Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Anti-Counterspells in Magic
Many players consider blue to be Magic's strongest color, especially in the extended matches of commander format. In addition to draw power, blue offers numerous counterspells that negate opposing plays, making it difficult to cast—well—anything.
But no strategy is invincible, and you can bypass counterspells with cards that can't be countered. These are particularly common in green and red (blue's enemies in lore), and some guard your other spells as well—which reign supreme? These are the fifty best cards that can't be countered (or make other spells uncounterable) in Magic: The Gathering!
50. Savage Summoning
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 1
Admittedly, opponents often wouldn't negate a one-cost play. But Summoning's counterspell protection ensures its effect, which casts your next creature that turn as though it had flash (at instant speed). The unit also gains a +1/+1 counter and can't be countered, making this a nice way to both empower and protect a key player.
49. Mistcutter Hydra
Mistcutter Hydra enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters, adapting to suit your current production. Not only can it not be countered, Mistcutter also has protection from blue (it can't be targeted or blocked by it), making it one of the best anti-blue tactics available. And despite not being red, Mistcutter has haste, letting it swing immediately.
48. Spellbreaker Behemoth
Spellbreaker Behemoth's beast subtype isn't great and his mana requirements are specific. However, he can't be countered, he carries a great stat total of 5/5, and he makes your other creature spells uncounterable as long as they have at least five power. While this doesn't perfectly shield allies, it protects your strongest monsters, ensuring they cleanly enter the field.
47. Isao, Enlightened Bushi
At first, Isao's 2/1 stats seem disappointing, but bushido 2 grants him +2/+2 for the turn when blocked or blocking, fortifying him in clashes. He also can't be countered and can spend two mana at any time to regenerate any samurai (even himself), defending his brethren against most removals.
46. Rending Volley
Volley can only impact white or blue creatures, so it's risky in matches where you don't know what you're facing. That said, it only needs one mana, operates at instant speed, can't be countered, and deals its target four damage, outperforming even the infamous "Lightning Bolt" in terms of power.
45. Pearl Lake Ancient
Blue doesn't contain many big creatures, making Lake Ancient's 6/7 stats a welcome addition, although he requires seven mana. But he justifies his price with flash, countering immunity, and the prowess ability, granting him +1/+1 for the turn whenever you cast a non-creature spell. You can also return three lands to your hand to bounce Ancient, saving him from a removal (though you'll need to recast him).
44. Nezahal, Primal Tide
Nezahal is similar to Lake Ancient, requiring seven mana and joining with 7/7 stats. He can't be countered and grants an infinite hand size. Put it to good use by drawing a card whenever an opponent casts a non-creature—you'll even get the draw if you counter that spell. You can also discard three cards to exile Nezahal until the end of the turn, a great way to dodge removals using your boosted hand.
43. Tears of Valakut
Like Volley, Tears offers amazing power at low price, but only works against certain creatures. In this case, those with flying. You spend two mana to deal an aerial unit five damage at instant speed, eliminating most angels or dragons before they can strike. And since rivals can't counter Tears, they're usually helpless against this resounding blow.
42. Sphinx of the Final Word
Like previous blue creatures, Sphinx needs seven mana and can't be countered, though his 5/5 stats are less impressive. However, he has both flying and hexproof, making him difficult to block or target, and he prevents your instants and sorceries from being countered, defending your one-offs as they resolve.
41. Last Word
While Last Word requires a bit more mana than most counterspells, it can thwart any type of play, working as well on planeswalkers as creatures or sorceries. And it earns its name since it can't be countered itself, preventing foes from responding with their own instants.
CMC: 3 (4 with overload)
Counterflux has more demanding mana needs than Last Word, but provides the same effect for fewer overall resources, rebuking any spell while being immune to countering itself. You also have an optional overload cost, which counters all opposing spells if you pay an additional mana, useful when opponents are stacking consecutive plays.
39. Overwhelming Denial
CMC: 4 (2 with surge)
Like Last Word, Denial negates any play for four mana and prevents itself from being countered. But its surge price lets you spend just two if you or an ally has already cast a spell that turn, granting a fierce discount. Thus, with surge active, you're basically casting the infamous "Counterspell" with the added bonus of counter protection.
38. Dovin's Veto
By blending blue with white, you'll access this uncounterable counterspell. Veto's only weakness is that it can't affect creatures, but anything else is fair game. And even creature-oriented decks usually support their ranks with various enchantments or sorceries, making it a tame restriction that rarely proves an issue.
Combust functions like Rending Volley, harming white or blue creatures with uncounterable status and instant speed. It needs one more mana, but ups the damage to five and can't have it prevented, practically ensuring a killing blow.
Both Combust and Volley work well in commander format, where blue and white are common and you know foes will always have at least one creature (their commander) available.
36. Petrified Wood-Kin
Petrified Wood-Kin needs a large sum of mana but accepts any type for most of his price, blending well in multi-color decks. He can't be countered, has protection from instants, and his poor 3/3 stats are buffed by bloodthirst, which provides a number of +1/+1 counters upon arrival equal to the damage opponents have taken during the turn. After a successful combat phase, this often brings Wood-Kin to double digits, making him a devastating force in battle.
35. Boseiju, Who Shelters All
Like other lands, Boseiju can't be countered since it's not a spell. It enters tapped, only provides colorless mana, and requires two life to exhaust, so why use it? Well, any instant or sorcery you devote Boseiju's mana towards can't be countered, a prime defense for themes that emphasize one-offs. You can still use the mana for other spell types, they just won't gain the anti-counter benefit.
34. Lightning Mare
Lightning Mare is locked into red mana, and his toughness is only one, but he can't be countered or blocked by blue creatures, making him a great early aggressor. He also has an impressive power of three, and by spending two mana, you can give him one more for the turn—you can even use this to turn infinite mana into infinite damage.
33. Blurred Mongoose
While Mongoose's stats are only average at 2/1, he can't be countered and has shroud, preventing all players (including you) from targeting him. While of limited use against other themes, you won't find many better early plays (especially for his day and age) against mono-blue; foes can't counter or bounce Mongoose unless they have a removal that doesn't target, and those don't usually drop until later stages of the game.
32. Akroma, Angel of Fury
Akroma needs a hefty amount of eight mana, and her stats are only a decent 6/6 considering. However, she can't be countered and has flying as well as protection from both blue and white, making her challenging to guard. She also possesses trample, can spend a red mana to gain +1/+0 for the turn, and can divide her cost over multiple turns using her morph effect.
31. Kavu Chameleon
Kavu Chameleon has solid 4/4 stats and can't be countered, though he needs a five-mana investment. Beyond that, he can spend a green mana at any time to become a color of your choice for the turn. Many players underestimate this effect, which lets Kavu dodge color-specific spells, circumvent enemies with protection from green, or qualify for colored bonuses outside his faction.
30. Gaea's Herald
Admittedly, Herald herself can be countered, but even if that happens, you've won a different victory by forcing a removal on a cheap unit. If she successfully arrives, Herald is a weak 1/1, but prevents other creatures (even opposing ones) from being negated, a prime benefit in creature-devoted themes. She also carries the handy elf subtype, empowering green's most abundant faction.
29. Rhythm of the Wild
Here's our second entry for spells that can be negated, but shield your other units. Rhythm not only protects your creatures from counterspells, it grants your non-token creatures riot, which has them arrive with either haste or a +1/+1 counter (your choice). Not bad for just three mana.
28. Domri, Anarch of Bolas
Again mixing red with green, Domri himself can be countered, but he's one of the cheapest planeswalkers available and offers a great passive effect, boosting your units by +1/+0. His +1 loyalty effect adds a red or green mana to your pool and prevents your creatures from being countered for the turn—whether or not you included Domri's mana in their cost. Or, -2 has one of your creatures fight an opposing unit, a great and reusable removal, especially considering Domri's power boost.
27. Taigam, Ojutai Master
Be careful casting Taigam since he can be countered and you don't want to slip on a four-cost play. But once active, he carries a respectable 3/4 stat total and protects your instant, sorcery, and dragon spells from counters. Furthermore, if you cast an instant or sorcery after Taigam attacked during a turn, it gains rebound, letting you recast it for free at your next upkeep.
Insist can be countered, but as a one-mana spell, it's unlikely foes will choose to do so. It protects your next creature spell that turn from being countered, then draws a card, replacing itself in your hand. Not only does this help your strongest troops arrive safely, it places a sorcery into your graveyard, empowering cards with spell mastery or delirium.
Overmaster does for instants and sorceries what Insist does for creatures, preventing your next one-off from being countered. You again draw a card, helpfully replenishing your hand, and can now barricade either of two card types. Just remember that Overmaster itself is only a sorcery, so you'll have to use instants on your own turn if you want them shielded.
We're back to cards that can't be countered, and that's not Skylasher's only check against blue. It also has flash, decent 2/2 stats, protection from blue, and reach, letting you safely guard blue flyers without taking damage. That's a lot of bonuses for such an inexpensive unit, even with the lackluster insect subtype.
23. Slaughter Games
Slaughter Games works especially well for players who know what opponents run, or are familiar enough with Magic to guess upcoming plays. Slaughter can't be countered, has you name a non-land card, then exiles all copies of that card from an opponent's hand, graveyard, and deck. Use this to eliminate your foes biggest threats before they arrive, and if you're lucky, you might deplete opposing hands while you're at it.
22. Loxodon Smiter
Loxodon doesn't have any special effects once fielded, but there's almost no way to stop his arrival. Not only is he immune to countering, he enters the field if an opposing spell causes you to discard him, turning a would-be detriment to your advantage. For his price, he also carries excellent 4/4 stats, outclassing almost all similar-cost creatures.
21. Niv-Mizzet, Parun
Niv-Mizzet demands specific blue and red mana for all of his symbols, meaning he really only belongs in dedicated Izzet themes. However, he can't be countered, has solid 5/5 stats, flying, and the useful dragon and wizard subtypes. Additionally, when you draw a card, Niv deals one damage to any target, and whenever anyone casts an instant or sorcery, you draw. These abilities blend well, letting you chip away at foes while quickly replenishing your hand.
20. Supreme Verdict
Supreme Verdict is somewhat mana-locked, but offers a powerful field wipe, destroying all creatures. Since this doesn't target, it even annihilates those with hexproof or protection. And because Verdict can't be countered, there's little way to stop it, providing an excellent tool for creature-limited commander decks.
Demonfire is only uncounterable while your hand is empty, so take care when casting it. That said, it's common among red aggro decks, which tend to swiftly burn through their hand and easily trigger the bonus. Depending on how much mana you pump it with, Demonfire deals X damage to any target, and creatures killed this way enter exile rather than the graveyard. The damage also can't be prevented if your hand is empty, ensuring you land a punishing blow.
Banefire offers a generally-superior alternative to Demonfire. It can hit any target and similarly deals damage based on its X value. If X is at least five, the spell becomes uncounterable and the damage unpreventable, ensuring your strike lands true whether or not your hand is empty.
Even for a field wipe, Obliterate is expensive, requiring a big investment of eight mana. However, it can't be countered and destroys not only creatures, but also artifacts and lands. With lands gone, players will find themselves short on mana—but hopefully you've fielded enough enchantments and planeswalkers (which ignore the blast) to overwhelm foes.
16. Prowling Serpopard
Serpopard's cat and snake subtypes offer some interesting synergies, and he carries an impressive 4/3 power and toughness. He can't be countered and similarly shields your other creatures, making him a wonderful support/beatstick blend in green aggro decks.
15. Altered Ego
Altered Ego requires at least four mana, entering the field as a copy of any creature, so be sure to clone the field's strongest unit. Plus, if you have leftover resources, you can devote them towards Ego's X value; each extra mana adds a +1/+1 counter to the copy, not only replicating but improving upon the biggest threat. You can mimic your own monsters, but be sure to only duplicate non-legendary creatures to avoid having to sacrifice one.
14. Volcanic Fallout
Volcanic Fallout isn't as strong as most field wipes, but it more than compensates with other advantages. It only needs three mana and deals two damage to all creatures and players. This nicks foes (useful for activating spectacle) and finishes off threats weakened during combat. Of course, Fallout can't be countered. Unlike most sorcery-speed nukes, it plays instantly, catching foes off-guard during their own turn.
13. Thrun, the Last Troll
Thrun's one of the most fortified creatures in the game. He can't be countered, wields impressive 4/4 stats, has hexproof, and can regenerate for two mana. Few removals break through this wall, and since Thrun carries hexproof (not shroud), you can still target him with auras or equipments.
12. Gaea's Revenge
Gaea's Revenge needs seven mana, so be sure to exploit green's ramping to quickly afford him. Thankfully, he can't be countered and has haste, letting him act immediately. His power is a fierce 8, but toughness is only five, so watch out for counterattacks. That said, he can't be targeted by non-green spells or abilities, and since green has few removals, this typically means he's immune to opposing tricks yet applicable for your green buffs.
11. Terra Stomper
Terra Stomper requires a lot of green in his considerable fee, making him awkward in decks running more than two or three colors. However, he can't be countered and wields an outstanding 8/8 ratio. Trample ensures he pierces through blockers, and if you equip Stomper with artifacts like "Lightning Greaves" or "Swiftfoot Boots," he'll also gain haste and become immune to targeting.
10. Carnage Tyrant
Carnage Tyrant shares Stomper's overall cost but isn't as mana-locked. While 7/6 stats aren't as good as 8/8, they're still great for his price, especially when added to countering immunity, trample, and hexproof. You've also got dinosaur synergy and superb clone fodder; Tyrant isn't legendary, letting you control simultaneous copies without sacrificing.
9. Great Sable Stag
Great Stable Stag has a weak subtype (elk) and demands at least two green mana. However, he joins the arena as a sturdy 3/3 with countering immunity and protection from both blue and black, resisting most removals, especially in commander. With few valid blockers or checks, Stag will reliably score damage and defend bigger threats, making him a staple in my own builds, especially since he costs less than a single dollar!
8. Angel's Grace
Grace's text does't specifically mention countering immunity, but it might as well thanks to its split second trait, which prevents players from casting spells or utilizing non-mana abilities while Grace is on the stack (resolving). This low-cost instant simply grants single-turn invincibility, preventing you from losing, your foes from winning, and your life from dipping below one. That extra time can mean the difference between victory and defeat, especially if an opponent just swung with all their creatures and is now wide open.
Like Grace, Trickbind's split second prevents foes from responding to it (whether with counterspells or other tricks), basically ensuring its success. It can't thwart a spell, but offers a rare ability counter, negating any activated or triggered effect. Additionally, that permanent can't activate non-mana abilities for the rest of the turn. Use this to dull a threat that slipped through your countering net, buying time to find a permanent answer.
6. Surrak Dragonclaw
Surrak requires multiple colors but only one of each, making him a viable candidate for rainbow decks as well as three-color ones. He enjoys a great 6/6 ratio, can't be countered, and has flash, letting you cast him at instant speed. Surrak also prevents your other creatures from being countered and grants them trample, two excellent boosts on top of an already formidable beatstick.
5. Dragonlord Dromoka
A Dromoka arrival can entirely ruin a counterspell theme. Not only is she immune to countering, she prevents opponents from casting any spells on your turn, protecting you from counters and other instants. Dromoka also has strong 5/7 stats, flying, and lifelink, recovering your health with each attack.
4. Abrupt Decay
Abrupt Decay has specific Golgari mana needs and can only target permanents of cost three or less. However, it can't be countered, resolves at instant speed, and can destroy any non-land permanent, meaning you've got a potential artifact, creature, enchantment, or even planeswalker removal. As long as your deck contains answers for more expensive spells, Decay will take care of early to mid-game threats regardless of their type.
3. Cavern of Souls
Cavern of Souls offers one of the best supports for decks that champion a single subtype, and it enters untapped and ready to use. You choose a subtype when it arrives, and Cavern can tap for any mana color when casting a creature in that family. Additionally, that spell can't be countered, making this land perfect for bloodlines that employ multiple colors (like dragons or merfolk). Plus, you can always tap Cavern for a single colorless, contributing even to spells outside your specialty.
2. Vexing Shusher
Vexing Shusher's unique mana symbols accept either green or red mana, meaning you're rarely color-locked out of him. He wields solid 2/2 stats, can't be countered, and can spend a red or green mana to make any spell uncounterable. So as long as your plays can spare an extra resource, your entire deck becomes immune to countering. As icing on the cake, Shusher is a goblin, blending well with red's premier faction.
1. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Powerful enough to warrant a ban in commander, Emrakul has an insane cost, but you can circumvent it with free-creature effect on spells like "Elvish Piper." Or, you can simply ramp until you can afford him; after all, he can't be countered and grants an extra turn when legitimately cast.
Additionally, Emrakul wields fantastic 15/15 stats alongside flying, protection from colored spells, and a devastating annihilator 6, forcing the defending player to sacrifice six permanents when he swings! Emrakul also reshuffles himself into your library if placed into your graveyard, allowing a potential redraw even if he's milled or discarded.
Preventing Opposing Spells During Your Turn
In addition to today's spells, you can fight blue with cards like "Grand Abolisher" and "Conqueror's Flail." Although these can be countered, they're low-cost and prevent opponents from casting spells during your turn.
You can also fight fire with fire by countering counterspells used against you, although this requires large sums of mana since it involves casting at least two spells in the same turn. But for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of uncounterable powerhouses, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill