MTG What is a Mana Ability (EXPLAINED)

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Magic: The Gathering is loaded with all sorts of interesting spells and abilities, including mana abilities. Read on below and discover what is a mana ability and how it works.

MTG What is a Mana Ability?

A mana ability is activated only once a mana cost has been paid. For example, a card with a damage-dealing mana-activated ability may deal 1 damage to any player or creature after said mana is tapped. Without paying the mana cost, mana abilities will not activate, period.

How Exactly Do Mana Abilities Work?

Mana abilities are activated once the card has been played, is on the battlefield, and its extra mana cost has been paid in full, only then does the card’s mana ability activate and come into play. Mana abilities include a wide range of benefits and advantages, including dealing damage, healing yourself, preventing damage, and more.

How Many Mana Abilities Are There?

The total number of mana abilities in the game is unknown. That’s because new ones come out with each new set (four times per year) and sometimes with new expansions (several times per year). The most common mana abilities include healing, damage, countering spells, untapping, tapping, boosting creatures, and many many more.

Are All Abilities Mana Abilities?

All abilities are not mana abilities. In fact, mana abilities only make up a portion of the plethora of abilities available in a full library of MTG cards. Some abilities are automatically active, others activate upon entering or exiting the battlefield. Even others are activated by paying other costs aside from mana, such as life or poison counters.

How Much do Mana Abilities Cost?

There is no simple answer to the question of how much mana abilities cost because the range of mana abilities is too wide. The most affordable mana abilities cost 1 mana. More extravagant and powerful mana abilities cost upwards of 8, 9, 10, or even X (which means you can tap as much as you want, typically to amplify the effects of the ability).

Do All Cards Have Mana Abilities?

All cards do not have mana abilities, far from it. Mana abilities are often found only on creatures and planeswalkers, though they may appear on other types of cards as well. That said, not all creatures have mana abilities (but most planeswalkers do, for sure). Rare and Mythic creatures almost always have mana abilities, uncommon and common creatures have them sometimes too.