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Sanctum | Strategy, Sorcery, SubterfugeSanctum | Strategy, Sorcery, Subterfuge



Mana Types

Sanctum is a fantasy-based collectible card game. Its cards are called spells, and their casting cost is measured in mana.

  • Your current mana production is displayed in the upper left corner of the game window.
  • Each spell shows its casting cost along the left edge of its card.

Mana Bars and Casting Cost

Casting Cost and Spell Text


Mana Types and Opposing Mana

Mana Pairs and Houses

Primary and Secondary Mana

The Mana Cube

Generating Mana

Planning your Mana Path


Mana Types and Opposing Mana. There are 6 types of mana in Sanctum.

  • These are further divided into 3 pairs of opposing mana types, shown below. No spell or house in the game uses opposing mana types.







Mana Pairs and Houses. Each house has 2 mana types.

  • Each house can always generate its two mana types.
  • The house's own spells always use these two mana types. Obviously, each house will be able to cast its own spells.
  • No two houses use the same pair of mana types.

    Lemma 1: Every pair of (non-opposing) mana types is used by a Sanctum house!

    Proof: We have 6 mana types. There are (6 choose 2) ways to choose a pair from 6 different items, or 6! / 4! 2! = 6 * 5 / 2 = 15 pairs. But 3 of these pairs are the 3 opposing mana pairs, which are not used by any house. That leaves 12 non-opposing pairs. And there are 12 houses. Since no two houses use the same pair, every pair is used exactly once. Since this covers the set of 12 pairs, every pair corresponds to a house!

Primary and Secondary Mana. A house's two mana types are further distinguished as its primary and secondary mana types. When we write a casting cost in abbreviated form, we use the format primary + secondary, e.g. “3+1” means 3 primary and 1 secondary in that spell's house.

  • Primary mana is the major part of most spells' casting cost.
    • Most of a house's spells have greater primary mana cost than secondary mana cost. That's why it's called “primary”!
    • Most spells cost 1-8 primary mana. Some spells, cf. Revolvers and Expansives, can cost more than 8 primary mana some of the time!
    • Some spells cost primary mana only, i.e. they cost 0 secondary mana. Many low-cost spells are like this.
  • Secondary mana is the minor part of most spells' casting cost.
    • Some spells have equal primary and secondary mana costs.
    • Most spells cost 0-2 secondary mana. Very powerful spells can cost 6+3 or 5+4 mana, or more!
    • Exception: Some spells, such as the “5-for-2” town mana generators, cost 0+5 mana, i.e. 0 primary mana and 5 secondary mana in their own houses. They were deliberately designed to give other houses access to a third mana type.

The Mana Cube. Here's an elegant concept to help you to visualize mana relationships. We call it the mana cube.

  • Take any cube. (A 6-sided die is a cube.)
  • Label the faces with the 6 mana types, so that opposing mana types go on opposite faces.

    Lemma 2: Every edge of the mana cube is a Sanctum house!

    Proof sketch: A cube has 12 edges. (Count them!)

Generating Mana. Before you can cast spells, you must first generate mana. At the start of each turn, you receive your full mana production from the following mana generators. Mana production is non-cumulative: any unused mana each turn is simply lost. Your current mana pool is displayed in the mana bars in the upper-left corner of the game window.

  1. Sanctum novices. Your Sanctum generates as much mana as you have trained in your house's 2 mana types only.
  2. Captured structures. Each town and colony you own generates 1 point of mana in any of the 6 mana types that you chose when you captured them. This is a good way to “splash” 1 point of a 3rd mana type into your deck, to gain access to a wider range of spells.
  3. Spells. Some spells generate more mana after you cast them. Getting enough mana to cast them in the first place is up to you!
    • Some manifestations do this in a one-shot manner, e.g. Bursts generate +2 mana in the “next turn” only.
    • Some active spells generate mana “each turn”, for as long as they remain in play.

Planning your Mana Path. You should carefully plan your deck and game-play actions to ensure a good mana path, so that you can cast a useful stream of spells throughout the first several game turns.

  • Two-color deck. The default deck strategy is to stick to your own house's 2 mana types only, and train more primary than secondary mana. This gives you access to all of your own house's spells, plus low-cost primary-only spells from the three neighboring houses (Lemma 3: there are always 3 such houses; proof by inspection) that share one of your mana types each.
  • Three-color deck. An intermediate strategy is to splash in 1-2 points of a 3rd mana type. Since you cannot train this mana type, you must generate this mana through structures and/or spells. This gives you access to moderate-cost spells of up to 2 other houses.
  • Reverse-mana deck. An advanced gambit is to design your deck to “go reverse” and emphasize its secondary mana in the early game (hence “gambit”). You could splash in a 3rd mana type, and essentially play as a different house altogether, for sheer surprise value. Or, you could plan to cast mid-game “5-for-2” town mana generators to rebalance your mana production, for a mid-game shift back toward your house's main strategy.

v2.20.00 Last updated 2009/03/22




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