Last updated on August 16, 2023
Veil of Summer | Illustration by Riyou Kamei
Blue is the undisputed counterspell master, and countering spells are firmly in the blue part of the color pie. But all colors of Magic can mess with the stack somehow and prevent effects from happening. Today we’re taking a look at all the green counterspells.
They’re very narrow and usually aim to stop artifacts from working since green is an artifact’s public enemy #1. Is there any green counterspell worth playing, or are they all too bad?
Let’s find out!
Autumn's Veil | Illustration by Kekai Kotaki
Green counterspells in MTG are green cards that can counter a spell on the stack or stop a trigger from resolving. I’m only including cards that are mono-green, although there are some interesting multicolor counterspells that dip into green. The main color that’s allowed to counter spells is blue, but green has been allowed to put a stop on abilities here and there (especially in the old days).
Lifeforce is the green mirror to Deathgrip. It’s an enchantment that allows you to pay to counter a black spell, and you should play it depending on your meta. A black EDH player hates to see this card around the table, that’s for sure, but it’s hard to justify including this since it’s too narrow.
With Rust, you can counter an artifact’s activated ability. It’s a really, really narrow card that will work in some situations, like a player sacrificing Jeweled Lotus to get mana only to get nothing in response, or maybe they don’t get cards from sacrificing Hedron Archive. It has huge upside potential, though, so give it a quick consideration and think about your local EDH meta.
Moving on, we have a serviceable card in Avoid Fate. It’s a protection spell, so you can save your permanents from auras and removal or bounce spells. Green and white cards nowadays have ways to give protection or hexproof, so this is an older and less-effective card. It’s also useless against sorceries, so consider “avoiding” Avoid Fate unless you’re in need of more ways to protect your commander and big threats. On the bright side, it works for any kind of permanent, unlike cards like Ranger's Guile that work only on creatures.
Bind has the magic text “draw a card” that makes everything better, so there’s that. You’ll be able to counter activated abilities and draw a card. Sometimes you’ll just cycle Bind and get little benefit.
Autumn's Veil is a nice card but never got the Constructed spotlight. It’s not technically a green counterspell, but you can counter a blue counterspell with it, a blue bounce spell, or a black removal spell. It was considered mostly a sideboard card in Limited or in Constructed against .
With Verdant Command, I’m rating the card more for the different possibilities than the counter effect. It’s a very narrow counter ability, since it only gets loyalty abilities from planeswalkers, and you can stop planeswalkers from ultimating or sweeping the board in some cases (Elspeth, Sun's Champion comes to mind). The modes that see the most play are usually the token making and the exile/lifegain abilities. Still, these are very situational abilities, and squirrel/token decks get a buffed Raise the Alarm variant.
Emerald Dragon, besides being a 4/4 flying trampler, has the adventure mode Dissonant Wave that counters an activated or triggered ability. Granted, it must come from a noncreature source, so you can’t counter an ETB trigger or a creature’s activated ability (it won’t matter for Thassa's Oracle, basically). It’s a Stifle variant and can get a lot of different permanents, from fetch lands to Jeweled Lotus, while preventing planeswalkers from ultimating. You’ll also get the creature later if there’s nothing else worthwhile to counter, and in some multicolor dragon tribal deck, this card can also be a worthy creature.
The nicest thing about this card is that you get to destroy the permanent whose ability gets countered. Your opponent has tapped a mana rock for mana. Not only will you deny the mana generation but also destroy the mana rock and get a 2/2. Or you’ll counter a good ETB from an artifact creature like Sundering Titan and destroy it. It’s even got foretell to have a little extra functionality, whether you care about paying mana on the course of 2 turns or casting cards from exile.
Veil of Summer has the potential to be a “counter target counterspell and draw a card”. This multiformat staple can protect your creatures against black removal spells, make your spells uncounterable, and even prevent effects that target you as a player (like Diabolic Edict). We all know that Invoke Despair is a very powerful card that got banned in Standard, but what if you could get rid of all its negative effects while also drawing a card for just a single ? Veil of Summer is banned in formats like Pioneer or Explorer because it’s a card that invalidates many game plans and it contributed to green’s dominance for a time.
You can. If you do and it resolves, you’ll draw at least one card because your opponent has cast a blue spell, and your spell on the stack won’t be able to be countered. Of course, your opponent can counter your Veil of Summer and in this case nothing will happen.
Verdant Command | Illustration by Mark Poole
Most of the green counterspells are very narrow, and they must have some limitations based on what green hates best, which is noncreature permanents and its enemy colors, blue and black. So, a card like Green Slime can be a super Naturalize that also invalidates the permanent’s ETB effect. Veil of Summer is a nightmare for blue and black players.
But as you can see, mono-green counterspells are very bad, and you should think twice before including them in your deck. Unless you are that Force Spike player. Did you know any of these cards? Are you looking forward to play with them? Let me know in the comments section below, or leave a message at our Draftsim Twitter.
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