Elder Mastery: Denied!

March 14, 2013

Posted by Robert

face ninetypix

I thought for today I would throw out some of my personal favorite counterspells. Ten, actually. In ascending order. Let’s get it.


10. Counterspell

Clocking in at number ten is the original man himself, Counterspell. There’s no inherent card advantage or shenanigans here, but it doesn’t really get any cheaper for an unconditional counterspell that has no target restrictions.

This is our generic, bread-and-butter staple; if you want to counter a spell, Counterspell will do ya.

9. Dismal Failure

This one isn’t necessarily superpowered; it costs four, and makes the countered spell’s controller discard. No, this one steals a spot because of how crushingly demoralizing it can be to someone. This spell brings back every bad memory where someone told them that they weren’t good enough.

8. Voidslime

Moving up by just one mana from Counterspell (albeit an additional color), Voidslime can also counter triggered and activated abilities. This spell can counter just about anything out there, and for that reason it gets a slot at number eight.

7. Voidmage Husher

Similar to Voidslime, the Voidmage Husher counters activated abilities, but it doesn’t handle spells or triggers. Additionally she costs four mana to cast. However, you can cast her repeatedly and that helps to negate a lot of the card “disadvantage” inherent in countering spells and abilities.

Mayael. Diaochan. Ezuri. Azami. Sensei’s Divining Top. Equipment. All these and more are shut down by this simple Human Wizard.

I’d also like to shout out to Azorius Guildmage which also counters activated abilities repeatedly, but requires you be playing white as well and is a little more prone to being removed.

6. Cryptic Command

It only does everything! I seriously don’t feel I should have to explain this one. For one mana more than the current benchmark, Cancel, you get your choice of three additional effects. Two, if you consider cantripping not worth it.

5. Pact of Negation

You don’t need to leave mana open to utilize this gem. You’ll pay a premium price on your next turn, true, but the flexibility and bluff potential this provides are invaluable.

4. Draining Whelk & Mystic Genesis

These two cards tie because they’re very similar. They both have a fairly hefty price tag, but they also provide you with a creature that scales with the cost of the spell you countered. Typically you’re getting an on-curve creature that can potentially be very large with the right circumstances…Ulamog, I’m looking at you.

3. Glen Elendra Archmage

This little Faerie is a witch to deal with. Not only does she counter a spell, she comes back to do it again! It gets even better if you have a way to get rid of the -1/-1 counter, but even without that, the rattlesnake and recursion potential here, combined with the reusability, make the Archmage a force to be reckoned with.

2. Spell Crumple

This humble spell, printed in the Commander preconstructed decks, is a great way to deal with annoying Commanders; you just tuck them away! What’s great is if you have some way of tutoring for this spell, like Transmute or Merchant Scroll. Tucking a Commander can frequently be worse than just destroying or exiling it, as it doesn’t go to the Command Zone, and that is the case here.

1. Spelljack

Coming in as my personal favorite is a card from Judgment, Spelljack. It does exactly what it says on the tin by allowing you to steal (aka “jack”) the spell you’re countering. It’s not very useful against Commanders or X spells, and it does cost a whopping six mana to cast, but chances are if you’re countering something it’s probably pretty good and something you’d like to have on your side.

This works on big, juicy creatures like Sylvan Primordial, allowing you to get the creature and the triggered ability. It prevents recursive shenanagins. Spelljacklets you save a sweeper for when it will be most advantageous to you.

Shoot, you can even Spelljack your own spell if a Wheel of Fate is going to pop soon but you know you’re going to need that Fracturing Gust later on.

Spelljack doesn’t just counter a spell. Spelljack counters the spell and then gives you a nice chunk of value. Its price is hefty, but this is Commander we’re talking about, and there are a lot of spells that I’d rather just have on my side. Right, Miss Vess?


There are lots of counterspells that I love but wasn’t able to include; I’d like to give some lip service to Traumatic Visions, Counterlash, and Desertion, even though they didn’t make the cut. What are some of your favorite counterspells?

Join me next week when I embark upon a journey to the stars.