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When To Counter Growth Spiral And Other Set-Up Cards In Ikoria Standard

World Champion PVDDR puts on a masterclass in counterspell logic, showing you the thought process behind countering set-up spells in Ikoria Standard.

Counterspell,illustrated by Jason Chan

Most of the time, it's painfully obvious if a card should be countered or not. You're usually not letting Teferi, Time Raveler; Niv-Mizzet Reborn; or Agent of Treachery resolve if you can help it. The difficulty arrives when we deal with cards that aren't these haymakers, but rather the supporting cast that makes it easier to find or to cast them.

Every time your opponent plays one of these cards, you're presented with a choice — should you counter it or should you try to save the counterspell for the card that actually matters in the end?

In today's article, I'll talk about general concepts that can make this decision go one way or the other, and then give you a list of how I believe the popular counterspells should generally be used against the popular "set-up" spells in Ikoria Standard.

When deciding to counter or not counter an enabler, I usually ask myself three questions.

1. If I don't use my counterspell on this set-up card, can I use . . .

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