The combination of having a Forerunner of the Empire and playing a Polyraptor is pretty well known, but I have yet to understand how many you would create.

How many Raptors would a player create before the forerunner (a 1/3 creature) dies to it's own damage?

How many Raptors would a player create if the forerunner had x/5 toughness before dying to it's own damage?

I understand the Forerunner's ability is a 'may' effect but I am looking for maximum value, stopping short of infinite loops.

1 Answer 1


If Forerunner has 3 toughness, you can get 8 Polyraptors.

If Forerunner has 5 toughness, you can get 31 Polyraptors.

Each time you use Forerunner's ability, your number of Polyraptors doubles, and the Forerunner and all Polyraptors takes 1 damage. This gives us a notion of Polyraptor "generations". Note that in each generation, all Polyraptors 5 or more "generations" old die (from also having taken 5 damage).

Polyraptors are created 1 at a time, so when you get Forerunner's trigger, it is always at the top of the stack, meaning you have to use it then or nor at all. There's no way I know of with just these two cards to accumulate Forerunner triggers on the stack. Given that, you want to use Forerunner's trigger when there are as many Polyraptors as possible, namely only using the last Forerunner trigger of each generation. This also gives us the simplest progression, since then there are no Polyraptor creation triggers on the stack when we create a new generation.

Assuming you start with 1 Polyraptor you have the following progression (if Forerunner starts at 0 damage, it will die when the number of generations equals it's damage):

Generation New Polyraptors Total Polyraptors
0 1 1
1 1 2
2 2 4
3 4 8
4 8 16
5 16 31 (gen 0 dies)
6 31 61 (gen 1 dies)
7 61 120 (gen 2 dies)
8 120 236 (gen 3 dies)
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    @GendoIkari That post seems to agree with my numbers. The problem with using more that 1 forerunner trigger per generation is that the tokens are created one at a time (each token is created by a separate trigger), so I don't think you can actually get a plie of them on the stack before forerunner dies
    – Zags
    May 16, 2019 at 20:50
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    @GendoIkari It was a good thing to point out. This situation isn't straightforward at all and I had not initially thought it through all the way.
    – Zags
    May 17, 2019 at 2:22
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    The math for Total Polyraptors in gen 6 seems off. It should be (2*31)-1, shouldn't it? Which would be 61 instead of 71.
    – seandon47
    May 17, 2019 at 15:08
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    @Zags A convenient chart too! Before I mark this as correct, why is the math (Fibonacci sequence) that GendoIkari linked considered incorrect? I've punched both Zag's and the Fibonacci one into a calculator and at low values they end up roughly the same, but start differing the higher you go.
    – L.P.
    May 18, 2019 at 21:33
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    @L.P. the Fibonacchi sequence is for the growth of Sprouting Phytohydra, because it has only 2 toughness, and so with a new generation, all generations 2 older die, whereas Polyraptors live for 5 generations.
    – Zags
    May 20, 2019 at 17:42

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