– Iconic Masters
December 12, 2017
Commander [EDH]: 2.75
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
The main reason this card sells for so much on the secondary market – aside from the fact that it appears in precisely two paper sets – is that it very effectively shuts down most storm decks. Most of them have to go all-in on the critical turn and don’t have enough mana left over to get even one of the storm copies through, much less ten to thirty. Against other decks it’s weaker, although I have always maintained that “unless you pay N” counterspells are better than they look because most decks’ idea of efficiency involves using as much of their available mana as possible. It’s not the worst sideboard card in a control mirror, although most of the time you’ll probably end up picking something like Spell Pierce for its broader targeting range, or Negate for being more definitive.
Flusterstorm has an interesting history. It originally came out in the premier Commander release, meaning that despite being one of the priciest counter spells, this card never saw Standard or Modern play. It also came out around the time the Storm Scale was created, meaning it’s usefulness in the future was also stunted.
Initially this card is a slightly weaker spell pierce, and if you combine this card Snapcaster Mage, you get a slightly weaker Mana Leak. So why run Flusterstorm at all? The two big reasons are winning a counter war or the more obvious reason is to stop Storm. This makes Flusterstorm a very polarizing card. As I mostly play either casual or Modern, I think I’ve played against a Storm deck once in the past 10 years, meaning this card is pretty useless in my friend circle. On the other hand, shutting down your opponents deck with a single blue mana is insane. This card is a side-board staple, but at the end of the day, countering for a single island is still good.
The best way to combat Storm…well, turns out that it’s Storm. Flusterstorm is the best way to answer the mechanic it’s printed with, as well as an acceptable way to win a counterspell war on its own.
The worst-case scenario for Flusterstorm is acting as a slightly more limited Spell Pierce, since it will generate at least one copy before resolution. Unlike Spell Pierce, though, each copy of Flusterstorm is its own unique spell, and this means that your opponent is going to have a hard time getting rid of those (the best answers are another Flusterstorm, Mindbreak Trap, Swift Silence, and Summary Dismissal…or using Trickbind or Stifle on the Storm trigger). While it has its own answers, Flusterstorm is a 1-mana way to make sure a spell doesn’t resolve (or an entire array of spells don’t resolve), and it targets the spell types that would be most in need of this nuclear approach. It’s a large part of Legacy because of being able to kibosh degenerate spell combo decks, so a reprint in Iconic Masters is welcome indeed.
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