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CardShark Content - Raul Portales (12/7/2005)

The current rising Standard metagame seems to be full of multi-colored decks, due to the Ravnica style. Every deck of these characteristics needs a good land/color engine that allows mana fixing and a fast mana production.

This kind of engines are always based in green cards, so if you are thinking of a multi-colored deck without green this article is not for you. Be sure that without these engines, you are risking your mana base. Think again and include green in your deck, then continue reading.

In the current Standard we have 2 different blocks to work with and 2 different possibilities, one for each block. Let's take a look:

Kamigawa engine:
This block has a very powerful engine for multi-colored decks, the Gifts Ungiven
Gifts Ungiven
Gifts UngivenSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
62
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Search your library for four cards with different names and reveal them. Target opponent chooses two of those cards. Put the chosen cards into your graveyard and the rest into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
deck is proof of this, the engine is very simple and is based on 3 cards:

-Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe ElderSet: Commander
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Snake Shaman
Rarity:
C
Number:
169
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Sacrifice Sakura-Tribe Elder: Search your library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.

-Kodama's Reach
Kodama's Reach
Kodama's ReachSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
C
Number:
225
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Search your library for two basic land cards, reveal those cards, and put one into play tapped and the other into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

-Sensei’s Divining Top

With these cards and just basic lands you have a very stable engine for lands.

The Divining Top also takes advantage of the multiple library shuffling to choose the best cards, that's the essence of the Kamigawa engine.

Ravnica engine:
A set full of gold cards needs his own engine to be playable, this set has a quite simple engine, that is:

-Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise
Birds of ParadiseSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mana Birds
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.

-Farseek
Farseek
FarseekSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
163
Artist:
Martina Pilcerova
Text:
Search your library for a Plains, Island, Swamp, or Mountain card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.

-new dual lands

It's quite simple too, the Birds give you any color, also Farseek
Farseek
FarseekSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
163
Artist:
Martina Pilcerova
Text:
Search your library for a Plains, Island, Swamp, or Mountain card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
and dual lands allow you to choose the color you need, or even 2 colors you need.


There are two big differences between these 2 engines.

-The Kamigawa engine is made of common and uncommon cards; it's a very cheap engine. On the other hand, the Ravnica engine is full of rares, a lot of the most expensive rares in the set.

-The Kamigawa engine can get advantage of lots of shuffling, which gives a great stability to the deck and also thins lands from your deck so you draw more spells. On the other hand, the Ravnica engine can give you, on turn 2, the possibility to cast any double colored cost (1GG, 1BB and 1GB are possible with 2 lands and a bird) on turn 3. After a Farseek
Farseek
FarseekSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
163
Artist:
Martina Pilcerova
Text:
Search your library for a Plains, Island, Swamp, or Mountain card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
you can cast whatever you want with double cost.


The main question of the article is: What is better in Standard?

The answer is not a global truth, it depends of the mana requirement of your deck. If your deck uses high casting costs and needs several pieces to work, it’s clear that the Kamigawa engine is much better for you because it gets more lands faster and uses the Top to search and choose. If your deck has high color requirements such Hypnotic Specter
Hypnotic Specter
Hypnotic SpecterSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Specter
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying An opponent damaged by Specter must discard a card at random from his or her hand. Ignore this effect if opponent has no cards left in hand.
, Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
, and things like this where 2 or 3 mana are colored, then it’s clear that the Ravnica engine is much better to you because the dual lands that can fix this very easily.


But most decks do not fit in this classification, for them we can mix the engines like this:

-Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe ElderSet: Commander
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Snake Shaman
Rarity:
C
Number:
169
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Sacrifice Sakura-Tribe Elder: Search your library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.

-Farseek
Farseek
FarseekSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
163
Artist:
Martina Pilcerova
Text:
Search your library for a Plains, Island, Swamp, or Mountain card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.

-a few dual lands
-Sensei’s Divining Top

The replacement of the Kodama's Reach
Kodama's Reach
Kodama's ReachSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
C
Number:
225
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Search your library for two basic land cards, reveal those cards, and put one into play tapped and the other into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
by the Farseek
Farseek
FarseekSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
163
Artist:
Martina Pilcerova
Text:
Search your library for a Plains, Island, Swamp, or Mountain card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
is good because it allows you to get the dual lands, also the Elder can take the basic lands and you still have the card selection advantage of the Divining Top.

Decks which need speed (usually beatdown) can use other possibilities. I recommend not using the Top because it’s a slower play, but Birds instead because it gives you a better second turn. You lose card selection but gain speed.

You may complete any of these engines for Standard with a few pain lands. Usually they won’t give you too much damage because you have a lot of mana fixing cards, but even when you have bad luck these lands can give the color you'll need.

To finish here is an example for a fast 3 color deck G/B/U engine:

4 Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise
Birds of ParadiseSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mana Birds
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.

4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe ElderSet: Commander
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Snake Shaman
Rarity:
C
Number:
169
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Sacrifice Sakura-Tribe Elder: Search your library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.

4 Farseek
Farseek
FarseekSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
163
Artist:
Martina Pilcerova
Text:
Search your library for a Plains, Island, Swamp, or Mountain card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.


3 Overgrown Tomb
Overgrown Tomb
Overgrown TombSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Swamp Forest
Rarity:
R
Number:
279
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add B or G to your mana pool.) As Overgrown Tomb comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Overgrown Tomb comes into play tapped instead.
(G/B)
3 Watery Grave
Watery Grave
Watery GraveSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Island Swamp
Rarity:
R
Number:
286
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add U or B to your mana pool.) As Watery Grave comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Watery Grave comes into play tapped instead.
(U/B)
4 Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.

2 Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.

2 Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.

3 Yavimaya Coast
Yavimaya Coast
Yavimaya CoastSet: Apocalypse
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
143
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Text:
TAP: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. TAP: Add G or U to your mana pool. Yavimaya Coast deals 1 damage to you.
(G/U Pain land)
1 Underground River
Underground River
Underground RiverSet: Fifth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.T: Add U or B to your mana pool. Underground River deals 1 damage to you.
(U/B Pain land)

1 Llanowar Wastes
Llanowar Wastes
Llanowar WastesSet: Apocalypse
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
141
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
TAP: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. TAP: Add B or G to your mana pool. Llanowar Wastes deals 1 damage to you.
(G/B Pain land)

A better land selection can be done when the rest of the dual lands arrive in next Ravnica sets. Right now, all you need to do is test, test and test to get what is better for your deck. Good luck.


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