Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How Does Dethrone Work in Magic?
The valued dethrone trait gives creatures a +1/+1 counter whenever they attack the player with the most life (or tied for the most life), strengthening them just in time for combat. Dethrone is most common among red and blue, giving them a fighting chance at rivaling bulky green and white decks in combat.
Rare and valuable, dethrone has only been seen on nine cards as of this writing—which reign supreme? These are the nine best (and only) dethrone cards in Magic: The Gathering!
9. Enraged Revolutionary
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 3
A 2/1 is a poor deal for three mana, although dethrone means Revolutionary can quickly power up, especially against life-gaining white decks. Still, his lack of useful synergies or traits (having the goblin subtype or haste ability could have helped) makes him lag behind his peers.
8. Marchesa's Emissary
Both Emissary's stats and subtypes are poor, entering as a 2/2 human rogue. However, he has dethrone and hexproof, preventing foes from targeting him and gaining a +1/+1 counter when attacking the player with the most life.
7. Marchesa's Infiltrator
Admittedly, 1/1 stats are particularly weak for a three-cost unit. Still, Infiltrator has dethrone, and when he deals combat damage to a player, you get to draw a card, punishing foes who can't engage him in battle.
6. Grenzo's Cutthroat
Now we're getting to the good stuff. Cutthroat's 1/1 stats are forgivable considering his lower cost, and dethrone helps compensate. Better yet, Cutthroat also has first strike and belongs to the goblin tribe, making him a staple in red Krenko commander decks.
5. Treasonous Ogre
For a four-cost dethroner, 2/3 stats aren't terrible, but Ogre's most interesting trait is his ramp effect. By paying three life, you add one red mana to your pool. Sure, this quickly saps your health, but you can use it multiple times per turn, you don't have to tap Ogre for it, and depleting your own health makes it easier to trigger dethrone.
4. Marchesa's Smuggler
Smuggler's a versatile unit, offering a 1/1 dethroner at low cost. Plus, by spending three mana, he can give a unit haste and prevent it from being blocked that turn, These two abilities work well together and shield dethroners by letting them survive until they amass enough counters to attack without needing protection.
A frequent member in my own Izzet decks, Smuggler is also one of today's cheapest cards, costing well under a single dollar!
3. Scourge of the Throne
Sure, Scourge needs more mana than today's other spells, but he arrives with already-respectable 5/5 stats plus dethrone, flying, and the dragon subtype. You really want Scourge to attack the player with the most life; not only does this trigger dethrone, it activates Scourge's other ability, untapping all attacking creatures and giving you an additional combat step.
You'll only be able to get one extra combat phase per turn, but this means you can potentially score a 6/6 aerial attack followed by a 7/7 one (plus whatever your other creatures are swinging for) in one round.
2. Dack's Duplicate
One of the best creature-mimics in the game, Dack's Duplicate enters the field as a copy of any creature, just like the standard "Clone". However, his lookalike also gains haste and dethrone, two appreciated bonuses on top of any other powers the unit possesses.
1. Marchesa, the Black Rose
Adding black to red and blue, Marchesa provides all the colors you need for a Nicol Bolas theme, and the black faction has several self-harming abilities available (which helps trigger dethrone).
Marchesa's stats are a decent 3/3, and not only she have dethrone, she provides it to your other creatures, quickly overwhelming foes with an army of boosted warriors. As if that weren't enough, Marchesa has the handy wizard subtype, and whenever your creature with a +1/+1 counter (including Marchesa herself) dies, Marchesa returns it the field during the next end step. Thanks to her mass-dethrone, this makes it irritatingly difficult for opponents to permanently kill your minions.
Supporting Dethrone in Magic
Most +1/+1 counter supports are found in green or white, but blue offers several proliferate spells to multiply the +1/+1 counters gained from dethrone. Additionally, anything that gives haste helps employ the effect that much faster, and spells that require you to pay life ensure you're not leading in health, making it easy to triggger dethrone.
Dethrone's a fun and competitive ability that I hope resurfaces in future sets, but for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of dethrone creatures, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill