Opinion: "The Professor" Speaks on Mana Bases – "Magic: The Gathering"

The Tolarian Community College YouTube channel has posted a number of videos pertaining to how to properly craft a mana base in the Commander format of Magic: The Gathering. By no means is it a strict guideline, and Brian Lewis, known on that YouTube channel as "The Professor", makes that very known.

Improving "Merciless Rage" - "Magic: The Gathering"
Source: Wizards of the Coast

However, as safe as the video is from scrutiny, I am inclined to take a bit of issue with a couple of the suggestions made. This is especially true of cycling lands as an alternative to better cards in the land base, and the overall number of cards that an optimized land base ought to contain.

One of the biggest issues I have with any land base is the propensity for players to include lands that enter play tapped unconditionally for little-to-no added effect. There are only a couple of exceptions I have to this, but for the most part, when a deck calls for colored mana in one color, it seems better just to use a basic land. That's important because of the amount of tempo that is needed to excel in Commander. I am certain that The Professor understands this, but then pretty much instructs us to use cycling lands to replace drawing cycling lands with another land. Besides thinning out the deck by a card, it makes little sense not to have a better card, land or otherwise, in that slot.

"The Professor" Speaks on Mana Bases - "Magic: The Gathering"
Those poor mono-white decks…! Source: Tolarian Community College on YouTube

Additionally, The Professor mentions that players ought to run 38-plus lands in any deck. I don't think that's true at all. 34-plus makes sense. 36 is a fine number. But I guess if players want to be extra careful 38 or more lands will do the trick? I'm unsure that The Professor is on the mark with that analysis either.

"The Professor" Speaks on Mana Bases - "Magic: The Gathering"
Source: Tolarian Community College on Youtube

In the end, though, The Professor is fairly on the mark with every other thing about the building of a monocolor landbase. The utility lands are important, as are colored mana sources.

What do you think though? How do you typically construct your land base? Let us know!

About Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.