We’ve all been blown out by a Settle the Wreckage at some point. For many, this resulted in a deep and abiding fear of opponents leaving up 2WW as you head into combat, and that fear is only exacerbated these days by the ever-present The Wandering Emperor. It made me wonder – just how many different ways are there to get blown out when an opponent leaves up four white mana? This has to be the most weirdly specific topic I think I’ve ever done as part of this column, but I was surprised to see just how many cards actually fall into this category – let’s get across the best white blowouts in MTG!
10. Cemetery Protector
Graveyard-based nonsense isn’t at an all-time high in Standard at the moment, but Cemetery Protector is waiting and ready in case they need to be taken down a peg or two. It can exile a key graveyard card and leave behind a respectable 3/4 body to ambush attacking creatures. On top of that, the fact that it can churn out 1/1s more or less as soon as it comes down makes it a reasonable inclusion in decks that are aggressively-slanted creature-based midrange lists.
9. Faith’s Reward
While it’s not your typical “blowout” card, Faith’s Reward and cards like it have led to some pretty ridiculous decks in 60-card Constructed, and is also a popular inclusion in white EDH decks that like to play out of the graveyard. Decks with commanders like Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero are always ready for another Faith’s Reward-style effect, and can absolutely blow you out with cards like Goblin Bombardment plus Faith’s Reward. It goes in a bunch of decks: Celestial Kirin, Kataki, War’s Wage, even Athreos, God of Passage, so they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t!
8. Selfless Squire
Selfless Squire is just one of the many cards that will make you think twice about attacking into an opponent holding up four mana. Sometimes, when you think you’re going to attack for lethal, you instead end up giving them a four-mana 25/25 that is very ready to return the favor when their attack step comes back around. EDH decks that look to control the way combats pan out, like Breena, the Demagogue, are always grateful to have another way to disincentivize attacks, and that’s just what Selfless Squire is!
7. Alms Collector
Ah, yes, the fabled white card draw. Blue/black gets Notion Thief, which steals all the cards your opponent was going to draw, while white gets… this. At least it’s a 3/4, I guess. What is it with white’s flash four-drops all being 3/4s? In any case, Alms Collector will definitely punish people looking to cast their Blue Sun’s Zeniths, and is particularly juicy against something like Brainstorm or Faithless Looting, but… well, they still get one card, and you only get one card. As usual, white gets shafted with a card that is, essentially, “we have Notion Thief at home.”
I remember the first time this card was played against me, I was convinced it was fake. I was sure my opponent had made the card themselves, printed it off all nice and snuck it into their deck. Nope. This weird card from Commander 2014, that has never been reprinted, is very real and will absolutely ruin you if you don’t look out. Attacking with square-statted creatures turns this into a Settle the Wreckage, with the added bonus that it can also prevent something like a Comet Storm from burning you out. Comeuppance is the real deal.
5. Cosmic Intervention
A relatively recent addition to EDH, there is no end to the silly things you can do with Cosmic Intervention. One of the sweetest things I’ve seen is casting it with a bunch of Sagas on the battlefield, using Satsuki, the Living Lore to juice all the Sagas up to their third chapters and sacrifice them, then have them return with the Intervention at the end step. It also brings back creatures that died as well as things like fetchlands – with careful planning (but not Careful Study, they have to go to the bin from the battlefield), you can set up some pretty ridiculous Cosmic Intervention turns!
4. Akroma’s Will
Akroma has been famous for her keyword soup over the years – the original Akroma, in Legions, had flying, first strike, vigilance, trample, haste and protection from black and from red. Akroma’s Memorial grants all these keywords, of course, and Akroma’s Will goes a fair way further, granting indestructible, double strike and protection from all colors. When you’re getting these abilities at instant speed, too, it can generate some colossal blowouts, both on attack and defense. Another reason not to attack into four open mana!
3. Restoration Angel
Perhaps my personal bias means this card ends up a lot higher on the list than it should be, but, hey, what are you going to do about it? You’re not my dad, you can’t tell me what to do. Restoration Angel is an old favorite from the days of the original Innistrad block, and after playing a role in the old Delver decks in Standard, became famous (or perhaps infamous) for its interaction with Thragtusk. 3W, gain five, make a 3/3 Beast and a 3/4 flyer, eat your Frontline Medic? Those were the days.
2. The Wandering Emperor
The Wandering Emperor is right up there as one of the best planeswalkers printed recently, and with good reason. It’s one of the most popularly-played cards in Standard, due to its ability to blow people out during combat with a versatile toolbox that make an impact no matter the situation. Already got blockers? Beef them up and give them first strike. Need to develop the board? Make a 2/2. Need a creature gone for good? Exile it and gain life, stabilizing things nicely. The Wandering Emperor is one of the scariest cards to attack into, almost as bad as…
1. Settle the Wreckage
The entire reason this list even exists in the first place, Settle the Wreckage has bred a generation of Magic players who live in fear of four white mana. Even when it’s completely improbable that they’d have Settle in their deck, countless players around the world pause before attacking into 2WW, thinking to themselves… maybe, just maybe? Or, rather, if you’re like me, you don’t pause at all and get blown out every time, because somehow they just always have Settle the Wreckage.