Colorless Mana and You

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Aeralis
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Colorless Mana and You

Postby Aeralis » 25 Jan 2016, 14:11

I'm quite fascinated and confused by all these new cards that require colorless mana, and the Wastes that support them. I'm curious to see what more experienced players think about them. I can already tell that building a pure colorless deck probably isn't the best idea, but how seriously should one consider colorless as its own color type when mixing with other colors?

Also, I got a Kozilek out of my fat pack and kinda want to build him his own Commander deck. How viable an idea does that sound? And would that require all cards with the colorless requirement, or would all older "any mana goes" colorless cards also be allowed in?
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby SixFootTurkey » 25 Jan 2016, 15:33

In terms of fixing/mana bases, it will be treated basically like another color. Of note though, is that the 'fixing' for colorless mana is entirely different than that of colored mana; it will likely be much easier to achieve the critical mass of sources of colorless mana than colored, regardless of format. (Pain lands for instance, are an easy way of providing colorless and colored mana.)

"A card can be included in a Commander deck only if every color in its color identity is also found in the color identity of the deck’s commander."

Cards only gain a color identity by having a colored mana symbol on them (in cost or rules text), being granted a color by a CDA, or having a color indicator. Colorless and generic mana costs do not impart color, as such they can be in any deck that would otherwise be able to have them (i.e., if it doesn't have any colors, it can be in any deck).
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Avistew
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby Avistew » 25 Jan 2016, 15:38

With a colorless Commander, you would be able to run colorless cards as well as generic cards. Generic Mana being the number that doesn't specify any symbol, while colorless now has its own symbol.

Also, "generic" is only a cost, so anything creating mana that didn't specify a color now creates colorless mana, as I understand (judges, correct me if I'm wrong).

Your main issue is that I think you cannot run lands of a color that isn't in your Commander's cost, which would mean the only basic lands you can run are Wastes, and non-basic lands, mana rocks and so on you can only run one of in Commander, so that could be pretty tricky at this point.

You can consider colorless its own color type, but it's still not a color. So as I understand, colorless cards don't share a color with one another and things like that. Again, a judge would be more helpful here.

I love Wastes and other colorless cards, but I'm thinking it's not quite viable as a monocolor deck right now.

Actually, I have a question too. Can you run colorless with a Commander that does not have that symbol, because it's not actually a color, or does any Commander need to have the colorless symbol for you to run colorless cards?
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby AdmiralMemo » 25 Jan 2016, 16:17

The only way that colorless-specific costs function like a color is in deck-building concerns, making sure you have the mana to cast them. A mono-red deck is going to be different from a red/glass deck, for example.

But once the game starts, it's all off. Colorless is not a color. This answers the last question: you can run colorless cards with any colored Commander.
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby Antitonic » 25 Jan 2016, 19:28

As someone running a Karn, Silver Golem commander deck, don't let anyone tell you colourless commanders are non-viable. If anything, including Eldrazi probably makes it easier than my self-imposed (semi-)Golem Tribal.
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Aeralis
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby Aeralis » 25 Jan 2016, 21:10

So if a Commander were to only have "generic" cost and no specifically colorless mana cost (like the old Kozilek), would that deck be allowed to use Wastes?

I guess what I'm mainly hung up on is if this new colorless mana concept is truly considered a specific kind of mana, or if it's just a roundabout way of saying "this card can be cast with any mana, but a portion of it MUST be colorless." Maybe I'm thinking too hard about Wastes?
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby Duckay » 25 Jan 2016, 22:24

The best way I can think to explain it is that "glass" (the mana that Wastes produce) functions a little like a new colour but is not a new colour.

If your commander's colour identity is colourless (I.e. If it casts for colourless or for generic and has no other signifiers of colour like coloured activated abilities), you can use Wastes in your deck.
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby AdmiralMemo » 25 Jan 2016, 23:49

Duckay wrote:The best way I can think to explain it is that "glass" (the mana that Wastes produce) functions a little like a new colour but is not a new colour.

If your commander's colour identity is colourless (I.e. If it casts for colourless or for generic and has no other signifiers of colour like coloured activated abilities), you can use Wastes in your deck.
You can use Wastes in any Commander deck, not just colorless ones. They have no color identity, therefore they can be used. Sol Ring or Basalt Monolith or whatever produce ✧, and we've been using them for years in colored Commander decks. Wastes are just another ✧ producer.

Whether you'd need to add Wastes to a colored Commander deck, or if it's a good idea, that's a different story, depending on deck construction. But you certainly can add them.
Aeralis wrote:I guess what I'm mainly hung up on is if this new colorless mana concept is truly considered a specific kind of mana, or if it's just a roundabout way of saying "this card can be cast with any mana, but a portion of it MUST be colorless."
Yes. The second. The second is how to think about it. The "new" colorless mana isn't new. Sol Ring has made it and you've been using that for years.

With colorless mana, only 2 things have changed with OGW:

1. Colorless mana has a new symbol now: ✧
This symbol separates it from generic mana, which can be paid for by any color or colorless. This is a change that should have occurred back sometime around Time Spiral, but WotC dragged their feet about it.
This part of the change seems to be the most confusing to people, but it's really something along the lines of the tap symbol going from a tilted T to an arrow. The notation is new, but the function is the same.

2. Never before has anything specifically cost colorless mana.
From Alpha up to BFZ, everything has cost colored and/or generic mana. And nothing has produced generic mana. Everything has produced either colored or colorless mana. The thing that trips up most people is that colorless mana has only previously been able to be used in generic costs. Because there were only generic and colored costs, and colorless couldn't pay for colored costs, it was used for generic, and that's where the two got conflated. This is why people could easily ignore it as a "constraint" in deck-building before now. With the new specifically-colorless costs, though, you can't just stick Kozilek in a mono-red deck and run all Mountains, expecting to cast him. (Technically, you could, if you ran some mana rocks that produce ✧ like Sol Ring or Basalt Monolith, but it might be easier to just add a few Wastes.) You have to factor in what your deck produces vs. your costs, and this now includes colorless costs, which you need to have colorless mana producers (of which there are currently 322 in MtG history) to pay for.

If people could get the two ideas of "Colorless is not a color" and "Wastes aren't the only thing that produce ✧ mana" into their heads, they'll have a much easier time with this, I think.
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby Duckay » 25 Jan 2016, 23:55

Sorry, yes, you are correct. I got a little tunnel-visioned on the question asked and was trying to say that it didn't matter if the Commander had glass in its mana cost, and in so doing communicated badly.
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby AdmiralMemo » 26 Jan 2016, 00:12

Ah. That's a good way to put it as well. :-)
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby Booster » 26 Jan 2016, 11:36

I really think a lot of this confusion would have been solved if they had made the notation change in BFZ or even in origins. Get people used to the new symbol, allow them to wrap their heads around the fact that it is purely a change in notation, and THEN introduce wastes and colourless specific costs with Oath. It would have probably stopped a fair bit of this "They added a 6th colour!" nonsense.
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Aeralis
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby Aeralis » 26 Jan 2016, 12:52

Thanks for the clarifications everyone!
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AdmiralMemo
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby AdmiralMemo » 26 Jan 2016, 19:22

Yes, of course... And as I've mentioned several times in various places, Maro agreed. It should've been in BFZ, but he was overruled.

There's logic in only revealing it when it's mechanically relevant, but I think the other factors are more important.
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James: Who cares about that question? That's a good answer.

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SixFootTurkey
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Re: Colorless Mana and You

Postby SixFootTurkey » 30 Jan 2016, 00:36

It's easy to second guess decisions when there's no way to prove one way or another what might have happened. There's also a decent chance we don't know all of the factors that went into the decision.

Instead, let's work on ways to making sure the mechanic as it was presented, is clear to as many people as possible. ^^

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