Top 10 Anti-Planeswalker Cards in Magic: The Gathering

Updated on June 24, 2019
Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.

Planeswalkers in Magic: The Gathering

Planeswalkers have proven one of Magic's most popular card types, gradually amassing loyalty to eventually unleash devastating ultimates. However, you need to guard them from creatures, as foes can direct their attackers at planeswalkers to reduce their loyalty, eventually killing them.

The "War of the Spark" expansion introduced a heap of new planeswalkers, making them more prominent than ever—how can you combat these ongoing threats? Here are the ten best anti-planeswalkers spell in Magic: The Gathering!

Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God mtg
Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God mtg

10. Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 5

A planeswalker himself, Nicol makes opponents think twice before playing their own since he automatically gains the loyalty abilities of other planeswalkers. That said, he's very mana-restrictive and only arrives with four loyalty.

You might not need the stolen traits since Nicol's are more than competent. +1 draws a card and forces an opponent to exile a permanent or card from their hand. -3 essentially offers a reusable "Dreadbore", destroying any creature or planeswalker, and ultimate -8 imposes an immediate loss on each opponent who doesn't control a legendary creature or planeswalker.

Angrath's Rampage mtg
Angrath's Rampage mtg

9. Angrath's Rampage

CMC: 2

Using the Rakdos color, Rampage forces a player to sacrifice an artifact, creature, or planeswalker. You get to pick which permanent type they forfeit, but they pick which individual unit to lose. Still, if they only control one of the selected type, their choice is locked anyway, and since the effect doesn't destroy or target the permanent, it bypasses defenses like indestructible and hexproof.

Searing Blaze mtg
Searing Blaze mtg

8. Searing Blaze

CMC: 2

Blaze won't necessarily be enough to kill a planeswalker, but it's undeniably one of the best low-cost checks available. For two mana and at instant speed, it deals one damage to a player or planeswalker and one damage to a creature they control. But with Blaze's landfall active (by having a land enter your field during the turn), you instead deal three damage to each target.

Bam, just like that, you've likely eliminated a creature and either killed or severely wounded a planeswalker, delaying their ultimate by several turns.

Blightning mtg
Blightning mtg

7. Blightning

CMC: 3

While Blightning isn't specifically directed towards planeswalkers, it provides another red/black duo that nicely counters them. It simply inflicts three damage to either a player or planeswalker, then forces them to discard two cards.

You've both weakened/killed a planeswalker and ransacked a hand, especially useful considering that many planeswalkers offer extra draws. Or, if your opponent is on their last legs, you can simply direct Blightning's damage at them to deal the finishing blow.

Price of Betrayal mtg
Price of Betrayal mtg

6. Price of Betrayal

CMC: 1

Betrayal only requires a single black mana and removes five counters from an artifact, creature, planeswalker, or opponent. This versatile removal can deplete opposing +1/+1 counters on creatures, charge counters on artifacts, and energy counters on foes themselves, but it's often best used against planeswalkers, as few enter with more than five loyalty, meaning Betrayal can usually take them down in one fell swoop.

Pulse of the Forge mtg
Pulse of the Forge mtg

5. Pulse of the Forge

CMC: 3

For three mana, this instant deals four damage to a player or planeswalker, a quick and speedy removal that can sometimes one-shot planeswalkers. And if your target's controller then has more life than you, you place Forge back into your hand.

This provides one of the best comeback spells in the game, letting you repeatedly ravage foes while they maintain a higher life total. And Forge works particularly well on planeswalkers since targeting them won't reduce an opponent's life, making it easier to return Forge to your hand.

A mainstay for my own red commander decks, Forge is surprisingly cheap despite its competitive rare status, costing less than a single dollar!

Garruk, Apex Predator mtg
Garruk, Apex Predator mtg

4. Garruk, Apex Predator

CMC: 7

Garruk is one of Magic's most expensive planeswalkers, requiring two colors and seven mana. While he only wields five loyalty despite his fee, he boasts of not three but four loyalty effects, making him one of the most versatile spells available.

His first +1 is most relevant today, simply destroying another planeswalker, a rare removal that actually adds loyalty. Alternatively, his second +1 creates a 3/3 boar token with deathtouch, and his -3 destroys a creature while gaining you life equal to its toughness. Finally, -8 gives an opponent an emblem that grants any creatures who attack them +5/+5 and trample. All useful abilities that justify Garruk's high price.

Aether Snap mtg
Aether Snap mtg

3. Aether Snap

CMC: 5

Aether Snap (Æther if you're being fancy) offer an interesting field wipe that's like an upgraded version of Price of Betrayal. For five mana, you remove all counters from every permanent and exile all tokens! This means you'll insta-kill each planeswalker, eliminate enemy charge counters on artifacts and +1/+1 counters on creatures, and if you're extra crafty, remove -1/-1 counters from your own units.

Of course, you might want to run different spells if you're using planeswalkers yourself. But for black decks that focus more on one-offs or non-token creatures than planeswalkers and zombie tokens, Snap devastates opposing fields without harming your own.

The Elderspell mtg
The Elderspell mtg

2. The Elderspell

CMC: 2

Simultaneously an anti-planeswalker check and a support for your own planeswalkers, The Elderspell sacrifices versatility for power. Unlike many of today's cards, it can't target players or creatures, only functioning on planeswalkers. However, for two mana, it destroys any number of them, then you place two loyalty counters on a planeswalker you control for each unit killed this way.

You don't have to control a planeswalker to cast The Elderspell (you'll simply miss out on its second effect), and the spell is cheap enough to usually leave enough mana for a second play during the turn.

The Immortal Sun mtg
The Immortal Sun mtg

1. The Immortal Sun

CMC: 6

Though it needs a substantial amount of mana, this legendary artifact accepts any mana types and offers numerous abilities to overwhelm foes. Your creatures get +1/+1, you draw an extra card at your upkeep, and your spells are one colorless mana cheaper.

Beyond that, The Immortal Sun activates a brutal field-wide net, preventing all players from activating planeswalker loyalty abilities. While this hinders you as well as foes, you can avoid the penalty by limiting the number of planeswalkers in your deck and carefully timing their arrivals. Unless foes can find a removal, their planeswalkers will be sitting ducks while you harass them with boosted creatures and a replenished hand.

Which card do you prefer?

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More Planeswalker Removals in Magic

In addition to today's cards, many spells can target any type of non-land permanent. Thus, you can exile opposing planeswalkers with cards like "Conclave Tribunal" and "Deputy of Detention." And of course, you can defeat planeswalkers by inflicting enough battle damage to them, though foes can block your units as normal.

As we've seen in War of the Spark, some planeswalkers now have enchantment-like passive abilities in addition to their loyalty traits, making them more dangerous than ever; today's spells help counter their multifaceted tactics. But for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of anti-planeswalker spells, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Jeremy Gill


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