Best Colorless Removal In Magic: The Gathering

If you’re playing a colorless deck and can’t splash colors for colored removal (in Commander, for instance), you’ll still need a way to remove problematic cards from opposing battlefields. In these circumstances, you’ll have to dive into the relatively shallow pool of colorless removal. While colorless removal spells aren’t the most efficient in the game, there are still some great options – And they are the topic of today’s article – The very best colorless removal in MTG. So, let’s jump right in.

Colorless removal generally has one thing going for it – It’s versatile. It isn’t really restricted by the color pie, like other colors. For example, many cards can exile creatures or other permanents, and some even punish players for having colored spells. The catch is that it comes at a much higher cost than similar spells that have colored mana.

We will look at MTG’s top 10 colorless removal spells and cover what makes them good, their pros & cons, and what formats I recommend playing them in. So, break out those Wastes and get ready to remove some permanents.

Top 10 Colorless Removal Spells

10. Meteor Golem

meteor golem

Meteor Golem costs a lot of mana, but the optimistic player will find a few small saving graces exist. First, given that this is an artifact, it’s pretty easy to reduce the cost of this a bit with cards like Foundry Inspector and Jhoira’s Familiar.

Secondly, you get a 3/3 body that can attack, block, and be pumped up with things like Steel Overseer. Furthermore, the fact that it is an artifact means it can contribute to anything that cares about how many artifacts you have. The construct tokens from Urza’s Saga.

Is a creature and removalVery expensive to cast
It contributes to the number of artifacts you have in play Sorcery speed

Recommended Formats: Commander

9. Unstable Obelisk

unstable obelisk

Unstable Obelisk isn’t the most efficient removal spell in the world by any stretch of the imagination. After all, you’ll need 10 mana and to sacrifice your card to get something off the field. The caveat is that the removal comes stapled onto a mana rock. Considering three-mana rocks are playable in most colorless commander decks, I like to think of this as a mana rock that’s also removal, making it a bit better.

Related: The Best Mana Rocks In MTG

Produces mana in the early game and removal late gameExpensive to use
Can remove any permanent typeRequires you to sacrifice your mana rock
Can be activated at instant speed if it’s already in play

Recommended Formats: Commander, Oathbreaker

8. Ugin, the Ineffable

ugin the ineffable

If you’re playing a deck that needs colorless removal, you’ll likely want Ugin, the Ineffable in the deck, even aside from its ability to remove permanents. The static ability alone is a powerhouse effect in decks built around artifacts or otherwise colorless spells.

The +1 is also fantastic, considering it generates bodies that can protect Ugin and later turns them into card advantage when they’ve served their purpose. Lastly, we come to the removal portion – for three loyalty, you can destroy any permanent that is one or more colors.

The majority of the time, this will do the job. However, there are potent cards like Blightsteel Colossus, Wurmcoil Engine, and Aetherflux Reservior that this will miss. It’s also worth noting that you’ll have to minus your walker in loyalty to remove something.

Overall powerful card that serves purposes outside of removalCan’t remove colorless permanents
Can reduce the cost of other removal spellsHas to have at least three loyalty to remove something
Removes any permanent type so long as it’s coloredSorcery speed
Can remove multiple things with enough loyalty

Recommended Formats: Commander, Oathbreaker

7. Karn Liberated

karn liberated

If you’ve ever started down an early game Karn Liberated that someone has powered into play early, you know how hard of a card this is to beat. It does cost a lot of mana, but you get more than your money’s worth. For seven mana, it can come down and -3 to exile a permanent of your choosing. So, at this point, it’s a sorcery speed Scour from Existance, which is still playable.

Especially when you consider everything else Karn brings to the table – The +4 (going all the way up to 10 loyalty!) is maybe not removal but can undoubtedly be a disruption, particularly in 1v1 games. It also puts him so high in loyalty that it’s nigh impossible to remove him by simply attacking. This massive boost also means you have the resources to activate the -3 multiple times throughout the game.

And the cherry on top is that his ultimate (final ability) is a downright win-con. After all, the +4 and the -3 exile cards that this ultimate will put into play under your control after restarting the game. In my experience, Karn usually closes out games long before he gets up to his final ability.

Overall powerful cardCan’t be used at instant
Removes any permanent typeHas to remove loyalty to remove something
Exiles the target

Recommended Formats: Modern, Commander, Oathbreaker

6. Spatial Contortion

Spatial Contortion

Finally, something that doesn’t require a ton of mana. While being cheap to cast is a plus, that five mana cost reduction will also cost you some stopping power. Spatial Contortion can only remove creatures with three toughness or less unless they’ve been somehow damaged.

That said, I checked the edhrec list of Commander’s top 100 most played creatures, and -3 to toughness can bring down 65% of them. Granted, not all 65 of them are creatures you’ll want to use a removal spell on in most circumstances, but still, I found the number surprisingly high.

There’s also the possibility to consider using this as a pump spell for one of your creatures, assuming it has some toughness to spare or perhaps went unblocked. This may not be the most common application of the spell, but I have seen it happen.

Instant speedRequires colorless mana
Can pump your creaturesDoesn’t remove larger threats
Circumvents indestructible
Cheap to cast

Recommended Formats: Commander, Oathbreaker, Modern, Vintage, Legacy

5. Scour from Existence

Scour from Existence

Scour from Existence (like the spells mentioned before it) is also expensive. However, it’s costly in a much better way. First, it’s an instant. This alone puts the versatility leaps and bounds above the previous spells on the list. Secondly, it exiles, whereas everything else has only destroyed whatever it removed.

Many decks can reanimate permanents, so exiling them is a great way to ensure you only have to remove them once. Lastly, Scour can hit any permanent type, even land, which makes it quite the catchall. Oh, and seven is sort of the magic number for many colorless decks running the Tron lands, Urza’s Powerplant, Urza’s Mine, and Urza’s Tower, which together produce seven colorless mana.

Instant speedExpensive to cast
Exiles the target
Can remove any permanent type

Recommended Formats: Pauper, Commander, Oathbreaker

4. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

ugin the spirit dragon

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, is the third planeswalker mentioned so far, and he’s the best of the bunch. One downside to Ugin, the Ineffable, and Karn Liberated is that they require you to take away loyalty to remove things, which makes them easier to remove, and therefore closer to leaving the battlefield.

On the other hand, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, can deal with threats while increasing his loyalty, thanks to his +2. As mentioned when discussing Spatial Contortion, three damage is enough to take out 65% of the top-played creatures in Commander. And even outside of Commander, this will always be as effective as Lightning Bolt in damage. It’s also worth noting that you can damage players, battles, and other Planeswalkers.

Related: Best Black Removal Spells In Magic: The Gathering

And all this is just with his first ability – Moving along, he has a versatile board wipe as his second ability. You can remove as many loyalty counters as necessary to rid the board of all colored permanents below that number in CMC. Not only does this hit every permanent type so long as it’s colored, but it also exiles and will most likely be one-sided.

Gains loyalty as it removes thingsExpensive to cast
Can deal damage to any targetSorcery speed
Has both single target removal and a board wipe

Recommended Formats: Pioneer, Modern, Legacy, Commander, Oathbreaker

3. All is Dust

all is dust

You can’t have a list about colorless removal without All is Dust. It’s a very powerful card and is often a one-sided board wipe. Furthermore, since it has the Eldrazi sub-type, you’ll be able to reduce the cost pretty easily with cards like Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin. If your deck doesn’t play colored spells, you’ll want this every time.

Wipes the board of all colored permanentsDoesn’t remove colored permanents
Circumvents indestructible, hexproof, and shroud
Cost can be reduced with Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin

Recommended Formats: Modern, Legacy, Commander, Oathbreaker

2. Titan’s Presence

Titans Presence

In my opinion, this is one of the best single-target removal spells a colorless deck can run. It’s cheap to cast, instant speed, and it exiles the target – However, there is one catch. As an additional cost to cast the spell, you must reveal a colorless creature from your hand. Then you can exile any creature whose power is less than or equal to the revealed cost.

In other words, you’ll need to reveal a card with more power than whatever you want to remove. In archetypes like Eldrazi, having a large, high-power creature in hand isn’t hard to do, and you’ll likely almost always be able to cast this without issue.

Exiles the targetRequires you to have a creature with power equal to or higher than your target
Instant speed
Cheap to cast

Recommended Formats: Oathbreaker, Commander

1. Introduction to Annihilation

introduction to annihilation

Here we are – The best of the best of colorless removal. It costs more than Titan’s Presense, but you’ll never get stuck not being able to remove what you need to when you need to. And as far as casting cost goes, it’s cheaper than similar effects like Scour from Existance.

And there’s more to like aside from the reasonable casting cost too. There are no restrictions to what non-land permanents this can remove, and there are no hoops to jump through when casting this. The only catch is that the controller of the permanent getting taught a lesson in annihilation will get to draw a card. Assuming you’re aiming this at a worthy target, that’ll always be a deal in your favor.

Exiles the targetSorcery speed
Moderate casting cost
Removes multiple permanent types
No additional cost to cast

Recommended Formats: Pauper, Commander, Oathbreaker

End Step

Overall, colorless decks don’t have the best removal compared to other colors like white, blue, black, and red, but they can still get the job done when you choose the right spells. I hope you’ve come away from today’s article with a few more tools in your arsenal. Until next time, get out there are play some MTG.

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Geno Doak

I started playing Magic in 2015. I love all formats but I particularly love to play and build decks in modern. Pretty much every part of my life has been influenced by Magic in some way or another. It is something I am very passionate about. RIP Simian Spirit Guide.