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Top 10 Anti-Regenerate Removals in Magic: The Gathering

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

How to Regenerate in Magic

When a permanent in Magic regenerates, the next time it would be destroyed that turn, it instead sheds any damage it's sustained and becomes tapped. While mostly seen on creatures, any permanent can theoretically regenerate, with some effects giving the trait to artifacts or lands.

Regeneration helps maintain cards, dampening the effectiveness of damage and destruction-based removals—how can thwart its defense? These are the ten best regeneration-blocking spells in Magic: The Gathering!

Putrefy mtg

Putrefy mtg

10. Putrefy

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 3

Using the Golgari colors, Putrefy instantly destroys a creature or artifact while preventing it from regenerating. These are the two most commonly-regenerated card types, making Putrefy a fast and versatile way to guarantee a kill (except against indestructible foes).

Incinerate mtg

Incinerate mtg

9. Incinerate

CMC: 2

An often-underestimated common, Incinerate instantly hits any target for three, just like "Lightning Strike". However, it has the added benefit of preventing creatures from regenerating, giving a more consistent kill with no drawbacks.

8. Drop of Honey/Porphyry Nodes

CMC: 1

Identical except for their color (Honey is green while Nodes is white), these enchantments barely cost any mana and automatically destroy the creature with the least power (your choice if tied) at your upkeep, preventing them from regenerating.

This can hit your own creatures if you're not careful, and you have to sacrifice the enchantment when there aren't any creatures on the field, but these are perfect complements to decks light on creatures. Honey is particularly tempting, offering a rare green creature removal.

7. Big Game Hunter/Nekrataal

CMC: 3/4

These guys are pretty similar, each a human assassin who destroys a creature and prevents regeneration on arrival. Big Game Hunter costs less mana and has a madness price of one (letting you cast him when discarded), but has weak 1/1 stats and can only target creatures of power four or more.

Nekratall requires more mana and can only eliminate non-artifact non-black creatures, but has superior (albeit still poor) 2/1 stats alongside first strike. Both are worthy creature/removal duos, and since they're uncommon, they won't break the bank; Nekrataal costs less than a single dollar!

Winds of Rath mtg

Winds of Rath mtg

6. Winds of Rath

CMC: 5

Here's a devastating field wipe perfect for aura-based decks. Rath destroys all non-enchanted creatures and prevents regeneration, a brutal nuke that bypasses shroud and hexproof since it doesn't target. Your own creatures can get destroyed, but they'll avoid the blast if you've enchanted them.

Opposing enchanted creatures will also endure, but auras are fairly rare outside enchantment-focused decks, so it's generally not an issue.

Artifact Mutation mtg

Artifact Mutation mtg

5. Artifact Mutation

CMC: 2

While Mutation specifically needs the red/green Gruul colors, it has just about everything you could want in an artifact removal. It functions at instant speed, destroys the artifact while preventing regeneration, and creates X 1/1 saproling tokens, where X is the artifact's cost.

So the bigger the relic you shatter, the more token fodder you'll breed, adding insult to injury.

Serenity mtg

Serenity mtg

4. Serenity

CMC: 2

Want a cheap board wipe for both artifacts and enchantments? Look no farther than Serenity, which destroys all (including itself) during your upkeep and denies regeneration.

What can I say; that's an excellent nuke for decks that don't rely on these card types, and if you can somehow make Serenity indestructible, it'll trigger throughout the game, continuously destroying other artifacts and enchantments.

3. Damnation/Wrath of God

CMC: 4

These infamous color-shifted creature-wipes provide the same effect, you'll just need black mana for Damnation and white for Wrath of God. Either you, you're paying four to destroy all creatures and prevent regeneration!

Simply put, these provide some of the cheapest creature nukes available, especially considering their regeneration block.

2. Jokulhaups/Obliterate

CMC: 6/8

Comparing these brutal sorceries, you'll pay two more for Obliterate, but it can't be countered, ensuring blue foes don't thwart your nuke. Both spells destroy all creatures, lands, and artifacts while preventing regeneration.

That'll really clear the field; try these in enchantment or planeswalker-focused decks where you won't have as much to lose.

The Abyss mtg

The Abyss mtg

1. The Abyss

CMC: 4

An oldie but goldie, The Abyss destroys a non-artifact creature of a player's choice during their upkeep, preventing it from regenerating. This provides a formidable ongoing anti-creature net; you'll suffer the same penalty, but you've presumably built a non-creature or artifact-creature deck to avoid the mayhem.

Definitely an amazing card, but fair warning, legal copies run for several hundred bucks.

Other Ways to Beat Regenerating Creatures

Today's spells help you destroy cards without letting them regenerate, but remember you can bypass regeneration with other tactics. Exiling, returning to hand, sacrificing, and making toughness zero will all thwart regeneration, keeping defeated foes down and out.

Although Wizards of the Coast has retired regeneration since Kaladesh in favor of easier-to-understand defenses, it's still a common sight in formats like commander, keeping its countermeasures relevant. But for now, vote for your favorite anti-regeneration card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2020 Jeremy Gill