Top 10 Counterspells in Commander

     I thought I'd put together a "top cards" commander series based on my experiences with my weekly playgroup.   We've put some thought into this, and time and again when I'm playing blue I tend to reach for the same counterspells over and over.   This list is a bi-product of those deck creation sessions.  Note most of my decks in the blue color identity don't contain all of these, because I often simply don't have the room, and this list doesn't include some situational counterspells that might be amazing in a specific deck but generally are unplayable in most others.  If I'm making a blue deck, these are always considered in the permission slot, and usually in the order I have listed.

10) Desertion

Not only can you counter a spell but you get to steal a powerful permanent. I pity the player who has their Mindslaver stolen in this fashion. More importantly, this card allows you to steal enemy generals, keeping them out of your opponent's control and also out of the commander zone. If this card cost less colorless mana, it would probably be at the top of the list.

9) Forbid

One of the challenges in Commander is being able to deal with a large number of threats in a multiplayer environment, this is compounded when playing a permission battle. Forbid allows you to cheat this by countering multiple threats with the same card. The cost is steep, but in decks that like to jettison things into their graveyard anyway, this card is a natural choice, particularly when you have a reanimate in your hand. At worst this card is a cancel with options, which is a heck of a lot better than cancel.

8) Muddle the Mixture

At face value this is a crummier version of vanilla counterspell, but it can counter powerful game breaking effects like Wrath of God, Armageddon or Insurrection for two blue mana while also serving as a tutor when the time is right. Tutoring up Lightining Greaves or Scroll Rack in a deck full of islands is nice. A fabricate that can backup as a counterspell should be appreciated. It can't counter creatures, which is notable, but doesn't make it not worth strong consideration in your blue deck.

7) Force of Will

The only real drawback to the Force is that using it to its potential costs you a card in a meta-game where tempo is often less vital than card advantage. It's also notable the card you pitch must be blue making it harder to take advantage of the more colors you have in your deck. Force is the best permission card in Legacy, but in Commander it has to settle for being just really good.

6) Pact of Negation

A potent spell that allows you to push through that game winning combo or back-breaking Time Stretch certainly deserves to be on this list. The only problem with the pact is it lacks viability early in the game, unless of course you plan on never relinquishing your turn to begin with.

5) Voidslime

Our lone multi-color counterspell on this list, it offers choices at a reasonable cost which pushes it into the top tier. It not only stops problem spells from resolving, but it also can serve as a stifle when needed.  Voidslime stops un-fun cards like Tormod's Crypt, Bojuka Bog, Sun Titan or Eldrazi annihilator triggers from fulfilling their potential.

4) Cryptic Command

The Swiss Army Knife of counterspells. Versatility is crucial in commander and this card offers plenty of choices. It is a Dismiss, Boomerang and Sleep all bundled into a single card. It's prohibitive cmc of 4 and triple blue casting requirement cost makes it difficult to play in 3+ color decks, and prevents it from being higher on the list.

3) Spell Crumple

WOTC was prescient enough to understand that tuck is one of the most devastating effects in Commander, so they included this card in the Commander Pre-Constructed decks. It doesn't disappoint and for only 3 mana and the ability to banish any commander or spell into an opponent's deck, this is one of the most powerful counterspells in the format.

2) Hinder

A Spell Crumple with some negligible options. It offers a memory lapse effect if desired and more importantly, unlike spell crumple, goes to your graveyard instead of your deck, making it slightly easier to retrieve with stuff like Call to Mind.

1) Mana Drain

This is premium spell for commander, both in power level and price.  It's inexpensive to cast and can swing a game in your favor dramatically with the mana boost.  Follow this up with a timely Rite of Replication or Time Stretch and crush everyone else at the table.

Apologies to:  Counterspell, Spelljack, Foil

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