Challenge the Stats – Prosper, Tome-Bound

(Prosper, Tome Bound | Art by Yongjae Choi)

Live Long and Prosper

Welcome to Challenge the Stats! This series is based on the awesome EDHRECast segment, where we pick out 10 cards for a commander that we think are overplayed, underplayed, or sleepers, to challenge EDHREC’s data. Remember, these are merely comments on the data, and card choices made by you, the deckbrewer, for any reason such as flavor, budget, art, or fun are always most important and are what keep our format unique and awesome.

For this article, I'm going to challenge one of my favorite new commanders, Prosper, Tome Bound. Prosper is the most popular precon commander from Adventures in the Forgotten Realm, and it's easy to see why. He's a card and mana advantage engine, has interesting play patterns, and can be built in many different ways.

Looking at his EDHREC page, we can see an interesting split between a) low-power and high-power, and b) low-budget and high-budget. Don't be intimidated by the Ragavans and Docksides on the page! For every one of these big-ticket cards, there's a budget replacement waiting in the wings.

These challenges will focus on the underplayed and sleeper cards, since those tend to get drowned out on the pages of precon commanders. We're going to challenge the data from all the Prosper decks out there (1,165 at time of writing), and you can see how often those cards are played in parentheses (%). Here we go!


Challenges


Underplayed


1. Forsworn Paladin (6%)

If you're playing a Signet to get out Prosper on turn three, try including the Paladin and see how it plays. Forsworn Paladin functions as a mana rock by getting Prosper out a turn early, but it has a lot of upside later, too! We can give any creature deathtouch, making combat a nightmare for our opponents. We can also hold up mana to make Treasure and bluff instants.

I feel the same way about Kalain, Reclusive Painter. She helps us get Prosper out on turn 3, and she has the nifty upside of making our creatures Monstrous (or our opponents' creatures Monstrous when we steal them).

2. Share the Spoils (49%)

Half of players are cutting this card out of the Prosper precon, but this card gives me the warm fuzzies. It's super fun to get the whole table talking about who's going to play what. Even if politics isn't your thing, we get to break symmetry on this card because we'll collect Treasure as we cast things, we get first crack at the revealed cards, and we'll disrupt our opponents' strategies because we'll see what they have coming! Our opponents can already see what we have coming most of the time, thanks to Prosper's exile ability, so we don't really care about another effect that reveals our next play.

I had a game recently against a combo deck where Share the Spoils stole three tutors from them. It got the whole table talking and was a great time.

There are a few other cards from the precon that warrant a test drive before cutting them. Reckless Endeavor has been pretty nutty for me. If we're hoping for a high roll on either Treasure or a board wipe, we'll probably get one roll high enough, and two high rolls feels epic. Bucknard's Everfull Purse is another one a lot of folks are cutting. I think it plays better than it reads. It will probably help us get Prosper out on turn 3, which is all I care about for this deck's mana acceleration. We're also breaking symmetry on it if we have other Treasure synergies in our deck (hello, Marionette Master).

3. Inspiring Statuary (19%)

The price on Inspiring Statuary is steadily creeping up with every Treasure card that's printed, and for good reason. A mana rock that turns all of our Treasure into permanent mana rocks is a huge mana advantage. Prosper sneezes and five Treasure tokens appear, but now they can tap for mana every turn, instead of just sacrificing themselves!


Sleepers


4. Mindleecher (2%)

Sometimes it takes too long to wait for a Stolen Strategy to trigger. Mindleecher gives us that effect right away, and we can play those cards for as long as they're exiled! I also really like the option of turning our commander into an evasive threat. Not long ago, I had a dream come true of mutating Mindleecher onto Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer to make the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz!

5. Scheming Symmetry (3%)

In a Prosper deck that cares about exiling opponents' top cards (as many of them seem to do), Scheming Symmetry can easily be a one-sided double-tutor when we exile whatever card they find with our Gonti, Lord of Luxury or Etali, Primal Storm! Better yet, make a deal if the table needs a removal spell to take down the archenemy! Did someone keep a two-lander and is missing land drops? Give them a tutor! You know they won't win on the spot, but ask for a favor later in the game.

6. Aetherworks Marvel (Appears in 1 deck. Probably mine.)

I'm surprised this one hasn't caught on more. Whenever we happen to spend six Treasure, we get a free spell out of the top six cards of our library. Was there a board wipe that killed all our creatures? That's no problem, Marvel will give us a free spell every turn for probably the rest of the game.

7. Comet Storm (2%)

Instants are particularly good with Prosper, since we can cast them after he exiles a card on our end step. Heck, I'm elated when Prosper exiles something as simple as a Spikefield Hazard instead of a regular land, just so I can get instant-speed Treasure. Even if we're casting X spells for 0 and making a Treasure token, that feels pretty good. Comet Storm is a win condition and a removal spell, but we can also just pay two mana and make a Treasure if we want to.

Heck, I'd even cast Damnable Pact or Rolling Earthquake for X=0 to get a Treasure, and those also double as win conditions!

8. Fathom-Fleet Swordjack (2%)

Most of the win conditions for Prosper are pretty budget, like Marionette Master, Mayhem Devil, Disciple of the Vault, Nadier's Nightblade, and Reckless Fireweaver, so we don't need to go looking for budget alternatives to game-ending cards. One situation I sometimes see, however, is if we want to tune down our deck. Prosper is powerful, and you might accidentally punch too high for your table. If you find that's the case, check out this fun Pirate! Whenever it attacks, it'll deal damage equal to the number of artifacts you control. The kicker here is that it has Encore, so it has the potential to wipe out our opponents if it winds up in our graveyard. Both of these situations are more interactable, meaning there will be more tension and resolution as the threat is dealt with or the game is won, making a more interesting story for a lower-powered table.

Another fun casual win condition I love is Nettlecyst. Steal an opponent's creature, give it +20/+20 with all the Treasure we have laying around, and smash into the red zone!

9. Ghirapur Orrery (1%)

Thanks to Mike Carrozza for this pick! We can easily clear out our hand in this deck, since even out card advantage spells are impulse/exiled-based draw effects, so the Orrery will restock us super quickly! Pair with Uba Mask to exile the cards drawn from the Orrery for a total of 5 cards exiled per turn! Check out Mike's article series "Am I the Bolas?" over on Commander's Herald, where he does the magical version of AITA.

10. Viridian Longbow (2%)

HanShotFirst from the CTS discord gets credit for this gem. When our deck is constantly using exile-based card advantage, all our upcoming cards are face-up in exile, removing the element of surprise that can make kill spells so powerful. As long as that's the case, we might as well have an on-board trick! Giving our deathtouching commander a Viridian Longbow means we can threaten to pick off any troublesome creatures at will. Combine that with a Dauthi Voidwalker, Draugr Necromancer, or Author of Shadows, and we've got a neat little engine to cast a handful of our opponents' best creatures.

Bonus Challenges

Our discord has been brainstorming more hot picks for Prosper. TheStephenation thinks Hazoret's Undying Fury seems like it could be nutty, perhaps depending on how the rest of our deck is built. AwesomeMcCoolName is intrigued by Surreal Memoir, Elkin Bottle, Elkin Lair, and Ice Cauldron. We can just tap the Cauldron for X=0 to exile a card from our hand and then cast that card from exile, ignoring the second ability. Let us know what you think of these cards, or if you've had a chance to test them in your Propser deck in the comments below!

Let's go to a decklist! Since Propser's EDHREC page seems to skew towards the pricier cards, I've included a budget upgraded precon list, taking out my 28 least favorite cards from the precon (including a few lands), and adding 28 of my favorite budget includes for Prosper, currently totaling $22. Enjoy!

Click here to see only the upgrades.


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Me, Internet-Bound

What do you think about these challenges for Prosper? Are there any other cards you would challenge? Let me know in the comments below! For more Prosper content, check out Mike Carrozza's precon review article and Joey Schultz's Precon Recon video! As always, you can find me on twitter @jevin_mtg.

Jevin Lortie has been playing magic on and off since Portal. He has a PhD in nutritional sciences, so he always tells people to get a healthy serving of fruits and vegetables – especially ramp-les and draw-nanas.