A New Evergreen Keyword In Magic The Gathering? – The Power of Prowess

Magic the Gathering’s entire existence revolves around the concept of the color wheel. Each color represents a distinct set of philosophies and gameplay mechanics that make up every facet of the most popular collectible card game. They stand in stark contrast with one another, yet also share certain tenets, but one problem Magic has fallen to is that there isn’t a good keyword ability that exemplifies the concept of ‘casting instants and sorceries matters’ that red and blue both share.

A quick glance at the MTG color wheel shows just how much Magic needs an evergreen keyword (a basic phrase that describes a fundamental part of gameplay) for red and blue. White and black have lifelink, green and black have regenerate, green and red have trample, red and black have haste, white and blue have flying, et cetera. Obviously this lack of a keyword hasn’t stopped Wizard’s of the Coast from filling the design space of ‘red and blue cast a lot of spells’, but there hasn’t been a good keyword ability to describe that until Khans of Tarkir’s Prowess.

Prowess is a keyword ability that is put on creatures that allows them to get +1/+1 until end of turn everytime their controller casts an instant or sorcery. Prowess has shown itself as an incredibly fun and interesting mechanic, but it also perfectly fits the design space for a red and blue evergreen keyword.

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Prowess is successful at being both incredibly blue and incredibly red. It can be impatient and straight-to-action, but it can also be slow and calculating. Players can use Prowess to really mess with combat math or just to get extra damage out as soon as possible while throwing fireballs in every direction.

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Prowess may be new, but it fits incredibly well among the pantheon of evergreen keywords in Magic the Gathering. It does exactly what a keyword should do, which is to simplify a specific fundamental gameplay style and philosophy into an interesting and fun mechanic. Blue and red cast a lot of spells and prowess not only encourages players to do that, but also does so in a myriad of different ways that could be explored through either red or blue approaches to Magic. Prowess is exactly what Magic needs in a new evergreen keyword and is incredibly fun to play with.


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