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Keyword Action
Introduced Scars of Mirrodin
Last Used Modern Horizons
Reminder Text Proliferate (Choose any number of permanents and/or players, then give each another counter of each kind already there.)
Statistics 34 cards
{W} 8.8% {U} 29.4% {B} 8.8% {R} 2.9% {G} 17.6% {G/W} 2.9% {G/U} 5.9% {M} 2.9% {artifact symbol} 17.6% {land symbol} 2.9%
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Proliferate is a keyword action introduced in Scars of Mirrodin. When a player proliferates, they choose any number of players and/or permanents that have counters on them, then puts another of those counters on these players or permanents.[1][2] In Scars, proliferate only appeared on blue and artifact cards. In Mirrodin Besieged, it shows up on one card each in black and green.[3] In New Phyrexia it also appeared on one card in red. War of the Spark doubled the total cards with proliferate with cards in white, blue and green, while it appears on one black and colorless card each in Modern Horizons.[4]

Description[edit | edit source]

For example, a player proliferates and chooses an opponent with a Poison counter, a Planeswalker card with a loyalty counter, a creature with a -1/-1 counter and an artifact with a charge counter on it. Then that opponent gets another poison counter, the planeswalker gets another loyalty counter, the creature now has two -1/-1 counters and the artifact two charge counters on it. Note that proliferate does not target, so permanents with shroud or hexproof can be chosen.

Thematically, the Proliferate mechanic is tied in with the Phyrexia faction in Scars of Mirrodin and its related Infect mechanic. As such, each of the cards that have been printed with proliferate are marked with the symbol of the Phyrexia faction. Only featured on blue and artifact cards in Scars of Mirrodin, it has spread to black and green in Mirrodin Besieged, illustrating the block theme/storyline of the Phyrexian infestation taking over Mirrodin. In War of the Spark, it instead represents "the influence of the planeswakers".[5]

Proliferate was considered for Kaladesh and Aether Revolt.[6] It was also considered as the Simic guild mechanic for Ravnica Allegiance.[7] A few months later it appeared in War of the Spark.[8] For this set, a rules change was implemented.[9] Formerly, you had to choose a type of counter already present and added one counter of that type, now you are adding one counter of each type already present.[10][11] Proliferate was used to represent the heroes (in blue, white and green; in opposition of Bolas in Grixis) building up creatures with +1/+1 counters, and synergising with the Amass tokens and the loyalty counters of the many Planeswalkers.

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (August 7, 2020—Double Masters)

To give an additional counter to any number of players and/or permanents of each kind they already have. See rule 701.27, “Proliferate.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (August 7, 2020—Double Masters)

  • 701.27. Proliferate
    • 701.27a To proliferate means to choose any number of permanents and/or players that have a counter, then give each one additional counter of each kind that permanent or player already has.
    • 701.27b In a Two-Headed Giant game, poison counters are shared by the team. If more than one player on a team is chosen this way, only one of those players can be given an additional poison counter. The player who proliferates chooses which player that is. See rule 810, “Two-Headed Giant Variant.”

Rulings[edit | edit source]

  • You can choose any player that has a counter, including yourself.
  • You can choose any permanent that has a counter, including ones controlled by opponents. You can't choose cards in any zone other than the battlefield, even if they have counters on them, such as suspended cards or a Lightning Storm on the stack.
  • You don't have to choose every permanent or player that has a counter, only the ones you want to add another counter to. Since "any number" includes zero, you don't have to choose any permanents at all, and you don't have to choose any players at all.
  • If a permanent chosen this way has multiple kinds of counters on it, a new counter for each kind is put on that permanent.[12]
  • Players can respond to the spell or ability whose effect includes proliferating. Once that spell or ability starts to resolve, however, and its controller chooses which permanents and players will get new counters, it's too late for anyone to respond.
  • When you proliferate in a Two-Headed Giant game, you may give one poison counter to a team that already has one.

Reminder text[edit | edit source]

The latest reminder text for proliferate reads "Choose any number of permanents and/or players, then give each another counter of each kind already there."[11]

Previously it read "You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there". This means that older versions of proliferate only increased one type of counter while the updated version increases each type of counter.[12]

Examples[edit | edit source]


Fuel for the Cause {2}{U}{U}
Counter target spell, then proliferate. (Choose any number of permanents and/or players, then give each another counter of each kind already there.)

Development[edit | edit source]

Mark Rosewater originally developed a mechanism for creatures to amplify infect by adding -1/-1 counters to those already on other creatures. This mechanism furthered the metaphor of a Phyrexian disease spreading. Eventually, it grew to affect all counters.[13][14]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater (September 20, 2010). "Something Wicked This Way Comes, Part 3". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Doug Beyer (October 06, 2010). "Spreading the Infection". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (January 24, 2011). "Under Besiege, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Matt Tabak (May 31, 2019). "Modern Horizons Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. War of the Spark - Mechanic Spotlight: Proliferate | Magic (Video). YouTube.
  6. Mark Rosewater (April 05, 2019). "What are the other three sets that tried to bring back proliferate?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  7. Mark Rosewater (January 2, 2019). "Building Allegiances, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater (April 8, 2019). "Waging War of the Spark, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Wizards of the Coast (April 19, 2019). "War of the Spark Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater (March 31, 2019). "The Proliferate reminder text on Flux Channeler doesn't match the current rules". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. a b Matt Tabak (March 31, 2019). "War of the Spark Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. a b Mark Rosewater (March 31, 2019). "Acknowledging that proliferate has been tweaked...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. Mark Rosewater (October 04, 2010). "Proliferate Crazy Nights". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Tom LaPille (October 08, 2010). "Proliferate Expectations". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit | edit source]