Too-Specific Top 10 - Counter Spellslinger
Welcome to Too-Specific Top 10, where if there isn’t a category to rank our pet card at the top of, we’ll just make one up! (Did you know thatis the only one-mana permanent that can give your opponent's Poison counters without combat damage?)
I have a confession to make: I. Love. Two word spells.
Simplicity. Complexity. All mashed up together in two keywords. How could you not love it?
Well, there's a new one coming out of Fallout spoilers, and I'm more in love than ever.
takes keyword Proliferate and gives it a whole new edge with another fan favorite keyword, Storm. The result? A cavalcade of counters that very well might end up winning you the game on the spot. The only question is: How?
While the most likely way that most folks are going to go about winning the game outright withprobably begins and ends with the word "Poison", I think that's really oversimplifying things. To explain why, let's take a look at one of my favorite decks.
SuperspellsView on Archidekt
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
View this decklist on Archidekt
Superspells is exactly what it sounds like: A Superfriends deck that also wants to sling spells. For those that haven't seen me previously gush about all things, let me sum it up for you the same way that I do to folks when they sit down at the table: If you let me untap with Will in play, I will win the game. Does that make me public enemy number one? Yes. Is that a fun place to be sometimes? Also yes.
In any case, though, I will be making room in this deck for, as it's essentially just what the doctor ordered: A Storm deck that also cares about permanents with counters on them. As a deck that's bound to draw 20ish cards during a successful Storm turn that also plays 16 planeswalkers, there's essentially no way that I couldn't end up with a lethal board state with a few unactivated planeswalkers and on the stack.
Planeswalker ultimates aren't the only way to win a game with massive amounts of counters in a spells deck, however. So... what are some other ones?
Criteria: Non-planeswalker permanents that put counters on permanents or players that can also deal damage to players with said counters in some fashion not limited by the aspects of the card (sorry, and ), not including combat damage or effects that have an additional requirement such as mana or sacrificing a creature. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.
(4,801 Inclusions, 1% of 344,261 Decks)
On the one hand, I don't really understand the hype around. It's a seven-mana monstrosity that doesn't do much on its own. On the other hand, it's a Flaming Tyrannosaurus that s things whenever you cast from odd zones. Whether you're leaning more toward your analytical or child brain, however, when it comes to and , there is some limited synergy there to explore. To be clear, you will not get free s with each copy of on the stack, which is a real shame. The reason is twofold: Storm does not cast, it simply copies, and copies of spells don't come "from" anywhere, they simply appear on the stack.
What you will get, however, is a massive flaming dinosaur that will, upon shuffling off this mortal coil, probably just outright kill each opponent. And honestly, who could pick a better way to go out?
(5,783 Inclusions, 1% of 781,656 Decks)
a perusal of its combo page on Commander Spellbook will tell you otherwise. With Thoctar's twin +1/+1 counter abilities, it is a simple enough procedure to find a means of giving it deathtouch to wipe the whole board, but that's kind of child's play. The more advanced version is to find a means of giving it Undying, bringing it back from the dead with a +1/+1 counter on it that you can then remove with its ability, letting you loop it with a sacrifice outlet infinitely.might seem like another sort of Timmy/Tammy experience, but
None of which really helps out with. Don't get me wrong, putting 20 +1/+1 counters on Thoctar is a good move, and very well might end up with you winning the game, but it's also not really something you can rely on. Your 23/23 will likely be dealt with, and you'll likely get a one-sided board wipe on its way out with some collateral damage to players. Simple math will tell you, however, that 20 damage is nowhere near the 120 you need to close out a game.
(7,405 Inclusions, 0% of 2,104,748 Decks)
Likewise, 10 damage is not 40. That 10 damage a turn is a heck of a clock however, and in a deck that's even considering playingand , garnering 30 counters on your artifacts and creatures is not going to be a hard thing to do. While this is still slower than I'd like to be going, there's really no question that it's effective, and the Sunburst it grants along the way will get you pretty far in combat as well.
(Helms 5,113 Decks, Rank #165; 5,215 Inclusions, 2% of 208,903 Decks)
You'd have to be in at least four colors to take advantage ofwith , but man, oh man when you do the sparks are gonna fly. That is, only if you've developed a board state that can make those sparks happen in the first place. The downside to , after all, is the fact that the Angel Elf pairing does nothing to actually put +1/+1 counters on anything, with the same kind of being true of as well. Proliferate can be extremely powerful with a board full of Hydras and Spikes, but for every time that happens, there's another time that your whole board of various counters just got wiped, and you drawing your Proliferate spell off the top is just a timely kick in the shins.
With all that said, the time you pull off aand a with a decently sized board, you do just win the game.
(12,450 Inclusions, 1% of 1,630,771 Decks)
For me and my Storm sensibilities, however, you're not going to find a better win withthan . While things may seem a bit clunky, as you can only target one player at a time with Aria's ability and you only get one trigger from all the copies to deal damage, you have to remember that you're doing this on a Storm turn. What I mean by that is, the general turn that you resolve a with an sounds something like this:
"All right,, Steve, you take one. Let's roll that into just to make sure I have enough mana, Steven, you take two. Let's see, need some cards, so let's go ahead and use that from the , Stephen, you take three. Okay, now we're cooking with gas, how about an -Steven you take four- into a now that I've got all these cards in exile. Oh yeah, Steven, go ahead and take five. Okay, full grip and five cards in exile, got three more rituals and four more card draw spells, and oh man, I didn't even see that , this is gonna be good!"
(18,216 Inclusions, 1% of 3,405,101 Decks)
Everything I said aboutapplies here, except does even less. In fact, let's be real, no one is playing this card anymore unless they're comboing with it, and that combo has nothing to do with .
(31,896 Inclusions, 3% of 1,008,543 Decks)
If we take it as a given that we're talking about an entirely different deck,is nonetheless even better than . Put simply, this cumulates nicely with every copy of that resolves, giving us a nice multiplication chart of X times Y.
X is the amount of things with counters on them on the board (don't remember the last time I was at a table where this was zero), and Y is the amount ofcopies you end up resolving. Who said math couldn't be fun? Steve, take 42.
(Helms 4,289 Decks, Rank #222; 32,812 Inclusions, 4% of 781,656 Decks)
Unfortunately, there's no delightful multiplication when it comes to. Instead, her net effect ends up even worse than 's or 's, merely providing you with a one-time damage to a single target. Add in the fact that you only even get that if you'd managed to sacrifice something before proliferating, and this one does not spark joy with .
(37,947 Inclusions, 3% of 1,458,490 Decks)
, however, gets my vote as my favorite finisher with , hands down. Going back to our divide over , if I'm using my analytical brain, then and are just better, every time. If I'm using my crazy "kid wants number to go up and cause mayhem" brain, however, then is the winner, hands down. Sure, the counters won't do anything until your next upkeep, and it's liable that by then you'll either have it removed or the table will have skewed the math so that you end up killing yourself. All these things are possible, and even likely.
For the times where it works out, however? That turn where you untap and the whole table plops down 20 Treasures for 20 damage is gonna be amazing one way or the other.
(96,020 Inclusions, 3% of 3,405,101 Decks)
does feel a bit better than and , just given its smaller mana cost, but it sadly remains in the boring math place as well. "One copy = One damage" is just not that compelling when you're talking about a four-mana Storm spell, even if you didn't have access to . Still, if you're in a counter deck, you're likely to be playing the Ballista, and it's not like you won't take the extra damage!
All in all, I feel like I was a bit dismissive of planeswalkers, as it's going to be difficult to find decks outside ofthat are able to have enough planeswalkers to take advantage of while also not having such a high mana curve that you'd never be able to get a Storm turn going on your own. Still, there are a bunch of planeswalker ultimates that do more or less say "you win the game" on them, and it would be a shame to not take a look at those options.
Top 10 Planeswalker Ultimates
Not every single one of these says "you win the game" on them, but a decent amount do, and for the rest you've got to think of the deck that wants to both play that planeswalker and is confident it can resolve a meaningful. There seems to be quite a bit of overlap cases where that could be possible for just about this entire list, although I will say that none of them sparks quite as much joy as .
As for other finishers we missed? Well, there's still a few.
Taking a break from damage for a moment, it's hard not to smile at the thought of resolving aat the end of another player's turn for just enough copies to let you untap and win with . It'd be hard to find the Group Hug deck that wanted to win that way, but certainly not impossible!
In all reality, however, if you're playing, you're most likely playing a Storm deck with a few finishers in it that care about counters. Well, if you're looking for a few more, then look no further than and .
Nuts and Bolts
There always seems to be a bit of interest in how these lists are made (this seems like a good time to stress once again that they are based on EDHREC score, NOT my personal opinion…), and people are often surprised that I’m not using any special data or .json from EDHREC, but rather just muddling my way through with some Scryfall knowledge! For your enjoyment/research, here is this week’s Scryfall search.
What Do You Think?
The one thing I have sort of dismissed when it comes to despite my proclivity for Wing Shards, is playing it in decks that don't have a Storm plan of their own. In a superfriends deck, a Sagas deck, or really any kind of deck that is playing other Proliferate options, getting four or more Proliferate triggers could be lethal. So, the question is, do you think you can pull that off on the regular?,
And finally, what is your favorite finisher with? Would you build around it in a Storm deck, or in a more common Proliferate fashion?
Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the Lego table that just keeps building itself.