September 20, 2019

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Daily Dose of Throne of Eldraine #12 – Analyzing the new Standard Mana Base

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Throne of Eldraine. Today I’m going to be talking to you about the new Standard mana base. Now that the final puzzle pieces that are the Throne of Eldraine lands, we can piece together what kind of mana bases we might see in the upcoming Standard season. Throne of Eldraine has provided us with two new cycles of lands. Before I talk about those cycles, here are two very deck specific lands.

Tournament Grounds is a very good for a Knights deck, but doesn’t have much use outside of that. It’s nice for the Knight deck with Unclaimed Territory rotating out. The most exciting land is Fabled Passage. This super Evolving Wilds allows you to search for any basic land and have it enter untapped if you have four or more lands on the battlefield. This is a huge upgrade and is a great way to get the lands you need.

Now onto the land cycles, first off is a common land cycle that taps for one colour of mana and has the possibility of coming onto the battlefield untapped.

For the first three turns of the game or longer these lands will enter the battlefield tapped and do nothing. I would not hold them in my hand if I don’t have any other lands in my hand, so I don’t fall behind in the mana race. If you can put them on the battlefield later in the game, they do provide a sweet value-added bonus that you don’t normally see from lands. A great part of each of these lands is that they have a basic land type which will come into play with out next cycle of lands.

This isn’t the only land cycle though as they have decided to not give us a dual land cycle this time, but a rare land cycle that taps for one colour of mana and provides an activated ability.

This rare land cycle is getting under valued now and players should not shut these lands down right away. Other than turn 1, they will enter the battlefield untapped like check lands from this past Standard. Each of them provides a mid-to-late game reusable ability that gains you value outside of mana that you don’t usually get from lands. With Field of Ruin no longer available in Standard with no similar replacement in sight, these value lands will be hard to remove from the battlefield and should provide value for the second half of the game.

Mono-Coloured Mana Base

Now I want to talk about support that exists for different mana bases in Standard and what they might look like. I want to start off with an example of a mono-coloured mana base.

12 Swamp
4 Castle Lochthwain
4 Witch’s Cottage
4 Fabled Passage

Here is an example of a mono-black mana base with the current lands in Standard. As you can see it plays 3 new lands from Throne of Eldraine. The number of Witch’s Cottage and Fabled Passage you play in the deck is probably dependant on how aggressive your deck is and how many early plays you have in your deck. With this orientation, on turn 1, 50% of your lands will enter the battlefield tapped. On turns 2 and 3, unless you play consecutive Castle Lochthwain, your land enters the battlefield untapped 67% of the time. On turn 4, your lands will all enter the battlefield untapped unless you have multiple Castle Lochthwain’s on the battlefield. The number of basic swamps to utility lands can be changed depending on what you need. The Fabled Passage’s are great at thinning out your deck and making sure you draw your impact cards more often.

Two-coloured Mana Base (Allied Colours)

Allied coloured mana bases lose dual lands in the form of check lands like Sunpetal Grove and don’t yet have Scry Lands like Temple of Epiphany. Here is an example of an allied two-colour mana base.

5 Forest
5 Plains
2 Castle Garenbrig
2 Castle Arvendale
4 Temple Garden
2 Blossoming Sands
4 Fabled Passage

Unless heavily skewed towards one colour, I would probably stay away from playing the new common land cycle. I’d rather play Blossoming Sands over Selesnya Guildgate due to the life gain bonus. On turn 1, you can have a land enter the battlefield untapped 14/24 times (58.3%). Turns 2 and 3, your lands will enter the battlefield untapped about 18/24 times (75%). Then on turn 4, everything will enter the battlefield except for the Blossoming Sands.  This would have been better with some more dual lands but still not too bad. Colour consistency will also be a little less than we are used to in Standard, but with only two colours, it should be fine.

Two-coloured Mana Base (Enemy Colours)

Enemy coloured mana bases also lose a dual land in the form of check lands like Sulfur Falls, but unlike allied coloured mana bases it does have the scry lands available to them. Here is an example of an allied two-colour mana base.

5 Mountain
5 Island
2 Castle Embereth
2 Castle Vantress
4 Steam Vents
4 Temple of Epiphany
2 Fabled Passage

This is like the allied coloured mana base with the exception that you have more 8 dual lands instead of 6. The scry lands allow you to get a bit more value out of your lands compared to the life gain lands. On turn 1, you can have a land enter the battlefield untapped 14/24 times (58.3%). Turns 2 and 3, your lands will enter the battlefield untapped about 18/24 times (75%). On turn 4 and later, you will just have any Temple of Epiphany you play enter the battlefield tapped. More tap lands vs. better colour selection is the sacrifice you are making compared to allied coloured decks.

Three-coloured Mana Bases

1 Swamp
2 Mountain
1 Forest
1 Castle Garenbrig
1 Castle Embereth
1 Castle Locthwain
4 Blood Crypt
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Stomping Ground
2 Temple of Malady
3 Fabled Passage

The Castle lands become a little bit worse when you start to branch out to more colours for your deck. They will start to enter the battlefield untapped more often, so I would limit them to 1 or 2 of each. On turn 1, you can have a land enter the battlefield untapped 16/24 (66.7%), which is a little higher than 2-colour decks but at the cost of 2 life most of the time. Then on turns 2 and 3, your lands will enter the battlefield untapped about 19/24 times, but could be as low as 16/24. On turn 4 or later you are just looking at the two Temple of Malady entering the battlefield tapped.

Four or Five-coloured mana bases

I won’t put an example list here, but there will some decks that will want to play 5-colours, mainly a Golos, Tireless Pilgrim deck. It will be difficult to do with all the dual lands that have rotated out of Standard. You would have to play one of two lands of the 4th and 5th colours so that you make sure you are able to cast the rest of your deck consistently.

As you can see, the mana base for Standard has changed thanks to rotation. I can see the numbers on what lands you use changing on each deck build so there is no set template for each colour combination. Thanks again for joining me on the Daily Dose of Throne of Eldraine. Join me again tomorrow next week as we enter prerelease week here on the Daily Dose!