April 13, 2018

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The Daily Dose of Dominaria – Complete Mana Base

Welcome all to the final preview article on the Daily Dose of Dominaria! Today I’ll be talking about all the new lands from Dominaria and how they will impact the Standard mana base.

Dominaria brings us a few mana cycles, as you’ll soon see, plus a few unique lands that could spice things up. Mana bases are the key to any Magic format. When a new set comes out, the first cards that I want to get are a playset of each of the lands from the set. What often limits players from making different decks is simply not having the lands available to play those decks.

Figuring out the mana base for each deck I make is like a logic puzzle. You take all the information you have (lands in Standard) and lay them out in front of you. Based on the cards in your deck, you choose how many of each available land you want to play. Do you have an aggressive deck? If so, you probably don’t want too many lands that come out tapped. If you’re playing more of a control deck, you have time to play more powerful lands that enter tapped but provide more colours of mana for later in the game.

It’s a fine line to manage, but it’s part of the intrigue of deckbuilding.

Before I go into the five-card mana cycles of Dominaria, I want to talk about two other lands coming in the set. Here are Cabal Stronghold and Zhalfirin Void:

cabalstrongholdzhalfirinvoid1

Being able to produce a lot of mana with one land is a key strategy to gain some much-needed ramp and cast those high casting cost spells. Cabal Stronghold looks to do that for today’s Standard. We’ve seen a similar land in the past with Cabal Coffers, but that included all Swamps, not just basic swamps like Cabal Stronghold does. Let’s break down how much mana you will get based on how many swamps you have on the battlefield.

4 Swamps and 1 Cabal Stronghold – This will provide you 5 mana from 5 lands.
5 Swamps and 1 Cabal Stronghold – This will provide you 7 mana from 6 lands.
6 Swamps and 1 Cabal Stronghold – This will provide you 9 mana from 7 lands.
7 Swamps and 1 Cabal Stronghold – This will provide you 11 mana from 8 lands.

As you can see, each additional Swamp you have in play will provide two extra mana total. But does it make a difference if you have two Cabal Stronghold on the battlefield?

3 Swamps and 2 Cabal Stronghold – This will provide you 5 mana from 5 lands.
4 Swamps and 2 Cabal Stronghold – This will provide you 6 mana from 6 lands.
5 Swamps and 2 Cabal Stronghold – This will provide you 9 mana from 7 lands.
6 Swamps and 2 Cabal Stronghold – This will provide you 12 mana from 8 lands.

For each additional Swamp after that, you will get three additional mana. It can’t be better with three Cabal Stronghold’s though, can it?

2 Swamps and 3 Cabal Stronghold – This will provide you 5 mana from 5 lands.
3 Swamps and 3 Cabal Stronghold – This will provide you 6 mana from 6 lands.
4 Swamps and 3 Cabal Stronghold – This will provide you 7 mana from 7 lands.
5 Swamps and 3 Cabal Stronghold – This will provide you 11 mana from 8 lands.

For each additional Swamp after that, you will get four additional mana. As you can see, the number of Cabal Stronghold you have on the battlefield will affect how much mana you will gain.

The other land is Zhalifirin Void which produces colourless mana, but provides a great ability when it enters the battlefield. Whenever a land can produce mana with an added ability and not enter tapped, I call that a win.

Having Scry on a land is a powerful ability that we’ve seen before with a cycle of lands in the Theros block which included Temple of Silence. Card selection is great to have and the drawback on this land is that it only produces colourless mana. If your deck can get away with that, I would recommend playing Zhalifirin Void as often as possible.

Now I’m going to be talking about the first five-card mana cycle in the uncommon slot. We have had cycles of lands before that you are able to sacrifice to give you some additional value later in the game. In Battle for Zendikar, it was a five-card cycle of lands that produced colourless mana and a coloured mana ability to gain some late game value. This included the uncommon card Blighted Fen. All the lands required you to pay four mana or more on top of sacrificing them to get that added value.

Now, let’s look at the five-card land cycle that Dominaria is bringing us:

memorialtounity

memorialtowar

memorialtofolly

memorialtogenius

memorialtoglory

Each of these lands enter the battlefield tapped, which is a negative, but being able to provide coloured mana is a plus. Now it’s time to rank the abilities of these five lands.

#5 – Memorial to War – Paying five mana to destroy a land will rarely be worth the trade. It’s an expensive price to pay for each player losing a land.
#4 – Memorial to Glory – Getting two 1/1 creatures can be nice, but I really wish these would have been Knights instead of Soldiers.
#3 – Memorial to Folly – Being able to get back a powerful creature at the end of your turn will bring a second life to one of your best creatures.
#2 – Memorial to Unity – This will allow you to get some better card selection by perusing the top five cards of your library to get the best creature possible to cast the following turn.
#1 – Memorial to Genius – Nothing beats card advantage. Nothing.

The second five-card mana cycle is a reprint cycle from Innistrad. Don’t worry though, it’s got some new Dominaria art on them to make it more set appropriate. Here are the enemy colour check lands.

woodlandcemetery1

sulfurfalls1

hinterlandharbor1

isolatedchapel1

clifftopretreat1

Having another set of check lands in Standard (see ally colour checklands from Ixalan) provides another set of dual lands that can come into play untapped starting on turn two. If you add in the dual land cycle from Kaladesh that includes lands like Blooming Marsh, there’s a nice set of dual lands to choose from. It’s also great that both sets of check lands work with the cycle lands from Amonkhet.

Now, it’s time to look at some example card pools for which you can choose your lands from. I’ll provide an example mana pool for each scenario.

Two-Colour Ally Colours (Blue/Black)

4 Aether Hub
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Fetid Pools
7 Swamp
7 Island

Two-Colour Enemy Colours (Red/White)

4 Unclaimed Territory
4 Inspiring Vantage
4 Clifftop Retreat
6 Mountain
6 Plains

Three-Colour Wedge (Green/Blue/Red)

3 Botanical Sanctum
3 Spirebluff Canal
3 Rootbound Crag
3 Sheltered Thicket
3 Hinterland Harbor
3 Sulfur Falls
2 Forest
2 Mountain
3 Island

Three-Colour Shard (Red/Green/Black)

3 Blooming Marsh
3 Woodland Cemetery
3 Canyon Slough
3 Dragonskull Summit
3 Rootbound Crag
3 Sheltered Thicket
3 Swamp
2 Forest
2 Mountain

As you can, even though the Standard mana base is pulling its card pool from only seven sets, there are still plenty of mana base combinations available. Hopefully this guide will help you when building your next Standard deck.

Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Dominaria this week. Join me again next week as Dominaria prerelease week starts on the Daily Dose.