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Mystic Sanctuary is one of the best cards from Throne of Eldraine in eternal formats, because it can be fetched with fetchlands and guarantee a strong draw step. The cost is that it requires islands, which means everything dies to Boil. It's especially bad since Boil is instant speed.

Is there a way to play Mystic Sanctuary and not automatically lose to Boil if it resolves? Right now all the options I'm seeing are subpar:

  • Force of Negation could counter Boil (it must be Force of Negation since Boil is instant speed, it can cast in response the blue deck doing whatever at the end of the Boil player's turn), but it is obviously not a good solution since it's an inherent 2-for-1, and it's often not great against the rest of the Boil player's deck either.
  • There are a variety of blue-producing lands that are not Islands, e.g. Glacial Fortress. But they don't trigger Mystic Sanctuary.
  • Mana rocks such as Talisman of Progress could produce blue mana, but they're also not ideal because blue decks typically do not want mana rocks.

I'm looking for cards that can be played either maindeck or sideboard that will help the Mystic Sanctuary deck beat Boil. The format is Modern.

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  • Maybe I am missing (gatherer is down) but how does Mystic Sanctuary/Boil cause you to lose?
    – Joe W
    Dec 3 '20 at 21:00
  • @JoeW Mystic Sanctuary means most of my lands are Islands, and Boil destroys all Islands. Gatherer is down, but the cards are still Googleable (search for e.g. "Boil mtg").
    – Allure
    Dec 3 '20 at 21:10
  • I see the cards but outside of not being able to use the ability on Mystic Sanctuary I don't see how that causes you to lose.
    – Joe W
    Dec 3 '20 at 21:12
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    I am not sure that losing all of your lands is a problem limited to just this type of deck but is a problem with all decks.
    – Joe W
    Dec 3 '20 at 21:36
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    More detail regarding my previous comment. Mystic Sanctuary is only the sixth-most commonly played Island type card in Modern, behind both basic Islands and three of the four Island-type shocklands. But Boil is the 16th most commonly played non-creature non-land card in Modern, so I was wrong about that part.
    – murgatroid99
    Dec 4 '20 at 1:18
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The main threat of Boil is that it is a single card that can destroy multiple Islands at once. If you are in a situation where you have multiple Islands to get destroyed, you should be able to have some of them untapped. So you can just handle it like any other threat and play regular countermagic like Negate or Mana Leak or Cryptic Command, and keep mana available when your opponent is threatening Boil.

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  • The problem with this is that Boil is instant speed ... since the blue deck will eventually have to do something (e.g. play a card draw spell on the end of opponent's turn), its mana is tapped, and then opponent responds with Boil. If Boil were sorcery speed, "counter it" would be much easier to do.
    – Allure
    Dec 4 '20 at 20:24
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    The same thing applies to the other player. If they're always keeping mana up to play Boil in response to you going "shields down", they can't play anything else either. And if they spend their mana, then you can spend yours. This is true of basically any instant-speed spell threat.
    – murgatroid99
    Dec 4 '20 at 20:26
  • Right, but eventually the blue deck will have to do something, because it can't counter everything. A threat is going to slip through, the blue deck will have to answer it (if both players do nothing the other deck will just win with that threat) and that's when Boil is played.
    – Allure
    Dec 4 '20 at 20:41
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    If your opponent has a must-counter threat and another 4 mana open and you can only cast one counterspell, you're already in trouble. More generally, if your opponent is playing threats, that means that they're not leaving mana open, which means that you can cast your own spells without fear of Boil. Part of this, I think, is just about having a general understanding of threat evaluation, which admittedly I'm not really qualified to explain.
    – murgatroid99
    Dec 4 '20 at 20:48
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    My primary conclusion from that video is that two-time Pro Tour champion Gabriel Nassif built their deck in a way that appears to be similar to what I suggested. And that opposing player played Boil at sorcery speed, so the fact that it's an instant wasn't even a relevant issue. The lesson there is that sometimes the blue player has to go "shields down" to play their own things, and sometimes they get punished for it, and that's just the way the game goes.
    – murgatroid99
    Dec 4 '20 at 21:21
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Terra Eternal from Worldwide makes all your lands indestructible. It's 3 mana, so it comes down the turn before Boil is possible, but it does necessitate a white mama source.

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Pact of Negation is another counterspell you can play while tapped out. For a counterspell, it does cost quite a lot at five mana, but at least it's not a 2-for-1.

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Countering the boil is going to be your best bet. If you're playing islands you have most of the counters in the game already in your color and having mana open isn't uncommon for blue decks. Force of Negation isn't the only counter, or the only option with no open mana since Pact of Negation works for 0 mana up front also.

Splendid Reclamation, The Mending of Dominaria or World Shaper could be used for a come back post boil, since all three are a method of "reanimating" your destroyed lands.

Titania, Protector of Argoth can make mass land destruction a benefit for you rather than a problem, giving you a field of big creatures in exchange.

Cards like Cranial Extraction, Lost Legacy, and Memoricide can simply remove all copies of boil from the game. Extirpate and Surgical Extraction require targeting a copy already in the graveyard, so they are not as good, though the phyrexian cost of Surgical makes it less an imposition on a mana base. Sadistic Sacrament works if they only have 2 or 3 copies sideboarded in, though the {B}{B}{B} cost is going to be very hard to splash.

None of these are amazing answers, most require a second color, but there should be no "perfect" answers in magic, when there is we tend to see the cards involved get banned for being broken.

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