There are a ton of cards in Magic that double something or other – famously, it’s one of Mark Rosewater’s favorite types of effects, so it’s little wonder there are so many. The most recent is of course Unnatural Growth, which doubles the sizes of all your creatures each combat, but it’s the latest in a long line of doubling effects – most of which do their best work in Commander. Let’s have a look at some of the best doubling effects in Magic!
It’s weird to think of a game mechanic like milling having a “lord” effect, but that’s more or less what Bruvac acts as by supercharging mill strategies in formats like Historic. I say “supercharging” – broadly speaking, these strategies go from being essentially unplayable to very-slightly-less unplayable with Bruvac at the helm. Mill players just really seem to enjoy losing the game while their opponents have, like, 15 cards left in their libraries.
For mono-blue mill players in Commander, Bruvac is one of the premier picks, while playing second fiddle to the classic Phenax, God of Deception in blue-black decks (and with cards like Glimpse the Unthinkable, Mind Funeral and Mind Grind, often the inclusion of black is worth it). Milling out an entire table of 99-card decks is no small feat, but these mill lists can get real nasty sometimes – particularly when Bruvac has anything to say about it!
Doubling Cube is a Commander favorite in decks like Maga, Traitor to Mortals or Omnath, Locus of Mana. Any deck that is looking to generate truly absurd amounts of mana will generally be very happy to have an effect that doubles how much you’ve got in your pool – especially with a commander like Omnath or Kruphix, where unused mana sticks around even if you don’t spend it.
This is not a card that deals in half-measures. It’s not a card you can eke incidental value out of. This is a card with a plan, a card with one job, a job it does very well. You have to have a minimum of seven mana floating for this card to turn a profit, and even then the margins are razor thin. No, you want 10, 15, 20 mana floating before you activate this sucker.
No matter if it’s powering out huge Eldrazi titans like Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, Emrakul, the Promised End or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, helping you reanimate massive monsters or machines with Geth, Lord of the Vault or even just juicing up your spells in Rosheen Meanderer’s X-spell tribal, Doubling Cube is an absurdly powerful inclusion in any Commander deck looking to go bigger than big.
Krenko, Mob Boss was a sweet but kinda niche Goblin for a long time, until Jumpstart came along and added him – with a lot of other friends – into Historic. For awhile there, Goblins was the deck to beat in Historic, and Krenko was a big part of that. Not only did he have terrific synergy with other cards like Goblin Warchief and of course Muxus, Krenko acted as something of a Plan B for these decks.
Assuming Plan A worked out, however, Muxus flipping a Krenko plus a Goblin Chieftain meant your opponent would be taking approximately one billion damage, as not only could Krenko tap to double the size of your board by creating an army of hasty 2/2s, your newly embiggened board also pumped Muxus up to unbelievable size.
And if the Muxus plan didn’t work out, for whatever reason, the simple combination of Krenko plus a Warchief or Chieftain was often enough. Doubling the number of Goblins you have each turn is a pretty difficult thing for anyone to overcome without a sweeper – and seeing as you didn’t need to commit anything else to the board with a Krenko online, a sweeper was often beatable at that point anyway.
Thankfully – from my perspective, at least – Goblins is a thing of the past, largely speaking. But Krenko was a big part of that deck when it reigned supreme, and will doubtlessly be a big part of any potential resurgence.
Deepglow Skate is an auto-include in any EDH deck looking to proliferate counters of any kind. Superfriends with loyalty counters on their planeswalkers, creature decks with +1/+1 counters flying about everywhere, some weird Volrath, the Shapestealer list you cooked up with -1/-1 counters – it doesn’t matter, Deepglow Skate is here to double your counters and give you a truly ridiculous amount of value.
One of the sweetest things about Deepglow Skate is that – like Krenko – it’s a repeatable doubling effect, albeit one that requires a little bit of work. Anything that blinks or flickers your Deepglow Skate is really going to get the party started – how about a Soulherder, which then has its counters doubled when the Skate returns?
Not all that long ago, Deepglow Skate was a $20 card (unsurprisingly, it spiked around War of the Spark, when a thousand new planeswalkers were printed). That’s how popular it is in EDH, and it’s only a string of recent reprints that has brought its price back down under control. If you’re ever building an Atraxa deck of any kind, don’t forget to bring your Skates!
This is one of those lists where you know what number one is going to be as soon as you open it – in fact, some number of you would have been so convinced that you skipped down past numbers five through two just to check, your indignation and outrage ready for deployment if the top card were anything other than Doubling Season. Phew! Now you can go back and read the rest of the cards, and judge me for the choices I made. I regret nothing.
In all seriousness, Doubling Season is the be-all and end-all of doubling effects. It doubles everything you’d want to – token generation, +1/+1 counters and – if you didn’t know – even planeswalker loyalty. This often means that a post-Doubling Season planeswalker can ultimate straight away, which is just as disgusting as it sounds. Liliana, Dreadhorde General, -9, you sacrifice everything. Your go!
Doubling Season has been a mainstay of so many different kinds of Commander decks over the years – tokens, counters, Superfriends, it doesn’t matter. This card is so strong and so popular that even after four reprints (the Judge Promo doesn’t count), it’s still worth $70. Every aspiring EDH player who has thought about building a Rhys the Redeemed deck or an Atraxa deck, nodding when they see the price of Second Harvest or Corpsejack Menace, then they see how much Doubling Season costs and think better of the whole deck.