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I'm working on a Commander deck and I'm looking at ways to ramp my mana that won't aid my opponents. I may eventually use all the listed ramp cards, but, I'd like to keep the restriction for the early game at least (when the draw gods smile on me). This deck will be a mono-red deck and one of the other players also plays mono-red (but not particularly effectively).

I want to avoid, where possible, handing the other mono-red player an advantage by playing cards like Gauntlet of Might or helping all the other players with something like Mana Flare.

An example of something I think will work is Extraplanar Lens with Snow Covered Mountains (SCM). It would work since I can be the sole player using SCMs and it works by naming the land card to benefit. I can also use Caged Sun since it's text specifically adds to my mana pool (presuming that tapping a SCM for red mana is "activating it's ability") and benefits creatures I control.

Gauntlet of Power is another obvious contender, since SCMs count as basic lands (they are, in fact of type "Basic Snow Land — Mountain" per Gatherer errata), but suffers the same problem as Gauntlet of Might with respect to aiding my red playing opponents.

If I pursue the Snow Covered strategy (they are very uncommon in this area) what other ramps can aid me without unduly aiding my opponents?

Are there other cards that might come to my aid if I dropped the snow-covered idea?

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Snow covered X ARE basic lands. Check the oracle. The Ice Age ones have errata. –  Affe Oct 11 '11 at 19:55
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I wouldn't necessarily worry too much about ramping up your opponents' mana. It might provide an incentive to some of them to help keep you alive! –  thesunneversets Oct 11 '11 at 20:29

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

In Commander, it's typical for decks of all colors to run "mana rocks" -- artifacts that generate mana. Some of the popular ones are: Sol Ring, Mind Stone, Thran Dynamo, Darksteel Ingot, Worn Powerstone, Dreamstone Hedron, Mana Vault, Mana Crypt. Some of these help with mana-fixing, others just produce colorless mana; the former is often helpful in a multi-color deck, but for mono-color you can just go with whatever's got the best resource yield. These cards are less sexy than straight-up mana doublers, but they'll give you a consistent edge right out the gate -- and usually draw less hate, to boot. (Spectral Searchlight is a pet card of mine I'd like to throw in here. It lets you play "friendly" by fixing someone else's mana or letting them cast some big spell a turn early, if you wish.)

Beyond mana rocks, any color deck can use Solemn Simulacrum, Pilgrim's Eye, Expedition Map (use it to tutor for cheaty lands like Coffers), and Doubling Cube. You can play mana Myrs if you seriously need the extra juice, but be ready for them to die to board wipes (Plague Myr deserves special notice -- slap some big equipment on him and he turns into a major threat).

There are colored cards that can do ramp, too. While green is known for ramping, being able to access almost the entire Vintage card pool (and getting to play higher-cost stuff because the game's not over in just a couple of turns) means every color has access to its own brand of acceleration.

For a red deck, I'd look to artifacts for ramp first and foremost, just for efficiency's sake. Red's in-color rampy stuff is nifty but I find it difficult to use.

If you're looking to generate prodigious amounts of mana to power out X spells, you can also get more bang for your buck with damage doublers like Fire Servant, Quest for Pure Flame, and Furnace of Rath; and copy effects like Reverberate (copied spells have the same X values and kickers as the original).

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Great answer, welcome to the site. –  Stephen Oct 12 '11 at 11:02
    
Excellent (and very full!) answer. –  thesunneversets Oct 12 '11 at 14:08
    
@Stephen Thanks! Don't entirely write off effects that benefit everyone, either. If your deck is much more tuned to benefiting from one of those than an opponent's, they still generate a good bit of advantage. I'd totally run Mana Flare in a deck with Kaervek and Insurrection, for instance -- you want everyone to play their big stuff. –  Alex P Oct 12 '11 at 14:49
    
@AlexP I'm not writing it off, but if and when I do it, I want it to be deliberate to benefit more than they do. Your tips really point to some great strategy ideas. –  Stephen Oct 12 '11 at 14:54
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Grim Monolith doesn't give infinite mana with Rings; Basalt Monolith does –  Daenyth Nov 7 '11 at 14:37

For instants and activated abilities, Braid of Fire is great now that mana burn is gone.

This is almost the equivalent of saying "Google it," but magiccards.info has a really powerful queries. For example, the following query gets all red and colorless spells with the words "mana pool" in the game text that also have red color identity:

http://magiccards.info/query?q=o%3A%22mana+pool%22+%28c%3Ac+or+c%21r%29+ci%3Ar&v=card&s=cname

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I think Braid of Fire is probably the best possible answer to this question. Stuff like Rite of Flame, Seething Song and Skirk Prospector are typical red mana acceleration of the "sacrifice multiple cards in the hope of a quick win" variety. That sort of placing all your eggs in one basket is hard enough to pull off in a 2-player game... even harder in multiplayer! Braid of Fire though offers pretty good bang for mono-red's buck. –  thesunneversets Oct 11 '11 at 21:35

Khalni Gem can also be used to reduce your number of lands in play.

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This would be a much improved answer if it explained how Khalni Gem could help you mana ramp. On the surface, it looks like a simple swap-out of two lands for an equivalent, having no net effect on the amount of mana you can produce. Is there more to it? –  doppelgreener Nov 11 '13 at 14:41

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