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So I play with Omnath, Locus of Mana, and I've been looking in the rules, but I can't find anything that explicitly forbids generating mana without using it. But there is nothing explicitly allowing it either.

Also can someone definitively tell me if I can tap land in a similar fashion during my opponents turn? I'd like to use it in combination with Seedborn Muse. It has a lot of potential but I wanna make sure what I am planning is legal.

  • 4
    Consider this: how would you expect Omnath to do anything useful if you couldn't tap mana without intending to spend it on something? – murgatroid99 Apr 30 at 4:53
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    Possible duplicate of What does "float mana" typically mean? – KMR Apr 30 at 5:14
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    Not sure if this is a dupe. The question boils down to "when can I activate mana abilities?", not "what is float mana?" – Hackworth Apr 30 at 9:56
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    Possible duplicate of What is the difference between lands and mana?. The answer does explain "The reason for the mana pool is that it allows a player to hold mana that they are not spending right away." – Zags Apr 30 at 11:19
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    Duplicate closures shouldn't be to questions that merely might imply the answer buried somewhere unobvious in one answer if you know where to look and how to understand and interpret it. We're dealing with newbies here; answers should be obviously available. This question is fine and I don't think it's a duplicate of anything we've got. – doppelgreener Apr 30 at 15:49
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You may activate mana abilities (for example the mana abilities of lands) whenever you may activate other, non-mana abilities, in addition to when you pay a mana cost.

Most mana-generating permanents, including most lands, have an ability that says something along the lines of "Cost: Add mana", where "cost" is usually the Tap cost. Those are mana abilities:

605.1a An activated ability is a mana ability if it meets all of the following criteria: it doesn't require a target (see rule 114.6), it could add mana to a player's mana pool when it resolves, and it's not a loyalty ability.

Activated mana abilities are a special case of activated abilities. You can activate a mana ability whenever you could activate a regular ability:

605.3. Activating an activated mana ability follows the rules for activating any other activated ability (see rule 602.2), with the following exceptions:

One key difference between mana abilities and regular activated abilities is that you can activate mana abilities whenever you have to pay a mana cost.

In a nutshell, you may tap lands etc. for mana whenever you could cast spells and activate abilities, including during your opponent's turn.

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Tapping lands for mana whenever you have priority was and is legal. Earlier (way back) there was a rule about "mana burn" which punished you for having "floating" (i.e. un-spent) mana at the end of a turn (edit: or phase) in the form of damage. This rule was changed and now you can have any excess of mana at any given time without a punishment (if not for a special circumstance).

This means that you could tap all your lands whenever you have priority (i.e. you could cast an instant spell) and have it build up over time if you do not spend it to cast something.

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    Mana burn was definitely there when I was young and Magic was just arrived... Some 25 years ago I think, I feel old now – Francesco Apr 30 at 11:03
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    I think mana burn happened at the ends of phases, not just turns. The mana still disappears in the modern rules, but it doesn't burn you as it goes. – Arthur Apr 30 at 13:52
  • Ah and does mana also disappear at the end of phases? (If not for something like Omnath) – tehfurbolg Apr 30 at 14:16
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    @tehfurbolg From rule 106.4: "Each player’s mana pool empties at the end of each step and phase, and the player is said to lose this mana." – Arthur Apr 30 at 14:34
  • Huh, thanks! I believe I have never played it like this. Although I'd say this is rarely relevant without some special mana shenanigans. – tehfurbolg Apr 30 at 14:36

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