Best Counterspells in Commander?
Posted on Jan. 27, 2020, 10:51 p.m. by GeminiSpartanX
I'm simply asking which are the best counterspells available in EDH. I have a UW somewhat-controlling deck, and I want to make sure the last few counterspell slots I have (roughly 12 or so in total) are better than other possible options. I know that Force of Will, Force of Negation, and Mana Drain are the best, followed closely by Pact of Negation, the OG- Counterspell, Cryptic Command, and then possibly Negate or Dovin's Veto. My question is which ones do you choose after those? Here are some that I've run before:
Which of these would make the cut in a deck that cared both about the overall quality of the counter as well as the efficiency (cmc) of the counter? Are there any more that I've missed that are worth mentioning? Please let me know which ones (4-5) you would use after the initial 8 that I mentioned! (P.S.- I know we're talking about blue counterspells here, so please be kind even if it's the type of magic that you don't like).
January 27, 2020 11:03 p.m. Edited.
hejtmane- Ah, I forgot about Flusterstorm. And Mystical Dispute seems good against other blue decks, but I forgot to mention that I don't play cEDH where I'm at (fewer blue decks I guess), so that will definitely influence some answers that I'll get. Thanks for the response!
January 27, 2020 11:11 p.m.
It entirely depends on what you're playing against. If you're going up against creature heavy metas, you want counterspells that can deal wiht more options. But if you're mainly just trying to stop a player from comboing off (or protecting your combo), cheap, non-creature counterspells are the way to go.
And generally at higher levels of play, Cryptic Command doesn't get run - 4 CMC and trip blue are just too high a price.
As a general rule though, Swan Song is an auto-include in most control decks, Muddle the Mixture is good if it can interact with your win condition (i.e. if you're packing Isochron Scepter/Dramatic Reversal or similar) and Flusterstorm as mentioned is strong.
If this isn't for cEDH, then Disallow and Render Silent are some cards I would lean into since they give you catchall answers. Don't forget you also have stuff like Silence and even Orim's Chant which aren't counterspells but can be used to shut players out of a turn. I also like Mindbreak Trap against storm. It's expensive as far as counterspells go but it's also really good at shutting down uncounterable stuff.
Also worth mentioning, if you're looking to pack a bunch of counterspells, you should also have a proportionally high amount of card draw, especially if you're playing a control deck. Becuase most counterspells are one-for-one, without a good card draw engine you will quickly flounder.
January 27, 2020 11:24 p.m.
I do not play cedh I was just clarifying for the list also Narset's Reversal can be funny as hell someone goes to play something like a big Villainous Wealth steal it from them this turn and use the copy on them so you get that big x spell for two blue. Now it puts it back in their hand but hey you can counter it next turn or reverse that overloaded Cyclonic Rift into you favor etc etc
January 27, 2020 11:46 p.m.
January 28, 2020 10:39 a.m.
January 28, 2020 10:59 a.m.
Delay is one of the most overlooked counter options in Commander in my experience. With so many cEDH and meta options that rely on (if not abuse) their graveyard, countering a combo piece spell and essentially exiling it for three turns is usually a much better play than a straight Counterspell. Plus you can then prepare to deal with the cast following removal of time counters if it comes back to that point, and it fits most multi-color decks more easily based on just a single required to cast.
January 28, 2020 11:42 a.m.
Looks like I'll need to give Narset's Reversal a chance based off of multiple recommendations here! Some of those cases seem pretty backbreaking if I hold it for the right moment!
January 28, 2020 3:29 p.m.
I know it's not blue but tossing in a Mana Tithe can really throw people off. If people see an open blue the think counter spell, but the never expect it from an open white. Also in current meta I'd say make sure your running dissallow and similar effect cards to counter sushi hulk style decks.
January 29, 2020 12:48 a.m.
January 29, 2020 12:58 a.m. Edited.
Your very top tier auto-include for lists is going to look like
- Force of Will "free"
- Pact of Negation "free"
- Swan Song cheap to cast and wide in restrictions
- Mana Drain color heavy but ramps the following turn
- Mental Misstep "free"
- Delay not color heavy and hits any spell, delaying for 3 turns is the same as solving it in very fast competitive EDH
Your situational includes are going to look like
- Force of Negation This can't protect your own combos, so it isn't wanted in every list. This is ran in QUITE A FEW lists though, always worth a consider.
- Counterspell Usually seen in mono or dual color decks as the cost can be hard in some 4 or 5 color shells
- Dispel Sometimes cut for a more general counter
- Muddle the Mixture Limited in scope and color heavy but this is more often slotted as a hard-to-counter tutor with a counterspell as icing on the top
- Narset's Reversal this card is pretty nice. While it does see a lot of play, it definitely isn't an autoinclude yet by any means.
- Spell Pierce Before you mock this card, consider how well it catches ultra fast mana rocks and tutors. Noncreature is very wide, and it stops Sol Ring Mana Crypt Mox Diamond Mox Opal Chrome Mox Mox Amber Mana Vault Vampiric Tutor Imperial Seal Mystical Tutor Worldly Tutor Gamble Dark Ritual and SO MUCH MORE. Even for a tempo card, you're still going to catch weird stuff like someone's Rhystic Study because they tapped out to pay for it. Its very strong against blistering fast combo decks, which is why it sees competitive play.
Other blue stuff is usually just too expensive. Paying over 2 mana for a counterspell just doesn't cut it when there are so many threats for so cheap. Don't pay more than 2 for a counterspell unless it does something wild on top. Counterspells with fewer restrictions on what it can counter are going to be better.
This is where it gets saucy boys
- Red Elemental Blast Pyroblast are VERY good. In a pod, there is almost definitely blue at the table. Every single red deck can slot these for commander without fear. Do note that REB works against any spell that includes blue (multicolor), while pyro only works against spells that are ONLY blue (monocolor).
- Fork Reverberate (Twincast) these allow you to copy a counterspell to create a counterspell. More access for red to counterspells. They also conveniently work very well against tutors, ramp, big draw spells, and extra turn spells.
- Guttural Response Weird hybrid color and somewhat restricted but still a good include in most RG decks.
- Burnout a bit worse then the elemental blasts as it costs 2 mana and it is limited. The cantrip is nice though
- Mana Tithe not that good in EDH but give it a whirl I guess
- Lapse of Certainty costing 3 hurts, but this is more a tempo card than anything.
- Dash Hopes Don't play this card in EDH lol
- Withering Boon on the chunkier end at 2 CMC, but in a color that doesn't get much of this. The 3 life and the restriction hurt, but definitely EDH playable. Every deck runs a commander, 99% of which are creatures
- Imp's Mischief can counter a spell by having it target Mischief, as can Misdirection Shunt Swerve and Ricochet Trap.
- Veil of Summer 1 mana green Cryptic Command
- Autumn's Veil Counterspell + silence against UB
- Bind I bet you didn't even know this card existed. Cantrips. GOOD IN THE YISAN MIRROR MATCH?
- Avoid Fate Weird protection oriented counterspell
- Nether Void Mostly ran in stax builds, brutal lockout card
- Planar Chaos One of my new favorite cards. Brutal with recursion like Hall of Heliod's Generosity. Play when you're ahead
- Deathgrip Lifeforce These are based if you have any method of color shifting. Realistically, you could run Lifeforce in Momir Hackball. These cards can cause scoops on casual tables lol.
- Vexing Shusher can render counterspells useless. Similarly, Dosan the Falling Leaf Grand Abolisher Prowling Serpopard Gaea's Herald can all protect against counterspells. Far more marginal but still worthwhile are Hall of Gemstone and Ritual of Subdual for turning off counterspells for opponents.
January 31, 2020 5:16 a.m.
One note though, Pyroblast most definitely isn't limited to mono-blue spells. I'm certain I've seen legacy events where it has both countered and destroyed Leovold, Emissary of Trest. The only difference between the two is that REB can't be cast if the spell or target isn't blue, whereas Pyroblast can still be cast (for storm count if nothing else) on a non-blue target, but just won't do anything (kind of like casting a non-revolt enabled Fatal Push on a creature with 3+ cmc).