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Top 10 Anti-Creature Spells in Magic: The Gathering

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

Creature Removal in Magic

Almost every Magic deck incorporates creatures, who offer various abilities alongside the ability to attack and block. Plus, in commander format, you know opponents will have at least one creature available throughout the match, making it all the more important to have answers ready.

Creature removals take several forms, from simple board wipes to spells that increase their casting cost—which reign supreme? These are the ten best anti-creature cards in Magic: The Gathering!

Archfiend of Depravity mtg

Archfiend of Depravity mtg

10. Archfiend of Depravity

CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 5

Archfiend requires a lot of mana, but provides a powerful and continuous debuff that only affects opponents. During each of their end steps, your opponents choose up to two creatures they control, then sacrifice the rest.

Sure, they get to save a few, but this tremendously obstructs field-swarming decks and bypasses defenses like indestructible and hexproof. Plus, Archfiend is a 5/4 with flying and demon synergy, making him a menacing creature himself.

Pendrell Mists mtg

Pendrell Mists mtg

9. Pendrell Mists

CMC: 4

Mists forces all players (including you) to pay one mana for each creature they control at their upkeep, sacrificing any they don't pay for. You're affected too, but you'll presumably have built a mostly non-creature deck to avoid the net, proceeding unhindered as opponents are forced to loss their minions or deplete their mana.

8. Wrath of God/Damnation

CMC: 4

These board wipes are the same card, just in different colors. Both sorceries destroy all creatures and prevent them from regenerating, a devastating blow that doesn't target. Once again, you'll be impacted as well, but clever deck-building or careful timing ensures rivals lose far more than you.

Invoke Prejudice mtg

Invoke Prejudice mtg

7. Invoke Prejudice

CMC: 4

Prejudice requires blue mana for every slot, making it unwieldy outside mono-blue themes (although it's great for empowering devotion). Whenever an opponent casts a creature that doesn't share a color with a creature you control, Prejudice counters the creature unless its cost is paid again.

You can guarantee the effect by either controlling no creatures or only colorless ones, each of which drastically slows foes by doubling the mana costs of their troops.

Toxic Deluge mtg

Toxic Deluge mtg

6. Toxic Deluge

CMC: 3

In terms of mana, Deluge is one of the cheapest board wipes available,. For three mana, you pay X life to give all creatures -X/-X for the turn. Sure, your health will take a hit, but commander format offers excess life anyway, and Deluge can kill foes with indestructible (who still die if their toughness reaches zero).

Terminus mtg

Terminus mtg

5. Terminus

CMC: 6 (1 with miracle)

Like other miracle cards, Terminus has an expensive base price, but offers an enormous discount if cast when drawn as your first draw of the turn. Either way, it places all creatures on the bottom of their owners' deck, eradicating all foes and bypassing nearly every possible defense.

Use Terminus in non-creature decks where you'll have little to lose while opponents suffer a massive blow.

Lethal Vapors mtg

Lethal Vapors mtg

4. Lethal Vapors

CMC: 4

This dangerous enchantment automatically destroys any creature that enters the field, basically preventing anything without indestructible from arriving. Now, anyone can destroy Lethal Vapors for free, but if they do, they skip their next turn. So, you either block future creatures or eradicate an entire opposing turn—either way, you win.

Humility mtg

Humility mtg

3. Humility

CMC: 4

This infamous enchantment doesn't destroy creatures, but turns them into weak 1/1s with no abilities. And since this ability doesn't target or destroy, even protection from white or hexproof won't save foes from it.

So whether it's the abilities or the stats of opposing creatures that you're worried about, Humility as you covered (just remember it affects your units as well).

Portcullis mtg

Portcullis mtg

2. Portcullis

CMC: 4

Portcullis offers a cheaper alternative to Archfiend that's available to any color. Whenever a creature enters the field, if there are two or more other creatures already present, Portcullis exiles the new unit until Portcullis leaves the field.

With just two creatures in play, foes will be hard-pressed to pressure you, especially if you happen to control one or both of the allowed units. A staple for my own anti-creature decks, Portcullis is also surprisingly cheap for a competitive rare, costing less than a single dollar!

The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale mtg

The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale mtg

1. The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale

CMC: 0

If you liked Pendrell Mists, you'll love Tabernacle, which offers the same effect in land form, forcing players to pay one mana or forfeit their creatures at their upkeep. So, for the small price of spending your turn's land drop, you gain the power of a four-cost enchantment with the safety of a land (which are generally harder to remove).

An absolute must-have for non-creature decks, Tabernacle can't tap for mana but essentially offers a disguised and heavily-discounted enchantment.

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic mtg

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic mtg

Creature Removals in Magic

Today we examined anti-creature tactics that focus on continuous or field-wide punishment, but you can obtain smaller single-use removals with cards like "Doom Blade" or "Swords to Plowshares".

For non-creature commander decks, I heavily recommend "Oloro, Ageless Ascetic", who offers ideal colors (blue, black, and white) and has an eminence-esque ability that triggers from the command zone, safely protected from creature hate. But for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of anti-creature spells, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!

© 2019 Jeremy Gill