Ranking Every Mana Rock with EDHREC – Part 9: Do Hedrons Dream of Eldrazi Sheep?

(Dreamstone Hedron | Art by Eric Deschamps)

You All Here

Howdy y'all! We got another article here for you where we rank every mana rock based on how many decks they have on EDHREC.

Y'all. Hm. Y'aaaaaaaaaaall.

You know, we as a society should really use "y'all" more in our daily lives. "You all" feels far too formal in normal speech, and "you guys" ends up being more exclusionary than I'd like, but "y'all" has a ton of advantages. It's efficient, it's casual, and it takes up less space in these articles. All upside.

In conclusion, y'all need to use y'all in y'all's vocabulary more. Thanks y'all.

30: The Ally-Color Talismans: 10,980 Decks

(Talisman of Dominance: 19,987; Talisman of Indulgence: 14,847; Talisman of Progress: 12,657; Talisman of Impulse: 3,820; Talisman of Unity: 3,589;)

Take a look at that cycle deviation. The top card of the cycle has almost 20,000 decks, last one has under 4,000. Poor green mana rocks.

If the ally Talismans existed in a vacuum, I would say they were excellent mana rocks. Similar to the pain lands, the life loss on these will rarely matter, so essentially you can treat these as two-mana rocks that tap for two colors. That basically makes them as good, and sometimes better than Signets. The Talismans are stellar fixing/ramp in any dual color deck. There's no downside, right?

Five. Dollar. Price tag. Yeah, the Talismans are not exactly plentiful in supply. Some of them haven't been reprinted since Mirrodin in 2003. Freaking Talisman of Progress is $9! That's more than Arcane Signet! The Talismans are good, but at that price point, they are utterly replaceable. There're a bajillion colorless rocks like Mind Stone that are much cheaper than these, and if you must have colored mana, most of the Signets are cheaper than the corresponding Talismans. The only ones that aren't expensive are the misfit green ones, but that's because green has land-based ramp. You know, one of the main reasons to play green, and something that makes the Talismans pretty obsolete. I like this cycle, but not at $5.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: If only they made a version of this cycle that was cheaper. Hmmmmmmm.

29: Dreamstone Hedron: 11,057 Decks

I do love me a Dreamstone Hedron. It's definitely not for every deck. Hedron Archive is pretty subpar in decks that don't have any six drops to ramp into. Dreamstone Hedron is downright unplayable in any deck that doesn't want to slam Krakens, or Dragons, or Eldrazi, or Kaiju, or... Homarids? Whatever, point is, Dreamstone is niche, but man, I always feel amazing casting it. Six mana is a ton, but when you untap with it, you have nine mana minimum. That's the mana for casting stupid spells, and later you can cash it in as a Harmonize. I've definitely dug my way out of some sticky situations thanks to this card.

Look, I'm not going to pretend it's an excellent card. It's a six-mana Thran Dynamo, right? I'm just saying I’m very happy when the stars align for it to do cool things.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It's seeing more play than I expected but I think that's just all the colorless decks, although there are also a few decks like Tawnos, Urza's Apprentice playing it. Ehhhhhhhh... I'll get back to you on that one.

28: Star Compass: 11,495 Decks

Commander's Quarters strikes again! I honestly think that without Mitch, this rock would still be pretty obscure. His efficient budget decks are a lot of the reason I hear this card discussed.

A lot of what I've said about Coldsteel Heart applies here. Unless you really, really need colored mana, you're much better off with a colorless rock, and unless you really, really need that mana on turn two, you're much better off with a three-mana rock. This also can't mana fix you, it can only tap for mana you already have, so running it in multicolor decks is a bit iffy. Plus, now that the card is about a dollar, I can't even say it's good for budget decks. I'd sooner recommend a Signet if you can afford it, or a Locket if you can't.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I don't think Compass is bad, and I think there are times where it's the right card to play, but if it's coming down and not immediately doing something, it's really mediocre.

27: The Enemy-Color Talismans: 11,503 Decks

(Talisman of Creativity: 16,601; Talisman of Conviction: 12,850; Talisman of Hierarchy: 12,792; Talisman of Curiosity: 8,148; Talisman of Resilience: 7,127)

Funny how cutting down that price tag suddenly makes these way more appealing. The enemy-color Talismans from Modern Horizons are cards I'm much more comfortable recommending for general deck building. You can get most of them for under a dollar. Will they stay that way? Probably not forever, but right now they are a steal. If you are a budget player, I'd actually recommend getting a couple of each of these right now. Unlike the ally ones, they're cheaper than most colored alternatives, and even some of the colorless ones. This is premier budget two-mana ramp here.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Underplayed: All I ask is that the ally Talisman join them at their new price tag... and maybe the Signets too... and the Tainted lands... and Grand Coliseum... and....

26: Coalition Relic: 11,688 Decks

I can't remember the last time I saw Coalition Relic in play, which, if you were to tell me this when I was a teenager, would have utterly shocked me. As I've mentioned before, I've always built budget decks, and when I first started playing Commander, I was on budget rocks like Darksteel Ingot. Back when Relic was around $20, it was kind of my white whale. When I saw someone had one, it usually meant that the rest of their deck was full of expensive, efficient cards, and so it always stuck out to me. Relic was also praised by content creators like Command Zone, and Commander VS, and I will admit that back then I bought everything they said without question. Relic was clearly just this excellent mana rock that was playable in any deck.

Jump to now and Relic is a much more manageable $6, yet is just a card I'll see once in a blue moon. The two-mana craze has firmly pushed cards like Relic from 'staple' to 'playable' in a subset of decks, and I barely hear a whisper about it from other content creators. It's certainly not bad. When you remove the counter and tap it for mana in the same turn, that's a two mana boost, and you can do that multiple times a game, especially in Atraxa, Praetors' Voice. Of the Manalith variants, it's certainly one of the best, but at the end of the day, it's still just a Manalith, for $6. I'd say it's certainly playable in non-green decks, but it's definitely not a staple. And while it's probably better for us to know that, it does make me a little sad.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Someday I'll put ya in a deck, buddy!

25: Grim Monolith: 11,787 Decks

Hey! Have you ever wanted a worse Mana Vault for $200?

I joke, but some decks are able to abuse Vault so much that they’ll absolutely take a slightly worse version in Grim Monolith. Grim can still cast stupid cards like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, or game-winning commanders like Godo, Bandit Warlord way earlier than normal. It also obviously works well if you can untap it with stuff like Teferi, Temporal Archmage, and hey! Mana Vault doesn’t go infinite with Zirda, the Dawnwaker or other ways to reduce that untap cost, so that’s a plus for Grim!

However, if your deck isn't really tuned to take advantage of Grim Monolith, it’s not really worth it. Grim is basically just a colorless ritual, and most decks would rather have permanent ramp. Just throwing Grim into some Breya, Etherium Shaper deck is probably worse than running a Thran Dynamo, which also isn't over $200s.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: All that said, I'm not seeing a ton of data showing that Grim is going in random artifact decks, so it can stay here for now.

24: Mox Amber: 11,795 Decks


Okay. There're a lot of decks where Mox Amber is definitely worth playing. Amber is a really great mana rock for cheap commanders like Ashling the Pilgrim because it can start making mana very early on. It's also a decent card when it has some synergy with the deck‘s theme, like in legendary matters decks, or decks that want cheap artifacts. Amber isn’t useless, and can see play in certain decks.

However, I see Mox Amber in a lot of deck where it just doesn’t do anything. I understand the reasoning. EDH decks will always have access to a legendary creature, so Amber should always make mana as long as that creature is in play. That doesn’t sound awful, until you consider what that means. Part of the magic of ramp is that you can cast your early-game spells quicker. Amber cannot do that. Amber only works once you already have enough mana to cast one of your key spells. At that point, just play a rock that works without having a specific card in play. Mox Amber is niche. It’s just not a traditional mana rock, and shouldn’t be played as one.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Overplayed: I’m always a little sad when I see Amber sitting worthlessly in play.

23: Mox Opal: 12,156 Decks

Mox Opal on the other hand, is just a stupid card. Metalcraft is so easy to turn on, I've probably done it in Pack Wars. Heck, Mox Opal counts itself, so it's even easier to turn on. Just play any other rock plus Lightning Greaves, and hey! Free mox! There's not much more to add. If you happen to own one, you can't really go wrong playing it in any artifact deck.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Pair this card with Razor Boomerang. ...What? Did none of you grow up with Ty the Tasmanian Tiger?

22: Prismatic Lens: 15,082 Decks

I actually really like Prismatic Lens.

No really, I do. I know I've been kinda harsh on the two-mana ramp, but this one has some advantages that other don't. One: it's untapped. Untapped rocks are just way more efficient. You can play Lens on turn three, and still play another two-drop. Two, it can be mana fixing. Not very good fixing, but when you’re desperate, the mana filter ability can actually come in handy! Three, and most importantly: it's actually budget. Less than a dollar for this gives budget decks a two-mana ramp piece they can use. Plus, budget decks are leaning more heavily on rocks for mana fixing, so the filtering has more application there. If you need two-mana ramp, especially for budget decks, I find Lens to fill that roll well.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: It's definitely not a perfect fit for all decks, but I think it’s a good card in the decks using it.

21: Basalt Monolith: 17,291 Decks

I think Basalt Monolith is just better than Grim Monolith for most decks. Obviously, Grim is better in the more optimized decks that want to win on turn 4-5, where it costing less matters a lot more. For everyone else though, I think Basalt lines up more with what they want. It’s not just that Basalt goes in more combos than Grim. Check any kitchen cupboard, there's probably a card that goes infinite with Basalt Monolith in there. Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy, Power Artifact, Mesmeric Orb, and that's just a few of them.

Basalt is definitely more combo-rific than Grim, but it’s also just better in longer games. The difference between three and four mana is pretty big. It's definitely feasible to untap Basalt a couple times over the course of a game. Sure, costing more mana means Basalt is worse at being fast mana than Grim, but as I said above, most EDH decks don't really want a random ritual. Basalt just does more by itself, which also means that it's a safer bet to play alongside cards like Voltaic Key. It also certainly helps that Basalt is 32 times cheaper than Grim, but I think even if I had both cards, I'd pick Basalt Monolith over Grim Monolith for an average artifact deck.

Over, Under, or Just Right? Just Right: Geez Louise. Monolith is $7 now? Ugh.

Don't Feel Basalty

Well, I'll see y'all later! Let me know what you think about these rocks in the comments. Which is better, Basalt Monolith or Grim Monolith? Was I too harsh on Mox Amber? Let me know somewhere on the internet! Until next week!

Joseph started playing in Theros Block but decided that the best way to play the game was to learn every single card and hope that would somehow make him good at Magic. It hasn't. He is a college student in Santa Fe, New Mexico and also enjoys reading and other games of all shapes and sizes.