Mana cost, formerly printed and still colloquially known as casting cost, is the mana payment required to cast a spell or activate an ability. The mana cost of an object typically determines that object's color.
Description[edit | edit source]
Mana cost is a characteristic found in the upper-right corner of a card. It is exactly the set of symbols printed there, including color. Where a mana cost includes the symbol X, X is equal to the announced or defined value only while the spell or ability is on the stack. Elsewhere, X is zero.
The converted mana cost of a spell is the total amount of mana in the mana cost, independent of color or alternate payment options.
Color[edit | edit source]
Generally, the mana cost determines the color of an object. The object's color is simply the sum of all colors in its mana cost. Generic, zero, colorless, and snow mana symbols have no color, and thus no impact on the color of the object.
Various mana costs[edit | edit source]
The colorless mana costs are represented by and the colored mana costs are represented by , , , , and .
However, apart from that, there is a wide variety of mana costs used in the game.
Generic mana cost[edit | edit source]
Generic mana is the most common form of mana cost. It can be paid with all six types of mana.
- = X mana of any type (where X is defined somewhere on the card)
- = 1 mana of any type
- = 2 mana of any type
- = 3 mana of any type
- and so on.
Zero mana and non-existing cost[edit | edit source]
Zero mana is a mana cost which can be paid without spending resources. The symbol is used to denote zero mana cost.
It is not to be confused with a non-existing mana cost, which cannot be paid. Non-land cards with a non-existing mana cost cannot be played unless they have an alternative cost that can be paid.
Snow mana cost[edit | edit source]
Snow mana is a type of mana symbol first introduced in Ice Age and is featured in the corresponding block. It can be paid by any type of mana which was produced by a snow permanent. The symbols or S are used to denote snow mana cost.
Hybrid mana cost[edit | edit source]
Hybrid mana (also known as half-half mana) is a type of mana symbol first introduced in Ravnica: City of Guilds and featured throughout the Ravnica, Shadowmoor, and Alara Reborn blocks. Each hybrid mana symbol represents a cost which can be paid with either one of the two colors shown, which can either be two of the five colors, or one color and 2 generic mana.
Phyrexian mana cost[edit | edit source]
Phyrexian mana is a type of mana symbol first introduced in New Phyrexia. There are five Phyrexian mana symbols, one for each color: (, , , , ). Similar to hybrid mana, a Phyrexian mana symbol represents a cost which can be paid with either one mana of its color or by paying 2 life directly.
Generic representation[edit | edit source]
Mana costs can also be generically represented as M, MN, MNO, or MNOP. These generic representations are useful when discussing cards or cycles in different colors that have similar mana costs.
- Evermind has a non-existing mana cost and therefore can not be played.
- Ornithopter has a mana cost of , which means it can be cast for free.
- Martyred Rusalka has a mana cost of , or M generically.
- Dragon Wings has a mana cost of , or 1M generically.
- Keeper of the Dead has a mana cost of , or MM generically.
- Borborygmos has a mana cost of , or 3MMNN generically.
- Dromar's Charm has a mana cost of , or MNO generically.
- Ink-Treader Nephilim has a mana cost of , or MNOP generically.
- Sliver Queen has a mana cost of and has no need for a generic representation.
Rules[edit | edit source]
Rulings and Notes[edit | edit source]
- If a cost has an "X" in it, the mana cost equals the amount announced as part of playing the spell or ability while it is on the stack, but if the card in any other zone, X is treated as zero.
- An in a cost is similar to the symbol , but the mana must come from a snow permanent. It can't be paid with mana produced by nonsnow permanents.
- When paying for , it matters only if the permanents that produced the mana had supertype snow at the time the mana was produced. Changes before or after that time do not matter.
- is not a color, you can't add to your mana pool, and "snow mana" is not a type of mana.
- Colorless is not a color. See Rule 203.2c.
- The mana cost of a spell on the stack is the mana cost printed on the spell or ability being played. Only the choice value of X affects the mana cost. Other cost modifiers do not alter the mana cost.
- The mana cost symbols and are obsolete.
[edit | edit source]
- Zac Hill. (March 16, 2012.) “Blurring the Edges: Mana Cost”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Sam Stoddard. (May 10, 2013.) “Splitting Costs”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mike Flores. (February 24, 2014.) “Common Casting Costs”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mike Flores. (March 31, 2014.) “More Expensive Casting Costs”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Monty Ashley. (November 18, 2010.) “A History of Free Creatures”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.