Hello awesome folks! I hope that your day is going incredibly well today! Today I want to look at what I feel are underused mana rocks in the game of Commander which loves mana rocks. Some mana rocks like Sol Ring and Chromatic Lantern and Arcane Signet are classics of the format. Mana rocks are often played in decks in numbers from 5 to 10 in most non-Green builds that don't have Green ramping to help out. That means they are pretty heavily played in this format, and there are many that just are not getting the play they deserve, and we'll look at those here in a moment. Today we'll be looking at mana rocks that have been in print for more than 1 year, as well as (mostly) coming in under 10k in deck registrations over at EDHREC.com.
Ready? Let's do it too it!
Honorable Mention #1. Paradise Plume
3825 uses. This is a double mana Fire Diamond for red decks that doesn't arrive tapped to the battlefield so you can use it on the turn you dropped it. Whenever any player casts spells of the chosen color, you gain a life, which could be quite a nice life boost in a multiplayer game, you could easily gain 2-3 life per round in the right color and metagame from just a mana rock slot. This really likes any mono-color brew other than Green which ramps with Cultivate, not mana rocks. Thiis is also pretty cheap on the secondary market. I also love this in life gain decks since you'll gain life more than once for your triggers.
Honorable Mention #2. Sol Talisman with a shout out to Mox Tantalite
15385 and 7803 registered. The first is a suspend version of Sol Ring that you can cast on the first turn with suspend and when wait and use it on turn 4 for two mana, so a 6 drop Commander can be cast on turn 4 with it. Nice! And then the second is a suspend Manalith that's not as good, but still has options. Both are free for cascade and similar effects that care about casting cost, like the 1 cost or fewer artifact enablers like Artificer's Intuition. You can bring them back very nicely for mana to things like Goblin Welder. Love this pair a lot!
Honorable Mention #3. Firemind Vessel
10725 uses. This fun thing enters the battlefield tapped and produces two of different colors of mana. Ever been screwed by a rock like this tapping for just one color of mana like Gilded Lotus? Here you can make two, which is great for Commanders that cost at least two different colors of mana since you can tap to make two here, and this is really strong there with two, three, four, and five color Commanders. It's better the more colors your deck has, and that's pretty common in Commander. We'll look at another option for that next!
#10. Dungeon Map
This thing is used 4705 times! This can tap for a colorless, and you can tap it and three mana later in the game after you no longer need the mana to venture into a dungeon. Even on its own, that's pretty good and you don't need a dedicated venture deck to make this thing work. Look at your dungeons and get a free scry or 1/1 dork or life or other good things over time. It's so nice that you can play it thrice that many times easily.
#9. Tome of the Guildpact
This is the mana rock I referred to earlier about being better with more colors 4117 are here. This 5-drop Manalith will draw you a card as you cast multicolor spells, which should be pretty good pretty quickly, and getting card flow from your mana rock source is worth the extra mana needed to drop it. This will clearly break multicolored decks. Did you forget this existed?
#8. The Banner Cycle
Abzan Banner has 1143 as an example. Mana rocks that sacrifice for card have been heavily played since we had them in Weatherlight's Mind Stone a classic EDH card. The ability to get three different mana from the Banner and sacrifice it for a card after your mana is set is pretty nice. It's strong in any three-color deck like Temur and Sultai. For example, there are 1223 Sultai Banners registered in the massively popular color combo, and I like this more than your normal Manalith there. I also love this in recursive decks like Muldrotha, the Gravetide.
#7. The Locket Cycle
The example Azorius Locket is 6725: Just like the Banner cycle that just hit, this 10-set of budget-friendly options taps for the two mana, and can be sacrificed for four mana to draw two cards, and it has all of the benefits of the previous cycle, but can be played in more brews since it just taps for two colors of mana. Drawing two cards for just one more mana than the Banner (and an easier to use cost) makes this card advantage.
#6. Guardian Idol and Ebony Fly
7716 and 6684, respectively. Each is a 2-drop, enters the battlefield tapped, and then taps for colorless. The first will become a 2/2 dork for two mana and the second will become a d6 X/X flyer for 4 mana, and then it gives a dork you control flying when it swings. I run them in the same sort of homes - where we need more bodies than we can squeeze in so getting them in mana rocks is pretty nice. Since we call lands that become dorks "Man Lands" I guess these are Creature Rocks that also are Mana Rocks. Weird right. These are very underplayed, and I like activating them after a mass removal spell on a naked board and then getting in some punches. There are other Man-a Rocks that are out there as well that are not played that much like Dire Mimic and Fountain of Ichor and Foriysian Totem. We'll see more hitting later! I run these sorts of artifacts in Abe's Deck of Happiness and Joy all day long.
Top Five Time!
#5. Spectral Searchlight
7692 registrations over at EDHREC.com. This is in the Manalith school of Mana Rocks that has an ability on a three drop tap for any color of mana. In this case, you can give that mana to another. I really like this in multiplayer where you can tap and give the mana screwed player an extra mana on their turn. You can also give away mana in a Group Hug brew. You can gang up on the nasty Commander by giving someone the white mana they need for that Vindicate. You can give the tapped out player the mana to cast Swords to Plowshares. And you can just use this as a straight up Manalith. Lovely! I also run this in Abe's Deck of Happiness and Joy as well.
#4. Letter of Acceptance
4698 for this Manalith variant. This combines the sacrifice for a card of the Banner cycle and Mind Stone with a Manalith, and this is pretty strong. This is our second-highest scoring Manalith variant. This is nice card flow. And then you can add it in decks that care about sacrifices like Academy Ruins and Mayhem Devil. This is also pretty nice as a backup Manalith that can be sacrificed once our mana is set and unlike Mind Stone this makes the mana you need. This also makes any color of mana, unlike things like Arcane Signet so if you steal something with an activation ability not in your color identity you can activate it.
#3. Two Color Mana Rocks that Turn into Dorks
Getting a free dork from your mana rocks are a key part of impacting the board, as we discussed before. Kolaghan Monument is in 854 decks and Boros Keyrune in 1845. Both tap for two colors of mana and add to your creature count stealing wins out of nowhere and blocking lethal attacks on you out of nowhere. These are great in two color decks. I also like Man-a Rocks in Group Slug brews that punish players for dropping creatures to the battlefield. My super secret tech is Tainted Aether, but things like Aether Flash will skip these as well. I also like them in creatureless decks where you still might want creatures to swing and block. Good stuff; win tough!
#2. Doubling Cube
7438 people use this card. I'm shocked this classic mana ramper doesn't get three times the play. This fun thing costs two, taps for three, and then doubles your mana, which is very strong in loads of places. Note that the type will stay so snow mana, colorless mana and blue mana will be doubled quite ably. I love this in mono-Black decks with Cabal Coffers and any mono-colored brew with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. I also enjoy this in Simic ramp, X spell decks like Rosheen Meanderer and other good things. It's pretty strong from where I am sitting, and it does good things.
#1. Bonder's Ornament
6407 used by this common. Our top-scoring common, Manalith, and card overall is this fun thing! This can act as a Manalith all day long and then tap for Jayemdae Tome mana to draw a card for everyone who also controls a Bonder's Ornament. How are there just 6407 registered? Forget sacrificing for cards, this will just draw you cards right up front. You are unlikely to give another player a card, in 100 card decks that cannot use more than one basic land, but if you do, that's still a Temple Bell activation, and then they can activate, and you'll draw. Why aren't you playing this card draw machine in your mana rock section more?
And there we go! What did you think of my list? Anything in here that I missed or got into the wrong order? Just let me know!