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Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / Against the Odds: I Put a Billion Counters on Gruff Triplets, Literally (Historic)

Against the Odds: I Put a Billion Counters on Gruff Triplets, Literally (Historic)

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Against the Odds! Gruff Triplets is a super-cool card. When played fairly, it adds three bodies and nine power to the battlefield for six mana and then grows itself as Gruff Triplets die. But what happens if you go all-in on playing Gruff Triplets unfairly with the help of Doubling Season and some sacrifice outlets? Let's find out on today's Against the Odds!

Against the Odds: Gruff Triplets

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The Deck

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The idea of today's deck is simple: do the most absurd and busted thing possible with Gruff Triplets. Gruff Triplets has two interesting abilities. First, it makes two token copies of itself when it enters the battlefield, which means we actually get three Gruff Triplets for six mana. Second, when a Gruff Triplets dies, it adds +1/+1 counters to the remaining Gruff Triplets equal to the dead Gruff Triplets' power. By itself, Gruff Triplets is a solid midrange card (and apparently a Wilds of Eldraine limited bomb). But what happens if you go super deep trying to maximize Gruff Triplets' power? 

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If you think about how Gruff Triplets works, it's almost like it was made to be abused with Doubling Season. In fact, we want a Doubling Season on the battlefield so badly (preferably many of them) that we are even willing to play symmetrical Doubling Season Primal Vigor as a backup, even though it might occasionally help our opponent. Doubling Season works with both abilities on Gruff Triplets. If we have the enchantment on the battlefield, we'll double up the tokens Gruff Triplets makes when it enters the battlefield and then also double up the number of counters Gruff Triplets adds to its friends when it dies. With a single Doubling Season on the battlefield, one Gruff Triplets will make five 3/3 Gruff Triplets (the original and then four token copies). Then, when the first Gruff Triplets dies, it will add six +1/+1 counters to the rest, 18 +1/+1 counters when the second dies, and so forth. Basically, it makes an absurd amount of power...

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...but not an absurd enough amount of power because what we really want is several Doubling Seasons on the battlefield. For this, we turn to Mythos of Illuna, which can make a token copy of any permanent (like Doubling Season, for example) for just four mana. Our primary plan is to use Mythos of Illuna to copy Doubling Season, which lets us turn one Doubling Season into three. This allows Gruff Triplets to make the most absurd amount of power possible on Magic Arena, although we do occasionally copy other things with Mythos of Illuna for value. (But keep in mind that it doesn't work with Gruff Triplets specifically since Gruff Triplets' enters-the-battlefield trigger only works if it's not a token.)

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Next up, we need a way to sacrifice Gruff Triplets at will so we can grow the rest with counters. We turn to Ashnod's Altar for this, which lets us sacrifice Gruff Triplets for free at instant speed (which is relevant during combat since we can attack with all of our Triplets and then sacrifice a bunch to grow one absurdly massive Gruff Triplets for the one-shot kill) while also making some extra mana that can help us ramp into additional copies of Gruff Triplets.

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The final piece of the puzzle is Ram Through. The one downside of our Gruff Triplets combo is that it typically happens at sorcery speed, meaning our opponent can theoretically untap, wrath our board, and undo all of our hard work. Thankfully, we have the perfect way to make it so the combo wins the game right away in Ram Through. Since Gruff Triplets has trample, we can combo off, make a billion-power Gruff Triplets, and then use Ram Through to make the massive Gruff bite one of our opponent's creatures, throwing a billion-ish damage directly at our opponent's face!

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The rest of our deck is support cards. We have 12 mana dorks to ramp into Gruff Triplets and Doubling Season, along with Chord of Calling and Finale of Devastation to make sure we can find our Gruff Triplets consistently.


Record-wise, Gruff Triplets combo was pretty medium. Across a sample size of 22 matches, we ended up with a win rate of just under 40%, which obviously isn't super competitive but isn't horrible for an Against the Odds deck. More importantly, we achieved our goal of making the most power (or at least adding the most counters?) possible on Magic Arena! We learned that once you get a billion counters on a Gruff Triplets, it simply stops growing, which was actually a bit disappointing because we could have added so many more counters to our team. We also pulled off the billion-damage Ram Through kill! Basically, Gruff Triplets combo isn't likely to rank you up on Arena, but it is likely to break the game and do some hilariously massive things!


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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