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martes, mayo 29, 2007

Schools of Magic - mana requirements

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Minimize Mana Requirements _Spells should have the lowest casting cost possible, even if the effect is less impressive._ Under this principle, a White Knight is better than a Knight of >Dawn just because it requires 1 less mana to cast, even though the Knight of Dawn can have protection from any color at the cost of WW. A White Knight is a better choice even when compared t o a truly powerful creature, such as a Zhalfirin Crusader - whose redirection powers can be dangerous indeed. Nonetheless, in many situations and in many decks, the White Knight would be a better choice simply because of the lower mana requirement. Minimizing mana requirements includes minimizing the color requirements as well. For example, given the choice between a Azure Drake and a Fighting Drake, both 2/4 flyers identical in just about every respect, I would pick the Azure Drake every time simpl y because it requires one fewer colored mana. Choosing between a Fireball and a Rolling Thunder is usually not even a question: Fireball costs one less total and costs RX as opposed to RRX. The Third Principle has this corollary: overload the color mana supply. The flip-side of minimizing the color requirement is to make sure your mana supply - total and colored - is more than adequate to support the cards drawn. One rule of thumb that is of ten cited is that mana should be one-third of your deck size. In a 60-card tournament deck, that translates to 20 sources of mana. I believe that 40-45% is the proper ratio of mana-to-spells, which is broken down to colored mana support in the range of 3 3-40%, depending on the deck, and 5-15% "alternative mana". What does this mean, exactly? Colored mana support is the lifeblood of the strategy. The goal is the ensure that no matter what card is drawn, it can be cast without being concerned about being color-locked (i.e., when you don't have the requisite colored mana to cast the spell). In a deck where only two spells cost WW (let's say Wrath of God), one might include upwards of 14-16 sources of white mana, typically using multilands of one type or another. If one includes a third or fourth "splash" color wher e you have only one card in that color, the mana ratio should work out to 3-4 sources of that color mana. In terms of total mana ratio, "alternative mana" refers to things which may not be colored mana but could possibly become colored mana (e.g., Fellwar Stones, Diamonds, Birds of Paradise, Fyndhorn Elves, Dark Ritual, etc.), could get colored mana (e.g., Fetchlands, Tithe, Harrow, Rampant Growth, etc.), or do double-duty as colorless mana (e.g., Quicksand, Wasteland, Mind Stone, etc.). A 60-card deck with 10 basic lands in the primary color, 4 pain lands in the primary and secondary allied color, 2 Gemstone Mines/City of Brass/etc., and 4 basic lands in the secondary color gives you 16 sources of primary color and 10 sources of secondar y color. In addition, 4 Dark Rituals and 4 Quicksands add 8 "alternative mana" sources for a total of 28, or about 46% of the deck. Colored mana support, in both the primary and the secondary, is 20 or 33%. The 8 alternative mana makes about 13%. This is probably adequate for most strategies where black is the primary color and there are perhaps 8 non-black secondary color spells (e.g., 4 Incinerate, 2 Earthquake, 2 Kaervek's Torch). Other decks, however, may go up to 32 or so mana sources by including more land or things like artifact or creature mana.

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