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
- 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
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.
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
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.
- Sanctum novices. Your Sanctum
generates as much mana as you have trained
in your house's 2 mana types only.
- 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.
- 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
- 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