Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Charge Counters in Magic
Several artifacts in Magic utilize charge counters, resources used to activate various abilities. Like most artifacts, these cards are often colorless, letting any deck utilize their powers.
Charge counter abilities are pretty fun since they're usually great or terrible—which are worth your time? These are the ten best charge counter artifacts in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Ratchet Bomb
Ratchet Bomb doesn't require much mana and can tap to gain a charge counter. Or, you can tap and sacrifice it to destroy each non-land permanent (including your own) with a cost equal to the counters Bomb had.
While you can use this to eventually eliminate high-cost threats, it's generally employed as a token-wipe; you can sacrifice it immediately with zero counters to destroy all tokens. Alternatively, try "Engineered Explosives" for a similar effect.
9. Pentad Prism
Pentad Prism's sunburst trait has it enter with as many charge counters as the colors of mana spent to cast it—probably two. From there, you can remove a charge counter at any time to add a mana of any color.
Since this doesn't require tapping, you can spend both counters on the same turn, a great tool in rainbow decks that need to access each color. And even when its counters are gone, Prism remains fielded, empowering other artifact-based effects.
8. Chalice of the Void
Many of today's cards prefer the extended matches of commander format, but Chalice favors formats like standard that are more reliant on low-cost spells. You pay X mana of any amount twice, then Chalice enters with X charges and automatically counters spells of X cost.
This makes a formidable net against decks that swarm low-cost units (like goblins and merfolk)—just remember your own spells can also get countered.
7. Primal Amulet/Primal Wellspring
Primal Amulet reduces the price of your instants and sorceries by one, a nice discount for decks emphasizing one-offs. And whenever you cast an instant or sorcery, Amulet gains a charge counter, transforming into Primal Wellspring once it has at least four.
Wellspring can tap for a mana of any color, and when that mana is spent on an instant or sorcery, you get to copy it for free, essentially getting two spells in one!
6. Darksteel Reactor
Like most Darksteel cards, Reactor is indestructible, making it difficult for opponents to remove. It can gain a charge counter at the start of your upkeep, and once it has at least 20, you win the game. That's a monstrous effect you can build an entire deck around, stalling foes until Reactor scores you the win.
5. Magistrate's Scepter
Scepter require three mana to cast and four to tap and gain a charge counter, requiring several resources. But you can also tap it and remove three charges to take an extra turn, a powerful and reusable prize.
Effective in any deck, Scepter remains one of my favorite extra turn spells, and it's surprisingly cheap considering its strength, costing less than a single dollar!
4. Coalition Relic
Relic here can tap for a mana of any color, another tempting option in multi-color decks. And since artifacts can exhaust immediately, you can gain the mana as soon as it arrives. But if you don't need an extra resource yet, Relic can also tap to gain a charge counter, and during your precombat main phase, you remove its counters and add one mana of any color for each.
Basically, you can either get an extra mana each turn, or two extra every other turn, helping you save up for big plays.
This puny 1/1 artifact creature doesn't use charge counters himself, but he's perfect for distributing them to other cards. When he taps, you can place one onto another artifact, stacking beautifully with cards like Scepter.
You can also sacrifice Coretapper at any time to give an artifact two charge counters. Since this doesn't require tapping, you can use it in response to a removal, ensuring you get some final usage before Core dies.
2. Æther Vial
Æther Vial (better known as Aether Vial) can automatically gain a charge counter at your upkeep. And by tapping it, you can play a creature from your hand for free with cost equal to the number of charges Vial has.
You don't have to remove the counters to use this effect, making it easy to reuse. Just remember your creature's cost has to exactly equal Vial's charges—it can't be below the value.
1. Umezawa's Jitte
CMC: 2 (2 to equip)
Many equipment abilities trigger when you inflict combat damage to a player, but Jitte activates simply by inflicting any combat damage, so it works even when you're blocked or are blocking.
When Jitte's bearer deals combat damage, Jitte gains two charges. You can remove one at any time to either give the equipped creature +2/+2 for the turn, give any creature -1/-1 for the turn, or simply provide two life.
That's a versatile and easily-triggered ability, and remember that each battle gives you two charges that can be spent consecutively. Try using them to kill weaker enemies by making their toughness zero, or boost your general for a fast commander damage-win.
Proliferating Charge Counters in Magic
Most charge counter-based cards have methods to accumulate charges themselves, but don't forget to support them with spells like Coretapper. Additionally, cards that proliferate can add another counter of a type already-present, letting you replicate charges on artifacts that already have one.
Charge counter offer powerful effects that work well in commander, but for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of charge effects, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill