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Best Removal for Sheoldred and More in MTG Standard – Strategy Bite

I’ve noticed a troubling trend in my early exploration of the Standard format. 

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse

Every time Sheoldred hits the battlefield, if I can’t immediately answer her, the game becomes exceptionally difficult for me. This goes hand-in-hand with another troubling trend. Most of the obvious “good” removal spells, like Voltage Surge, Cut Down, Lightning Strike and Circle of Confinement, don’t cut the mustard when it comes to old Sheoldred.

My current opinion is that nobody should leave home without two answers to Sheoldred, the Apocalypse. Ideally, we’d have many, many more than that. However, this is easier said than done because I’ve found “edict” effects like Liliana of the Veil and Invoke Despair to be unreliable. You also can’t count on Sheoldred attacking for the purposes of The Wandering Emperor and the like. Simply bouncing her to the opponent’s hand as a temporary solution also usually won’t cut it. 

In short, having a healthy number of Sheoldred answers won’t happen by accident. Instead, it requires intentionally constructing your removal suite with her in mind. I’ve compiled a thorough (not quite exhaustive) list of your options. 

 

 

Header - Black

Infernal GraspMarch of Wretched SorrowHero's DownfallAssassin's InkCemetery Desecrator

Black – normally the best color for removal spells – doesn’t have a particularly easy time removing Sheoldred. Infernal Grasp is the cheapest option, but that life loss adds up. When playing on MTG Arena, consider putting a stop in your own upkeep so you can kill her before your draw step. 

 

Header - White

Destroy EvilValorous StanceFateful Absence

White has some surprisingly effective options, as Destroy Evil and Valorous Stance kill both Sheoldred and Raffine, Scheming Seer cleanly while also having applications elsewhere. 

I’m not the biggest fan of Fateful Absence, but it does get the job done, and can also answer annoying planeswalkers. 

March of Otherworldly LightBorrowed TimeTouch the Spirit RealmLeyline BindingBrutal Cathar // Moonrage BruteLagrella, the MagpieEndless DetourThe Fall of Lord Konda // Fragment of KondaPrayer of BindingFarewell

As you might expect, the color white can exile permanents pretty well. More on this to come. The Fall of Lord Konda is narrow, but it’s actually quite punishing when you can get it to line up correctly. I might start experimenting with it as a sideboard one-of. 

 

Header - Gold/Multicolor

Maestros CharmRiveteers CharmVoid RendUnleash the InfernoThe Kami War // O-Kagachi Made ManifestTear Asunder

If you’re playing multiple colors, you can tap into some additional options. If your deck can support these, you should consider them. I’m a huge fan of both Riveteers Charm and Unleash the Inferno, and consider them both to be draws towards the Jund color combination right now. 

 

Header - Board Sweepers

DepopulateDrag to the BottomThe Phasing of ZhalfirBurn Down the HouseBy Invitation OnlyThe Meathook MassacreStructural AssaultTemporal FirestormVanquish the Horde

Not every deck wants board sweepers, but there are some decent options for those that do. Mass removal is also a way to deal with Graveyard Trespasser without having to take an extra hit from its ward ability. 

The Meathook Massacre is an incredible card, although I wouldn’t consider seven mana to be a particularly good price for killing Sheoldred. Depopulate, Burn Down the House and Drag to the Bottom are nice options in the right decks. 

 

Header - With Big Creatures

Bite DownMaster's RebukeBrokers CharmClear ShotWolf StrikeMarkov RetributionZiatora, the Incinerator

Some cards allow you to leverage your big creatures to kill Sheoldred. However, you don’t want a fair fight, as with Tail Swipe, due to her deathtouch. 

 

Header - With Many Creatures

Lantern FlareCabaretti CharmJaya, Fiery NegotiatorSurgehacker Mech

Some cards allow you to leverage large armies to kill Sheoldred. Lantern Flare is actually a pretty good card. But the best way might be going wide and using the -2 ability of Jaya, Fiery Negotiator. After all, Jaya is a very good standalone card already. 

 

Header - Red

Rending Flame

Beyond Jaya – who frankly is a bit of a stretch – I haven’t named any mono-red cards yet that kill Sheoldred. I think this is a big deal, and might hold Mono-Red Aggro back from thriving this Standard season.

Your red decks might want to splash white or black for additional removal options. Otherwise, get used to playing with Rending Flame, possibly even in your main deck. 

You Are Already Dead

You Are Already Dead is an interesting card that might actually be playable in decks with cheap burn, or perhaps with the Devil tokens of Ob Nixilis, the Adversary. As a cheap cantrip, it also pairs reasonably well with Jaya’s monk tokens. 

 

Header - The Dragons

Ao, the Dawn SkyKairi, the Swirling SkyJunji, the Midnight SkyAtsushi, the Blazing SkyKura, the Boundless Sky

With black and red-based midrange decks being popular, the legendary Dragons from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty are making a comeback. These creatures really punish anybody who has to fight through them “fair and square” by killing them with removal spells or in combat. They’re particularly strong against edict effects. 

Don’t be a sucker, and don’t come unprepared for these Dragons. In reality, the best thing you can do is find removal spells that cleanly exile anything from Sheoldred to Raffine to Ao, the Dawn Sky

 

Header - Sacrificing Creatures

Eaten AliveRite of Oblivion

Eaten Alive and Rite of Oblivion are great cards that nobody’s playing with right now. White even has easy access to disposable bodies in the form of Wedding Announcement and Resolute Reinforcements. Of course, Rakdos and Mardu Sacrifice are also interesting prospects. 

 

Header - Blue

Rona's VortexInvoke the WindsHullbreaker Horror

If you can get to the stage of the game where Hullbreaker Horror and Lier, Disciple of the Drowned are online, then you’ll be able to manage Sheoldred. However, you’ll need some help to make it that far, particularly since these decks need to draw a lot of cards, and can ill afford to lose two life with each one. 

Invoke the Winds is pretty sweet right now if you can support the demanding mana cost. 

 

Header - Wrapping Up

Soul Transfer

Finally, we come to Soul Transfer, which is an excellent card, and answers both Sheoldred and the Kamigawa Dragons very nicely. I love to have a card that’s good against the cards people are bringing specifically to try to beat me! Folks were starting the season with one Soul Transfer in their midrange decks, but I won’t be surprised if that soon gets as high as three copies.

To wrap up, here’s my short list of removal spells that’ve gotten a lot better recently, and that you should be paying more attention to. 

Soul TransferEaten AliveRite of OblivionRending FlameDestroy EvilValorous StanceRiveteers Charm

Let me know in the comments if there’s any secret technology I’m still sleeping on. Happy hunting!

 

3 thoughts on “Best Removal for Sheoldred and More in MTG Standard – Strategy Bite”

  1. Bloodline Culling out of the SB for black-based decks. Instant speed is nice, plus versatility to wipe out Fable and Emperor tokens.

  2. Bouncer’s beatdown is another alternative for green big creatures against Sheoldred/black, It Is not ideal but better than master’s rebuke or bite down

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