I was doing some updates on my app1 last night and added a new feature that lets me see the exact breakdown of cards I’m missing from a set. It turns out I need 2 uncommons, 22 rares, and 8 mythic rares in Ravnica Allegiance2; fortunately I managed to get one of those missing rares as my only new card today:

Simic Ascendancy

Simic Ascendancy is a GreenBlue enchantment with several abilities:

  • 1 Generic ManaGreenBlue: Put a +1/+1 counter on a creature you control
  • Whenever one or more +1/+1 counters are placed on your creatures, put that many “growth counters” on this card
  • You win the game if there are twenty growth counters on this card at the start of your upkeep

I love cards that come with an alternate win condition3. In fact, if you’ve had a look through my previous posts then you may well have seen this card come up as a critical part of my Ruse of an Ooze deck.

The premise is relatively straightforward; put enough +1/+1 counters on creatures and you win the game. This is obviously designed to go hand-in-hand with the Simic ability “adapt” which often lets you put 3 or 4 counters on a creature in a single turn; for example Pteramander, Sauroform Hybrid, and Incubation Druid. You also have instants such as Wild Onslaught and Stony Strength along with sorceries such as Strength of the Pack and the very powerful Biogenic Upgrade.

The real big hitter, though, is Galloping Lizrog. If you have a Simic Ascendancy in play, add a few counters to creatures, and then bring in a Lizrog you can easily get most of the way to hitting the win condition. If you can then duplicate the Lizrog4, you’ve likely won. This is because the Lizrog can take all the +1/+1 counters on the board and then double them as he enters the battlefield thus triggering the Ascendancy; adding another one can just double them further.

Obviously there are numerous ways to counteract this enchantment, especially with the increasingly popular Mortify, so I’d advocate having a few copies. In certain scenarios it is possible to get all the counters you need in a single turn5 so you can hold them back until the engine gets going. It is also possible to have multiples on the battlefield (as an insurance against single removal spells - don’t forget about Cleansing Nova though!) but note that you need 20 growth counters on a single card; they don’t double up or anything like that if you have multiple copies in play.

Finally, don’t forget that the card has it’s own ability to gift +1/+1 tokens. This can be cast at instant speed so it is often beneficial to do this on your opponents endstep, especially if it would get you over the twenty counter threshold. Doing it this way gives you the flexibility to have some counter-spells in hand during your opponents turn; of course, they can always respond to your ability with removal (which is very frustrating) so use your best judgement!

  1. More on that soon… ↩︎

  2. Which isn’t great bearing in mind I have 18 booster packs remaining. ↩︎

  3. There are currently six cards in Standard with an alternate win condition: Etrata, the Silencer, Liliana’s Contract, Revel in Riches, Simic Ascendancy, Vraska, Golgari Queen, and Vraska, Scheming Gorgon↩︎

  4. i.e. with Repudiate // Replicate↩︎

  5. i.e. if you have seven +1/+1 counters on the field, you can drop Ascendancy in followed by a Lizrog or Lizrog duplication to instantly put twenty-one growth counters on it. ↩︎

This post is part of a weekday series where I open up a booster pack and pick a card to discuss. Whilst these are often the best cards from the set, I'll often pick one that is a bit niche or one that has cool artwork or flavour text. If there's a particular card you want me to take a look at, get in touch or join my Discord community.