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Mana Leak 
8th Edition Common

Reviewed July 30, 2004

Constructed: 3.6
Casual: 2.2
Limited: 2.6

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating

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* game store owner in CA, ShuffleAndCut

The new idea of what counterspell should be, honestly.  While Counterspell was a staple until 8th Edition rolled in, Control had become....well, out of control.  For many opponents, it just made the game not fun, and honestly, we've seen a jump in the number of players since it's leaving the environment allowed other archetypes to flourish.  Control isn't gone, it's just taken a new form, often in other colors or combinations of colors, and sometimes not even including Blue.  I think it's nice (and necessary) for the livelihood of M:TG.

In Constructed, in the absence of Counterspell, it's a mainstay for Blue based control/permission. Obviously, it's better early game than late, when it's useless against Urzatron and other mana mongering variants. In casual, permission is rarely a theme except in the extreme...Mana Leak does not qualify.  In limited, it's okay if you are already going Blue.
Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 1.5
Limited: 3

   Current Price:
Mana Leak - 8th Edition - $0.99

   Combos Well With:
Counterspell - 7th Edition - $0.97

Judge Bill

*Level 2
MTG Judge

*game store employee

Finally, a counterspell war to end the week. Mana Leak is superior in almost every instance where you may want either of these cards. The question is, do they have 3 mana (to pay for the Mana Leak)? If not, then Mana Leak is far superior, as it outright counters the spell, instead of letting them cast is again next turn. If they have the mana to pay for the Mana Leak, then what happens next turn when they draw the card again when you Memory Lapse it? 99% of the time, Lapsing the spell will make absolutely no difference whatsoever. Thus, it is just as dead as Mana Leak would be in that situation.
In casual, they just play Counterspell anyway, so why bother with these?
In limited, I don't like counters. Neither would be very effective outside the first few turns here, so why bother playing either of them?
Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 1
Limited: 1.5

2 Grand Prix Top 8's

Multiple Pro Tour appearances

Mana Leak


This has been used over and over since it was printed and is now used to symbolize what the balanced 2-mana counterspell should look like.  While a great number of people still lament Counterspell, this has proven to be more than adequate for a great number of decks in the current environment.  Some people see this as strictly inferior to Counterspell; others actually argue that itís superior due to its friendliness in two-or-more-color decks.  Either argument you use, itís still an exceptional card in use in a slew of environments.


Counterspells are poor in casual games; itís still quite decent in Mental Magic.


While you donít tend to want to hold mana back during the early turns of the game in draft, this still works after you drop a couple of early attackers to keep those nasty tempo-changing spells from killing off your critters.  Itís efficient and does the job most of the time; donít be ashamed to pick this.


Constructed:  4.0

Casual:  1.5

Limited:  3.5


Jeff Zandi

5 Time Pro Tour

Mana Leak
In a world without a true Counterspell for UU, Mana Leak is the best counter
spell there is. Early in a game, the part that usually matters the most,
requiring a player to ante up another three mana in order to avoid a spell
being countered by Mana Leak is such a problem that in the early game, you
can consider Mana Leak to be a "hard counter" most of the time. Mana Leak is
fine in limited play as well, but generally only good in numbers, where you
can count on having one early in the game as often as not.
CASUAL:              3.5
LIMITED:              3.0

Ray "Monk"
* Level 3 DCI Judge
*DCI Tournament Organizer

Mana Leak (vs. Memory Lapse)


This one was very interesting to me. I am not a fan of Memory Lapse, but I see its strength as a tempo card, and a card playable in so many other decks, like combo decks and decks with mana denial like Winter or Static Orb. Mana Leak can have the same benefits for mana denial decks, but are slightly weaker, because you want them to draw that expensive card again and not be able to cast it. In combo decks, Mana Leak is not as strong as you need a ďhard counter,Ē not one that they can pay three to get around. That being said, Mana Leak is more useful in the ďday to dayĒ decks that people play, and fits more effectively in a new deck you design. A very tough call.


Constructed:                 4

Casual:                         2

Limited:                        2



* game store owner (The Game Closet - Waco,TX)

OK, this one actually seemed like a tough vote for people to make.  I'm glad that Mana Leak one honestly.  It works for more decks.  Also, I think a counterspell is outright more useful when it even has the CHANCE that it can completely stop a spell.  Memory Lapse just buys you time from a spell.  Mana Leak may actually counter it.  I think that's the largest difference in these two cards.  Sure. Memory Lapse can set your opponent back a turn, but what good is that when he's getting a spell back that you were OBVIOUSLY bothered by enough to counter?  Mana Leak is the clear favorite for me in this bunch.
Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 3
Limited: 2.5

 Van Zandt

Mana Leak
I'm sure everyone will say this,  but like rewind, it's no counterspell. 
It's satisfactory though, for what it needs to do,  which is be almost a
hard counter during the first 5 turns of the game.  I wish it included the
powersink-forced-tapdown,  but again,  maybe I'm asking too much.  As with
most non-card advantage generating counters,  this card is mediocre in
limited... more for sideboard against bombs.
constructed 3
casual 2.5
limited 2.5

Secret Squirrel on the

Mana Leak
A very useful spell in the early game.  It can counter just about anything your opponent hurls at you in the first few turns of the game.  Not as useful late game, as people will generally have the extra mana open, and itís wiser to use a Condescend.  Unlike a majority of the cards this week, this card has seen play, and, I predict, will see more play in the future.  The ability to counter something for only 1 blue plus a generic is really powerful early game. You donít necessarily need the two blue to get rid of an early threat.  Even though a lot big threats come later in the game (Tooth and Nail, Ravager sometimes) or are swarms that each creature isnít overly powerful (virtually any weenie deck until a late game trick) this is still useful.  I donít think much more needs to be said about this card.  
In limited, controlling people has never been all too popular (talking base sets limited), but I imagine this is useful.
Constructed: 4
Casual: 2
Limited: 3
Mana Leak --

As with yesterday, the result of this vote for 9th Edition was a given. Who needs Memory Lapse (a temporary counter) when you have Mana Leak (a permanent counter)? Yes, I heard all of the cries of, "But it sucks late game!" when Mana Leak first re-emerged, but that hasn't exactly happened, has it? As it turns out, late game, your opponent is casting more expensive spells, making Mana Leak almost as useful.

In casual, I think Memory Lapse might have been a better call, but Mana Leak is still effective at stopping some of the wacky combos that tend to rear their heads in the casual environment.

For limited, as with yesterday and Rewind, I usually won't play Mana Leak in limited, as I'd prefer to use my mana for making threats. However, because of the lower cost, Mana Leak can sometimes make the cut into a sealed deck (or a poor draft) just on grounds of me not having an answer for certain types of cards.

Constructed Rating: 3.5
Casual Rating: 3.0
Limited Rating: 2.5

Mana Leak -
Constructed - Most. Played. Counter. In a fast format - this is the counter to play. Early game it's nearly ALWAYS a hard counter. Only time to worry is late game, where it's almost a Dead card.
Casual - As always, if this ISNT frowned upon,  it's only good in the people you play with play faster decks. And that isn't extremely common in casual.
Limited -
If you draw it in time, this card isnt too bad early game. Otherwise, as always, a dead card.
Constructed - 3.0
Casual - 2.0
Limited - 2.0

Copyright 2001


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