Building Consistency in Commander – Part 2, Mana Acceleration

Welcome to the 2nd part of my 4-part series in Building Consistency in Commander. In part 1, we looked at mana curve.  Today we’ll take a  Mana Acceleration, any spell that allows you to produce additional mana beyond the limit of “one land per turn.”

Many players do not recognize the importance of Mana Acceleration in Commander. Filling your decks with proper mana acceleration will allow you to cast your win conditions and high-investment spells earlier, making them exponentially more powerful.

When building any deck, the first obstacle a builder must overcome is the creation of a mana base, including mana acceleration.   My general rule of thumb for deck creation is an initial insertion of 40 lands; don’t worry, some lands will be removed after mana acceleration has been added.

Deck Construction Cycle:

  1. Add 40 generic lands (40 basic lands will do)
  2. Access deck archetype and acceleration accordingly
  3. Add creature and non-creature spells
  4. Go back to step one and decide on actual lands for your deck.

After 40 lands have been added, builders should then access the strategy of their deck, and decide how many pieces of mana acceleration are needed.  I build my decks with the “3 per 1” principle of accelerants.  For most decks, the inclusion of 3 mana acceleration spells equals the removal of one land.  For example, adding 12 pieces of mana acceleration will allow you to remove 4 lands.

I believe most decks should have around 9-12 pieces of acceleration to consistently cast their high investment spells.  Many of our decks tend to run high-investment spells like Tooth and Nail, Decree of Pain, and Desertion. Playing spells like these requires a sufficient amount of acceleration to cast for greatest effectiveness or rebuild after opponents cast sweepers and All is Dust-type spells. Without early acceleration, decks are more vulnerable to removal and permission during a match.  Accelerants allow us to be faster than our opponents and cast spells with less fear of reprisal.

Every deck (with a few exceptions) should run a selection of the following staple mana acceleration spells (4-10 pieces):

  1. Sol Ring
  2. Mana Vault
  3. Coalition Relic
  4. Thran Dynamo
  5. Gilded Lotus
  6. Solemn Simulacrum
  7. Grim Monolith
  8. Mind Stone
  9. Prismatic Lens
  10. Fellwar Stone
  11. Basalt Monolith
  12. Cultivate
  13. Skyshroud Claim
  14. Signets (depending on your color wheel)

Commander Archetypes

Aggro-Combo – Usually creature acceleration (28-34 lands)
Combo – Few Lands, as many accelerants as possible (32-36 lands)
Reactive Control – (Draw-Go decks) Many accelerants (32-36 lands)
Control-Combo – Many accelerants, (36-38 lands)
Dedicated Control – Many accelerants (36-40 lands)

So, what can I do to help you guys build better decks? Let’s start with a short list of the Mana Acceleration in Magic: the Gathering. If you’re looking for a specific interaction or spell not on my list, please leave a comment! We’re eager to help.


Mana Accleration

COLORED ACCELERATION – Accelerants producing colored mana

Mercadian Masques –  Ramos series
Ravnica – Signet series
Return to Ravnica – Keyrune series
Invasion – Cameo series
Mirage – Diamond series
Shards of Alara – Obelisk series
Mirrodin – Talisman series
Chromatic Lantern
Chrome Mox
Mox Opal
Mox Diamond
Coalition Relic
Coldsteel Heart
Darksteel Ingot
Gilded Lotus

COLORLESS ACCELERATION – Accelerants producing colorless mana

Sol Ring
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Grim Monolith
Basalt Monolith
Worn Powerstone
Thran Dynamo
Mind Stone
Fellwar Stone
Everflowing Chalice
Prismatic Lens
Pristine Talisman

FRINGE ACCELERATION – Accelerants strong in specific archetypes

Ashnod’s Altar
Blinkmoth Urn
Caged Sun
Extraplanar Lens
Gauntlet of Might
Gauntlet of Power
Dreamstone Hedron
Lion’s Eye Diamond
Lotus Bloom
Lotus Petal
Phyrexian Altar
Springleaf Drum
Storm Cauldron
Vessel of the Endless Rest
Thran Turnbine


Awakening Zone
Black Market
Carpet of Flowers
Druid’s Repository
Eladamri’s Vineyard
Elvish Guidance
Gaea’s Touch
Heartbeat of Spring
Mana Reflection

I purposefully left out instants, sorceries, and creatures because these rodes all end in green.  If you would like help building your mana base and mana acceleration for a green specific decks, please leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my look into mana acceleration in Commander.  Please stay tuned for Part 3 of Building Consistency in Commander with Creatures vs. Non-creatures.   If you missed Part 1 – Mana Curve, click here.


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2 thoughts on “Building Consistency in Commander – Part 2, Mana Acceleration

  1. I’m going to have to disagree with that staple list. While I’d run some of those in every deck, there are others that I wouldn’t touch unless they work quite well with the deck. The assertion that cards like Mana Vault, Grim Monolith, and Fellwar Stone should be in every deck is, frankly, ridiculous.

    Creating a series of articles to help new EDH players is great, but teaching them that every deck needs cards that could easily clash with their decks is the wrong way to do it. When it comes to a list of staples, list the staples and just the staples. If you’ve ever built a deck that didn’t have every single one of those cards, you should know what I’m talking about.

    • Hi Rabbler,

      I do agree that the staples I listed shouldn’t be in every deck, and I did mention that there are some exceptions. But for the most part, especially in control-based builds you will need those mana sources for your deck to run smoothly.

      Let me re-phrase the article slightly because I do understand where you’re coming from with your comment.

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