When using Tainted Field, can I use both abilities if I have a Swamp? I was told I can only use one ability or the other but not both, but I do not understand the benefit of using one over the other. They both basically seem the same to me.

  • @Tacroy Your title tweaks are certainly valid edits, but I would encourage you to also edit the rest of the question while you're at it. There's almost always something else you can improve! – Cascabel May 30 '13 at 17:24

They can both be used but only one can be used at a time. This is because to use either ability, you need to tap the card and it can not be tapped twice

The second ability lets you produce colored mana where the first ability only lets you produce colorless mana.

Note also that you must control a swamp in order to use the second ability.

So when you play that land, you can immidiatly tap it for colorless mana if you do not control a swamp. If you do control a swamp, then you can tap it for either a white or a black mana or a colorless mana. If you do not need specifically a white or a black mana, then yes both abilities produce one mana which can be used to pay a colorless cost.

This is of course important because unless you are playing with primarily artifacts, you are going to need mana of a specific color.

This card imparticular allows you to play one land that can produce a single mana of two different colors under specific circumstances. This is very usefull in a deck that has cards of the two colors in it.

Comprehensive rules:

All lands are permanents with no color that have at least one mana ability.

Basic lands have the ability to produce when tapped a single mana of their type.

305.6. The basic land types are Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest. If an object uses the words "basic land type," it's referring to one of these subtypes. A land with a basic land type has the intrinsic ability "{T}: Add [mana symbol] to your mana pool," even if the text box doesn't actually contain that text or the object has no text box. For Plains, [mana symbol] is {W}; for Islands, {U}; for Swamps, {B}; for Mountains, {R}; and for Forests, {G}. See rule 107.4a. Also see rule 605, "Mana Abilities."

  • I think I may have been playing wrong. Does that mean that if I had a card which specifically needed a Blue mana to play, then tainted field would not help me summon that card? I was tapping the first ability as any color I needed for certain cards. – Damainman May 30 '13 at 15:05
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    yes you have certainly been playing very wrong. One of the fundamental parts of MTG is casting costs and colors. producing a colorless mana does not produce a 'wild' mana it produces a mana with no color. This means if you need a blue mana, it is of no help to you. – Pow-Ian May 30 '13 at 15:07
  • check out rule 106 and 107 in the comprehensive rules. theat is where numbers and mana are defined. – Pow-Ian May 30 '13 at 15:11
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    the important thing here is that you do not need colorless mana to pay colorless costs, but you do need colored mana to pay colored costs. – Pow-Ian May 30 '13 at 15:23
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    @Damainman Please please don't try to learn the game from the comprehensive rules. They're insanely detailed and specific, to make sure there are definite rules for everything. Start with the basic rules, or even a computer version. – Cascabel May 30 '13 at 17:27

Don't confuse triggered abilities (which react to an event) and activated abilities.

If an object has two triggered abilities that trigger on the same event ("Whenever this becomes tapped, ..."), both will trigger.

If an object has two activated abilities ("{T}: ..."), they are can only be activated one at a time, and you need to pay the cost for each ability you want to activate. In fact, you can use an activated ability as often as you can pay the activation cost.

If you use Tainted Field's first ability, the land would normally be tapped, so you wouldn't be able to play the activation cost of either abilities again until your next turn.

Same goes for the second ability.

  • Thank you for the details. Can you provide an example of " In fact, you can use an activated ability as often as you can pay the activation cost." ? – Damainman May 30 '13 at 17:52
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    Dragon Hatchling. But even Tainted Field's abilities could be reused if you managed to untap Tainted Field somehow. – ikegami May 30 '13 at 17:58
  • You saying on the Dragon Hatchling, I can play 3 Red mana towards his ability and turn him into a 3/1 ? If so I have also been playing wrong in this regards as I would have only used that ability once with 1 red mana instead of using all my free red mana. – Damainman May 30 '13 at 20:49
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    Well, technically, you have to activate the ability three times for one mana, but the end result is indeed making it a 3/1 for 3 mana. (You can even do it after blockers are declared.) – ikegami May 30 '13 at 20:51
  • Exception: Basking Rootwalla – ikegami May 30 '13 at 20:58

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