Zethi, Arcane Blademaster | Illustration by Billy Christian
Balancing a mana curve can be somewhat difficult when building a deck. You don’t want to get stuck without early plays, but you also want to make sure you have stronger cards for later in the game. Luckily, there are cards with optional additional costs or multiple casting modes that can be effective both in the early game and late game.
One of these types of additional costs is kicker and its variant multikicker. Because these abilities are optional, you don’t have to worry if you draw one of these cards before you can afford it because they’ll still be useful in their cheaper form. At the same time, an ability like multikicker can stop a card from being a dead draw later on.
Multikicker isn’t the most popular keyword ability, but there are definitely some great options to choose from when it comes to these cards. They can also synergize well with regular kicker cards and kicker support since they’re technically the same ability.
Let’s take a look at all the multikicker cards available in Magic and see which you might want to include in your next deck!
Apex Hawks | Illustration by David Palumbo
Multikicker is a static ability that allows you to pay an optional additional cost as many times as you wish to gain some additional effect from the spell. It’s a variant of the kicker static ability which is essentially the same but only allows you to pay its additional cost a single time.
Spell Contortion actually has a pretty good multikicker ability since 2 mana to draw a card isn’t a bad trade. Unfortunately, the spell itself is an overpriced version of Spell Pierce, making it not really worth your mana to play it and pay even more mana to kick it.
Gnarlid Pack is kind of the baseline for the first cycle of multikicker creatures in Worldwake. The ability to pay 2 additional mana any number of times and get that many +1/+1 counters is found on a lot of these creatures, but the other options have additional keyword abilities, making them stronger creatures.
Lightkeeper of Emeria can be a nice addition for a deck built around lifegain. It can help activate any lifegain triggers you might have, and it can gain you a decent amount of life if you have a lot of mana to sink into it.
Similar to Gnarlid Pack, Skitter of Lizards’s multikicker ability adds a +1/+1 counter for each time you pay the cost. This one is a little better overall since it has haste and the initial casting cost is lower, making it easier to kick. I like that this card can be a good early turn drop or a bigger threat once you have more mana.
Enclave Elite is another creature in the +1/+1 counter cycle for multikicker creatures. It edges out the previous two thanks to its islandwalk ability and the fact that it’s a merfolk, allowing it to fit well in decks built around that creature type.
Quag Vampires is in a similar place as Enclave Elite. It has two popular creature types, and it has built-in evasion. I like that this creature is cheaper to cast on its own. A lot of decks using black also run Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, making it more likely you’ll get to use this card’s swampwalk ability.
Deathforge Shaman is a little pricey, but it can be a good way to deal direct damage to an opponent. If you have a lot of mana stored up or you have a way to cast this card for a reduced cost, you can end up taking an opponent’s life total down pretty significantly. There are also plenty of damage doublers out there which can make this card even more effective.
Flametongue Yearling can be a nice early play even without kicking it. Dealing at least two damage to another weak creature will likely kill it, giving you both a body and a form of red removal for only two mana. This card also scales in power as the game goes on, so even if you draw it later on its multikicker ability can help still make it effective.
Sometimes all you really need is to get one or two creatures past your opponent’s blockers to either win or get an important trigger to go off. Voyager Drake not only gives you a decent-sized flier, but it also gives you the chance to grant one or more of your other creatures some evasion for a turn.
Bloodhusk Ritualist is a great way to gain card advantage over an opponent. One mana is a low price to pay to get rid of your opponent’s cards, and there are plenty of great ways to benefit from forced discard. Waste Not, for example, is another mono-black card that’s run in most discard decks, and it pairs very nicely with Bloodhusk Ritualist.
A 4/4 creature for four mana is on the mana curve, so even if you don’t kick Wolfbriar Elemental it’s going to be a decent creature. A 2/2 creature is a lot of value for one mana, so this can be a powerful card if you’re able to kick it multiple times. Wolf typal decks can also make good use of this card because they’re likely be running support for the creature type like anthems.
Strength of the Tajuru is a versatile way to buff one or more of your creatures. Between cards that care about modified creatures, cards like Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter that grant abilities to creatures with +1/+1 counters and proliferate, there are few more efficient ways to support each of these with one card. Giving a lot of your creatures even a single counter can end up being a huge advantage. Alternatively, you can buff just one or two of your creatures a lot, making them serious threats.
Joraga Warcaller can be a powerful anthem for an elfball deck. Even giving your elves a +1 or +2 power buff can be very significant when you’re creating a very wide board. You can also drop +1/+1 counters on Joraga Warcaller with other abilities, not just multikicker, meaning you can continue to improve the buff it grants throughout the game if you couldn’t kick it too many times.
Everflowing Chalice is a unique mana rock with a few different uses. You can kick it a few times for some minor ramp or you can put all your mana into it and essentially increase your mana output by 50% on future turns. This card is great for proliferate decks because you can kick it only once and still have it tap for more and more mana as you add more charge counters over time.
Even if you just kick Marshal's Anthem once, you can easily get your mana’s worth by cheating out a big creature from the graveyard. The more times you can kick this for big creatures, the more value you’re getting out of the two mana it costs.
X spells that deal damage like Comet Storm can be used as finishers in the right deck. One major drawback is that you can usually only take out one opponent at a time, but with this card’s multikicker ability taking out multiple opponents is as easy as paying an additional mana for each. While it isn’t always going to be that impactful, I’d definitely include this in most of my burn decks that are looking to win with this type of spell.
Zethi, Arcane Blademaster is the Universes Within version of Chun-Li, Countless Kicks. This card can be very powerful because it allows you to choose one or more instants to have access to each turn. This could mean combat tricks to keep Zethi safe, repeated uses of Path to Exile, or just a nice draw spell like Thirst for Knowledge. Even if Zethi is removed, your spells stay exiled with kick counters. If you can recast Zethi, you’ll get access to those spells and any additional ones you exile the next time.
There are some cards that have triggered abilities whenever you kick a spell. Multikicker counts as kicking for these cards as well, meaning some good payoffs are cards like Bloodstone Goblin or Coralhelm Chronicler and Roost of Drakes.
Hallar, the Firefletcher can add a lot of value to any kicked spell, allowing you to sink a lot of mana into a multikicker ability and know that you’ll also get a second good effect from it.
Verazol, the Split Current’s ability to copy kicked spells can be very powerful with multikicker. When a kicked spell is copied, it’s kicked as many times as the original. For example, this means you could tap out for an Everflowing Chalice, copy it with Verazol, and basically double your mana production.
This one is particularly good for multikicker, Saproling Infestation. Because the errata reads: “Whenever a player kicks a spell, you create a 1/1 green Saproling creature token.” This allows you to make multiple creature tokens while multikicking spells.
Rumbling Aftershocks deals damage equal to the number of times a spell is kicked, so with multikicker you’ll be able to deal a good amount of extra damage. Pairing this up with a card like Comet Storm can make it even more effective because you aren’t sacrificing damage output when you kick it for additional targets.
No, kicking or multikicking a spell doesn’t alter that spell’s mana value. This can be a good thing because you can easily cascade into a cheap multikicker spell, cast it for free, but still use its multikicker ability. On the other hand, this can be a bit of a bummer if you were hoping to get a helpful trigger from casting an expensive spell since a multikicker spell won’t be considered a higher mana value no matter how much mana you pump into it.
No. Multikicker is an additional cost you can choose to pay for a spell, not an activated ability. It simply alters what the spell does based on if you paid the multikicker cost and how many times. This means its cost can’t be reduced by cards that offer discounts on activated abilities, and it can’t be countered by a spell or ability that counters activated abilities specifically.
No, instead the additional effect you get from the spell resolves all at once. For example, if you multikick a Lightkeeper of Emeria four times, you simply gain eight life from its ETB trigger instead of getting four separate instances of gaining two life.
Yes, as stated in the rules for kicker and multikicker: “kicker is a keyword ability that represents an additional cost. A spell has been kicked if its controller declared the intention to pay any or all of its kicker cost.” The same goes for multikicker, which is considered just a variant of kicker.
Technically yes, you can reduce the multikicker cost, but it’s only going to happen in specific circumstances. Because multikicker is considered an additional cost for your spell, if something makes your spell cost less to cast, it has the ability to lower the cost of multikicker. For example, if you have a Foundry Inspector on the field, it reduces the cost of an Everflowing Chalice by one mana. Everflowing Chalice costs 0 mana, with the option of adding the additional multikicker cost, so in this instance if you choose to pay for multikicker as part of the casting cost, you pay one less mana thanks to Foundry Inspector.
Yes, since multikicker is an additional cost, you may pay it even if you didn’t pay mana to cast the spell. Similar to if you had paid for the spell, you’ll declare if you’d like to multikick the spell and how many times as it’s cast, paying the multikicker cost for each instance. Along these lines, if a spell that you multikick is copied, the copy is also considered kicked.
Marshal's Anthem | Illustration by Erion Makuo
Multikicker is an interesting variation of the kicker ability. It makes the spells in question even more versatile as you can play them at a lot of different costs. While not all of these cards are auto-includes, I do think they have homes, and I’d probably snag them for Limited due to their flexibility.
What do you think of multikicker? Which of these cards would you like to include in a deck? Would you like to see variants of other keyword abilities? Let me know in the comments or on Draftsim’s Twitter.
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