Mana Crypt is bad

Economics forum

Posted on July 16, 2022, 10:49 p.m. by spacecoyote1313

I know I just pressed a lot of buttons. I don't play commander because I personally can't stand playing a 2-3 hour game. But why is Mana Crypt so expensive?

Unless I am missing something. It is a cheaper Sol Ring that 50/50 bolts you every turn. So if a game of commander lasts 20 turns, it deals on average 30 of your 40 life which is ridiculous.

I pulled one today in a mystery booster draft and unloaded it immediately for several triomes, and planeswalkers. I figure that over time the triomes and walkers will increase in value compared to the crypt (I may be wrong and am okay with that but the crypt has been in mystery box circulation for 2-3 years and I only see it staying the same value or losing value with the possibilitie of reprints)

Is the crypt part of some crazy combo? From what I have seen it is 99% used in Commander which if played on turn 1 gives you access to 3 mana instead of 2 like sol ring (obviously if you get them both you get 4 mana) but it the price tag seems more than obsurd to me and hoping to gain some clarification on it.

Grubbernaut says... #2

8/10 troll, you'll probably get serious replies.

July 16, 2022 10:59 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #3


How do you feel about shock and fetch lands? Because it's a land that causes you damage. ("pay life", whatever it's still loss of life).

Crypt gives you two mana for free. No cost. And that's huge. Because in a game of Commander, especially faster decks, the amount of life you could potentially lose is negligent to the miles ahead you can be from everyone else.

Many decks, opening with a land, a Sol Ring and a Mana Crypt can result in a Turn 2 win in the competitive scene. Sure, yes, casual players likely will benefit very little if at all over such an expensive card.

But competitive players? That's a wincon enabler, essentially.

July 17, 2022 12:01 a.m.

SpammyV says... #4

You unloaded a card of high monetary value to someone else and no practical value to yourself for cards that actually had practical value for you? Nice.

July 17, 2022 12:23 a.m.

KL185 says... #5

You accelerate your mana very fast so that your opponent goes to zero nearly before you do. For example: shops aggro in legacy. Your going to be taking a ton of damage but it enables you to do even more damage to your opponent. Remember that winning at 1 health left is no more or less a win.

July 17, 2022 12:26 a.m.

KL185 says... #6

i mean vintage

July 17, 2022 12:27 a.m.

ork_mcgork says... #7

As mentioned, the acceleration in Commander far outweighs the cost. Plus, in the format there tends to be a lot of artifact/enchantment hate around the board (like Vandalblast). If you can get it turn 1, you give yourself a pretty big advantage (and make yourself a big target).

With regards to the price, IIRC it was originally printed as a promo with the old MTG comics, and then has only had scant reprints at mythic in specialty sets. The demand remains high, and the supply remains low. Sure, if they aggressively reprinted it the price would drop significantly, but as it stands, the scarcity of the card in the market will keep its price pretty high.

Honestly, not a bad call to flip it if you're not playing Commander - better to get cards you'll actually use and enjoy.

July 17, 2022 11:21 a.m.

legendofa says... #8

(Usual disclaimer of non-competitiveness goes here.)

As a couple of people have mentioned, it's big mana ramp for competitive decks, and my understanding is that if a competitive EDH match has gone on for 20 turns, it's effectively a complete stalemate. Most competitive decks are designed to take the lead by turn 4, at which point Mana Crypt will have dealt an average of 4.5 damage to the player. (Turn 1 upkeep 0% chance of damage, turn 2-4 upkeep 50% chance of 3 damage.) So that's about the same as paying less than 5 life for an additional 8 mana over four turns, which is a very solid deal.

More casual games tend to go longer, so the increased frequency of taking damage from it becomes more of a threat, and the additional mana becomes less useful as the game goes on. More turns means more land plays, which means less reliance on fast mana.

Basically, it's a card that becomes more useful as the level of competitiveness rises. The highest tiers of competition are based around getting a win no matter the financial cost, so you have a market group willing to pay any amount of money for a card on short supply. This drives the price up.

But if you don't plan on using it, offloading it for cards you will use is a good move.

July 17, 2022 1:02 p.m.

Thank you to all

July 17, 2022 11:30 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #10

Honestly, unless you are a collector, the most value a card has to you is what you impart upon it.

If a card is worth $300 but you derive no joy or fun from it, and don't want to play, it's worthless. So if you can trade it for a bunch of cards, and those cards allow you to play the game and have fun, those are worth more than the $300 single card.

There will be more Crypts printed, more sales, more cracked from packs. Hell, I've owned maybe four crypts from different sets through cracking open packs or buying loose singles.

At the end of the day, as long as you can play and have fun, that's all that matters.

Besides, just make a proxy and use that since you're starting off. ^-^

July 17, 2022 11:46 p.m.

sylvannos says... #11

July 20, 2022 4:53 p.m.

KL185 says... #12

sylvannos they already know now

July 20, 2022 8:02 p.m.

Tryptic says... #13

Mana Crypt isn't bad, Commander is bad. Commander is absolute poison for the game.

The reason? Because it doesn't ban Mana Crypt and Sol Ring. Every card game has early mistakes, cards that are printed early in its existence before the design has settled, which it needs to grow out of because they are unfair, unfun design failures. If an adult suddenly says to you, "Uh oh, I poopied!" do you just ignore it and continue with your day?

Both Sol Ring and Mana Crypt are the baby talk dirty diaper of Magic, and using them is the card game version of crapping your pants. You forgive people for doing it when the game is a baby because they have no choice, but when the game grows up you expect them to stop! Commander allowing cards from 20 years ago to warp and twist the format, and worse, even ENCOURAGING these cards with reprints and value manipulation, is the board game equivalent of Wizards of the Coast teaching an entire generation to crap in their pants again after they'd grown up.

And why? So they can sell premium foil diapers like a $700 "Masterpiece Series" Mana Crypt reprint. WotC is so morally bankrupt that they'd rebrand their worst mistakes into "Masterpieces" and teach adults to play like card game newborns if it means more money.

Prove Me Wrong.

July 21, 2022 1:31 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #14

10/10 bait because I replied.

Taking the aggression and setting it aside, the ... Sol ;) focus of the argument you presented is two-fold:

  • Old cards warp a (relativisticly speaking) new format
  • Reprints and price points

The reason older cards find homes in EDH is because before an eternal format, such as EDH or Modern existed, cards would be "dead" after a year or two and would be unplayable for the rest of eternity. Because this was the case, WOTC had to keep printing powerful cards in almost every set, in order to keep the game engaging and entertaining. If you opened an original Necropotence, it would be unplayable once Standard rotated - or whatever the format was called back then. Probably didn't have a name, as it was just the one style to play with. What this means is, if WOTC stopped printing powerful cards, the game sputtered and lost fans. That is why older cards are so powerful; Because we can collect them over something like 20+ years and use them, once more. Only now, with each other.

Which ties nicely into your second point of prices. When a card is 10-15 years old, it's going to be a lot more rare in terms of physical quantities. Print runs were smaller, cards were not sleeved and players often threw them away. So if 100,000 cards of a specific type were printed, you may only have 10,000 left today. Due to the nature of supply and demand, those 10,000 are now worth a ton, especially if they are both powerful and in great condition. But this creates a barrier to entry, meaning newer or less-financially prosperous players are able to use them. So, when a set such as Modern Horizons comes out, it's a good place to reprint cards that absolutely can not be made into Standard, yet deserve a healthy reprinting. This gives new players access to the same great cards from 10-15-20 years ago, while not negatively impacting the originals all that much. So collectors and investors are happy, as are new players.

So, you asked to prove you wrong? Alright, challenge accepted.

Three words: Supply and Demand.

July 21, 2022 2:13 a.m.

Tryptic says... #15

The concept of Supply and Demand doesn't apply, because Wizards has near 100% control over both. Maybe there was a brief window of community-controlled EDH, but from the moment Wizards created Commander they have had the power to ban cards AND the ability to print them. It's all artificial scarcity in the first place.

The problem here is entirely in your statement, "This gives players to the same great cards from 10-15-20 years ago..." Sol Ring and Mana Crypt are not great cards, they are pure shit. Just like how Oko, Thief of Crowns is shit, and Tundra is shit. Powerful does not equal good, and Players like powerful cards whether they're good or not, is the problem. If you got rid of the reserved list today, which Wizards seems to be actually considering, and unbanned Ancestral Recall in Commander, players would get hyped for it but you would be teaching players to eat shit and like it.

The design space isn't infinite, but it isn't small either. It's easy to remove early, badly designed cards and add newer, more fair versions of them; Wizards does this all the time. The problem with this is that you don't know what the replacement COULD be as long as the crappy old version is around. What other mana sources could Wizards cook up if LITERALLY EVERY EDH DECK ON EARTH had to dump Sol Ring and Mana Crypt? That's 1-2 cards per deck in an entire format, which could be filled with something more fun to play, and the total monetary value of the system wouldn't decrease by much.

The problem is, Wizards have dug themselves into an awful hole by handing Rings and Crypts out like candy and stupidly expensive candy, respectively. Their shortsightedness has made it so they can't ban these cards without a huge backlash, so they're permanently stuck with this bad design in the Commander format.

July 21, 2022 4:58 a.m.

Gidgetimer says... #16

Tryptic As I was reading through your comments I may not have agreed with your points and thought you were using extreme rhetoric for the majority of your posts, but I was at least going to try having a reasonable discussion. Putting ABUR duals in with fast mana and Oko as "too powerful" just shows a fundamental misunderstanding though. ABUR duals command an exorbitant price tag and as such are mostly seen in objectively powerful decks. They are not however game breaking or even game warpingly powerful on their own. So in my estimation you quickly went from someone who had valid points stated in an extreme way, to someone who was just whining about the game's most popular format because they don't enjoy it themselves.

July 21, 2022 7:34 a.m.

Grubbernaut says... #17

Wah wah peepeepoopoo i smart and know what best 4 edh, player dumb, tundra reason why my goat tribal deck can't win pls help wotc

July 21, 2022 8:26 a.m.

legendofa says... #18

I generally assume that somebody genuinely will want to know the answer to any given question in the future.

WotC doesn't directly control the EDH banlist. Some members of the Commander Rules Committee and Commander Advisory Group have been employed by WotC, and the groups coordinate with each other, but WotC chooses to take no direct control and very little indirect control over EDH. They can print cards for the format (which is a policy I don't always agree with, but whatever), but that's it. They can't order the RC to ban Sol Ring, or Tundra, or any other card.

July 21, 2022 9:22 a.m.

sylvannos says... #19

@KL185: I'm pointing out some of the obvious applications to having cheap, fast artifact mana. Going land -> Mana Crypt -> Trinisphere means you get to keep playing Magic while your opponent sits around doing nothing for three turns while you set up a Wasteland/Strip Mine + Crucible of Worlds lock. Mana Crypt was a $100 card long before EDH was a thing, where it could only be played in Vintage.

@Tryptic: Honestly, I agree about EDH's banlist being complete garbage. All of the format's problems stem from the availability of fast mana and tutors. Prismatic had the right idea where it banned fast mana like Mana Crypt and Sol Ring, tutors (ranging from Mystical Teachings to Demonic Tutor), and then any other degenerate cards like Memory Jar, Necropotence, Yawgmoth's Will, or Gush.

There's a reason the format was able to have whacky decks with 4x Darksteel Colossus and 4x Akroma, Angel of Wrath be viable. The only cards that were specifically a problem for the format were things like Sundering Titan and Battle of Wits (both banned). Cards like Biorhythm weren't a problem because it played more like conventional Magic. If you can cast an 8 mana spell, you SHOULD be winning the game.

July 21, 2022 11:30 a.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #20

I am still attempting to figure out how for is "shit"?

July 21, 2022 12:59 p.m.

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