Reverse the Polarity– Doctor Who
Date Reviewed: October 17, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I am honestly surprised there hasn’t already been an Izzet (as in the guild) spell named “Reverse the Polarity” before. Of course, there still might be someday – it’s not hard to notice that all of the card’s effects are pretty core blue abilities. Versatile counterspells have usually gone straight to testing in control decks ever since Cryptic Command’s heyday, but the card actually seems to be hinting at tempo applications. “Creatures can’t be blocked this turn” is basically blue’s answer to Overrun, and there’s lots of weird tricks you can pull in blocking scenarios using the second mode. If all your creatures have “square” stats like 2/2 and your opponent is coming at you with 2/1s and 3/2s, you’re suddenly winning the combat or at least coming in even. I have a feeling this is one of those cards that reads really simple and has lots of hidden depths. And it doesn’t even have a nested if clause!
Multiplayer: 3.5 (use it to mess with other people’s combat steps)
Commander [EDH]: 3.5
Turns out that “Cancel with upside” can’t escape even Commander products, and that’s generally what Reverse the Polarity is. It’s not a strict replacement for it, thanks to the wording of countering all other spells, and this does include the spells you may be trying to get through in a war of countermagic. That said, this is an effect that usually costs four mana (see: overloaded Counterflux and Summary Dismissal), so this costing three mana is a subtle, yet nice, boon for the spell.
That said, it has two other useful things it can do, and those really underline the “Cancel with upside” thing going on. Swapping power and toughness is one of those situationally useful abilities that isn’t always going to do lots of damage, but this doesn’t target and it also hits everything while being stapled to a more generically useful effect. Making creatures unblockable for three mana can make for fun politicking or, ideally, just an alpha strike. While these effects are sometimes a bit more spurious on their own, they’re alternate uses for this spell in a pinch, and role compression is valuable in formats where every deck slot matters.
Reverse the Polarity’s upside is probably not good enough to see Legacy play, but it is the second-cheapest way to counter a stupid number of spells (behind Mindbreak Trap, which is probably still better than this). But it does three interesting things, and it does them well enough, and so I suppose this might see some sparing play there. But in less pressurized formats, Reverse the Polarity is a fun and functional way to mess up someone’s day in the way you feel is most appropriate.
Commander [EDH]: 4
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