Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Quest Counters in Magic
Some enchantments in Magic gradually acquire "quest counters," offering various effects after accumulating enough. While this takes time, you're rewarded with powerful abilities from spells that rarely need more than two mana, letting you cast them early in your match.
These cards dabble in each color, letting any deck access their powers, but with so many quests, expeditions, and ascensions available, which spells reign supreme? These are the ten best quest counter cards in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Quest for Ancient Secrets
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 1
Ancient Secrets only needs one mana, and it attains a quest counter whenever a card is placed into your graveyard from anywhere. By removing five counters and sacrificing it, you can have any player shuffle their graveyard into their deck.
Most notably, this provides an excellent defense against mill decks if used on yourself, essentially making foes run through your library twice before inflicting a deck-out loss. Alternatively, activate it on graveyard-reliant themes (like zombie decks) to shut down their revivals and buy more time.
9. Khalni Heart Expedition
Khalni needs two mana, but offers an easy landfall condition, gaining a quest counter whenever a land enters under your control. Use green spells like "Exploration," "Burgeoning," and "Oracle of Mul Daya" to play multiple terrains each turn, rapidly amassing your counters.
You can remove three counters and sacrifice Khalni to place up to two basic lands from your deck onto the field tapped. While it's unfortunate they enter dulled, you can choose basic lands of any type, making Khalni just as helpful for multi-color decks as mono-green builds.
8. Beastmaster Ascension
While Beastmaster needs the most mana of today's cards, it offers a powerful effect great for aggressive structures. Whenever a creature you control attacks, Beastmaster gains a quest counter, and once it carries at least seven, your monsters gain +5/+5!
That's an insane boost that has your troops both deal and absorb loads of punishment, and you can quickly meet the condition by utilizing cards that spawn tokens (who can swing for multiple counters).
7. Quest for the Holy Relic
Holy Relic will take time to activate, but its low cost lets you field it early on. Whenever you cast a creature, Relic gains a quest counter, and you can remove five and sacrifice it to play an equipment from your deck and attach it to a creature you control.
This saves you the trouble of searching the weapon and negates the costs of both playing and equipping it. Just remember Relic only gains counters when you cast creatures, so reviving them from the graveyard or otherwise gimmicking them into play won't count.
6. Quest for the Nihil Stone
Nihil only needs one mana, and it gains a quest counter whenever an opponent discards. Fortunately, Nihil only needs two counters to function; after that, whenever an opponent has no cards in hand at their upkeep, Nihil makes that player lose five life.
Five life each round is a huge penalty; use Nihil in discard-heavy decks to simultaneously assault opposing hands and life totals.
5. Zektar Shrine Expedition
Zektar needs two mana and stockpiles a quest counter whenever you play a land, making it a prime choice for red/green blends. You can remove three counters and sacrifice Zektar to craft a 7/1 elemental token with trample and haste.
The token is exiled at the end of your turn, but its enormous power and immediate action should score some heavy damage before it fades. And thanks to trample, it'll bleed excess damage through blockers, making its assault difficult to guard.
4. Quest for Renewal
Renewal gains a counter whenever a creature you control becomes tapped, whether through attacking, activating an effect, or any other means. Considering green's numerous mana-tappers, you'll collect four in no time, at which point you untap all creatures you control during each adversary's upkeep.
This essentially grants your entire team vigilance, ensuring they're ready to block on opposing rounds, and it resets mana-tappers for instant-speed spells and effects.
3. Quest for Pure Flame
Pure Flame needs just one mana, harvesting a quest counter whenever a source you control damages an opponent. You can sacrifice Flame with at least four counters to double the damage your cards inflict that turn!
This lets you hit both players and creatures for twice the pain; just be careful not to use self-harming effects that turn lest you also suffer double damage. Still, Flame has won me my fair share of games, and unlike several top-tier quests, it won't break the bank, costing well under a single dollar!
2. Quest for Ula's Temple
At the start of your upkeep, Ula lets you look at your deck's top card, and if it's a creature, you can reveal it to grant Ula a quest counter. Once it has three or more, you can place a kraken, leviathan, octopus, or serpent creature into play during each end phase!
Thankfully, the blue faction offers many aquatic titans, and they tend to be powerful if costly, making Ula a fantastic way to gimmick them into play. As a bonus, note the effect applies at each end step, letting you use when any turn (even an opponent's) ends.
1. Bloodchief Ascension
The undisputed king of quests, Bloodchief only needs one swamp's mana and acquires a counter at the end step if an opponent lost at least two life that turn. This counts combat damage, burn damage, life paid for a cost, and any other health-sapping effects, making it an easy condition to meet.
Once Bloodchief has at least three counters, when an opponent has a card placed into their graveyard (from anywhere), you can inflict two damage to them and gain two life. Since several effects move cards into the graveyard (mills, discards, destroyed permanents, etc.), Bloodchief can easily trigger multiple times each round, rapidly sapping health from your rivals.
Supporting Quest Cards in Magic
In addition to generic enchantment supports, you can further boost today's spells with cards featuring proliferate, which let you add a counter to a permanent that already has one. Thus, as long as you've attained at least one counter, you can quickly proliferate enough quest counters to satisfy a card's threshold, accessing its effect that much sooner.
Quest cards are useful for their varied abilities, low costs, and instant speed (you can remove counters at any time), making them a prime addition to any deck. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of mission-completing enchantments, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill