We all know the Dimir are the true heroes of War of the Spark. What does it even mean to be a hero these days, anyway? The legendary characters of the Magic story have their elaborate ballet, but that’s not where you should look for the best Dimir operatives.

Soul Diviner, however, seems to have a prominent role in how the war goes down:

Sorry Domri, bad things happen when you betray your home plane. Sould Diviner has much more important business to attend to. Namely, removing counters from permanents for fun and profit. This eternal can remove any kind of counter, assuming it is on a permanent it can target. Most counters in Magic are “good” for your permanents, but there are plenty of counters that we’d be happy to get rid of even without drawing cards.

The designers thoughtfully excluded enchantments from this counter-removing bonanza, so we won’t be going crazy with Decree of Silence or Helix Pinnacle. We still have plenty of nonsense to work with, however.

Soul Diviner also happens to be both a zombie and a wizard. If you want to go for tribal shenanigans, Havengul Runebinder could be fun and Ammit Eternal has some promise. Fathom Mage plays well with Soul Diviner, though Simic decks tend not to need help turning counters into cards. Unsurprisingly, a few other wizards made the list below.

So what cards can you tap for value with our new friend, Soul Diviner?

#10—River Delta

You have to start with the basics. Or the non-basics, as it were. River Delta was long thought to be a massive waste of a premium dual land name slot, but now we see its true purpose. Lands with extraneous counters to remove have spent yearts resenting Bazaar of Baghdad for somehow becoming useful. That may well continue, but this is a start. There’s some nice timing synergy between the depletion lands (you want to remove the counter before you untap) and their 2/3 zombie friend (you want to be able to block).


Sometimes the obvious answer is the correct answer. Smokestack will always be popular among a depraved subset of Magic players. And if there’s anything Stax players want to see, it’s more ways to stack their Smokestack triggers. Drawing an extra card each turn with Soul Diviner encourages letting it tick up higher as you stay ahead of soot-filled oblivion. And Soul Diviner turns “not adding a counter this turn” into “drawing a card and sacrificing one less permanent.”

#8—Vedalken Anatomist

Who needs Devoted Druid or Wall of Roots when you can spend more mana to do less? The timing is a bit wonky, but at least Soul Diviner has three toughness so it can take a second counter and get untapped by Vedalken Anatomist. You’re bound to be exploiting the Proliferate mechanic in any deck with these two cards, so the Anatomist can help spread the sickness to the other side of the board too.

#7—Keepsake Gorgon

Which is better with Soul Diviner, Keepsake Gorgon or Sharktocrab? The crab has the benefit of being legal in Standard, or in those weird all-Ravnica block constructed monstrosities that theoretically exist. But it’s also Simic rather than Dimir. Keepsake Gorgon stays in the same color identity, and it kills things.

Though you’re probably better off removing counters from Pteramander that any of this trigger-based tomfoolery. Maybe Soul Diviner’s highest purpose is to reset your Pteramander after you’ve been forced to Essence Capture onto it. Maybe Pteramander is the answer to everything.

#6—Jace Beleren

Soul Diviner turns every planeswalker into Jace Beleren! According to Ryan, he’s the ultimate version of Jace. Apparently he’s the ultimate version of every planeswalker! Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded looks a lot like Jace when Soul Diviner is eating his heart out. Gideon, Champion of Justice suddenly has something relevant to do as well.

#5—Carnifex Demon

How do you play your Carnifex Demon? Do you remove its counters with Soul Diviner directly? Or do you throw some extra ones around instead? Soul Diviner will eat the counters off your board eventually. But what if your opponent has their own Soul Diviners? Do you dare to feed the horde? Options make everything better, until they don’t, but you’ll have generated a ton of shareholder value in the interim. What? Oh yeah, 6/6 flying demons are good.

#4—Mana Chains

If only there were some way to put a counter on a creature each turn. Mana Chains plus Soul Diviner is a mondo combo right there in the flesh, so to speak. You also get the random upside of being able to cast Mana Chains on someone else’s creature to see what happens. On top of that, we managed to get an enchantment to combo with Soul Diviner. Doing what you’re not supposed to be doing is the essence of Dimir.

#3—Dark Depths

Thirty mana is too much to pay for Marit Lage. But with Soul Diviner, you can get a discount on mana while drawing extra cards off your otherwise-useless Dark Depths! If you have three Diviners going at once, you can get three turns of Ancestral Recall before popping off your 20/20. Now I realize that drawing nine extra cards should win the game by itself, but it’s nice to have a backup plan.

#2—Glen Elendra Archmage

Persist was made for Soul Diviner. I think that’s how time works. Who knows anymore? Maybe this is a Future Sight super inside joke? You won’t make many friends with infinite Glen Elendra Archmage shenanigans—but who needs friends when you’ve got feathers? Undying also works here, so Geralf’s Messenger seems like a good choice if you prefer zombies over wizards.

#1—Aether Vial

For those of you who lament the day Sensei’s Divining Top was banned from Legacy (or Modern), I offer a new way to adjust your dials for fun and profit. Aether Vial is a one-way ratchet no more! Imagine yourself with a Vial on four alongside two active Soul Diviners. Who wants a four drop? Or a three drop? Or a two drop? As long as you don’t draw Glen Elendra Archmage from the fourth counter you removed, life is looking good.

Carrie O’Hara is Editor-in-Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

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