Together Forever - Illustration by Aaron Miller

Together Forever | Illustration by Aaron Miller

All Will Be One is the first premiere set in a while that encouraged players to brew in the ETB counters space. Oil counters specifically are a mechanic that encourages brewing across that space, and the return of proliferate really puts a fine point on it.

Support is an older mechanic that might have some cool synergies if you’re brewing decks with flicker and counters in mind. Ready to find out?

How Does Support Work?

Relief Captain - Illustration by Anastasia Ovchinnikova

Relief Captain | Illustration by Anastasia Ovchinnikova

A card with support drops counters onto other creatures when it enters the battlefield. But how exactly does that work? Well, it’s a keyword action that’s followed by a number or an X. That number (or X) is how many other creatures you place a +1/+1 counter on when the card with support is cast.

As noted in the rules text, support targets those creatures, and it doesn’t specify who controls the creature targets. This means you can use this offensively if you’re somehow running these cards with something like Horobi, Death's Wail.

Support also allows you to choose a number of creatures up to the support number. So if you have fewer creatures than the support number, you’d just place the +1/+1 counter on each creature you can. You can also just choose not to allocate all the counters.

It’s also important to note that you can’t stack multiple counters onto one target using the support mechanic. That doesn’t prevent cards like Hardened Scales from doing their thing, though.

The History of Support in MTG

Support first appeared on 10 cards in Oath of the Gatewatch in 2016. A lot of those cards were then reprinted in Battlebond, which added five new support cards. One card was printed in both Modern Horizons 2 and New Capenna Commander.

What Is Support N in MTG?

Support always has a number with it (usually support 2), and “support N” is used as a stand-in for the number associated with the keyword on a card.

The Crowd Goes Wild

The Crowd Goes Wild is a notable exception that has “support X.”

Does Support Stack?

Yes, support stacks. Right now there’s no effect that would grant support to another permanent, but it would stack if one was ever printed.

Joraga Auxiliary

Support triggers can also be stacked onto creatures. For example, if two cards with support were cast on one turn, or Joraga Auxiliary’s activated ability  was activated more than once.

Can Support Target Creatures You Don’t Control?

Yes. This was of use in the Battlebond format since you could distribute counters to your ally’s creatures. In Commander you can use that politically.

You can also use it offensively with cards like aforementioned Horobi, Death's Wail, but I suppose you could also use it to push a 2-power creature out of the range of Dwarven Nomad? I can’t imagine that IRL, but it’s an interaction that exists!

What if the Support Spell Has Other Abilities that Target Creatures?

Unity of Purpose

Those other abilities can target a creature also targeted by support. For example, Unity of Purpose can drop a counter on a creature and then untap that creature.

Gallery and List of Support Cards

Best Support Cards

Most support cards are underpowered fodder for Limited, but here are a few that are surprisingly powerful and underused.

#4. Skyboon Evangelist

Skyboon Evangelist

Skyboon Evangelist is kind of the meme-in-chief in the Denry Klin, Editor in Chief ETB counters deck. If you’re blinking Skyboon Evangelist then you’re dropping a lot of power and making things fly, which can win the game on the spot.

The tough part about this space is that blink decks often want to mass blink things with cards like Eerie Interlude, which is sort of a nonbo with support 6. So if you can design a blink deck that only blinks a few utility creatures like this while it goes wide, that’s how this would work.

#3. The Crowd Goes Wild

The Crowd Goes Wild

The Crowd Goes Wild is a hidden gem that’s likely been overlooked given support’s reputation as a Limited mechanic. This is the cheapest way to give your team mass trample in the game. Assuming your team is one with a lot of counters already, which is a common enough go-wide strategy.

This card would fit nicely since most +1/+1 counters commanders have a green pip in their casting cost.

#2. Generous Patron

Generous Patron

Generous Patron is pretty impressive in a deck that throws out a lot of counters. It enters to draw two cards if nothing else, but it also draws you cards in decks like Kros, Defense Contractor, Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, and even Chevill, Bane of Monsters.

Anything, where you distribute counters to opposing creatures, welcomes a card like this.

#1. Together Forever

Together Forever

Okay, so Together Forever would be really useful in a +1/+1 counter deck to rescue things at instant speed, which is a reason to play it in something like Felisa, Fang of Silverquill. But mostly this is a combo piece that goes infinite with Ashnod's Altar.

Just add a 1-mana modular card like Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp out of the command zone, or even something as mundane as Arcbound Worker, and you’ve got infinite triggers.

Wrap Up

Gladehart Cavalry - Illustration by Steven Belledin

Gladehart Cavalry | Illustration by Steven Belledin

The gems on here can usually be picked up for fairly cheap since these cards tend to have been forgotten in Throne of Eldraine’s power creep era. If you are running a counters deck of any kind, they are worth a look.

I think support is a pretty cool mechanic that’s just waiting for more design work to power it up. I like the idea of pumping up the jam here because this is one the few MTG mechanics that’s inherently self-limiting; you need other creatures. You can’t abuse blink with counters that fall off unless you’re in The Ozolith territory.

How about a planeswalker with a support 3 ability? Right? Right!?

WotC, give me a call.

What do you think? Any great untapped support design space you could imagine? Drop a comment below or in the Draftsim Twitter.

That’s all from me for now. Stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands!

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