Whether you're a Cabal dementia summoner who fuels their magic with their own fears, someone facing down the end of time itself, or a bloodthirsty vampire influenced by the eldritch beings pouring into your homeworld, there's a lot of ways your mind can break in Magic the Gathering.
These constant threats to your very core are represented with the Madness mechanic. A great tool for graveyard decks, or even an archetype in its own right, Madness has returned for the Innistrad: Crimson Vow Vampiric Bloodline Commander deck. But what is Madness, and how do you use it? Here is everything you need to know about Madness.
What Is Madness?
Madness is a keyword ability that only triggers when the card it is on is being discarded (placed from your hand directly into the graveyard).
When a Madness card is discarded, Madness triggers and you can instead exile the card, pay its mana cost, and cast it instead. Usually, the Madness cost is cheaper than the normal mana value, making it a good idea to find ways to discard Madness cards for added value.
Madness is not casting the spell from your graveyard. The card is discarded, but Madness makes it goes to exile until you either cast the spell or choose not to, at which point it then enters the graveyard. If you cast an instant or sorcery with Madness, the card will enter the graveyard once it resolves, just like any other spell.
Madness is an alternative mana cost, like Mutate or Foretell, and doesn't affect the mana value (or converted mana cost) of the spell you're casting. Alchemist's Greeting's mana value is always five, even if you only pay one generic and one red to cast it with Madness. As with all alternative costs, you can't pay any additional mana into things like an X cost or Kicker, but it can be affected by things that change the casting cost such as an Andradite Leech or Geist-Fueled Scarecrow.
One crucial thing to remember about Madness is it ignores timing restrictions. If you discard anything with Madness on your opponent's turn, you can pay the Madness cost and cast it right away, even if it's normally a Sorcery-speed spell.
How To Use Madness?
The tricky thing about getting value out of madness is that very few of them can discard themselves. You'll need to find other ways to get them out of your hand first.
One way to do this was introduced in Innistrad: Crimson Vow in the form of Blood tokens. You pay one generic mana, discard a card, and tap and sacrifice the token to draw a new card – use your Madness card for that cost and you're getting two benefits for the price of one. There are lots of other 'rummaging' and 'looting' effects like this, thanks to cards like Rummaging Goblin, Faithless Looting, Faithless Salvaging, Improbably Alliance, Immersturm Raider, Merfolk Looter, and countless others.
Repeatable, instant-speed discard outlets are a bit less common, but it is found on creatures like Aeromoeba, Aquamoeba, Cephalid Inkshrouder, Dreamtrawler, Grotesque Hybrid, Oblivion Crown, Putrid Imp, Skirge Familiar, Stromkirk Condemned, or Chainer, Nightmare Adept. If you can set up ways to dump a Madness card from your hand whenever you want, you'll be at a serious advantage.
What Colour Is Madness?
Madness is found in all five colours but is most closely linked to the Rakdos colours of black and red.
It was a mechanic first introduced in Torment, a set famous for focusing mostly on powerful black cards, and was then re-used for the vampires of Innistrad in the Shadows Over Innistrad block, which are primarily black and red in their colour identity.
61 cards directly mention Madness, and all but two of those (Anje Falkenrath and Falkenrath Gorger) have Madness costs of their own. There are only two white Madness cards, two green, seven blue, 27 red, and 30 black. There are also three multicolour cards, all in Rakdos.