Commander Clinic was created with several core concepts in mind. You can read about them in the Basic Level Up Moments or evergreen section of the site. But here I want to highlight just a few before we get into the meaty part of today’s article. These concepts are what would be considered a part of a deck building boot camp. Master these concepts and you will be well on your way to building strong decks and winning more than the average amount of games They are
- Every deck has goals that it wants to accomplish.
- From these goals packages of cards can be crafted to accomplish these goals.
- Before building a deck list, allot a certain number of cards towards each of these packages.
- Fill these packages with the best cards for your deck.
- Do not go over the allotted cards for the packages.
- Do not go under the number packages.
- Some cards can function in multiple packages. Place them in the package they are most likely to be used. Any additional function is utility.
The Counterspell Trap
I don’t play counterspells in all decks that contain blue. Some decks are control orientated while others aren’t. If I don’t want to control the board or strongly commit to protect my own board, then I don’t play counterspells. Adding counterspells because they are strong cards and without a purpose is a trap. A one or two quantity of counterspells will not come up consistently enough that you will have one when you need it. In fact there are certain thresholds you should reach with a number of counterspells depending what you would like to accomplish with your counterspell package. They are
- 3- number of counterspells if you want an option of preventing a player from winning the game.
- 7- minimum number of counterspells if you would like one early in the game to protect yourself or stop the first person from having an explosive turn.
- 10 – the minimum number of counterspells if you would like to control the board (additional removal is needed)
A deck can get away with lesser quality counterspells. I have discovered through gameplay that the following eight counterspells are not only strong but provide incredible impact on the battlefield as a card package. They cost two or less to counter a spell immediately with several of them being free. I rarely ever just outright recommend a package of cards. I leave room for flexibility and changes. Every deck must be its own. In the case of counterspells these cards are worth the investment and I would strongly suggest making this your counterspell package when you use one.
Normally, Commander Clinic wouldn’t suggest a counterspell package of seven cards. We will add the eighth card to the package. This increases the odds of you having a counterspell by mere percentage points. When all the decks at a pod are strong, sometimes it is the small things that make a difference between winning and losing. Commander Clinic believes this is the case here.
- Arcane Denial
- Fierce Guardianship
- Force of Negation
- Force of Will
- Mana Drain
- Pact of Negation
Yes, these cards are expensive. As Will Smith put it in Men in Black they are “the best of the best sir!” They will cost you and you may need to add them one card at a time as money allows. You also will want to ask yourself how many decks do I want to have counterspell packages in them. If the answer is just one or maybe two, then you may want to create a budget friendly package instead. If you are a Johnny Deckbrewer like me, then go for it! This is something I want in my deck brewing arsenal. You may want it in yours.
Three Spells to Bind Them
There are other counterspells and if you want to make a permission deck you will need more counterspells. That is not my personal game preference so I won’t go too much deeper into the counterspells list here. I will say if you want to make the jump to 10+ counterspells you can consider some non counterspells for the package. These cards provide some flexibility to your deck while keeping the control package quite robust. The three additional cards Commander Clinic suggests are…
Blue is one of the most powerful colors in the game if not, arguably, the most powerful color. It lets you draw cards without abandon and it provides many powerful choices for counterspells that can answer any threat. Other colors dabble in the counterspell arena. Thus blue dominates in this category. Not every deck wants counterspells. When you do, you know the cards you want to turn to.