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Brewer's Minute: Throne of Eldraine Standard Mana

Heading into Throne of Eldraine preview season, I assumed we'd get a cycle of rare dual lands to make up for the fact that we currently only have five scry lands in Standard and to make the mana equal between enemy- and ally-colored decks. I was very wrong. Rather than a rare dual-land cycle, we got mono-colored Castles, with Fabled Passage being the primary mana fixer offered by Throne of Eldraine.

As a result, building a mana base today for Throne of Eldraine is quite a bit different than it was just a few weeks ago before the buddy lands (Drowned Catacomb and friends) left the format, thanks to the lack of good dual lands in an absolute sense. The good news is that it is still very possible to constructed a solid mana base for decks ranging from mono-colored all the way up to four colors. How should you build the mana base for your Throne of Eldraine Standard deck? Which dual lands should you play and how mana? That's our topic for today's Brewer's Minute!

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The Basics

  • Mono-colored decks: consider the Castle cycle along with the common mono-colored cycle from Throne of Eldraine, along with basic lands.
  • Two-color decks: The standard mana base for two-color decks is four of the proper shock land and four of the proper scry land (colors without access to a scry land are less popular, although Fabled Passage can be used as a substitute, especially for slower decks). If your two-color deck is especially aggressive (like Rakdos Aggro for example), you might play just a shock land with no additional duals, since both scrylands and Fabled Passage come into play tapped too often in a very aggressive deck. In a very aggressive decks it's generally worth dealing with slight color problems in a small percentage of games than to deal with tapped lands forcing you to play off-curve in a high percentage of games. The Castle cycle is also in considerations if a Castle fits the theme of your deck.
  • Three-color decks: Three-color decks tend to drop scry lands all together and instead lean on up to twelve shock lands and Fabled Passage for fixing. While some manage to squeeze in a few scry lands, the issue is that Fabled Passage requires a critical mass of basic lands or you risk running out of basics and blanking your own Fabled Passage. As a result, most decks don't have room to play twelve shock lands, four Fabled Passage, four (or more) scrylands and still have enough basics to make Fabled Passage work. As a general rule you need a minimum of 1.5 basic lands for each copy of Fabled Passage in your deck, and having at least two basics for each Fabled Passage is ideal. This would mean you need at least six basic lands to run a playset of Fabled Passage and eight (or more) is preferable. 
  • Four-color decks: Four-color decks lean even harder on Fabled Passage, and are often based in one color (most commonly green which offers additional mana fixing with cards like Gilded Goose and Paradise Druid), with three splash colors. Thanks to Fabled Passage you can often play one of each off base-color basic and, with the help of extra, creature-based mana fixing, still find all of your colors. Just be careful to not splash cards with double or triple off base-color mana costs. 

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