Happy Monday MTG Realm readers,
The recent Rise of the Eldrazi set gave Magic the Gathering players quite a smörgåsbord of options for your casual game. One mechanic that did set our imaginations off to brew some builds was the 'level up' keyword ability. Creatures with the this level up keyword are able to become larger or acquire new abilities with an investment of mana. The number of level counters on a creature indicates its current level, as well as its power, toughness, and extra abilities. We love level up as it is a sorcery-speed ability that can often take your opponent by surprise. What we did not really care for very much is how fragile and prone to spot removal some of the levellers were before we could put level counters on them.
Having stated our hesitation, we do appreciate the help that Time of Heroes (a pump of +2/+2) - the downside - one could only benefit from this if the creature already had a levlel counter on it. This could be partially addressed by using Venerated Teacher to place two level counters on each level up creature you control.
Unfortunately, timing the teacher was difficult - too often one had this in hand with only one or two levellers in play on your side of the game table, or the teacher was late for class and did not show until you were up to your elbows in goblins. Training Grounds was indeed a great card to have in a build such as this by reducing the sometimes expensive levelling cost (or any other activated creature ability by 2. We continually tweaked some of the casual brews we had and soon just abandoned any thought of a deck with a level up theme.
Fast forward to the release of Scars of Mirrodin and the sweet new tech - proliferate. Proliferate is a new keyword action that allows you to choose any number of players and / or permanents that each have at least one counter of any type. You would then place another counter on each player or permanent with one more of that type of counter. Poison counters are the only type of counters a player could accumulate, but the rest of the field was pretty much wide open. The popular choice for many casual standard players is proliferating poison counters on players and -1/-1 counters of creatures. The Trigon cycle (Trigon of Mending, Trigon of Thought, Trigon of Corruption, Trigon of Rage, Trigon of Infestation) also enjoyed attention with proliferate.
Soon after the Scars of Mirrodin spoiler was complete, we revisited the Zendikar Quest cycle with our new proliferate tech to determine whether we could abuse any of those cards. Quests are enchantments from Zendikar which counters are accumulated to trigger various abilities for specific events.
Quests came in different rarities - the Common Expedition cycle (Sunspring Expedition, Ior Ruin Expedition, Soul Stair Expedition, Zektar Shrine Expedition, and Khalni Heart Expedition), the Uncommon Quest cycle (Quest for the Holy Relic, Quest for Ancient Secrets, Quest for the Gravelord, Quest for Pure Flame and Quest for the Gemblades) and the Rare Ascension cycle (Luminarch Ascension, Archmage Ascension, Bloodchief Ascension Pyromancer Ascension, and Beastmaster Ascension). From these, only the rare Ascension cycle did not require the player to sacrifice the enchantment which meant one could possibly rinse and repeat. We are still looking at the Ascension cycle to proliferate but want to explore the levellers one last time before dismissing them for the time being.
Hence - your challenge this week -
Sorry - no cool prizes to hand out - just the notoriety we award you for your master home brew skills. Your homework - use these proliferate cards (Inexorable Tide, Steady Progress, Thrummingbird, Contagion Clasp, Contagion Clasp, Contagion Engine, and Throne of Geth) with a level up themed deck.
The levellers : Caravan Escort, Hedron-Field Purists, Ikiral Outrider, Kabira Vindicator, Knight of Cliffhaven, Student of Warfare, Transcendent Master, Coralhelm Commander, Echo Mage Enclave Cryptologist, Hada Spy Patrol, Halimar Wavewatch, Lighthouse Chronologist, Skywatcher Adept, Guul Draz Assassin, Nirkana Cutthroat, Null Champion, Zulaport Enforcer, Brimstone Mage, Kargan Dragonlord, Lord of Shatterskull Pass, Beastbreaker of Bala Ged, Joraga Treespeaker, Kazandu Tuskcaller
And finally, las chance reminder about the promo MTG Mint Card is having - its a Thanksgiving Sale with 7% Store Wide Discount from today until the 25th November. Just enter coupon "THANKSGIVING" during checkout.