Hello and welcome to A Seat at the Table, the column where I pick a commander and talk about what I’d include in the 99. This week, a Phyrexia: All Will Be One legend that’s caught the attention of many players all over. And of course it has, it’s a Simic commander that does so much!
This time on A Seat at the Table, we’re going long on proliferate and getting down to what could make Ezuri a fierce commander. A legendary 3/3 Phyrexian Elf Warrior for 2GU that loves counters. Let’s see that textbox!
“When Ezuri, Stalker of Spheres enters the battlefield, you may pay 3. If you do, proliferate twice.
Whenever you proliferate, draw a card.”
Yowza, what a cool commander. Let’s clarify some things.
- You don’t need to proliferate any counters to draw a card. If you proliferate, but choose not to put any counters on anything, you still get to draw a card. The Proliferate mechanic says “choose any number of permanents or players” and that number can be 0 and it qualifies.
- Ezuri’s proliferate ability is an enters the battlefield ability. That means if he comes to play from the graveyard or exile, cast or not, you may play 3 mana to proliferate twice and, with that second line of text, draw two cards.
Here are some cards I think are fun for an Ezuri, Stalker of Spheres deck.
This enchantment in this deck reads “cast a spell, proliferate, and draw a card”. I remember playing this in my Ezuri, Claw of Progress deck when I upgraded the precon, and it was a house. Every time I played it, I could follow up with two little creature spells, adding a total of four experience counters to myself so that I can have a beefy beater. In this deck, Tide is worth copying with a Clever Impersonator or Mirrormade. Proliferate your heart out.
Look, you’re running a deck running on proliferating – you’re going to want to run the four drop that doubles your proliferation. Slapping an opponent with Thrummingbird now yields two proliferations. Experimental Augury is Anticipate + Proliferate x2. Plus, being able to give this an indestructible counter repeatedly allows you to run something like Nesting Grounds to give something else indestructible.
Ezuri’s first ability is an enters the battlefield ability. Having these blinking engines and three mana means that end step comes around, for three mana, you proliferate twice, draw two. This reliability will make you a threat, but Asceticism and similar cards are out there to keep your opponents from killing your commander.
Get rewarded for doing things you’re already doing. You’re playing lands and ramping so Evolution Sage sharing a battlefield is a makeshift Nissa, Vital Force emblem. Flux Channeler allows you to proliferate for all of those ramp spells, planeswalkers, artifacts, enchantments, whatever noncreature you please. Your commander wants incidental cantrips on everything!
Activate these at will and reap the rewards of proliferation. Contagion Engine can be a gradual wrath for one player’s board. Clasp hurts one target creature, but ultimately, instant speed activations can spell out danger for your opponents.
The more counters you put on these bad boys, the more you get out of them. Gyre Sage, Viridian Sage, and Marwyn all have their ways of pulling off adding mana equal to their power or counters, but with all the proliferation in this deck, they become your snowball. Just blinking Ezuri will add counters on Marwyn because he’s an Elf. Gyre Sage has Evolve, so playing your commander on curve with the help of the sage will give it a counter immediately. Fathom Mage also has Evolve, but rewards you with cards instead of mana. I know that the moment I see this in an Ezuri, Stalker of Spheres deck, I need to take it down. It’ll supercharge their hands.
Guess what permanents enter with counters? That’s right – Planeswalkers! In a deck where you’re going to be adding counters constantly, planeswalkers can be extremely scary and dangerous. There are so many planeswalkers whose ultimate ability is ignored because they can’t get there naturally without opponents attacking them. Keep on stacking these counters and show your opponents what the newest Teferi can do (single Cyclonic Rift, anyone?) or keep Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner around despite her only having a downtick ability so you can keep uncapping Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Pick your favourite planeswalkers and maybe simply build a full planeswalker deck for Ezuri to command.
Replicating Ring adding a counter each of your turns is slow and rarely pays off. Within an Ezuri deck, you’ll get there in less than half the time and you might even make it happen twice, making you 16 mana rocks that only fuel the rest of your onslaught. Or maybe you can ultimate Tezzeret the Seeker to turn them into 5/5s.
Empowered Autogenerator, Astral Cornucopia, and Everflowing Chalice all add mana equal to the counters on them. In a deck focused on the ability to proliferate these counters, these mana rocks get out of hand really, really fast. You can even untap them with Kiora.
Honourable Mention: Darksteel Reactor and Simic Ascendancy
Want to win easily? Darksteel Reactor and Simic Ascendancy are alternate win condition cards that want you to have 20 or more charge/growth counters on them to win you the game. Simic Ascendancy gets there extremely quickly if you’ve got a lot of +1/+1 counters on your board of creatures to proliferate. You proliferate a +1/+1 counter that gets you a growth counter, but the growth counter can be proliferated, too. This is like self-poison counters!
That does it for another edition of A Seat at the Table! Let me know if there’s a commander you’d like me to cover for the next one on Instagram or Twitter at @mikecarrozza!