I'm starting MTG today, first time ever I'll play the game. I was looking at the rules online but one thing I couldn't find a good answer. Some guys I see playing do one way and others do other way.

So I don't know if this is something that each one defines or if there is an specific rule about it.

For example, if I have a card that requires 3 mana to be used, does that also apply to put the card on the table? Example, I need to have the 3 lands required in order to drop the card from my hand to the table?

Or can I put the card on the table at any time but only use it when I have the 3 mana required? Only thing I could found about it is to actually activate the card, but not using it on the table.


2 Answers 2


When you say you were looking at the rules online, were you looking here? https://magic.wizards.com/en/how-to-play. This is the official beginners rules; and it should explain what you need.

Your particular question is not clear enough to really answer. "I have a card that requires 3 mana to be used" is ambiguous. Most cards have a cost in the upper-right corner, which is the cost to cast the spell. Depending on the type of card, after you cast it it will enter the battlefield. So if a card has a casting cost of 3 mana, then you have to pay 3 mana to cast that card. If that card is a permanent spell (a creature, artifact, battle, enchantment, or planeswalker), then it will enter the battlefield after you cast it.

There is no "cost to use it" in Magic terminology. Some permanents have activated abilities which have a cost to activate, which is separate from the casting cost.

  • I didn't saw the link you sent, thank you for that, I'll read it now. About my question maybe it's confusing because I didn't knew the terms. But basically my question is, if a creature has a cost of 3 mana, do I need to have the mana on the battlefield before activating the card from my hand? Or can I enter the card on the battlefield at the very first round, but only active it once I have the 3 mana required? Is it better explained? Hopefully yeah... Aug 12, 2023 at 14:33
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    Creatures are not "activated", and there is no cost to "use" them. You need to pay the 3 mana to cast that creature (to get it from your hand onto the battlefield), then you don't pay for that creature ever again.
    – GendoIkari
    Aug 12, 2023 at 23:52
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    @celsomtrindade Make sure you understand that "land" and "mana" are not the same thing. You can't ever have mana on the battlefield. Land is simply a card type that (usually) produces a mana when activated. Mana is not a physical thing in the game.
    – GendoIkari
    Aug 14, 2023 at 17:43
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    Yeah.. I'm getting used to this. I think getting to know the terms and get used to it is the key here. I can see my questions could be better formatted (or don't exists at all) if I knew all these terms before hand. Unfortunatelly, most of the content that explain the game doesn't cover all that - at least not the ones I found. Thank you very much, it was very helpfull. Aug 15, 2023 at 0:19
  • "You need to pay the 3 mana to cast that creature (to get it from your hand onto the battlefield)" Unless you have another card that directs you to put it onto the battlefield directly (e.g. Collected Company).
    – nick012000
    Aug 19, 2023 at 1:54

When you cast a spell, you must pay its casting cost. If you have mana already available (e.g. if you already tapped your lands earlier), you can spend that mana. You can also use mana abilities as you cast the spell - in other words, after you have announced you are casting the spell and have named any targets, you can then tap lands and other mana sources to pay for the spell.

If you cannot pay for the spell, you cannot cast it.

  • Thank you very much!!! And for example, if I have 5 mana available and I cast one creature that uses 3 mana. I'll have only 2 mana left to use on the round, correct? Aug 12, 2023 at 15:13
  • Generally, yes. Once you spend mana, it's gone.
    – ConMan
    Aug 13, 2023 at 13:53

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