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Pontificate the Proliferate - Brandon Howe (9/22/2011)

Good day my fellow Magic players! Today is a great day! Why? Oh because I just proliferated my Garruk 3 times and pulled the trigger on his ultimate right when he first came out! Day of Judgment
Day of Judgment
Day of JudgmentSet: Zendikar
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
9
Artist:
Vincent Proce
Text:
Destroy all creatures.
you say? I say nay! They all had haste with Urabrask the Hidden
Urabrask the Hidden
Urabrask the HiddenSet: New Phyrexia
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Praetor
Rarity:
M
Number:
98
Artist:
Brad Rigney
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Creatures you control have haste. Creatures your opponents control enter the battlefield tapped.
!

Okay, look at the deck list; understand that this is NOT a tournament quality deck, but rather a deck to play with friends for fun. But the discovery process, that is where it got serious!


Red (12)
4: Act of Treason
Act of Treason
Act of TreasonSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
124
Artist:
Eric Deschamps
Text:
Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gains haste until end of turn. (It can attack and {T} this turn.)

3: Urabrask the Hidden
Urabrask the Hidden
Urabrask the HiddenSet: New Phyrexia
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Praetor
Rarity:
M
Number:
98
Artist:
Brad Rigney
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Creatures you control have haste. Creatures your opponents control enter the battlefield tapped.

3: Chandra, the Firebrand
Chandra, the Firebrand
Chandra, the FirebrandSet: Magic 2012
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Planeswalker
Sub Type:
Chandra
Rarity:
M
Number:
124
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
+1: Chandra, the Firebrand deals 1 damage to target creature or player. -2: When you cast your next instant or sorcery spell this turn, copy that spell. You may choose new targets for the copy. -6: Chandra, the Firebrand deals 6 damage to each of up to six target creatures and/or players.

2: Koth of the Hammer
Koth of the Hammer
Koth of the HammerSet: Scars of Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Planeswalker
Sub Type:
Koth
Rarity:
M
Number:
94
Artist:
Jason Chan
Text:
+1: Untap target Mountain. It becomes a 4/4 red Elemental creature until end of turn. It's still a land. -2: Add {R} to your mana pool for each Mountain you control. -5: You get an emblem with "Mountains you control have ‘{T}: This land deals 1 damage to target creature or player.'"


Green (17)
3: Plaguemaw Beast
Plaguemaw Beast
Plaguemaw BeastSet: Mirrodin Besieged
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
U
Number:
87
Artist:
Whit Brachna
Power:
4
Toughness:
3
Text:
{T}, Sacrifice a creature: Proliferate. (You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.)

4: Primordial Hydra
Primordial Hydra
Primordial HydraSet: Magic 2012
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Hydra
Rarity:
M
Number:
189
Artist:
Aleksi Briclot
Power:
0
Toughness:
0
Text:
Primordial Hydra enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, double the number of +1/+1 counters on Primordial Hydra. Primordial Hydra has trample as long as it has ten or more +1/+1 counters on it.

3: Garruk, Primal Hunter
Garruk, Primal Hunter
Garruk, Primal HunterSet: Magic 2012
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Planeswalker
Sub Type:
Garruk
Rarity:
M
Number:
174
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
+1: Put a 3/3 green Beast creature token onto the battlefield. -3: Draw cards equal to the greatest power among creatures you control. -6: Put a 6/6 green Wurm creature token onto the battlefield for each land you control.

3: Asceticism
Asceticism
AsceticismSet: Scars of Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Daarken
Text:
Creatures you control can't be the targets of spells or abilities your opponents control. {1}{G}: Regenerate target creature.

4: Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise
Birds of ParadiseSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mana Birds
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.


Blue (3)
3: Tezzeret’s Gambit

Colorless (7)
2: Throne of Geth
Throne of Geth
Throne of GethSet: Scars of Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
211
Artist:
Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss
Text:
{T}, Sacrifice an artifact: Proliferate. (You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.)

2: Culling Dias
3: Spellskite
Spellskite
SpellskiteSet: New Phyrexia
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Horror
Rarity:
R
Number:
159
Artist:
Chippy
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
{(u/p)}: Change a target of target spell or ability to Spellskite. ({(u/p)} can be paid with either {U} or 2 life.)


Land (21)
4: Rootbound Crag
Rootbound Crag
Rootbound CragSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
227
Artist:
Matt Stewart
Text:
Rootbound Crag enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Mountain or a Forest.{T}: Add {R} or {G} to your mana pool.

4: Copperline Gorge
Copperline Gorge
Copperline GorgeSet: Scars of Mirrodin
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
225
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Text:
Copperline Gorge enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or fewer other lands. {T}: Add {R} or {G} to your mana pool.

7: Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.

6: Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.



The idea is simple. Take their creatures with Act of Treason
Act of Treason
Act of TreasonSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
124
Artist:
Eric Deschamps
Text:
Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gains haste until end of turn. (It can attack and {T} this turn.)
, sacrifice them to proliferate my Hydras or to put counters on Culling Dias. Throne of Geth
Throne of Geth
Throne of GethSet: Scars of Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
211
Artist:
Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss
Text:
{T}, Sacrifice an artifact: Proliferate. (You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.)
can sacrifice itself for its effect, so it basically proliferates for 2 colorless mana. Once Asceticism
Asceticism
AsceticismSet: Scars of Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Daarken
Text:
Creatures you control can't be the targets of spells or abilities your opponents control. {1}{G}: Regenerate target creature.
is in play, there is no need for Spellskite
Spellskite
SpellskiteSet: New Phyrexia
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Horror
Rarity:
R
Number:
159
Artist:
Chippy
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
{(u/p)}: Change a target of target spell or ability to Spellskite. ({(u/p)} can be paid with either {U} or 2 life.)
(later I took Spellskite
Spellskite
SpellskiteSet: New Phyrexia
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Horror
Rarity:
R
Number:
159
Artist:
Chippy
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
{(u/p)}: Change a target of target spell or ability to Spellskite. ({(u/p)} can be paid with either {U} or 2 life.)
out, but that is another story altogether). A little control, and a lot of powerful creatures.

Again, not a great deck, BUT why has the proliferate ability never become a staple in any tournament quality decks? I will use this deck to explain why.

In short, the reasons are cost, deck space, and the current metagame.

Cost: To cast a spell that requires 5 mana (Garruk), and then turn around and cast any other spell that proliferates (Tezzeret’s Gambit in this case) just takes too long. Therefore, it is not viable in tournament play.

Deck space: Why would anyone want to take out their Spellskite
Spellskite
SpellskiteSet: New Phyrexia
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Horror
Rarity:
R
Number:
159
Artist:
Chippy
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
{(u/p)}: Change a target of target spell or ability to Spellskite. ({(u/p)} can be paid with either {U} or 2 life.)
s for a Throne of Geth
Throne of Geth
Throne of GethSet: Scars of Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
211
Artist:
Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss
Text:
{T}, Sacrifice an artifact: Proliferate. (You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.)
? And a 5 casting cost creature (Plaguemaw Beast
Plaguemaw Beast
Plaguemaw BeastSet: Mirrodin Besieged
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
U
Number:
87
Artist:
Whit Brachna
Power:
4
Toughness:
3
Text:
{T}, Sacrifice a creature: Proliferate. (You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.)
) that wants you to sac a creature to proliferate? What else could one do with 5 mana? Oh I don’t know, another Garruk, or Gideon, or Acidic Slime
Acidic Slime
Acidic SlimeSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Ooze
Rarity:
U
Number:
165
Artist:
Karl Kopinski
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Deathtouch (Creatures dealt damage by this creature are destroyed. You can divide this creature's combat damage among any of the creatures blocking or blocked by it.) When Acidic Slime enters the battlefield, destroy target artifact, enchantment, or land.
, or pretty much any other 5 casting cost card! The cards I put in this deck are just not a good use of deck space. Hence, not a viable concept.

Current Metagame: With Lightning Bolt
Lightning Bolt
Lightning BoltSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Lightning Bolt does 3 damage to one target.
, Shock
Shock
ShockSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
206
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Text:
Shock deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
, Incinerate
Incinerate
IncinerateSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Text:
Incinerate deals 3 damage to target creature or player. Creatures damaged by Incinerate cannot regenerate this turn.
and all the other ways to deal a single point of damage, Mana Leak
Mana Leak
Mana LeakSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
36
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Counter target spell unless its caster pays an additional 3.
s, Spell Pierce
Spell Pierce
Spell PierceSet: Zendikar
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
67
Artist:
Vance Kovacs
Text:
Counter target noncreature spell unless its controller pays {2}.
, etc it’s really hard to pull off. This concept of not being interrupted when trying to pull off an ultimate, on the same turn that a Planeswalker is cast is just not a good win condition. Making this deck, and its idea, total crap.

I come back to the beginning of my story. I made this deck because of Primordial Hydra
Primordial Hydra
Primordial HydraSet: Magic 2012
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Hydra
Rarity:
M
Number:
189
Artist:
Aleksi Briclot
Power:
0
Toughness:
0
Text:
Primordial Hydra enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, double the number of +1/+1 counters on Primordial Hydra. Primordial Hydra has trample as long as it has ten or more +1/+1 counters on it.
. I wanted to proliferate it and see how stupidly strong I could make it and how fast (I later realized that it is so aggressive that proliferate is completely unnecessary). So, I started making my Green deck. I personally love to splash at least one color into any deck that I make. So I made 3 different versions of this deck. One with white for O-rings, Gideon, and Days. One with Blue for Mana Leak
Mana Leak
Mana LeakSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
36
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Counter target spell unless its caster pays an additional 3.
s, bounce, and control. And one with Red, for Urabrask, Chandra, direct damage and Koth. But the proliferate in the deck was there for one card, and one card only, the Hydra!

So, why not create a deck that plays into the strengths of proliferate, allows for clutch and control, but also has the speed to be competitive at a tourney level?

I submit to you the ultimate deck:


Blue (20)
20: Mana Leak
Mana Leak
Mana LeakSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
36
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Counter target spell unless its caster pays an additional 3.


Green (20)
20: Primordial Hydra
Primordial Hydra
Primordial HydraSet: Magic 2012
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Hydra
Rarity:
M
Number:
189
Artist:
Aleksi Briclot
Power:
0
Toughness:
0
Text:
Primordial Hydra enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, double the number of +1/+1 counters on Primordial Hydra. Primordial Hydra has trample as long as it has ten or more +1/+1 counters on it.


Land (20)
10: Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.

10: Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.



Okay, okay. That is not exactly Type II legal. But my idea remains.

Hydra is strong and has to be addressed when it comes into play. Asceticism
Asceticism
AsceticismSet: Scars of Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Daarken
Text:
Creatures you control can't be the targets of spells or abilities your opponents control. {1}{G}: Regenerate target creature.
protects it (Day can still kill it, so keep mana for regeneration when playing against “kill all” cards). And Garruk’s ultimate is really strong, even better when it is coupled with Urabrask. So, here is my new deck idea:


Green (18)
4: Garruk, the Primal Hunter
4: Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise
Birds of ParadiseSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mana Birds
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.

4: Primordial Hydra
Primordial Hydra
Primordial HydraSet: Magic 2012
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Hydra
Rarity:
M
Number:
189
Artist:
Aleksi Briclot
Power:
0
Toughness:
0
Text:
Primordial Hydra enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, double the number of +1/+1 counters on Primordial Hydra. Primordial Hydra has trample as long as it has ten or more +1/+1 counters on it.

3: Asceticism
Asceticism
AsceticismSet: Scars of Mirrodin
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Daarken
Text:
Creatures you control can't be the targets of spells or abilities your opponents control. {1}{G}: Regenerate target creature.

3: Naturalize
Naturalize
NaturalizeSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
275
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Destroy target artifact or enchantment.


Red (8)
4: Chandra, the Firebrand
Chandra, the Firebrand
Chandra, the FirebrandSet: Magic 2012
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Planeswalker
Sub Type:
Chandra
Rarity:
M
Number:
124
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
+1: Chandra, the Firebrand deals 1 damage to target creature or player. -2: When you cast your next instant or sorcery spell this turn, copy that spell. You may choose new targets for the copy. -6: Chandra, the Firebrand deals 6 damage to each of up to six target creatures and/or players.

2: Urabrask the Hidden
Urabrask the Hidden
Urabrask the HiddenSet: New Phyrexia
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Praetor
Rarity:
M
Number:
98
Artist:
Brad Rigney
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Creatures you control have haste. Creatures your opponents control enter the battlefield tapped.

2: Volt Charge
Volt Charge
Volt ChargeSet: New Phyrexia
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
100
Artist:
Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss
Text:
Volt Charge deals 3 damage to target creature or player. Proliferate. (You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.)


Colorless (8)
4: Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn SimulacrumSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
When Solemn Simulacrum comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. If you do, shuffle your library. When Solemn Simulacrum is put into a graveyard from play, you may draw a card.

2: Throne of Geth
Throne of Geth
Throne of GethSet: Scars of Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
211
Artist:
Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss
Text:
{T}, Sacrifice an artifact: Proliferate. (You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.)

2: Elixir of Immortality
Elixir of Immortality
Elixir of ImmortalitySet: Magic 2011
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
206
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Text:
{2}, {T}: You gain 5 life. Shuffle Elixir of Immortality and your graveyard into your library.


Blue (4)
4: Tezzeret’s Gambit

Land (22)
4: Copperline
4: Rootbound
8: Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.

6: Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.



The other nice thing about Hydra is that it covers 3 different mana curve spots 3, 4, and 5. Although this deck is so heavy with 5 casting cost, that Hydra is really just for the 3 and 4 spots. Then there’s the most powerful 3-in-1 card I have seen in a while, Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn SimulacrumSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
When Solemn Simulacrum comes into play, you may search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. If you do, shuffle your library. When Solemn Simulacrum is put into a graveyard from play, you may draw a card.
. Think of using it for Throne of Geth
Throne of Geth
Throne of GethSet: Scars of Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
211
Artist:
Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss
Text:
{T}, Sacrifice an artifact: Proliferate. (You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.)
or as a blocker.

Would it win at a big tourney, No. FNM? Sure with a few good starting hands. So, why are there no decent proliferate decks?

The reason is the cost to proliferate, and the deck slots the cards take. If other cards become tourney worthy, and happen to proliferate as well then we might see this concept become reality.

I have found that most of the time, when someone wants to incorporate proliferate into their deck, they automatically think it needs to be an infect deck. And that does make sense; after all, if there was an ability that could “proliferate” the loss of life, wouldn’t it be viable?


Give me the following cards, call them rare, and I would be happy:

Living Well
Artifact
Cost (2)
Living Well comes into play Tapped.
Tap: Add (1) mana to your mana pool and then proliferate. Lose life equal to the number of counters added to any players or permanents in this way.

Mining Winds
Land
Mining Winds comes into play Tapped.
Tap: Add (1) to your mana pool.
Tap: Proliferate. Lose life equal to the number of counters added to players or permanents in this way.

Final Push
Sorcery
Cost (G)
Proliferate. Lose life equal to the number of counters added to players or permanents in this way.

The low cost makes them usable. The loss of life makes them fair. And the production of mana makes them work for something other than just proliferate. Plus, it is a “free” way to get some counters going. I know these are a bit on the shallow side, but cut me some slack; I am shooting from the hip here!

Or even a new Elixir.

Elixir of Repetition
Artifact
Cost (2)
(1) Tap: Shuffle Elixir of Repetition and your graveyard into your library, and then proliferate.

This would be a great way to get another anti-mill card into the game. Plus, it would create a good “uncommon” proliferate card.


Wait a second though! What about poison? Not good, not good at all! If there were low cost cards like this, then infect decks would be all over the place. They are fast enough as it is! Solution? Add restrictions to the proliferate cards that you don’t want speeding poison up. So the above cards might read “Proliferate any permanents you or your opponents control”. Since players are not permanents, that handles that! Why not have cards that work on just your permanents, or just your opponent’s permanents? It solves the problem with why there are so few “good” proliferate cards.

In conclusion, proliferate does not need to be played in only poison decks. It is a very powerful ability that will be around for a long time. It is my hope that we will see some better proliferate cards, which can only target permanents and not players so that the speed of poison decks is not affected. I encourage you to build yourself a deck with some Planeswalkers that have hugely powerful ultimate abilities, and then proliferate them to pull the trigger much sooner than your opponent expects, the look on their face is priceless. I recently used Garruk’s ultimate on turn 4, I was playing against green blue poison, so he had no way of dealing with 4 6/6 creatures. However, do not set this concept as your win condition; just use it as a powerful tool and I promise you will love the results.

Happy gaming my friends, see you on the other side of the table!


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