The Mana base of a deck are usually all cards which produce mana to cast spells. The mana base is, as the name suggests, the most essential part of a deck as a deck that is unable to achieve the requirements to cast its spells is rendered effectively useless.
The most basic form of a mana basis is Land and more specifically basic lands. However, decks often use non-basic lands which have additional effects. However, these lands usually feature a drawback as a non-basic land may otherwise be strictly better than a basic land. The most common form of such lands are lands that produce more than one color, e.g. taplands, to fix the requirements of decks and make multicolored decks possible.
There are also artifacts that can produce mana but since these are rarely come without a cost on themselves they already require other mana sources in play and often only serve as mana acceleration. The most notable of these are Moxen which are immensely powerful.
Furthermore, there are certain spells or cards with abilities to produce mana but these have the same problem as artifacts discussed above. The most common form of these are green creatures which can be tapped for mana such as Birds of Paradise and Llanowar Elves which are still being reprinted regularly as well as new variants being published in a regular basis (e.g. Arbor Elf). These are known as mana dorks.
Available mana base
This Table shows what color combinations have which lands available to support them in different formats. Basic Lands from the sets are not counted. All Standard-legal lands are of course Modern-legal, and everything in Modern can be played in Eternal formats. The asterisk (*) marks when a new Land Cycle Type was introduced.
- Jeff Cunningham (February 17, 2007). "Introduction to Mana base". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Jeff Cunningham (February 24, 2007). "Introduction to Mana base, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Jeff Cunningham (March 03, 2007). "Seven Steps to a Better Mana Base". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Jeff Cunningham (March 10, 2007). "Mana Base Walkthrough". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Reid Duke (November 24, 2014). "Building a Mana base". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Reid Duke (July 6, 2015). "The Basics of Mana". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.