IntroductionKoth, Fire of Resistance is one of the ten new Planeswalkers introduced in Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Many of these Planeswalkers are regarded as very powerful cards. Nissa, Ascended Animist has been seen as a menacing threat from the moment she was revealed.The Eternal Wanderer and Kaya, Intangible Slayer are seen as absolute all-stars in ONE’s limited format. Unlike these other Planeswalkers, however, the reaction to Koth, Fire of Resistance has been decidedly lukewarm. Koth, Fire of Resistance has a value of less than $1.00, and he has been broadly dismissed as a bulk rare by many. A new deck focussed on this underappreciated Red walker may be able to reignite the passion of the MTG community for this Vulshok revolutionary.
What Does Koth Do?
For four mana, Koth, Fire of Resistance enters play with four loyalty counters. Koth’s +2 ability adds a basic Mountain from your deck to your hand. Koth’s -3 deals damage to target creature equal to the number of Mountains you control. Finally, Koth’s ultimate, which costs seven loyalty, creates an emblem that allows its controller to deal four damage to any target whenever a Mountain enters play under their control.
Comparisons have been drawn between this version of Koth and Liliana of the Dark Realms a Planeswalker originally printed in Core Set 2013. The cards are very similar, although while Koth cares about Mountains, Liliana of the Dark Realms cares about Swamps. Typically comparisons between the two cards are unfavorable towards Koth. Liliana of the Dark Realms’s first loyalty ability can fetch any kind of Swamp, not just basic Swamps, this means that she can fetch Shock Lands and Triomes, which Koth cannot. Liliana’s -3 ability is also more useful than Koth’s, as she has the option of either buffing a creature or giving it -X/-X, whilst Koth can only deal damage. Not only is Koth’s ability less versatile, but dealing damage is typically worse than giving a card -X/-X as damage cannot destroy an Indestructible target.
Koth does have a few advantages over Liliana of the Dark Realms, primarily the fact that he enters play with an additional loyalty counter means that he is able to use his second loyalty ability immediately without dying. In Addition, Koth’s first loyalty ability also grants an extra loyalty counter compared to Liliana’s. Attempting to contrast the ultimates of these two Planeswalkers results in a bit of an apples and oranges comparison. Both effects are powerful, and it’s hard to say that one is decisively better than the other. All the same, a new card being comparable to a Planeswalker which is more than 10 years old is not a recipe for success, and Koth, Fire of Resistance has been left largely ignored by the MTG Community. At least until recently…
The New Deck
SaffronOlive is an MTG content creator who regularly creates unconventional decks and pilots them publicly in his “Much Abrew About Nothing” series. His latest creation, Mono-Red Proliferate, is a Standard deck designed to emphasize the strengths of Koth, Fire of Resistance.
To describe the deck in its creator’s own words: “During Phyrexia: All Will Be One spoiler season, I was pretty harsh on Koth, Fire of Resistance. Well, we’re going all-in on building around Koth today, with the goal being to ultimate it in a single turn (with the help of a proliferate spell like Volt Charge or Staff of Compleation) and then burn our opponent out of the game as we play some Mountains. If Koth isn’t enough, we can also use proliferate to rush the ultimate on Jaya, Fiery Negotiator or Chandra, Dressed to Kill, or just play an All Will Be One and burn our opponent out as we add counters to our permanents!”
In other words, This is a Superfriends deck, focussed on using Proliferate to either charge up Koth’s ultimate and win using that, or to finish opponents off via incremental damage from All Will Be One.
The deck seemed to capture the imagination of the MTG Community, with many fans suggesting cards to add to the deck. A user on Twitter suggested adding Sardian Clifstomper a two-drop that gets stronger the more Mountains are in play, synergizing with Koth’s ability to fetch Mountains and the deck’s Mono-Red nature. A comment on YouTube, meanwhile, suggested adding The Filigree Sylex a card that can utilize all of the Proliferate effects in this deck to charge up 10 Oil Counters in order to deal 10 damage, or can be used to destroy all of the permanents with a certain mana value in play.
The Mono-Red Proliferate deck went 5-3 in the eight matches which SaffronOlive played with it. There are certainly no imminent signs that Mono-Red Proliferate decks featuring Koth are going to rise up and become meta dominating tier one decks, or that Koth’s value will rise. All the same, it is always nice to see cards that were previously dismissed by the MTG Community get a moment in the sun.