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Pojo's Magic The Gathering Card of the Day


Image from Wizards.com

Counterbalance
Cold Snap


Reviewed August 07, 2006

Constructed: 2.5
Casual: 3
Limited: 2.5

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating

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Card of the Day Reviews 


Jeff Zandi

 5 Time Pro Tour
 Veteran

Counterbalance

Looked terrible to me at first, but upon further inspection, Counterbalance could be a very powerful enchantment in constructed formats where your deck has (a) lots of spells with the same casting cost and (b) the casting cost of your spells are the same as the spells you expect to see in your opponent's deck. The obvious combo in Type II, until Champions block rotates out, is Sensei's Divining Top. With Counterbalance in play, you can respond to your opponent's spell by using the Divining Top to see if one of the top three cards of your library has the same casting cost as your opponent's spell. Neat-o. Even this play, however briefly it will exist in Type II, is strictly for control freaks. It's hard to see Counterbalance becoming a really important card in constructed. Sick combo decks seem like the only home for this very interesting enchantment. In limited, Counterbalance's value is very low. Where limited play is concerned, Coldsnap is a very meat-and-potatos expansion, providing very little usefulness for a card like Counterbalance.

CONSTRUCTED: 2.5
CASUAL: 3.0
LIMITED: 1.5
 


DeQuan
Watson

* Game Store Owner

Counterbalance

This card is neat, but I'm not sure I'd play more than one (and maybe a second in the sideboard if I knew the metagame well enough). I just don't feel safe playing with spell counters that come with unpredictability.

Constructed: 1.5
Casual: 2
Limited: 1
 

Jordan Kronick

Counterbalance - Next to Jester's Scepter, this is my favorite Coldsnap card. In terms of raw tournament possibility across all formats, I would put this solidly at number one. We've seen cards before that required no mana investment beyond the cost that could potentially lock the game up (Zur's Weirding) or at least screw things around (Psychic Battle from Invasion comes to mind) but never before at such a reasonable cost and never with such a powerful effect. Normally blue cards of this ilk have a way of turning against you. Zur's Weirding could deny you your threats as well and Psychic Battle was far from reliable. But not Counterbalance. The worst thing that could happen here is that your opponent gets some advance information about what's on top of your deck. That's a small price to pay when countering lots of spells. In testing I've had some games with this where, with judicious use of Sensei's Divining Top and Telling Time, my opponent had 90% of their spells countered, leading to a very easy win for me. A look at some of the top decks in Standard also shows that certain casting costs are very important to some decks. Being able to shut these down makes games easy.

Constructed Rating - 4.0
Casual Rating - 2.5
Limited Rating - 1.5
 


Christine
Gerhardt

Counterbalance

Kind of a hit and miss counterspell. In limited, it can be used to slow your opponent down some. But because you can't really rely on it, it's only so so. You figure you probably have about a 1 in 6 chance of actually countering something on a random basis. Now, if you add Sensei's Divining Top, it does get much more interesting, but probably more on a casual play level.
 
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