Apocalypse Now: Board Wipes Edition
One of the more consistent ways to make sure your opponents don’t create an overwhelming board presence is to maintain control of the board. While you may be used to running your standard board wipes such as Damnation, Wrath of God or Day of Judgment, I’d like to offer a few alternative options that won’t break the bank or maybe even be a little more fun.
This is definitely one of the more fun board wipes available. Being one mana cost less than the aforementioned four mana wipes, gives this card a competitive converted mana cost. On the other hand, the downside of the card is rather large. You have the potential to hit everything but that one pesky Sire of Insanity that you really wanted dead. While that is a technical downside, the mayhem involved with this card will often make for more ridiculous games of magic, and who doesn’t play commander for the insanity that ensues in the format?
G/B/x will always have solid removal in commander and this is just another piece of it. While far more mana intensive than most wraths that involve creatures, the card is one that has a lot more utility to it. Being able to be a three mana destroy all tokens at the very least, all the way up to a six to nine mana reset everyone’s board holds some power in it. The mana side of things in green/black is never really an issue as well since the colour combination holds some of the best ramp the format has to offer.
I swear, I don’t only play Jund in commander! Pernicious Deed is an easier to cast version of Gaze of Granite that doesn’t hit planeswalkers but can also be hit by sources of removal if you play it too early in the game. Overall a very strong way to reset the board and bonus points if you run planeswalkers in your deck. You’re going to pretty far ahead if you pop this leaving the board empty except for your Liliana, Death’s Majesty and Garruk, Apex Predator.
Six mana can be a lot to ask, but the versatility of this card and it being an exile effect, not destroy, is worth discussing. It’s more powerful than most of the higher cost black board wipes and is strong in most control decks in the format. It has power in both midrange and control decks but fills a CMC slot that may be tight as is. Undeniable power level, but with a converted mana cost that holds it back from format staple.
Maze of Ith got you down? Or perhaps even that Field of the Dead has gunked up the board beyond recognition? Well, gee golly do I have a solution for you! Star of Extinction will not only destroy that land holding you back from Shenanigans, but it will also blow up nearly every creature that may be existing on the board! In all seriousness, the converted mana cost of this spell is rough, but most red board wipes will leave you thirsting for more mana constantly. The ability to tag a land while taking care of all creatures is a solid upside. Copies of Star of Extinction are reasonably cheap as it approaches the end of its time in standard, so now is a good time to pick up your copies.
This is the first one on this list that can get around indestructible. Not only do you get to choose among the permanents they control, but you force them to sacrifice the rest of their (nonland) board. Darksteel Forge? Not a problem. Zurgo Helmsmasher? I think you’d rather have the Stoneforge Mystic. Breya, Etherium Shaper? Keep the 1/1 Thopter token. The upside of this spell is rather high since it also deals with enchantments and artifacts, but the floor is very low as well. You can have games where this card has next to no text due to how the board state has progressed. While this is often a problem with most board wipes, this one requires your opponents to have multiples of each nonland permanent type to be effective. This is an inclusion to be considered based on your meta.
It costs one more than Day of Judgment but can also be used against enchantments and artifacts. Solid inclusion especially on a budget. Does not have the regeneration clause of Wrath of God leaving it a touch weaker as a general board wipe.
I’m not going to include the pile of other five and six mana board wipes as their reasoning will be mostly the same but here are some of them to consider: End Hostilities, Descend Upon the Sinful, Fumigate, Hallowed Burial, Hour of Revelation, Phyrexian Rebirth, Rout, Urza’s Ruinous Blast, Winds of Rath and Planar Outburst.
While it’s no Cyclonic Rift it certainly gets the job done. Especially powerful in a mono blue deck that gets to run both of these. The fact that this card is instant speed, certainly separates it from the rest of the wipes on this list. Being able to bounce the board on an opponent’s end step and then forcing them to discard can help you get ahead. But any ETB effects on creatures will be giving your opponents plenty of value. You only really want to be casting this card if you’re ahead on mana, but behind on board state. Your local Yarok, the Desecrated player will love it when you cast this.
Bonus points if this goes into a dragon tribal deck, but this wrath is definitely a solid budget inclusion for black commander decks. This will always read “destroy all creatures” or “ruin the tribal dragons player’s day” and that’s enough reason for most players to be able to run this. The mana cost of this spell is also relatively low for most black wipes. A large number of them have an X in the cost or can cost all the way up to nine mana. While it lacks the power level of Damnation, it certainly holds its own in the format.
Speaking of nine mana board wipes in black! This card can easily be switched out in this list for In Garruk’s Wake as they’re both nine mana board wipes that don’t affect your own board, but have slightly different additional effects. Plague Wind is a stronger effect if you’re frequently dealing with regeneration effects such as elves decks running Ezuri, Renegade Leader in their command zone, while In Garruk’s Wake will be more effective against Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice decks dumping out planeswalkers as well as decks that use general support walkers (Garruk Wildspeaker, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and friends). The choice between the two is one based on your meta and the answers you need, but the price difference is minimal. Both cost a high amount of mana but will often be game winning or close to.
This is Oblivion Stone’s much cheaper alternative. Mana cost on it is higher, and you can’t save your own permanents from it, but it does very much fit a similar role. The inability to recur this item with Sun Titan and similar effects is definitely a big hit to its power level, but it is a solid board wipe that deals with absolutely everything. The exile clause will come up fairly frequently with the amount of recursion in the format so there is an argument to run both Oblivion Stone and Perilous Vault in the same deck. The ability to deal with totem armor and indestructible is also a nice addition from exiling the board.
I hope that you now have some new board wipes to consider for your current or future commander decks! Board wipes are one of the easiest ways to keep board parity and take your opponents down a peg. Spending four to six mana to undo twenty plus mana of cards will often pull you into a commanding position if you can back it up with pressure. Best of luck in your games!