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!
10. Angrath's Rampage
Using the Rakdos colors, 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.
In short, two mana scores a planeswalker kill that can transition into artifact and creature removal when necessary, and Rampage is one of today's cheapest cards, costing less than a single dollar!
9. Price of Betrayal
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.
8. Suppression Field/Eidolon of Obstruction
Both of these cards are white enchantments (Eidolon is also a 2/1 creature with first strike) that focus on making abilities cost more. Eidolon makes opposing loyalty abilities cost one mana, a nice boost that won't hinder your own effects. Suppression Field makes all activated abilities cost two more; this is a bigger penalty and affects more card types, but can potentially hinder your own team.
So if you're running abilities/planeswalkers yourself, try Eidolon; otherwise, go for Field (or simply use both).
7. Hex Parasite
Hex Parasite is a weak 1/1 but only needs a single mana of any color to play. Then, he can spend X mana plus either a black mana or two life to remove X counters from any permanent—including planeswalkers.
Not only does weaken foes, but Parasite gets +1/+0 until end of turn for every counter removed, giving you a nice beatstick during your combat step. And since he can remove all types of counters, he works as well against enemy +1/+1s and charge counters as he does on planeswalkers.
6. Thief of Blood
Thief of Blood enters as a puny 1/1 with flying, but as she arrives, she removes all counters from all permanents, gaining a +1/+1 counter for each! This lets wipe out opposing planeswalkers alongside other counter-based cards, gaining power along the way.
Of course, your own spells will also lose their counters, so try to fit Thief into planeswalker-light decks. And remember her vampire subtype offers many useful synergies.
5. Aether Snap
Aether Snap (Æther if you're being fancy) offers a cheaper Thief of Blood. 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 and non-token creatures than planeswalkers and zombie tokens, Snap devastates opposing fields without harming your own.
4. Questing Beast
A 4/4 with vigilance, deathtouch, and haste is already an awesome trade, especially when you only need one color to cast him. Throw in the abilities of making your combat damage immune to damage prevention, having Beast be unblockable by creatures of insufficient power, and hitting planeswalkers when he hits opposing players and you've got one of the best green creatures ever printed.
3. Vampire Hexmage
Hexmage provides a 2/1 with first strike and vampire synergy (plus shaman for good measure). Stopping there, you'd have a strong card, but Hexmage goes above and beyond by letting you sacrifice her at any time to remove all counters from any permanent.
Since this doesn't even require Hexmage to tap, you can use it as soon as she arrives, or hold off until you need to eliminate a big planeswalker. You can even use it to get rid of your own unwanted counters, useful with cards like "Dark Depths".
2. The Elderspell
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 potentially leave enough mana for a second play during your turn.
1. The Immortal Sun
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.
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!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill