I'm still learning the basics of Magic the Gathering; I was able to get some used cards in order to build my first deck, and I am thinking about building a green/white deck. One of the cards I got was Selesnya Guildgate, and had the following description:

Selesnya Guildgate enters the battlefied tapped.

(tap) Add [green] or [white] to your mana pool.

I have a couple of questions on how to use it properly given the following scenario:

Let's say I have three cards in my hand, Gladecover Scout, Champion of the Parish and Selesnya Guildgate, and it is my turn. I know in the card of Selesnya says is a land. The question is:

  • Is it a colorless land? It doesn't have any specific color at the right top
  • If I use Selesnya, can I cast either Gladecover Scout or Champion of the Parish at that moment since they only required one mana?
  • Since Selesnya enters tapped, the ability will be triggered to add either a green or white mana. Does that mean I can search for a land from my library and then add it to my mana pool? Or does it mean that if I would have another land in my hand (given this example, I don't have one), would I have added to my mana pool? I think I've seen ability cards saying "search for a land from your library" or similar... but for Selesnya, it doesn't specify.
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    I don’t think it’s a duplicate, but you should read through that answer. You seem to have a lot of misconceptions about how lands and mana work in general.
    – GendoIkari
    Nov 13, 2022 at 5:42
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    Very worth reading are the Basic Rules. I'd also recommend installing MtG: Arena and running through the tutorial, which is entirely free and walks you through the basics of the game. Nov 13, 2022 at 10:40
  • @PhilipKendall, though the Basic Rules do a really lousy job at explaining how the game actually works. Like they don't really even tell you what mana is. Or what lands are. Just that "To cast a spell, you must pay its mana cost by tapping lands to make the amount and Game Actions type of mana which that spell requires.". But it doesn't say what those types might be, etc. (It doesn't help the formatting is broken.) Oh and the only place it says you get to play only one land per turn is in a sentence phrased as a reminder. It's never mentioned for the first time.
    – ilkkachu
    Nov 14, 2022 at 15:13
  • (At least the Basic Rules do imply that lands != mana, in that they say you must pay mana costs by tapping lands. But given the usefulness of the text in general, I'm not surprised people are confused about how the game actually works, sigh.)
    – ilkkachu
    Nov 14, 2022 at 15:18

2 Answers 2


There are several different things you have incorrect about the rules. First off, lands and mana are different things, see What is the difference between lands and mana? for more on that.

You also seem to be mixing up triggered abilities and activated abilities. From the basic rulebook:

Each triggered ability starts with the word “when,” “whenever,” or “at.” You don’t activate a triggered ability. It automatically triggers whenever the first part of the ability happens.

An activated ability is an ability that you can activate whenever you want, as long as you can pay the cost. For example, Blood Bairn is a creature with the ability “Sacrifice another creature: Blood Bairn gets +2/+2 until end of turn.” Each activated ability has a cost, then a colon (“:”), then an effect.

From this, you should see that Selesnya Guildgate has an activated ability, not a triggered ability. So it entering tapped will not cause its ability to do anything. Rather, if you want to use its ability, you have to pay the cost, which is tapping it. You cannot pay that cost if it is already tapped, so the fact that it entered tapped means that you can’t use it on the turn that you play it. That is the drawback that balances out the advantage of getting to choose from two different colors of mana; unlike a Forest which would only be able to produce one color (green).

So if you have an untapped Selsnya Guldgate, then you could use that to cast either Gladecover Scout or Champion of the Parish. But if it is already tapped, like it is when you first play it, then you can’t use it to add mana this turn.

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    I see, I clearly got it wrong, I will deeply read the links provided,thank you Gendolkari. Just to confirm this one, everytime I manually tap Selesnya Guildgate, I will be able to add either 1 green or 1 white land to my mana pool, right? seems like a powerful card to me given this activated ability
    – Andres2142
    Nov 13, 2022 at 18:32
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    No, you still have lands and mana mixed up. Selesnya itself is a land, but it does not give you any additional lands. When you tap it, you add mana to your mana pool; you do not get a new land. Land can never be in your mana pool.
    – GendoIkari
    Nov 13, 2022 at 19:50
  • So the mana added to the mana pool is intangible, is not a land card... conceptually speaking, I added a mana to my mana pool... right? if so, that mana I've just added will be always there? next time can I consider having that mana in my mana pool?
    – Andres2142
    Nov 13, 2022 at 21:30
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    @Andres2142 You are mostly correct, but mana will empty from your pool at the end of steps and phases. It's also worth noting that basic lands (Forest, Plains, etc.) have the intrinsic ability (not printed) to tap for their respective colour, eg. Forest has "(↷): Add (🌳)" Nov 13, 2022 at 22:18
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    @Andres2142 Mana is energy that you use to cast spells or activate abilities. Lands are sources of mana energy. Untapped lands are charged up and ready to produce mana, while tapped lands need to recharge (by untapping, usually when your next turn starts). Mana, once it is produced, is a use it or lose it resource. At the end of each step or phase of a turn, all mana in your mana pool disappears.
    – Douglas
    Nov 14, 2022 at 4:56
  • Selesnya Guildgate is colorless. That's because it doesn't have a manacost. Rule 105.2 describes how objects get their colors:

An object can be one or more of the five colors, or it can be no color at all. An object is the color or colors of the mana symbols in its mana cost, regardless of the color of its frame. An object’s color or colors may also be defined by a color indicator or a characteristic-defining ability. See rule 202.2.

However, considering the rest of your questions, this might not be what you're asking.

  • Selesnya Guildgate enters the battlefield tapped, so you can't tap it at once for mana. You can still cast Gladecover Scout or Champion of the Parish, if you have some other land that can provide the mana.

It sounds like you think Selesnya Guildgate can tap for two mana. That's not correct. It can only tap for one mana - either a white mana or a green mana, but not both.

  1. This turn you play Selesnya Guildgate. It enters the battlefield tapped, so you can't tap it for mana. Unless you have another land that can tap for mana, you can't cast Champion of the Parish this turn. (For the rest of the bullet points we assume you have no other lands.)
  2. Next turn, during the untap phase, you untap all your permanents ("objects under your control"). Selesnya Guildgate becomes untapped.
  3. Now you can tap Selesnya Guildgate for either white mana or green mana. Champion of the Parish requires one white mana, so you must tap Selesnya Guildgate for white mana. Now you have one white mana in the mana pool, which you can use to cast Champion of the Parish.
  4. You can't cast Gladecover Scout this turn because you don't have any more mana. Selesnya guildgate only taps for one mana. If instead you had Selesnya Sanctuary, then you can cast both Gladecover Scout and Champion of the Parish. Note the difference between the two lands. Selesnya Guildgate says "add {w} or {g}". Selesnya Sanctuary says "add {w}{g}".

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