Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Fog Effects in Magic
Named after the classic "Fog" card, fog spells prevent combat damage, buying you time to mount a comeback from a losing board state. While their effects are temporary, they're cheap shields that can turn a match in your favor.
Typically green or white, fog spells activate at instant speed, allowing you to activate them in response to your opponent's attackers. So, which barriers reign supreme? These are the ten best fog spells in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Winds of Qal Sisma
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 2
Where default Fog only costs one mana, Winds costs two, and they both provide the same effect, instantly preventing all combat damage that would be dealt that turn. But Winds also has the ferocious trait, meaning that if you control a creature with four or more power, you instead only prevent opposing combat damage—so your creatures can safely block and counterattack.
9. Spore Frog/Kami of False Hope
Frog and Kami effectively offer creature versions of Fog for green and white decks. They're both weak 1/1s, but you can sacrifice them to prevent all combat damage that turn. Admittedly, opponents will see them coming since you have to set them up during your turn. But this means you can prepare them ahead of time (saving mana on future turns) and have better synergy with creature-focused decks.
Kami also has the spirit subtype, making him especially potent in spirit tribal themes.
8. Fog/Darkness/Holy Day
These three spells all do the same thing, just for different colors. Each prevents all combat damage that turn, ruining your opponent's assault and making an excellent response to their creature buffs (like "Overrun" or "Triumph of the Horde").
Fog's the classic damage-preventer, but Darkness deserves a shout-out for being one of few black spells to offer the effect.
7. Ethereal Haze/Undergrowth
These two are basically Fog, preventing all combat damage for a single turn, but with small potential upgrades. Ethereal Haze has the bonus arcane subtype, empowering arcane-related cards. Undergrowth has an optional kicker cost of three extra mana; if you pay it, you only prevent combat damage from non-red creatures, letting your own red units (and opposing ones, so be careful) strike back.
Both small yet appreciated bonuses, and even without them, these guys are just as powerful as Fog and Holy Day.
6. Moment's Peace
CMC: 2 (3 with flashback)
Peace is Fog but for one extra mana, again negating all combat damage dealt that turn. To compensate, it also has a flashback cost of three, letting you cast it from your graveyard into exile. So you can get two uses from Peace, and it makes excellent discard or mill fodder.
You'd be amazed what two turns of safety can get you in commander, making Peace a staple in my green decks; fortunately, it's one of today's cheapest cards, costing less than a single dollar!
5. Dawn Charm
Versatility is Dawn Charm's greatest strength, letting you pick one of these three effects:
- Prevent all combat damage that turn
- Regenerate target creature
- Counter a spell that targets you
Basically, you've got three potential defenses, all at instant speed and low cost. The last option is particularly interesting, offering a rare non-blue counterspell, at least for spells that target you.
Tangle costs a bit more than Fog, but similarly prevents combat damage that turn. However, it goes above and beyond by also preventing attacking creatures from untapping during their controller's next untap step, meaning you'll actually shut them down for two turns!
That's a great upgrade for just one more mana, but watch out for creatures with vigilance, who don't tap to attack and are thus immune to Tangle's add-on.
Dawnstrider has some disadvantages; she's a weak 1/1 with little tribal support, her effect requires a green mana and discarding a card, and since she's a creature, she has to wait for summoning sickness to wear off before she can use it.
However, whenever you activate her effect, you prevent all combat damage that would be dealt that turn. This means that until opponents find a removal, Dawnstrider can stall them as long as needed, and even when's targeted, she can use her ability one last time in response.
2. Constant Mists
Mists is a more-expensive Fog, but it offers the valued buyback trait, giving you the option of sacrificing a land as you cast Mists to put it back into your hand once it resolves. With this combo, you're basically immune to combat damage as long as you don't run out of lands.
This can buy time for a planeswalker to amass loyalty for its ultimate, but it really shines when you're running cards like "Crucible of Worlds" and "Harvest Wurm" that can recover lands from your graveyard, meaning sacrificing them is barely even a disadvantage anymore.
1. Obscuring Haze
Haze offers an upgraded version of Fog, costing three times as much mana but only negating combat damage from opposing creatures that turn—so your troops can hit back without fear of repercussion.
Better yet, you can cast Haze for free if you control a commander. Sure, this depends on playing EDH format, but it means you can easily get not just a free Fog, but a better one. If you steal control of an opponent's commander via another effect, they'll also trigger the discount, and if you run two partner commanders, fielding either one will do the trick.
Haze also excels because Fog abilities are especially useful in commander since the format includes an alternative win condition—commander damage—that Fog effects can stall (you lose by accumulating 21 damage from the same commander).
Countering Fog Effects in Magic
Fog abilities provide strong defenses, but like all spells, they have their weaknesses. To thwart them, you can disable your opponent from casting spells on your turn using cards like "Grand Abolisher" and "Teferi, Time Raveler." Or, use cards that disable combat damage from being prevented, like "Questing Beast" and "Everlasting Torment."
Fog spells remain a fun mechanic that I hope to see in future sets, but for now, vote for your favorite, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on May 14, 2020:
@Judah of the goblins
I agree that the commander 2020 cards are amazing (arguably too much so), but I find Obscuring Haze better than the red and white variants ("Deflecting Swat" and "Flawless Maneuver").
They're all good, but as you say, "Fierce Guardianship" takes the cake; a free non-creature counter just from controlling your commander.
Judah of the goblins on May 14, 2020:
I feel like that force of cycle from C20 is broken, the fog is the least powerful and the blue one
might even be better than force of will!
Ian from California on May 08, 2020:
Tangle will win you the game, more than any other fog in my opinion. If they swing out and you tangle, you get to attack back twice...