Gather Specimens

Gather Specimens

Instant

If a creature would come into play under an opponent's control this turn, it enters the battlefield under your control instead.

Browse Alters View at Gatherer

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Shards of Alara (ALA) Rare

Combos Browse all

Legality

Format Legality
Tiny Leaders Legal
Noble Legal
Leviathan Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
2019-10-04 Legal
Block Constructed Legal
Vanguard Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Unformat Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Gather Specimens occurrence in decks from the last year

Commander / EDH:

All decks: 0.0%

Gather Specimens Discussion

omega1563 on Azami's Wizard Gang

1 month ago

Planned Changes:

Tzefick on Pattern Recognition #136 - Counters

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.

Profet93 on Empress Steal Yo Shit

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.

You need more ramp. Doesn't have to be these cards specifically but Commander's Sphere , Hedron Archive are all ramp with the added benefit of card draw.

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.

Quicksilver Fountain - Very powerful, can synergize with Oboro, Palace in the Clouds .

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

DrValium on What's Yours is Ours + ETB

1 year ago

Fabulous deck! Have you thought about Treachery ? A spell that pays for itself. You may also like Gather Specimens

scumbling1 on A Devastating Lack of Situational Comprehension

1 year ago

That title sums up my entire experience with life. How can I fail to love this deck?

Maybe Reins of Power or Gather Specimens can fool enemies that are throwing creatures around, not thinking about your hand.

griffstick on

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

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