Nonblue Countermagic in cEDH

Harvey McGuinness • October 19, 2023

Every color has some form of interaction, whether it's board wipes or targeted removal, creature or noncreature. One thing separates blue from the rest, though, and that's countermagic. At least, ubiquitous and powerful countermagic, that is.

While you might not be getting a Force of Will or an Arcane Denial outside of blue, any experienced cEDH pilot will tell you that, regardless of color identity, your deck is going to need a way to be reactive on the stack. Timing your victory is important, but so too is defending it.

In this introductory glimpse of cEDH deckbuilding, we're going to be going over some of the key pieces of nonblue cEDH countermagic, and why your deck should probably run them, so let's get right into it.


What better way to start of our roster of cards than by following the good ol' color pie: it's white's time to shine with some preemptive interaction, as well as a reskin of a blue classic.


First up, the absolute best of the best when it comes to white's stack interaction, a true cEDH staple: Silence. This card (and effects imitating it) really warrants an article of its own, but in the meantime, a brief evaluation will suffice: Silence is a good card; play it.

Countermagic has two uses: stopping your opponents' game actions and guaranteeing your own game actions. Silence is the best-in-class for the latter of these two use cases while also being flexible enough to retain some of offensive play patterns. With a single card and a single white mana, you can guarantee that your spells will resolve for the turn. Pretty fabulous stuff, and often the final words before bringing the game to a close. Alternatively, if the rest of the table is out of interaction, a well-timed Silence can stop an opponent from a noncreature win for a turn. Don't discount this flexibility: Silence can save you as often as it can guide you to victory.

Angel's Grace

Compared to Silence, Angel's Grace is where the discussion becomes a bit more interesting: there's plenty of disagreement as to whether or not this card is even still in the running at cEDH tables. One mana for a spell with split second is as efficient and as foolproof as a card can get without some alternative cost making it free, so the expense side of the cost-balancing equation is already pretty good. The problem is that, unless you're strapped for other forms of interaction, Angel's Grace can only play the role of preventing an opposing win, not saving your own. There is no flexibility here: if you're casting Angel's Grace, that means your opponent is farther ahead in the game then you are, which isn't exactly a good place to be.

This all being said, Angel's Grace is certainly not without its merits. This, like the majority of cards on our list, fall into the group of cards that you would replace with blue counterspells if you could, but are instead filling with the best of the rest. Not losing is certainly a good thing to be doing, and Angel's Grace is a surefire way to do least, for the turn.


Remember that reskin from earlier? Well, here we are. It may not be called Remand, but that's essentially what you're getting here. For two mana, you can bounce a spell back to hand and then cantrip your way to a replacement for the card you spent doing this. Not too shabby, and certainly a decent rate.

Reprieve is by all accounts something for the nonblue lists to consider; Silence (and potentially Angel's Grace) are both more potent spells with little cross-color replacement and as such warrant a discussion in blue lists as well, but two-mana counterspells are hard to justify, even if they draw a card, so a two-mana tempo play like this one here is an even harder sell. This all changes if you aren't in blue, in which case go crazy. A well-timed tempo swing from a bounce like this can effectively be a counterspell in the right circumstances, given the high prioritization of mana efficiency in cEDH.


Black really only has one contender, and unlike white, which is gradually carving a niche for itself with preemptive interaction, this one is a color-shifted version of a predominantly red effect, but on the off chance you're playing black without red (or blue), this is certainly a card to keep in my. May I present to you, Imp's Mischief.

Imp's Mischief

For two mana (and a decent chunk of life, at times), Imp's Mischief lets you redirect the target of a spell with a single target. Overall, this spell is certainly a costly one, but when you're strapped for interaction there will certainly be cases for taking anything you can. Effectively a "counterspell's counterspell," this gives you one out for defending a victory (or shifting a removal spell), but not much more.


Alright, on to the real master of deflecting targets. Red's got the most cards on our list by a solid margin (two), so onward we go.

Deflecting Swat

Earlier, I mentioned how Imp's Mischief is a "counterspell's counterspell," and since that's the case with Deflecting Swat and Ricochet Trap, it's important to actually understand the mechanism of action behind that statement.

When you cast any of these three spells, or any spell that says "reselect the target(s) of a spell," for that matter,  you are allowed to have the counterspell's new target be the redirection spell. Here's what that might look like:

Now that we have the generalities of redirection out of the way, what makes Deflecting Swat special? It's free. That's it. Sure, there will be times where you're locked out of having your commander in play, but given that you have access to it as a potentially castable card continuously throughout the course of the game, there's no reason not to play Deflecting Swat.

Ricochet Trap

I'll keep it brief on Ricochet trap, since essentially everything I can say about it here has already been said about Deflecting Swat. The key difference comes down to cost: Ricochet Trap will always cost you something, but frequently that something will be its alternative cost of a single red mana. Most counterspells are blue, after all, so odds are that the spell you'll be redirecting will be the very same spell that caused you to activate your Trap card.

Red Elemental Blast / Pyroblast

While these cards are each technically distinct in wording, they are - in effect - the same spell but with different names. Fantastic! A way to cut down on that pesky variance of singleton. Names aside, the actual effect of these spells is straight and to the point - no alternative cost, no conditions - just a simple one red mana to either counter a blue spell or destroy a blue permanent. Again, this is where we come back to the motif of a "counterspell's counterspell," but with the added bonus of having real relevancy as a removal spell. I'd hate to be the one paying Tivit, Seller of Secrets' ward cost, but Pyroblast and friends give you that option if you need to kill the Sphinx (did I hear someone say Consecrated Sphinx). Similar to Silence, these cards are true staples. Don't forget about them just because they only affect a single color.

Tibalt's Trickery

Finally, we come to the only chaotic spell on our list, courtesy of Tibalt's Trickery. Everything else so far has been deterministic in terms of outcome; Tibalt's Trickery is not. For two mana - only one of which is colored - you're getting a true counterspell in red. Any color, any spell. That's as open as it gets, and the same rate as most decent general blue counterspells. So, what's the catch? Your opponent randomly flips into a new spell to cast. It could be a cantrip, could be an Ad Nauseam. You never know. And that's... kind of the problem.

If you're going to win thanks to a defensive Tibalt's Trickery protecting your combo, then this card is pretty sweet. Chances are that, whatever your opponent gets, won't be of much use at instant speed while you're comboing off. If you're playing it because your opponent is about to win, however, then the risk becomes very different, as now they have all the time in the world to make good with their replacement spell.

Defensively, Tibalt's Trickery is kind of like a Pact of Negation, except it costs two mana. Already, that sounds like a pretty rough deal. Offensively, we're getting into Chaos Warp territory, and that isn't exactly a cEDH staple. A lot of not great reviews for a color with otherwise stellar hits, so I'd think twice before reaching for the most generalizable, yet unpredictable, spell in the lot.


Green has two cards that are basically the same, except one is strictly better than the other. So, why mention both? Duplicity of any form - even with diminishing returns - is an important value in building consistent decks, especially in the interaction suite, so here they are.

Veil of Summer / Autumn's Veil

When I say strictly better, I mean really do mean strictly better. Both Veil of Summer and Autumn's Veil are entirely defensive spells, similar in effect to a defensively cast Silence. For one green mana (each), your spells can't be countered for the rest of the turn, and your creatures (or, in Veil of Summer's case, everything) can't be targeted by blue or black sources.

Technically, Veil of Summer is the only spell between the two that truly grants full cross-color uncounterability, while Autumn's Veil only prevents spells from being countered by blue or black spells. Based on our list, however, these are two largely similar statements, unless you come across a Red Elemental Blast or Pyroblast, that is (Reprieve returns the spell to hand, as opposed to countering it).

Where the real difference between these two spells comes into play, however, is in a line of text on Veil of Summer that isn't even approximated on Autumn's Veil: "Draw a card if an opponent has cast a blue or black spell this turn." A one-mana wide-range preemptive counterspell that can draw a card? Now that's value.

So, why run both when Veil of Summer is so far ahead? In terms of preventative interaction, these two spells are deceptively similar, so from that perspective they fill the same role. If you have empty slots, then the card draw question helps with prioritization, not with the decision of "how much interaction to run."

Wrap Up

Alright, that's our list. I hope this has been a helpful look at some of each color's alternative interaction offerings, especially considering some of them might not be nearly as prevalent as they should be (I'm looking at you, Ricochet Trap). Test out your list, find the interaction count that works, and get experimental with it. Databases are fabulous resources, but you never know what else lurks behind the cardboard.

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.