Sorry if this is an obvious question but I didn't see it asked before and I'm very new to Magic The Gathering.

Is there a way to block sorcery spells in MTG that threaten to view my hand? For example Thoughtseize from "Theros". For some reason I don't seem to have a good defense against that. Can I counter it with a standard "non-creature" counter spell or is something different required?


You can interact with Thoughtseize just like any other card. In particular:

  • Yes, you can counter it. Use Negate, Dissolve, et cetera.

    Note that this doesn't really help that much against the first-turn Thoughtseize unless you've got access to a counterspell that doesn't cost any mana, like Mental Misstep or Force of Will. The closest thing you've got in Born of the Gods Standard is Swan Song when you're on the play.

    In my experience, the best answer to a first-turn Thoughtseize is to choose initial hands that won't be crippled by it. And, yeah, that's a rather big imposition. That's what makes the card so powerful.

  • You can invalidate its target.

    Thoughtseize says "Target player reveals his or her hand." If it can't target you, it can't be cast on you. The gold standard for effects like this is Leyline of Sanctity, which is actually faster than Thoughtseize if you get it in your opening hand.

    There are no such cards currently in Born of the Gods Standard. :(

  • You can take your best cards out of your hand.

    This happens quite a lot in Legacy:

    "Thoughtseize you."
    "In response, Brainstorm."

    Then you put the cards you need most on top of your library, so they're hidden from Thoughtseize but you can draw them next turn.

    There are no such cards currently in Born of the Gods Standard. :(

Thoughtseize is a powerful card (basically the best of its kind) and it's seldom easy to deal with. For higher-level strategy tips, I recommend starting with Reid Duke's excellent Thoughtseize guide — this'll help you understand what your opponent's going to be trying to do.

  • Thanks but I'm confused... Can you elaborate a bit on why "this doesn't really help that much against the first-turn Thoughtseize"? Do you mean that if I respond with an instant to Thoughtseize and it's the other player's turn, the effect of his/her card always happens first?
    – Mike B
    Feb 23 '14 at 16:55
  • 3
    @MikeB No, I mean the first turn of the game. Like this: We start our match. I play a Swamp and Thoughtseize you. You look at your hand: ooh, a Negate! You look at your board: 0 lands to cast it with. Well, dang. And then the Thoughtseize takes your Elspeth because you can't counter it without mana.
    – Alex P
    Feb 23 '14 at 17:00
  • It's worth noting that Thoughtseize is most powerful (and some might argue only powerful enough to be worth the time and mana) on turn 1.
    – corsiKa
    Feb 24 '14 at 22:08

Indeed you can stop it with spells that can counter spells like Counterspell or Negate.

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