Pact of Negation – Time Spiral Remastered
Date Reviewed: March 23, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 3.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
The official Wizards of the Coast forums have been offline for so long that a lot of people don’t remember they ever existed; and I suspect that some of the independent ones have archived a lot of their old discussions, so I really need to tell you all a story about Pact of Negation. During Future Sight‘s spoiler season, it was one of the most feared cards, but not because Dragonstorm had already been a dominant deck for months. People suggested that Zoo might find a way to incorporate it to counter something that could stop their game-winning attack, thereby forever destroying the dynamic that had defined Magic forever and stealing the intellectual control decks’ exclusive monopoly on deciding what happens in a game. I’m going to pause for a moment to let that sink in, and then point out that:
- Pact of Negation doesn’t deal damage, and thus is almost always bad in aggro decks, and
- Settle the Wreckage wouldn’t be printed for another decade, and I’m still not sure what people were referring to.
Pact of Negation’s original use may have been to protect Dragonstorm, but it works just as well for any combo that has a definitive big finish. Other decks don’t like it so much because it basically takes up their entire next turn; while it has occasionally been seen in other styles of deck, it tends to be better when you never actually have to pay for it. I wouldn’t rule it out, as it does lead to some pretty hilarious situations when you have Platinum Angel in play. You’ll also lose the occasional game when you use it on someone else’s turn and they bounce your only source for double blue mana.
Until tomorrow, make smart shield-pacts, and stay the heck off of Reddit.
Counter now, pay later. What could go wrong?
The Pact cycle from Future Sight, inspired by a one-off Unhinged card, is an interesting approach to spells. A free counterspell is certainly a powerful effect, even at the cost of 5 mana on your next upkeep. But when you need to counter something now, to protect a fragile combo or win the game on the spot, Pact of Negation is the card for you. Just be mindful that this isn’t a card without its downsides, and you may have to pay the piper soon enough if you don’t win before that next upkeep rolls around.
Constructed: 4.25 (it slots mostly into combo decks like Ad Nauseam, but it can be good as a protective one-of in most decks if you need that extra bit of pop to get over the finish line)
Limited: 2.75 (countermagic is good, but Pact of Negation’s downside is more likely to matter here)
Commander: 3.75 (there are other zero-mana countermeasures, but this asks for the fewest immediate resources)
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