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April 22, 2019

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Daily Dose of War of the Spark – Guide to Combat Tricks and Removal Cards by Color

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of War of the Spark where a tradition unlike no other continues. It’s time for the guide to combat tricks and removal cards by color for War of the Spark. This is one of my favorite articles to write for each set as it helps me get to know all the cards a little bit better and helps me prepare for prerelease weekend, so I don’t get blown out by a card I wasn’t expecting. Finding the right mix of combat tricks to put in your deck is often the key to victory. If your opponent knows that you are empty-handed and they can see what lays in front of them when it comes to creatures, it will be easier for them to formulate a battle plan against you. If you have a few cards, threatening some potential game changers, it can make all the difference.

White Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

Bond of Discipline is a nice way to break a stalemate and finish off an opponent. Divine Arrow and Gideon’s Triumph are nice two mana combat tricks that can remove a creature from combat. At sorcery speed there are a couple answers that can get rid of any creature and they are Wanderer’s Strike and Prison Realm. The only sweeper you need to worry about for white is Ravnica at War. Single Combat can also clear the battlefield, but it will leave you with at least one creature or planeswalker. You should have to be careful as it can end up being a one-sided sweeper. When it comes to cheap combat tricks, Defiant Strike can add some power for only one mana. The best combat trick white can throw at you though is Battlefield Promotion as it gives the creature first strike as well.

Blue Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

Kasmina’s Transmutation and Callous Dismissal are two strong sorcery speed ways to deal with a troublesome creature. The only counterspells that you need to worry about in blue start at three mana in the form of Crush Dissent and No Escape. Another way to temporarily counter something is with Narset’s Reversal which can throw any instant or sorcery you do right back in your face. Lazotep Plating can act as a counterspell against anything that is targeting you or your permanents. With little to no bounce spells in the set, you will have to rely on Totally Lost to help remove permanents off the battlefield.

Black Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

Black provides two pseudo-sweeper options in the form of Finale of Eternity and Massacre Girl. If played right, they can both be one-sided battlefield destruction. The Elderspell is a sweeper of sort, but just for planeswalkers. If you are worried about targeted creature removal, the spells you need to look out for are Sorin’s Thirst and Ob Nixilis’s Cruelty. At two mana though, watch out if you only have one creature as Liliana’s Triumph can end up clearing the battlefield of your only threat. At sorcery speed, black provides more removal with Bleeding Edge and Spark Harvest. Unlikely Aid is the best combat trick as it leads to one side surviving and the other side dying. Price of Betrayal is a very situational removal card which most of the time will take out a planeswalker.

Red Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

Bolt Bend is a neat instant way to mess up a removal spell and change its target. Blindblast is instant creature damage, but is mostly used to pave the way for an attack. Sarkhan’s Catharsis is an instant speed Lava Axe that can also target planeswalkers. Jaya’s Greeting and Chandra’s Triumph are cheap instant ways to deal some creature damage. If you are looking to take out two threats at once, red has you covered. Both Chandra’s Pyrohelix and Nahiri’s Stoneblades can provide that two-for-one value you’re looking for. Demolish is one of the rare artifact or land destruction spells in the set. Heartfire can hit any target for two mana, but at a cost. Beware of creatures with haste killing you out of nowhere thanks to Samut’s Sprint.

Green Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

As usual, green doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to removal and/or combat tricks. When it comes to combat tricks, Giant Growth is one of the best you can have for only one mana. Steady Aim can be used to add a surprise blocker, especially against flyers. Forced Landing basically kills any flying creature by banishing them to the bottom of the deck. At three mana Band Together is the only creature removal that Green has in the set. Last is Return to Nature that provides situational removal with the added twist of being able to exile a card from a graveyard.

Multicolor Combat Tricks and Removal Cards

The one thing that War of the Spark had that most sets don’t is an abundance of potential sweeper spells. Casualties of War can end up taking out up to five targets at once. Solar Blaze acts as a Justice Strike to all creatures. Time Wipe is probably the best sweeper as it can protect one creature at the same time. Finally, Widespread Brutality can end up being a one-sided sweeper with anywhere from 2 to amount of damage to other creatures. There are a few instant situational targeted removal spells with Despark, Ral’s Outburst, and Tyrant’s Scorn. If you are looking for clean creature removal, Deathsprout can help you with that. Angrath’s Rampage is a two-mana way to deal with a variety of targets. Domri’s Ambush and Enter the God Eternals are sorcery speed ways to remove creatures and get a little extra value on top of it. If your opponent is going for what looks like a terrible attack with all their creatures, beware the power of Pledge of Unity. Oath of Kaya is a great enchantment to help deal with any target and gain some life as well. Dovin’s Veto is the cheapest counterspell in the set.

That is a lot of cards to worry about your opponent having in their hand, but if you break it down by color and casting cost, it makes it much narrower of a list to worry about. Thanks again for joining me on the Daily Dose of War of the Spark. Join me again tomorrow as prerelease week continues with a video of an unboxing and practice deck build of a War of the Spark prerelease kit!