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Prowess
Keyword Ability
Type Triggered
Introduced Khans of Tarkir
Last Used Secret Lair
Reminder Text Prowess (Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
Storm Scale 4[1]
Statistics
48 cards
{C} 2.1% {W} 10.4% {U} 45.8% {R} 35.4% {U/R} 4.2% {M} 2.1%
Scryfall Search
oracle:"Prowess"

Prowess is a keyword ability that was introduced as the clan-specific mechanic for the Jeskai Way in Khans of Tarkir[2][3] and Fate Reforged.[4] Creatures with prowess get +1/+1 until end of turn whenever a noncreature spell is cast by their controller.

Description[]

Prowess was designed by Jonathon Loucks during the second Great Designer Search.[5] R&D's need for blue to get a combat-relevant keyword that wasn't about evasion caused prowess to become evergreen in Magic Origins.

Prowess is secondary in red and tertiary in white.[6][7][8] Mark Rosewater has admitted that prowess has more design issues than the average evergreen mechanic.[9] Problems typically included the density of partial overlap cast triggers (overlapping with historic triggers in Dominaria[10]), weakness in creature-dense sets (such as for the Merfolk tribal theme in Ixalan[11]), and coverage of artifacts and enchantments being unfavorable (such as for the Izzet League in Guilds of Ravnica wanting only instants and sorceries), leading to the keyword constantly being pulled off sets.[12] Because of these continual issues, prowess was ultimately phased out of evergreen status after Hour of Devastation.[13][14]

Prowess wasn't banished forever;[15] it was used again in Commander 2019[16] and Core Set 2021. It is now considered to be deciduous.[17][18]

Rules[]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (April 29, 2022—Streets of New Capenna)

Prowess
A keyword ability that causes a creature to get +1/+1 whenever its controller casts a noncreature spell. See rule 702.108, “Prowess.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (April 29, 2022—Streets of New Capenna)

  • 702.108. Prowess
    • 702.108a Prowess is a triggered ability. “Prowess” means “Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.”
    • 702.108b If a creature has multiple instances of prowess, each triggers separately.

Rulings[]

  • Any spell you cast that doesn't have the type creature will cause prowess to trigger. If a spell has multiple types, and one of those types is creature (such as an artifact creature), casting it won't cause prowess to trigger. Playing a land also won't cause prowess to trigger.
  • Prowess triggers only once for any spell, even if that spell has multiple types.
  • Prowess goes on the stack on top of the spell that caused it to trigger. It will resolve before that spell.
  • Once it triggers, prowess isn't connected to the spell that caused it to trigger. If that spell is countered, the ability's effect will still resolve.

Examples[]

Example

Jeskai Elder[19] {1}{U}
Creature — Human Monk
1/2
Prowess (Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
Whenever Jeskai Elder deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card. If you do, discard a card.

References[]

  1. Mark Rosewater (January 13, 2019). "So where does Prowess sit on the Storm scale now?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. Sam Stoddard (November 7, 2014). "Developmental Prowess". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Matt Tabak (August 31, 2014). "Mechanics of Khans of Tarkir". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Matt Tabak (December 29, 2014). "Mechanics of Fate Reforged". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater (July 26, 2016). "Trivia on my favorite mechanic, prowess?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  6. Mark Rosewater (June 8, 2015). "Evergreen Eggs & Ham". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Matt Tabak (June 22, 2015). "Magic Origins Mechanics Article". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2017). "Mechanical Color Pie 2017". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Mark Rosewater (October 05, 2017). "Is Prowess harder to develop than originally concepted?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  10. Mark Rosewater (June 03, 2018). "Is the problem that prowess fits badly both in...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. Mark Rosewater (September 17, 2017). "So since Prowess became evergreen, but it has barely shown up.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  12. Mark Rosewater (September 23, 2018). "What exactly is the problem with Prowess?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. Mark Rosewater (May 30, 2018). "We haven't seen Prowess in Ixalan, Dominaria, or Battlebond. Is Prowess not being used anymore?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  14. Mark Rosewater (January 05, 2019). "Since Prowess is no longer in Standard is it save to assume it lost its Evergreen status?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Mark Rosewater (January 13, 2019). "Why did Prowess fall out of favor with R&D?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  16. Quinn Murphy (August 6, 2019). "Flashback to Business". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Mark Rosewater (October 18, 2021). "Mechanical Color Pie 2021 Changes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Mark Rosewater (March 28, 2022). "Deciduous". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Blake Rasmussen (August 18, 2014). "Duel Decks: Speed vs. Cunning". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
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