Have you ever wondered whether to take a Mana Spring or not? Mana Springs alone have a lot of depth and manipulation you can use to your advantage. There’s denial of the orb, you can block the Spring for future advantages, or even have baits involving it. You can even choose cards in your deck for Mana Spring plays specifically! Today we’ll teach you how to navigate through those difficult choices.
Denial of Mana Springs
Let’s go over one of the most common confusions involving this.
The very first turn can be one of the hardest decisions involving the spring, even I struggle with it occasionally! Let’s say for example we have a Silverguard Knight as our turn 1 play and nothing else. What we need to figure out in our mind is whether denial of one Mana on this turn is more important than protection of our minion. Since Zir’An is also in the Lyonar Faction we can know what she’ll be able to do based on our hand and deck. Zir’An starts with 3 Mana this turn, with the possibility to ramp to 4 with Windblade or utilize 5 Mana using two springs.
So the best turn she can do is either a 4 Mana play such as Hailstone Golem or Arclyte Regalia since Lyonar typically don’t play 1 Mana cards this early, or a Silverguard Knight + a 2 Mana card to fully use the 5 Mana. If we block the spring the strong 4 Mana play is even stronger for her since the enemy can hit it for 2. If they wanted to play a 3 drop + 2 drop play she still can by using the side Mana Springs. Alternatively she has the option to just walk forward, clear Silverguard with Windblade Adept, then play her own SilverGuard. Now on the other side, we don’t take the Mana Spring and go to the left twice, putting Silverguard directly above us.
This instantly cuts off the ability of her removing Silverguard and playing her own. Also if she goes for an Arclyte Regalia or a Hailstone golem, we have a full HP Silverguard to smack a charge off of Regalia, or half the life of Hailstone and live. We can also hit with our General, making it so that if we have a Bloodtear Alchemist or a Lucent Beam can fully clear their turn. The best part is, if she goes for an Arclyte Regalia then she can’t deny the middle spring, letting us accelerate next turn!
However, if she responds with Silverguard Knight + 2 drop taking the middle spring they can put a lot of pressure. She can still make the same play by taking the side Mana Spring with a 2 Mana minion, then provoke us with Silverguard Knight. The closer Mana Acceleration to our general is worth giving up for the protection of our Silverguard Knight.
Now, this isn’t always the case as certain hands favor denial, however for this instance as a general perspective it was better not to deny. The most important take away of this is to make your decision based on what you think your opponent will do with the Mana, and how it affects you. So enough about our turn, lets see if she should deny the Mana.
I’m going to show hands to give you perspective on what I’d be able to do on my turn if she leaves the spring up. Ironcliffe Guardian is very scary to go against, even with a Hailstone Golem or other 4 Mana minion. It can clear Windblade Adept, put Hailstone Golem to 3 hp for Silverguard, and deal 2 damage to the enemy General if she uses everything to clear. This is also ignoring us positioning the Ironcliffe away from Hailstone Golem. So is putting our Hailstone Golem on the Mana Spring to deny it worth more than protecting it? I’d say yes, since if we protect Hailstone we lose so much of our board presence to an Ironcliffe Guardian and it still lives against a Silverguard + General hit.
Using the Mana Spring to Set Up Baits
Now that we understand a bit about denial, let’s look at some ways to use those tips against our opponent. The pure fear of us being able to do more on our next turn can force our opponent to put their minions in danger just to deny us. We also could want our opponent to ramp to play a bigger minion to remove it with hard removal. For example, if our opponent is on 4 Mana as Lyonar and a Mana Spring is up while we have an Onyx Bear Seal in hand. We could purposefully let them take it so that we can Onyx Bear Seal the Ironcliffe and get a huge tempo lead. This puts us far ahead, and denied the Mana Spring in a more clever way.
Alternatively, if we don’t think they’ll be able to use their extra Mana very efficiently, we could set up other traps such as this.
So the scariest card to go against if you play Vanar is Jax Truesight. Vanar can’t deal with it very well, so you want to avoid it if possible. Knowing this, you know the opponent really wants to deny you from accelerating to 6 Mana and you want to force them to your Sojourner. You could block the spring very easily, but you want to make sure your sojourner gets its value next turn.
By letting the enemy Faie take the spring you force her to not only endanger her minion she plays, but this also lets your Sojourner get value. If you blocked the spring she probably could’ve ran away and protected her minion, but you forced her into a bad spot. As you can see there’s no Jax in hand, this is the mind game. The threat of Jax since Vanar is known to use Jax very well is enough to bait her into it. Also the downside of giving her an extra Mana is negligible since a Snow Chaser or Bloodborn Spell isn’t a big deal if she plays a 4 Mana minion on the spring.
Deck Building for Mana Spring
This may seem weird to think that an in-game only feature could be affected by deck building itself. It’s another very interesting depth of Mana Spring In Duelyst you can do to further your advantage with Mana over your opponent. Now, there’s many ways to do this, and a very common way is playing cards such as Rae and Wraithling Swarm
As you can see Rae accelerated you from 3 Mana to 4 to play stronger minions such as Dioltas or Hailstone Golem. Also on the other side, Wraithling Swarm gives you TWO more Mana to play even more threats for your deathwatch effects. The ability to do these really good Mana advantage plays using the springs is why we put these cards in our deck. There are a lot of other examples too, but instead of putting cards in for advantages, taking cards out because of Mana Spring disadvantages.
For example in this picture to give you perspective is a big example of Deckbuilding disadvantages of Mana Springs.
So your opponent played a really scary 5 Mana play such as Black Solus and you really wanted to remove it. You Onyx Bear Seal it and things are going very well for you, but the bad thing is he can still take the spring with that minion to summon a Spectral Revenant and destroy your Chakri Avatar! Even though you removed a big threat, you still left him with a Mana Spring advantage with Onyx Bear Seal. Some friends of mine have cut Onyx Bear Seal from their decks due to this disadvantage in favor of cards such as DeathStrike Seal.
As you can see if Deathstrike Seal was played here instead on the reva, it’d cleanly destroy the Solus while also not leaving a body to take the spring. While Onyx Bear Seal is a lot less situational, some people find it more beneficial for them to prevent all chances of Mana Spring advantages with other forms of removal.
If you have further questions feel free to contact me on Twitter or Discord. All games are different, so use these tips to help the differences in your games from these examples, Good Luck!