5 More Silences and Grand Abolishers for cEDH

Harvey McGuinness • December 20, 2023

About two months ago, I wrote an article discussing some of cEDH's premier countermagic outside of blue, and in that list the very first card discussed was none other than Silence.

Silence is the premier white staple in cEDH. The color certainly has more to offer beyond it - Swords to Plowshares, Drannith Magistrate, etc. - but resolving a Silence usually means one of two things: you're either winning the game that turn, or you definitely aren't losing. For one white mana, the flexibility the card offers is both incredible and crucial. Either defending against a loss or securing a win, every time you cast a Silence it has an unmistakable mark on the game.

Silence's two-mana-value cousin, meanwhile, is none other than Grand Abolisher. For double the mana investment and at sorcery speed, you get a 2/2 creature with a slightly more defensive version of Silence's effect stapled to it as a static ability. It might not be worth anything on your opponents' turns, but during your turn Grand Abolisher will make certain that you're the one in control. 

Effects like Silence and Grand Abolisher are truly unique to white, and as such are among the color's primary draws. Regardless of your strategy, if you're playing white, you'll be on these cards. That being said, there are plenty of other options left in Magic's vast card pool to draw from if you want some extra backup in your list, so why not take a tour through the best of the rest?

Here are five more Silences and Grand Abolishers to keep in mind.

Orim's Chant

Let's start off strong with Orim's Chant. Unlike the rest of the cards on our list, Orim's Chant passes the first-glance cEDH test of "is this a one-mana instant?" Just like Silence, Orim's Chant asks for only one mana as a baseline investment and promises to stop a player from casting spells for a turn. The only problem is it's limited to one player. Because of this, Orim's Chant is a bit trickier to play and requires some thought: do you target the person with the most cards in hand, or do you target the person with fewer cards but more mana up? When used defensively, it asks you to do some evaluating as to where the most interaction is going to come from. 

This problem disappears, however, when you're using it offensively to stop someone else from winning. Simply target the problem player (probably in response to an Ad Nauseam or some other shenanigans), and bing-bang-boom, you've basically cast a Silence.

The offensive capabilities of Orim's Chant really start to shine when you pay for the kicker cost. Holding up double white is a big ask, but more options is always better than fewer, especially if the one extra mana you've just spent sets the Winota, Joiner of Forces player back a turn. Not many cEDH games end at the combat step anymore, but that doesn't mean we should discount it entirely.


If Orim's Chant is Silence's cousin, then Abeyance is the cousin once-removed. Just like Orim's Chant, Abeyance is a targeted spell: for one turn, one player can't cast spells. Except for creatures... or enchantments... or really anything which isn't an instant or sorcery. Oh, and it costs one generic mana extra to cast. So, what's the upside?

Well, two things. First, activated abilities. Abeyance sits in a similar niche as effects like Stifle insofar as it's capable of disrupting sequences requiring ability activation, as opposed to purely those lines involving spells being cast. Think of combos involving the likes of Najeela, the Blade-Blossom or Sisay, Weatherlight Captain, both of which rely heavily on a sequence of activations.

The second bit of upside for Abeyance is the all-powerful line of text which reads "draw a card." This is certainly worth something, but whether or not it's worth the extra mana is up for you to decide. This effect makes the card better, that's for sure, but it doesn't make Abeyance fill the the role of a disruption pick necessarily any better. 

Overall, Abeyance is one of the more meta-dependent picks on our list for today, which makes it all the more worth thinking about, rather than dismissing it out of hand. It isn't as flexible or efficient as the likes of Orim's Chant, but the ability to disrupt ability-ridden combo lines shouldn't be ignored. After all, even in a vacuum you can still cast Abeyance as a proactive defense in the upkeep of your own combo turn.

Teferi, Time Raveler

Ooh boy, now we're up to a three-mana spell, and at sorcery speed, too. So, what does Teferi, Time Raveler bring to the table? Quite a lot.

First up, Teferi, Time Raveler's static ability - "your opponents can cast spells only any time they could cast a sorcery." In other words, not during your turn. This is what puts Teferi on our list, and it's the most important part of the card, despite not even being a loyalty ability. For three mana, your floor is a planeswalker which brings with it the most important half of Grand Abolisher's static ability. But that's not all.

The second most important part is his second loyalty ability. At the cost of three loyalty counters, you can return to hand any artifact, creature, or enchantment of your choice, all while drawing a card. The bounce effect alone is commonly played in cEDH for costs of either one or two mana, and tacking on the card draw certainly pushes that to the higher end of the value scale.

Careful players will notice, however, that Teferi, Time Raveler's second loyalty ability can be activated immediately upon resolution, all the while letting you keep Teferi afterwards (albeit at one loyalty). Add that to everything we've already said about the two abilities individually and voila, the big picture emerges: functionally, Teferi reads as a three-mana sorcery which bounces a permanent, draws a card, and Silences your opponent for the turn. If that's not worth three mana, then I'm not sure what is.

Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar

For our one-and-only creature on the list today, we come to a very new card on the cEDH scene, courtesy of Magic's most recent Standard release, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar does a pretty good impression of Grand Abolisher, albeit with three key differences (outside of mana cost). 

First, Kutzil is legendary. Now, I wouldn't recommend building a cEDH list with this card at the helm simply because it's Grand Abolisher in the zone, but being legendary has some quirks outside of just the potential for being a commander. Namely, Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar is searchable off of a Sisay, Weatherlight Captain activation. Normally, having synergy with a single commander in the broader format doesn't mean too much for a card, but when it comes to an effect as strong as Kutzil's and a commander as powerful as Sisay, you have to take notice. If not for your own deckbuilding, then at least for consideration as to what you might be up against.

Second, Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar is a Warrior, another small detail that wouldn't normally mean much, except for the fact that it synergizes with our other five-color cEDH all-star, Najeela, the Blade-Blossom. Playing an Abolisher-style effect will always be strong, but having one which also gets you one creature closer to assembling an infinite number of combat steps is something to keep in mind.

Finally, our last key difference: general tutorability. Two other prominent cEDH cards come to mind when I think of ways to cheat Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar into play, and those are Invasion of Ikoria and Green Sun's Zenith. Kutzil being nonhuman opens it up for Invasion, while being a green creature opens it up to Zenith. These are two of the most ubiquitous tutors in green decks, neither of which could previously grab a creature with an effect like Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar. Now, they can.

Permission Denied

Finally, we come to a card which threw me for quite a loop when first playtesting it: Permission Denied. Unlike every other card on our list today, Permission Denied is the only card which must be used reactively. Cards like Abeyance might hit only a narrow selection of spells, or only limit a single player, but Permission Denied trades in both of these weaknesses for a much higher barrier to entry. For two mana, you're given a noncreature counterspell and a noncreature Silence, all in one. But the play restrictions on it are... rough. 

In my experience with the card, Permission Denied is best played as a tempo catch, something where you're countering a spell for value, effectively causing an opponent to skip their turn, rather than saving yourself from a loss or securing your own win. As to why, let's break it down.

First, loss prevention. Two mana is a lot to hold up, and given that most wins in cEDH often present themselves from situations where a player bursts ahead rather explosively, odds are that any time a player is going to win you'll either wish for a narrower, but more efficient, one-mana counterspell (Miscast, Dispel, etc.), or just a plain old Silence. Rarely will you encounter a situation where the only way to prevent a loss is to cast both a counterspell and a Silence, so combining the two is often incidental value in a time when you'd much rather have efficiency instead.

Next, winning the game. Holding up interaction to defend a win is important, there's no doubt about that, but along very similar lines as in the loss-prevention case it all comes down to efficiency. Victories in cEDH are played on a razor's edge of mana value, so a spell like Permission Denied isn't exactly what you'll be dreaming of when it comes to putting up your own shields. A defensive Silence is fantastic because you cast it before your opponents do anything, and Permission Denied requires your opponents to do something. This difference puts you in a reactive, rather than proactive, role, a position to avoid during your "I Win" turn. 

So, we've talked about when not to cast Permission Denied, but what about when you should? Welcome to the wacky world of tempo. A well-timed counterspell can often cause a player to essentially skip their entire turn, preventing game actions from snowballing and setting someone back to square one. Permission Denied does this, all with the backup of a noncreature Silence effect. It's not necessarily as crucial a game action as stopping a loss, but causing a player to skip their turn can often position you in a much more advantageous spot, sometimes enough to win the game a turn early. 

Permission Denied is a weird card, because it isn't quite a counterspell and it definitely isn't a traditional Silence, but something altogether different. If you like slower and more interactive decks, then test it out: it might just be the card for you. But keep in mind, it's far from the immediate loss prevention which the words "can't cast" often conjure in our minds.

Wrap Up

I hope this list has given you more options to think about as you craft your cEDH decks going forward. Whether it's at sorcery speed or instant, a creature or a planeswalker, effects like these are the defensive glue which hold decks together, preventing losses and securing wins. Good luck building, and happy holidays everyone!

Further Reading:

An Introduction To Kinnan In cEDH

An Introduction to RogSi in cEDH

Setting the Standard: Cheating in cEDH

Harvey McGuinness is a student at Johns Hopkins University who has been playing Magic since the release of Return to Ravnica. After spending a few years in the Legacy arena bouncing between Miracles and other blue-white control shells, he now spends his time enjoying Magic through cEDH games and understanding the finance perspective.