Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Atraxa as Commander
In Magic's EDH format, you select one legendary creature to lead your 100-card deck, and you can only include colors it contains. One of the best commanders in the entire game is Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, a 4/4 angel horror with flying, vigilance, deathtouch, lifelink, and proliferate.
That's a heap of awesome abilities, and Atraxa accesses the four most EDH-compatible colors, giving you access to most of the best commander spells. But with hundreds of potential supports and deck options, how can you best construct your theme? These are the 10 best supports for your Atraxa EDH deck!
10. Primordial Hydra
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): X
One of the best hydras in the game, Primordial Hydra takes two green mana and an X value of your choice. Have X be at least one, since Hydra boosts its initial 0/0 stats with as many +1/+1 counters as X allows. Even if this value is low, Hydra doubles its counters during your upkeep, and Atraxa's proliferate adds one during your end step! Plus, Hydra gains trample while it has ten or more, bleeding excess damage through blockers.
Nearly all hydras work well with Atraxa thanks to their focus on proliferate-able counters; other favorites include "Mistcutter Hydra" and "Hungering Hydra."
9. Everflowing Chalice
This artifact's downside is that it only provides colorless mana, which Atraxa doesn't use (unless you're recasting from the command zone). However, Chalice's counter synergy is too tempting to ignore; upon entrance, you kick it for two mana any number of times, and it arrives with that many charge counters. Chalice can then tap to add an amount of colorless mana equal to its charge counters.
With Atraxa, just kick Chalice once to get a single counter, then proliferate and quickly let it tap for amazing amounts of mana! As a bonus, remember that artifacts (unlike creatures) can tap even on the turn they arrive, so you're instantly refunded some of the mana you spent casting Chalice.
8. Oath of Nissa
Oath of Nissa is a legendary enchantment that only costs a single green mana, making an excellent first turn play. When activated, you look at the top three cards of your deck and can add a creature, land, or planeswalker from among them to your hand, placing the rest on bottom of your deck in any order. This adeptly searches planeswalkers (who combo great with Atraxa's proliferate) or different land types for summoning Atraxa.
From there, Oath stays fielded and lets you spend mana as if it were any color when casting planeswalkers, ensuring access to your legends even if your land draws have been stale.
7. Tezzeret's Gambit
CMC: 3 or 4 (see below)
Tezzeret's Gambit needs three mana of any hue, then you can pay either a blue mana or two life—something you should have in abundance thanks to Atraxa's lifelink.
Either way, Gambit lets you draw two cards, then proliferate, skillfully mimicking Atraxa's effect and letting you add counters to permanents that already have them. Use this to increase the loyalty of planeswalkers, the +1/+1 counters of hydras, and the poison and -1/-1 counters you'll place on enemies with...
6. Tainted Strike
The powerful infect ability lets units deal damage to creatures as -1/-1 counters and to players as poison counters, forcing a loss after collecting ten. Like any counters, you can proliferate these with Atraxa, but rather than dedicating a large portion of your deck to the best infect cards, I like to sneak in "Tainted Strike," an inexpensive instant that grants a creature +1/+0 and infect for the turn.
With this, you can boost an unblocked attacker, land a few poison counters, then begin proliferating with Atraxa, placing a hectic time limit on your foe; if they can't quickly win or remove your proliferate, it's only a matter of time before the poison takes its toll.
5. Doubling Season
While Doubling Season costs a fair chunk of five mana, it offers unparalleled planeswalker and hydra support. Doubling has your permanents enter with twice the number of counters they normally would—letting your planeswalkers appear with double loyalty!
That's a huge benefit that accesses your ultimate effects much faster. Season also doubles the number of tokens you receive, stacking particularly well with units that swarm tokens, like "Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury."
4. Bloom Tender
A 1/1 isn't a great deal for two mana, but Bloom Tender isn't designed for battle. Instead, she can tap for one mana of each color among permanents you control! Counting herself, this should be at least one green, but with Atraxa or other units out, you can attain up to four colored mana at once!
This enormous benefit rewards your multicolor strategy, and to cement her usefulness, Bloom belongs to the abundant elf faction, comboing well with cards like "Priest of Titania" and "Elvish Archdruid."
3. Twin-Type Lands
With four different mana colors, you don't want to end up with too many lands of the same time; remember, Atraxa needs one of each hue. To alleviate this issue, use twin-color lands like "Tropical Island" and "Bayou" to maximize your chances of quickly finding each color. The "Temple of" lands also get the job done, entering tapped but letting you scry 1 and providing either of two mana colors on future rounds.
2. Stonecoil Serpent
Serpent accepts any mana colors, so you don't need to color-fix him, and he's great in both the early and late-game thanks to his X casting cost, entering with X +1/+1 counters. Of course, from there you can begin proliferating him to unimaginable heights, and his reach, trample, and protection from multicolored permanents make him a great defense against enemy attackers.
With both Stonecoil and Atraxa, foes will have trouble swinging at cards like…
Tamiyo, Field Researcher
Drawing and casting spells for free (with ultimate)
Kiora, Master of the Depths
Untapping and searching creatures and lands
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Drawing and bouncing enemy units back to hand
Atraxa-planeswalker combos are so prevalent that fans dubbed this strategy "superfriends" for their combined powers. Remember, Atraxa can proliferate a loyalty counter on each of your planeswalkers at the end of your turns, rapidly increasing the speed they can fire off their ultimate subtraction effects.
With every hue available except red, you have access to just about any planeswalker you'd like; see the table above for some particular favorites.
More Great Atraxa Cards
Remember, anything that Atraxa can proliferate works wonders, so fill your deck with as many counter-wielding cards as you can find. Additionally, consider the alternative win condition of "Felidar Sovereign," which lets you win during your upkeep if you have at least 40 life (stacking well with Atraxa's lifelink). "Grand Abolisher" offers an excellent guard against opposing spells during your turn, and "level up" cards like "Lighthouse Chronologist" also stack well with proliferate.
Atraxa offers an excellent heap of EDH colors as well as powerful abilities, and today's list has you well on your way towards a proliferate win. But for now, as we eagerly await Magic's next expansion of excellent Atraxa supports, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill