Force of Negation
– Modern Horizons
July 9, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I think Force of Will is pretty much overkill for most formats, and I think that Force of Negation is a great addition to Modern and some casual formats. The Modern Horizons card is less purely flexible than its famous ancestor, but it has enough stipulations to make for actual interesting gameplay. It’s not fun when cards are so powerful that they overshadow every similar card and play the exact same way every time.
As it happens, though, Force of Negation is at just the right level to make an actual change in competitive Modern. Most of the ridiculousness that you have to stop early is a non-creature spell, and it gives creature strategies an indirect boost because they will have so many cards that are immune to it.
Force of Negation is a rather clear homage to one of the iconic Legacy cornerstones, Force of Will, both in its art and its effect. While the Alliances counterspell is arguably too format-warping to be a good addition to Modern, Force of Negation is a bit fairer, a reactive tool for the blue deck.
Force of Negation is a bit narrow as a spell; while a lot of the things you would want to counter are noncreature spells, you also sometimes would want to thwart creatures, and most Modern decks rely somewhat on creatures to win the game. Negate and Spell Pierce are both playable in Modern, though, so there is at least a home for Force of Negation. Three mana for a Negate with upside is a bit expensive (not too expensive, but not ideal), and the timing restriction for the alternate cost (it has to be on an opponent’s turn) means that this winds up being very defensive. You’ll have trouble using this to win a game, since it can’t protect a fragile combo trying to go off…but it can stop an opponent from winning the game by nuking their fragile combo, even exiling what you counter.
I think Force of Negation is an overall good addition to Modern as a format, giving reactive decks more tools to fight back without giving them overly oppressive tools. Because while you do have the ability to counter things for no mana, you’re still giving up an extra card to do it, and you can’t hit creatures. If you’re in blue, there might be room to consider this card.
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