Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Creature-Counterspells in Magic?
Not to be confused with counterspells that specifically work on creatures, today we'll examine creatures that actually counter other spells. Typically blue, these guys usually will either have flash (letting you chain them at instant speed) or effects that set them up ahead of time to counter when ready.
Many contain the wizard subtype or other abilities to sweeten the pot; which reign supreme? These are the ten best creature counterspells in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Frilled Mystic
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 4
Mystic's biggest downside is his stringent cost, specifically needing two blue and two green mana. But in return, you can cast him at instant speed thanks to flash, and counter any spell upon arrival. From there, you've got a respectable 3/2 body with both the elf and wizard subtypes (plus lizard for good measure).
A staple in my own Simic decks, Mystic is also one of today's cheapest cards, costing less than a single dollar!
9. Mystic Snake
Compared to Frilled Mystic, Mystic Snake has slightly worse 2/2 stats and only one subtype, but still counters a spell with flash speed. Plus, snakes enjoy a fair amount of tribal synergy, and Snake's allowance of one colorless mana goes a long way towards ensuring you don't get color-locked out of him.
8. Draining Whelk
Today's most expensive spell, Whelk needs a hefty amount of six mana, but has flash and again counters any spell when he enters the field. More than that, he gains X +1/+1 counters, where X was the countered spell's cost, quickly improving his initial 1/1 stats.
A counterspell/beatstick combo who can accept several non-blue mana, Whelk's a prime addition to any commander deck.
7. Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
For his price, Kira's stats are only 2/2, but flying makes him hard to block. More than that, for each creature you control, Kira counters the first spell or ability that targets them every turn.
Locked out of both spells and abilities, foes will struggle to remove your units without board wipes; just remember you can inadvertently counter your own spells if you're not careful. With that in mind, try Kira in decks that don't use many self-targeting aura or equipment boosts.
6. Spiketail Drakeling
Not to be confused with his inferior cousin "Spiketail Drake," Drakeling has the same cost and 2/2 flying stats as Kira. But he's not legendary (so you can control duplicates), and he can sacrifice himself at any time to counter a spell unless its owner spends an extra two mana.
Used wisely, this can thwart nearly any play, and since Drakeling doesn't have to tap to activate it, you can employ the effect immediately, even without haste.
Cursecatcher's stats are a puny 1/1, he can only sacrifice himself to counter an instant or sorcery, and only if its controller doesn't spend an extra mana. Sure, this limits his negation potential, but it's a bargain for just one mana, especially considering Cursecatcher's merfolk and wizard bloodlines.
4. Judge's Familiar
Familiar works just like Cursecatcher, able to sacrifice himself at any time to counter an instant or sorcery unless its caster spends an additional mana. This time, you don't have merfolk or wizard subtypes (instead carrying the relatively useless bird category), but in exchange, Familiar has flying and can be cast with either white or blue mana, offering an adaptable creature.
3. Spiketail Hatchling
Drakeling's smaller counterpart has worse 1/1 stats and only forces an opponent to spend one extra mana to override his counter. But you can still use this effect against any type of spell, Hatchling only needs two mana, and this time only one of it has to be blue, fitting better in multi-color decks.
2. Glen Elendra Archmage
For her price, Glen's stats are a weak 2/2. But she more than compensates with flying, the faerie and wizard subtypes, and a flexible cost that only needs one blue. More than that, she can spend a blue mana and sacrifice herself to counter a non-creature spell, and her persist trait revives her from the graveyard with a -1/-1 counter if she had none when she died.
This will trigger whether Glen died from sacrificing herself or from an opposing removal, ensuring you get at least one use from her even if she's immediately hit with "Bolt" or the like.
1. Spellstutter Sprite
Like many creature-counterspells, Sprite has puny 1/1 stats. But again we see flying, the faerie and wizard subtypes, and flash, letting you cast her at instant speed. Chain her as a response; on arrival, Sprite counters a spell unless its controller spends X extra mana, where X is the number of faeries you control.
Even by herself, Sprite can thwart a spell if your opponent is all tapped out, and she only strengthens when used alongside her tribe. Plus, since she's not set ahead of time, it's easier to catch foes by surprise with her effect.
Why Use Creature Counterspells in Magic?
Many traditional instant counterspells deserve mention, but substituting creatures has its benefits. Several empower the merfolk, faerie, or wizard tribes, can be set ahead of time to free future mana usage, and combo better with creature-related supports (like "Loyal Guardian" or "Nissa, Steward of Elements").
Of course, you're welcome to utilize cards of each type, taking the best of both worlds to form a competitive deck. But for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of creature-counterspells, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill