Can Counterbalance Mimic Chalice of the void?

Modern forum

Posted on March 14, 2019, 2:04 p.m. by Icbrgr

As of late ive been noticing Chalice of the Void being built around in pyro prison decks designed to hose the 1-2CMC slots (depending on the deck).

I am curious to know what people think about the idea of running Counterbalance in Modern to act as an asymmetrical Low Avg. CMC punisher card.... In the right shell (Like Spirits/Faeries); could this be good tech against things like Burn/Aggro and Tempo decks?

I know that Counterbalance had/has a lot of power in Legacy with so many relevant spells costing 1-2 mana and was given a lot of help with copious amounts of topdeck manipulation/ Sensei's Divining Top .

But could Counterbalance still be worth building around in an attempt to mimic Chalice of the void in a strategy that uses cheap spells and creatures just by itself? It seems like a solid card if you get it out early and it stays out for most of the game; you'll probably end up countering at least a few spells .... or would Crystal Ball /imitation Top/Topdeck manipulation or tutor be required for this to be worthwhile/work.

Flooremoji says... #2

I sort of think it could work, but you would need most slots dediated to other more importnat pieces-not scrying. A few people have tried to make Cream of the Crop work with that along with faeries. IDK, try it out!

March 14, 2019 2:09 p.m.

Slowgod says... #3

I have just started testing a UW deck with Counterbalance and it's been kind of amazing so far. I tried to sort of replace what was illegal in Legacy miracles decks with similar things and I've gone 3/2 twice and 4/1 twice so far with some really close losses. I made my deck with only 20 lands at first with 13 or 14 1 drops, 12 2 drops, 6-7 3 and 4 drops. Just blindly jamming a Counterbalance has often lead to completely winning the game for me, but it almost always hits at least 2 targets per game. I have been using Jace and Serum visions to setup top cards and have been able to respond to spells by opting to dig when I know what's on top and if it can/cannot counter. I was using a couple copies of Hieroglyphic Illumination at first and have considered Peek

I was playing against Death's Shadow and he had a lethal DS on the field and I had nothing but Counterbalance. I had Jace in hand and knew he had Stubborn Denial from when I Cliqued him earlier. So I play Jace, he stubborn D's it, Counterbalance reveals Surgical, counters Stub, return Shadow to hand with Jace. Next turn he tries to play Shadow, I reveal Surgical again, he concedes.

Here is my deck list if you want to get any ideas or help with mine

Modern Mentor Miracles

Modern Slowgod


March 14, 2019 4:15 p.m.

Icbrgr says... #4

That is basically how my thought process has been in my theoretical uw brew... i started with a miracle brew but now im testing a tempo turbofog shell with like 20 1cmc 12 2cmc fogs/counters with some Detention Sphere / Supreme Verdict .... when it works it works well... at very least adds a lot of fun to the match with the "heart of the cards"/luck factor... but I'm not sold on my wincon just yet.

March 14, 2019 5:18 p.m.

DuTogira says... #5

Counterbalance is strong no doubt... but part of what really makes it worth playing is having a critical mass of control over the top card of your library. Legacy had that with Brainstorm and Sensei's Divining Top , as well as fetchlands. Modern (being slower) can actually et away with something similar using fetchlands and Jace, the Mind Sculptor (plus some intelligent play) to do a reasonable impression of legacy's fetchlands and Brainstorm . The real downside here is that in legacy, Sensei's Divining Top , fetches, and Brainstorm all play at instant speed, which is critical for a control deck. In modern, you can still fetch at instant speed, but modern's instant speed top deck manipulation is severely lacking. Jace, the Mind Sculptor is ok at the manipulation aspect but is slow. Ponder is slow. Opt doesn't actually let you manipulate what the card on top of your deck is, they just help manipulate draws. There's not even something as bad as instant speed Mystic Speculation .

Not saying you can't make it work, but rather that you have to really work a lot harder to stack the top of your deck in modern, and even if you do, your opponent only has to get hit by Counterbalance once to know that it's just blocking one specific CMC for that turn, so you still frequently have to hold up counter magics even with Counterbalance in play, which sort of defeats the point.

Now that top is banned in legacy, I don't think Counterbalance even sees legacy play still. Again not saying you can't use it modern, but rather that it lacks the critical support to really make it go hog wild and worth building a deck around. Otherwise... your deck has to keep a few other answers up its sleeves just in case, and the Counterbalance is more of a "heart of the cards" aspect than an actual wincon/strategy.

March 14, 2019 5:58 p.m.

rockleemyhero says... #6

I agree with everything DuTogira says except the last part. As a legacy player, counterbalance is still alive and well here! In fact, miracles is still a tier 1 deck even after the top banning. CB works less as a soft lock piece like in the top era and now more as a card advantage engine. But like dutogira said, CB really only works with brainstorm and to a less extent, ponder. Jace is too slow in modern to set up CB on his own, and I dont think serum visions and the like are good enough to set up CB successfully.

March 14, 2019 6:11 p.m.

DuTogira says... #7

As far as Counterbalance mimicing Chalice of the Void ... no, they don't serve the same function. Chalice locks both players off a CMC for the rest of the game (or until chalice dies) while Counterbalance locks your opponent off of one specific CMC for one turn cycle. Stacking Counterbalance s does nothing, while stacking Chalice of the Void with different charge counter amounts further locks out your opponent. They perform different functions, even if they go about it similarly.

March 14, 2019 6:55 p.m.

It could work well in a vacume with Noxious Revival .

March 14, 2019 6:58 p.m.

Funkydiscogod says... #9

Could some combination of Halimar Depths and Ruin Ghost be able to make it happen? Those two cards can approximate a Divining Top.

March 14, 2019 7:02 p.m.

DuTogira says... #10

Funkydiscogod bro that cheese is even more premium than Gouda. Hats off to ya.

March 14, 2019 7:30 p.m.

Funkydiscogod says... #11

I've been looking for other things that can do what top does:

March 15, 2019 1:08 a.m.

Icbrgr says... #12

ive only playtested a handful of games with running Counterbalance both with and without Crystal Ball ... its ok... my biggest gripe with the ball is that because its "just ok" ... yeah the scry 2 at instant speed has helped but because it 's ontop of paying it feels like its not worth trying to combo and i find myself tempted to run just a straight up hard counter or wipe/removal in its place to Just blindly jam in a Counterbalance to essentially get close to the same value from it as a general "card advantage engine" rather than a soft lock.

so far of the things said i really think that Doom Whisperer with counterbalance seems ridiculous in a deck jammed with 1-3cmc spells to stave off removal.... maybe Disinformation Campaign and or Death's Shadow would be good synergy with that.... but then again with a 6/6 flying trampler in play i wouldn't imagine you'd need counterbalance to work much more than once lol..... really cool stuff thanks guys.

March 15, 2019 10:21 a.m.

Vman says... #13

Im gonna be honest. I had no clue that card was modern legal

March 15, 2019 10:58 a.m.

Boza says... #14

Telling Time can also be useful. Academy Ruins plus choice artifacts that sac themselves.

March 15, 2019 11:32 a.m.

Icbrgr says... #15

ooooh like a counter-egg brew!!! Counterbalance + Academy Ruins with Aether Spellbomb / Sunbeam Spellbomb going into Mind Stone / Alchemist's Vial ect ect..."In response: Egg" lol

March 15, 2019 11:59 a.m.

Slowgod says... #16

@Icbrgr Your deck sounds interesting too, I have considered trying a UW delver list myself with mentors and maybe pteramanders... I think I just need to start playing Legacy.

@Vman I didn't know it was legal either until I looked it up last week when watching Legacy miracles play!

March 15, 2019 1:03 p.m.

Please login to comment