Neheb, the Eternal | Illustration by Chris Rahn
Red is the color of chaos, so it makes sense that anything it does is inspired by that. Red card draw is more often impulse draw than anything else, and red mana acceleration comes in large bursts rather than through land fetching or your typical mana dorks.
Looking to go off in one turn, but you just need that slight mana bump to do it? I’ve got you covered with a deep dive into all red ritual effects in Magic. Let’s get into it!
What Are Red Rituals in MTG?
Dockside Extortionist | Illustration by Lie Setiawan
A ritual is a nickname for a card that creates more mana than it costs to cast. Named after Alpha’s Dark Ritual, rituals give you a burst of extra mana. Sometimes that mana is temporary and disappears in the next phase, and sometimes the extra mana takes the form of Treasure tokens.
Red rituals give you mana that you can use immediately, generate more mana than you spent to cast the card, and have a mono-red color identity. That means no delayed mana (Braid of Fire), no colorless or multicolor cards (Grand Warlord Radha), and nothing that just “nets even” (Apex of Power). I’m also ignoring banned cards like Mox Ruby.
#37. Brood Birthing
You want a comprehensive list? Dive deep enough into any pool and you’ll find some real stinkers.
#36. Mana Seism
#35. Inner Fire
You need at least five other cards in your hand when you cast Inner Fire to net mana. At least you have something to spend it on?
Dragonrage gives your attackers “firebreathing” and the mana to pump them. The mana doesn’t stick around past the combat step, so you’ll need to sink it in somewhere right away.
#33. Ardent Electromancer
#32. Infernal Plunge
#31. Brightstone Ritual
#30. Skirk Prospector
I guess it’s the goblin section of the list. Skirk Prospector is either feast or famine when it comes to deckbuilding. This has a ritual-like ability to turn your creatures into mana in a goblin deck.
#29. Open the Omenpaths
Open the Omenpaths gives you four mana for the price of three. There’s a restriction on how you can spend that mana (bad), and the second mode brings almost nothing else to the table (also bad).
#28. Simian Spirit Guide
It might be strange to think of Simian Spirit Guide as a ritual, but it fits. You’re up a red mana without spending any, which makes the Guide an ideal card for turboing out early-game combos.
I wouldn’t play this casually, though, because the loss of an entire card isn’t usually worth a free mana.
#27. Desperate Ritual + Pyretic Ritual
#26. Rite of Flame
Rite of Flame is another small-ball ritual that loses some of its functionality in Singleton formats. You won’t be getting more than one extra mana from this unless your opponents have copies in their graveyards.
#25. Irencrag Feat
The more expensive the ritual, the more mana you expect to get. Irencrag Feat provides a huge leap in mana, but it locks you into casting only one more spell that turn.
#24. Spiteful Repossession
Spiteful Repossession only qualifies as a ritual if you’re behind on land drops. It can help you catch up on mana while dealing some damage to your opponents against heavy ramp decks.
#23. Seething Song
How big of a mana boost are two extra mana? Obviously enough to earn Seething Song a ban in Modern. There are better options in Commander, but I wouldn’t fault someone for using this as their play-starter in a combo deck.
#22. Indulge // Excess
The Indulge side of Indulge // Excess helps create a small army of creature tokens while Excess acts as an aftermath ritual that scales with the number of creatures that dealt damage. It’s inconsistent, but token decks that go wide can net large amounts of Treasure from it.
#21. Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge
#20. Runaway Steam-Kin
Runaway Steam-Kin benefits from casting a flurry of red spells. Each spell you cast is essentially a red mana, but you can only cash in on it in chunks of three at a time.
#19. Rousing Refrain
I’d like Rousing Refrain much more if there weren’t an amplified version of this effect higher up on the list. The abilities to suspend and repeat this are cute, but it’s easy to play around once it’s out in the open.
#18. Mana Flare
Mana Flare has the ritual-esque ability to pay for itself and leave some mana left over once it resolves. This sort of effect has been moved over to green with cards like Heartbeat of Spring, but red got to try it out during early Magic design.
Be careful: it’s a symmetrical effect.
#16. Mana Echoes
#15. The Reaver Cleaver
The Reaver Cleaver costs six mana to cast and equip and then the equipped creature needs to deal at least seven damage before this approaches ritual territory. It generates more Treasure beyond the initial hit which makes it a scary equipment if it sticks around.
#14. Gauntlet of Might
#13. Battle Hymn
#12. _____ Goblin
“Delusionary” is one of the available stickers, so it’s easy to double the amount of mana you spent on the card.
#11. Surly Badgersaur
It’s a stretch to call Surly Badgersaur a ritual, but it can technically pay for itself the turn it comes down. That won’t happen often, but you can pump out a lot of Treasure with enough cycling and wheeling.
#10. Brass’s Bounty
Brass’s Bounty is a standard big ritual effect. You break even at seven lands, and anything above nets you extra mana. It takes the form of Treasure tokens so you can even save that mana up for another explosive turn.
#9. Reckless Endeavor
Reckless Endeavor mimics Brass’s Bounty and tacks on a red sweeper. Everything comes down to the roll of a few d12, but I’ve found that Endeavor often pays for itself, sweeps the board, and usually leaves some extra Treasure behind.
#8. Treasonous Ogre
Treasonous Ogre has the unique ability to convert life into red mana. It’s a very uncharacteristic thing for red, but it’s powerful nonetheless.
With your life total still at 40 you could make up to 13 red mana as soon as you play this.
#7. Koth of the Hammer
#6. Birgi, God of Storytelling
Birgi, God of Storytelling will refund you a red mana for each spell you cast if you’re planning on chaining spells together. There are some obvious infinites you can achieve here, and Harnfel, Horn of Bounty has some merit too.
#5. Storm-Kiln Artist
Storm-Kiln Artist strikes fear into my heart whenever I see it on the battlefield. It generates mana from casting or copying spells, it’s a combo extender for storm decks, and it sometimes whacks a player for 10+ damage.
#4. Neheb, the Eternal
A well-timed Neheb, the Eternal can be lights out for your opponents. Playing this pre-combat when you already have good attacks means you’re getting a huge post-combat mana payday.
Don’t let this live through combat if you see it on the opposing side.
#3. Mana Geyser
Mana Geyser puts so many other cards on this list to shame. Dating back to Fifth Dawn, it’s the perfect example of a card that wasn’t designed with multiplayer in mind, and it excels because of it.
You can expect this 5-mana spell to add upwards of 15 to 20 mana at once if you pick the right opening.
#2. Jeska’s Will
Jeska’s Will is at its best with your commander on board. But even without your commander it can easily add seven mana on turn 3 to push you ahead.
This is incredible early, and still highly effective into the late-game.
#1. Dockside Extortionist
The comparison to a “real” ritual like Pyretic Ritual is laughable, and it’s an ETB effect, the most loopable, repeatable effects in Magic.
Best Red Ritual Payoffs
What better way to use a bunch of red mana than sinking it into some big over-the-top X spell? Red has no shortage of Fireball-type effects to dump excess red mana into. Some of my favorites are Crackle with Power, Jaya’s Immolating Inferno, and Comet Storm.
Storm decks thrive off ritual effects. Their goal is to cast as many spells as possible, finishing up with your storm card of choice. Whether you’re trying to win with copies of Ignite Memories or extend your combo potential with Galvanic Relay, red rituals can give you the mana and “storm count” needed to combo off.
Storm-Kiln Artist | Illustration by Manuel Castañon
That’s it for red rituals! Some of these cards aren’t quite what players have in mind when they think of rituals, but they all fit our criteria. Hopefully you discovered something new on this list and put it to good use.
What’s your favorite red rituals? How you use them in your Commander decks? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
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