Best Counterspells in Commander?

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Jan. 27, 2020, 10:51 p.m. by GeminiSpartanX

Hello all!

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:

Swan Song


Spell Pierce

Arcane Denial

Archmage's Charm

Muddle the Mixture


Deprive -(when you also run Mystic Sanctuary)

Disdainful Stroke

Stubborn Denial

Render Silent


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).

hejtmane says... #2

good old fashion Counterspell and the over priced because not being reprinted Mana Drain are the top two

Now in the cedh world Force of Will and Pact of Negation are in the mix of tier two

Spell Pierce becomes a dead card real quick and has been surpassed by Flusterstorm in counter spell wars because of storm heck i would run Mystical Dispute before spell pierce now

January 27, 2020 11:03 p.m. Edited.

GeminiSpartanX says... #3

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.

enpc says... #4

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.

hejtmane says... #5

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.

smackjack says... #6

Spelljack is pretty fun

January 28, 2020 6:55 a.m.

Pervavita says... #7

Foil is another free counterspell

January 28, 2020 10:13 a.m.

griffstick says... #8

Dovin's Veto is really strong. It's a better Counterspell.

Narset's Reversal is crazy good as this spell can beat Dovin's Veto in a counterspell war. But it can also steal really powerful spells

January 28, 2020 10:39 a.m.

smackjack says... #9

Wouldnt say Dovin's Veto is better than Counterspell but it certainly is better than Negate :). Misdirection is another free situational counterspell that is really good at countering removal :)

January 28, 2020 10:59 a.m.

Azdranax says... #10

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.

hejtmane says... #13

theslayer77777 the best counter spell for white is Lapse of Certainty now it just buys you time but hey better than nothing and that may be all you need

January 29, 2020 12:58 a.m. Edited.

StopShot says... #14

January 29, 2020 4 a.m.

dingusdingo says... #15


Your very top tier auto-include for lists is going to look like

Your situational includes are going to look like

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.

Other Colors

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.

dingusdingo- Thanks for the response! This was the type of thing I was looking for! It looks like I need to re-evaluate using Delay.

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).

January 31, 2020 4:04 p.m.

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