Hello readers! Welcome to the first entry in our new series Eye of the Stack! In this series we will look at some of the more in-depth interactions of the many cards in Magic: The Gathering. Let’s begin!
You know what annoys me? Things that can’t be countered. Not because I play control decks but because that makes them harder to dispose of, especially when they are instants or sorceries. The good news is you can make the best out of some situations involving uncounterable spells with counter spells that have more effects than just “Counter target spell.”
Wreak Havoc is a card you might end up seeing some point in your Commander career. It’s hard to combat when it can’t be countered by spells or abilities. The interesting thing to note here is that it can’t be countered, but it can be targeted. Enter Mystic Genesis! Mystic Genesis likes to counter cards and give you an ooze token as well. Seems awesome right? Well it is when you realize that you don’t have to actually counter a spell to get that token!
Since the spell tells you to put a token onto the battlefield based off of the spell’s converted mana cost all it needs is a valid target on the stack. Sure you still lose your land or artifact but getting a 4/4 in its place isn’t half bad if you ask me.
“That’s fine and all, but I play Modern Frantic!” I hear you. Let’s make this a little more practical.
Remand is one of the most played counter spells in Modern. Supreme Verdict is a very popular board wipe. Is it likely you’ll see Supreme Verdict at your local game shop? Absolutely. I’ve run into a few in my brief time at my LGS. So how does this work exactly? Well, Supreme Verdict will kill all of your creatures. There’s really no foolproof way around it. You can Remand, targeting the Verdict, and Remand fails to counter it. Something important to note is that Remand reads “If that spell was countered this way, put it into its owner’s hand…” Notice that we didn’t counter it? That means Verdict won’t go back to your opponent’s hand. You can breathe a sigh of relief there. What does happen after that, though, is that you get to draw a card! Not the worst situation right? Nothing like getting a card ahead of your opponent.
So keep in mind that you can try and counter any spell that says it can’t be countered and still potentially gain benefits as long as those benefits aren’t contingent upon actually countering the spell. The spells don’t have hexproof or protection while on the stack unless they specifically say so.
I hope you found this first entry of Eye of the Stack to be both interesting and helpful. Maybe you’ll use this knowledge to gain an advantage on your friends or opponents in your next matchup!