Removals and Interactions on Commander: Categories and Utilities
Understand the importance and different types of interactions and removals in the format, as well as the different situations and uses they can have.Edit Article
removals and interactionsin general. The concept of interactions and their importance in the game I explain it in this article where I talk about card functions, and I recommend reading it if you don't know exactly what I'm talking about.
What are Interactions in Magic?
Interactionsare cards used to deal with the threats and obstacles your opponents place in the game: in the vast majority of cases, the permanents and spells played by them. Most Commander decks tend to have some degree of interaction, as having ways to stop your opponents from winning the game is just as important as having ways to make yourself win. There are different types of interactions, and they are present in all colors. However, some colors have a hard time dealing with a certain threat type and some colors are better than others depending on the situation.
Spot x Sweepers
Spot removalsaffect specific targets, typically requiring you to choose one or more targets (although there are exceptions). They are important resources against individual threats, surgically removing a problematic permanent. For example: Terminate, Return to Dust, Imprisoned in the Moon, Decimate.
Sweepers— also called
board wipes— remove multiple permanents at once, wiping the table on a large scale. They are also very valuable resources, used in cases where an opponent's game gets out of control (like when someone creates too many tokens, for example) and the power across the table needs to be balanced. It is common for sweepers to be symmetrical effects, that is, they affect all players in the same way (like Wrath of God), which makes these effects poorly controllable. It is still worth using them when opponents' losses would be greater than your own. Furthermore, the use of a sweeper interaction represents, at the very least, the expenditure of a single resource (the removal itself) against the loss of several resources from the opponents, which in itself generates a lot of value. Yet, asymmetric sweepers also exist, and allow an even greater degree of freedom in their use, making them not only excellent control pieces but also features that can confer a great incremental advantage. For example, Cyclonic Rift.
whiteis the most self-sufficient as for removals. All kinds of permanents can be destroyed or exiled by cards of this color.
Blueis an ineffective color in permanent removals, usually resorting to other types of interactions to fulfill this function (see "Bounces" and "Counterspells" below).
Blackis an excellent source of creature removals, planeswalkers, and - in some cases - land. Black is rich in this type of resource, both on targeted and sweepers. However, black is highly deficient in dealing with other types of permanents, although recently some cases of removals against enchantments have emerged as options, such as Feed the Swarm, Mire in Misery and Pharika's Libation. In addition to destruction and exile, black removals also work great with sacrifice permanents (Chainer's Edict), -X/-X (Ob Nixilis's Cruelty) and -1/-1 counters (Black Sun's Zenith). Other sacrifice spells are: Plaguecrafter, Grave Pact, Death Cloud, Innocent Blood and Sudden Edict.
fightand the like. Cards like Ram Through, Ram Through and Ezuri's Predation are widely used in green decks when there is no access to other colors that are more efficient in dealing directly with creatures.
Nerfsare static effects that don't necessarily remove a permanent, but reduce its utility, weaken it, or eventually disable it. These are usually enchantments, such as Pacifism, Humility, but they can also appear as temporary effects, such as Polymorphist's Jest and Sudden Spoiling. These interactions, while not definitive - as they can be reversed simply by removing the enchantment - in some cases turn out to be the best way to deal with very recursive permanents: which can come back into play easily, like a Bloodghast or even an opponent's Commander.