In my playgroup, there is this guy who specialased in multiplayer matches. In fact, all of his decks are super-strong, but only in multiplayer.

He has wrath effects in every single one of his decks, and counterspells/unsommon/disenchant too. He wins almost all the time by controlling the board by wiping it almost every game. I tried some of my one-shot combo decks on him but he always has a counterspell or destroy-creature spell to put me back to the ground.

It is becoming really annoying and I simply don't know how to handle it. I need tricks and maybe some deck ideas to avoid being controlled over and over, and having a win-condition that can stand a chance.

I'm not restricted to a budget as long as it is reasonable for casual. By this I mean no $1000 fetchland/dual-land manabase.

EDIT: I was asked which wrath effects. Mostly -2/-2 to -4/-4 to all creatures, destroy all creatures, damnation and the disk (which shutdown my try on a enchantment deck...). He plays mostly green, blue and black.

  • 1
    Which wrath effects? The counter-tactics that work best against Supreme Verdict might do poorly against Merciless Eviction, and vice-versa.
    – Kevin
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 20:49
  • Have you tried telling your other opponents this? You could all probably gang up on him early on and ruin his day.
    – Colin D
    Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 2:40

3 Answers 3


A few general ideas:

The weakness of counterspell-heavy decks is dealing with all the important threats efficiently, and not tapping out prematurely. This is particularly tricky to pull off in multi-player, since controlling more than one player is much more work. On the receiving end, it might feel to you like he has a counterspell for everything, but that simply can't be the case. If the player to your left plays a couple of spells and gets countered, that makes it much more likely that you will be able to drop something safely into play.

One big limitation of creature removal is that it generally only works on creatures. An extreme way to screw with a powerful creature-controlling deck is to not field any creatures! Try direct damage, artifacts or enchantments instead. All of those kill spells become ineffective against your deck, and the resulting hand of dead cards can be crippling for your opponent.

An intermediate approach is to pick creatures that are exceptionally hard to kill. Your choices are many, and depend on the kind of spells your opponent uses most. Against powerful sorceries like Wrath of God, you could consider creatures that revert to some other type at end of turn (e.g. Mishra's Factory, Genju of the Realm), or ways to generate endless hordes of cheap tokens (Assemble the Legion, Kjeldoran Outpost), or just bounce with unbelievable annoyance (Blinking Spirit). Against direct removal, protection or regeneration can be extremely annoying. Or just pick creatures that either like going to the graveyard (Demigod of Revenge), or can easily come back (e.g. Ashen Ghoul, Pyre Zombie, any of the Phoenixes).

Another approach is to accept that your stuff is going to end up in the graveyard, and use that to your advantage. Returning creatures from the graveyard can be very efficient, or you can use a large graveyard to power effects like Threshold, or to give you access to spells that can be cast from the graveyard (e.g. anything with Flashback). Or make filling the graveyard your win condition (Mortal Combat, Nefarious Lich).

A more aggresive idea is land destruction/mana control. You probably won't win your multi-player game, but you could easily make it impossible for this particular opponent to win. In a similar vein, you could go for counterspell/control yourself, and shutdown his nastiest spells to let the other players do their thing.

A final tactic is to make yourself an unappealing target. Don't be a threat, sit there and protect yourself, while building towards some late game win condition (Door to Nothingness, Test of Endurance).

Above all, stay positive, and be creative! You have many, many pleasant options for ruining your opponent's game.


In terms of specific options, there are numerous. Some examples include Thrun, the last troll, with enchantments, and equipment. Sword of Feast and Famine would potentially be your best choice here (since he is playing blue for counterspells he probably is also relying on card advantage). Notion thief will potentially blow him out if used at the right time (does he ever cast brainstorm?, giving yourself 3 extra cards and making him put 2 back should limit his ability to wrath the board AND counter things)

Similarly, Ulamog, the infinite gyre would be a good choice. You can cheat him in through show and tell or possibly an elvish piper, either of which can be made uncounterable with Boseiju, who shelters all or cavern of souls respectively. Gaea's Revenge is a hasty uncounterable creature that can put him in a bad way before he gets a chance to wrath the board.

Alternatively, another option is Sneak attack, which will give you big hasty creatures that can't be dealt with by sorcery speed removal since they have already done their damage.

There are a lot of ways to punish or defeat counterspells, examples include Xantid swarm, defense grid. Since most counterspells are also in blue, cards like choke or Tsunami will also help punish this player. As has been mentioned already, Counterspells are only powerful when trading a few mana for a lot of mana, if he is countering all these cheap threats to his game plan, his resources are far more likely to be exhausted when you come to cast your larger more expensive threats.

Both the overall strategy for dealing with this kind of deck, and specific cards to consider to apply that strategy, should give you the starting point you need to make choices to defeat this opponent.


If your opponent is repeatedly dumping your board in your graveyard, treat your graveyard like a second hand. Reanimate the dead creatures (either with spells such as Reanimate or with abilities of the creatures themselves such as Bloodghast). Recur other noncreature permanents with spells like Open the Vaults, Replenish, Eternal Witness, Regrowth, Sun Titan, etc. When your graveyard is your hand, a board wipe isn't anywhere near as painful. (Barring Merciless Eviction/Final Judgement.)

If he uses one-sided sweepers, Martyr's Bond, Grave Pact, and Butcher of Malakir could also work.

If the enchantment removal isn't too high, Vicious Shadows will punish him for killing off creatures. (You can even build a deck to sacrifice things to trigger VS proactively.) Stalking Vengeance works similarly.

Another option might be to make a "spellslinger" deck. Focus on instants/sorceries rather than permanents. Counterspells can still be a problem, but at a multiplayer FFA table repeatedly trading counters 1-for-1 is a losing propsition. (Not to mention there are very few ways to countspell a win off of a Storm spell -- Counterflux, Mindbreak Trap, Flusterstorm, Time Stop, Stifle, Trickbind, and Voidslime, plus Sundial of the Infinite if the Storm goes off on his turn.)

Taxing the hell out of his spells may also work; simply Trinisphere+Nether Void means you're going to pay a minimum of 6 mana for every spell. (You can get around NV with uncounterable spells; try Boseiju/Cavern of Souls, as recommended in another answer.) That would be a nightmare for a deck like his, especially if you back it up with some light land destruction, keeping his mana count low.

Gaddock Teeg stops a vast majority of sweepers on his own, too, as well as the best multiplayer counterspells.

  • I doubt Karmic justice will do anything useful against Wrath of God since Justice says "Whenever a spell or ability an opponent controls destroys a noncreature permanent [...]"
    – Circeus
    Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 21:20
  • Derp, that's what I get for trying to go off memory on cards I rarely see. Fixing now.
    – Brian S
    Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 21:57

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