Mana cost

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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.

Some effects, like those on Fist of Suns or Herald of Kozilek, may allow alternate or altered payments, but do not change the mana cost itself.

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.

Sometimes, the apparent color inferred from the cost is overridden by a color indicator, or a characteristic-defining ability such as devoid.

Various mana costs[edit | edit source]

The colorless mana costs are represented by {C} and the colored mana costs are represented by {W}, {U}, {B}, {R}, and {G}.

However apart from that there is a wide variety of mana costs used in the game.

Generic mana cost[edit | edit source]

Main article: Generic mana cost

Generic mana is the most common form of mana cost. It can be paid with all six types of mana.

  • {X} = X mana of any type (where X is defined somewhere on the card)
  • {1} = 1 mana of any type
  • {2} = 2 mana of any type
  • {3} = 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 {0} is used to denote zero mana cost.

It is not to be confused with a non-existing mana cost, which can not be paid. Non-land cards with a non-existing mana cost can not be played.

Snow mana cost[edit | edit source]

Main article: Snow

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 {S} or S are used to denote snow mana cost.

Hybrid mana cost[edit | edit source]

Main article: Hybrid mana

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]

Main article: Phyrexian mana

Phyrexian mana is a type of mana symbol first introduced in New Phyrexia. There are five Phyrexian mana symbols, one for each color: ({W/P}, {U/P}, {B/P}, {R/P}, {G/P}). 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]

They 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.

Examples

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Shadows over Innistrad (April 8, 2016))

202. Mana Cost and Color

  • 202.1. A card’s mana cost is indicated by mana symbols near the top of the card. (See rule 107.4.) On most cards, these symbols are printed in the upper right corner. Some cards from the Future Sight set have alternate frames in which the mana symbols appear to the left of the illustration.
  • 202.1a The mana cost of an object represents what a player must spend from his or her mana pool to cast that card. Unless an object’s mana cost includes Phyrexian mana symbols (see rule 107.4f), paying that mana cost requires matching the type of any colored or colorless mana symbols as well as paying the generic mana indicated in the cost.
  • 202.1b Some objects have no mana cost. This normally includes all land cards, any other cards that have no mana symbols where their mana cost would appear, tokens (unless the effect that creates them specifies otherwise), and nontraditional Magic cards. Having no mana cost represents an unpayable cost (see rule 117.6). Note that lands are played without paying any costs (see rule 305, “Lands”).
  • 202.2. An object is the color or colors of the mana symbols in its mana cost, regardless of the color of its frame.
  • 202.2a The five colors are white, blue, black, red, and green. The white mana symbol is represented by {W}, blue by {U}, black by {B}, red by {R}, and green by {G}.
Example: An object with a mana cost of {2}{W} is white, an object with a mana cost of {2} is colorless, and one with a mana cost of {2}{W}{B} is both white and black.
  • 202.2b Objects with no colored mana symbols in their mana costs are colorless.
  • 202.2c An object with two or more different colored mana symbols in its mana cost is each of the colors of those mana symbols. Most multicolored cards are printed with a gold frame, but this is not a requirement for a card to be multicolored.
  • 202.2d An object with one or more hybrid mana symbols and/or Phyrexian mana symbols in its mana cost is all of the colors of those mana symbols, in addition to any other colors the object might be. (Most cards with hybrid mana symbols in their mana costs are printed in a two-tone frame. See rule 107.4e.)
  • 202.2e An object may have a color indicator printed to the left of the type line. That object is each color denoted by that color indicator. (See rule 204.)
  • 202.2f Effects may change an object’s color, give a color to a colorless object, or make a colored object become colorless; see rule 105.3.
  • 202.3. The converted mana cost of an object is a number equal to the total amount of mana in its mana cost, regardless of color.
Example: A mana cost of {3}{U}{U} translates to a converted mana cost of 5.
  • 202.3a The converted mana cost of an object with no mana cost is 0, unless that object is the back face of a double-faced permanent.
  • 202.3b The converted mana cost of a double-faced permanent’s back face is calculated as though it had the mana cost of its front face. This is a change from previous rules. If a permanent is a copy of the back face of a double-faced card (even if the card representing that copy is itself a double-faced card), the converted mana cost of that permanent is 0.
Example: Huntmaster of the Fells is a double-faced card with mana cost {2}{R}{G}. Its converted mana cost is 4. After it transforms to its other face (Ravager of the Fells), its converted mana cost remains 4.
Example: A Clone enters the battlefield as a copy of Ravager of the Fells. Its converted mana cost is 0.
Example: Insectile Aberration is the back face of a double-faced card whose front face has mana cost {U}. It becomes a copy of Ravager of the Fells. Its converted mana cost becomes 0.
  • 202.3c When calculating the converted mana cost of an object with an {X} in its mana cost, X is treated as 0 while the object is not on the stack, and X is treated as the number chosen for it while the object is on the stack.
  • 202.3d When calculating the converted mana cost of an object with a hybrid mana symbol in its mana cost, use the largest component of each hybrid symbol.
Example: The converted mana cost of a card with mana cost {1}{W/U}{W/U} is 3.
Example: The converted mana cost of a card with mana cost {2/B}{2/B}{2/B} is 6.
  • 202.3e Each Phyrexian mana symbol in a card’s mana cost contributes 1 to its converted mana cost.
Example: The converted mana cost of a card with mana cost {1}{W/P}{W/P} is 3.
  • 202.4. Any additional cost listed in an object’s rules text or imposed by an effect isn’t part of the mana cost. (See rule 601, “Casting Spells.”) Such costs are paid at the same time as the spell’s other costs.

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 {S} in a cost is similar to the symbol {1}, but the mana must come from a snow permanent. It can't be paid with mana produced by nonsnow permanents.
  • When paying for {S}, 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.
  • {S} is not a color, you can't add {S} 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 {Y} and {Z} are obsolete.

External links[edit | edit source]