Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Provoking Creatures in Magic
One of Magic's most tactical elements is your ability to choose whether to block or take hits, giving defending players an advantage in combat by letting them determine which creatures will engage attackers. But a rare set of cards force creatures to block, giving defenders no choice in the matter.
These spells are mostly found in black, red, and green, and work great for taking out utility creatures by trapping them in unwanted combat—which reign supreme? These are the ten best provoke cards in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Nemesis Mask
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 3
This equipment costs three to cast and three to equip; not very mana-efficient, but reusable and available to all colors. Plus, while some of today's cards only force one enemy to block, Mask's bearer must be blocked by all valid opposing troops.
To ensure your opponent's monsters are actually forced into blocking, try giving Mask to creatures without blocker-hindering traits like flying and menace.
9. Elemental Uprising
Uprising has two very different uses. It instantly turns a land you control into a 4/4 elemental with haste for the turn that must be blocked, a nice way to force one foe to engage.
Or, you can simply save Uprising for when your opponents swing thinking you have an empty field, letting you surprise them with a sturdy 4/4 blocker.
8. Indrik Umbra
Umbra's downside is its cumbersome cost, requiring a hefty amount of six mana. But its enchanted creature gains +4/+4, first strike, and provokes all available enemy creatures into blocking.
Like the other Umbra enchantments, Indrik also gives its recipient totem armor, meaning Umbra sacrifices itself to save its bearer from one death.
7. Michonne, Ruthless Survivor
This Walking Dead promo premiered in the Secret Lair series, but it's very much an official card. Michonne is only 3/3, but creates two walker tokens (2/2 zombies) on entry, so you're really getting a total of 7/7 stats. More than that, if Michonne is equipped, she has to be blocked, and when she and at least two zombies attack, she gains indestructible for the turn.
It's as simple as that; give Michonne any equipment and watch her cut through your opponent's ranks.
6. Irresistible Prey
Simple and cheap, Prey's target must be blocked that turn if able, then you draw a card, replacing Prey in hand. At worst, this is basically a cycling effect for one (though at sorcery speed and requiring at least one creature on the field), but at best, you're destroying an enemy for one while drawing a card.
5. Revenge of the Hunted
CMC: 6 (1 with miracle)
Hunted is a very polarizing spell, because it's overpriced if hard-cast it for six. But with its miracle effect, you can play it for just one the turn you draw it (if it's the first card you drew that turn).
Either way, for one turn, you give a creature +6/+6, trample, and force all able enemies to block it that turn, enormous boosts that can easily decimate an entire army.
4. Lure/Seton's Desire
These similar spells are both auras that force all able enemies to block the enchanted unit. Lure requires two green in its cost, but always has the effect active. Desire doesn't force blockers unless you have threshold active (at least seven cards in your graveyard), but it's more splashable and also provides a +2/+2 boost.
Cast them on a creature without summoning sickness to take advantage of their combat-forcing powers the turn you play them.
3. Deadly Allure
For one black, Alure gives deathtouch and a forced block for the turn; you can then flashback it from your graveyard for one green, repeating the effect. Where most forced-blocks require beefy creatures to overpower foes with, thanks to deathtouch, Allure can make even lowly 1/1 tokens dangerous.
Especially useful in self-milling themes, Allure is also one of today's cheaper cards, costing less than one dollar!
2. Neyith of the Dire Hunt
Neiyth has underwhelming 3/3 stats, but she lets you draw a card whenever at least one of your creatures becomes blocked or fights, a powerful advantage tool.
Additionally, at the start of your combat, Neyith can spend three mana (accepting either green or red) to double a creature's power and force it to be blocked until end of turn. Use alongside trample for massive amounts of damage alongside forced battles.
1. Hunter Sliver
Slivers are infamous for their tribe-wide abilities, and Hunter offers one of the deadliest and rarest: provoke. This means he gives all attacking slivers (including himself) the ability to force an enemy into blocking, untapping them if needed.
Not only does this let your slivers engage whoever they please, it means your opponent can't hide behind tap effects, as you can just untap the unit if necessary. Like his brethren, Hunter only really has a place in his tribe, but he definitely ranks among the best slivers.
Blocker Control in Magic
Today we saw several great cards to provoke foes, but also consider spells like "Brutal Hordechief", letting you choose which and how opposing creatures block, effectively an upgraded version of provoke.
Equipment like "Lightning Greaves" (which provides haste and shroud) are also essential tools for aggression, but for now, vote for your favorite goad and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill