I need help choosing another cheap spot removal spell in my deck.
Posted on April 11, 2021, 4:23 p.m. by StopShot
I enjoy playing competitive EDH and one of the recently spoiled Strixhaven cards I already know is going to shake-up my meta and make things difficult for me. Namely Witherbloom Apprentice is the card I'm dreading as it can close out a game if it's controller casts Chain of Smog as it can be copied infinitely if the controller always targets themself with it. It's very likely every BGx deck in my play group is going to run this combo given how easy it is to setup and when you pair the possibility of closing out the game on turn two through Dark Ritual or Sol Ring into a mana rock, it becomes a lethal threat I can't ignore when making deck building decisions. As such, I feel I need to add another one mana creature removal spell in my deck, but I'm stumped over which spell I should include not just to address this potential combo but also have the most practical use outside of it as well.
My current list of removal spells are: Path to Exile , Swords to Plowshares , Sinister Concoction , Dismember , Lightning Axe , Molten Vortex , Red Elemental Blast , Pyroblast and Terminate (I enjoy playing more reactively than proactively.)
The removal spells I'm considering are: Dark Betrayal , Fatal Push , Human Frailty , Lightning Bolt , Magma Spray , Weight of Spires and Seal of Fire . (The last one I'm considering for its use around counterspells by casting it early.)
Notable exclusions are: Deadly Rollick , Defile , Dispatch , Force of Despair , Galvanic Blast , Murderous Cut , Mutual Destruction , Necrotic Wound , Pyrokinesis , Reckless Rage , Skred and Tragic Slip as I feel I don't have the means to meet these card restrictions consistent enough to be useful in my deck, especially in the early game. I'm also not considering two mana removal spells like Go for the Throat because I feel at this point cost effectiveness matters more than removal range.
Of course the best removal spell is going to depend heavily on the meta, but I'm generally trying to figure out which of the spells I'm considering is the best in a competitive environment in general. I'm looking for feedback and second opinions on whether you think any of the spells shines well above the rest through your own play experiences. I appreciate any insight I can get, thanks.
I think the exile aspect of Magma Spray puts it at the top of the list, assuming its color isn’t going to cause trouble.
April 11, 2021 4:29 p.m.
If you’re playing competitive, you need to ditch some of the removal you have for ones with fewer drawbacks/requirements or ones that straight up kill something. Namely Sinister Concoction , Lightning Axe , and Molten Vortex .
Typically 2 or less suffice fine. Free spells are most important. Snuff Out , Force of Despair , and Slaughter Pact . Heartless Act , Devour in Shadow , Victim of Night , Fatal Push , Vendetta are all solid cedh removal spells because they either go for wider range of targets at 2 mana, or only cost 1, though may not be able to hit some things. This is usually the suite I run in Bx decks.
the likelihood of this player having Chain, the creature, a green and a black land, dark ritual, or Sol Ring+Rock in their opening hand is very low.
Don’t build around something that might happen once every 20 games. And don’t restrict your removal suite to only cards that deal with a little creature like that, you want to have cards that can deal with a multitude of potential threats.
April 11, 2021 5:03 p.m.
@Raging_Squiggle, the cards you suggested removing have benefitted me countless times in cEDH though. Personally, I'd rather remove Terminate first. Holding up less mana every turn to address multiple threats is better as it gives me more flexibility. If you want to advance your boardstate it's better to hold up two 1's and a 2 than two 2's and a 3. Finding ways to do things cheaper without need for ramp is in a way card advantage as I see it and it mitigates how severe a discard cost is when you build your deck around flexibility than tempo. As I said I like playing more reactively than proactively. As for my experiences Lightning Axe 's removal capabilities in commander I find to be on par with Lightning Bolt 's capability in 60 card formats - not capable of removing everything but efficient enough to not get in the way of doing two things at once. Sinister Concoction is telegraphed removal which is incredibly undervalued in multiplayer settings as no one willingly wants to have it proc on their best card in hand, and having that kind of chilling effect on a whole table for one mana is pretty strong. And then there's Molten Vortex which is probably the best thing on earth for removing hatebear after hatebear and bypassing counter spells in blue combo decks. Losing lands to it may seem steep, but the cost is nothing when your opposition is locking you down and locking you out in the first place and if its a dead card I pitch it to the Lightning Axe or Sinister Concoction anyway.
Personally I've grown to loathe "non-black" removal spells. It's not just this combo but its also The Gitrog Monster and Kaalia of the Vast and Nekusar, the Mindrazer and Opposition Agent . I acknowledge there are a lot of non-black targets I can use it on instead, but picking between a Doom Blade and a Murder when Lightning Axe / Dismember takes out more of them for less mana sums up my approach to this. And I do run Chaos Warp , Anguished Unmaking and Generous Gift along with a slew of boardwipes for anything bigger - I just didn't mention I ran them here when the focus of my thread is on small and early game threats where the heavier removal isn't as apt at addressing these problems.
Still, even without the mana ramp the combo can come down on turn three by casting the cards on consecutive turns or on turn four by playing them all at once, and we are talking about competitive black which has plenty of tutors. In the early game holding up 2 or 3 mana for only one answer every turn I find to be a waste. It's not just this combo either as I'm in the company of decks that are looking to end or lock the game before turn six if left in a vacuum. At the same time I still want to acknowledge other non-aggressive strategies do exist and striking the balance is difficult when one set of cards is too slow for my current meta and another set don't go far enough for everything outside of that meta. Personally, I think the small spells still have some merit in all cases whereas the larger spells become an annoying liability when you're put on the clock. It's another reason why I value being reactive than proactive, to value flexibility over tempo, because I'd need to pick a different commander entirely if I want to match the speed my competitors play at. However, my opponents lose much more value than I do when they go headfirst into certain strategies only for them to be thwarted such as with the Witherbloom Apprentice + Chain of Smog combo or with the Auriok Salvagers + Lion's Eye Diamond combo or the Worldgorger Dragon + Animate Dead combo or anything that relies on Doomsday . My deck is built to address this kind of madness, but when I make card decisions I still want to keep more normal metas in mind when picking cards. Cards like Magma Spray and Fatal Push are incredibly narrow, I know that, but what I need to know is which card of that set is the best for taking on problems outside of my own meta.
April 11, 2021 6:34 p.m.
April 11, 2021 7:18 p.m.
April 11, 2021 7:55 p.m.
April 11, 2021 9:42 p.m.
Race. Don't play the table police, that isn't what Mardu does best. Lean into speed. If you think everyone else will accelerate their gameplans and happily dilute their card quality to include this, you can make the assumption that they will also make some deckbuilding concessions, likely in removing some removal and adding further accelerants. That means you also have less removal to contend with, but doubly means that if you wanna become the table police, you need more interaction than mardu has access to.
Go fast. Thats your best bet.
April 12, 2021 8:47 a.m.
Could you please provide a full deck list via link? Based off the information provided this doesn't sound like a level 9-10 meta, having proper information about the playstyles being utilized and overall meta will go much further when it comes to allowing us to make suggestions.