Unveiling Commander: Mana Acceleration
Understand the relevance and different kinds of mana acceleration that exists on Commander.Edit Article
mana acceleration. The concept of accelerators I explain in that episode, and I recommend reading it if you don't know exactly what I'm talking about.
What is Mana Acceleration?
mana acceleration are effects that allow you to reach higher mana curves more quickly. They are important in Commander, as it is customary to use really heavy spells in the format, and accelerating the mana curve ends up being a way to make it possible to cast these spells.
Accelerators also help pay the additional costs of repeatedly casting a commander from the command zone. In short, using these cards makes your game easier and more fluid. There are different types of accelerators, some better than others depending on the context. At the same time, there are cards that appear to be accelerators, but aren't. Identifying a card's function is essential in determining what space it should occupy in your deck (as explained in the previous article, in the 'Templates' section). To help you with this, I've outlined the main types of mana accelerators below, along with their pros and cons.
Positive Mana RocksPositive Mana Rocks are artifacts capable of generating more mana than their own cost. They are considered the best mana rocks that exist because after playing them you will have a higher amount of mana than you had before, and you can use them immediately. However, positive mana rocks are also the most expensive accelerators (in terms of money) and so are not as common to see as the cheaper options.
SignetsThe cycles of mana rocks known as Signets are 2-manaartifacts with two-color identities that not only generate but also filter your mana (see Mana Fixing below). Each of them is linked to one of Ravnica's guilds and therefore can only be used in decks that support their 2 colors.
Other Mana RocksMany other mana rocks are used extensively in Commander, both for their usefulness and functionality, and for their low financial cost. Some of the most popular are Thought Vessel, Mind Stone, Fellwar Stone, Everflowing Chalice and the monocolored diamonds (Marble Diamond, Fire Diamond, etc); Thran Dynamo, Gilded Lotus, Basalt Monolith, Worn Powerstone, Commander's Sphere, Hedron Archive, Chromatic Lantern also integrate a big quantity decks, among others.
Dorks StaplesThere are very few staples among mana dorks more broadly, but the color green in particular has a wide range of these cards that are widely used as accelerators. Llanowar Elves (Elvish Mystic, Fyndhorn Elves, etc) and Birds of Paradise are just a few examples of the most common dorks, but many others exist, and it would be impossible to list them all. In other colors, the presence of mana dorks is very modest, but there are still artifact creatures that can be used to fulfill this role. Myrs (Palladium Myr, Plague Myr, Iron Myr, etc) are a type of creature known for having reasonable quality dorks for a low cost.
rampcomes from the card Rampant Growth, which is one of the classic representatives of this type of effect, although in Commander specifically the card doesn't exactly have a special relevance. Ramps can put lands into play from your library (Cultivate), from your hand (Exploration), or, in rarer cases, from your graveyard (Splendid Reclamation). The biggest advantage of ramps is the fact that lands are much more difficult to remove than any other permanent, so they are often the safest form of acceleration. However, not many of them are available in all colors.
Ramp StaplesThe best ramps are in green, with a few examples of cards effective in this role available in other colors. Solemn Simulacrum takes the forefront of them, as it is colorless and fits in any deck. Thanks to this, it can be considered the most used non-green ramp and a true Commander staple. Behind it are Sword of the Animist – excellent in creature-based decks - and Burnished Hart – which is a low-cost alternative to both of the above. In green, as mentioned above, the staples of ramps are plentiful. The most widespread are undoubtedly Cultivate and Kodama's Reach, both very similar and efficient. Behind them are cards like Explosive Vegetation, Skyshroud Claim, Wood Elves, Nature's Lore, Burgeoning, Exploration and Oracle of Mul Daya.
Reducers StaplesMany cost-savers are known to be staples, but usually on specific archetypes. Goblin Electromancer, Baral, Chief of Compliance and Primal Amulet, for example, are valued pieces in spell-based decks. Etherium Sculptor and Starnheim Courser are often used in artifact and/or enchantment decks. Herald's Horn, Krosan Warchief and Frogtosser Banneret are examples of good reducers in tribal decks; and so on. Among the reducers most regarded as generic staples (which could easily play in any deck) are Cloud Key, The Immortal Sun and the
Tempestmedallion cycle (Ruby Medallion, Sapphire Medallion, Pearl Medallion, Jet Medallion, Emerald Medallion).
Rituals StaplesDespite their proven effectiveness, rituals are not used as often in Commander as other means of acceleration, as they are single-use effects. However, as the required power level increases towards the more competitive strands of the format, rituals become more frequent and, in some cases, staples. Still, few of them besides Dark Ritual appear in a significant amount of decks.
Amplifiers StaplesThere are some well-known amplifiers in Commander, mainly Caged Sun, Extraplanar Lens and Gauntlet of Power which are widely used in monocolor decks. Apart from these, the best known, for a change, are green. The Mana Reflection quoted above is the best of them all (in my opinion), followed by Vorinclex, Voice of hunger, Zendikar Resurgent and Mirari’s Wake. Among the local amplifiers, the best known are Fertile Ground, wild growth and Utopia Sprawl.
land tutor, which are very similar to Ramps with the difference that they put lands in your hand instead of on the battlefield (Armillary Sphere, Journeyer's Kite). This distinction is relevant, as having more lands in your hand doesn't really mean accelerating your mana curve, but cards like the two examples above are still useful for chasing lands of a certain specific type that you might be missing from your game.