Four-Color Generals, Finally! and Building Four-Color Manabases

glint_eye_nephilim

 

I came home today to a ton of Wizards news, but to me, the most welcome announcement was hearing that we will finally be getting EDH precons with four-color generals.

Finally!

I’ve been wanting a set of four-color generals ever since I started my EDH Project, which was to have a deck built for each color combination. It always bothered me that there were no four-color generals, meaning that if you wanted to build a deck for every possible combiation of colors, you couldn’t, really (which bothered my OCD to no end).

Today’s article is going to take a quick look at my thoughts on four-color generals, and take a look back at a post I made back in 2013 about building four-color EDH manabases. Let’s go!

mc27_glinteye

Four-color generals are hard to design, and it’s no wonder that it’s taken as long as it has to make them. MaRo had stated some time ago that Wizards was looking into having four-color generals to lead one of the batches of yearly EDH precons that they’ve been cranking out each year. It’s just taken them this long to do it because they were having a hard time coming up with generals that they liked.

Not gonna lie, this was easily their most exciting announcement of the day for me. Yes, I like the idea of a steampunk MTG set, but four-color generals will let me finally complete my EDH Project. This was a happy day for my OCD!

One thing that I’m quite interested to see with these upcoming precons is how Wizards will handle building four-color manabases. In the past with other EDH precons, Wizards has normally gone with lots of common and uncommon dual lands to help with mana. For four-color decks, this may not be enough.

Back in 2013, I wrote a post about what a four-color manabase would look like. It took Wizards three more years since then to come up with four-color generals, but now that they’re finally a reality, I thought today would be a good time to bring this article back, to look at what could be done with four-color mana. There have been lands printed since that would make each of these better (Khans gave us the rest of the tri-color lands, ie. Sandsteppe Citadel, Theros gave us scry duals and Mana Confluence, and there have been various other duals printed as well), but the majority of the lands I mention in this brainstorm post are still what I’d use.

This was my post about four-color manabases:

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For today’s Random Friday EDH article, we have a thought exercise. I have long suspected that RTR block’s final set, Dragon’s Maze is going to include a cycle of 4-color legendary creatures (very likely, these will be Nephilim legends, as a tribute to the Nephilim from the original Ravnica block). One of Magic’s lead designers, Mark Rosewater, has expressed regret that the original cycle of Nephilim were not legendary (hence preventing EDH players from building around them, since that would give us a cycle of four-color generals). Thus, I figure they will rectify this with Dragon’s Maze, and finally give us a cycle of four-color generals.

Where am I going with this? you might ask. Simply put, today’s thought exercise is this: How in the world do we build a semi-budget 4-color manabase for these possible Nephilim legends? That is what we will brainstorm today.

There’s a large number of factors that I looked at when I sat down to brainstorm these five manabases. The first factor is always that of price. My manabases are semi-budget; what this means is that they’ve been built from the dual lands that I have lying around (and as a former Standard player and card hoarder, I have a lot of different dual lands from all the years I’ve played MtG to work with). The most expensive duals I will use though are the Ravnica block shocklands, so what this means is that my four and five color manabases will not start off looking like this:

10 fetch lands (ie. Polluted Delta)
10 original dual lands (ie. Underground Sea)
10 Ravnica shocklands (ie. Watery Grave)

So many of the five-color decklists that I’ve looked at for EDH start off with manabases like this. While this may work for rich people, unfortunately I am on a budget (and my original dual lands and fetch lands are put aside for Legacy play), so this type of manabase is not what I can put together in EDH. That’s just too pricey for me.

Instead, as an example, here is the manabase for my Progenitus EDH deck:

Progenitus - Manabase:

Land (40)
Command Tower
City of Brass
Grand Coliseum
Tarnished Citadel
Shimmering Grotto
Rupture Spire
Transguild Promenade
Reflecting Pool
Undiscovered Paradise
Forbidden Orchard
Tendo Ice Bridge
Mirrodin’s Core
Exotic Orchard
Savage Lands
Crumbling Necropolis
Seaside Citadel
Jungle Shrine
Arcane Sanctum
Vivid Marsh
Vivid Creek
Vivid Grove
Vivid Meadow
Vivid Crag
Terramorphic Expanse
Evolving Wilds
Reliquary Tower
Plains
Island
Forest
Mountain
Swamp

That is what I have for lands, and so far it works pretty well. (There is the occasional game where the deck is color-screwed — there are far too many cards in the deck with double-white in the casting cost, but that is the risk I decided to run, and it works well). For what it is, this five-color manabase is very budget as well; there are only a handful of rare lands, and the rest are commons or uncommons. Rupture Spire/Transguild Promenade, the Vivid cycle from Shards block, and the cycle of tri-lands (ie. Savage Lands) have all been all-stars here, making multiple colors of mana while also being only common and uncommon.

It is worth noting that the following mana artifacts are also part of the manabase of the deck:

Progenitus - Mana fixing:

(5)
Chromatic Lantern
Coalition Relic
Darksteel Ingot
Armillary Sphere
Shard Convergence

I normally eschew the need to have mana-producing artifacts (or ‘mana rocks,’ as they are commonly known) in my EDH decks. I find that they are blown up by things like Akroma’s Vengeance or Nevinyrral’s Disk far too often to suit me, and so I’ve left them out of every manabase but my five-color ones. Sadly, for my five-color decks, they are a necessary evil, since I’m on a budget.

Very likely, for these budget four-color manabases, I will have to use mana rocks there as well.

So, that was my thought process going into this brainstorming session, that a four-color manabase would likely look something like the five-color one above. So, what did I end up with for four-color manabases?

What I eventually ended up deciding to do was to set up a manabase with many different pairs of dual lands, rather than using as many five color rainbow lands as possible.

Each four-color combination comprises 6 sets of dual colors. As an example:

BRGW:
Our Nephilim example here is Dune-Brood Nephilim, a riff on good ol’ Hazezon Tamar.

This color combination consists of the following six color pairs:

W/B
W/G
W/R
B/G
B/R
G/R

That is an awful lot of possible dual land combinations to try using. From here, I looked at which duals I should use. Which ones were budget enough to get, and which would work best in a four-color deck?

The first version of a manabase that I brainstormed for this looked something like this:

6 shocklands (ie. Watery Grave)
6 painlands (ie. Underground River)
6 Guildgates (ie. Dimir Guildgate)
6 ‘Karoo’ lands (ie. Dimir Aqueduct)
6 various 5-color lands (ie. City of Brass)
2 basic fetch lands (Terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds)
2 of each basic land in those colors

This bunch of lands would give the deck lots of two-colored lands, several 5-color rainbow lands, and some basic lands to go with the Armillary Sphere that would likely be included. This list is again, mostly budget; the most expensive cards that I expect to be using are the shocklands, which have recently come down in price with their reprinting in RTR block.

As with the 5-color deck above, I expected that I’d also have to run the following mana rocks to fix the mana base and make it playable:

1 Armillary Sphere
1 Coalition Relic
1 Prophetic Prism
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Darksteel Ingot

(And for the decks with green in them:)

1 Shard Convergence (likely instead of Armillary Sphere)

Between this selection of mana rocks and the dual land mix I was looking at, in theory this should be a mana base that would work.

At this point, I started asking myself if I needed the manabase to have basics at all. Was there a reason I needed them? Or could I actually make this manabase work, using only dual lands and 5-color rainbow lands?

After some tinkering, this theoretical manabase is eventually what I settled on:

6 shocklands (ie. Watery Grave)
6 painlands (ie. Underground River)
6 Guildgates (ie. Dimir Guildgate)
6 ‘Karoo’ lands (ie. Dimir Aqueduct)
6 various Coastal Tower-style dual lands
10 other lands (5-color rainbow lands, ie. Rupture Spire)

The main addition here would be going up to the full ten rainbow lands, and adding 6 more duals in the form of ‘Coastal Towers’, which could be basically any dual land that made two colors that I needed. There have been several budget dual land cycles I was looking at for this slot; from the original Coastal Tower cycle, to the Tempest into-play-tapped painlands (ie. Skyshroud Forest), to the Odyssey cycle of filter lands (ie. Skycloud Expanse), to the Mirage cycle of bad fetch lands (ie. Bad River), to the Zendikar cycle of Coastal Towers plus one life (ie. Jwar Isle Refuge). Any playable cycle of duals should work (and I’d be placing an emphasis on those that don’t come into play tapped, since so many lands in the deck already do).

The last thing I considered with this Coastal Tower slot was the possible addition of the Shards of Alara block tri-lands, or Planeshift’s cycle of Dragon Lairs (ie. Treva’s Ruins); each four-color combination could use two of each of these tri-lands, so including them was looking like a great idea. I was already using 6 ‘Karoos’, so I didn’t think the Lairs were going to make the cut. The tri-lands were an idea I liked, though.

With all that being said, here’s how the manabases shaped up:

dunebrood

BRGW – Dune-Brood Nephilim

Dune-Brood Manabase:

Shocklands: (6)
Godless Shrine
Temple Garden
Sacred Foundry
Overgrown Tomb
Blood Crypt
Stomping Ground

Painlands: (6)
Caves of Koilos
Brushland
Battlefield Forge
Llanowar Wastes
Sulfurous Springs
Karplusan Forest

Guildgates: (6)
Orzhov Guildgate
Selesnya Guildgate
Boros Guildgate
Golgari Guildgate
Rakdos Guildgate
Gruul Guildgate

‘Karoo’ lands: (6)
Orzhov Basilica
Selesnya Sanctuary
Boros Garrison
Golgari Rot Farm
Rakdos Carnarium
Gruul Turf

Coastal Tower lands: (6)
Murmuring Bosk
Jungle Shrine
Savage Lands
Shadowblood Ridge
Sungrass Prairie
Mossfire Valley

Rainbow lands: (10)
Command Tower
City of Brass
Grand Coliseum
Shimmering Grotto
Rupture Spire
Transguild Promenade
Tendo Ice Bridge
Mirrodin’s Core
Reflecting Pool
Tarnished Citadel

This follows the brainstormed outline for the four-color manabase above. The only real question marks for me are the final four lands in the list: Tendo Ice Bridge, Mirrodin’s Core, Reflecting Pool, and Tarnished Citadel. These four were included based on budget reasons, but there are a number of other rainbow lands that have possibilities here. Four of each Vivid land from the Nephilim’s colors may work; or Thran Quarry/Ancient Ziggurat (if the deck is creature-heavy); or Glimmervoid (if the deck is artifact-heavy); etc. These last four slots will take the most tinkering to get right, I think.

Also noteworthy is the selection of six lands for the Coastal Tower section. These are:

1 Murmuring Bosk
1 Jungle Shrine
1 Savage Lands
1 Shadowblood Ridge
1 Sungrass Prairie
1 Mossfire Valley

I managed to fit in two of the Shards block tri-lands (Jungle Shrine and Savage Lands) and the rare enemy tri-land, Murmuring Bosk. From here, I decided to go with the Odyssey cycle of filter lands to fill out the rest of the deck, since they do not come into play tapped.

So that is a quick look at the first Nephilim manabase. What do the other four look like?

Glinteye

UBRG – Glint-Eye Nephilim

Glint-Eye Manabase:

Shocklands: (6)
Overgrown Tomb
Watery Grave
Blood Crypt
Breeding Pool
Stomping Ground
Steam Vents

Painlands: (6)
Llanowar Wastes
Underground River
Sulfurous Springs
Yavimaya Coast
Karplusan Forest
Shivan Reef

Guildgates: (6)
Golgari Guildgate
Dimir Guildgate
Rakdos Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Gruul Guildgate
Izzet Guildgate

‘Karoo’ lands: (6)
Golgari Rot Farm
Dimir Aqueduct
Rakdos Carnarium
Simic Growth Chamber
Gruul Turf
Izzet Boilerworks

Coastal Tower lands: (6)
Savage Lands
Crumbling Necropolis
Skyshroud Forest
Shadowblood Ridge
Darkwater Catacombs
Mossfire Valley

Rainbow lands: (10)
Command Tower
City of Brass
Grand Coliseum
Shimmering Grotto
Rupture Spire
Transguild Promenade
Tendo Ice Bridge
Mirrodin’s Core
Reflecting Pool
Tarnished Citadel

The most interesting land here is the Skyshroud Forest, one of the few budget blue/green dual lands. I do really like Glint-Eye Nephilim; I’ve always been a fan of creatures that draw you cards when they hit another player, like Ohran Viper. Here’s hoping that if WotC does print a cycle of new Nephilim, that this color combination’s general has an ability that is as potent.

InkTread

RGWU – Ink-Treader Nephilim

Ink-Treader Manabase:

Shocklands: (6)
Temple Garden
Hallowed Fountain
Sacred Foundry
Breeding Pool
Stomping Ground
Steam Vents

Painlands: (6)
Brushland
Adarkar Wastes
Battlefield Forge
Yavimaya Coast
Karplusan Forest
Shivan Reef

Guildgates: (6)
Selesnya Guildgate
Azorius Guildgate
Boros Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Gruul Guildgate
Izzet Guildgate

‘Karoo’ lands: (6)
Selesnya Sanctuary
Azorius Chancery
Boros Garrison
Simic Growth Chamber
Gruul Turf
Izzet Boilerworks

Coastal Tower lands: (6)
Seaside Citadel
Jungle Shrine
Caldera Lake
Skycloud Expanse
Sungrass Prairie
Mossfire Valley

Rainbow lands: (10)
Command Tower
City of Brass
Grand Coliseum
Shimmering Grotto
Rupture Spire
Transguild Promenade
Tendo Ice Bridge
Mirrodin’s Core
Reflecting Pool
Tarnished Citadel

Caldera Lake is the budget blue/red dual land of choice here. Ink-Treader Nephilim has my vote for most fun of the five Nephilim for multiplayer; having a built-in Radiate makes every spell that targets him hilarious.

Witch-maw

GWUB – Witch-Maw Nephilim

Witch-Maw Manabase:

Shocklands: (6)
Godless Shrine
Temple Garden
Hallowed Fountain
Overgrown Tomb
Watery Grave
Breeding Pool

Painlands: (6)
Caves of Koilos
Brushland
Adarkar Wastes
Llanowar Wastes
Underground River
Yavimaya Coast

Guildgates: (6)
Orzhov Guildgate
Selesnya Guildgate
Azorius Guildgate
Golgari Guildgate
Dimir Guildgate
Simic Guildgate

‘Karoo’ lands: (6)
Orzhov Basilica
Selesnya Sanctuary
Boros Garrison
Golgari Rot Farm
Rakdos Carnarium
Gruul Turf

Coastal Tower lands: (6)
Arcane Sanctum
Seaside Citadel
Murmuring Bosk
Skycloud Expanse
Sungrass Prairie
Darkwater Catacombs

Rainbow lands: (10)
Command Tower
City of Brass
Grand Coliseum
Shimmering Grotto
Rupture Spire
Transguild Promenade
Tendo Ice Bridge
Mirrodin’s Core
Reflecting Pool
Tarnished Citadel

Murmuring Bosk makes its appearance here again; it will be an important staple in several of these four-color manabases as the only enemy tri-land. Witch-Maw Nephilim is a strange card; I would have figured that this would be one of the red/green Nephilim (since its abilities match up so well with the Gruul strategy); oddly enough, the red is nowhere to be seen in its casting cost.

YTiller

WUBR – Yore-Tiller Nephilim

Yore-Tiller Manabase:

Shocklands: (6)
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Sacred Foundry
Watery Grave
Blood Crypt
Steam Vents

Painlands: (6)
Caves of Koilos
Adarkar Wastes
Battlefield Forge
Underground River
Sulfurous Springs
Shivan Reef

Guildgates: (6)
Orzhov Guildgate
Azorius Guildgate
Boros Guildgate
Dimir Guildgate
Rakdos Guildgate
Izzet Guildgate

‘Karoo’ lands: (6)
Orzhov Basilica
Azorius Chancery
Boros Garrison
Dimir Aqueduct
Rakdos Carnarium
Izzet Boilerworks

Coastal Tower lands: (6)
Arcane Sanctum
Crumbling Necropolis
Ancient Amphitheater
Shadowblood Ridge
Sungrass Prairie
Skycloud Expanse

Rainbow lands: (10)
Command Tower
City of Brass
Grand Coliseum
Shimmering Grotto
Rupture Spire
Transguild Promenade
Tendo Ice Bridge
Mirrodin’s Core
Reflecting Pool
Tarnished Citadel

The final Nephilim, Yore-Tiller Nephilim is likely the most potent at a multiplayer table, letting you reanimate creatures and give them a pseudo-form of haste (since they come into play tapped and attacking). The notable land here is Ancient Amphitheater, a budget red/white dual land, which could also be Scabland, depending on which is cheaper.

Conclusion: So there you have it, that is my brainstormed list for four-color EDH manabases for the five Nephilim. Hopefully, WotC does indeed print me some legendary four-color creatures in Dragon’s Maze, so I can use these manabases. I’m fairly certain that it’ll happen, though.

 

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