This entry is part 22 of 26 in the series Staple Remover

Posted by Chris-B

This will be my fourth season writing for and I hope you have had a chance to enjoy an article or more of mine along the way. This season I will be switching to a bi-weekly schedule, but that means I should have more time to explore my topics in greater depth. I may not have as many articles for you to read this go around, but my goal is that they will be meatier, more like a thick stew than a soup. What is the soup of the day today? Whiskey of course!
In a lot of my writing I try to expand peoples deck building horizons. Instead of using the same old win conditions or blindly throwing in the same “staple” cards I like to dig deeper into the Magic card catalog to find something a little… fresher. However, I am positive not every deck you face will follow this same theme. There are plenty of cards and strategies I am sure you are pretty tired of, so this time around I’m going to invent staples! I created my own cards that I think would combat abusive strategies that you may come across in your commander games a little too often. Read on to see what anti-staple staples I’ve concocted.

I set out to create cards that, if added to the commander metagame, would improve it by keeping other players a little more honest. I wanted cards that would make the commander experience better. Cards that could be included in a wide range of decks that would serve to combat some of the strategies you may be sick of. When someone combos off on turn 4, they might just tell you “You should have run removal, then I wouldn’t be able to do that!”. It’s time to turn the tables and make the try-hards run removal for these creations. Getting hit by a huge Exsanguinate or a Deadeye Navigator going nuclear isn’t too exciting, but these cards aren’t abusive enough to be banned. Instead of banning cards, I think they can be kept in check a little more with the following new creations.

Counter BlastCounter Blast: Now I am not a Magic designer or developer by any means, so I am sure there is some templating that is off or power level that is skewed, but the overall theory should come through. The first card that would improve commander is Counter Blast. I wanted to originally call it Kaervek’s Dick Punch, but it ended up in the wrong colors. If this bad boy was floating around in decks would that Orzhov player be so cavalier about dumping all of his mana into a Debt to the Deathless when there was an Izzet player in the game? An enormous Genesis Wave should have a touch more risk to it. Counter Blast would be playable in just about any deck running U/R. Someone is bound to cast a big spell, and even if you don’t want to wait around for a blowout opportunity, there is value to be had by countering even a lowly 3 mana spell. I am sure it would also create some memorable play experiences when it is at its best. When that ramp player goes to cast Genesis Wave for 20 and everyone at the table groans at the impending end of the game, imagine the reversal of fortunes when the trusty blue player at the table Dick Pun… I mean Counter Blasts it and Mr. Ramp player takes 21 to the face and has his spell countered. That big swing in fortunes is what makes games more exciting.

Exhausting-TotemtempExhausting Totem: Torpor Orb is a great hoser card that shuts down a lot of strategies that players often complain about. So why don’t I see this card played a hell of a lot more often? Stop complaining about Sylvan Primordial and just shut the stupid thing down. That would be one concern I have about these cards. If they existed would people make room for them in their decks or would they choose not include these fresh new answers, but continue to fall victim to the same old same old? Anyways, the next card I have falls into a similar vein as Torpor Orb. The Exhausting Totem does a lot. It shuts down some abusive card draw engines such as Temple Bell / Mind Over Matter. As of writing this in December, Derevi, Empyrial Tactician is just now getting to be a thorn in peoples sides, but by the time you read this I bet she will be considered a full blown bitch. The Exhausting Totem does a great job of completely shutting her down too. It’s an artifact so it can fit into any deck. Like the Orb, you have no real reason not to run it unless it is stopping your own game plan.  Also the commander meta will be improved by having yet another Tempest card in it with Brom art.  Who cares what it does, it’s Tempest and Brom!


Soul ShieldSoul Shield: At first glance this enchantment looks a bit funny. Why on earth would you want to pay life to give an opponents creature shroud? First off there are some political motivations to playing this card outside of shutting down some nasty game plans, but the primary reason I came up with this card was to stop many things. It’s going to be tricky to suit up Rafiq of the Many or almost any other creature when he can’t be targeted. Of course you can also garner some political favor by saving someone else’s creature from a removal spell. It is a great political card that also hinders flicker and voltron strategies.







Mind TheftMind Theft: Tutoring, everyone loves tutoring. As the “Staple Remover” author I have to admit that even I love tutoring. There always seem to be 1 or 2 cards in my deck that I really want in all situations or I might have a toolbox of cards that my tutor can pick from. Tutors can be anything you want them to be. I’ve had friends get mana screwed so they [card]Praetor’s Grasp[card]’d a dual land out of my deck for their own nefarious uses. Whether you are searching your deck or an opponents for a card, the power of tutors can’t be denied. I think it would be a lot of fun to have a tutor that hijacks an opponents tutor. If they are searching for their win condition you can step right in with Mind Theft and swing the tutor to your own advantage. It’s a great way for a black deck to search for more mana since more often than not there will be someone at the table playing green or running fetches and I bet you they are going to be grabbing lands sooner or later.




Chalice of RenewalChalice of Renewal: Lastly we have a handy utility artifact.  Why would you want to skip drawing a card for a measly token?  First off it stops anyone from decking you via mill or card draw.  Second of all it prevents you from decking yourself via card draw.  The chalice can be tutored with Trinket Mage, so it has the added benefit of fitting into a cheap artifact toolbox.  I’m sure there are some artifact decks out there that wouldn’t mind trading some card draws for more artifact permanents.  Is Nekusar going to be so cavalier with his mass card draw effects if it ends up netting you a token army?







What do you think of these creations? Are they outright useless or overpowered?  Would you want any of these in your meta? Be sure to leave a comment below or get in touch with me. See you again in two weeks!


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