Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Energy Counters in Magic: The Gathering?
When players think of resources in Magic, their minds usually jump to mana generated by lands. However, several cards can also manufacture energy counters, versatile tokens that you can spend on a variety of cards. Since energy belongs to you and not individual cards, energy you collect lingers even if their generators get destroyed, making it almost impossible for your opponent to remove.
Energy-counter producers come in all shapes and sizes, and the strongest often belong to the blue, green, and colorless factions. But with dozens of vigor manufacturers available, which artisans reign supreme? These are the ten best energy-making spells in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Aethersquall Ancient
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 7
While he's much more expensive than most energy autotrophs, Aethersquall Ancient excels on multiple fronts. First, he's a hefty beatstick, bearing 6/6 (six power and six toughness) as well as flying, letting him soar over ground-based blockers. He also generates three counters at the start of your upkeep, letting you consistently accumulate resources with each turn.
Thankfully, Ancient also offers a great way to spend your energy: by removing eight counters at any time you could cast a sorcery, Ancient bounces all other creatures back to their owner's hand, a devastating field wipe that bypasses defenses like protection, hexproof, and indestructible.
9. Gonti's Aether Heart
As a legendary artifact, you can only control one of Gonti's Heart at once, which, considering its base cost of six, probably isn't an issue. When it enters the field, you get two energy counters, and you also gain two when other artifacts (including blends like artifact creatures and equipment) arrives under your control.
This can rapidly amass your counters, especially if you swarm with artifact cards like thopters, and you can also pay eight counters and exile Gonti's Heart to take an extra turn. Extra turns are brutal, giving you additional draws, land plays, battle phases, and planeswalker abilities before your opponent even has a chance to counter, so do your best to work towards this fierce ability. Since you can activate it at instant speed, feel free to keep Heart's energy gain active and only trigger your extra turn in response to a removal, making the most of its collecting.
8. Thriving Turtle
You'll need a single blue island land to play this cheap reptile. A 0/3 is already decent for a single mana, giving you a nice low-level blocker, and Turtle also seizes two energy counters when he enters the battlefield! Since you don't need to cast him, this also triggers even if revived from the graveyard or otherwise gimmicked to the field.
If Turtle attacks, you can pay two energy counters to give it a +1/+1 counter. Usually, it's better to save your resources for other abilities, but having this option is just icing on an already impressive cake.
7. Glassblower's Puzzleknot
Puzzleknot's first ability can be used by any hue. For just two mana of any color, when Puzzleknot enters the field, you both gain two energy counters and scry two, peeking at the top cards of your deck and either returning them or putting them on the bottom, letting you control what you draw (useful for miracle abilities).
Plus, if you have islands available, you spend three mana (with at least one blue) and sacrifice Puzzleknot to activate the same ability, letting you once again scry two and gain two counters. In short, this relic's great for any energy Magic deck and particularly beneficial in blue builds.
6. Peema Aether-Seer
A bit pricier than most energy generators while still not terribly expensive, Peema will drain you of four mana. However, when she enters the field, she bestows you with energy equal to the highest power among creatures you control.
Since Peema herself wields three power, you should gain at least three counters, but remember that green specializes in big creatures, often letting you amass six or more energy in a single stroke! Peema can also pay three counters to force a targeted creature to block that turn. This is another ability that's a bit pricey and often best ignored, but can sometimes be useful for baiting utility monsters into unwanted combat.
5. Highspire Infusion
As in instant, you can cast Highspire Infusion in any phase of either player's turn, and it grants a target creature +3/+3 until the end of the turn. This substantial boost often lets you triumph in battles your opponent expected to win, turning the duel in your favor.
Adding insult to injury, you also collect two energy counters when resolving Infusion, providing two great effects at quick-play speed and low cost.
4. Aetherworks Marvel
One of the best legendary artifacts in the game, Aetherworks Marvel gains you an energy counter whenever a permanent you control is placed into a graveyard. This punishes your opponent for removing your units (of any type) and rewards you for playing self-sacrificing or field-wiping spells.
You can also tap Marvel and pay six counters to look at the top six cards of your library, cast one without paying its mana cost, then place the remaining cards on the bottom of your deck in a random order. Since this both searches and fields a card for free, it's a great investment of six counters, meaning Marvel helps with both hoarding your units and directing them towards a worthy cause.
3. Sage of Shaila's Claim
Sage of Shaila's Claim is a 2/1, which is decent if not stellar for a two-cost creature. However, when she enters the arena, you receive three energy, letting you play six-counter costs with just two castings! Beyond that, Sage belongs to the elf and druid creature families, qualifying for a large number of subtype-dependent bonuses.
2. Minister of Inquiries
Although his vedalken and advisor subtypes don't contain many synergies, Minister more than proves his worth with solid stats, counter accumulation, and a tap effect. A 1/2 for just one mana is a nice deal, and Minister also grants two energy when he enters the field.
He can also tap and spend one counter to mill the top three cards from either player's deck into their graveyard, helping you either stock your own discard pile with material to revive or contribute towards a deck-out loss against your opponent. Another impressive manufacturer for the blue faction.
1. Woodweaver's Puzzleknot
While Puzzleknot's sacrificial trait is only available to green factions, its general entrance ability offers excellent energy acquisition to any structure. For just two colorless mana, Puzzleknot gives you three life and three energy counters, an awesome and inexpensive boost.
You can also spend three mana (one of which must be green) and sacrifice Puzzleknot to again gain the effect, regenerating three life and nabbing another trio of energy. I use Puzzleknot even in non-green energy decks, and its an absolute must-have for forest counter themes. Thankfully, despite its power, Puzzleknot is surprisingly cheap, costing less than 50 cents to obtain your own copy!
Best Energy Cards to Use in Magic
We've examined several awesome spells that generate energy as well as some that put it to good use, but here's a quick list of other great options to steer your counters towards:
- Deadlock Trap (artifact that taps and spends an energy to tap an opposing creature/planeswalker and prevent it from using abilities that turn)
- Demon of Dark Schemes (creature that spends three mana and four counters to revive a creature from either graveyard tapped under your control)
- Gonti's Machinations (creature that spends two counters and sacrifices itself to drain three life from each opponent, adding that health to your own)
- Lightning Runner (creature that spends eight counters to untap your creatures and give you an additional combat phase that turn)
There's just a small handful of the many potent energy-feeders we'll undoubtedly explore in another review. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of energy-collecting spells, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill