Fun with counters

Posted in Arcana on November 4, 2003

By Wizards of the Coast

Power Conduit

No, not Counterspell -- counters.

As Mark Gottlieb wrote here on a few weeks ago, counters got a lot more versatile since the printing of Mirrodin's Power Conduit (see also Unglued's Giant Fan).

Since the Power Conduit moves counters so efficiently, it's prime for a counter-centric deck, but what to choose? There are literally hundreds of cards in Magic that create and use counters; here's a list of just a few (50+) interesting ones in the current Standard environment (Onslaught block, Eighth Edition and Mirrodin). Happy deckbuilding!

  • Altar of Shadows - Mana at a premium? Add charge counters to this for an alternate way of building black mana.
  • Aven Farseer - Leave your +1/+1 counters on the flyer, or power up some other card with the Conduit.
  • Aven Warhawk - All of Legions' amplify creatures can drum up piles of +1/+1 counters to move around or convert into charge counters.
  • Banshee's Blade - A recipe for a fat creature, or a renewable source of counters.
  • Battlegrowth - Basic, but cost-effective.
  • Carrion Feeder
  • Canopy Crawler
  • Carrion Feeder - An extremely tricky counter-happy creature.
  • Chalice of the Void - If there's one thing that plays more havoc with your opponent than the Chalice, it's a Chalice that changes how many charge counters it has on it. Bounce your 4-mana guy, bump the Chalice up to four?
  • Clockwork Beetle - All the Clockwork creatures generate a nice supply of counters to move around.
  • Clockwork Condor
  • Clockwork Dragon
  • Clockwork Vorrac
  • Consumptive Goo - Kill a 1/1 critter, gain a counter to play with.
  • Daru Stinger - The Stinger is truly scary with lots of +1/+1 counters on it. Pile 'em on!
  • Decree of Savagery - This creates either a huge pile of counters to manipulate, or a LOT of huge piles of counters.
  • Decree of Silence - Sadly you can't recharge this Decree, since it runs on depletion counters, not charge counters. But it's a source of counters nonetheless.
  • Dragon Blood
  • Dragon Blood - A quintessential combo with the Power Conduit.
  • Elvish Vanguard - The Vanguard is happy when other elves come into play, and the other elves are happy when the Vanguard shares his +1/+1's.
  • Embalmed Brawler - Drawback getting too painful? Conduit some of those counters elsewhere to take the load off.
  • Entrails Feaster - A tricky card to get working effectively, but even better when you can put those counters to good use.
  • Feral Throwback - Amplify 2: double the counters, double your pleasure.
  • Force Bubble - Force Bubble actually gets better when you can remove counters from it.
  • Forge Armor - Move the Forged counters around with Conduit, or Forge the Conduit itself in a pinch.
  • Forgotten Ancient - This guy is the +1/+1 counter champ.
  • Fungusaur - Got a Spikeshot Goblin? Ping Fungusaur with it, then move the +1/+1 counter to the Goblin to power it up.
  • Ghastly Remains - Kill your own Remains with the Conduit in order to create a recursive discard machine.
  • Fungusaur
  • Glowering Rogon
  • Invigorating Boon - Cycle: draw a card. Boon: get a +1/+1 counter. Conduit: get some new benefit. An engine in the making.
  • Jinxed Choker - If it comes around to you, strip it of its counters to power up your creatures before sending it off again.
  • Kilnmouth Dragon - This guy doesn't need any combos to make him sick, but of course, the Conduit makes him sicker.
  • Kurgadon
  • Lightning Coils - There might be no happier use for charge counters.
  • Menacing Ogre
  • Myr Prototype - The Prototype gets out of control after a while, so use Power Conduit to keep it trimmed down to a manageable size.
  • Oblivion Stone - There are better uses for the Stone than to convert Fate counters into +1/+1's or charge counters. But then again, if there's nothing to blow up in the meantime...
  • Pentavus - He only comes with five +1/+1 counters? Use the Conduit to build yourself a Hexavus! Or an Octavus! Or a Dodecavus! (It would still make Pentavite tokens, though.)
  • Quicksilver Fountain
  • Quicksilver Fountain - You can convert the flood counters your lands receive into beneficial +1/+1's, thereby maintaining the Fountain while your opponent keeps getting flooded.
  • Riptide Replicator - When you cast it for , it only made 0/0 red Nameless Race tokens. But after moving some counters around, now you can make 4/4s!
  • Serum Tank - Nobody's casting artifacts? Hook the Conduit up to your Tank and keep on drawing.
  • Slith Ascendant - All the Sliths generate +1/+1 counters to play with.
  • Slith Bloodletter
  • Slith Firewalker
  • Slith Predator
  • Slith Strider
  • Stag Beetle - He comes into play with at least one +1/+1 present for every one of your creatures!
  • Sun Droplet - It's a needlessly complex way to gain 1 life per turn, but the Conduit can ensure you never miss an activation of the Droplet.
  • Trap Digger - Although not every card uses charge counters, any card that can repeatedly make counters of any type to fuel the Conduit is useful. Trap Digger is one of them.
  • Triskelion - Trike turns +1/+1 counters into zero-mana, colorless direct damage. Did someone say "win condition"?
  • Unspeakable Symbol - Though the life cost adds up, getting as many +1/+1 counters as you want for zero mana is still fuel to consider.
  • War Elemental - He gets big quick. He might even win the game before you have a chance to offload all his counters...
  • Wurmskin Forger - He's not just a 5/5 elf, he's three activations of the Conduit.
  • Zombie Brute

Make sure you read Mark Gottlieb's article on Power Conduit for beyond-Standard Conduit combos and full decklists. Want more inspiration? Thought of even more devious counter combos? Check out Magic's official Card Strategies and Combos message board.

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