12

There are creature cards that allow for adding extra mana during a turn, such as Savage Ventmaw and Grand Warlord Radha. They state, respectively:

Whenever Savage Ventmaw attacks, add {R}{R}{R}{G}{G}{G}.

Whenever one or more creatures you control attack, add that much mana in any combination of {R} and/or {G}.

This is all clear to me. These creatures add mana if a specific circumstance is met, check. But then, both cards continue with the following final sentence, which confuses me:

Until end of turn, you don't lose this mana as steps and phases end.

What is the added meaning of this sentence? Doesn't mana by default stay "afloat" until the end of turn, making this sentence redundant? This is how (I'm pretty sure) I've played the game so far, with more experienced players. Or am I missing something here?


Related to this question, I wonder how cards like Llanowar Elves differ from the mentioned cards above when it comes to the "ending of steps and phases", while not stating that specifically in its text.


Note that this is a question regarding the rules, not designer intent.

  • 9
    There's the concept of an exception proving (the existence) of a rule. This is one of those cases: the mere fact that such a sentence would be printed on a card should be a very strong hint that the assumption you've made in question is false, and it would be a good idea to recheck the rules. – ilkkachu Jul 30 at 19:24
  • @ilkkachu It clearly was such a hint, judging by the fact they bothered posting this question. I'm not sure what the purpose of the lecture is. – Chris Hayes Jul 31 at 4:52
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    @ChrisHayes, not actually looking at the rules when faced with such a discrepancy seems to indicate quite a lack of research effort. This isn't even anything remotely tricky, like an interaction of different rules or cards, but a straightforward simple rule. I'm surprised such a question gains that many upvotes. Though maybe I shouldn't complain, given that there are questions here about particular card interactions that come with a link to Gatherer, where the answer is already given. – ilkkachu Jul 31 at 10:05
  • @ilkkachu I don't know why people upvote something, but after observing and questioning players during some casual games at my LGC: not everyone seems to be aware of this simple rule... even those who play for years. Your point regarding lack of research effort remains a solid one though. ;) – Lainathiel Aug 7 at 5:42
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    @Lainathiel, since you mention this, I have to admit I noticed at some point that the rules web page doesn't contain that rule under "Basic rules". (The link says "Basic rules PDF", but it's not a PDF file.) So yeah, I must admit it can be missed at least if someone has learned the rules there. The rulebook PDF's I found (via google) do contain it though, I don't know why they've dropped it from the web page... – ilkkachu Aug 7 at 5:57
19

In the Comprehensive Rules it says (emphasis mine):

106.4. When an effect instructs a player to add mana, that mana goes into a player’s mana pool. From there, it can be used to pay costs immediately, or it can stay in the player’s mana pool as unspent mana. Each player’s mana pool empties at the end of each step and phase, and the player is said to lose this mana. Cards with abilities that produce mana or refer to unspent mana have received errata in the Oracle™ card reference to no longer explicitly refer to the mana pool.

So normally you do not keep mana across phases. Thus, for a card like Llanowar Elves, if you use its ability to tap and produce (G), but do not use it on that step, then it will vanish and you will have tapped it for no reason.

  • 2
    The main reason for this is so that you can't create mana in your first main phase and then use it for combat trick if needed or cast something in your second main phase. – Styxsksu Jul 30 at 14:12
  • Now that is interesting, will double check how we use the mana pool exactly, next time at the table. Good to know! – Lainathiel Jul 30 at 14:17
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    Yep, or if someone tries to nuke your elves at the upkeep step to prevent you from playing something bigger. If the rule didn't exist then you could just tap them in response to the nuke. – firedraco Jul 30 at 14:17
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    Re "will double check", Most of the time, it's irrelevant because mana is usually only created when it's needed. About the only time it's relevant is when mana is produced by triggered abilities and when an ability produces more than one mana. – ikegami Jul 31 at 4:10
2

This means that you get to keep the mana until the end of turn. Note this is important: without this line of text, the mana would be almost useless, because it disappears during combat. The relevant phases go like:

  • Precombat main phase
  • Beginning of combat
  • Declare attackers (Savage Ventmaw and Grand Warlord Radha add mana now)
  • Declare blockers
  • First strike damage
  • Regular damage
  • End of combat
  • Postcombat main phase

Without this line of text, the mana goes away before the opponent declares blockers! That means not only are you constrained to spending that mana on activated abilities & instants, it doesn't even work very well with combat tricks. With this line of text, you can now use the mana on a postcombat creature or sorcery, making the ability much more useful.

  • 3
    You listed all of the individual steps of three of the five phases in the game after saying "The phases itself go like this". Also, the rules say that mana empties from the mana pool at the end of steps and phases, so saying that it goes away during the declare blockers phase isn't really consistent with that. – murgatroid99 Jul 31 at 0:43
  • @murgatroid99 Are you sure? If excess mana goes away at the end of any step and phase, then each of these are steps in the combat phase -> the mana should go away. – Allure Jul 31 at 0:45
  • 2
    Yes, mana goes away at the end of each step and phase. But the cards in question add mana in the declare attackers step, so it's more correct to say that that mana empties from the mana pool at the end of the declare attackers step, rather than during the declare blockers step. – murgatroid99 Jul 31 at 0:53

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