How Oil Counters power cards in Magic: The Gathering
Phyrexia and its cards all run on oil.
The upcoming Phyrexia: All Will Be One set for Magic: The Gathering is introducing the Oil Counter keyword to the game, which acts differently for each card that possesses it. In Magic: The Gathering, Phyrexians are bio-mechanical nightmare creatures, with the ability to manufacture an oil that corrupts those it touches, as well as power their horrific machinery.
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Phyrexia: All Will Be One is introducing several new keywords and mechanics, some of which represent the lore of the Phyrexians. Oil Counters are a new keyword that represents the mechanical nature of Phyrexia and they can act as a power source for the cards that use them. Oil Counters are also tied into a returning mechanic from older Magic: The Gathering sets.
Oil Counters tie into the Proliferate mechanic
In Phyexia: All Will Be One, Oil Counters will take the place of the +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters seen in many sets. Each card uses Oil Counters in different ways, such as Urabrask’s Forge (seen above) spawning an Oil Counter at the start of combat, along with a creature token that has Trample, Haste, and X/1, with X being the number of Oil Counters. The creature token is sacrificed at the end of the turn, but the increasing number of Oil Counters on the card means that the next one will be stronger than the last.
Oil Counters are tied to the returning Proliferate mechanic, which lets the players add another of each counter type on any card owned by any player. This is a perfect fit for Phyrexia: All Will Be One, as Proliferate can be used to boost a player’s own Oil Counters and speed up their effectiveness, as can be seen with a card like Urabrask’s Forge. Proliferate can also be deadly, as it can be used with Magic: The Gathering’s Poison Counter cards, to hasten an opponent’s demise.