Top 10 Clash Cards in Magic: The Gathering

Updated on December 3, 2019
Jeremy Gill profile image

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

How Does Clash Work in Magic?

Clashing is a sort of like a two-player scry, except the cards are public knowledge. When you cast a clash spell, you choose an opponent; both of you reveal the top card of your deck and can place that card back on top or move it to bottom.

However, the casting player gains a bonus effect if their card has the greatest CMC (converted mana cost) of all revealed spells—ties don't count as wins, and lands count as zero and thus lose. So, clashing is luck-dependent but can offer deadly effects—which spells reign supreme? These are the ten best clash cards in Magic: The Gathering!

Redeem the Lost mtg
Redeem the Lost mtg

10. Redeem the Lost

CMC: 2

Lost instantly provides a creature protection from the color of your choice for the turn, preventing it from being damaged, blocked, enchanted, or targeted by spells of that color.

That's a nice response to a removal, and you'll also clash when you cast Lost—if you win, it goes back to your hand instead of your graveyard, ready to be used again.

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Pulling Teeth mtgHymn to Tourach mtg
Pulling Teeth mtg
Pulling Teeth mtg
Hymn to Tourach mtg
Hymn to Tourach mtg

9. Pulling Teeth

CMC: 2

Lovely artwork to brighten your day, I know. Teeth targets a player and clashes; if you win, they discard twice, but if you lose, they just discard once. You really want to win this clash, doubling the effect and denying foes card advantage.

Admittedly, it's hard for this to stand next to black's "Hymn to Tourach", which forces two random discards for two mana, but Teeth has the small advantage of a colorless mana slot.

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Scattering Stroke mtgMana Drain mtg
Scattering Stroke mtg
Scattering Stroke mtg
Mana Drain mtg
Mana Drain mtg

8. Scattering Stroke

CMC: 4

For four mana, Scattering Stroke counters any spell, a fair if slightly overpriced effect. Of course, you and another chosen player clash, and if you win, you also add the countered spell's mana cost as colorless mana during your next main phase!

Even when you win, you can get the same effect at better price with "Mana Drain", but that card's so good that anything that imitates it deserves notice. Plus, blue makes a good home for clash spells thanks to its deck-setting scry emphasis.

Rebellion of the Flamekin mtg
Rebellion of the Flamekin mtg

7. Rebellion of the Flamekin

CMC: 4

Okay, so Rebellion itself doesn't have clash, but whenever you clash (even by an opponent's spell), it lets you pay a mana. If you do, you create a 3/1 elemental shaman token, and if you win the clash, that token gains haste for the turn.

I appreciate that you gain the main benefit whether you win the clash or not. Plus, both Rebellion itself and its token have the elemental subtype, which has been gaining more and more tribal support.

Recross the Paths mtg
Recross the Paths mtg

6. Recross the Paths

CMC: 3

Paths reveals cards from your deck until you find a land, plays it, and then clashes; if you win, you return Recross to your hand instead of sending it to the graveyard.

While a bit pricey for a land search, the spell has several small factors going for it. It has a flexible cost that only needs one green mana, plays the land untapped (unless it naturally enters tapped), and the effect removes a land from your deck right before you clash, increasing your chances of winning.

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Broken Ambitions mtgCondescend mtg
Broken Ambitions mtg
Broken Ambitions mtg
Condescend mtg
Condescend mtg

5. Broken Ambitions

CMC: X

Like "Condescend", Ambitions counters a spell unless its owner pays X mana, where X is the mana spent casting your spell (after the base price of one). You can thwart them with X as one if they're all-tapped out, or you can crank X higher when they have resources remaining.

Either way, you'll get to clash, and if you win, the spell's controller mills four cards from their deck to the graveyard, a handy bonus for blue deck-out strategies.

Gilt-Leaf Ambush mtg
Gilt-Leaf Ambush mtg

4. Gilt-Leaf Ambush

CMC: 3

Another tribal card, Ambush counts as an elf despite being an instant, useful for certain elf-related supports. It creates two 1/1 elf tokens, and if you win your clash, they gain deathtouch until end of turn.

Here's another case where you desperately want to win the clash; adding deathtouch means you've got two insta-kill surprise blockers. But even if you lose, they can at least block some hits and fuel elf synergy.

Whirlpool Whelm mtg
Whirlpool Whelm mtg

3. Whirlpool Whelm

CMC: 2

In my opinion, this is one of the game's most underrated cards. Whelm returns a creature to hand at instant speed, then clashes. If you win, you can instead place that creature on top of its owner's deck, killing their next draw.

At worst, if you lose the clash, you have a slightly more expensive "Unsummon", but at best, you've got a half-cost "Repel"!

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Spring Cleaning mtgBack to Nature mtg
Spring Cleaning mtg
Spring Cleaning mtg
Back to Nature mtg
Back to Nature mtg

2. Spring Cleaning

CMC: 2

Spring Cleaning instantly destroys an enchantment for two mana. Then, you clash, and if you win, you also destroy all other enchantments opposing players control!

While most players prefer "Back to Nature", which has the same cost and nukes all enchantments, Cleaning does beat it when you win the clash since it won't remove your own permanents.

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Lash Out mtgLightning Strike mtg
Lash Out mtg
Lash Out mtg
Lightning Strike mtg
Lightning Strike mtg

1. Lash Out

CMC: 2

Lash Out hits any creature for three damage at instant speed, comparable to
"Lightning Strike" with the disadvantage of not being able to target players or planeswalkers. But that's where clash comes in; if you win, Lash Out also deals three damage to the creature's controller.

This means that for two mana, you've got a mid-sized creature removal plus possible player damage, offering the best clash spell in formats with 20 starting life.

Which card do you prefer?

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Using Clash in Magic

Since you only win a clash if you reveal the card with the highest cost, use scrying beforehand to set your deck with high-cost spells. Of course, this also means clashing works better in decks with plenty of bulky cards to exploit.

Clashes also work well in tangent since they themselves help set your deck's top card, but for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast next set of clashes, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Jeremy Gill

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