School, since we need blue mana – and I might. But instead, I am looking at the An-Havva Township. We have eight green spells that can get mana, and it can make the lesser used red mana as well. Not too many; just add two to the mix.

A quick glance tells me that we have a lot of blue/white and blue/black options. Let’s get the last two colors in again with four Shivan Oasis. That leaves us with four more cards needed to cap our deck at 250.

There are a couple of directions we can go here. I like Barbed Sextant, however. It will get us to our mana faster, plus it filters into any color for a one shot spell. We have now added:

1 Land Tax

4 Krosan Tusker

4 Lay of the Land

1 Crop Rotation

1 Sol Ring

4 Fellwar Stone

4 Chimeric Sphere

4 Barbed Sextant

4 Salt Marsh

4 Coastal Tower

4 Shivan Oasis

4 Crosis’s Catacombs

4 Dromar’s Caverns

4 Treva’s Ruins

4 Gemstone Mine

4 Terminal Moraine

4 Bad River

4 Flood Plain

2 An-Havva Township

10 Island

8 Plains

8 Swamp

7 Forest

5 Mountain

Total: 103 cards, 80 of which are lands, 72 of which tap for mana.

Upon reflection, that seems a little low to me. I might want to add a few more basics to the mix if playtesting were to show we needed some more lands.

And now we have three complete decks each with 250 or more cards in them. Over the past five articles, we’ve started with discussing the idea for a deck. Then we looked at how to get the basic foundation of a deck. Thirdly, we fleshed out our deck idea. Last time we added the dressing to our deck and got it ready for play. And then this week, we’ve added the mana and made the deck ready for playtesting.

Building a deck with over 250 cards can be a chore. And it can definitely be intimidating. I think it is a challenge worth taking up. I hope you do to. As always, I would love your comments, deck ideas, and so forth. I have learned a lot about Five Color as I did the research for these articles. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and using them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Until Later,

Abe Sargent