Magic Wizards: Fellwar Stone in EDH

I wrote the following discussion of using Fellwar Stone in Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH) before I learned that the rule which limits the color of your mana pool to colors in your commander’s identity was removed. I thought I would post the article anyways since it gives you an idea of how we would have dealt with this card in commander back in the day. Fellwar Stone is now able to produce any color of mana so long as your opponents possess a land that makes that color of mana. Problem solved. For a bit of historical Magic, read on:

How does Fellwar Stone work in EDH?

If you are used to playing other formats of Magic, Fellwar Stone is probably one of the most self-explanatory artifacts in the game.

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You pay two mana to play Fellwar Stone, it is an artifact, and when you tap it you can add one mana of any color that a land an opponent controls could produce. If your opponent has plains you can use Fellwar Stone for one white mana, islands blue, swamps black, mountains red, or forests green.

This card gets much more difficult when you’re talking about EDH. According to the rules of commander:

If mana would be added to a player’s mana pool of a color that isn’t in the color identity of that player’s commander, that amount of colorless mana is added to that player’s mana pool instead.

Furthermore, the following ruling was made on Fellwar Stone on 10/1/2009:

The colors of mana are white, blue, black, red, and green. Fellwar Stone can’t be tapped for colorless mana, even if a land an opponent controls could produce colorless mana.

Honestly, with the combination of these two rules it is unclear to me whether we should even allow Fellwar Stone into an EDH deck, and yet it is included in the pre-constructed Wade Into Battle deck for Commander 2015. The card does work, but it’s going to take a little bit of explaining to make sense of it.

For the sake of our discussion, lets pretend that I am playing with the Boros (red/white) deck Wade Into Battle, which includes Fellwar Stone as a mana ramp artifact, and that you are playing the Izzet (blue/red) deck Seize Control.

Since I am playing Wade Into Battle, I play Fellwar Stone looking to get some red or white mana to help me cast some of these big beasts as soon as possible. You are playing Seize Control and have already gotten a chance to play both a mountain and an island. It looks like I have my choice. Wrong. Because I can only add mana to my mana pool that exists within the color identity of my commander and Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas is a red/white creature, the only color of mana I would be able to produce from Fellwar Stone would be red.

This gets a little trickier when you don’t share any colors with your opponent. Let’s imagine now that I am still playing Wade Into Battle, but you are playing with the Golgari (green/black) deck Plunder the Graves. You have only a forest and a swamp, and since I do Kalemne is neither green nor black it doesn’t look like I can make use of Fellwar Stone. I wouldn’t be able to use it for colored mana because of the commander rule and I wouldn’t be able to use it for colorless mana because of the ruling on Fellwar Stone. At least, that’s what it looks like at first glance.

Looking a little bit closer at the rules, it appears that you can actually use Fellwar Stone while playing against any opponent who has at least one color of mana in their deck. A colorless EDH deck centered around Karn, Silver Golem, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, or Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre will still render Fellwar Stone useless. If I tap Fellwar Stone while playing against Plunder the Graves, I am tapping it for either one black mana or one green mana. Since I am tapping it for either white, blue, black, red, or green, and not for colorless mana, I am still obeying the ruling for Fellwar Stone. Now that I have tapped Fellwar Stone for green or black, the commander rule kicks in. Since I am tapping it for a color that isn’t in the color identity of Kalemne, the one mana that is added to my mana pool is going to be colorless instead.

Now for the less complicated explanation that doesn’t invoke either of the rules we just talked about.

If you tap Fellwar stone for a color shared by your commander, it will resolve as that color.
For example, if I am playing Wade Into Battle and I tap Fellwar Stone to take advantage of an opponent’s mountain, I will have one red mana added to my mana pool.

If you tap Fellwar stone for a color not shared by your commander, it will resolve as colorless.
For example, if I am playing Wade Into Battle and I tap Fellwar Stone to take advantage of an opponent’s forest, I will have one colorless mana added to my mana pool.

In other words, Fellwar Stone make sense in EDH. Wizards of the Coast was not stupid to add it to the pre-constructed Wade Into Battle deck. It is not as useful as it might be in other formats, but it is certainly a fairly useful card in terms of mana ramp.

Do you have any other questions about this ruling? Have you stumbled into another tough situation that you need a second opinion for? I’m happy to talk about other formats. I mostly just talk about EDH because that’s the only format I’ve been playing lately. I have a strong love for the other formats as well, and if you have a question it might be my only foray into standard, modern, or draft for the next few weeks. Whatever happens, lets keep talking about Magic. I needs it.

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