Conditions Allow - Moonfolk and Manabond in EDH

Ben Doolittle • December 14, 2021

(Manabond | Art by Stephen Daniele)

Bonding to the Mana

Hello, and welcome to Conditions Allow, where I take a card with a drawback and turn it into a strength.

Ramp is a contentious topic in Commander. How much is too much? Is it more important than card advantage? Today, I'm answering that question with a firm yes, because today I'm building around Manabond.

Manabond is a simple, one-mana enchantment that lets you put every land in your hand into play during your end step. All you have to do in return is discard all the other cards in your hand. This is powerful, but risky. You may trigger Avenger of Zendikar and Rampaging Baloths four or five times at once, but you'll have no defense against Wrath of God. And while Tatyova, Benthic Druid and Aesi, Tyrant of Gire Strait do eliminate that weakness by refilling your hand, that isn't the direction I want to take this deck. Instead, I want to pair Manabond with The Biblioplex and lean into playing the game Hellbent.

Lands Falling Everywhere

With Strixhaven came The Biblioplex, a balanced version of Library of Alexandria. Manabond lets you quickly discard your hand, putting enough mana into play to easily activate The Biblioplex and cast your spell. And, to ensure you always flip over a card to cast, you can stack your deck with Mystic Sanctuary. Having constant access to Sublime Epiphany or even Mystic Confluence is a great place to be, and exactly what we're setting up to do. For some extra redundancy, Castle Locthwain and the back half of Search for Azcanta also draw cards. Search even helps fill your graveyard early on.

Lands can also interact directly with the board themselves. Bojuka Bog is at the top of most graveyard hate lists, especially when you can easily play it multiple times. I've also been experimenting with Port of Karfell to interact with my own graveyard. Especially in combination with Life from the Loam and Slogurk, the Overslime, Port of Karfell lets you retrieve your creatures after board wipes, and because it mills four cards before reanimating a creature, you can even dig for creatures if you're desperate. Witch's Cottage works at a similar pace and is probably better in a deck with fewer creatures.

As far as winning the game, however, two lands stand above all others. You could easily build this as a Jund deck with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle as a win condition, but I'm going to lean away from that for a few reasons I'll discuss later on. Field of the Dead, however, fits perfectly into any deck. Thanks to the high number of utility lands in the deck, it start making Zombies early. As you get set up these are great blockers, but they also can provide a constant source of pressure that is hard for your opponents to disrupt.

Trapped in the Moon

The idea with Manabond is to sacrifice cards in hand for mana. It also means that you can always put every land into your hand back into play during your end step, which makes it the perfect support for Moonfolk. All of the Kamigawa Moonfolk have powerful abilities that require you to return lands to your hand. Some, like Oboro Breezecaller, are used in Landfall decks to bounce lands, but most don't see much play. Thanks to Manabond, however, you can afford to use the abilities of Soratami Savant and Soratami Mirror-Mage multiple times in a turn. Soratami Rainshaper also protects your Moonfolk while resetting Mystic Sanctuary, Bojuka Bog, and Witch's Cottage.

Once you have a stable board presence, you'll turn towards two other Moonfolk to close the game. Meloku, the Clouded Mirror is a classic Landfall card, and she's even more powerful when you can freely make eight to ten tokens a turn. Manabond even puts all those lands back into play untapped, so you can continue to protect yourself with Mystic Sanctuary and your other Moonfolk. Uyo, Silent Prophet is slightly more situational, but also more flexible. Steal counterspells to keep controlling the game, and copying Torment of Hailfire or Crackle with Power are legitimate win conditions. With Manabond in play, Uyo functions very similarly to a Wandering Archaic that always copies your opponents' spells.

A Golden Fang

Before filling out the rest of the deck, let's settle on a commander. Playing Castle Lochtwain, Manabond, and Meloku, the Clouded Mirror puts you solidly in Sultai. The deck is also built to play out of the graveyard. Muldrotha, the Gravetide is a strong contender, but I prefer Tasigur, the Golden Fang in this case. Tasigur is easier to cast, and he provides a mana sink in the command zone. Plus, in a deck built around Mystic Sanctuary, you're more likely to have a graveyard full of instants and sorceries that Muldrotha can't cast.

The rest of the deck is composed of cheap cantrips to help dig through the deck and as early food for a cheap Tasigur. Chromatic Star and Chromatic Sphere are the strangest inclusions, but they fulfill an important role: after the initial mana to cast them, each represents a mana-neutral way to draw a card after Manabond empties your hand. This works perfectly alongside Mystic Sanctuary

Rounding out the deck are two additional ways to win. Retreat to Hagra is, in some ways, a better Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. It hits each opponent with every trigger, and it gains you some life. In conjunction with Ancient Greenwarden, it does a lot of work very quickly. To supplement the token plan, Worm Harvest rewards you for all the land cards in your graveyard. You can cast it pretty much forever with Slogurk, the Overslime. I'm also including Novijen, Heart of Progress to make the tokens on par with Field of the Dead.

Tasigur Manabond

Commander (1)
Creatures (10)
Artifacts (5)
Enchantments (4)
Sorceries (17)
Instants (17)
Lands (46)

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Manabond is a card that feels like it should be better than it is. But if all you plan to use it for is powering Landfall triggers, then Burgeoning effects are much more useful. Having no hand is just too much of a downside. The Moonfolk let you invert that transaction. Rather than limiting your resources, Manabond lets you refuel to continue using Soratami Savant and Meloku, the Clouded Mirror. Along the way, you get to set up The Biblioplex with Mystic Sanctuary. Just because your hand is empty doesn't mean you can't have plenty of tricks up your sleeve.

But what do you think? Have you built around Manabond before? Let me know how you did it in the comments, and thanks for reading.

Ben was introduced to Magic during Seventh Edition and has played on and off ever since. A Simic mage at heart, he loves being given a problem to solve. When not shuffling cards, Ben can be found lost in a book or skiing in the mountains of Vermont.