Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Board Wipes in Magic
When an opponent gains a field advantage during Magic games, it's time to unleash a board-clearing field wipe, often destroying all creatures, artifacts, and/or enchantments. Since they don't target, these powerful spells bypass hexproof and can really turn the tide of a game.
Nukes like "Wrath of God" and "Blasphemous Act" only function at sorcery speed, but a few nukes can trigger on opposing turns—which reign supreme? These are the ten best instant-speed board wipes in Magic: The Gathering!
10 Best Instant Field Wipes in Magic
- Settle the Wreckage
- Fracturing Gust (artifacts/enchantments)
- Angel of the Dire Hour
- Consume the Meek
- Sunder (bounce all lands)
- Nevinyrral's Disk/Magus of the Disk
- Cyclonic Rift
10. Settle the Wreckage
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 4
Here's a high-risk high-reward spell best in 1v1 since it only hinders one opponent. You exile all attacking creatures a player controls, then they can play that many basic lands from their deck tapped onto the field.
Admittedly, this means you're potentially handing them a bunch of free mana for future turns, but it's still an excellent nuke that leaves your own field untouched and doesn't destroy but exiles, preventing graveyard shenanigans. Better still, try this against decks unlikely to have many basic lands (like four or five-color commander decks), and won't gain any extra resources!
Aetherize, or Ætherize if you want to be fancy, offers another single-opponent wipe that thwarts attacking creatures, this time returning them to hand. Sure, they can be resummoned, but this time you won't give your opponent any lands, and since the spell only needs one blue mana, it's pretty splashable in multicolor decks.
Versatile and powerful, Aetherize is also today's cheapest card, costing well under two dollars!
Evacuation costs more mana than Aetherize and can potentially clear your own units, bouncing all creatures back to hand. But it works better against multiple opponents and will affect every enemy unit, not just attackers.
Plus, you can use it to return blue's common entrance-effect wizards to hand and reactivate their abilities when recast.
7. Angel of the Dire Hour
Last attacker-punishing spell, I promise. Dire Hour requires a heap of mana, but exiles all attacking creatures (you can cast her as an instant thanks to flash) without Wreckage's land-giving disadvantage.
From there, you've got a flying 5/4 beatstick with angel synergy, helping you mount a comeback and steal the win.
6. Fracturing Gust
While it requires several mana, Gust offers one of the game's most versatile nukes. Its hybrid symbols accept either white or green mana, and it hits two card types, destroying all artifacts and enchantments at instant speed! As a bonus, you'll gain two life for each.
Gust fits well in decks that don't heavily rely on these card types, and if you'd rather just nuke enchantments, consider green's cheaper "Back to Nature", which only costs two mana.
5. Consume the Meek
Meek nukes all creatures with cost three or less and prevents them from regenerating. This works best in decks that are either light on creatures or run ones that cost more than three mana, minimizing your losses while eradicating multiple foes. It'll also massacre token creatures, which count as zero-cost.
CMC: 5 (7 with flash)
Cast at sorcery speed, Rout is a slightly more-expensive "Wrath of God", destroying all creatures and preventing them from regenerating. But you may instead play it with flash (at instant speed) if you pay two extra mana.
Like other instant nukes, this lets you wait until after your opponent has cast spells during their turn, hopefully annihilating additional enemies with extreme prejudice.
Here's a rare land board wipe, bouncing all lands (including yours) back to hand. Since players can only play one per turn, this'll drastically stall everyone's ability to play anything, very likely giving the game to whoever has the better field state.
Try waiting until after your opponent's land drop to add insult to injury, preventing them from starting to resupply until their next turn. This will also likely cause players to have more than seven cards in hand and thus discard, which you can avoid with infinite-hand effects like "Reliquary Tower" (which will have to be refielded it since it's a land).
2. Nevinyrral's Disk/Magus of the Disk
You can only cast these guys during your main phase, and they enter tapped, so you'll have to wait to use them and opponents will see what you're up to. Nevertheless, both bear the same instant-speed tap effect, spending one mana to destroy all artifacts, creatures, and enchantments!
That's an enormous blast that eradicates three common card types during any phase. Use in instant, sorcery, or planeswalker decks to avoid damage, or simply when you have less to lose than your opponents. Nevinyrral's colorless nature usually makes it the better play, but Magus works well in creature-focused decks or ones that utilize white devotion.
1. Cyclonic Rift
CMC: 2 (7 with overload)
Rift's an excellent removal because it can shift between a low-cost single-target bounce and a devastating field-wide nuke that leaves your own board unscathed! At base price, Rift bounces any non-land back to hand, a respectable check against many card types.
But if overloaded for seven mana, you'll return all opposing non-lands to hand, This brutal nuke bypasses nearly every defense in the game: protection from blue, indestructible, and hexproof all fail to stop it. Instant speed and the perk of leaving your field untouched seal the deal, easily making this one of the most feared commander spells.
Standard Nukes in Magic
Today we examined many nasty spells to ruin opposing turns, but remember you've also got plenty of sorcery-speed board wipes to consider. While not as fast, they often cost less mana, ensuring you'll have enough resources to afford them.
Instant or not, board wipes remain some of Magic's most feared spells, especially in commander format. But as we await Wizards of the Coast's next set of nukes, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill