I was astonished when I saw how many cards use the template “add one mana of any type a land [some player controls] could produce.” Usually that’s pretty straightforward, but there’s an equally astonishing number of complications. I’ll be using Naga Vitalist as the prototype card for these, but the answers are valid for any card with this template, except as noted in the individual examples.
Q: How does Naga Vitalist work with…
- Wastes – Naga Vitalist’s ability gives you mana of any “type” a land you control could produce. Colorless is a type, so Naga Vitalist can tap for colorless [CR 106.9b]. Some of these effects, such as Harvester Druid only key on “color”, so these would not be able to tap for colorless, since colorless is a type of mana, but not a color.
- Snow-Covered Island – In contrast, snow is not a type [CR 107.4h]. Naga Vitalist can tap for U, but that mana won’t be snow mana because Naga Vitalist isn’t a snow permanent.
- Spire of Industry – Abilities that check for what types of mana a land “could produce” look at all the abilities of those lands regardless of whether those abilities could be activated [CR 106.7]. You can tap for colorless or any color, and this is true whether you control an artifact, whether you could pay 1 life, or whether Spire of Industries is tapped.
- Cavern of Souls – In the same way, these abilities do not look at any riders or requirements on how the mana can be used. You can tap Naga Vitalist for colorless or any color, and you can spend that mana on whatever you want.
- Cascading Cataracts – This land can produce any type of mana. Again, even if you couldn’t activate an ability of a land, the game still considers it capable of producing whatever color would result from that ability resolving.
- Reflecting Pool – The game can see what colors of mana Reflecting Pool would actually produce if you activated its ability [CR 106.7]. If you control any other lands, you can tap for that colors. If you control no other lands, the set of types of mana you can produce is undefined, so no mana will be produced (by either Naga Vitalist or Reflecting Pool) .
- Exotic Orchard – Exotic Orchard can tap for any color of mana you opponent’s lands could produce. This is determined the same way as Reflecting Pool above; if the opponent has no lands or if all of them only tap for colorless, Exotic Orchard cannot produce mana at all. Note that strangely, Exotic Orchard’s ability refers to “color”s of mana rather than “type”s, so it will never be able to tap for colorless, regardless of what lands are in play [CR 106.1a].
- An Island that’s been hacked into a Plains – Effects that change the color of mana that a land would produce, like this one or Contamination are taken into account when determining the types of mana a land is able to produce [CR 106.7]. So if you had no other lands, you could tap Naga Vitalist for W, but not for U.
- Blood Moon – Blood Moon functions by changing the type of nonbasic lands. In doing so, it removes all abilities the lands previously had [CR 305.7]. So no matter what nonbasic lands you had, Naga Vitalist will only see them as being able to tap for R.