Ranking Every Mana Rock with EDHREC - 2022 Edition
(Relic of Legends | Art by Titus Lunter)
Did Something Happen Since August?
Oh, hey all. If you don't know me, I'm Joseph. I'm the ranking guy. So far I've ranked every Land, Mana Rock, Planeswalker, Equipment, and Battlecruiser card based on the number of decks they have on EDHREC.
Then I disappeared to prep one last big series on Mechanics, which is still coming, I promise! It's just taken me a while to actually get everything ready for that big series.
Buuuuuuuuuuuuut, since we're into a new year, we might as well keep up with tradition and do a month of year end round-up articles
to buy me a bit more time to prep the mechanic series. Let's check in and see how our various series fared in 2022 starting with...
Mana Rocks of 2022
- Eligible Sets: Innistrad, Crimson Vow, Crimson Vow Commander, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, Neon Dynasty Commander, Streets of New Capenna, New Capenna Commander, Commander Legends: Battle of Boulder's Gate, Dominaria United, Dominaria United Commander, Unfinity, Warhammer 40K Commander
- Previous Number of Mana Rocks: 133
- New Additions from 2022: 21
- New Number of Mana Rocks: 154
First off, let's get the usual definition out of the way: A mana rock is a noncreature, nonland artifact that can produce its own mana as its primary function.
Secondly, if you actually bothered to read that massive wall of sets, you'll notice there is no The Brother's War on there. I waffled a bit on whether to include BRO or not, but ultimately decided that it's still too soon to talk about the cards now. We'll make BRO a problem for 2023 Joseph.
On the bright side, we finally get to talk about Innistrad: Crimson Vow! Anyone excited to talk about Crimson Vow?
Yeah, I'll be honest, Crimson Vow is the least memorable set for me since Aether Revolt. Outside of Blood tokens, I can't remember anything from this set, but hey! That's what these articles are for. Whathca got, 2022?
151: Ticket Turbotubes: 147 Decks
Now, I'm sure there are people on this little blue planet for whom stickers in Commander are their jam (maybe they're the domain of weirdos who play TF2, IDK). I'm glad this exists for y'all.
I, on the other hand, cannot be bothered to bring dice to every Commander game I play, so I assure you, I'm far too lazy to hunt down ten sticker sheets and bring them to every game just so I can play Prize Wall. Thank you, no thank you.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I actually really like the idea of stickers in Commander, so I'm cool if you wanna play them against me. Logistically, I personally just don't wanna try.
121: Obsidian Obelisk: 1,971 Decks
I like... I don't hate... I'm not going to start sobbing tears of pity if you played Pillar of Origins against me. The card has a home in five-color budget theme decks even though the card is awkward.
I guess I could say the same thing about Obsidian Obelisk, but it just feels so much slower. The one advantage of Pillar is that it's a fast way to fix your mana in tribal decks that generally need to go fast. Obelisk is a slow way to fix your mana in multicolor decks, which are already value town engines anyway. Here, it does seem like the Rampant Growth is gonna do you more good.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Jodah! Don't put your Obelisk under the ketchup dispensers. We've been over this!
118: Lantern of Revealing: 2,170 Decks
I'm thinking it's better than Mana Geode and Letter of Acceptance, worse than Bonder's Ornament. We'll put it like right in middle of the second tier of Manaliths. Sound good to everyone?
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Although none of these can ever touch my beloved Fountain of Ichor.
110: Boxing Ring: 2,884 Decks
In this corner, weighing in as a 1/1 Human, it's the reigning champ coming to you from Dominaria: the The Taaaaaaalas Reeeeeesearcheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer! (Rahhhhhhhhhh, rahhhhhhhh)
Aaaaaaaaaaand in this corner, the King of Vanilla creatures, challenging the champ from the forests of Ixalan, Gigantooooooooooosauruuuuuuuuuuuuus. (More Rahhhhhhhhhh.)
Boy, fights have been getting way more interesting since we kicked tokens out of the division.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I'm honestly not even sure Boxing Ring should be here. You can argue the primary use for this card is the fighting ability, but I already wrote the boxing joke.
107: Moonsnare Prototype: 3,382 Decks
I think Moonsnare Prototype ends up being like a Springleaf Drum 1.5 in the end. On the one hand, you're never playing this over Drum if you don't have any artifacts. The Channel ability just doesn't show up enough to matter for the downside of tapping for colorless.
On the upside is the ability to tap artifacts, which sounds neat, but artifact decks have mana acceleration that could get them to Io and back (it's got Volcanos), so they don't need a clunky one like this, even at one mana. I'm not playing this unless I have creatures I wanna tap and I need cheap artifacts pronto, which means it'll be competing with Drum, but I can envision scenarios where I'd play Prototype first.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Or play both. I'm not picky.
101: The Golden Throne: 3,943 Decks
Gilded Lotus with 100% more murder? Sounds good to me! Granted, it's a little awkward in the Golgari graveyard decks that recur Sakura-Tribe Elder six times before breakfast, but in Orzhov or mono-black token decks that can feed a lot of fodder to it, this seems like a pretty excellent mana rock.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: Oh, and it's got some trinket text about not losing the game immediately, whatever. I'm off to go find 999 more creatures to sacrifice.
99: Sarevok's Tome: 4,338 Decks
I will save my thoughts on the Initiative for a different (much longer) article series, but if you're into Initiative, then Sarevok's Tome is basically an auto-include. If you aren't, well, why are you playing a worse Mana Prism?
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Hey, look! I found Bolas' Book!
97: Network Terminal: 4,746 Decks
At first, I wasn't super high on Terminal because you clearly need a lot of artifacts to play it, but then artifact decks have a lot of better options, from Skyclave Relic to Thran Dynamo to Blinkmoth Urn.
Then I actually looked up the prices for those cards, and suddenly, I'm kinda digging this 25-cent way to ramp you with upside later on. $2 is not a lot for a card like Skyclave Relic, but if you're on an uber budget, I'm kinda into this thing.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I'll keep you in mind if I ever become a different Magic player who likes artifact decks not named Brudiclad.
95: Sceptre of Eternal Glory: 5,427 Decks
Well, I like Sceptre of Eternal Glory, but why is it $14? Not all the cards from the 40K decks are this expensive. Why are we all freaking out about slightly better Gilded Lotus? I like Gilded Lotus more than my contemporaries, and even then, I feel like $14 is too much to pay for this card.
Can you even play this outside of mono-color decks? I might play it in green decks, but green decks do not need a Gilded Lotus by any means. I don't think I'd risk it in Orzhov or Izzet or Boros or anything like that, so then it's a mono-color card only.
That's cool! I love those, but I also don't think Scepter is a mono-color staple or anything. Mono-green doesn't want this for obvious reason. Mono-black can probably do better with like Crypt Ghast, or Magus of the Coffers. The other three colors would probably love this thing, but for its current price? I'm not enthused.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: Perhaps I'm just salty that I don't get to play with the new toys.
92: Lapis Orb of Dragonkind: 5,872 Decks
80: Jade Orb of Dragonkind: 8,010 Decks
64: Carnelian Orb of Dragonkind: 11,918 Decks
No! Bad Dragon players! Don't play this clunky ramp in your Dragon decks. Dragon decks wanna ramp fast, and a lot. They are the last decks that want Manaliths with upside. You've been charmed by Angelo, haven't you? I know his eyes are dreamy, but you gotta stick to the facts! Dragon decks are always a large public enemy, so you have to work quick and stomp hard! No time to faff about with these mana rocks.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: The upside doesn't even seem that good to me. Lapis is rarely going to matter very much. Jade is better, but still not high enough impact for me. Carnelian is the best of the three, but even then, you can run better haste-enablers.
91: Vexing Puzzlebox: 5,966 Decks
Vexing Puzzlebox is up there with Replicating Ring as a rock that probably will not get to do its thing very often, but when it does, it's going to be very funny. Your average dice roll on a d20 is 10.5, so on average, with no other dice-rolling cards, it's gonna take ten uses of this card to actually get the artifact off it. That's uber slow. You're likely not surviving that long if that's your primary plan to win the game.
Does that matter, though? Nope! I'll be jamming this in Brudiclad on the off chance it does something because I'd like to surprise my opponent with a Myr Battlesphere from the Christmas box, please and thank you!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: If you're actively rolling dice, you obviously want this card. Might even be worth playing a couple big artifacts to grab with it.
86: Timeless Lotus: 6,598 Decks
Forgive me for not being enthused about Timeless Lotus, it's just that I've seen everything this card is doing before. Like, there's nothing this card is doing for five-color decks (and it's only five-color decks because color identity wants your lunch money) that can't already be done. Wanna ramp a lot? Literally any big green ramp spell, like Boundless Realms, does that for you. Wanna do big combos? Well, Chromatic Orrery has got Lotus beat on that front by two years. What else does this do? If it cost less money, I'd consider it a cool budget rock, but it's a stupidly expensive mythic rare, so it can't even accomplish that.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: The art is beautiful, though. Can't make any snark about that.
85: Honored Heirloom: 6,599 Decks
Okay, this is where I draw the line. I love Manaliths (well, not Manalith specifically, but you know what I mean). You're never gonna see me dissing people for playing what they own, but this one is not very good. This is like Spinning Wheel-levels of mediocre. You can take the two we saw above us (or one of the ones further up the list) and run those. They'll do more for you than this one.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: It's at this point that I decided I needed to redo the tier list of Manaliths. I'll probably post it to Reddit in conjunction with this article. U/LogicalKnot. There's your homework for the week.
81: Stonespeaker Crystal: 7,250 Decks
Oh, hey, look, another Hedron Archive. I'm sure we can all be civil and nice, and not insult anyone's pet cards, Tomer!
I've given my piece on Hedron Archive before, and I could basically reiterate that here for Crystal. Anything that's a Sisay's Ring has a lot of homes, but it's not for every deck, and it's not for basically any deck with a commander that costs four or less. You need to be able to use the extra colorless mana consistently for it to be worth it over any Manalith with upside.
The real question here is if Crystal is better, worse, or on part with Archive. Obviously, any colorless deck is gonna want both. Outside of those and the occasional mono-color deck, I think I'd always reach for Archive first and leave Crystal in the bin. Leaving two mana up to interact with on the off chance someone does a graveyard thing is clunky. Often, I'll be cracking this for the card draw late game anyway, so I might as well play the one that gets me an extra card.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Still a very good card that a lot of decks will be happy to have. It's just not dethroning the champ anytime soon.
61: Glittering Stockpile: 13,120 Decks
Ehhhhh, this one is not my jam. Glittering Stockpile is way too slow to be doing anything cool for me. How much do you need to sac this for to be happy with it? Five? Six? More? That's six turns of entropy. What's gonna be left to cast with it by the time you do that? Cursed Mirror and Midnight Clock, this is not.
Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I never thought I'd say this, but if you want this effect, play Empowered Autogenerator.
56: Relic of Legends: 14,630 Decks
It's amazing what taking Honor-Worn Shaku, making it tap for any color, and then reprinting it does for my estimation of a card. I liked Honor-Worn Shaku as a way to tap legends like King Macar, the Gold-Cursed, but I never thought it was busted or anything like that, and I was hesitant to play it in Legendary Matters decks where the color requirements were high, like Kethis, the Hidden Hand.
But, oh my gosh, Relic of Legends is super gross. Have you seen this thing? I played against one guy who got it out turn three, kept three lands, and basically made seven or eight mana off it and cast all the dorks. It's wild. It makes cheaper legends, like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, super easy to get out. Gosh dang, get these now!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: I'm not in the market for playing this in non-Legendary Matters decks, but, my goodness, have you seen this in Jodah, the Unifier?
50: Patriar's Seal: 18,014 Decks
31: Decanter of Endless Water: 39,442 Decks
Oh yeah, baby! The top three mana rocks of 2022 are all Manaliths with upside. Eat it, haters!
Patriar's Seal and Decanter of Endless Water are both top tier Manaliths, and I'll happily play them in a lot of decks for the foreseeable future. Y'all remember when you use to play Magewright's Stone to untap your Selvala, Explorer Returned? I remember, and now I aspire to never do that again, and just run Patriar's Seal instead. I really hope they reprint this ASAP because I need a copy for basically any commander with a tap ability.
As for Decanter of Endless Water, well, I'll reuse my Reliquary Tower defense. Do you need this ability in a lot of decks? No. Often if you have 30 cards, you'll win the game with the best seven of those cards, but since when is the point of having 30 cards in hand to win the game? I like to revel in my overindulgence, and because many of my decks do that, I will happily run Decanter in a lot of decks too!
Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It's been a good year for mana rocks. I am pleased!
Three-Mana Ramp Everydaaaaaaaaaay!
Well, that's one retrospective down. Let me know what you think about 2022. What's your favorite, least favorite, or derpiest rock of the year? Post your thoughts in the comments! Until next week!