Last updated on February 10, 2023
Ashnod the Uncaring | Illustration by Kieran Yanner
Word of warning: things are about to get a little… repetitive. That’s because today I’m talking about ability doublers.
If one activation or trigger of an ability just isn’t enough for you, this list should get you the extra mileage you’re looking for. Let’s get into it!
What Are Ability Doublers in MTG?
Wyll’s Reversal | Illustration by Irina Nordsol
Ability doublers are exactly what they sound like: effects that copy an ability, or put a second instance of that ability on the stack. Triggered abilities usually follow the Panharmonicon templating where certain abilities trigger an extra time. Activated abilities are usually doubled by copying the ability.
You’ll only see cards that interact with abilities on this list. This isn’t the list for mana doublers, extra combat phases, or Doubling Season effects. We’re limiting this to cards that directly affect a triggered or activated ability, so there won’t be any copy-adjacent effects like untappers or blink effects.
Best White Ability Doubler
#1. Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines
Phyrexia: All Will Be One gave white the mother of all ability doublers: Elesh Norn, Mother or Machines. On top of a pushed stat-line and your own personal Panharmonicon, Norn shuts down all opposing ETBs, full stop.
Early previews of this card caused mass hysteria, even prompting an article from the Commander Rules Committee about a potential banning in EDH.
Best Blue Ability Doublers
#2. Dungeon Delver
Dungeon Delver is one of two cards that double triggers room abilities from your dungeons. The dungeon isn’t a huge feature of most decks, so it’s obvious when you want this.
Try pairing it with Imoen, Mystic Trickster or Safana, Calimport Cutthroat, two background legends that work with dungeons.
#1. Naban, Dean of Iteration
Naban, Dean of Iteration capitalizes on wizards with strong ETBs. There are over 200 wizards with ETB triggers, so Naban has plenty of company to play with.
Best Black Ability Doubler
#1. Drivnod, Carnage Dominus
Drivnod, Carnage Dominus is a Phyrexian from ONE’s mythic rare Dominus cycle. They all double something and have activated abilities that grant them indestructible counters.
Drivnod gives you a second helping of death triggers regardless of whose creatures died to cause them.
Best Red Ability Doublers
#6. Chandra’s Regulator
Aside from doubling loyalty abilities from Chandra planeswalkers, Chandra’s Regulator lets you rummage away Mountains and red cards. This helps mitigate mana flood and works as a fine madness enabler.
#5. Rowan Kenrith
Will and Rowan Kenrith partner up to get in on the doubling action. While Rowan has a powerful ultimate worth working towards, the other abilities don’t usually do enough to protect them.
At the very least the Kenriths always draw the other copy from the deck, so they already have built-in card advantage.
#4. Wyll’s Reversal
Wyll’s Reversal works like a Wild Ricochet that targets spells or abilities. You need to spike the 15+ roll to double up on the effect, at which point this becomes an excellent way to turn a spell or ability against its user (or just copy your own).
#3. Battlemage’s Bracers
Battlemage’s Bracers was supposed to be an updated take on Illusionist’s Bracers, a card that’s steeply fallen off in popularity.
Your interest in Bracers is usually tied to your commander. If it’s a red creature with an activated ability, Bracers is a fine option for your deck.
#2. Repeated Reverberation
I don’t think the world has caught on to how good Repeated Reverberation is. Getting two extra activations from your next planeswalker ability is usually worth the investment if you’re not tripling up on a spell.
#1. Harmonic Prodigy
“Shamanicon” is the nickname affectionately given to decks that combine Harmonic Prodigy with triggered abilities from other shamans. Staple cards like Rage Thrower, Burning-Tree Emissary, and Eternal Witness all double in potency with Prodigy on board.
It doubles all triggered abilities and works with wizards too, making it a big improvement over Naban, Dean of Iteration.
Best Green Ability Doublers
#3. Unbound Flourishing
Unbound Flourishing copies your abilities with X in their costs. That’s a narrow range of cards, but it’s the perfect support piece for commanders like Magus Lucea Kane and Zaxara, the Exemplary.
#2. Ancient Greenwarden
Ancient Greenwarden fuses the Crucible of Worlds text with a Panharmonicon effect for lands entering the battlefield. You can double up landfall triggers and get extra benefits from utility lands like Bojuka Bog or Khalni Garden.
Pro tip: don’t run Greenwarden in decks with karoo lands like Gruul Turf. The results won’t be pretty.
#1. Weaver of Harmony
Ranking green effects on this list is somewhat arbitrary given how specific these cards are to different archetypes. Weaver of Harmony can double abilities from enchantments once per turn while providing a static anthem effect to your other enchantment creatures.
Best Multicolored Ability Doublers
#13. Hama Pashar, Ruin Seeker
Hama Pashar, Ruin Seeker shares the Dungeon Delver ability, which is only relevant in dedicated dungeon decks. Hama Pashar can helm your deck, or you can play these cards together in the 99 of a Sefris of the Hidden Ways deck.
#12. Sanctum of All
Still in narrow territory, Sanctum of All is a payoff for filling your deck with shrines. It tutors for a shrine each upkeep and then doubles all of your shrine triggers once you have six different ones in play.
#11. Dynaheir, Invoker Adept
Dynaheir, Invoker Adept attempts to make cards with expensive activated abilities viable in EDH. It speeds up creatures with tap abilities and copies activations that cost four or more mana to activate.
It’s important to note, though, that this card received an errata that prevents it from copying mana abilities.
#10. Tawnos, Urza’s Apprentice
Tawnos, Urza’s Apprentice is basically a Weaver of Harmony for artifacts. It’s more costly to activate, but it has haste to get the action started immediately.
Not every Izzet () artifact deck wants this, so evaluate how useful your activated abilities are before you throw Tawnos in.
#9. Verrak, Warped Sengir
Verrak, Warped Sengir lets you make a second life payment to double an ability that costs life to activate. These abilities are much less common than you might guess, but at the very least you can double search off a single fetch land like Marsh Flats.
#8. Wulfgar of Icewind Dale
Wulfgar of Icewind Dale is one of two attack trigger doublers on this list. It’s the more expensive of the two and therefore gets a lower ranking, but Wulfgar hits like an absolute truck thanks to its self-doubling melee ability.
#7. Magus Lucea Kane
Magus Lucea Kane is undeniably the best X spell legend in Commander. They double spells and abilities with X in their costs and provide mana for those costs, all while passively dumping extra +1/+1 counters on your creatures every combat.
#6. Teysa Karlov
We’ve seen Drivnod, Carnage Dominus, but Teysa Karlov was the first to boast the double death trigger ability. Teysa pulls double duty as a token payoff, making it one of the ideal commanders for aristocrat decks.
#5. Isshin, Two Heavens as One
Isshin, Two Heavens as One is the cheaper of the two attack trigger Panharmonicons, and it has more color coverage than Wulfgar of Icewind Dale. Designed to work with the “attack alone” motif of Neon Dynasty’s samurai creatures, Isshin is a popular choice amongst Commander players who just want to turn their cards sideways.
#4. Ashnod the Uncaring
Ashnod the Uncaring doubles activated abilities that required you to sacrifice a permanent as part of the cost. There was some angry chatter about how this ability doesn’t work with the titular Ashnod’s Altar.
Who cares? Not Ashnod.
#3. Argus Kos, Eternal Soldier
Newcomer Agrus Kos, Eternal Soldier takes a single-target ability and spreads it out to your entire field of creatures. It’s more potent than most effects on this list, but certainly captures the spirit of ability doubling.
Get it? Spirit?
#2. Yarok, the Desecrated
2019 to 2020 was a turning point for the power level of Magic, and a big contributing factor was the printing of hyper-powerful commanders like Yarok, the Desecrated. Yarok doubles all ETBs, making it a generically powerful commander for a lot of different deck styles.
#1. Veyran, Voice of Duality
Veyran, Voice of Duality doubles triggers that key off of instants and sorceries, which includes board-affecting cards like Third Path Iconoclast and card advantage pieces like Archmage Emeritus. Prowess also double triggers, meaning the right flurry of spells can make this lethal in no time.
Veyran also makes a great commander for a spellslinger build.
Best Colorless Ability Doublers
#6. Illusionist’s Bracers
It’s not quite up to snuff these days, but Illusionist’s Bracers used to be an EDH staple. It’s still passable if your commander has an impactful activated ability, but it’s best to run Battlemage’s Bracers if you have access to red.
#5. Rings of Brighthearth
We’ll get into the minutia of Rings of Brighthearth shortly, just know that it has all the same infinite combos it’s always had with cards like Basalt Monolith. It’s seen a drop in popularity, but it’s still a nice tech option to repeat planeswalker loyalty abilities.
#4. The Peregrine Dynamo
The Peregrine Dynamo is your legend-centric version of Strionic Resonator. It’s cheaper to activate than most effects like this, but it also has more limitations.
#3. Strionic Resonator
A lot of cards get compared to Strionic Resonator, the same way Panharmonicon is the namesake for all triggered ability doublers. It’s not an auto-include but still fills the niche of doubling up on abilities, especially activated ones.
#2. Lithoform Engine
Lithoform Engine is a one-stop-shop for copying basically anything you want, from triggers to activated abilities and even permanent spells. It’s all a bit clunky and expensive to use, but this can outvalue your opponents fast if left alone.
There it is, the one that started it all. Ability doublers have been around for a while, but Panharmonicon introduced the “triggers an additional time” templating to Magic.
Magic design has thrown this text on just about any trigger you can imagine ever since, and I’ll bet we’ve only seen the beginning.
Best Ability Doubler Payoffs
It’s pretty clear how to capitalize on these doubling effects. Decks full of valuable ETBs or blink effects want as many generic Panharmonicons as reasonably possible. Decks focused on activated abilities are much less frequent but make good use of Strionic Resonator effects.
The list contains a lot of hyper-specific doublers that only fit one intended archetype like dungeons or X spells, so you can evaluate those on a case-by-case basis.
What Triggers Panharmonicon?
Panharmonicon puts an additional instance of that ability on the stack when an artifact or creature enters the battlefield and causes an ability to be put on the stack. This happens most often when a card with an “enters the battlefield” effect hits the board, like Sun Titan or Prophetic Prism.
Remember that opponents can sometimes trigger your permanents, which might cause Panharmonicon to trigger that permanent again. For example, an opponent’s creature can cause your Suture Priest to trigger, which triggers an additional time from Panharmonicon.
How Does Strionic Resonator Work?
You can tap Strionic Resonator to target and copy it while an activated or triggered ability is on the stack. The copy goes on the stack above the original ability and resolves before it. If the original ability targets, you can change the targets of the copy to something else. If the original ability had any costs, you don’t have to pay those costs for the copy.
Imagine you tap Arcanis the Omnipotent to draw three cards. That ability goes on the stack, and you have a chance to respond to it before it resolves. Resonator can target the “draw 3 cards” ability, which copies it and creates another instance of “draw 3 cards” on the stack. You then draw three cards from the copy and draw three more from the original activation.
How Does Lithoform Engine Work?
Lithoform Engine’s first ability works exactly the same as Strionic Resonator. The other two abilities copy different types of spells on the stack, and you can activate Engine’s second ability to copy it if there’s an instant or sorcery on the stack. Remember that the copy goes on the stack above the original and resolves before it.
The third ability copies a permanent spell which includes artifacts, enchantments, creatures, and planeswalkers. You can use Lithoform Engine’s third ability to copy it while one of these spells is one the stack. When that copy resolves it enters the battlefield as a token copy of the original spell. This only copies permanent spells, not permanents already on the battlefield.
Can Strionic Resonator Copy Rings of Brighthearth?
Rings of Brighthearth has a triggered ability that can be copied with Strionic Resonator. When you activate an ability, Rings triggers.
While the Rings trigger is on the stack waiting to resolve, you may target it with Resonator. If you do, a copy of the Rings trigger is put on the stack. You may pay two to copy the original activated ability when that copy resolves, which you can do again when the original Rings trigger resolves.
Does Stronic Resonator Work on Sagas?
Chapter abilities on sagas are triggered abilities, and can be targeted with Strionic Resonator. Resonator targets the ability, not the saga itself, and copying a chapter ability doesn’t place extra lore counters on the saga.
Can You Use Rings of Brighthearth More Than Once?
You may pay only once when Rings of Brighthearth‘s ability resolves. If there are multiple copies of the Rings ability you can pay per copy, but you can’t pay multiple times for a single instance of this trigger.
Does Rings of Brighthearth work with Triggered Abilities?
No, Rings of Brighthearth doesn’t interact with triggered abilities at all. For example, resolving a creature with an ETB effect doesn’t cause Rings to have any sort of effect or trigger.
Can Rings of Brighthearth Copy Planeswalker Abilities?
The loyalty abilities on planeswalkers are activated abilities, so you can copy them with Rings of Brighthearth. Rings triggers when you activate a loyalty ability, and you may pay to copy the planeswalker ability. Doing so doesn’t affect the loyalty counters on that planeswalker.
Does Rings of Brighthearth Work With Kaalia?
Rings of Brighthearth works with both Kaalias. It can copy the attack trigger on Kaalia of the Vast or the ETB on Kaalia, Zenith Seeker.
Tawnos, Urza’s Apprentice | Illustration by Matt Stewart
Hopefully this list gives you twice the inspiration you were looking for. I only covered ability doublers, but there’s plenty of other doubling to be done out there.
Is there anything you like to double down on in EDH? What are your favorite abilities to double, and more importantly, what’s your favorite Panharmonicon-inspired nickname? Let me know in the comments below or over in the Draftsim Discord.
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