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April 9, 2019

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Daily Dose of War of the Spark – It’s time to proliferate

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of War of the Spark, where today I’ll be talking about a returning mechanic that got a little bit of an update.

Proliferate was first introduced in the Scars of Mirrodin block, mainly as a way to duplicate -1/-1 counters and to also make your opponents accumulate poison counters more quickly. In War of the Spark, the mechanic is listed as this:

Proliferate. (Choose any number of permanents and/or players, then give each another counter of each kind already there.)

The slight change comes from permanents that might have multiple different counters on them. Now proliferate increases all counters by 1, where before you had to choose one of the counter types for that permanent. A small change, but still noteworthy. In War of the Spark, proliferate takes on a more positive role as it looks to bump up the number of +1/+1 counters on creatures and the number of loyalty counters on Planeswalkers. Let’s have a look at some of the new cards from War of the Spark with proliferate.

First off, I want to talk about a card that can be put in any deck that wants to use proliferate. Here is Karn’s Bastion:

Like Karn himself, it’s nice to have a card that can be used in any deck. Sometimes it can be difficult to play colourless lands if you have a tough two or three-colour manabase. But if your deck can support them, they can usually do great things.

Imagine a Selesnya deck that just oozes creatures and spells that produce +1/+1 counters. At that point Karn’s Bastion almost turns out to be a Gavony Township. Throw in the bonus of it also hitting Planeswalker loyalty counters and you’re laughing. I think this will be great in Limited and I hope it can find its way into a Standard deck soon after release.

Next up is a creature that will hopefully let you trigger proliferate multiple times. Let’s take a look at Grateful Apparition:

Thrummingbird was a key card back in the day that basically acted as a 1/1 creature with infect most of the time. It just kept adding poison counters to your opponent.

Grateful Apparition is the exact same card, but more suitably in white rather than blue with proliferate’s turn to good from bad. Casting Unbreakable Formation before attacking with this means that all your creatures will get two +1/+1 counters by the end of the turn. Having evasion in the form of flying is perfect for this creature. It’s nice to have your opponents focus on a 1/1 flyer, rather than on your bigger or more important creatures. Time will tell if there are enough cards to support this being in a Standard deck, but I’m sure there will be some sweet combos with this card for decks that need repeated proliferate action.

Finally, I want to talk about a creature that has one of the best chances to trigger proliferate on multiple turns. Here is Evolution Sage:

Evolution Sage

Like Grateful Apparition, Evolution Sage provides a way to proliferate multiple times throughout the course of the game. There are plenty of ways to get lands into play, but there are a few that you can really cheat the system. Circuitous Route and Grow from the Ashes will help you get two lands onto the battlefield and net you two triggers to proliferate. The best spell to maximize the value on Evolution Sage though is Scapeshift. Imagine getting six or more triggers when you sacrifice six lands to get six from your library and put them directly onto the battlefield! Now that is breaking the system.

Proliferate is a great mechanic and War of the Spark is providing a ton of targets for it in the form of spells that give +1/+1 counters and planeswalkers. We will have to see if there are enough spells out there to make a sweet proliferate deck.

Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of War of the Spark. Join me again tomorrow as I continue looking into more cards from the new set.