Counterbalance

Legality

Format Legality
Tiny Leaders Legal
Noble Legal
Leviathan Legal
Custom Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Casual Legal
Pauper EDH Legal
Vanguard Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Unformat Legal
Pauper Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Masterpiece Series: Amonkhet Invocations (AKHMPS) Common
Coldsnap (CSP) Uncommon

Combos Browse all

Counterbalance

Enchantment

Whenever an opponent plays a spell, you may reveal the top card of your library. If you do, counter that spell if it has the same converted mana cost as the revealed card.

Counterbalance Discussion

Rumpuslord on *Primer* Alela, Fast and Furious

23 hours ago

How consistent have you found Counterbalance to be? Also might I recommend Abjure as a potential counterspell considering your faeries are blue?

Demarge on Mystic Crucible of Aeons (Idea in progress)

4 days ago

you are already running a splash of white, why not shore up some of your weaknesses of creature based threats that can get under your counters and run the miracle Terminus . a single Entreat the Angels would also function pretty well as a finisher spell as even with just one angel you will be able to kill the opponent pretty quickly with a few extra turns.

Hmm while brain is stuck thinking on the legacy miracles (though modern miracles just recently did a thing) Counterbalance seems kinda funny to try out, I almost wanna see cracking a fetch land to get a sanctuary to put the right cmc spell on top.

ulysses2009 on Necropotence with Counterbalance

1 week ago

If i play the known Counterbalance + Sensei's Divining Top -Lock, can i, in response to Counterbalance triggering (for example in an opponents turn), go through my deck by looking and ordering the top 3 cards with Sensei's Divining Top to then exile any number of them with Necropotence and repeat this process until i find a card with corresponding CMC (or run out of mana or life)?

I don't know who gets priority at a given time and whether i can add the new ability on the stack repeatedly every time after the first one resolved.

Hope you can help me with that :)

SideBae on Alela, control-aggro

1 week ago

Hey! So I have some suggestions: feel free to ignore any/all of them.

  1. There's a reason Ponder and Preordain are banned in Modern, and it's because they're stupid-good cards. Being able to dig you to what you need and past what you don't for one blue mana is a REALLY powerful effect, even if the cards themselves may not look as powerful as they are. I highly suggest including them. I like that you're already running Brainstorm , though I think running two+ more fetches would be ideal; you don't want to get locked with two dead cards on top of your deck.

  2. I do not think Path to Exile is good in EDH. Ramping your opponent in a format with everyone trying to do busted things is rarely anything short of a bad idea, and is frequently dangerous. (Note that your Ashiok, Dream Render does not stop opponents searching off YOUR spells.) As I see it, you may be better off just running another card-draw spell, which would dig you to more potent removal; I suggest Painful Truths . Three-mana: draw-three is a hard rate to beat, and I've been very impressed with it in my Tasigur, the Golden Fang list.

  3. You have some good artifact ramp, but I think it can be improved. I really like that all your rocks are two or less mana -- three-mana mana-rocks are simply not good enough a lot of the time, especially with a four-mana commander. Unfortunately, a lot of the best ramp in EDH is very expensive: Mana Crypt and Mox Diamond come to mind. I do have some other suggestions though. Consider at least a few of the following: Talisman of Dominance , Talisman of Hierarchy , Talisman of Progress , Fellwar Stone (which is admittedly a worse Arcane Signet , but still good), Mind Stone , Everflowing Chalice and/or Thought Vessel .

  4. Whir of Invention is a card you may wish to consider. It can grab your Bolas's Citadel late-game, but more importantly it acts as a to-battlefield tutor for things like your Cursed Totem or Skullclamp . Also, it's instant speed.

  5. If you want to run things like Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite or Consecrated Sphinx , I suggest you think about a reanimation package. In general, these duders will be tough to cast, and being able to cheat them into play will give you a competitive advantage. Entomb and Buried Alive are the best ways to bin your targets (though there are others, like Liliana of the Veil or your maybe-board Frantic Search ), and you can then use spells like Animate Dead , Dance of the Dead , Necromancy , Reanimate or Unburial Rites to profit for less mana than usual. Intuition is a fun (if not cheap) card to pair with Unburial Rites and some reanimation targets, thought the precise pile may be tough to determine. Also, due to your colors, you may even consider Dreams of the Dead . The cumulative upkeep can be tough, but if you run something like Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur then you'll be able to do your damage within a turn-cycle or so, and the upkeep won't matter.

  6. Your mana curve is pretty consistently low. I think you should at least playtest Counterbalance , since you already have the Sensei's Divining Top . Counterbalance does tend to be a high variance card, and it may end up being more of a preference-call than a meta-call. But I like it, so I figured I'd mention it.

  7. I'm not sure how good Hushbringer is, since it stops your Skullclamp from triggering... You may be better off with just a Spirit of the Labyrinth or such.

  8. Depending on how often you get to five mana, Divine Visitation could be a win-condition in itself in this deck. Making a 4/4 every time you cast an artifact or enchantment seems... good.

  9. Mystic Remora is good. In less-experienced metas, it is often an Ancestral Recall ; even if people know that it's better just to wait it out, Mystic Remora will still buy you time to develop your board and make land-drops while opponents try to outlast it. Being one mana was a mistake, but it's here, so what the hell.

Right. That's all I got. Good luck!

SideBae on Shaolin Monks

1 month ago

So, I feel like I should mention that Erayo, Soratami Ascendant / Erayo's Essence is super-duper banned in EDH. If your playgroup is alright with it, keep it in; but be aware that about 95% of players would not be happy.

I suggest replacing it with something like Counterbalance , which works nicely with your Sensei's Divining Top . Also, if your general is on the field, being able to look and see if you want to reveal the top card of your deck to counter a spell is pretty valuable.

Ponder , Preordain and Brainstorm are great in almost every blue deck, but here the top-deck manipulation makes them even better. I suggest including all three.

Mystical Tutor is awesome if your general is on the field, as it becomes a pseudo-tutor-to-hand effect.

Narset, Parter of Veils is a pretty busted card -- she even lets you clear a creature off of the top of your deck if you need it, in addition to her static hate-ability. Pairing her with a Windfall is especially powerful. Faithless Looting is another way to get past uncastable creatures and/or lands.

I've had good success with Treasure Cruise in my Elsha of the Infinite list. Similarly, I think Dig Through Time is probably a better Drawn from Dreams , as it is instant-speed. Other mass-draw spells to consider include: Fact or Fiction , Chemister's Insight , Chart a Course .

If you run only monks and your meta isn't tribal-heavy, Harsh Mercy may be worth including.

Your ramp package has some room for improvement. I've never been impressed with three-mana mana-rocks in EDH, since two-drop rocks are available and tend to be better. I suggest running some of the following instead of your Chromatic Lantern , Commander's Sphere , and a few other cards if you want to make cuts: Talisman of Progress , Talisman of Conviction , Talisman of Creativity , Mind Stone , Thought Vessel , Azorius Signet , Everflowing Chalice (which can be cast for zero off the top, if you really want to get past it), Prismatic Lens , Coldsteel Heart (maybe), Arcane Signet , Fellwar Stone or even Guardian Idol . This has the added bonus of allowing you to cut some lands -- I don't think you should be running more than 34, and probably want to be around 32 or 33.

By Force and Wear / Tear are very good multi-for-ones in EDH... you should at least consider running them.

If you craft your creature-package carefully, you can run effects like Kozilek's Return or Pyroclasm . Keep in mind that these trigger prowess, so your Monastery Mentor will survive a Pyroclasm , assuming you're the one who casts it.

If you can get ahold of one, I think Cyclonic Rift is way preferable to Planar Cleansing . Supreme Verdict is another excellent boardwipe.

Counterspells are tough in Elsha of the Infinite , since you can't cast them without a target and thus can clog the top of your deck. To fix this, try modal counters that can be cast with an empty stack. Some to consider: Pyroblast , Red Elemental Blast , Archmage's Charm , Mystic Confluence , Izzet Charm .

You appear to do very little library-searching. You can take advantage of this with Mindlock Orb , which punishes tutor-tribal decks (decks anything like the ones I build and play against) hard.

Steel of the Godhead is, I think, better than your Aether Tunnel . It does cost one more mana, but it gives Elsha of the Infinite lifelink, which means it can likely also replace Basilisk Collar and free up a card-slot.

Alright. That's all I got. Good luck!

SideBae on Aminatou in Progress

1 month ago
  1. So Preordain is awesome for the same reasons your Brainstorm and Ponder are... I suggest running it.

  2. Narset, Parter of Veils is a great way to limit your competitive opponents. Especially if you pair her with a well-timed Windfall . Ashiok, Dream Render happens to be another way to punish people for playing tutor-tribal kinds of strategies.

  3. Another hallmark of competitive decks is their ramp, especially zero and two-mana. In your description, you say you want to stay budget -- unfortunately, that rules out about all of the good zero mana ramp. ( Mox Tantalite is bad, and Mox Amber is hardly better most of the time.) So I suggest increasing your two-mana ramp, and maybe including Ancient Tomb if at all possible to speed up their presence on the board. Some to consider: Talisman of Progress , Talisman of Hierarchy , Talisman of Dominance , Coldsteel Heart , Fellwar Stone , Mind Stone , Everflowing Chalice , Prismatic Lens , etc. None of these should be more than a few bucks.

  4. Concerning your lands: I think you're running too many, especially if you add some of the ramp mentioned in (3). I'd cut four-ish, maybe five. Generally, once you have a few (3 - 4) lands, you'd rather have a rock and a land in hand than just two lands, since you can cast the rock without using your land-drop. I'm not sure HOW budget you want to keep this deck, but Mana Confluence and City of Brass are each around $10, and they're great in any three or more color deck. Pain lands ( Caves of Koilos , Adarkar Wastes and Underground River ) are better than your tapped lands like Sejiri Refuge , as far as I can tell.

  5. I think a reanimation package is probably better than running Show and Tell . Show and Tell is symmetrical, and is often actively dangerous to resolve in EDH, when everyone is trying to do busted stuff. I'm much more a fan of Buried Alive and Entomb to get your fatties in the bin, and then using Animate Dead , Dance of the Dead , Reanimate and/or Necromancy (which is $$$ for some reason) to get them back.

  6. Tutors like your Demonic Tutor are good, but like zero mana rocks they tend to be pricy (see Vampiric Tutor and Enlightened Tutor ). One I do suggest is Lim-Dul's Vault , which is only a couple dollars these days. It also happens to be instant speed, which is kinda dumb-powerful, if you ask me.

  7. Cumulative upkeep was designed to make powerful effects transient; however, Aminatou, the Fateshifter sorta changes that equation with her -1. Consider cards like Mystic Remora , which you can blink to keep around relatively indefinitely. Similar cards to consider are: Musician , Phyrexian Etchings , Tidal Control and Infernal Darkness (if you're particularly mean).

  8. Divining Witch is interesting -- I'd actually never seen that card before. If you're trying to exile your deck and win with your Jace, Wielder of Mysteries , I think Demonic Consultation is probably a better way... though you might want to keep both. Another method (that I think is worse) is to use the card Doomsday , which is only a few dollars. The problem is that if you run Doomsday , you'd likely want to run a Doomsday -package, so you could win by just casting it and drawing into your top card... For that, I'd suggest talking to someone smarter than me, as I've never been able to get the hang of what the hell is going on with that strategy. All I know is that the package usually has something like Gitaxian Probe and Lotus Petal and ends with me being dead.

  9. You may have good luck with card draw spells. Repeatable effects, like Phyrexian Arena and/or Dark Confidant , tend to be expensive; luckily, the spell versions are often decidedly less so. I suggest running a few or more of the following: Painful Truths , Night's Whisper , Treasure Cruise or Dig Through Time (running both can be tough since delve can get in its own way), Fact or Fiction , Thirst for Knowledge , Concentrate , Chemister's Insight , Oona's Grace (questionable, due to the high mana requirement), Ancient Excavation (good with the reanimation mentioned in (5)), Archmage's Charm , Chart a Course , Syphon Mind , Deep Analysis and/or Words of Wisdom -- pay extra attention to the instants you can cast on an opponents end step. Another way to do this is simply to steal your opponents' card draw with Notion Thief or Plagiarize .

  10. Lastly, I know its around $11 these days, but I think Counterbalance would be dumb in this deck. Using your general's +1 will let you stack whatever you want on top, which can be especially devastating if you can keep an opponent's general off the board that way.

Good luck man! Love this deck.

Solelyselesnya on Yuriko Turn and Burn - cEDH

1 month ago

KingMedicine While I haven't playtested Counterbalance , here are my thoughts on it: the main problem with counterbalance in this deck is that many of our spells have high cmc. In cEDH most opponents play low cmc cards, most commonly costing 1, 2, and 3 cmc. While we are able to manipulate the top of our library better than most decks, the difference between our average cmc and the typical opponent's average cmc is high enough to make me doubt counterbalance is worth including. Have you been running counterbalance, and if so, has it been efficient for you?

SideBae on Nicole Broke Ass needs help

1 month ago

Hey man! Grixis is fun. I've got some thoughts... feel free to ignore any/all of them.

  1. Your mana base is better than most, but it can still use some work. Consider City of Brass and Mana Confluence . Paying one life for an ETB untapped, chromatic land to generate mana is a great rate, and these two are functionally a second and third command tower. Generally, the one life cost-to-activate is irrelevant.

  2. Similar to your land-base, mana rocks are a great way to hit your colors and ramp yourself faster than your opponents. Since you don't have access to dorks, you need to consider more two-mana mana-rocks; these are, in my experience, vastly superior to three-mana rocks. Consider running a few of the following: Talisman of Indulgence , Talisman of Dominance , Talisman of Creativity , Fellwar Stone , Arcane Signet , Mind Stone , Prismatic Lens and/or Coldsteel Heart . The diamonds ( Sky Diamond , Charcoal Diamond and Fire Diamond ) are really just worse Coldsteel Heart s. If you wanna go and bust the bank, Grixis decks often have the critical mass of artifacts necessary to make Mox Opal good; Mox Diamond and Chrome Mox are also great. Also Mana Crypt .

  3. In general, one-for-ones like Hero's Downfall and Dreadbore are not going to be powerful enough in a format like EDH. You have three times as many opponents, meaning you're facing approximately three times the number of cards you yourself have available. So you're probably going to want to be able to remove multiple threats with one card -- this is part of the reason Wrath effects are so good. I like that you're running Damnation ; consider Toxic Deluge as another, similar effect that dodges Gaddock Teeg 's restrictions. I've always been a big fan of By Force as mass artifact removal, and Cyclonic Rift is always worth including. Finally, Fire Covenant is a great piece of mass spot removal.

  4. One card especially good with Cyclonic Rift is Windfall . Pairing Windfall with a Narset, Parter of Veils (which I think you should definitely run) leads to instant fun. More generally, mass, repeatable card-draw and/or selection is a great thing in EDH and decides most games. Phyrexian Arena is probably the most common way to generate card-advantage in black, but also consider Graveborn Muse , Treasure Cruise or Dig Through Time (I don't recommend both, as delve can get in its own way), Fact or Fiction , Painful Truths (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite cards), Faithless Looting , Dack Fayden and the like.

  5. Adding more cards to your counter package seems like a plausible route for improvement. If budget is no object, Mana Drain and Force of Will are the two best counters available. Also consider Force of Negation , which is excellent against combo decks, Dispel , which is great against Ad Nauseam decks, Pyroblast , which is good usually against at least one or two of your opponents and (on the off chance you run Dack Fayden and ult him) can steal a permanent, Flusterstorm , Spell Snare , Spell Pierce and other such cheap 'n efficient counter spells. If you want to go REALLY deep, I've found Counterbalance to be a high variance EDH card that tends to be good more often than not; you're already running Sensei's Divining Top , which is what really makes Counterbalance busted.

  6. Lore-wise, Nicol Bolas is good at enrapturing and manipulating other, lesser creatures. Consider a Mr. Steal-yo-Gurl package, which is both flavorful and powerful. Sower of Temptation and Control Magic can both make opposing Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre s into your own threats; Bribery is similarly busted, and does not risk getting removed by a Toxic Deluge or (more likely) Nature's Claim . Also consider Treachery and Corrupted Conscience .

  7. Since you're in blue, you have access to the best cantrips in magic. I highly, highly recommend running Ponder and Preordain -- These two don't look like much, but they'll dig you to what you need and past what you don't more efficiently than any other card. Brainstorm is also good, but I'd suggest holding off adding it until you get some more fetch lands in your deck. (Fetch lands' shuffle effect will make sure you don't get stuck with two dead cards on top of your deck.) Prismatic Vista and the off-color fetches like Flooded Strand or Verdant Catacombs are good ways to fill this role.

  8. Your general has built-in discard. Another package to consider, therefore, is a Waste Not package. This is a relatively unique package in that it actually does not need the namesake card in order to be good; Raven's Crime , Words of Waste and Syphon Mind are all good in their own right, and made busted when Waste Not is on the field. Stick a Geth's Grimoire in the mix, and you can really go to town (especially with Words of Waste ).

  9. Finally, as a kinda fun-z last suggestion, there's a 'Words' combo I've always liked that you may find interesting -- remember, though, it's really not the best. If you pair Words of Wind with Baleful Strix and a lot of mana, you can repeatedly return Baleful Strix to your hand with Words of Wind 's ability and make your opponents keep returning permanents. This would likely work best if your Omniscience was on the field, as it would end up effectively reading: ': Each opponent returns X permanents they control to their owners' hands.' However, this is likely a win-more type of thing.

There're some cards I think you should consider cutting in order to make room for my above suggestions. Wasp of the Bitter End strikes me as likely too weak in a format with three opponents; similarly, since Toll of the Invasion only hits one opponent, this should likely be considered on the chopping block. I think a boardwipe like Toxic Deluge is probably a lot better than Tyrant's Scorn . Lazotep Plating is probably worse than a regular hard counter. Finally, if you like the idea of artifact-based ramp in (2), thirty-eight lands is too many. I recommend cutting three to five, depending on how aggressively ramp-heavy you want your deck to play.

Right. That's all I got. Good luck!

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Counterbalance occurrence in decks from the last year

Commander / EDH:

All decks: 0.01%