MTG: How Does Braid of Fire Work? (And Should You Get One?)

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MTG: How Does Braid of Fire Work?

There are a number of cards in Magic: the Gathering that have obscure or confusing uses.

Just about every card, however, does have some way it can be used. It’s just not always apparent to find its best use, and therein lies a favorite challenge for many players.

Braid of Fire is an example of a card that, at a first glance, seems confusing. But, like many others, it has its uses and can be beneficial in the right decks.

In this guide, we’ll be answering the question, how does Braid of Fire work? This is what we’ll go over:

  • What is Braid of Fire
  • Potential strategies involving this card
  • Whether or not you should get it yourself

Let’s get started.

What is Braid of Fire?

Braid of Fire is a red card that was printed in the Coldsnap set. In a nutshell, it allows you get an increasing amount of red mana on your upkeep each turn.

You start with one red mana from it. Then, each turn, you add an age counter to Braid of Fire, and you get one mana for each age counter on it.

It’s important to note here, though, that the mana coming from Braid of Fire only lasts for the duration of your upkeep step. You cannot use it in any subsequent phases of your turn.

For that reason, Braid of Fire’s mana can only be used on cards or abilities that move at instant speed. Aside from instants, this includes activated abilities on other cards or cards with flash.

If you’d like to learn more about activated abilities, you can take a look at our article on artifacts with them. 

Strategies Involving Braid of Fire

The tricky part with Braid of Fire is that the mana it provides drains away after your upkeep. Because of that, the way you can spend the mana is really limited unless you combine it with other cards.

As is, you can only use the mana generated by it on instants, activated abilities, or cards with flash. This may not necessarily be an issue if you’ve built a deck that focuses on these themes, such as a spellslinger deck.

Otherwise, you can find ways to effectively store Braid of Fire’s mana for the rest of your turn. Consider the card Kruphix, God of Horizons above.

He allows you to store any excess unused mana that would empty and converts it to colorless mana. If you needed specifically red mana, that may not help you as much, but it will help you pay the generic mana costs of a card.

Another combo with Braid of Fire is Gemstone Array, also pictured above. It allows you to pay two mana, then add a counter to it.

You can remove these counters to add one mana of any color to your pool. It’s true that you’re essentially then paying two mana for one, but Gemstone Array also lets you change the color of said mana.

That can be vital if you’re lacking a particular color you need to cast a spell.

Should you add Braid of Fire to your Collection?

Back when Braid of Fire was first printed, it was balanced by the mana burn mechanic. That meant unused mana did damage to your life total when it emptied from your pool.

But as that’s no longer a mechanic, Braid of Fire doesn’t have a downside anymore. It literally just gives you an increasing amount of free mana every consecutive turn.

Still, whether or not you should use it is your decision. It works especially well in decks that are centered around instants, so if that sounds like your playstyle, it’s a good addition.

You should also consider it if you’re into combos. There are undoubtedly many other ways to combo it with cards other than what we’ve discussed, and you may have fun discovering those interactions.

It probably isn’t the best card for beginners, though. The way it works may be confusing if you’re not familiar yet with Magic’s rules overall, or don’t know many cards.