So I am fairly new to Magic and I have read the entire rulebook multiple times and it never gave a clear answer," how many mana can I tap per turn", because to would just feel weird to be tapping all of the mana for example with my Arbor Colossus he requires 3 forest and 3 of any mana to attack, so if I get enough do I tap them all at once or do they stay tapped after each turn?

  • 7
    Arbor Colossus does not require any mana to attack.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 6:52
  • 2
    The basic question here is good, but the example is poor. It would be sweet if you could reword it to take out the inaccurate bits. :) Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 7:28

3 Answers 3


There is no limit to the number of lands that you can tap per turn. For your other question, all of your tapped permanents will untap at the start of each of your turns, during the "untap" step.

You have a few different important basic terminology mixed up though. Mana and Land are 2 different things. Land is a type of card, one that most commonly produces mana (but some lands do not produce any mana). Thus, "Forest" is not a type of mana, "Green" is a type of mana, and Forests are cards that produce Green mana when tapped.

Also, you do not need to pay mana to attack with creatures, including Arbor Colossus. You need to pay mana to cast Arbor Colossus (to out him from your hand into the battlefield), and to activate his "Monstrosity" ability, which gives him 3 +1/+1 counters.

  • Given the OP's newness to the game, I would emphasize that casting Arbor Colossus and activating his Monstrous ability are two entirely separate actions. This is obvious to experienced players, but I could imagine a new player might be confused about that from your wording.
    – David Z
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 23:22

First of all, you cannot tap mana at all. Mana only exists in your mana pool, it is not a permanent of any kind that can be tapped. Lands, like Forest, can be tapped to produce mana. There are also creatures and artifacts that can be tapped for mana.

Secondly, you usually only want to tap lands (or creatures or artifacts) for mana when you have something to pay for that needs mana, you technically can pretty much whenever you want to but there isn't generally a reason to. In the case of Arbor Colossus that is casting it (which takes 2 generic mana and 3 green mana) and activating its Monstrous ability (which takes 3 generic mana and 3 green mana). It doesn't take any mana to make it attack, or block.

Finally, at the beginning of each of your turns you have an Untap Step where you untap all of your tapped permanents. Once they are untapped you are free to tap them again to pay for other things, but once you've used it to pay for something you can't use it again until it is untapped again.

  • 1
    Number 2 is wrong. You can activate an activated ability any time you have priority, including mana abilities. You don't need to wait until you have something to do with the mana. There's just not usually a reason to tap lands until you need the mana.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 6:51
  • @Gendolkari you're right, in trying to simplify it I went a little too far
    – diego
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 11:51

First, let me echo the point brought up by other answers that you do not tap mana, you tap lands (and sometimes, creatures or artifacts) to produce mana. That's important.

Now, the core question: why is there no limit on how many times you can do this per turn? I suspect you're missing one critical piece of information, which is that each land which is a Forest has the ability

{T}: Add {G} to your mana pool.

where {T} is the tap symbol and {G} is the green mana symbol. Somewhat confusingly, this ability is not printed on the card (except for very old Forests), but it is there nonetheless.[CR 305.6] So there is nothing special about how you produce mana from a land. It's just an ability that you can activate.

You can activate an ability at various times during the game, as long as you can pay the cost.[CR 602.2, 601.2a] After you activate an ability, you always get another chance to activate an ability.[CR 116] Nothing in the rules gives any limit on the number of times you can activate an ability per turn; as long as you can pay the cost, you're free to activate as many abilities as you want. (And there are decks that rely on being able to activate thousands of abilities in one turn.)

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