The Best Blue Removal Spells For Commander

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  • Pongify And Rapid Hybridization

Every color in Magic: The Gathering gets to excel at something the other colors aren’t great at. Blue’s the undisputed king of countermagic and pure card draw, but it’s lagging far behind most other colors in the removal department. Bounce spells, which return permanents to their owners’ hands, are blue’s primary form of removal, though that’s not an ideal answer to many threats.

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Check to see if these removal cards fit your deck.

Blue does manage to get a little creative with some of its better 1-for-1 removal spells. The color pie dictates that blue can’t simply destroy something and call it a day; it has to turn it into something else entirely, usually dealing with a problem, but leaving something noteworthy behind in its stead.

10 Suspend

Can You Guess What It Does?

MTG - Suspend

Suspend is as effective a removal spell as it is a clever play on words. It does exactly what you’d expect: It ‘suspends’ a creature in exile for a few turns. That means whatever you remove is coming back two turns later, but two turns is an eternity in Commander.

You can always target your own creature if it’s about to die anyway, hopefully one with a good enters-the-battlefield effect. Pair Suspend with cards like Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir to permanently ‘suspend’ your opponents’ spells in exile.

9 Ravenform

Form Of… Bird!

MTG - Ravenform

Blue mages love transforming creatures into something else, as evidenced by Ravenform. It transmogrifies any artifact or creature into a 1/1 Bird, which is much less threatening in Commander than it would be in Limited or Constructed.

If you ever find yourself with two spare mana and you’ve got a Foretell card in hand, you might as well exile it so you can cast it for its cheaper cost later on. You’ll still pay the same total amount overall, but it’s good to break up mana payments into installments.

8 Chain of Vapor

Eye For An Eye

MTG - Chain of Vapor

Chain of Vapor’s a 1-mana answer to anything that slips past your counterspells, and introduces an interesting mini-game between you and your opponents. The targeted player can throw the spell back at you, which gives you another opportunity to keep the chain going.

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If you want to get political, you can aim the original copy at something beneficial for its controller to return to hand, then they can thank you by sending a copy at something problematic for both of you. You can always target your own permanents and copy to your heart’s (and manabase’s) content, too.

7 Venser, Shaper Savant

A Flashy Man-o’-War

MTG - Venser, Shaper Savant

Venser, Shaper Savant is a simple way to get a permanent off board, and at instant speed, no less, thanks to Flash. Unlike an instant or sorcery with this same effect, Venser puts a body on board, which represents a clean 2-for-1 in your favor.

Of course, Venser’s ability being an ETB effect means it’s a perfect target for flicker effects, making Venser’s ability to bounce lands even more threatening. With an ability doubler like Panharmonicon in play, Venser can bounce itself on the second trigger, creating a loop that makes it hard for opponents’ threats to stick.

6 In Too Deep

Get A Clue

MTG - In Too Deep

In Too Deep and similar split second spells allow you to interact with near 100-percent certainty that your opponents can’t thwart your plans, though some abilities like Morph or mana abilities can still be used with a split second spell on the stack.

This aura’s a clever, roundabout way to get rid of a problem creature or planeswalker. It turns it into an artifact Clue and strips away all relevant text. Your opponent will be able to cash it in for a card at some point, but they lose the enchanted permanent either way.

5 Pongify And Rapid Hybridization

Ape-ification

MTG - Pongify + Rapid Hybridization

Pongify and Rapid Hybridization are functionally the same card, and some of the only mono-blue cards in Magic history that use the text “destroy target creature.” While it’s perfectly within blue’s wheelhouse to remove a creature and replace it with something else, destroying a creature is a color pie break for blue.

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Their uniqueness as blue cards makes them very popular in Commander, especially in mono-blue decks that don’t typically have such hyper-efficient ways to destroy creatures. The fact that there are two different versions means you’re free to double up on this effect in a singleton deck.

4 Reality Shift

Manifest Destiny

MTG - Reality Shift

Reality Shift is always skirting around the top 20 blue cards in Commander; it’s an immensely popular removal spell for blue mages, and the fact that it manifests instead of simply creating a token makes for some exciting stories. You rarely know if your opponent manifested a creature or not.

The typical combat-focused Commander deck runs somewhere in the ballpark of 30-40 creatures, meaning that Reality Shift will manifest a creature less than half the time. Other times it manifests Blightsteel Colossus, which you won’t know about until it’s too late.

3 Cyber Conversion

Cyberman Down!

MTG - Cyber Conversion

Cyber Conversion from Doctor Who Commander is an upgraded version of Reality Shift with a more restrictive casting cost. Instead of manifesting, which backfires some amount of the time, the opposing creature gets turned face-down, becoming a negligible 2/2.

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A creature can’t be turned face-up without an ability like Morph allowing it to do so. Assuming your opponent isn’t playing a specific strategy like this, Cyber Conversion can blank a commander and force them to figure out a creative way to get it back to its front face.

2 Slip Out The Back

Be Right Back

MTG - Slip Out the Back

It’s slightly disingenuous to call Slip Out the Back a removal spell since it’s primarily played as a means to save one of your own creatures. Phasing is currently the best form of protection in Magic, since it dodges virtually all forms of removal, including exile.

However, you can absolutely weaponize Slip Out the Back in the right situations. Sometimes it’s a single creature that’s blocking your path to victory. Phasing that creature out long enough to land the killing blow means you never have to face the repercussions of putting a +1/+1 counter on an opposing creature.

1 Cyclonic Rift

Wait, There’s A Two-Mana Mode?

MTG - Cyclonic Rift

Cyclonic Rift is big Commander boogieman, sweeping up entire fields while leaving the caster’s board completely unscathed. But did you know there’s a rare, hidden mode on Cyclonic Rift? That’s right, you can cast this as a two-mana spell to bounce a single target! What a shock!

Why would you ever blow a Cyc Rift on a single permanent? You might not have seven mana available but need to deal with something immediately. Second, there might only be one permanent separating you from victory, and the overload cost would be overkill.

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