Mana burn

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Mana burn is an obsolete game concept in which a player would experience loss of life points for having excess mana in his or her mana pool when a phase ends. For instance, if a player tapped a Swamp to cast Dark Ritual, which would give that player Manab.gifManab.gifManab.gif in his or her mana pool, then cast Erg Raiders (which costs Mana1.gifManab.gif), and then let the phase end in which Erg Raiders was cast but did not spend the remaining Manab.gif, that player would lose 1 life from mana burn.

The rules update to Magic 2010 has removed this part from the game. [1] Players do not suffer loss of life for unused mana anymore.

Rules[edit | edit source]

THIS RULES TEXT IS OBSOLETE From the Comprehensive Rules:

  • 300. General
    • 300.3. When a phase ends (but not a step), any unused mana left in a player’s mana pool is lost. That player loses 1 life for each one mana lost this way. This is called mana burn. Mana burn is loss of life, not damage, so it can’t be prevented or altered by effects that affect damage. This game action doesn’t use the stack. (See rule 406, “Mana Abilities.”)

History[edit | edit source]

Mana burn was almost removed in the Sixth Edition rules update, but Mark Rosewater fought to keep it in. Ten years later, he fought to have it removed. His reasons to remove it were that it would free up design space, do away with a rule that's confusing for new players and that it's a rule that wasn't pulling its weight.[1]

He tried it out in design by having all designers play without mana burn for a month. It hadn't come up in playtests at all during the whole month. [2]

In-world meaning[edit | edit source]

In storylines mana burn happens when a wizard holds mana and doesn't use it to cast the spell. Such a wizard can seriously suffer from it, be killed, or even be burned to ash if the amount of mana was too big. Some victims of mana burn can be also be turned into the Fallen.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mark Rosewater. (June 22, 2009.) "Magic Lessons", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater. (August 13, 2014.) "why was mana burn removed from the game?", Blogatog, Tumblr.