Counter target spell.
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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
Counterspell occurrence in decks from the last year
All decks: 0.68%
Commander / EDH:
All decks: 0.29%
UB (Dimir): 2.59%
WU (Azorius): 2.96%
UR (Izzet): 1.8%
GU (Simic): 1.65%
WUB (Esper): 1.4%
UBR (Grixis): 1.34%
GWU (Bant): 1.1%
BUG (Sultai): 1.08%
1 hour ago
Ah, quirky commanders are always an oddity, but delectation to brew. Now, Mono-Blue isn't exactly my forté, but I believe I may be of aid.
So, I am an adherent to running fewer lands; Thirty-six in Mono-Blue should be a crime. In their lieu, I would recommend many cantrips. If it goes three cards deep, say Preordain, then I consider it a half of a land. Four or more cards, I deem a full land. At least, this is with my experience in gameplay. As such, Impulse is absolutely lovely. Two-mana, instant-speed, what more could a player desire?
Baral, Chief of Compliance could be absolutely lovely: For one person, at least.
Every deck needs graveyard hate! Tormod's Crypt and Relic of Progenitus are both things that Trinket Mage can tutor for, but there are far more options out there. If you are to add Tolaria West could search for Scavenger Grounds.
Quicksilver Fountain is fantastically mean, though effective. It combos painfully well with Oboro, Palace in the Clouds. Target the land with the fountain, bounce it in response, whereupon the trigger fizzles and you are not to be afflicted by infinite islands.
Anent what I would cut:
Flow of Ideas seems slow, sorcery-speed, and expensive to cast. Big draw spells shouldn't be dependent on board-state unless you're playing green and have no choice. Try Stroke of Genius or Pull from Tomorrow.
This deck looks to have some busy early turns, seeing the abundance of 1-3 mana spells. Myriad Landscape enters tapped and still requires mana to ramp. I'd prefer just another Island. Though, a land worth considering is Riptide Laboratory just has quite a bit of utility.
Something I merely wish to put out there; I dislike Temple of the False God very much. That's all for that point.
One direction you could take this deck is group-hug. It draws you cards, keeps others from heeding your schemes, and allows for kills out of the blue. (get it?)
I suppose that's all from me. May fortune be with you!
9 hours ago
I'd say drop cards like Ghalta, Primal Hunger, Reclamation Sage, Springbloom Druid. Hexdrinker, Fertilid.. basically anything that's too tribal-adjacent for different options. I know Animar is your commander, but turning creatures like Reclamation Sage or Springbloom Druid into an instant speed option like Krosan Grip or Harrow respectively allows you to play more interactively. Since you're in blue colors now, throwing in a Counterspell or three would help keep your beaters safe from people who would rather see them dead... AEther Snap would be a pretty rough hit if it went uncountered! Also, card draw options that rely on a creature's power are very good in a deck like this. Rishkar's Expertise, Return of the Wildspeaker, Life's Legacy, Greater Good or Momentous Fall all turn your board state into card advantage or provide ways to turn a negative situation into a positive one. Finally (and I'm sure this is coming soon) but you would probably want to fix your mana base to accommodate Temur colors. Being able to cast your commander is always a nice part of the format. :) One other mana rock you may be interested in if it's not too expensive for you is Doubling Cube. I've always found it to be fun in hydras myself. Hope something I said here helps. I'll be around if you want to discuss the deck more!
3 days ago
Magic is a game with elements outside your control. Your deck is bigger than your starting hand size. This randomness helps balance skill between deck building as well as piloting, and has been noted in a few places. Simply put, even a deck that is only winning 25% of games against a 75% winrate deck still is getting wins when the great deck gets bad hands, or bad draws, and the weaker deck can have their own great starting hands or lucky top decks.
Tutors are seen as one of the ways to reduce variance, and increase skill. If I have 1 card that says "I win when I cast this" and I have 1 Vampiric Tutor, my deck now has 2 cards that lead to winning. If I add Demonic Tutor to the mix, now I have 3 cards that are leading to winning.
Drawing extra cards has a similar effect, but that effect is much more pronounced in a 60 card format with 4x of any specific card. By running cards like Brainstorm or Ponder you gain access to more cards, and get to make meaningful choices about the cards available to you. To put it another way, you're reducing variance in available resources from your total possible resources. Tutors do the same thing. Tutors reduce variance in the game overall, by dramatically increasing the card quality of available cards for a small premium on whichever card you wish to play. A Llanowar Elves that was fetched by a Demonic Tutor cost you to cast, and there were two different points in getting the Elf from the library onto the battlefield where a player could have interacted with you. Big shout out to TypicalTimmy for also understanding this and putting it in a concise way. All tutors do is improve your card quality or give you access to cards. The thing you should be looking at are the combos themselves, and culling the ones that are too hard or too cumbersome to interact with.
Tutors also give information to opponents, especially in EDH where information can be used by more opponents than a 1 on 1 game. Consider the following: Outside of Vampiric Tutor Imperial Seal Demonic Tutor Grim Tutor and Diabolic Intent (and a handful of others), all the other tutors are conditional. Being conditional, the opponents have to know you satisfied the condition for searching. What do these have on common? The word reveal. If someone uses a Worldly Tutor to fetch Protean Hulk, all of their opponents have just received very important information about the options available to the pilot. Any player worth their salt will use this information to hold up counterspells or prioritize playing pieces that shut off Hulk combos, like Cursed Totem
Tutors serve as the missing piece. Sometimes it can be correct to tutor up your combo as fast as you possibly can and cast it. Other times, I expend tutors on finding more mana (I literally used Imperial Seal to find Command Tower three hours ago at my LGS). Sometimes I'll use that tutor to get Dark Confidant early, to help me control other players and stay ahead in cards. Other times I search up protection like Pact of Negation. As it turns out, double tutoring is a BIG TELL for opponents, and anyone who has played this game for a couple years is going to make the intentional choice to hold up mana to stop you. Simply jamming and racing doesn't work in every game, or every deck, even decks designed to do exactly that.
Tutors cost the same mana as Counterspell and all the other 0 or 1 or 2 mana variants that counter spells. You're getting more points during the process of the combo to use that counterspell. Many combos can be stopped by easy includes like Tormod's Crypt or Disenchant or whatever. Many players choose not to slot cards that interact with other players, and this is why tutors are seen to be a problem. If you basically let players Goldfish for 5 turns in a row, they can assemble a win. I don't think players really understand how meaningless inflicting damage to players is when you have to do 120 to win. That is 6x what you do in every other format, and cards are balanced around 20 life, not 120. When you get 30 damage to them by turn 5, they've drawn and tutored cards willy nilly without you busting them apart by killing their creatures, or removing enchantments/artifacts, or forcing them to discard cards or turning off their combos. They can just, combo off.
I firmly believe that tutors are very healthy for the format. If I know my opponent is capable of assembling and executing a combo, it forces me to consider how I'm going to react or respond to them. Opponents who tutor cards are broadcasting their ability to win, and this causes interesting dynamics around the table about expending or saving mana. It causes more dynamic interaction besides simply attacking and blocking. I don't know about you, but games of Magic are more fun when players interact with each other and threaten to win and stop other players from winning.
4 days ago
Alright, in hypothetical Larryland where I am now in charge of making decisions, here is what I would do
First, establish criteria for the format
Shouldn't be too complicated, as there has already been lots of time spent discussing the format
- Bans should serve to stop certain combos or deckbuilding approaches from swallowing the meta.
- Bans should be justified off of power level for winning, not how fun or unfun the combo or style of deck is to play or play against
- General rules changes about the format should serve to open deckbuilding and allow for more interesting approaches to the meta and winning.
I think a couple rules changes should take place to open deckbuilding and allow more options, and allow cards to work as intended with the commander specific ruleset
- Commanders should hit the graveyard before returning to the command zone. This allows commanders like Child of Alara or other death triggers to actually function as intended while maintaining the command zone. Commanders should have the option of returning to the CZ at will from exile, the graveyard, the library, or a player's hand as an ability that doesn't use the stack, similar to mana abilities.
- Hybrid mana symbols should be perfectly legal as long as the hybrid symbols fulfill a color identity of your commander. For example, Boros Recruit should be legal in a mono-red deck. If a hybrid mana card has a mana symbol in the text box that it outside the color identity, it should still be excluded. For example, if Boros Recruit had a firebreathing ability for in the text box, it would no longer be legal in a mono-white deck.
- Restriction of the command zone to a single card. Partner commanders are still legal, but not legal to run them as partners in the command zone. Having a mix and match color identity and having guaranteed access to two cards at all times over one card is too strong. Bigger color identity means wider pool of cards to pull from, and the partner players are effectively starting with a 9 card hand as opposed to non-partner commanders starting with an 8 card hand.
Bans and Unbans
First, I would unban cards that the RC has banned because they are "unfun" or don't fit the spirit of the format
- Coalition Victory - If you can pull this off and cast the cost, go ahead and win
- Emrakul, the Aeons Torn - This costs 15 mana and channel is banned, this isn't going to break decks at all and most likely will only see play as an Ulamog alternate in Gitrog decks
- Erayo, Soratami Ascendant - This can be countered or removed or smart opponents can avoid triggering it. Once it has flipped, it is still removable although somewhat toxic. It definitely gets good mileage in EDH but people can play around this if they have even half a brain, which is what I would expect from competitive.
- Iona, Shield of Emeria - This is only banned now because Painter's Servant was unbanned. Certainly reanimator Iona strategies can cause problems, but hitting a 2 card combo for a soft lock isn't game shattering unless you are on a mono-colored deck, at which point it just becomes one of the things you must worry about. If Back to Basics and Blood Moon are totally fine for shitting on 3-5 color mana bases, I'm 100% fine with Iona for shitting on mono color decks.
- Library of Alexandria - I have no idea why this is banned in the first place. Most competitive decks are so tight on their land base and won't have a slot for this. Also most competitive decks wish to play spells on turn 1 and 2, which makes it harder to get the 7 in hand for the Library draw.
- Panoptic Mirror - If someone can assemble the ultra fragile Mirror + Free turn spell, and then gets an ENTIRE ROTATION of no one destroying it, I'm 100% fine with them taking infinite turns. Also consider that this combo basically costs to start, 5 for cast and 5 for the free turn. This card is banned because casuals absolutely loathe combos. Its unbanning could make Pox decks somewhat viable in competitive, and would be a boon to stax decks as well
- Primeval Titan - This card is a double tutor on ETB or attack, but its a double tutor for lands. If someone really wants to set up Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth + Cabal Coffers + Deserted Temple + Inventors' Fair (which fetches Rings of Brighthearth) then more power to them, as it requires either a blink effect or an entire rotation to THEN get the second set of tutors from attacking. Its big value, but honestly no reason for this card to be banned. It costs to cast
- Paradox Engine - the banning of this card made the format worse, as it knocked out tons of viable decks simply because "Too many casuals put down rocks and PE and oops into an infinite". The unbanning of this card opens up the format significantly, and allows weird decks like Hannah, Ship's Navigator or Dralnu, Lich Lord to be viable commanders, although definitely not tier 0 picks.
- Recurring Nightmare - Banned because of griefing almost 100%. Nobody likes being hit by some ETB creature that involves saccing or losing permanents, but it isn't fast enough to warrant a ban. It requires mana, AND a creature on the field, AND a creature in the GY.
- Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary - Selvala is basically a more powerful version of this because of the cantrips and you can play non-basic lands. This would probably become a tier 1 deck by basically copying the Selvala list, but I think the meta would be enriched from adding this as an alternate, similar to how Marwen has added instead of detracted from the meta.
- Sundering Titan - Banned because attacking a player's resources is seen as an unfun way to win. Its expensive to cast and not exactly game shattering when it enters.
- Sway of the Stars - This costs to cast for a weird Timetwister that sets life totals to 7. Sure there is potential for abuse with Suspend cards, but this costs 10 mana. Nobody is going to play this if it gets unbanned.
- Sylvan Primordial - Another board state changer that isn't really going to do as much as it looks when it lands. Sure, -3 permanents on board for opponents and +3 lands is neat, but it costs . Decks would rather win than assemble some blink or recursion loop for this card.
- Upheaval - This is banned almost entirely from a casual and time perspective. It makes games take longer. In competitive though, this card would be used with excess floating mana to THEN rip your combo. Almost definitely wouldn't see competitive play though, and the banning seems silly to me.
- Worldfire - If you can run a wacky suspend deck that abuses this to win, you have my blessing. It also costs to cast so someone will probably just win before you
- Yawgmoth's Bargain - This is a Necropotence that costs with the benefit of no-delay on the draws. If necro is legal, this should be legal.
My biggest reasoning for bans is that some combos are so strong and so hard to interact with that they become the go-to builds for certain color identities. When the optimal way to build 30 different commanders in the same color pairing is Flash Hulk, you have run into a problem.
- Flash - Arguably the worse part of Flash Hulk. Potential for abuse in a post-Hulk world with Academy Rector. This card has the potential for abuse with every single new creature printed. I don't think this card makes the meta more interesting, and I think it pigeonholes deckbuilding into "well why don't you run Flash Hulk, or Flash _". Flash combos are also difficult for other decks to interact with outside of Counterspell, which means when you're building for playing in a competitive meta, you are almost expected to play Blue due to how strong and warping this card is.
- Protean Hulk - Even with a flash banning I still wand this turd of a card gone. Finding hulk, reanimating hulk, and sacrificing hulk isn't interesting. There isn't very much skill there. The decks aren't interesting. There is a combo in practically every color combination for winning immediately after you get a Hulk trigger. It can be viewed as a 6-card into-play tutor, or a 5-card into-play tutor, etc. etc. I don't think the meta is more interesting or better for having this card be legal.
- Demonic Consultation and Tainted Pact - More boring and tired combo archetypes. Once again, tutoring for 2 cards and ripping the Consultation + Oracle combo doesn't really require much pilot skill, and it doesn't make decks more interesting to build. These cards are simply too efficient at what they do, and they are hard for non-blue decks to interact with meaningfully. The presence of this combo and Flash Hulk has basically relegated all stax decks to being tier 2 builds, as they have such an impossible time locking down these combos. The banning of these two cards and Flash Hulk would bust the competitive meta wide open. Also, between these cards or the Laboratory Maniac + variants in the combo, these are the cards that are way way way more degenerate than the other part of the combo.
- Rhystic Study and Mystic Remora - These are annoying and burdensome mono-blue staples that slow gameplay, and are auto-includes in practically any deck that includes blue. They function much better than intended due to the multiplayer nature of the format, and deckbuilding is less interesting and diverse because these cards are legal. They can singlehandedly run away with games when you have a single player in the pod who ignores them, and having your combo shut down because someone draw a Force of Will after getting 6 free draws is frustrating and extremely obnoxious. They also prop up extremely mediocre mono blue decks like Urza, Lord High Artificer and Baral, Chief of Compliance. Once again, I don't really think there is any skill in playing or building around this card, and the power level of "auto-include for any deck with blue" stifles deck building. Blue really doesn't need any help being good in EDH, let alone cEDH.
- Nature's Will and Druids' Repository - Targeted bans for Najeela, the other obnoxious tier 0 commander deck in the current meta. I'm not a huge fan of 1 card combos with commanders, because you always have one of the cards available at all stages of the game, and tutoring + playing a single card once again doesn't really speak to high skill or interesting deck building. The banning of these cards will peripherally splash and hit other decks, such as Edric, Spymaster of Trest, but I'm fine with that. Najeela and Edric will still have other options for executing these combos, such as Sword of Feast and Famine or Bear Umbra, but these are more mana intensive or more fragile combos with lower utility outside the combo.
- Tymna the Weaver - I have already advocated for removing partners from the command zone, but this card is so dummy strong as to be included in the 99 of other decks with some frequency. You can get the draws even if Tymna didn't attack (i.e. it just came in). You can get 3 draws a turn for the same mana cost as Phyrexian Arena, except that if done correctly you'll get the draws before you would get the Arena draws. This card is meta warping, this and Najeela are a big part of the reason the meta is so creature heavy right now. Decks either run this card, or they run ways to handle this card because a Tymna sitting on the board for 1-3 rotations gives such a fat advantage the pilot runs away with the game.
- Timetwister - A card that sees play because you save slot efficiency by spamming TT to create a loop of infinitely recasting spells, plus its a wheel effect for 3 mana that shits on decks assembling combos through the GY with cards. I'm totally hunky dory with high efficiency combos, but losing to a timetwister loop is boring, cumbersome, and takes the pilot 30 years to demonstrate and explain the loop to those who haven't seen it. Combined with the ridiculous price of the card, and the ridiculous powerlevel even outside the combo, this card should go. This is also another card that makes fast mana extremely degenerate, as someone going first and sticking Mana Crypt into Sol Ring into Chrome Mox into Timetwister feels extremely bad, and opponents don't even have the benefit of recurring their starting hand from the GY later on.
- Sylvan Library - The green Rhystic Study. Doesn't make decks more interesting. Doesn't make games more interesting. Its just cheap ways to get cards that becomes more ridiculous in the context of a format where you have double the starting life of the format this was printed for. The auto-include nature of this card means decks open up more when this card is removed.
- Lion's Eye Diamond - No, Razakats is not an interesting combo. No, bomberman is not an interesting combo. These are both degenerate and more shoe-horn "oh I need a combo to win" style combos. Bomberman is extremely degenerate as LED can be recovered in the face of targeted GY removal by simply stacking the Salvager trigger on top of the removal if you have extra floating mana, and pretty much the only way to really stop it is a replacement effect like Rest in Peace. Seeing someone play a bomberman combo then dump mana into their outlet from the CZ (whether it be Thrasios, Triton Hero or Breya, Etherium Shaper) isn't interesting, although I will admit it is fast. This card is much lower on my list of requested bans, but it is still there for how annoying Bomberman and razakats are, plus how easy this makes Doomsday piles.
- Hermit Druid - I want this gone for the same reason Consultation and Pact should go. Boring deckbuilding that becomes "UGx deck can run Hermit and Oracle to win", and thus you end up with twenty different UGx decks that look the same. Once you have seen this combo once, there isn't much merit to seeing it again. This card isn't as bad as Consult or Pact in my opinion, and once again it is a much lower priority for banning than those cards, as it requires a haste enabler to make it truly degenerate, or a way to flash it in at EOT before your untap step.
Cards I would avoid banning
As the title reads, things I think aren't a problem but usually draw comments for bans.
- Cheap tutors like Vampiric Tutor and Imperial Seal - Every single 1 CMC tutor goes to top of deck (besides Gamble and Steelshaper's Gift), which means you're -1 card advantage for casting them. Having the ability to assemble combos or seek a problem solving card doesn't blow the format out of proportion. Having players be able to assemble threats in a timely manner makes the format faster and more interactive. If you see an opponent tutoring, you know to hold up interaction or try to race them. I'm more interested in removing hyper degenerate combos that are hard to interact with or are resilient enough to win through interaction.
- Fast mana like Mana Crypt or Mox Diamond - If fast mana is banned, all decks will require Green for speed purposes from the high amount of turn 1 dorks (read: accelerators) available. Stax would become 100% dead as an archetype with these bans outside of Hatebear builds that include Green.
- Free counterspells like FoW or Pact of Negation - Keeps combo decks in check. Similar to how Force of Will keeps Legacy from being overrun by super speed combos, these cards also keep Commander in check.
1 week ago
I would drop:
- Fleeting Distraction
- Grip of the Roil
- Obsessive Search
- Radical Idea
- Reach Through Depths
- Spell Syphon
- Twisted Image
- Slip Through Space
- Apprentice Wizard
- Deranged Assistant
- Hedron Crawler
- Sea Scryer
- Prismatic Lens
One reason is that you have a lot of cards that do nothing but draw one card. Which is usually fine in 60 card 1v1 as they function as almost running fewer cards. This lets you draw into your business spells with more consistency. However, in EDH multiplayer, I feel like you want cards with more impact. I kept in cards that let you scry or let you decide card quality because those have more impact.
The other reason is that you really aren't accelerating into anything big, so why do you need a bunch of mana ramp cards? You definitely want to hit all your land drops, but your 2-for-1 and 3-for-1 draw spells should keep filling your hand with lands. You want more business spells that keep you in the game long enough to get Talrand into play and start beating down.
I know Talrand tempts you to play a bunch of cantrip spells to have a sort of combo finish. However, in my experience it is better to have a more solid lock down of the game and win with inevitability than just trying for an alpha strike. A few 2/2 flyers can go a long way.
I would go up to 36-38 lands to make sure you keep getting those land drops.
Then I would add a few more counters:
Then some more bounce (although you have most of the good ones in there already):
Then maybe a couple more recursion spells:
Just to give you some card advantage in other ways or to get back powerful spells that you were forced to use early.
Blue shenanigans can be hard to play. Sometimes you want to be aggressive with your countermagic and bounce to stall your opponents. Other times you want to hold back and wait until the more opportune time.
Hope this helps.
1 week ago
Lets see, You want protection for your general and board. Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots, Diplomatic Immunity, Mother of Runes/Giver of Runes, Counterspell. Swan Song, Drown in the Loch are usually the best in their field.
As far as good cards you want Serra Ascendant, Smothering Tithe, Reclamation Sage, Birds of Paradise, Rishkar's Expertise, Plaguecrafter, Guardian Project, Beast Whisperer, Narset, Parter of Veils, Triumph of the Hordes, Pathbreaker Ibex, Eldritch Evolution
1 week ago
Even if Player A were the one to counter the Boomerang, they could then pump all the way to 10. Because there was an interruption of someone adding to the stack, priority has to be passed again in order for further things to resolve. For each item on the stack, each player must pass priority without adding to the stack in order for the topmost item to resolve.
So even in a 2-player game, when Player B added the Boomerang, that reset things, and both players would have to pass priority in order for just that Boomerang to resolve. If Player A instead responded with Counterspell (because we're assuming 2-player for this hypothetical), that again resets things so both players must pass for the Counterspell to resolve. It does, removing the Boomerang, but now both players must again pass in order for the next thing to happen (either moving to Combat Damage, if the +4/+4 instant resolved, or resolving the +4/+4 instant). So Player A could instead opt to pump their creature again, rather than just passing to move on. No involvement from a third player here, but still the same result.
Even without countering, Player A could still respond to the Boomerang by pumping their creature further, if they really wanted to. The Boomerang would still bounce the creature if not countered, but it does open up an opportunity for Player A to add to the stack.