If a creature would come into play under an opponent's control this turn, it enters the battlefield under your control instead.
Printings View all
|Shards of Alara (ALA)||Rare|
Combos Browse all
|Commander / EDH||Legal|
Gather Specimens occurrence in decks from the last year
Commander / EDH:
All decks: 0.0%
Gather Specimens Discussion
1 month ago
- Sphinx of Uthuun: Not a wizard. Already have draw elsewhere.
- Gather Specimens: Fairly expensive. Most of the time just gets one creature. Feels bad to play against.
- Clone: Not a wizard (unless we clone one of our wizards)
- Willbender: Can't use for draw unless face up, at which point it's just a body.
- Voidmage Apprentice: Can't use for draw unless face up, at which point it's just a body.
- Deadeye Navigator: Not a wizard. Offers some protection for VIPs and synergy with ETB effects, but we can probably find more utility elsewhere.
- Thassa, God of the Sea: Not a wizard. Scry is ok, but we have draw elsewhere. Not swinging, so the unblockable component isn't used much.
- Ixidron: Not a wizard. Hides our wizards. We have other boardwipe options.
- Skullclamp: We prefer to keep our wizards on the board, and we don't have many tokens to sac to this, so we can get more draw elsewhere.
- Ancestral Memories: Decent filtering, but we can get more draw and other utility elsewhere.
- Simic Manipulator: Slow to build up. Not many big bodies to keep him growing.
- Urza's Bauble: Just filler.
- Fact or Fiction: We get enough draw elsewhere, we don't really need conditional draw.
- Treasure Cruise: Potentially cheap draw is good, but we don't fill up our graveyard quickly and we generally want to keep things in there if we can.
- Guile: Not a wizard. Fairly big body, and synergy with counters, but a bit too threatening. Want to keep a lower profile.
- Stonybrook Banneret: Make all of our wizards cheaper.
- Thassa's Oracle: Make draw a win condition
- Laboratory Maniac: Make draw a win condition.
- Dakra Mystic: Some group hug to make as a less likely target.
- Baral, Chief of Compliance: Value without tapping. Synergy with spells and counters.
- Ertai, Wizard Adept: Counterspells on a stick.
- Naban, Dean of Iteration: Value without tapping. Synergy with ETB effects.
- Graceful Adept: Value without tapping. Uncaps hand size.
- Patron Wizard: All wizards are now cheap counterspells.
- Portal Mage: Send a big bad away. Synergy with Naban.
- Sage of Fables: Makes wizards bigger. Allows for more draw, without needing to tap. Synergy with Naban.
- Glen Elendra Archmage: Repeatable counters when combined with Sage of Fables.
- Surgespanner: Repeatable bounce when combined with Azami, Lady of Scrolls or Patron Wizard
- High Tide: Instant speed ramp. Cheap enough to throw on Isochron Scepter
- Cyclonic Rift: Clear the board. Roughly replaces Ixidron
2 months ago
I think counter magic is perfectly fine as a concept. It's a way to deal with issues, before they actually become an issue and it examplifies one of blue's main weaknesses: Difficulty in dealing with the board. I used to hate counterspells when I got into Magic again (during Lorwyn, damn Faeries), as they simply seem like a disability to play the game; "I want to play something." - "You may not". I have since accepted their place in the game and their importance.
The reason I still do dislike counter magic is because it exists to provide a strength to cover a weakness. A weakness that since then has been partially filled out by strong answers to the board over the course of Magic's history. One of the main offenders is Cyclonic Rift , especially present in Commander and other multiplayer formats that are significantly slower than Duel Magic (1 on 1). Other offenders are cards that really should be enchantments, but opted for a more nefarious although simpler route: Curse of the Swine and Reality Shift , and their predecessors; Pongify and Rapid Hybridization .
As said by Berry in the article; Blue has the ability to change something from one thing to another. We have also seen various types of such polymorphing done in enchantment form; Darksteel Mutation , Lignify , Frogify . All of this makes perfect sense in what blue is capable of doing.
However doing a change irreversibly like the Curse of the Swine or Reality Shift, is giving hard answers to a color whose weakness is hard answers - at least on the board. Yeah, you replace them with a creature, but a much weaker creature and if a token, one you can permanently remove by having it change zone.
Another issue with counter magic is the tempo shift. The opponent casts a 5 mana spell, you cast a 2-3 mana counter spell. Suddenly there's a disparity of 2-3 mana in the counterspeller's favor. It is mainly equalized because the blue player must have ready mana, resulting in that player not developing their own board state. However that can again be offset by utilizing instant speed spells or abilities that either advance board state or card draw for the blue player.
If the blue player didn't have these chances to apply disparity in mana spent and benefit, the color would struggle to have meaningful strengths, I know that. However the issue is in finding the fine line between how much mana disparity is acceptable. The cat is out of the bag on this one, as there have already been printed numerous versions of unconditional counterspells that have set a precedent for what blue counterspells are allowed to do and how cheaply.
If you compare a counterspell to a destroy spell, the main difference is obviously zone of application and also timing of application. One proactive, one reactive (well actually both are reactive, but you probably know why I have to make a distinction). Reactive spells provide a lot more flexibility in when you're required to use them. Their main problem is that sometimes reactive spells are too late to cause the same mana disparity that a counterspell does. As soon as that permanent hits the battlefield, an ability may come into effect, be it triggered, static or active. A reactive spell cannot avoid that.
Also take into account that blue can deal with any spell in existence, with the possible exception of spells with Split Second, specifically designed to be uninteractive - and still they can be interacted with . If there's a spell that is uncounterable, you can get creative with Venser, Shaper Savant , Time Stop , Mindbreak Trap , Ashiok's Erasure , there's load of ways to get around "uncounterable". Blue is also the color that will straight up see a threat on the board and simply take it for themselves, with Control Magic , Gather Specimens , Blatant Thievery , Expropriate . Effectively a removal, card draw and threat all in one.
No other color can boast the same catch all mechanic. White comes close for something in the same ballpark, but it is still just a bleak imitation - as countermagic goes. And evidently look at that price tag.
In the earlier days of Magic, blue was not the only user of countermagic. I feel like you could provide other colors with more conditional types of countermagic, to better even it out. And not just anti countermagic like Guttural Response . Blue would still be the best, but not the sole user. - White is a color that protects itself, so something like Hindering Light is the most likely avenue to take White Countermagic, anything that touches my stuff - go away. Think Equinox in terms of templating but not necessarily that specific. Giving their spells on the stack protection from a color or supertype or plain "old" Hexproof. - Green already has an affinity to provide hexproof to their stuff, Heroic Intervention and Veil of Summer , so expanding on that seems reasonable. - Red could go the Fork / Shunt route but is unlikely to get countermagic that straight up nullifies other types of spells than spells with targets. - Black is kinda difficult. The usual is just to tack an alternative payment of life, cards or permanents on an otherwise Blue card. Black already have an indirect proactive answer through selective discard, like Duress . The issue is these are all sorcery speed, so if an opponent suddenly starts drawing a lot of cards, it can be difficult for black to be proactive in time. So perhaps just providing Duress at instant speed through a condition would be acceptable. Something like "Instant Duress may be cast as an instant if an opponent has drawn two or more cards this turn." / "Instant Duress may be cast as an instant if the target opponent has 5 or more cards in hand". Any kind of variation on that.
Of course some would talk about color pie bleeding/breaking, but ain't that already happening by giving blue hard removal (by proxy) and large scale soft board removal? I know some of these issues are mainly aimed at multiplayer formats, but we cannot ignore that Magic has grown to be something else than only Duel Magic (1 on 1). Blue's counter magic is here to stay, but is it too much to ask that the other colors can get even slightly in on the action if not directly, then indirectly by interacting more with the stack?
Green has one of the best palettes available to them for a slightly slower format; mana ramp, card draw, large threats, ability to scale well, protective measures, explosive finishers and a hell lot of combo potential and pieces.
I think Green is only beaten slightly by Black in terms of Commander due to tutors in a singleton format. And because Black can cheat mana costs or pays differently, has access to card draw and good finishers, along many more combo pieces.
Blue is one of the only colors that reliably can stop combo or finishers dead in their tracks. Reversibly, they are the color best suited to keep those combos or finishers uninterrupted. They have the best access to card advantage and resource manipulation. And extra turns.
There's a reason that many cEDH decks are mainly some variation of Sultai colors (Green, black and blue) with maybe one added color or full WUBRG. I think this picture would be more diverse, if more colors became able to interact better. The ability to interact is one of the core foundations and strengths of Magic. Counter magic is a pillar of this interaction, more colors should find a way to do it or something similar.
3 months ago
Cut Spellbook , you dont need the redundancy
Add Riptide Laboratory - Re-use snapcaster, protect arcanis and memnarch.
Cut Draining Whelk - Holding up 6 mana is a lot. Its a nice fun, pet card of mine, but I had to cut it from my steal list for efficiency.
Cut Gather Specimens - Holding up a lot of mana is not what you want. Replace with interaction such as Misdirection as people will hate you targeting their commander, you can use this to redirect their removal, counter counterspells, and redirect some extra turn cards. All around good card, plus it costs less to hardcast if you are so inclined.
The list is a 6.5 or so out of 10 IMO. Add more ramp and cheaper interaction to ensure that you can protect your commander.
Magewright's Stone - Could be useful
Thousand-Year Elixir - Potential as well
6 months ago
EDH is really fun! Especially when you make a deck around a theme. I've made a similar Grixis theft deck with Jeleva. Here's a bunch of cards I have found fun and effective in my Grixis theft deck:
Emrakul, the Promised End , Gonti, Lord of Luxury , Grenzo, Havoc Raiser , Havengul Lich , Hostage Taker , Keiga, the Tide Star , Kheru Mind-Eater , Lord of the Void , Mindclaw Shaman , Necrotic Ooze , Nightveil Specter , Sepulchral Primordial , Sphinx Ambassador , Boneyard Parley , Knowledge Exploitation , Mnemonic Betrayal , Order of Succession , Role Reversal , Talent of the Telepath , Telemin Performance , Worst Fears , Commandeer , Desertion , Gather Specimens , Redirect , Reverberate , Spelljack , Wild Ricochet , Chaos Wand , Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
10 months ago
1 year ago
1 year ago
That title sums up my entire experience with life. How can I fail to love this deck?
1 year ago
I thing coolest thing to do here is add flash speed spells. Leyline of Anticipation, and Vedalken Orrery. Are both really strong here other spells that fit right in are Aethersnatch,Commandeer, Counterlash, Gather Specimens, Kindred Summons, Mirror Match, Nexus of Fate, AEtherspouts, Desertion, Mystic Confluence, Spell Swindle
I would also look into artifact ramp with unwinding clock to untap them to put more mana in the pool. Cards like Victory Chimes are perfect