Last updated on December 28, 2023
All Is Dust | Illustration by Jason Felix
Hello planeswalkers! MTG is full of wonderful colors and guilds, but what about the colorless? Are we just supposed to forget about cards that go in any deck? I know you’re smart enough not to think that way, so today let’s look at colorless sorceries and how they can benefit your builds.
Sorceries tend to be very powerful spells that have timing restrictions. They often get overshadowed by the fast and versatile instant spells. There has always been and will always be a ton of hype around instants, but powerful sorceries can be the game-enders you need.
The colorless aspect of these sorceries should give them slightly more playability, so let’s check them out!
What Are Colorless Sorceries in MTG?
Wandering Archaic | Illustration by Wayne Reynolds
Colorless sorceries are sorceries that only use generic mana and colorless mana in their mana costs, with no individual mana color symbols. They have no color designations and can usually be paid for with any kind of mana. We’ll also take a look at sorceries with the keyword devoid. These sorceries do have colored mana symbols in their casting cost, but the devoid keyword states that they’re colorless spells regardless. Neither kind of colorless sorceries are affected by spells or effects that interact with specific colors.
Colorless sorceries first appeared in the 2010 release of Rise of the Eldrazi. The Eldrazi aren’t physical beings and don’t align with any color, so the sorceries in any set involving Eldrazi reflect this nature, and this is where we get most of our colorless sorceries. The devoid keyword appears in the Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch sets. We’ll also see some of the lessons from the Strixhaven: School of Mages set.
Crumble to Dust is a decent way to remove pesky special lands tormenting you. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is a viable strategy for most competitive decks. Kick back and just enjoy removing lands like Tolarian Academy and Faceless Haven.
Making opponents discard or exile cards from their hands can be a solid disruptive strategy. Witness the End is a slow and clunky version of removing cards from your opponent’s hand. It works, but probably not well enough to be valuable.
Lessons are a great way to use your sideboard during a regular game. You don’t have to maindeck these colorless sorceries, but can take advantage of them with the learn ability. Lessons are valuable cards to have in your sideboard, but honestly you can skip Expanded Anatomy. It’s too slow and easily interacted with, and therefore not valuable enough.
Flaying Tendrils definitely works fine as a sideboard piece. It can remove swarms of smaller threats your opponent may have, but it also affects your creatures. There are just so many good removal and mass sweeper spells out there that Flaying Tendrils probably won’t even show up on your radar.
Processor Assault does 5 damage for 2 mana. Sign me up. The big downside here is the additional casting cost of returning a card from exile to an opponent’s graveyard. If there isn't a card in exile, you can’t cast this, which makes it okay removal with some downsides.
Swarm Surge is a decent mass pump, especially for your colorless creatures. With the right removal and creatures in play you can set yourself up for a massive strike. I don’t think there’s too much upside with the mass pump, but you know what you’re getting with it.
Mascot Exhibition is the control player’s kind of lesson. If you can control the board, you're rewarded with several creature tokens from one card. The obvious downsides here are the mana value and susceptibility to mass removal.
#14. Ruin in Their Wake
A card that can bring an extra land onto the battlefield is valuable for staying ahead of the curve. Ruin in Their Wake unfortunately has a stipulation of controlling a Wastes in order to actually ramp you. This isn’t such a big deal, but I think it limits your creativity when you’re only dealing with colorless lands like Wastes.
Transgress the Mind is one of those gambling kinds of discard spells. Sure, for 2 mana you can possibly exile an Atraxa, Grand Unifier, which has huge value. On the other hand, you could exile nothing and essentially slow down your own playing speed early on. Take a chance if you're brave enough.
Introduction to Prophecy isn’t a must-have lesson spell, but it does serve a purpose. Getting the cards you need and gaining the draw advantage over an opponent are necessary for many victories. Introduction to Prophecy helps, just not in the most cost-effective manner.
In my opinion, the Wandering Archaic side of this card is the high value play. It forces your opponent to pay extra mana unless they want you to copy their instant or sorceries. On the other side,Explore the Vastlands is an okay top deck card if you think you can get a much better instant or sorcery than your opponent. The sorcery here has limited upside and could even hurt you depending on the cards on top of the libraries.
Oblivion Strike is straightforward removal. You can exile target creature at sorcery speed. The exile is wonderful, but the speed just won’t cut it for most competitive decks. Eat to Extinction is the clearcut choice in competitive decks.
Adding ways to gain a mana advantage early is paramount for many strategies. Call the Scions gives you two creatures you can sacrifice for mana, which will keep you well ahead of the curve. I don’t like the speed of this card or its susceptibility to removal, but mana advantages can be crucial to success, especially with Eldrazi decks.
For a whopping 12 mana, you better get a ton of value out of a spell. Rise of the Eldrazi provides the removal, colorless card draw, and highly desired extra turn you can always use in the late-game. Whether you sneak this card into play or save all your mana, you’ll need to develop a strategy to use this card to its maximum effectiveness.
Gruesome Slaughter is such an apt name for this card. It can be the kind of one-sided board wipe that changes a game. This is the kind of mid to late round card that can break a stalemate in your favor. It does require you to have decent colorless creatures and tap them instead of attacking, so build your plan accordingly.
With so many superfriends decks out there, I believe planeswalker removal can always be useful. Calamity of the Titans can be this removal, but it requires you to reveal a colorless creature to wipe the board of creatures and planeswalkers with lower mana values. You do need to keep a high cost colorless creature in your hand for this card to work, but if you build right it can be an amazing board wipe.
In my eyes, Skittering Invasion serves two purposes. Use it in a massive mana ramp strategy to get to the mega Eldrazi plays like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Kozilek, Butcher of Truth. Or use it as a slightly expensive way to get more creatures on the board for wide pumps and swarm attacks.
If you have some spells with the learn keyword, then some of these colorless lesson sorceries are just no-brainers. Environmental Sciences is your early lesson to grab as quickly as you can. This card helps to fetch necessary basic lands and also adds some value to storm decks.
Introduction to Annihilation is an absolute must-play in your sideboard if you’re using any number of spells with learn. Exiling is much better than destroying, and the ability to target any nonland permanent gives this card high value as a removal spell. It’s not perfect; the cost and the cantrip for your opponent does bring the value down slightly.
1-mana cantrips are usually a great play for many situations. Slip Through Space can make a creature unblockable for 1 blue mana. Add the cantrip and the devoid protection from color-directed counters and you have an excellent way to attack at the most crucial times.
All Is Dust is the absolute bomb board wipe for any deck that plays colorless cards. A one-sided board wipe is just unparalleled in its ability to change a game. Not only can you possibly keep your colorless permanents, but because your opponent sacrifices their colored permanents this circumvents indestructible. No, nobody needs to sacrifice their lands, because they’re colorless.
I mentioned it several times above, but these colorless sorceries go well with colorless permanents, especially Eldrazi creatures. Build your colorless decks around these sorceries and permanents like Portal to Phyrexia, Wurmcoil Engine, Walking Ballista, or It That Betrays.
Skittering Invasion | Illustration by Eric Deschamps
MTG is all about the colors, but the colorless aren’t to be ignored. Players will always be drawn to instants, as they should, but never forget about strong sorcery spells. The colorless sorcery spells above can fit into so many different builds, so I implore you to consider them when you're designing your next deck.
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