Editor’s Note: Alternate title was “How Could I Just Really Kill a General” but figured kids these days wouldn’t get the reference. That’s something I’ve been wanting to do, more music titled posts.
I think that last week’s experiment was a success. There were a number of good responses, and I figured that this was a logical followup to the topic of Generals.
Getting rid of Generals can be a huge turning point in the game, especially if your opponent’s deck is built around him/her. Now, we’re not talking about killing a General like with Doom Blade or dealing it damage, but removing it from play. Every color (believe it or not) has ways to deal with Generals. What we’re going to do find find out some of the best ways to do that. Yes, this will be some of the better cards you should be playing with in this format.
Why am I not caring about “destroy target creature” cards? A) They’re boring B) The majority of them are in Black C) Not only can you deal with Generals, but if you’ve got anyone who landed their Eldrazi or Darksteel Colossus, this is also a great way for dealing with them too. There’s a variety of ways to get rid of Generals without triggering different cards; Sometimes you don’t want that Grave Pact to trigger. Don’t be surprised to see these cards in decklists all over the net.
Please remember: when I card says “Exile” and you do that to a General, they can decide to put it in the Command Zone. It’s the same thing that if you kill a General, they can put it in the Command Zone instead of the Graveyard. While I don’t agree flavorfully about it, it’s still the way the rules work. If that happens, they do have to pay the additional 2 colorless mana to re-cast them.
Here’s the list of non-lethal ways to get rid of a General. My personal Top 5 are after the list. I decided not to include permanents that deal with attacking or blocking creatures because it’s a great bluff but most of the time players won’t swing with that on the table.
Some of these can’t fit into every EDH deck because of color restrictions in their activation. If you’re playing a deck that can allow for these colors, I would highly recommend thinking about putting them in there.
It’s going to be no surprise when you look at this list that it’s going to be the most popular color for this type of effect. Yes, most of these are exile type cards, but in a color where that’s the removal most of the time, it’s not going to be a surprise to see it filled up with such playables. There’s plenty of different types and strategies you can do with the cards in this color so if you’ve having trouble with some of the Generals in your area, I would suggest to see what can be taken from here. Absent from this list: Flicker type effects.
What’s not included on this list: bounce. I wasn’t going to include every single card that returned a creature or a permanent to it’s owners hand. Besides White, this is going to be the most powerful color when it comes to dealing with Generals. Remember, if you return a General to an opponent’s hand, they can pay regular cost for it, so keep that in mind.
While it would be the undisputed king of killing, it doesn’t have too many cards to just get rid of creatures. There are some good ones here and powerful effects but if you’re playing this color, most of the time you’re making other players sacrifice or just flat out killing their Generals. There’s nothing bad about that, just doesn’t fit with this theme.
White (unsurprisingly) is in almost all of these cards. Some of these are good, some are bad, but they all can turn the tide in games when played correctly.
Three cards are mass effects. Red burns things, not removing them from the game for fun. The fourth (Dead/Gone) is included because Red doesn’t bounce all that often, unlike Blue. I didn’t include the Red burn spells that said “exile if they would go to the graveyard” because that’s what they would be doing anyway.
Where’s Green’s cards? They really don’t have any (EDIT: As it’s been pointed out in the comments, there is something, Lignify. It doesn’t get rid of the creature for the battlefield, but it will have to do for Green). Sure, the can do some damage everyonce in a while, but Green can’t really deal with creatures (consider it a color weakness). What can mono-Green Generals use? Why, artifacts, of course!
My Top Five
These are in no certain order. I try to have my deck at least fit one of these in there if possible.
Duplicant – Fits in any deck, and if you recur it through bouncing or returning it from your graveyard you can remove multiple Generals. Must in mono-Green decks (again, because of the lack of removal and can be fetched with Fierce Empath (awesome tech).
Swords to Plowshares/Path to Exile – Put them both here because although the benefits to the opponent are different, they’re both practically the same thing. If you’re playing White but not playing one or both of these, you need to fit them in your deck.
Oblation – People will complain that it allows the player to draw two cards. Don’t worry about it, it’s not that big of a deal if you shuffle the General into your opponent’s library; the chances of them drawing it from those two cards are small. Plus, if you need to, you can use it on yourself to save something of yours. Yes, it’s a really really good card.
Spin Into Myth – It’s the Fateseal that really pushes this card over the top. You can then put the creature on the bottom on the library plus another card. And (most importantly) it’s an instant, so you can screw over a Vampiric/Mystical/Enlightened Tutor and their General at the same time.
Hallowed Burial – Has seen more and more EDH play. Was used to get rid of persist, but now, just gets rid of Uril. What’s plan against Uril: 1) Get to 5 mana, 2) cast Hallowed Burial, 3) ??? 4) Win game. Seems pretty good to me.
I’m sure there’s some that I missed. Comment down below about ones you like and ones I missed and I’ll add them up here. Don’t just give me bounce cards either.