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Poison Counters

Poison Counters (yes, poison counters)

In my experience, the strength and longevity of a game is based on it's variables and their application. The more variables, the more possibilities you can have in the game. Magic itself is a very good example of this, with multiple resources (cards in hand, cards in play, library, life, etc.) multiple factors on each card (color, power/toughness, card type, etc.) and even multiple phases with which to build the game. However, I am of the opinion that more is better, and one of the things that first comes to mind is something that wizards started on, but didn't do very well and so they gave up on it… (for the benefit of those that didn't read the title of the article) poison counters!!!

Poison counters had so much possibility that just wasn't explored. Not only as the mediocre offensive strategy that they made it out to be (usually paying for a creature who, If it was of average size to casting cost ratio, would just kill the person with damage around the same time the poison would) but as a resource! The potential is endless… spells that give you poison counters as part of the cost to play, or even as an alternative casting cost; direct damage type spells that just give 1 or 2 poison counters to someone; even spells that require you to have poison counters to play and remove some as part of the cost. And going back to the direct damage type spells, I think creatures should be able to have poison counters too… perhaps it could be that creatures die when they reach 3 or 4 poison counters, and this opens up so much more… creature abilities that cause the critter to poison itself, critters that give poison counters to other creatures, creatures that, during their controllers upkeep, move a poison counter off of themselves onto their owner, or vice versa… so much could be done with a resource that is deadly if overused… and of course their could be a wide range of anti-poison/ poison removing spells and abilities as well; oh oh, and don't let me forget about the city of brass type land that gives a poison counter instead… makes me just grin thinking about it.

And in an environment soaked enough with poison counters, the creatures which, by normal standards are vastly inferior to anything play worthy *cough*pit scorpion*cough*
Might become reasonable… to that end (and I'm stretching it a little to encompass our friend the pit scorpion in the playable possibilities, even in a poison heavy environment) there could be cards that were very strong, but required moving all poison counters (minimum of one) from your opponent to you. Like I said, the possibilities are endless (if you get imaginative enough). Look at what they did with fading- a surprisingly good mechanic (especially since at first glance it looks like a cousin to the atrocity that was cumulative upkeep) and they only explored a couple of possibilities with it. Variables variables variables. And while I'm at it, I'd like to see some of the older set based abilities make at least brief cameos in a few sets… phasing… shadowing… buyback… bands with other… well, maybe not bands with other, but some of the other ones. I see no reason to completely abandon abilities once the block is passed. I'm not saying I want to see 50% of the creatures in the next set with desertwalking, but just the occasional flanking creature would be nice. But I digress. Poison counters… the wave of the future… or at least a good idea in my humble opinion. (looks longingly at black bordered pit scorpions)

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