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September 15, 2017

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Daily Dose of Ixalan – The new Standard Mana Base is Complete

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Ixalan, where I’m ending this week with one of my favourite topics of the year, the post-rotation Standard mana base.

Mana bases are the key to making any deck work, whether it’s a mono-colour deck, or a five-colour masterpiece. Today, I’ll talk about what’s rotating out of the Standard mana base, what’s still here, what’s coming in, and which colour combinations will be easier to achieve than others. Before I talk about the rare land cycle in Ixalan, let’s talk about what’s going and what’s staying!

First off, I’m going to say goodbye to all the lands that will be rotating out and what the impact of their absence will be:

– Colourless Blighted Lands Cycle (i.e. Blighted Woodland) – Blighted Fen and Blighted Cataract saw some fringe play, but overall these won’t be missed.
– Battle for Zendikar Battle Lands (i.e Cinder Glade) – These will be missed in the format. They were a great dual land to have enter the battlefield untapped later in the game.
– Battle for Zendikar Block Creature Lands (i.e Lumbering Falls) –  Not only was this cycle of creature lands important to finish off opponents or provide a quick blocker, but as enemy coloured dual lands they provided an important addition to your mana base.
Sanctum of Ugin / Shrine of the Forsaken Gods – With Eldrazi cards rotating out, there aren’t really any cards left in the format that can take advantage of what these lands offer.
– Shadows Over Innistrad Shadow Lands (i.e. Fortified Village) – Another dual land cycle being rotated out for allied colours. These worked well in conjunction with the Battle for Zendikar Battle Lands thanks to their two basic land types. Having dual lands that could come into play untapped is very strong and will be missed.
Westvale Abbey – This was more of a powerful land that could transform into a beast of a creature, and when it comes to fixing your mana base, it wasn’t on the top of anyone’s list.

I’m almost at the point of seeing what Ixalan can offer when it comes to the Standard mana base, but first let’s see what Kaladesh, Aether Revolt, Amonkhet, and Hour of Devastation have left us for the next year.

Aether Hub – Still one of the most powerful lands in the format. Whether you need it for a one time use or if you can reuse it repeatedly, this land is here to stay.
– Kaladesh Enemy Fastlands (i.e. Blooming Marsh) – Being the only dual land cycle in Standard that enters the battlefield untapped, these still hold a very important place in the format. They are also the only enemy coloured dual land cycle left as well.
Spire of Industry – With tons of artifacts still left from Kaladesh and the addition of Treasure in Ixalan, this card could see some play in decks that need a variety of colours.
– Amonkhet Cycle Lands (i.e. Canyon Slough) – Another useful allied colour dual land cycle. Not great for aggressive decks as they will always enter the battlefield tapped.
– Colourless Deserts – There are no longer any cards in Standard that specifically need colourless mana to activate. As such, these probably won’t see much play.
– Hour of Devastation Deserts – The Desert cycling lands could see more play if more mono-coloured decks emerge in the format. The Desert pain lands could also continue to see play.

Now that we know what we have to work with, I can show you what Ixalan is adding to the mix. Ixalan sees the return of a popular land cycle we last saw in Magic 2013. Let’s welcome back Allied Check Lands!

This a great dual land cycle that most times will end up entering the battlefield untapped on turn two and later. There will be the odd time that they come into play tapped if you have a heavy non-basic land opening hand. The cycling lands from Amonkhet will help with this though. Since they have two basic land types on them, and the check lands look for land type, you can play them on turn one and a check land on turn two to have two untapped dual lands on the battlefield.

Ixalan has also provided with one utility land that could see play in some new tribal decks in Standard. Let’s look at Unclaimed Territory.

This land is like Cavern of Souls minus having the ability of it not being able to be countered. I think that, like Aether Hub, this has a chance to see play in a multitude of decks. With Ixalan being very tribal oriented with Vampires, Merfolk, Dinosaurs, and Pirates holding court, Unclaimed Territory could be a better land than Aether Hub in those decks.

So, what does the new Standard mana base look like now? Let me put forth some potential mana bases for different colour combinations.

Two-Colour Decks

Allied Colours (i.e. Green/White)

4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Scattered Groves
4 Aether Hub / Spire of Industry / Unclaimed Territory
5 Plains
5 Forest
2 Evolving Wilds

Green 19/24 White 19/24

Enemy Colours (i.e. Green/Black)

4 Blooming Marsh
3 Desert of the Indomitable
3 Desert of the Glorified
2 Ifnir Deadlands
4 Aether Hub / Spire of Industry / Unclaimed Territory
4 Swamp
4 Forest

Black 17/24, Green 15/24

As you can see there are significantly less dual lands in the format post-rotation, especially for Enemy coloured decks. This makes it harder to get each land type in Enemy two-colour decks. This could lead to less two-coloured enemy decks in the format.

Three-Colour Decks

Shard Colours (i.e. Blue/Black/Red)

3 Drowned Catacomb
3 Dragonskull Summit
4 Spirebluff Canal
4 Aether Hub / Spire of Industry / Unclaimed Territory
2 Canyon Slough
2 Fetid Pools
2 Swamp
2 Mountain
2 Island

Blue – 15/24, Red 15/24, Black 16/24

Wedge Colours (i.e. White/Black/Green)

4 Concealed Courtyard
4 Blooming Marsh
2 Sunpetal Grove
2 Scattered Groves
4 Aether Hub / Spire of Industry / Unclaimed Territory
2 Swamp
2 Forest
2 Plains
2 Evolving Wilds

White – 16/24, Green 16/24, Black 16/24

As you can see with three-coloured decks, it’s pretty even when it comes to being able to get any of your three colours whether you’re playing a Shard or a Wedge deck. After turn three the Shard colour decks will have eight lands that enter the battlefield tapped, whereas the Wedge colour decks will have 10. This will make it a little easier to play your mana base later in the game with three-coloured Shard decks.

There you have it, the Standard Mana Base for the new Standard format is set. Hopefully this guide will help you build your mana bases for the upcoming season. Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Ixalan. I look forward to next week where I’ll shift my focus to Prerelease week and the Limited format.