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The Ultimate Guide to Effective Mana-Bases

Command Tower Art
Command Tower - Art by Evan Shipard. © Wizards of the Coast

8 by 8 EDH - How to build a great Mana-Base!

The 8 by 8 EDH System is a strategy first approach to EDH deck building that aims to build fun and reliable decks. The system is founded upon a few simple principles that help guide strategy decisions, making deck design and building much quicker and easier.

Previously I did a bit of a deep dive into power levels and how the 8 by 8 EDH System helps guide you to a better power rating system based on the strategy recipe:

Alternatively if you are new to the 8 by 8 EDH System and want to start from the beginning go here:

  • Build Better EDH Decks with Just 12 Hands

I keep the list of Scryfall queries on my personal ad-free and cookie free website here but you can find them all below as well. One additional thing I will recommend is taking a moment to learn Scryfall query syntax, as its very useful for finding cards in general. I will include a section on this in my next article about Good and Bad Strategies.

What To Expect

This guide aims to cover the following:

  • give insights to different land types and their impact on strategy

  • identify the different requirements for different kinds of mana-bases and provide some templates and Scryfall links to help you find lands

  • discuss the impact of competitive play on the mana-base of the 8-by-8 EDH System

  • go over improving reliability of more complex mana-bases

  • discuss the benefits of bounce lands


  • Before building a mana base it first helps to understand the types of lands, as your mana-base design can synergize with other strategies or sub-themes in your recipe

  • Mana-bases each have their own requirements and type considerations, the more colours you need to support, the less value utility lands have in the deck, and the more important fixing lands become

  • Competitive mana-bases often aim to be diverse(4 colours) so they can include more dual lands, and can fix their mana without having lands enter tapped, but also replace some lands with "free mana rocks" so they can ramp really fast

  • focusing mana on a specific colour (in a multi-colour build) will help improve ramp reliability

  • mana/land artifacts (signets, moxes or even land tutor artifacts) offer a reasonable way to smooth out issues with lands, but be careful of over-commitment (spells similar to Vandalblast will wipe you out!)

  • bounce lands while not competitive, still offer great versatility and increase your mana density (average mana per land)

Land Types

There are a few main types of lands:

  • basic - mountains, islands, plains, swamps, forests and wastes

  • fixing - lands that either provide multiple types of mana or provide a way to convert mana

  • utility lands - lands that provide activated, passive or triggered abilities to give you some additional benefit (buffs, card draw, special effects like unblockable or flash, dealing damage, creating creature tokens etc.)

  • cycling lands - lands that can be either discarded to draw a new card or discarded to tutor a basic land to your hand (form of fixing as well)

There are a few further strategy subsets that are quite important to consider:

  • fetch lands (sacrifice) - there are fast and slow versions, and some have wider reach than others (enters tapped or not, basics only or just by type etc.)

  • bounce lands (I will discuss these further) - increase mana density but at the cost of returning a land and enters tapped

  • triomes - three typed lands, also cycling lands

  • shock lands - can enter untapped at the cost of 2 life, has types

  • creature lands - either by making creature tokens or by becoming creatures themselves

  • gates - now one of the most awesome janky land types, I made a special query that tries to find all gates and gate dependent cards Gate Search. Its not perfect (as its hard to focus the search only on cards that refer to actual gate types) but its still fairly useful.

When designing your recipe, its important to know what kinds of lands will help augment your main strategies. Think about things like, if I am concerned about card draw, maybe include some cycling lands. Or I need more sacrifice outlets, so maybe lands that have an ability to sacrifice creatures. Lands don't just need to be about mana or fixing.


I have plagiarized a bit from my personal (8by8edh) website for this section, but its just too useful not to share.


Mono-colour mana-bases are the simplest to build, and you can often get away with using only basic lands. I would recommend not oversaturating with colourless utility (avoid more than 12 colourless, unless this is a colourless build), and as a general rule have no less than 12 basic lands.

  • 12 basics

  • 23 Utility (avoid too many colourless options unless this is a colourless build)

Here are some links to Scryfall land searches to help find lands for each of this kind of mana-base:


These mana-bases are also fairly simple to setup. You definitely don't want to have only basic lands in this kind of mana-base as its very risky. I can't tell you how many times during playtesting I had situations where I am flooded with one kind of land and not the other. Fixing Lands are absolute gold in decks with 2 or more colours. You still want to avoid having too few basics, as this hinders your ability to ramp effectively.

Some lands like Snarls or MDFC work best in this type of mana-base, and lose effectiveness in higher colour counts. This is primarily due to limitations they impose on themselves. You can't tutor an MDFC to the battlefield and choose the side, it only allows the primary side. And a snarl will most likely enter tapped as you are less likely to have an appropriate basic in your hand if you have a more diverse mana-base.

Proposed Breakdown:

  • 12 basics

  • 8 Fixing

  • 13 Utility

Colourless utility lands become less helpful as your number of colours increase, so be careful of adding too many to decks that prioritize fixing over utility.

Here are some links to Scryfall land searches to help find lands for each of this kind of mana-base:


I separate fixing and fetch into tow different categories even though they seem to be similar. Fetch does fix your mana, but typically fetch lands needs basics to function well. They should never out number your basics, and if you are going heavy into land ramp, then consider increasing your basic land count. The ultimate fixing lands are those that produce 3 colours or more of mana, the worst are transmute lands that need one mana to make one mana (2 lands to make one... not a great conversion).

Proposed Breakdown:

  • 12 basics (4,4,4)

  • 8 fetch

  • 8 fixing

  • 7 Utility

Here are some links to Scryfall land searches to help find lands for each of this kind of mana-base:


Much the same as 3 colour mana-base, the expectations are about the same. There is one big caveat here, you will always have access to one good ramp colour. This must form the predominant basic land colour, and this ensures that your ramp spells can be mostly that colour and ensure more reliable ramping.